I have incredibly fond memories of RuneScape. One of my first experiences was playing via Miniclip in my 4th-grade classroom. A substitute teacher's son was visiting for the day and taught us young minds how to cook a raw chicken in Lumbridge.
I can't quite pin down the initial allure of RuneScape. In the poorest attempt to explain it.. a whole new universe was open to explore, with dangers, treasures and the greatest sense of community.
I didn't know it at the time but RuneScape (and World of Warcraft) was shaping my future. Gielinor was influencing how I now think about wealth accumulation, how I take actions in today's real world stock market, how I excel at my technology job and most importantly how I interact with others given a common goal.
Bots - IT Automation 💻
RuneScape was my first exposure to IT automation, and more specifically, automation that I could clearly see at work, it was tangible. To get 99 Magic, the clearest, easiest path was to cast a High Alchemy spell repeatedly.. or about 198,000 times. 198k mouse clicks that took 3 seconds each... Point is, this was tedious.
I purchased a 'script' back in the day (I had no idea what a script meant as a 10-year-old). A High Alchemy bot that would move my mouse clicker for me as I launched this specific script client. It would randomly move sporadically to throw off the game's bot detections, then continue to cast the spell repeatedly without the need for me to be at my desk.
Now, these are nothing new and well-known nowadays but I was fascinated that these magical scripts could be created to automate the game. As a 10-year-old, I couldn't fathom how in the world someone would create such a thing. Now as a young professional, I'm learning Lua to script WoW add-ons.
In conclusion, bots or automation scripts opened my eyes to the fascinating world of IT automation. In my career, I've always been attracted to automating things and in fact, it's a large portion of my job description. I've created many automation scripts, small things like automatically moving my organization's Confluence pages to Sharepoint to developing full-scale data pipelines that update millions of records daily.
IT Automation - Key Learnings
- Discovering a world where programmable scripts can save a tremendous amount of time and money
Law Runes - Economics ⌛
Brief context -- there's a concept of worlds in Runescape, which are just different servers that your character can log in to. You can easily hop between worlds and of course, all of your gear, money and stats are the same. However, certain worlds were unofficially known for certain events. I believe it was world 66, which was the Law Running world.
In the law running world, with no skills, gear or money, a fresh player could make money simply by running back and forth between a bank and a highly-skilled player crafting law runes, providing that player with a steady stream of raw materials. At a certain Runecrafting level, a player can make double the amount of law runes with the same amount of raw materials. This steady stream of raw materials saved the Runecrafters a TON of time and also made them money, given the ability to craft 2 law runes from 1 pure essence (the raw material).
In exchange for their service of running raw materials back and forth between the bank, law runners were given law runes.
Now... with that context out of the way. These law runners would accumulate law runes and they were looking to sell their amassed law runes in exchange for RuneScape gold.
I was not the first one to exploit this opportunity but I observed that I could buy law runes at a lower price at the bank that these law runners were hustling back and forth between. Then, I would teleport to an area where other players were training their magic and burning law runes to do so. These players training magic did not want to interrupt their gameplay to seek out more law runes. I'm sure you know where this is going -- I then sold those law runes to the players training magic at a slightly higher price than the price I paid at the law running bank.
Economics - Key Learnings
Buy Low, Sell High
People are lazy, or more fairly, people are willing to exchange money for time
Running law runes required no skill or experience. That's great. But given that, you also gained no skills or experience by being a runner; time is better spent building upon skills and experience, even if you take a monetary loss in the short term.
Disclaimer: For my RuneScape fans, this was before the grand exchange, a centralized system to post and purchase goods.
More Reading: Law Running - Cornell Edu
Quests - Requirements ❗
Quests in RuneScape required you to follow quest guides written by third parties. There are usually multiple steps involved, not always high in complexity but you did need to be organized and diligent to be efficient..and in doing so, avoid frustrating yourself.
Following quest guides forced me to sit down, read through the entire guide and THEN come up with a game plan. Gathering the requirements first, reading the guide once again, ensuring I have each step planned out and finally executing the quest.
I like to think this early exposure to reading digital documentation and executing the steps on a platform, albeit a video game, helped train my brain to the very analogous procedures I deal with as an IT professional.
For instance, given a business need to connect to an SFTP and download files on a continuous basis. I need to first gather the requirements.
Does the SFTP require special credentials, via a VPN or other
When are the files being dropped?
Will the files be archived?
Are the files themselves encrypted with a privacy protocol?
And lastly, I need to read the documentation on the SFTP python library paramiko to utilize the package's function to connect to the SFTP in a secure way.
Quests - Key Learnings
Requirement gathering is an advantageous skill in the world of software development. Learning how to do this all started with figuring out how many burnt chickens I needed and how much iron ore I need to mine and where to complete a Runescape quest!
Training myself to thoroughly read through technical documentation at an early age has helped me read through new materials and apply those learnings with speed and quality. Yes, it's arguable that the Recipe for Disaster quest is technical for a 10 year-old :)
I won't elaborate on these last two but for those that have played other MMOs and probably relate with these bullets.
Guilds - Collaboration
The Wilderness - Risk vs. Reward
There is a lot of research pointing to the benefits of video games in our early years. At the very least, I think the argument that video games make teens violent is behind us. Regardless of your position on screen time for children and teens, Runescape, among other video games taught me valuable lessons, ones that I continue to reflect on in my professional and personal life.