Thursday, September 26th Jagex made a big announcement about their new Bonds that are being added to “RuneScape”. The UK based company continues to revolutionize the free-to-play MMORPG market with this new feature which will allow players to get tangible rewards for their in-game efforts. This announcement came as a bit of a surprise and many members are contemplating whether Bonds will have a positive or negative effect on the community.
Bonds will allow “RuneScape” players to sell or trade they’re in-game wealth for real life currency and rewards. Available tangible rewards include membership for the game. As with “Diablo 3”’s auction houses the introduction of real currency to a gaming system can be difficult to pull off and it will be interesting to see how the Bonds effect the community.
“The launch of Bonds for RuneScape is a really positive move, which will improve the game’s economy and give players more choice in how they get membership. We care as passionately about RuneScape as the game’s community, and are committed to laying the foundations for the next 10 years of RuneScape growth. This update is a firm step in that direction,” said Phil Mansell, Executive Producer of RuneScape. “Many players will have accrued a small fortune’s worth of GP and valuable items in-game over their years of playing RuneScape. By introducing Bonds, millions of dedicated players will now have the choice to fund their membership and other services for free through the exchange of in-game wealth for Bonds.”
The announcement was met with some speculation form “RuneScape” players. Presumably in anticipation of some of this consternation “RuneScape” moderator Jacmob explained on Devblog how goldfarming has become a huge problem for “RuneScape” and the Bonds are an effort to curtail some of the illicit behavior found within the game. Much as D3’s auction houses were an effort to curtail black market trades of in-game items for currency IRL, Bonds aim at opening up more options to gamers as well as eliminating some illegal avenues.
Bonds will cost $5 each to purchase and can only be redeemed from within the game. Purchasing one of these $5 Bonds will allow players to get 14 days of "RuneScape" membership, eight Squeal of Fortune spins, or 160 RuneCoins. Multiple Bonds can also be redeemed for RuneFest tickets.
It will certainly be an interesting change to the “RuneScape” community. Jagex could be the first game to successfully let players trade in-game rewards for real life ones. Check out RuneScape.com for more information.