This month marks the 9th anniversary of the critically acclaimed re-release of Old School Runescape and the 22nd anniversary of Jagex’s inception. While some gamers have been around since the earliest days of Runescape Classic, the relaunch has brought a number of new players, some of whom might not be familiar with the wild history of holiday events in the game.
The creative minds behind Runescape have always care first and foremost about online gaming communities, and one of the ways they wanted to give back to early players was through fun in game activities – we happen to be big fans of Random Events –, the most memorable of which are the various Holiday events that have created both cause for celebration and controversy over the years.
The first holiday event was held in 2001, during Runescape’s first year online. Held in October of that year, the event was a small surprise that involved spawning pumpkins throughout the map, giving something for the handful of players to interact with. A relatively simple and well executed event, the pumpkins would tell the player “Happy Halloween” when examined; however the next holiday event would prove to be far more exciting and memorable for the player-base .
Christmas 2001 will always be remembered as the date when the famous “Christmas Cracker” was released. On December 25th, crackers spawned all over the map and players would use them on each other, receiving small gifts such as the now infamous, “Party Hats”. These prizes were in a number of colors, the most popular of which being blue. Over the years, and due to some nefarious activity of players, these crowns have skyrocketed in value and are to this day the peak of Runescape fashion.
Over the next few years, Jagex would commemorate holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter with limited item drops like the Party Hats, Easter Eggs, and other cosmetics like Santa Hats and Dragon Masks. As the number of players increased, so did the desirability of these exclusive and hard to get items, and their price skyrocketed. This led to a tremendous amount of controversy, leading to the decision to make these items untradable by 2003, radically changing the player experience and opinion of these events .
As the game would continue developing, leading to the eventual launch of Runescape 3, holiday events continued though at a more sporadic frequency. Items like bunny ears, a scythe, and even a horse – well a toy horsey at least – would enter the game in the coming years, but the original economy breaking drops were a thing of the past. Since the rerelease of the 2004 update of Old School Runescape, holiday events have become a more relaxed affair.
One of the biggest transformations though, has been the increasing celebration of April Fool’s Day and the permanent introduction of Diagno to Draynor Village. Diagno allows players who can’t participate in holiday events to buy special drops. In addition, extending the duration of events in game and experimenting with Quests and Tasks style activities to increase player engagement with these events. A full list of Holiday Events can be found on the OSRS Wiki page . And If you are as much a nerd for Runescape History as we are, check out The Original Runescape Handbook by Tracey West – available on Brick Escape – or the 20 Year Anniversary Book by Jagex !