One of the oldest and longest running MMORPGs is finally coming to an end. Developer Jagex announced that they are taking down the servers for RuneScape Classic on August 6, 2018. They say the decision was difficult for the studio, especially since it still has some diehard players that have managed to max out their characters in the original version of the free-to-play MMO.
RuneScape Classic originally released in January of 2001. It quickly became the largest MMORPG as over 200 million players made accounts for the browser-based game. In the 17 years that have passed, the original version of the game has been surpassed in popularity and quality by more recent iterations with the newest release being 2013's RuneScape 3. Jagex stopped providing support for Classic many years ago as they've used newer technology that simply isn't compatible with how the 2001 release was developed in order to run both Old School RuneScape and RuneScape 3.
The shutdown comes as the unsupported RuneScape Classic continues to rack up new bugs. Jagex explained that these issues arise from "bots and lack of community safety tools" in addition to the fact that the game is able to be abused by macro tools. So, rather than the game breaking one day in the future without any sort of heads-up, the decision was made to give players a chance to wave goodbye.
It should be noted that this doesn't impact Old School RuneScape, which is the second iteration of the MMORPG that is based upon how the game was in 2007. Jagex will continue to support that version, and are even working on an iOS port of it. So, players can still get a nostalgic fix if they want to, just not a broken version with 2001 roots.
It's always sad to see an iconic game like RuneScape Classic go offline, but it really was inevitable. Jagex can't be expected to continue to support the aging game with a declining fanbase especially when its dated development makes it impossible for them to use current tools and technology with it. Plenty of players will be sad to see the classic go, but at least everyone will get to spend a few final moments in the original fantasy world of Gielinor. Just make sure to say goodbye before it goes away for good on August 6, 2018.