COVID-19 is having a massive impact on many of our lives, with social distancing separating families and friends, and disrupting businesses around the world.
Jagex is making sure RuneScape and Old School remain strong places to socialise and escape to, and we will be supporting our mental health charity partners for anyone in need of help at this challenging time.
We’ve had to adapt very quickly to working from home, to keep our staff safe whilst keeping the game servers, content and services going strong. I’m amazed and proud of the incredible work of our teams in responding to the situation. They have made working from home possible in ways that we couldn’t have imagined a few weeks ago, including developing content and launching game updates remotely (including RuneScape’s huge new skill Archaeology).
We’ve also ramped up the services we provide to staff, to support them through this time of change and disruption. On top of the great benefits we have in place, we’ve stepped up the mental health counselling and run remote social events including competitions and virtual social gatherings.
Supporting better mental health is important to us. Together with our players, last year we raised more than £250,000 to help our three amazing mental health charity partners – CPSL Mind, the Prince’s Trust, and You Are RAD. This support is now more important than ever – which is why over the next few weeks, we’ll be doing our best to help those impacted by our current isolation.
Jagex will donate a further £100,000 to its mental health charity partners. This is on top of our already-scheduled RuneScape Mental Health Awareness Week charity time-limited event. We’ll be making this donation swiftly so we can bring immediate help to those who need it during the current situation.
We’ll also be teaming up with the #PlayApartTogether global games initiative to support physical distancing messaging to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
If the current situation is getting to you, with the help of CPSL Mind we’ve published an article called Wellbeing During Isolation that provides valuable information and resources, as well as links to other charity partners. We encourage anyone to support this however they can.
As I mentioned, last week Archaeology arrived in RuneScape. Old School players can look forward to the second half of the Darkmeyer update, including the Sins of the Father quest and the Hallowed Sepulchre, which we’re working on right now. But it doesn’t stop there. Players of both games can look forward to more activities and content. We’ll have more information for you in the coming weeks, but here are some highlights:
Old School RuneScape
- We’re bringing you a special charity Old School RuneScape 2020 1v1 tournament, kicking off next Friday. You can read more, and find out how to register, here
- Players can also look forward to a special event supporting our partner charities
- Starting on May 1st we’ll be kicking off a 4-week DMM tournament with a substantial charity prize pool, again with some fantastic prizes from our partners
- Players can also look forward to a special charity event, in which you’ll help raise money for our partner charities
- We’re bringing back a special edition of The Drop, an in-game quiz competition, with a charity twist
- RuneScape Mobile Early Access on Android is now free-to-download, with an iOS closed beta coming soon
- We’ll continue our previously planned Mental Health Awareness Week Time-Limited Event in May
- Special streamed events are on the way, that will be hosted by Jagex
- We'll be aiming, where technology allows, to do more live streams for both RuneScape and Old School
- We’ll be running fortnightly AMAs and Discord Q&As with mental health charity representatives to help vulnerable players get the support they need
- There will be more get-togethers in-game with J-Mod attendance
We’ll be regularly updating our website and social channels on @RuneScape and @OldSchoolRS to ensure you don’t miss your opportunity to take part
Finally, this is normally the time we’d be locking down our plans and working with venues in preparation for RuneFest. Given the current situation, we're not able to do that so, regrettably, hosting our favourite event of the year won’t be possible in 2020. Instead, we’re looking at alternative virtual events that will go some way to filling the void until we can begin planning the next RuneFest, which will be the biggest and best we’ve ever done. More details to come.
The community spirit, between us all here at Jagex and all of you playing at home, is deeply important to me. It’s important that you, we and I stay connected. And not just in the world of RuneScape, but in all the safe places you can meet and share experiences with likeminded people and support one another. And laugh. Don’t forget to laugh.
Be safe, stay home and be there for each other – we’re in this together.
See you in Gielinor.
A special video message on behalf of everyone at Jagex