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My story begins when I was around 9. I still remember the horrid day at primary school that I was having. I had been told off for speaking whilst the teacher was and made to sit at a particular table that was for "naughty" children. However, fate had it that I would be placed in that exact spot on that very day, because if I had not been sitting there then I would not have overheard a particular conversation.
"YOU GET TO KILL DRAGONS, GET GOLD AMOURS, AND KILL GOBLINS!" whispered "Big Dan." As someone who loved fantasy role playing games and anything that included swords, dragons, and adventure, I was imminently drawn into this conversation. After listening about the adventures that the group of boys had partaken, I decided now would be a good time to mention that I was interested and discover how I could go about buying this game and include myself into their adventures. "How can I play?" I asked. I was greeted with a sour look on the groups' face as they told me to go away as they did not want me ruining their fun. Unfortunately I was not the most popular of children growing up and had difficulty in finding anyone who was even moderately interested in making friends with me. However, even though dishonored by the group of boys, I was not discouraged. I carried out the task of eavesdropping, and finally there was a mention of the name Runescape. I took my chances and decided that this was the name of the game they were talking about. I was over the moon that a game this amazing existed.
That evening after dinner, I made it my mission to discover more of this Runescape. Unfortunately, 13 years ago it was not as simple as jumping onto Google and having the first page filled with answers. My family computer had plenty of add-on bars attached as both my mother and sister loved to add random crap to the top as it "looked cool." However, MSN search was where I found most results were somewhat relevant to the question. From what I recall, it took me roughly two-and-a-half hours to find the Runescape website, in which I was in disbelief that this amazing game that the group of boys were discussing was entirely free to play!
After spending 20 minutes or so navigating around the page, I finally was able to create an account and login. From that very moment I knew I had found something that I would cherish and play for a long time. How long was the true question, but we will get to that.
After spending the entire summer of 2006 glued to playing Runescape, the progress I had made would not make up for the time spent playing. A lot of people believe that in order to enjoy a game or to understand a game that you have to complete it and all of the achievements as quickly as possible. Well, it was not always this way. I spent the first year walking around Varrock and Barbarian Village meeting new people, making friends, having fun, doing silly things like pretending to go on camping trips, fishing, and giving the cooked fish out to passers by. This is what I enjoyed doing in the game and found it fun just to be able to speak to a whole network of similar-minded people who also enjoyed the game.
As time passed and a year went by, I began secondary school in the UK. This was daunting as I had chosen to go to a school where only two other people from my school had chosen to go. I can't recall my first day exactly how it was, but I remember it was strange mixing with an entire group of new faces. It wasn't long before I started to make friends, in particular with a close friend from primary school. Lauren was somewhat my best and only friend I had ever had. We spent long hours on games such as Dynasty Warriors and GTA San Andreas, in particular trying to find Big Foot. I introduced Lauren to Runescape around the time I also began playing and we spent a lot of time comparing our "nooby" gear and discovering new quests and locations. So when I discovered that Lauren was going for 99 Woodcutting I felt rivaled. Having a 99 was the highest of achievements in a skill and you even got a sweet cape to go along with it!
After what seemed like a few weeks, she announced to me that she was 98 Woodcutting and was having a party to celebrate in game of her achieving 99. I was filled with jealousy, but regardless I attended and was happy for her as I knew how hard she had worked toward this. At the party (once again, in game, it was normal to have a party to celebrate achievements... I promise) I noticed a particular guy who was being "extra" and saying things that I found quite humorous. Upon talking to this guy, we instantly fell into an argument. For the love of me, I cannot recall what it was regarding; however, I knew it was pathetic and had no meaning, so we parted ways and I said my farewell. The next day at school, I saw Lauren and she was saying how excited she was for me to meet Harry. I had no idea what she who she was referring to and just went along with it anyway. Lunchtime came and she told me to come with her, so as a male, I followed an excited female. We met with this tall rather large guy figure. He turned around, smiled, and instantly recognized me as
"London Boys3" (my in-game name on Runescape). I stood for a moment in shock and fear as I had no idea who I had just met or what past I previously had with them whether it be good or bad, he then hastily introduced himself as "Kids Life." This was the guy that I had a huge argument with at Lauren's celebration party. At that moment I had a few mixed emotions, but almost instantly he started talking to me about how sick my account was and how he wanted to get to my level in certain skills, and that is how I met my best friend.
I found myself spending less and less time walking around in Runescape and more time devoting myself to improving my skills. Now Harry and I were friends, and we would spend hours online playing mini games, skilling, and exploring. Harry was strangely good at mini games and combat skills, whereas I was better at questing and skilling, so together we spent a lot of time helping each other and bettering each other's accounts. It wasn't long before we were on the telephone to each other talking rather than typing (this was a time where Skype was not as accessible for a 13-year-old and we both had limited funds as neither of us received pocket money). With my new friend showing me a whole new world of player killing and methods on how to earn more money to buy better equipment, this is really where my Runescape addiction began.