This is IMHO a very important point. I don’t normally tell people this – I’m quite happy for them to go around misunderstanding RS, Club Penguin, HH, et al and screwing up instead of providing credible competition for me :). But since the new CEO has just said it:
“RuneScape is different from all other MMOs in that the free game has an epic amount of content (we’d estimate over 2,000 hours worth to get all your skills up to 99 and complete all the quests) and isn’t merely a demo for the members’ version. If anything, we see the members’ version as an expansion pack for those that really love the game”
If you’re citing Runescape *anywhere* in your design, development, funding, or revenue models (or even in your secret dreams of success), you’d do well not to miss this distinction of what the RS free version is. Remember this: it was designed and built as a free game, not as freemium game. The subscriptions were never part of the plan, and the extra content for them was added on as an afterthought. If you want to go head to head with RS with your own “free” content, that’s a high bar you have to hit.
Speaking of the new CEO, Nicholas Lovell has some thoughts on what happens when you have a CTO and and a CTO run an MMO company together.