Runescape players are emptying their in-game bank accounts of billions of gold to save their economy and help charities

Runescape Jagex

Something is afoot in the world of Gielinor. For every 1 million gold coins players throw into the Well of Goodwill Jagex are donating $1 to charity. That may sound stingy but players are giving away billions of their in-game gold. More than 135 billion so far, to be more exact.

It’s still early days for the Well of Goodwill but Jagex are already bound to donate more than $135,000 and that amount is growing rapidly.

It’s not only for the benefit of others players are giving away their gold, it’s part of scheme Jagex have to fix the game’s economy.

Runescape’s more than a decade old. Since its release players have been amassing gold. Far too much of it, in fact. There are few items that will empty long term players’ wallets. This creates something of a balance problem. There’s a vast gap between the spending power of new and old players. Catering to the budget of either excludes the other: make items cheaper for new players and older players can buy them all up without the consequences of a financial hit, sucking the purchases of value; make items expensive and new players are turned off by the steep climb to buy advanced kit – such an economy also encourages gold farming, as new players seek alternative means of getting cash quickly.

Jagex’s solution is to try and drain the game of excess cash. They’ve done this in two ways, releasing bonds, an expensive item that can be converted into game subscription time. This encourages players with lots of in-game gold to spend it on their subscription instead of using real world money. The cost of the bonds will cause a hit to anyone’s in-game balance and to keep up with the regular spend of buying them they’ll need to spend time playing the game earning more money (stimulating the game’s economy).

The other method is much more unusual and shows Jagex’s commitment to stimulating the game’s economy. They’re essentially paying for players to give it away. This donation drive encourages players to give up their funds willingly for no personal reward. In return for players willingly draining their in-game bank accounts Jagex are giving money to charity from their own real world coffers. It could end up costing the developer hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here’s the list of charities benefitting from this donation drive.