Here There Be Dragons: My Afternoon at Jagex Studios

by JoHarrington

On April 27th 2012, I was invited to look behind the scenes in Player Support at the company responsible for Runescape.

Based in Cambridge, England, Jagex is one of the world's premier MMORPG gaming companies.

In the heart of Jagex Studios, developers are busy creating Transformers Universe, FunOrb, 8Realms, Herotopia, War of Legends and much more. But their most famous output is, of course, Runescape.

It's a game which I've played for years. Some of my best friends are on there; and the hiscores rank my achievements. In April 2012, I was invited to see behind the scenes.

Part One: In Which We Learn Why I Was Invited to Tour Jagex Studios

I should think that just about everyone by now knows that I have a Master's in History. What they may have missed is the Philosophy degree hiding in the background. It's perhaps this, more than anything, that affects my outlook on life.

I'm not content with what is, but why it is and how it got to be that way. I want to glimpse the societal and cultural reasons behind everything; and what strange mixture of organization, psychology and reasoning makes a success or failure out of all that's placed before us. I get side-tracked into how stuff works.

This imperative comes out in tracing the historical reasons for where we are now. It undoubtedly explains my propensity to mess around with bits of code.  It really comes to the fore when I'm fighting alongside fellow Amnesty International activists, investigating the world's most dodgy regimes.

But such a mindset cannot be switched off during leisure time. It dives into wanting to know precisely why Syd Barrett or the Manic Street Preachers wrote that lyric. And it peers most keenly into the workings behind my favorite game of all - Runescape.

I see great sociological tides of meaning in the ebb and flow of what's popular in-game. I watch communities form with such passion, or merely as an outlet for shared interest. I've been witness to the good and the bad, the astounding and the mundane. There have been times when I'm so proud to be a player, or a member of my clan Canting, or a blogger on Sal's Realm of Runescape. There have been times when I've face-palmed with incredulity too.

Throughout it all my mind and vision have shifted constantly towards the company behind it - Jagex.   I'm not really bothered by how the game is made.  That's just creative people doing stuff with pixels. No great mysteries there. But that isn't all that Jagex is, nor what the player community expects.

Things have to be at work in the background to allow such dramas (and everyday bits of gaming) to play out in the foreground. What's the use of flooding the forums with messages, if no-one's reading at the other end?  Why would there be so much member content, if there was no way of paying our subscriptions?  We have all of those report options, so what happens when they go through to the other side?

I've been both a player and a clan leader long enough to know that things occasionally require assistance.  Hi-jacked accounts, or computer specs failing; stalled payments, or bugs threatening to unbalance the game; questions of copyright and theft; or the worst of all, the menace of the younger sibling leaping into a temporarily vacated seat to level up your pure. Some department concealed in the heart of Jagex had to be dealing with it all; and my fascination with them has spilled out into dozens of blogs and articles over the years.

Eventually that got noticed and it was in this capacity that I had been invited to tour Jagex by Mod Murray.

At any other time, I'd have been bouncing off the wall with excitement at that, but the Squeal of Fortune protests had complicated matters. I was interested to know how Jagex had our backs in Player Support, but the pressure was also on. Was there a hidden agenda here?  Many people seemed to think so.  

As I drove through the outskirts of Cambridge, the over-riding feeling was nerves.  A lot of people expected a lot of things from me and I wanted to do right by them all.  I sat at traffic lights and searched my soul.  Something another player (and friend) had said stuck with me then. Teacuptime advised that above all I should be going for myself.  What did I want out of this trip?

Stripping away all of the baggage, I realized that I wanted just one thing, deep down, fundamental to it all. I wanted the knowledge and the tools to keep my clan safe. They can do what they like in front of Nex and the assembled psychopaths PKers of the Wilderness. But real life was different. I wanted a safe, happy, carefree game for everyone.  So I took my deep breaths and turned left when the lights changed.

Image: Jagex Studios in Cambridge.
Image: Jagex Studios in Cambridge.

Entering the Hidden Depths of Runescape...

Part Two: In Which It All Seems Rather Daunting

The Cambridge Science Park is vast.  If I hadn't had the number of the building, I doubt I'd have ever found Jagex Studios. You can drive for miles weaving in and out of Britain's answer to Silicon Valley.

But there it was, a huge, three-storey building with a tank parked outside. I looked long and hard at that tank, as I had my last cigarette outside.  It felt symbolic.

The demographic of Runescape players is very broad and I'd had far more private advice than public. Lawyers and activists had instructed me on what I should and should not sign. Extremely eloquent people had prompted me on what I should be saying. Passionate, upset and angry players had filled my inbox with the pleas of the utterly desperate.

I stood outside feeling inadequate to meet it all. My mind ran through the litany of other players, who could possibly do so much better in my place.  I wished I had the leadership qualities of Gri3f; or the political sharpness of Teacuptime; or the business acumen of Fred Gwyar; or the out-going sociable nature of Tabt. Instead I had the Adagio from Spartacus in my head and I was staring at a military style tank.

Image: Armored vehicle outside Jagex Studios
Image: Armored vehicle outside Jagex ...

Moreover I was really, really desperate for a toilet.

I walked into the building to be met in reception by Mod Poppy. As she waved the NDA in the air, I hugged her and demanded the bathroom. She laughed at me and directed me to the most amazing sets of doors.

It was like entering Wonderland!  A Tardis, 10 Downing Street, a 99 door, a gnome sized lift.  I was completely charmed, but still needed the loo. I dashed through the red door with the gold star and blessed relief occurred shortly afterwards.

Now I could take on the forces of darkness, and their orc hordes of lawyers. I had Amnesty International's number in my 'phone. Bring it on!

Image: Mod Poppy and a row of doors inside Jagex Studios.
Image: Mod Poppy and a row of doors inside Jagex Studios.
Image:  The opposite row of doors inside Jagex Studios.
Image: The opposite row of doors inside Jagex Studios.

Part Three: In Which We Drink Tea, Sign Papers and Exchange Views

The reality turned out to be a table laden with cups of tea and cake, in a really chilled out central courtyard.  Natural daylight, settees and a feeling of relaxation permeated all.  

While Poppy poured the brew, I read through the NDA. It was nowhere near as intricate as I'd been primed to expect. I'd arrived prepared for the Abergavenny Massacre. I'd ended up with hippy Heaven.  I read, re-read and triple read the NDA, then did it all again.

In the meantime, Poppy made it clear that she'd read all of the public furor over me being there. She addressed one public adviser's points one by one, showing me where they were going to hang me and explaining how the dungeon under the offices was even now being prepared to torture me.

It all seemed above board.  I signed.

Mod Stevew and Mod Murray had arrived. The former gained custody of my questions from various players, who had submitted them on the fan-site, Sal's Realm of Runescape.  Mod Murray was co-opted by Poppy into having his picture taken with me for Twitter.  

Image: Mod Murray and I at Jagex Studios.
Image: Mod Murray and I at Jagex Studios.

The four of us chatted about the reason for me being there. For my part, there were two reasons: I was asked; and this was the big moment to follow up Trevorghost's visit to Insight Venture Partners with my own to Jagex. Squeal of Fortune was certainly covered, at length, as the first of my afternoon long stuck record approach to covering it.

For Mod Murray's part, it was to show me precisely what happens in Player Support. Apparently I'm the first person ever to be asked to see his department. I understood the honor AND the responsibility.

This is where a lot of sensitive information sits. I'm not talking about game-play per se here. That's the fun stuff which, if we're really honest in our heart of hearts, isn't going to save the world.  What Player Support does could well do that.

Imagine a city, any city, and the mix of people that you get in there.  The majority will be fine decent folk, for whom something occasionally goes wrong.  They will have to call in the police, social services or the engineers to fix it.  In terms of Jagex, this is Player Support.

All ages, all races, all creeds and colors, male, female, child, adult, pensioner, the extrovert and the introvert, they all have their places in Runescape. Cultures clash and perspectives don't always correlate.  What's fine and even encouraged by one person might be a dreadful sin to another.  Where should the lines be drawn in the sand?  What call is the right one, when peace is to be maintained?  What's appropriate in both behaviour and response to that behaviour?

It's an international game. The sheer breadth of languages is awe-inspiring.  Is that player being bullied in Chinese?  Is that person being propositioned in Welsh?  What did that individual just threaten in Swahili? And what if something did go badly wrong in real life, which had its genesis in the social networking of Runescape?  Player support has to always be ahead of that game, in whatever form, words or language that it takes.

But learning about this was all in the future. For now I was sitting listening to Mod Murray introduce what his department was all about.  It touched on my passion for keeping the younger members of my clan (and every other person playing Runescape) safe in their game.  Here, if not for Squeal of Fortune, we could most fervently be singing from the same hymn-book.  

Incidentally, it wasn't the billions of blogs I've written as Merch Gwyar on player safety which got me through that front door.  It was a single article on Wizzley.

As the conversation went on, I realized something. Everything that I and the rest of Canting do to protect our clan is precisely what Mod Murray and his team do to protect players. Only the scale changes. Scenarios were ventured. I empathized. I may have encountered it, or something similar, with one player sometime in our clan's history.  Mod Murray deals with it every day with millions of players.

Tough calls and dilemmas. Do I give that clan member a warning?  Does he mute someone?  Do I kick that person from the clan?  Does he permanently ban someone from the game? Do I report to Jagex?  Does he escalate it to the police?  This is where we were; and where thousands of players and Jagex moderators are every minute of the game.  It made me appreciate on a personal level what his team does.

However, before rushing in to find out about that in great detail, we had a lunch appointment.  Mod Emma F arrived, followed by Mod Mat_P.  Then I turned around and stared Prof Brian Cox in the face. Mod Stevew and Mod Murray said their goodbyes for now and... wait a minute!  A double-take and a closer look later, it turned out that I was looking at Mod Daniel_C.  

At least I think it was.  Everyone called him Dan and he didn't mention Physics once, even with the temptation of lots of condiments on the table.  But he was the twin of Brian Cox. I swear it!

None of these star Mod Daniel_C...

Part Four: In Which We Eat a Meal and I Do Something Silly

We drove in two taxis to Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant in Cambridge city center.  There was a short pause to take photographs of the place over the road, where Syd Barrett played his last gig, and for me to have a cigarette.  

(I thought we were waiting outside for Mod Poppy and Mod Mat_P.  It turned out they were just waiting for me to stop Syd fan-girling and finish said cigarette.)  

The food in there was to die for!  Mod Poppy, who is also a vegetarian, had already tipped me off on the best food on the menu.  I looked through, but landed back on her recommendation - honeycomb cannelloni in spinach and risotto, with funky chips.

I was so full by the finish that I passed over amazing sounding desserts to select apple sorbet instead. It was so juicy.  It tasted more like apple than an actual apple.  Gorgeous food!

The journey back in the taxi seemed to go on forever.  It was my own fault. I get car-sick in the backseat, but this was a huge taxi, more like a mini-bus.  My options were go in the front with the driver (which Mod Daniel_C suggested) or sit in the back with four J Mods and chat with them. I went in the back.

I hadn't been feeling 100% all day, but about two thirds into that journey, I thought I was going to throw up.

I fixed my sights on Mod Poppy's purple handbag opposite and tried to shut out reality.  Talk about losing decorum.  I must have looked like crap, because it was worrying Mod Daniel_C.  Soon as we were back, he was offering water, but I was fine now we weren't moving.

The food I ate...

... the fan-girling I did.

The stories told about the making of The Madcap Laughs are nearly as legendary as the album itself. Here I go through it track by track.
The Madcap Laughs was almost finished, when two of Syd's former band-members took over production. The direction instantly changed.
Syd Barrett was the founder of Pink Floyd. He famously lost his mind then retreated to his home city of Cambridge. I found some of his haunts.

Part Five: In Which I Tour Player Support at Jagex Studios

Back at the studios, it was time for the tour to begin in earnest.  The first stop was Mod Daniel_C's desk.  His job is to look at the most serious reports, in order to decide whether any action needs to be taken. He's not bothered about people calling each other noobs here.  The things that he's monitoring are potentially much more serious.

High on a windowsill beside him were a row of framed certificates. I recognized the names on many of them. They were internet safety organizations and those professionals were thankful for the job that Daniel does. Frankly, I think that we should be too.

I met many people in Player Support that day, whom I'd consider to have a touch of heroism about them. (And several others who are making our lives easier, facilitating the infrastructure or merely doing their jobs, so that we can play.  That's admirable, but not heroic.)  Shining amongst them all was Mod Daniel_C.  The calls that he makes are extremely rare and even then often don't amount to much.  I saw examples that made me want to hug him on behalf of us all.

He typed my name onto his database to show what had become of the reports that I'd submitted over the years.  I know that I, like many players, think that these sometimes shoot off into the ether never to be looked at again.  If ever.  I can confirm that they are.  Dating right back to my earliest, most noobish days, I saw the end result.

I was also extremely proud that in every instance you could see my conversation in game. I was always explaining why such and such should stop being racist, homophobic or whatever else I was reporting them for. Yay for me!

The J Mods around me very much encouraged such things. Flaming is out, but community action deals with things on the spot.  Player support is huge; but the player base is bigger.

As I'm always waffling on and on about in Canting - silence means approval.  If someone is bullying another player or acting inappropriately, then a quiet word makes the whole environment a better place for us all.  

I was very proud of my clan too, because so many of those reports showed Canting members alongside me going, "Not cool, dude. You don't pick on someone for the color of their skin" and the such. I must have been grinning like an idiot, as I pointed out names and gushed about how much that clan-member helped in such and such a situation. Angels of the pixel streets and all.

But even so, when it's gone beyond what any of us could safely deal with, it gets passed upwards; and worst case scenarios get landed on Dan.  Absolutely none of them in the last month. The certificates above his head told me that Runescape genuinely is one of the better moderated games out there.  At least as regards real life.  I'm still not over Nomad.

Poor Mod Mat_P and Mod Benw didn't fare so well with me.  They look after copyright and so most of our conversation centered around private servers. Naturally, they have an internet brand to protect, while my ethic is with Stephen Levy.  

It was explained to me that some private servers are scams, designed solely with phishing or money-making in mind. When I heard about the scamming side, I was happy for Mod Mat_P to go after those.

In truth, this one was a tricky area for me. I know that a lot of my friends are vehemently opposed to private servers. I've mostly never seen the point in them, so not really considered the specific issues. It's only in retrospect, driving home picking over all that Mod Mat_P said, that I found a parallel.

Instead of waffling on about it here, I'll just link you to where I waffled about it elsewhere.

For now, let's stay with the visit. I actually quite enjoyed the debate on cyber-ethics with Mod Mat_P. I'd love to meet up with him again sometime and continue it. (Just don't tell him that he was freaking winning. I think I was doing quite well at the time!)

I was also shown another big dodgy activity in this section, which is very well tracked.  I can't go into detail here, other than to recommend that you never, ever buy an account from a stranger. The chances are that you won't get to keep it and you'll lose a lot of money in the process.  Then who are you going to go crying to?  Mod Benw convinced me on that one.

From there it was over to the people handling hi-jacked accounts. In the run up to this, I'd talked about two friends and an acquaintance for whom this had happened. To make it more personal, I got to see what had happened there.

Mod Gunner led on this one.  She's really lovely.  A true geek after my own heart and the Trinity of Player Support.  She's paid by Jagex to do what I pursue for fun and vengeance, whenever anyone picks on one of mine. I'd love her job!  She's also got a lot more tools to play with.  I was practically dribbling staring at her screens.

All of the tour was fascinating, but I could have stayed at Mod Gunner's desk forever.  It was amazing to follow through the results, when I'd engaged the hackers at the time.  

In one case, my own investigations mirrored hers.  In another, mine had hit a cloud.  (At the time, I'd whined so much about losing them, that my friend and fellow player Audioworm had wryly exclaimed, "How dare the hackers be good at what they do!")  Mod Gunner didn't end in the mire. She GOT them!  I happy danced.

We also looked at the amount of times people have attempted to hack my account over the years. There weren't nearly as many as unsuccessfully try to hack my Merch Gwyar blog. I once met the owner of the fan-site which hosts it.  Salmoneus said that my profile there is one of the most cyber-attacked.  (Wannabe bloggers presumably.)  Only about half a dozen have attempted to get my actual Runescape account. Bless them for trying.

They didn't get in for one very good reason - I've always taken advantage of the security provision offered by Jagex. My bank has had a PIN from the beginning.  My security questions have been set. I registered my e-mail when that came out.  My password pwns.  

Looking at those half a dozen attempts, I was really glad of that. They weren't all the same day either. They spanned years.

I asked what was the most important barrier and Mod Murray stated it was the e-mail registration.  People think that's for marketing spam, it's not really.  I get about one e-mail a month from Jagex (as opposed to the several phishing attempts a week from opportunist idiots). But I saw great ways in which registering your e-mail can protect your account. Worst case scenario, it also helps get it back again.

It would help them greatly, if folk were honest about how their accounts got taken over.  One player telling them, 'I'm really sorry, I downloaded x, y or z' could save 1000 more accounts suffering the same Fate.

A friend with a previously hi-jacked account had asked me to hug Mod Carlos and Mod Monty in this department.  Neither were at work that day, so I left the hugging mission with Mod Gunner. I should also mention that another J Mod was with us at this point. Unfortunately, I didn't catch his name.  

Afterwards I met Mod Lucas P who goes after phishing sites.  I LOVED his technology! Every time that anyone reports a phishing site or e-mail, it goes into this database.  Then the war begins. Keep on feeding them information, boys and girls, this is geek versus organized crime - true Mafia Games!

 (Yes, I did geek out in this aisle.  It was all human rights when I walked in; then cyber-ethics up the corner.  Now we were into the doxing and coding, which always makes me pay attention.  I should live in Player Support, all of the boxes get ticked.) 

Lucas had three screens in front of him. They looked identical. He flicked through them, challenging me to spot the phishing sites.  I passed with flying colors. Phew!  I even coped well when he chucked the real site in to trick me. Go Team Canting!

In the next aisle were Mod Mozza and Mod Ollie. They fix computers, hence you'll find them rocking out Tech Support on the forums.  As enthused as they were about their work, they saved their greatest praise for the player community, which has built up in their part of the forum.

There are geeks in there, who spend more time volunteering to get other players in game than they do logging into it themselves!  Mozza and Ollie showed me how these players hang out in the forum, with the same sort of pride with which I talk about my clan.

There were systems which Jagex categorically does not support (except when they do).  The player volunteers have no such restrictions.  For them it's pretty much a challenge, hence a whole Wiki getting Linux users playing Runescape.  

I was shown a work in progress, which will help non-computer savvy people put all of this advice into action. It's a series of videos, which will act as 'how to' guides in fixing the most common computer issues.  The early scenes that I saw looked promising. I think they'll be a great help.

Audioworm would have died happy in that section, but my heart was still over with Gunner and Lucas. I'm more a code girl than a hardware one, but it was all very interesting.

Not doing quite so well with me was the next mod, poor Mod Crisp. This is the department I once battled for months over a Paypal issue, which eventually saw victory for me.  The poor man had to sit through that story; and looked quite relieved when he realized that I was talking 2008.  

He countered by telling me how that wouldn't happen these days.  Lessons did get learned and continue to do so. He took the exact scenario in which I'd been immersed and showed how it would have been dealt with today.  I cheered! It wouldn't have been nearly so ugly; if at all.  We'd have had it sorted out in hours, instead of months, and all the world would have been happy.

Issues aired and cleared, I finally let him tell me what he wanted to tell me. This was impressive. I didn't realize the whole range of ways in which people pay for their membership.  Most go for the biggies, but there's a PaybyCash option which digs into dozens of routes.  

His team has to be proficient in them all; in a variety of languages; in a vast range of currency.  There are also tiers of payment. Another JMod had stupidly gone on holiday for a week.  There was a massive e-mail awaiting his return.  It just brought him up to date on all of the adjustments in all of these payment methods all over the world.

In short, they have to process a lot of information on an on-going basis, every day, then unlearn it and learn something else, all of the Guthix-damned time!  

I hadn't quite appreciated what a big job this was before.  It's way too tempting to just think of Billing Support as the money-grabbing arm of a business.  The look of complete intensity on his team's faces showed me that it was much bigger than that. This is probably one of the more complex areas of Player Support and far more interesting than I thought it would be.

Finally I was back with Mod Murray, looking at the motivation tips and the Board of Awesomeness.  We complain a lot, us players, and Player Support bears the brunt of that.  This board has print-outs of the compliments for when they need to keep morale up. There were fair comments there too.

I got to do something quite cool while in the department.  The people in Player Support have been working on their new forum section.  They had a thread of introductions ready to go.  I got to be the one to press the button which made that live.  Here it is: Meet the Customer Support Team.

Image: Mod Murray and Mod Emma F in the Jagex canteen.
Image: Mod Murray and Mod Emma F in the Jagex canteen.

Mod Murray, Mod Emma F and I retired to the Jagex canteen for final questions over a nice cup of tea.  I asked so much and learned so much over the course of the past couple of hours, that there was little more to add.  I'd have only been repeating myself, if I'd said any more.  

I could genuinely tell them that I'd been impressed by a lot of what I'd seen.  Even those to whom I gave a hard time, I could appreciate their jobs.  Debates and discussions had been had, while I grappled with certain issues and articulated others. Meanwhile, Mod Crisp had to build some bridges, but it turned out that his citadel wasn't so bad after all.

I was really glad that I had the opportunity to see it all.  I wish more players could go, as it would demystify some areas and be very eye-opening in others. I left feeling more secure than I ever have before and convinced that Runescape is fundamentally a very well supported game because of their efforts.

Mod Murray also gave me a couple of mugs to give to my boys; then went and fetched one for me too.  I said my goodbyes to them.

Image: Jagex Studios canteen.
Image: Jagex Studios canteen.

Part Six: In Which Mod Poppy Shows Me the Rest of Jagex Studios

Mod Poppy came back for a final debriefing. She was supposed to be off home, but decided that it was a shame that I hadn't seen the rest of the building.  The day shift were leaving, while the night shift were coming on, but Poppy led me through the offices and studios to see what we could see.

We found the audio crew totally rebuilding their studio.  Poppy pointed out that it was home-time, but they all shrugged those details off.  

It was very obvious that Jagex mods aren't great at going home. I've worked in some dodgy places in my time and I know what a bad atmosphere feels like.  Jagex was the polar opposite of that.  At least five people were volunteering to do their jobs in their own time!

Poppy and I then ninja-ed into the executive board-room.  I sat on a chair and posed for a picture, while telling off the rest of the room for micro-transactions.  It was symbolic of the day. There was no-one in a position to change anything who could hear me.

Image:  Me in the Jagex Boardroom.
Image: Me in the Jagex Boardroom.

Intriguing snippets of game-play showed up on various content team screens.  It was at this point that we surprised Paul Gower.  I'd earlier told Poppy that I thought Paul and Ian Gower had both left.  She'd assured me that they hadn't and here now was the proof.  

Poor Paul looked totally baffled at having to be pictured with a random hippy in his office.  I'm still kicking myself over not mentioning Squeal of Fortune here.  This was THE moment, wasn't it?  *sigh*  Grrrr!

We also found Mrs Slayer and Lucifer (at least I think he said his name was Lucifer - a maxed player, who started working for Jagex) doing tests on some future content.  I did get a good look at it, but no spoilers here!  It did own though.  I won't be complaining about that one.

Upstairs, Runescape videomaker duo Runeshark were just packing up, as they had a train to catch.  I did offer a lift, as they were heading west, but I don't think they heard me.  Mod Poppy took our photograph together.  

ModStevew was here too and he returned the Q&A for Sal's Realm of Runescape. I sat at Mod Poppy's desk and watched the Easter Challenge video - Mod Sabre in a bunny suit all day!  It made me smile.  (Incidentally, Mod Poppy's headphones are pink and get stuck in dreadlocks.  Just saying.)

Image:  Me and Paul Gower
Image: Me and Paul Gower
Image: Community Support in Jagex Studios.
Image: Community Support in Jagex Studios.
Image: Me and Runeshark.
Image: Me and Runeshark.

Part Seven: And the Seventh Brings Return

Finally it was time to go.  I received a couple of t-shirts and a Poison Arrow tankard to add to my mug hoard.  

Just an aside here: The tankard was in polystyrene taped around with the legend 'fragile'. When I got home and opened it up, it turned out that it was cracked right through. When Poppy found out about this, she put another one in the post to me. She really didn't have to do that, but it was shrugged off as all part of the service.

Poppy and her friend walked me to my car, helping me carry all of this stuff.  I'd been there an hour longer than I should have been!  Bless Poppy for staying over to show me around. As we walked back to the car, my mother 'phoned just to check that I hadn't been killed.

That must have tipped Poppy off to the fact that she'd forgotten to torture me in that dungeon, but it was too late now, I'd left the building. It was a long, long journey home thereon.  

I had an amazing time at Jagex Studios and I was in totally the right department for my interests.  I know it sounds bizarre, considering that I'm a gamer and I've hung around Runescape since December 23rd 2006, at midnight exactly (Mod Daniel_C looked it up for me, thus proving a lie of my oft-held assertion that I started playing on Christmas Eve.  Close enough!).

You'd have thought that the content departments was where it's at.  But I'm a human rights activist and a member of Amnesty since I was twelve.  I'm fascinated by cyber-ethics. I'm forever going to war with hi-jackers and phishers. Moreover, I'm passionate about player safety, always have been and always will be. The game-play is practically incidental.  I was in the right department.

Thank you Mod Murray for giving me this unique opportunity to see what you all do down there. I'm glad that I saw it and I'll give praise where praise is due.  Your department does a lot for us, unseen and unnoticed, but I'm grateful that you're all there to do it.

Runeshark Interviews ModStevew

While this was going on, I was elsewhere in the building on my own tour. I'll leave you in their safe hands.

A final note on photographs

For obvious reasons, I wasn't able to take a great deal of them. But what I do have can be found here.  The Jagex ones are only the first two rows. After that you're in the realms of Syd Barrett fan-girling.

Updated: 03/19/2014, JoHarrington
 
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JoHarrington on 11/14/2013

I love that you found Runescape, when you were looking for Gettysburg! The dark humour of a RS player is unbounded.

It was a very good day, and all down to Wizzley!

cmoneyspinner on 11/14/2013

So! What happened was ... I was looking an article you did on Gettysburg and ... (???) ... I ended up here! My goodness girlfriend! You be hanging out with the elite!! I don't have a clue about this Runescape stuff, but I'm still impressed! :)

JoHarrington on 12/13/2012

It was a pretty cool place to visit; and the offices were superior to anywhere that I've worked by far.

Good luck in your future work.

Dennis on 12/12/2012

Wow that is really cool the inside of that place is unreal!!! Makes me think of the lame place I work at. Working for jagex must be amazing! I wish I got my degree in video game design/development.

JoHarrington on 05/23/2012

I'm sorry, I don't recall so and I didn't know to ask. :(

Mod Poppy took me around the building, so it's possible that I did see things generally. However, I don't play FunOrb, so I wouldn't have recognized it.

Nin on 05/23/2012

Did you see any indication that anything was being done with funorb at all?

JoHarrington on 05/10/2012

You are really making me blush, Spirit of RS. Thank you.

The tour certainly opened my eyes to a lot of the little (and large) things which happen in the background, which have nothing to do with game content. Like I said in the article, I wish more players could see it.

Praise there doesn't have to negate criticism over SoF. They are separate issues/areas.

Mod Poppy was quite lovely. :) I'm sure that you'll get to meet her in some capacity eventually. She's often at the unofficial Runefest meet ups.

I was generally surprised to learn that Paul and Ian are still there. I'm sure that I'd heard they'd left.

Spirit_0f_RS on 05/10/2012

Jo, you have taken us all on a fantastic voyage into Jagex. There is so much that the average player doesn't know about Jagex, and the incredible effort that they put forth to support the RuneScape Community. I am impressed, and I almost feel bad for some of the things that I have said in regards to Jagex's current lack of attention in regards to the SoF and our feedback.

Having said that, I must in all fairness, thank Jagex for inviting you on tour to see their fine 'castle'. Though it was a 'negative' issue that had lead me to the news that you were visiting Jagex, which in turn lead me to your articles, I feel that it was well worth my time to open my mind to new things.

Thank you too Jo, for sharing with us your adventure, and the knowledge and experiences that you have gained from it. I can honestly say, I am a bit jealous too....You got to meet Mod Poppy in person!!!!! (end gush)

One shocking moment for me, was learning that the Gower's are still at Jagex. This adds some confusion for me, and I am sure this will be news to so many fans of RuneScape, that had come to believe that they were gone.

Most would praise you by saying "well written and articulated". I am no writer so I will not attempt to give you that kind of praise. Instead, you have helped fill in a lot of blanks where my imagination had made up things about Jagex. For that, I thank you for improving my vision and clarity, with your outstanding article.

Thanks Jo =)

JoHarrington on 05/10/2012

The biggest bottle of JD that I ever saw!

Fred Gwyar on 05/10/2012

btw, community support pic...I see beers and Jack Daniel's...O.O I guess that's a good way to keep Jagex employees at work lol

ty for pic


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