Medieval multiplayer game isn't for all kids.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Overall, this is a supportive community whose passion for the game can verge on the fanatical. The site makes a real effort to ban abusive behavior and to encourage families to play together.


The game involves combat between monsters and other players.

Not applicable

Occasional mild swearing could come up on the forums, but mostly this passionate community is interested in playing and discussing the game, not trash talking. Swearing during gameplay is bleeped out by a filter. Offenders are banned.


There are ads on the site, but its main support comes through subscriptions -- although you can play for free. An online store sells RuneScape T-shirts, but the link is not prominently displayed.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Ale, stout, wine...but drinking does affect your combat skills.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that RuneScape discussion forums can be read by anyone, but only paying members can post messages. Some of the topics contain barely disguised vulgarities and sexual references, though there are moderators who keep an eye on things and who can ban users who get too out of line. Under the terms and conditions agreed to at sign-up, players must use the chat feature only as an extension of their role-playing activities. The terms and conditions document warns against inappropriate behavior, and extensive instructions are given to help the user block unwanted communications using the built-in game functions. Combat and dueling is an important part of the game; however, according to passionate discussions in the forum, there is a lot of cold-blooded murder going on, too.

What's it about?

Before you enter RuneScape's virtual world, you'll have to be trained on Tutorial Island, where you learn a few essential skills such as fire making, fishing, cooking, mining, slaying monsters, and throwing spells. Once you've completed the tutorial phase, you're free to wander anywhere you like. You may be sent on a quest to find ingredients for a cake, or you may be asked to go on a spy mission. Successful completion of a quest brings a reward. Two versions of RuneScape are offered: one is free, while the other requires a paid subscription of a few dollars per month. Paid members get access to additional lands, skills, and quests. In the game, avatars represent players. You choose your avatar's appearance from a limited selection. As you watch the movements of other players' avatars, you'll notice many have rich clothing or heavy armor. Items can be won, bought, or traded with other players.

Is it any good?


Teens and tweens, especially boys, will be fascinated by this role-playing game. But parents should look over their shoulders and see what's really going on. Is the player slaying dragons or other humans? It is possible to play this fascinating game without the murder and mayhem, so RuneScape gets a cautionary yellow for "know your kid."

Online interaction: There's lots of online interaction in this immensely popular, global massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Swearing is discouraged, if not outright forbidden. The interactions can be impassioned -- borne of a love of the game -- but aren't mean-spirited.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the pros and cons of this game. What do you learn that may be valuable in the real world? How do you feel about the violent aspects of the game?

  • Families can also talk about online chat. Should parents give kids under age 13 permission to use the site's full chat features? Why or why not?

Website details

Pricing structure:Free

This review of RuneScape was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byshushubaby April 9, 2008

And 5th graders parents let them play Grand Theft...

And complain about Runescape!!! I am a 45 yr mother and have let my daughter play (free) Runescape for 4 years now....she's turning 13 in September. I have no problem with that game. She know's it's just a game (not to mention it's all midieval) It's not like she's going out and jacking cars and killing cops......put it in perspective. Some kids play Grand Theft and think it's ok to go out and do it in real life......Kids playing Ruinscape are more likely to be cutting down trees or doing quests..
Adult Written bytrajan38 February 14, 2012

Good game even for most children

I have played Runescape for a while, so I've seen the game develop alot. In fact, one of the biggest pluses i give this game is the constant updates. Ratings wise I put this game as for ages 13 and up solely because the game requires it, i personally think it would be fine for younger kids (I've been playing since age 10). The game does include alcohol, but your character is not able to get drunk and though there are a few NPC's who are drunk I dont think it is an issue, they behave in a very inoffensive way, just staggering around. The game has no problems with sexual content, and though i have seen one review on this site that complains about partial nudity i don't know what they are talking about. Language should generally not be an issue, as there is a filter you can turn on that will replace any offensive words with stars. Some players used to try and find a way around this but this is usually not an issue as they will now just have their filter off so they can swear (you still will just see stars if your filter is on). The majority of players who play this game are pretty nice and will be helpful and friendly, though as with anything in life you will meet a few jerks. My advice is to just put them on the handy ignore list or report them if they are being really offensive. Security should not be an issue as giving out personal info is against the rules, just make sure younger children are aware of that as people still do it unfortunately. This game is not very educational, however its massive and diverse player driven economy means that you can learn some basic economics, and even get a taste of the stock exchange through using the Grand Exchange in the game well. It is actually a good way to make money, though as with all investing there is risk involved if the prices fall instead of rising as you expected. I agree with a couple of the other reviews that some parts of this game may be a little complex for younger children, and they may need help understanding how to finish certain quests and tasks, though again this is generally not a problem. As to violence the violence in Runescape is nothing, especially compared to T or M rated video games, and even some E10 ones I've seen. Overrall, i enjoy playing Runescape and see it as a very child friendly game. I would recommend that you make sure all homework gets done, as some people find the game fairly addicting. Hope this was decent its actually my first review :].
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bykdakj2 January 7, 2012

Runescape sucks because of the scammers in it.

Too many scammers. If you want to play the game, play only with the people you know and don't socialize. I've only gotten scammed whenever I socialized.


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