Through all that has happened in 2021, many of us found comfort by logging in to RuneScape and Old School RuneScape. The RuneScape Wiki community has been hard at work adding features and writing articles — the most that have ever been created in a single year. Read on to see what's new, what's changed, and how the community has come together in 2021.
Highlights and milestones
Sent out wiki merch
The wikis started off the year by thanking its community with custom printed shirts and masks. Later in the year, editors posed with their apparel for our first ever Merch Family Photo.
Created hundreds of scenery pages
Dozens of editors joined together to create articles on scenery objects on the Old School RuneScape Wiki. Many of these users were editing a wiki for the first time, and contributed to more than 600 new pages the wiki was previously missing.
Crowdsourced real-time Grand Exchange prices
In partnership with RuneLite, the Old School Wiki created a crowdsourced site for item prices based on real trades in the Grand Exchange. The data is shared in an API, which is used to show prices in articles, personal projects, and RuneLite itself.
Captured graphical update images
To document more of the history of the game, the Old School RuneScape Wiki began adding images for historical graphics used between 2005-2007. Be on the lookout for historical image galleries on pages for NPCs, items, and scenery.
Organised the Family Photo
In an annual tradition going back to 2009, members of all our wiki communities joined together for a photo of their in-game avatars. This year we had submissions from 120 players, our highest number yet!
Collaborated with Vis Wax FC
Implemented more advanced maps
The RuneScape Wiki gradually replaced still-image maps with advanced maps (here's an example), which are interactive and can include icons and links overlaid on the map.
Collected item respawn times
RuneLite users crowdsourced data for tens of thousands of spawns of both items and NPCs. Respawn times can now be found in the infobox at the top right of every page on the Old School RuneScape Wiki.
Hosted a tech meetup
In mid-October, a small group of admins met in Philadelphia to improve the wikis' technical infrastructure. The week was spent updating PHP scripts, migrating databases, eating cheesesteaks, and fixing CSS in preparation for the upcoming MediaWiki upgrade.
Upgraded the wikis' backend infrastructure
MediaWiki, the software that powers the RuneScape Wikis, ended support in September for the long-term support version we were using. After a busy week in Coventry, England, the sysadmins completed the migration to MediaWiki 1.36 to keep the wikis running on a stable architecture.
Added a feed of recent edits to the sidebar
The Old School RuneScape Wiki launched a new sidebar widget showing the latest editing activity on the site. Check it out on any page, or make an edit to see it featured on the sidebar in real time!
With over 1.3 billion pageviews in 2021, we may be the second-most visited wikis in the world. (The first is Wikipedia, although we won't be catching it anytime soon — it had more than 100 billion pageviews this year). About half our views came from the United States, with the wikis being visited by 241 different countries and territories in total, including a few new ones: Antarctica, Christmas Island, and Niue.The year started out with RuneScape's 20th anniversary events in both games drawing players back; throughout the spring and summer, various quests and expansions caused smaller bumps in views. The sharpest increase came in October, when Group Ironman Mode was released in Old School RuneScape. We've annotated some of the more notable surges in traffic on the graph below.
Though not visible on the graph, which covers all four wikis, a single day in September notably represented 8 percent of the RuneScape Classic Wiki's total pageviews for the year. This spike in interest was caused by a link to the dwarf multicannon page in an /r/2007scape post discussing a proposed cosmetic override for the Shattered Relics League.
The following is a more detailed per-wiki breakdown of pageviews, visitors, and other statistics. (The RuneScape Classic Wiki still gets a few hundred thousand visits each year, despite the game being defunct.)
- United States48%
- United Kingdom12%
- United States50%
- United Kingdom12%
- United States2%
- United Kingdom1%
- United States49%
- United Kingdom12%
Editing activity generally follows RuneScape and Old School RuneScape's update cycle in waves. Edits are not always proportional to player interest in content, as some updates add more items or NPCs into the game than others; Group Ironman Mode, which had the biggest impact on traffic (shown above), was merely average in terms of number of edits.
Other times, peaks in editing are due to new projects getting started, independent of any update. For example, the large spike in late August was caused by a single user uploading thousands of detailed item images and historical graphical update images to the Old School RuneScape Wiki.
The wiki's greatest strength has always been its editors, from regular contributors to anonymous users who fix typos. Whether it's adding an image, covering a new update, or helping write a guide, we owe our success to every player (which may include you!) who reads and edits the site.
In the second half of 2021, the Weird Gloop sysadmins were hard at work on a major upgrade to the wiki servers. Launching progressively between September and November, we moved our infrastructure from OVH to Google Cloud. This gave us increased reliability, greater flexibility, and faster load times for page views that hit the wiki servers.
Below, we've graphed the wikis' time to first byte (TTFB), which measures how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of page content from the server. TTFB is a good indicator of how responsive a site is — the lower, the better.
The wikis had an average TTFB of 270 milliseconds over the past year. For comparison, that's 20 percent faster than Wikipedia, which averaged 340 milliseconds. When combined with improvements to our CDN, these changes cut the average page load time nearly in half!
As part of this infrastructure upgrade, we also upgraded our version of MediaWiki, which is the main software used to operate the wikis. Moving to MediaWiki 1.36 was (hopefully) barely noticed by most readers, but behind the scenes it's a huge deal: it makes the wikis faster, more secure, and use less resources — and also unblocks some cool features like user renames. These upgrades helped keep us competitive with better-funded projects in pushing MediaWiki to its limits.
Test your knowledge
The wikis have no shortage of interesting facts, with dedicated trivia sections on over 15,000 pages. Think you know your stuff? Give our quizzes a go and see how you well you know the game! If you want to try more than one category, you'll get the chance to pick again after you finish your current quiz.
2021 was a year full of unique trials — we're looking forward to covering new game content coming in 2022. Whether it's Het's Oasis, the Shattered Relics League, or the Trade Octagon minigame, we hope you'll check out the wikis as you play and help your fellow gamers document every rat in RuneScape.
If you want to get involved with the wikis, there's always work to do and new projects are being started all the time. If you haven't edited before and aren't sure where to start, join our Discord or tweet us, @RSWiki and @OSRS_Wiki.
— From everyone at the RuneScape Wikis
3 January 2022