The Wilderness Swarm was an army of mindless drones, which wondered the Wilderness attacking and destroying anything it came across. They resembled players in appearance, but could not be spoken to or examined like NPCs.
It is impossible to tell, but the Swarm may be caused by floods of new players appearing and bots being banned. "Ghosts" are known to appear, so therefore it is logical the Swarm was a build up of these "ghosts" that created a glitch that caused them to appear permenantly. The Swarm was first reported around June 2009, and since then grew larger and stronger, until it was destroyed by the GPA (see below).
First clan attack Edit
The Clans unite Edit
In September 2009, the Clan Guild began to realise the swarm was a real threat, and organised an army to attack. It called up clans to drop all current hostilities, kit up, and destroy the Swarm, which at the time was only two hundred or so strong. The Clans agreed, united, and marched up into the Wilderness on the new World 264. (It had been predicted that the swarm, which frequently changed worlds, would come here next.) The Clan alliance walked north, expecting a pushover, and became a large crowd next to the Bone Wall at the north.
The Swarm arrives Edit
However, when the Swarm arrived, it took the Clans completely by surprise. They had expected to see a large group of drones wielding only wooden shields and bronze swords, but instead found an army of well-equipped warriors. Unbeknownst to them, the drones picked up whatever was dropped by their targets, and had amassed a collection of armour from bronze to rune and even dragon. Worse, the Swarm appeared right in the middle of the Clan's base. This was what ultimately lost the Clans the battle: they had forgotten to all wear the same Team Capes. The started to attack, but found they were attacking each other. Within minutes the battle had become a disorganised killing frenzy, rapidly being won by the Swarm.
The Swarm gains the advantage Edit
As drops can only be claimed by the victor, the supplies necessary for the clans (such as runes and food) were rapidly diminishing, being horded by battle-addled Clan members. Although the entire battle lasted just over an hour, the first quarter saw huge numbers of warriors dying. Although they were respawning as fast as they could, it takes time to get from Lumbridge or Falador to the north Wilderness, and even longer if you stop to try and get supplies. The thousand-strong clan alliance had lost nearly three hundred by the 20-minute mark, and reinforcements were taking too long.
The Clans pull back Edit
It should be noted that the Swarm says utter nonsense at times, and scarily realistic speech at other times - it is regular to hear "KILL!", "DIE!", and "NEVER SURRENDER!". As such, the chatboxes of Clan members were getting dangerously full, disrupting the chain of command. As players were relying on the chatbox for commands, and the Clan Chat system could only host so many members, confusion erupted. Some tried to retreat, others called for an attack. Gradually, however, the all pulled back to the north east ruins, to restock and resupply, and to get their strength back.
The Swarm administers the death blow Edit
Unfortunately, whilst the Clans were trapped in the ruins, the Swarm managed to find them. Although the Clan players fought valiantly, they knew that is was far too late. And yet it still took thirty minutes of thick fighting to extinguish the last players. When the last warriors finally fell to the drones, it appeared the Swarm had been greatly weakened. The Clans agreed that a second attack should be made, with as many people as possible and a more efficient communication system. However, they did not know that their attack had only strengthened the Swarm further. Ghostly copies of fallen warriors had begun to appear on random worlds, and they slowly joined back together. The Swarm had, much to everyone's dismay, not doubled, not tripled, but quadrupled in size.
Second clan attack Edit
Call of duty Edit
In November 2009, the Clan Guild once again agreed that it was time to destroy the Swarm. This time, the Clans were prepared, and ready for action. All the Clans encouraged a strict training regime, and ushered new members into their ranks. Whereas the original attack had been composed solely of Warriors, this attack was to be complimented by Magi, Rangers, Summoners, and a host of other paths. Many level 150s (the then-max level) were called in to help, nearly all of which obliged (when offered an under-the-table cash sum of considerable proportions). Across RuneScape, smithies worked hard to create the best armour possible, and thousands of idle workers rushed to level up their fishing, woodcutting and mining. Soon, it looked like the Swarm would be faced with an unbeatable enemy
The Grand Player Army Edit
On November 23rd, nearly two thousand fully-clad players walked up into the Wilderness on the extra-large capacity world 67. Armed to the teeth, and this time all wearing the same Team Cape, they stood in perfect formations, waiting for their foes to come. This time, they assured themselves, they would steamroller the drones.
First contact Edit
At 12:15 GMT, the Swarm was detected on the Westernmost fringe of the free area. Immediately, it started to move over to the Grand Player Army, which was located in the central Wilderness. Tense, the army prepared for battle, until finally, at 12:17, it was seen visually by the forward units. The Clan Chat, which the army was reliant upon (and had such dedicated it's chatbox to Clan Chat messages) was suddenly filled with the most well-known military order: CHARGE!
Instantly, a mass of armour, player, and summoned creatures leapt forward at the Wilderness Swarm. They were shocked to discover it was much larger than they had expected (nearly 1,500 individual drones) and much better equipped than their preliminary recon had suggested. Nevertheless, they attacked with savage ferocity. Here and there drones fell, while players succumbed to the swords of a lucky drone. Tense fighting spread out to cover almost the entire of the central Wilderness, joined by eager players.
Outright bloodbath Edit
Meanwhile, back in the other worlds, players listened closely to the bulletins called out by the RuneScape News Network scattered throughout the most popular areas. Many players logged out with lots of kit and supplies and appeared in world 67, to join the battle. But even with these reinforcements, the fighting was extremely evenly matched.
Drones were swamping the northern flank of the Grand Player Army, but were being slaughtered to the south. Slowly, the battlefield swang round, with the Swarm in the north and the GPA in the south. Desperate warriors breathed their last, as drones were destroyed by vicious Magi. And yet it was still a stalemate, with the drones and players losing forces at an almost equal rate. But the players held an advantage that the drones lacked: respawning. In the first thirty minutes of fighting, only ninety players had left the fight. The rest had valiantly rejoined the battle.
Unfortunately for the players, the drones had their own trick. As said earlier, the killed players created ghosts of themselves on other worlds, that eventually rejoined the Swarm. Now the same was happening, but on a much larger, much faster scale. Although the players had no idea, the Swarm had doubled in size since the start of the battle, and was beginning to overwhelm the frontier. Shocked players were forced to retreat, as drones flooded the area they had occupied only minutes before. Slowly, they were pushed down to the very edge of the Wilderness ditch, witch they were forced to cross at 2:42. Saddened by their loss, but with a defiant flame in their hearts, the survivors vowed to eliminate the Swarm completely, no matter what the cost.
JaGex's involvement Edit
Screaming for attention Edit
Many players feared that they would be unpopular and called cowards. On the contrary, they were revered as heroes. Using this, the survivors called for JaGex's attention, and see if the Swarm could be programmed out of the game. Throughout December and Januray, therefore, the forums were filled with threads and posts urging JaGex to do something, whilst riots and protests were held across RuneScape. Even Player Mods joined in, as they saw that this was a problem only JaGex could deal with. Indeed, support for the riots and protests was so strong, the biggest riot (the Grand Exchange Rally) saw next to no spamming.
JaGex, knights in shining armour Edit
Then, on Januray 17th, JaGex mods descended all over RuneScape. Players were shocked, and thought it was a disciplinary action, but when the JaGex mods spoke, it was revealed they were highly supportive of the player's campaigns. As such, they revealed that they were planning a new range of armour, weapons, clan bonuses, and even a new skill - War. Players were amazed and excited, until one anonymous player asked:
"Why can't you just program the Swarm out of the game?" The answer came as a bombshell:
"If we did, exactly half of RuneScape, from the world itself to players, skills and even objects would be destroyed." At that point, all talk stopped. The Mod continued, "Also, money would have to go. It would take three years to reprogram RuneScape. In the meantime, the entire money base, and therefore player interaction, would go. That is how big a problem the Swarm is."
"Can't you just take on the Swarm one by one? You are, of course, Mods."
"We could, but... it's started to include NPCs. That means a severe glitch. Who knows, it might even make us attackable... killable. So that's why we need you, the players of RuneScape, to take action against the Swarm. We will give you everything you need. Good luck."
And at that moment, every Mod disappeared.
For three months, JaGex released an almost constant stream of updates, generally newer, better weapons and armour, as well as new training areas which offered players an extremely quick way to level up, and be able to fight the Swarm, and of course, the new War Skill. However, the most drastic action they took was to completely lock the Wilderness in what became known as the "Wilderness Curfew." Although players, in any other circumstances, would almost always respond in a severely harsh action, there were practically no concerns whatsoever, and those that did chose to moan were ignored by the population of RuneScape, which was seemingly becoming the Army of RuneScape. Indeed, most of the players were gearing up for outright combat, and those that weren't chose to help in any way they could. It seemed, for once, that the whole of RuneScape was becoming a single, player-made society. And what's more, everyone was enjoying it.
The War Begins Edit
The Beast awakens Edit
In early April, JaGex released an all-player poll: When would they choose to attack the Swarm? The answer was almost unanimously July. JaGex agreed, and started to help disadvantaged players. Suddenly, players that had one day been level 20 jumped all the way to level 80, whilst newbies became powerful level 50s. The best of RuneScape, who now were level 300s, proudly walked with the lower levels and helped them, while they plotted with JaGex for battle plans. Then, one day, it all came together. It was a cliche, everyone knew, but the attack on the drones would be on D-Day, H-Hour, M-Minute. Or as everyone was told, July 21st, 11 AM, at 11 minutes. The battle for the Wilderness had begun.
100% player, 110% courage Edit
D-Day. 9 million players log in simultaneously on World 81. Each is wearing the best armour, holding the toughest weapon, carrying the best runes. with them are countless real and dummy mods, organising the players into pinpoint formations. Backing up this monstrous force is an army of nearly 8 million Summoned beasts. Backing them up is a force of about 3 million reprogrammed NPCs. H-Hour. The huge army gathers the final supplies it needs, then begins to march northward, over the Wilderness ditch, passing the now lifted curfew. M-Minute. In the middle of the vastly expanded Wilderness the new Grand Player Army stands ready for the swarm. They represent the future of RuneScape, the swarm, the present. The Wilderness stands, as it always will, as the past. The players prepare for the battle, that will determine RuneScape's future. The swarm arrives at precisely thirteen seconds after M-Minute. It lumbers southward, reaching the army twenty seconds later. And the players launch their attack at exactly 11:11 and 40 seconds.
War Cry Edit
Instantly, an obscenely large battle broke out. Within half a minute, the Swarm was already taking phenomenal casualties, with drones falling left and right. Even so, their numbers were amazing; over 13 million drones had been created, along with about 4 million NPCs. It could afford to take early losses, when several million more drones existed.
The battle was filled with screaming drones, mods yelling instructions and support whilst players called advice to each other. Chatboxes everywhere were being filled up, with the average lifespan of a message just about ten seconds. Confusion reigned over the battlefield.
JaGex had long since removed lag, and the battle was running incredulously fast. Still, the strains of the server showed through: glitches began to show up, removing drones and NPCs whilst sending players far off into the rest of RuneScape. Indeed, it was not just the world that was crowded; the forums were rapidly being filled with "I killed one!" and "No! I died!" as the battle progressed. Fortunately, deaths did not matter to the GPA - JaGex had moved their respawn point to the edge of the Wilderness, so they could instantly resume battle. Unfortunately, however, the drones were reappearing too, but at a much slower rate, giving the players an edge. Friendly NPCs actually "spawn-camped" some of the drones, damaging their coding and killing them. Then JaGex noticed that it took twelve kills to destroy a drone for good, and the battle took a turn for the better.
"Pick a drone! Kill it a dozen times! Then move on!" they cried. Players hastily abided, picking individual drones and repeatedly killing them. They stopped returning after a while, much to their content. Now they were on the winning streak.
Home run Edit
Boldly, players tore through the drones' ranks, killing them and their fellow NPCs. Left and right, drones felt the blades of proud warriors, whilst other ones were mangled by mighty Summoned beasts. Magi obliterated weak Warrior drones, whilst Mods "tele-hopped" to either side of a drone, confusing it, until a lucky ranger shot the drone down with a barrage of crossbow bolts. The Swarm's numbers diminished, decreased, declined. After three tedious hours of solid fighting, nearly eight million drones had fallen - 61% casualties. The GPA, upon hearing this news, cheered in delight, and attacked the Swarm with renewed vigour and moral. In the next hour, another million fell, and the next, a million and a half. It seemed that the more drones fell, the faster the rest were killed. In the next hour, two million had died. Now all the Swarm had left to rely on was it's half million surviving drones and a handful of NPCs.
It took sixteen minutes and twenty-four seconds to destroy the remainder of the Wilderness Swarm.
Post Mortem Edit
Immediately, the rest of the worlds opened up, and players flooded onto the rejuvenated servers. JaGex mods flashed between worlds, congratulating the successful players, and toning down their levels. Slowly, they got to work returning the Wilderness to the land of PKing it had been before, before the December '07 updates. Players rejoiced, and the evening was fraught with non-stop parties. Players traded vast sums of money to congratulate each other, and "buddies" made during the battle contacted each other with messages of happiness and congratulations. The Swarm was dead, and the players were going to take advantage of that fact.
Following events Edit
Over the next months, the level of Player-Player co-operation soared, and popularity of JaGex reached peak levels. Furthermore, JaGex mods appeared far more often, offering lots more help than previously. As RuneScape revelled in a stream of new, beneficial updates, player-made institutions, such as the RuneScape Restaurant popped up everywhere. Bots, macros and autoers as well as advertisers and gold farmers were reported en masse and removed from the game. Players were much less likely to break rules, and far more likely to help another player.
This period of excellent co-operation gradually grew into the Golden Age of RuneScape, when maturity levels in RuneScape players reached all-time highs. New, proper businesses were popping up everywhere, and monetary values were for once remaining almost constant. Many more players were becoming millionaires and billionaires, creating their own businesses and buying shares and loaning money to others. This period lasted from mid-2011 to well into the 2020s.
|The Golden Age of RuneScape|
|The Wilderness Swarm • RuneScape Restaurant|