The following is the list of events that happened in 2001.
- 1 January: Reduced Memory use by another 10 MEG
- 1 January: Fixed Bug - sending more than 1 extra packet
- 1 January: Improved Applet close Behaviour in Gameshell
- 1 January: Server now closes disconnected players sooner to reduce unfair death
- 1 January: Fixed Man walking into sea bug
- 1 January: Optimised torch animation in Dungeon
- 2 January: New location: Barbarian Village
- 2 January: Can now fight unicorn and chicken
- 2 January: New skill: Mining
- 2 January: New skill: Smithing
- 3 January: Made Smithing and Mining more difficult
- 4 January: RuneScape is launched.
- 21 January: Newsletter 1 is released, along with the Ernest the Chicken quest and Al Kharid. Banks are released.
- 21 January: The Super strength beer cheat was fixed
- 27 January: Lots of improvements to the game:
- You gain ranged experience for each successful hit
- Arrows shoot 25% faster
- 4 spells have been added: Fear, Wind-bolt, Rock-skin, and Elemental-bolt.
- The maximum damage of spells is now fixed and no longer attached to ranged.
- fire-staff, water-staff, air-staff or earth-staff give unlimited runes in their types.
- You can not log-out during combat
- You will keep the most valuable three items if you die in PvP
- 28 January: Vampire Slayer quest is released along with Draynor Manor. (renamed to "Vampyre Slayer" on 6 September 2011.
- 30 January: Guards in Varrock have stopped fighting players, players can get skulled. (Update:Further combat improvements)
- 5 February: A new section with deadly red spiders is opened, strength potions and red spider eggs are released.
- 7 February: RuneScape now works in NetScape 6.
- 13 February: The champions guild and a new plate-mail skirt shop in Al-kharid have been released. Furthermore, the trade window has been improved.
- 16 February: Imp Catcher quest is released.
- 28 February: Prince Ali Rescue quest is released.
- 2 March: The second RuneScape server has been ordered.
- 10 March: The second RuneScape server came online.
- 17 March: The Cooking Guild is released together with some pies.
- 6 April: The Kingdom of Asgarnia is released. Black Knights' Fortress, Doric's Quest, Witch's Potion and The Knight's Sword quests are released.
- 7 April: Several server problems: some people had trouble when more than 1024 players were playing at one world.
- 10 April: Server fixed + message boards online
- 11 April: Asgarnia map online
- 12 April: Server status page, my-friends, and password recovery pages
- 8 May: Goblin Diplomacy quest is released. Making jewellery and pottery is introduced.
- 9 May: 3rd server is added.
- 24 May:
- Good Magic and Evil magic are converted into the Magic skill.
- Magic skill introduces new runes Law, Nature, Death, Cosmic, and Chaos
- Jagex removed pop-up windows from their website.
- 25 May: 4th server is added.
- 26 May: Jagex updated prayers so they last 50% longer.
- 11 June:
- 23 June: Tailoring is introduced to Crafting skill.
- 12 July: The Black Hole experience, which requires the now discontinued Disk of returning to exit, and the Edgeville Monastery is released
- 12 July: Silver ore and rocks released.
- 17 July: 5th RuneScape server online.
- 26 July: The Bank of RuneScape is updated, so players are able to store up to 48 items instead of just coins. Runite weapons and armour are also released on this date. Player owned houses removed due to lack of space.
- 13 August:
- 5 October: Members version is announced
- 31 October: 2001 Hallowe'en event, in which pumpkins are dropped, marking the first holiday event.
- 28 November: Draynor Market, Black weapons, level requirements on weapons, Dyeable capes were released, server capacity back to 5000.
- 8 December: The Draynor Village Market, certificates, Black weapons, Defence and Attack requirements to wield weapons and armour, and capes are released. Furthermore, another bank has been added to Falador.
- 25 December: Christmas crackers, which contained partyhats, are dropped on Christmas Day.
2001 was the first year for RuneScape. The game showed was very different from today, with less world space, no membership and many other features that now exist. RuneScape was ruled by clans for the majority of 2001, but when the Wilderness was introduced and the world became safe from PKers, clans took a backseat in the evolution process of RuneScape.
The first major cultural aspects of the game come from this period. The game was a tight knit community with the first clans forming, some of which still survive today. Other traditions were established at this point in time, such as scamming, the first signs of a working economy, holiday events, player killing tactics and Blue Moon Inn as a party house (a tradition that was discontinued after the jump to RuneScape 2).
There were two controversial updates in 2001. The first being the inclusion of the Wilderness and the abolition of free combat. This update was heavily criticised by people who would stand to lose financially from the update, mainly clans and robbers, who had gained vast sums of money (and in the case of clans, territory) from unrestrained worldwide combat. Many clans from 2001 that still exist today see this as a point of decline.
The second controversial update of 2001 (although the effects and subsequent criticism over the update would only become apparent in later years) was the first holiday drop, which occurred on 31 October. The event, in which pumpkins spawned randomly over the ground, was the first of a series of similar drops. These items subsequently rose in price, fueled by heavy price inflation (although prices have deflated somewhat since the release of the Grand Exchange) allowed the price of these drops to reach millions or even billions of value in coins. Many have criticised these items, and although changes have been made to the events, many believe that the items should be rendered untradeable.