An anonymous reader writes "The online Java-based fantasy MMOG Runescape has reportedly surpassed 1 Million paying subscribers. Gamasutra has a Q&A article with the Jagex co-founder and lead developer Andrew Gower about the UK-based firm's success. 'Counting roughly 4.6 million who play the free version of the game, RuneScape has more than 5.6 million players, says Constant Tedder, managing director of Jagex. As such, it represents credible competition to the big kahuna, World of Warcraft, which has topped 8 million paying subscribers. Part of the secret, Tedder said in an interview, is that the game doesn't take itself so seriously. In one recent event, players could transform themselves into penguins and infiltrate the penguin army to see what they were up to in the penguin underworld. The game has been growing largely by word of mouth.'"