For a long time, the highest level weapons anyone could get was by playing through floor after floor in Daemonheim. If you needed a high level weapon, Dungeoneering was the way to go ever since the introduction of proper Boss-level monsters with the Godwars Dungeon high level weaponry, and remained so for a long time.
Before that, briefly, Barrows and Slayer were your best bet to get your hands on something to really hurt something else with. Some of you might even remember having to do a bit of questing to get the best weapons available to you at the time, which were of the Dragon variety or the Ancient Spellbook.
It seems as though doing a bit of damage has always been about the drops, and today is no different. Drygore weaponry? Gotta kill the Kalphite King. Want to wield an earth-shattering stick? Down Vorago has to go. Ascension crossbow? Prepare for a long stay in a Monastery.
With the introduction of Araxxor there has been made no dent in breaking this pattern, although it did do a good job in preventing the massive pre-Seismic, pre-Ascension, post-Drygore whines by introducing all three two-handed versions at the same time.
That said, with Plague's End we missed a massive opportunity.
See, I miss the days that the best weapons could simply be bought from a store, were given to you as a reward, or could be upgraded after you completed a quest. Think Korasi's Sword, Kyzaj or Barrelchest's Anchor for good examples.
Sadly, even the completion of one of RuneScape's longest running and most anticipated stories did not provide us with some properly powerful weaponry, even when it clearly had the opportunity to do so. A prime example is The Measure, an Elder Artefact that remains in your possession after you succeeded in returning one of the most powerful individuals ever to the world you inhabit. Could it really not have been a level 80 wand?
By now, some of you will be in full readiness to catapult the economic argument my way, saying such quest rewards unbalance the economy. And you'd be right, even if these weapons were untradeable and irredeemable for a cash-equivalent.
But I don't want the only method to attain these types of weapons to be a luck of the draw after a long and hard-fought battle. Nor do most of us have the hundreds of millions of needed GP to spend either. Not when there are three other distinctly proven methods to bring us what we want.
Minigames brought us Korasi's Sword, Quests brought us Barrelchest's Anchor, and Skills other than Slayer brought us (and here we go way back) the Rune Two-handed Sword and Chaotic Equipment. But only one of these methods has produced the most powerful weapons available at the time of their introduction.
Now, I don't need for the weapons gained in this way to be direct replacements for the ones currently available, nor do I want them to be tradeable. But could a long Quest with a very hard and unique villain to fight (think Nomad) not give us a level 89 weapon? Can I not earn something similar to the patches in Pest Control in order to upgrade Korasi and Jessica's swords? Even a longstanding champion, the Abyssal Whip, got itself an upgrade.
This wasn't an issue in the past, but relatively dependent money-making methods besides Bossing haven't caught up yet, which makes this a self-sustaining problem.
When you also consider that Strength, Magic and Range levels have, besides unlocking weapons and abilities, very little impact on how much damage you're doing, the problem exacerbates. Not only are you on a single carriageway, it's just become a one-way street.
We've recently missed two great opportunities to introduce new weapons of a significant level with the quests Fate of the Gods and Plague's End. Perhaps defeating the Penance King or getting a high enough level in the future Inventor skill will be the moment we see a break from the usual pattern, but I'm not expecting anything.