On 7th October 2009, Jagex released a series of new high-levelled potions that range from level 84 to level 96. These potions are untradable, meaning that anyone who wants to use these powerful potions needs to level up their Herblore skill and make the potions themselves. When the update was released, it was hailed by many as exactly what the skill needed. Jagex have previously said that they want to bring new life to skills that have become stagnant because there is no higher level content for them - Herblore being a prime example of this. Until the recent update, the highest level potion was Weapon poison ++ at level 82, and why would anyone bother to train their Herblore that high to make it anyway when there is a Grand Exchange that is far easier and quicker to use. Of course someone has to have a high herblore, but because even the previously highest level potion was able to be bought, there was no true incentive to push for a high level in Herblore - even if you were to reach level 82, there was no reason you would have to go any higher than that. There were no more potions past level 82, you can't make potions quicker or better at higher levels.
So the new potions, untradable and sought after, were a breath of fresh air into the skill of Herblore. These powerful potions are beneficial to practically all players that focus their skills around combat and PvP, and the fact that they are unable to be bought from the Grand Exchange means that for once, people who don't just train the skill for fun or quests were forced to take a step back and look at that little number next to the herb icon. Lots of people were happy. They were either happy that their high Herblore level now had meaning behind it and was now useful. They were happy that they now had a reason to raise their low herblore level to a high one, for the ability to make these powerful potions. Of course there was a bit of worry about the cost of Herblore rising until the demand for the potions goes down, but that's a problem with practically all updates - the huge influx of people trying or using it for the first time makes prices of items related to it skyrocket.
Everyone was set for a good time with these new potions, well: almost everyone. Two days after the update, on the 9th October, Jagex removed the potions from all PvP combat - including minigames such as Castle Wars and Soul Wars. Their reason being that 'Following player feedback, we have decided that the new Herblore potions are having too much of an effect on PVP combat.' To me, this reason, is rubbish. Isn't the whole reason to train a skill so that you can have an advantage over other players? Whether it is mining a Coal Ore before another player or killing your opponent in combat before he kills you. Training your skill to a high level should mean that you have an advantage over people with lower levels. This applies to every skill, even if only indirectly. For example having a high Agility level might seem to have nothing to do with having an advantage at Magic combat, but with a high agility level you can complete the Desert Treasure quest and gain access to Ancient Magicks. Does this mean that you should no longer have to have even level 2 at Agility to complete the quest because it might give you an advantage in PvP?
I don't agree with Jagex's choice to cater to the lazy people out there that refuse to raise their Herblore level high because that would be too much trouble for them. As for the idea that if Herblore influences combat then it should be a part of your combat level, well I ask you this: Should we make every skill part of the combat level then? Having a high Fishing level means you can get your own food for use in PvP, having a high Cooking level means you can cook it too. Having a high Smithing level means you can repair your Barrows armour cheaply, meaning you might use it more readily in PvP. Having a high Agility level means you can run away faster... need I go on?
The game is about raising levels and gaining advantages over other players as you go along, if you don't like that then I suggest you go. If someone has a higher level than you and that gives them an advantage then you have two options. Get better or give up, there is no third 'sit and whine about it' option. Or at least there shouldn't be. Competition is what makes a game, particularly an evolving and changing game like Runescape - it's all about competition and advancing yourself.
I think it is only right that there is something that is exclusive to a skill, something that you have to earn the right to be able to use and I think that people who bother to train their Herblore to a high level deserve something other than just a cape. Jagex tried, and succeeded to do that, but their whole attempt has been cheapened by their indulgence of players' laziness.