RuneScape's PVP system was a major part of the game, setting it apart from other MMORPGs by providing variety in a genre of games that isn't usually noted for having a vast amount of things to accomplish. RuneScape had, I daresay, the best balance between “skilling” and “killing” in an online game.
The replacement of this PVP system with a half-baked substitute resulted in a relatively one-sided game, becoming, for the most part, a game for skillers. Sure, boss hunting was still an option, and if you were a true diehard you could brave either the bounty hunter volcanoes or the designated PVP worlds, in hopes of achieving a mediocre drop in return for your risk. This sad deterioration of a once great machine of excitement and adrenaline into a broken and dull vehicle for the “76kers” caused the game to lose much of its luster. Fortunately for us, JaGex decided to take a look at restoring the shine to their game, and with a little elbow grease (and maybe some Turtle Wax), they succeeded. February first brought perhaps the most anticipated updates in RuneScape history; the return of free trade and the revival of the Wilderness.
The rush and the risk of the wilderness was not lost on the masses either, as was obvious by the enormous amounts of players found in the wilderness in the following days. The veterans were back, claiming prey once again with their seasoned tactics, stretching out their long dormant killing muscles. The newbies were there to see what it was about, and hopefully, didn't find it too discouraging when they died to not return. And the new era PKers, rushing in with their Armadyl Godsword or Dragon Claws, and a few icy runes, decided to show the damage that pockets deepened from skilling and a finger honed by spam clicking can cause.
The Duel Arena also returned, with new tactics emerging here as well. Smart stakers are utilizing the Staff of Light or summoning to catch their opponent off guard, and the boxers are back to betting their billions. The fortunes accumulated by killers-turned-skillers is finally being distributed among the player base once again, and after years of a silent wilderness haunted by revenants, the clash of steel (or whatever Dragon weapons are made of) can be heard ringing in harmony with the stacks of little gold coins passing from one pair of greedy hands to another.
The real reason these systems were removed in the first place won't soon be forgotten, but it's safe to say that the extent of the return of Real World Trading will be small (if JaGex sticks to its word). While that remains to be seen, RuneScape is returning to brighter pastures due to this update. Worlds are once again flourishing with players, young and old, a fact which I find very encouraging.
Many people argue that this will just bring back the “noobs” and that RuneScape was better off how it was, but I disagree. And sure, there's a few bugs here and there from the new update, but I feel a lot of people are over reacting, as with the influx of returning players and new players exploring, these things will easily be resolved. Accompanying these new players will be another wonderful boon to the game; their brains, and more specifically the ideas they bring. I'm particularly excited to see what game suggestions the changed player base can come up with, as they can only lead to better times, and I, for one, feel privileged to get to witness them play out as time progresses even further.