As a long time free player, I'm amazed at how many times JaGEx has ignored their free game when updating members. Now, before your brain shuts off and you rush to type "Payyup or shuddup," in the discussion thread, please understand that I'm not talking about major pieces of content. While clan citadels look amazing, all the new quests look inviting, and new dungeons challenging, it's the small pieces of content that I hold my breath for, the ones that will ease the pain in my wrists, only to be let down month after month.
It's a no-brainer that members should get the top tiered items; they pay for it. As a long term free player, I'm thankful for the game that JaGEx lets me play. But let's face it, there are certain aspects of the free game that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.
I read members' posts complaining all the time how expensive herblore is to train. I see them complaining post after post about how boring agility is. I understand how firemaking can make people want to vomit. I really do. It's just... All these skills are about ten times easier than free to play Runecrafting, or Prayer.
Usually members are faced with a dilemma. They can train a skill cheaply or they can train a skill quickly. The tradeoff is very real, and understandable, but it is not a luxury that the free game enjoys. A nice example - Big bones cost about 350 gp each, and give 15 experience. This costs about 23.3 gp / xp, while going at a theoretical maximum rate of 72k xp / hour. Members spending less with Dragon bones (about 19.4 gp / xp) can gain more than 3 times as much experience per hour, while having to click less with their 'Offer-All" option on the PoH altars.
Do I think free players should get player owned houses, or altars to bury bones? No. While it would be nice, it is probably too much to ask. Why do I mention Prayer? 'Bury-All' would be a nice feature, and would save many wrists. When JaGEx introduced their 'Offer-All' option and forgot the 'Bury-All' option, they lost goodwill with a large segment of their player base.
While 'Bury-All' isn't much in the way of new content (rather an update to their existing interface), an item that I was sorely disappointed to find was members only was the Bonecrusher. The Bonecrusher, if you don't know, is a Dungeoneering reward that costs 34,000 tokens. When you have one in your inventory, it automagically buries all bones dropped by monsters or obtained from hunting. As useful as it sounds, it takes up a precious inventory spot, and is usually forgotten by members.
Why is it so appealing to free players? Our best rewards from Dungeoneering cost very little, and the thought of clicking about a million times to gain 99 Prayer makes my wrists hurt. I understand that floors 36-60 are members only, but why would you make a somewhat useful item (only to F2P though) like that members only? (Oh, and as a side note, the Bonecrusher in F2P would be almost obsolete now, with the use of Prayer urns. Thanks for including us on that Crafting update!)
The reason I'm writing this article now is because of the recent minigame reward update. I'm incredibly thankful for the Runecrafting tablets from the Great Orb Project, and the robes are top notch, but why is the bonus experience and the new robes 'member's only'? I know that members get better gear like essence pouches and better altars like the ZMI altar, but really? All things considered solo F2P Runecrafting tops out at a measly 13k* xp / hr; it requires a tremendous amount of attention for very little return.
The biggest difference between training P2P and F2P accounts is that if you don't like a particular skill, you don't have to grind it to gain levels. The opportunities for experience rewards in P2P are endless. I understand that JaGEx wants its members to have a better experience with much more variety, but can't they throw free players an obsolete piece of content every once in a while?
When JaGEx boasts that their free game is unlimited, and that it takes more than 5,000 hours to complete, you can believe them. If a free player played the game like a job (40 hours a week), it would take them nearly two and half years to complete, with more than a fourth of it spent on Prayer and Runecrafting. As free players, we're not asking for citadels and grandmaster quests, just lowly Bonecrushers, better experience for Runecrafting, and less arthritis.
*Taken from Sonic's F2P Runecrafting Guide