The grind in RuneScape is something that we all love to hate, and a topic that has led to more arguments than bots or player behavior. For better or worse, it is one of the defining features of the game, along with its art style and lore. In fact, RuneScape's grind is different from the types of grinding in today's other games. Some games require you to grind to be able to compete in the metagame or to play the hardest content, while others will have your levels and skills progress at a rate where you could easily win without grinding.
For RuneScape, the grind is the game. And this does not have to be a bad thing.
Imagine if, from the start, Jagex had focused on making each skill its own minigame, as they did with Dungeoneering. Picture the agility arena, except instead of racing to the point, you simply had to navigate through a trap-filled room using your agility and thieving skills. If you reach the end, you are given experience based on your level, the traps you evaded, and the amount of rooms you have completed in that session. Production and gathering skills would give you the option of completing jobs for various people across RuneScape for both money and experience, from cooking for the Lumbridge chef to crafting runes with the wizards to mixing potions for the druids, all providing different activities.
Skills would also be tied together in ways that only a handful of today's training methods offer. At the end of the Agility dungeon, players can choose between cutting wood from a unique tree or harvesting a unique herb, both of which would act as a skill-based boss that combine Herblore, Firemaking, Fletching, Woodcutting, and Farming.
The current way of training would still be an option, of course. A faster, no-nonsense option for unlocking many of the new, complex rewards that skills would produce. A player could kill a new, powerful dragon and carve its bone into the handle of a weapon with Crafting, then use Smithing to melt down an otherwise useless item that it drops into a dragon metal ingot. That ingot could be forged into the head of a spear or a battleaxe, or the blade of a sword. He or she could then harvest a herb from the end of the previously mentioned skill-based dungeon and mix it with an antifire potion. When the weapon is complete, it could gain additional power against dragons in the same way as Balmung against Dagannoths. The wood from the unique tree could be used to create ranged and magic equivalents of the weapon, with the bow requiring Fletching, Magic, and Runecrafting and having an effect similar to the Hexhunter bow and the staff requiring Crafting, Magic, Runecrafting, and Firemaking, with the effect of enhancing the player's elemental spells. Similar items would be available across every skill.
The result would be a RuneScape where training skills is a genuinely entertaining experience (personal preferences aside), and where Jagex rewards players for exploring every option.