I never thought I'd do it. I don't even have the proper levels for it. To consider this step would break with tradition, character and sense. But I did it anyway and I've barely looked back.
I joined a group of people that occasionally ventures into a long forgotten, utterly neglected and almost completely abandoned piece of content known as the Wilderness.
I know. Like most of you I'm still the solo semi-DIY skiller, and have had no reason to ever go out there, save for the odd penguin to hunt. I get my Dragon Bones from Blue Dragons, I mine my Runite in the Mining Guild's Resource Dungeon, and I've not used the Abyss since the discovery of the RuneSpan.
The relocation of minigames such as Stealing Creations and Fist of Guthix doesn't help with getting more traffic in the Wild either. And if I truly wanted to satisfy a need for some excitement with high risk vs. high reward, I would've gone staking or gambling and lost my bank in the process.
So why did I do it?
In part because my own clan has slowly rocked itself into a coma and I don't have the time or energy to run an entire clan anymore. Yet I still wanted to be part of a type of community that you only find in a solid clan, one with both a history as well as a future.
But I mainly did this because I felt I hadn't explored all of the aspects of the game in detail just yet. Whichever way you want to put it PK-ing is still one of the main defining characteristics of RuneScape. There is no substitute sensation for going out there with a bunch of people, risking it all and trusting that your companions are there for you and vice versa.
But even then, in an era where hundreds of similar clans have closed due to the Wilderness' complete neglect, there are still dozens to choose from, and dozens more teams I could join. Just because I had my mind set on the thrill of a kill, doesn't mean that the red mist has descended and that I'm in the habit of killing whoever I can. I wanted to have a purpose.
But almost all clans that still exist and have gone out there have had little to hunt and nothing to fight. Instead they've turned on one another with little more to gain than bragging rights. This is devastating for a community of this kind.
So the Wilderness is dead content now and hasn't recovered from its two years of neglect during the same time that Free Trade was off as well. Everything else in the game has moved on, whether it's quests, bosses, skilling, or making money. Even in the year and a half since the return of it we've seen almost no updates to it. The wild is just sitting there.
Fortunately, in the recent BTS and especially the latest Livestream I found a few glimmers of hope. The Wilderness will probably see a large update early in 2013, and the things that you're going to find there are just what the doctor ordered.
Not only will we probably see Revenant-style NPC's patrolling all of the Wild again, but they'll do so in groups called War bands that are lead by Generals and might actually engage each other in combat. So what will they be patrolling, specifically?
Resources. More unique resources that you can ONLY get in the Wilderness. I'm thinking this would be stuff along the lines of Red Sandstone and the Bloodwood Trees, but (hopefully) F2P versions of this. This is on top of improving existing content, like upping the XP-rate of the Agility course.
The other really cool, but still uncertain idea that was mentioned is somewhat similar to EP (Earning Potential, 76k-ing) that we've seen. You'd go into the Wilderness and build up your resources and XP, and cash them in when you leave it again. But if you got killed by a player, they'd be able to steal this "XP-potential" off of you.
Finally, they're giving the King Black Dragon an overhaul, including his lair and drops. This one I'm a lot less impressed with, as they're tossing in a teleport from Edgeville. If you DO traverse the Wilderness to get there, you'll get a 10% damage boost. Not exactly encouraging for the Boss-ers out there to walk the distance, if you ask me.
So I have to wonder if Jagex is repeating an old mistake. History shows that, whenever they made something really awesome in the Wilderness, they'd eventually buckle to complaints about it being too dangerous. The best example of this is the dungeon with the Armoured Zombies where you not only have a teleport to that cave, but praying at the Altar which is in the Wilderness is instanced.
Whatever is going to happen with the Wilderness, I do know one thing: things are going to change, and change so much that you might see a Wilderness that'll remind you of 2007 once again. Player-vs-Player Clans will then attempt to make their comeback and take their rightful place as a solid factor of RuneScape. I can't predict how this will affect you individually, but I'll be where the interesting stuff happens: at the frontier, north of the wall.