Sorry to disappoint, but this isn't about The Hobbit.
I'm not going to review the year because there's still a month of it left, and what a month it is. If Jagex is to be believed, we can expect a year of game-changing high level content and fixes. This is, of course, where things get complicated. This is where I have to ask if they're looking in the right direction.
I probably wouldn't be too far off the mark in assuming that their "special edition" Behind the Scenes post was made to pacify veterans who were opposed to the Evolution of Combat, and I know I'm not the first to suggest that. I'm also not going to suggest that it's a bad thing; most, if not all of the updates they listed look like great additions to the game. Their only problem is that the game is under attack from its legacy issues, three of which will be listed here.
It would be unreasonable for there to be no dead content after ten years, but at this point there's too much of it for them to consistently focus on newer and greater high level updates. They're not alone in this; many of the guides in our little corner of the community seem to have two settings: "high level" and "outdated," and it's as if we've collectively decided to ignore most of the world. It's hard to do anything else when so little of it is worth acknowledging, from content that hasn't been touched since its release to updates that were doomed from the start.
It's not that it wouldn't be hard to fix, either. Slayer monsters such as molanisks and zygomites could drop items to fill the gaps in some of the ranged and magic equipment tiers, and hunter could continue to provide enhancements and upgrades for a lot of lesser used items, as it tried to do with its release.
It's also not surprising that the community has become so "top-heavy" when there haven't been many truly new players in years. A community built entirely out of veterans isn't particularly sustainable, and as much as we hated the so-called 'Miniclip generation,' we're probably going to need another one. As someone who admits to being out of touch with this sort of thing, the only venue I can think of is Steam, and if they decide to go that route (and to a lesser extent, if we're lucky), it could do to the "Next Gen" Runescape the same thing that Miniclip did to Runescape 2. At the very least, it would open up a new avenue for buying spins.
The final issue is one of promise; not in the sense of whether or not we'll actually get any of these updates, but whether or not they'll have the intended effect. Are the new skills going to improve gameplay or just our total levels? Are they finishing many of their long-running quests for the sake of finishing them, as they did with the Slug storyline? And most importantly, what aren't they telling us? What are the smaller updates going to do?
The game has been around in one form or another for longer than some MMO players have been alive, it's bound to have picked up a few legacy issues. This year brought them to the surface, next year we'll see whether or not they do something about them.