Have you ever wondered how things were done ‘in the old days’? Probably not. Most of the old ways of doing things seem so primitive today because of how those things are done nowadays.
Take fletching for example. Back in the old days (when I use the word ‘Old’ I’m referring to the years 2004-2005) an aspiring fletcher would fletch yew longbows from most likely their own yew logs. Then they would usually pick flax and trade it with someone in Seer’s bank to get bowstrings. This saved the fletcher a significant amount of time because they wouldn’t have have to click each flax and use it on a spinning wheel to turn it into a bowstring. They let someone else do that. The spinner received 15 crafting experience per bowstring as payment, which was pretty good pay. Once the fletcher had the bowstrings they would click each bowstring and use it on each unstrung yew longbow individually.
Now this might seem absurd, but that’s how it was done. There was very little automation for anything. If you wanted 15k arrows you would have to click 2,000 times, 1,000 times to put the feathers on the shafts and another 1,000 times to put the heads on the arrows.
Perhaps the most extreme case of non-automation is the way Cooking experience was earned in the old days. Yes, I used the word ‘earned’ instead of ‘trained’ because back then players actually earned experience in skills instead of just training them. What’s the difference you ask? In my eyes training is doing the same thing over and over again to get it over with. No care and little or no mind is actually given to the task, it is simply done. Earning, on the other hand, requires the player to actually work for the experience by either doing a tedious task or by continuously doing a challenging task.
Now, about Cooking. In the old days – brace yourself – there was NO Cook-X. Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking, “How the HECK did anyone level cooking?”. Well I’ll tell you: they had to click on one lobster or shark at a time and use it on a fire or range, usually the one in catherby. This was an extremely tedious task, but that’s the only way it could be done. The good thing about cooking in the old days is that there were always fishers needing to get their fish traded for cooked so that they could sell the cooked. Why not sell the raw, you ask? Brace yourself for another shocker – you can’t eat raw fish!(there was no Swallow whole scroll or even Summoning skill at this time) Most people actually didn’t train cooking since it was such a tedious thing to do. That’s why people traded raw for cooked with a cook. Most of the time both cooks and fishers would be satisfied with a 1 for 1 ratio of 1 raw fish for 1 cooked fish since the cook knows they won’t burn any of the fish. Sometimes, and namely on sharks, the cook might only give 80% of the cooked fish back since theres a chance that they may burn some. This was because few cooks had the required 94 cooking to not burn sharks.
Not all of the difference between times lies in automation. One good example is Smithing. Today one of the primary ways to train smithing is by smithing gold. This wasn’t done in the old days because the supply of gold was significantly less. The Living Rock Caverns added a large amount of gold to the game and made training smithing by gold possible. Back then lots of smithing experience was gained by smelting and smithing mithril. Mithril was fairly easy to come by and provided good experience while also having a decent return when made into mithril arrows since mithril arrows were the most efficient way to train ranged (remember, there were only 4 grades of bolts and two types of crossbows at this time).
Much of today’s training is based off of an increased supply of things which used to be harder to come by. Feathers and fishing is a good example of this. In the old days the only way to get feathers was by killing chickens, chompy birds, or by buying a small quantity(100) from a fishing shop. Since feathers were also needed for fletching arrows there were few left for ‘wasting’ on fishing since equal or better fishing experience could be made without using feathers. The Personalized Shops update gave each player a larger daily supply of many items, namely, feathers. This created a large enough supply of feathers to making fly fishing a reasonable way to train fishing.
Another example of how supply alters how players train is Magic. In the old days most people would level their Magic by alching Yew longbows. Slow perhaps, but consistent, effective, and relative. What I mean by relative is that players that were training fletching would have lots of Yew longbows. Once they were done fletching they would alch the yew longbows. This was before the time of the Grand Exchange so it wasn’t easy to sell 10,000 yew longbows. It was, however, fairly easy to buy 10,000 nature runes so that you could high alch the yew longbows. Since this would amount to 650,000 magic experience you can see how that would be fairly decent magic training. Nowadays many people train magic by casting the stun curse while wearing equipment specifically so that the spell will fail. This was never thought about in the old days for three reasons: 1. It was not easy to amass a large quantity of Soul runes, 2. There was no Mud staff so water or earth runes would have to be used as well, and 3. Because using so many runes so quickly was considered a waste. Especially when they were having no effect. The personalized shops update drastically increased the supply of soul runes which allowed them to be consumed so quickly.
This brings us to another change during the ages, Runecrafting. In the olden days there were two effective ways of training runecrafting: crafting law runes and being a rune crafter. To craft laws one would wear all Entrana-approved equipment as well as a charged amulet of glory and then carry 27 essence and a law talisman(this was before rune pouches, pure essence, and tiaras). They would then run to the boat, talk to the monk, go to Entrana and enter the law temple and craft their runes. Then they would teleport to Draynor Village and start all over again. Being a rune crafter meant that one would sit (or rather stand since there was no way to sit in Runescape back then) at a rune temple, usually the Nature or Law one, and trade runes to a rune runner for their essence. Depending on whether the crafter and runners were friends or not determined how many runes the runner would receive. If they were merely business acquaintances then the runner may only receive 20 or 25 law or nature runes in exchange for 27 essence. Now this might seem like quite a loss now, but since each law rune was worth 1k or more back then(you must also remember that money was worth about 10x what it is today) it was still a considerable amount of money for the runner and most were more than willing to pay 2-7 runes to receive 25-20 runes back. If the runner and crafter were friends then they would usually trade evenly. When a Rune Crafter reached level 91 runecrafting(which was extremely hard to do) they would usually switch to crafting Nature runes if they had been crafting law runes. This is because at 91 they were able to craft double nature runes, allowing them to turn 27 essence into 54 nature runes. This made them much more inviting to rune runners because the runners could receive 40 nature runes for 27 essence while the Rune Crafter still gained 14 runes per runner, making it a great win-win proposition. Nowadays most people train Runecrafting by either using the Abyss to teleport directly to the altar or by using the Ourania altar to craft many different runes at once.
From cooking thousands of fish to fishing with feathers, you’ll find that almost any common training method done today would’ve been impossible or only for the extremely rich a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against most of these ‘modernizations’, but I think it is worth taking a look at how the veterans (the True Veterans, who have played for over 5 years) used to have to do things.