Out of blind habit, I invest my first hours mining ore, killing cows, burying bones, chopping wood and light fires. Happy with my progress, I place an additional eight hours into boosting my abilities. At this point my overall impression is that Runescape has only gotten wider and easier, which would not be enough to drag me back to its F2P RS gold.
What did manage that (I begrudgingly admit) was the amount and quality of quests to be performed in RuneScape. Quests are everywhere, and every one is its own foray to a very small fragment of Runescape lore. There's a quest where you take control of a seagull and use it to bomb zombie pirates with bird poo.
Runescape's tone is joyously light, and with fewer degree cap hurdles to leap over you're free to adopt and explore it without submitting to the mill. Which is great, since Runescape's quests have never actually required one to use skills other than combat, and have generally incorporated puzzles or interactive components that have more in common with old school point-and-click experience games than dream questing.
Areas that used to be empty cheap OSRS gold are now brimming with NPCs, quests and tales. Each inch of the world has been full of, or sometimes expanded, so as to incorporate all of the characters, enemies and attributes that Jagex are busy stuffing into the match for the past decade. The fact that Runescape is an online game is now a bonus rather than its primary attraction. Jagex may take their game entirely offline and it might still be worth playingwith.