Unfortunately no, I won’t be writing this as a lyrical poem. I just really, really like the way OSRS’s economy ties in with its gameplay.
When you play OSRS, you absolutely do not play an MMO with traditional methodology. You do not have quest markers telling you where to go, you do not seek the nearest NPC to direct you to the next set of instructions. Rather, you work to organize yourself in a large, difficult world that has plenty of direction, but no proverbial road to follow. And you do work, and how!
Amidst the lost gameplay and difficult organizing of the mind is a side effect known as an economy. That is, you chop a tree in Runescape and a permanent set of logs enters your inventory. You can drop them, sell them to other players, fletch them into arrows and bows, or burn them to better your firemaking skill.
This is the cycle for all items in the game, whether born out of chopping, mining, fishing, combat drops, jewelry making, etcetera, etcetera. They all have uses, and all find a rough price on the marketplace that other MMOs simply cannot compete with in terms of economic roundness.
An MMO like World of Warcraft has its own economy, but the range of items available is limited to gear and a shortened list of ingredients used to craft said gear and, perhaps, consumables. In OSRS, the same is true on the surface, but as you dig deeper, you find a much more involved market.
Instead of a short list of skills used to support a character’s combat gear, OSRS sports 23 skills that support each other and can all be accessed by each character to no limit. Gear gained from construction might help a player during a fishing mini-game while fighting it out with the slayer skill might yield drops that are great for Runecrafting, which is a skill that can yield miscellaneous magic bonuses great for passive benefits while training one’s agility. And it is here that you can see how the OSRS economy shapes up.
A player who enjoys fishing might find themselves low on bait, so they sell some of their fish in exchange for bait. The player who sold them the bait probably got it from a combat drop and decided to exchange it for the fish to heal their HP back up after combat. But, of course, you gotta cook the fish before eating it, so that player then sells more of their combat loot for logs to light. The person who sold them the logs is good at chopping trees, but is bad at magic, and so sold the logs for cash that was then used to buy magic equipment. And round, and round it goes.
It is brilliantly designed, and despite a botting (and overall item sink) issue, the economy in OSRS still serves as a shining beacon for future MMOs (and single player games) to model their economy after.