At first Rs only had one server so even if a character logged out to avoid combat, they would eventually have to log back in at the exact same spot. This led to some pkers just waiting at that spot for the character to log back in.
When RS had more servers, players could now avoid combat simply by running away,logging out of that server and then logging onto another server.
Magic and Pures
It's hard to believe now, but back then magic was considered weak by many, especially in f2p. Players would therefore make "pure" characters. These were characters that had high strength, attack and hp for their combat level but low magic. Sometimes the pure chars would also have low defense for their combat level.
This also led to the creation of what are called "mains" and "pures" since people like to have magic (it's always been good for doing skills) on their main character, typically a high level char. Then they would make a pure which no magic but high melee stats and a lower combat level.
1-iteming and Prayer Beasts
Yes, 1-iteming was also a problem in RSC. There was even a special kind of character, called a Prayer Beast (PB). This is a pure pker type with 1 defense and 13 magic (so that he could protect item). With these stats, the PB could pk cheaply, without risking losing any valuable items and yet get a lot of kills.
Of course, with their 1 def, they would be hit a lot but since they had higher hp than other types of pkers, they had much higher str and att. This meant they could hit higher and more often than other pkers their own combat level. They could also survive being hit a lot since they had more hp than other chars.
Rune Player Smithed Items
During RSC, the armor was rune (and dragon in p2p). While dragon was a rare drop or a quest item, rune items had to be player smithed. Since they were not sold in shops, rune was very valuable.
Kills were very exciting then because of the value of the items players dropped when they died. It was very possible to get a kill worth 1m or more. If you died with very valuable stuff... well just imagine what it would be like to die with armor worth as much as everything in your bank.
Group Pking or Teams
The entire wilderness was multicombat for range and magic. Only one person at a time could attack with melee but if you had a group, all of you could attack the same player with range and magic at the same time, provided the wilderness level allowed it.
You might wonder if people would just pk with huge groups 24/7 then but this is actually not the case. The pk community valued soloing or solo kills rather than group kills. The most common would be solo pkers while there were many pairs and groups of 3. Groups of 4 or more were very rare.
Very large groups like 20+ almost never pked, they would only be found during clan wars. Clans were also fairly small, a 30-member clan would already be considered large.
Here you have a picture of a clan pk, specifically Brotherhood of Steel, an old Russian clan from Runescape Classic. The green capes were for identification. This was a rare event back then which is why the picture taker, Fook a Ji, kept this pic and showed it off.
Cheating, Bots, Autoers, etc.
Cheaters have always been around. No, it is not true that 90% of RSC players botted, this is absolutely false. It was only after Jagex stopped updating and moderating RSC that it was taken over by botters. When RSC was the main game, there were only a few botters and mostly lower leveled ones.
When RSC was the only version of Rs around, we never had 50+ botters woodcutting, this is a purely RS2 phenomenon. RSC definitely had cheaters but only in much smaller scale.
However, when RSC was the main game, Jagex would regularly update with anti-cheat detection systems. Jagex mods also did manual detection and investigations of botters.
As you can no doubt see from the points listed above, actually the system was not perfect and there were ways to outsmart the system to your advantage. Prayer beasts, pures, teams, etc. were all specific styles of player killing made to improve the pker's chances of getting a kill.
Jagex did not change the pk system to get rid of 1-itemers, pures, teams, lurers and other such strategies at that time. Players simply had to deal with whatever happened without Jagex's intervention. In other words, if pkers were 1-iteming, the other pkers just had to be stronger, smarter and more skilled than them.
In my opinion, there will never be a perfect pk system that is fair to all. Somehow, someone will always find a way to make a better/faster/cheaper/stronger/etc. type of pker so it is useless to keep on changing the system to eliminate styles of pking. It's enough to make it fun!
What is fun? Read on to the third part.
Do post your comments and opinions about these issues.