The first article I agree with but this is nothing new with runescape, I have quit and came back to the game a number of times (a lot of them have been for short periods). What tends to keep me playing for longer periods of time as if I meet people I enjoy chatting to.
Once I can get back into the game I can play for a long time but like all things I need a change from time to time.
The 2nd article I am going to disagree with on a number of points.
Gaming has reflected this, too. Cut scenes can be skipped in all but a handful of games. Every game is laden with developer programmed cheats to iron out any possibility of irritation.
I will agree on the cut scene part but cheats ??, it is true when games first came out (spectrum days, you didn't have many cheats, you didn't had to redo whole levels and so on), then around the first playstation came out cheats where everywhere from inside the games themselves to products like the action replay and xploere gaming cartridges.
But today very few games have built in cheats and while a growing number of them do have different level's of difficultys (so that the game applies to a wider range of consumers), in the end to get all those achievements done you will need to complete the game in the hard or at times hardest setting available.
There is a growing trend to have extra difficulty levels that have to be unlocked or in some case's accessed via a cheat code of some sort.
On the point of achievements yes some achievements you get for merely playing the game, but those are to get people in. To get them all isn't that easy and for a number of games has gotten rather hard. I recall for some of the first games that had achievements it was easy to get every one of that game, now you have to play though multiple times, different difficulty modes and so on.
and perhaps the runaway success of mmo's is because you are wrong with your view of everyone wants a "quick reward".
yes there has been a shift in society, society is always changing yes if offered two different paths most people will take the easiest path, but that doesnt mean they would always want a quicker way all the time.
we as a people are all different and you will find we can like different things giving the rise to both easy games, hardcore games, games that involve more active wii, sony's play xbox motion and so on. The market is big enough for variety.
In regard to Mmo's as a gaming platform it in itself is ment to be more long term, its not everyone cup of tea but it is to a lot of players. Yes it would be nice to have less repeative in the games and in a way that is happening.
if you take runescape from the classic days to what it is now they are very different, today's runescape shortcuts are everywhere, example take mining, the old system involved a lot of clicks to mine a single rock, now its one click and when you get high enough level via the deposits one click and you can mine at times a inventory full.
their is still the longish grind that is part of the game but the game itself is easy.
mmo's are very much inline with current cultural trends (its why they are successful). Mmos come in different forms from being easy world of warcraft, being harder eve online and so on but they follow and in a way was ahead of cultural trends in that they gaming communities where we are players are connected to each other online. Now since then you have facebook, skype twitter and so on. A lot of your mainstream games now come with online as standard.
now in regards to botting well like all things people will take a easy road if presented with one, not all people but likely more than 50%. If you where offered double pay in your job would you turn it down ? I doubt it, I wouldn't. would you if you where told it would be at the expense at your co-workers at this point some might waver but not many. and so on.
people will tend to take short cuts or the easier way if presented with such a path, and for some bots present such a road. Also as well the game itself is more open than most to bot attacks being that its in java. while bots in general will always be a problem to mmo's some to different degree's example world of warcraft bots are more a issue in farming herbs/ores not so much in raids (yet to see a bot in any raid I have been in). where the design of runescape means bots tend to have a field day. also its the other factor I am not saying that jagex isn't doing anything in regard to bot, I am hoping they are but the perception seems to be they do nothing. This leads to another tendency that some people have you will do something wrong if enough people are doing it and you believe you will get away with it.
Now its the problem when it comes dealing with bots as you really have to be more creative at times. Example when the game removed free trade and had trade limits, it didn't stop botting at all but did reduce the numbers. Less reward for the effort of bots but on the same part it was at the cost of people being able to charge what they want for their items as in being a merchant.
it is hard to stop bots without sacrificing the game itself.
but something jagex could do is every month publish a list of the accounts they have banned or punished for botting (or being linked to botting), have it as part of their website. Being named and shammed would have two effects firstly it makes the punishment when caught worse for botting so that can deter some from doing it. It would also show that jagex is doing something to stop the activity; again if the list is big enough that can start to scare some people from doing it.
while that wont solve the problem it will help to reduce it.