Popularity of melee combat Edit
The most common reason why is the fact that players do not need to keep buying arrows or bolts (required for Ranged) or runes (required for Magic) in order to fight, with 56% of respondents citing this reason. The second most voted choice was that Melee has a better choice of weapons and armour, and accounted for 13% of respondents.
Fighting players Edit
This is because the heavy plate armour (and chain armour to a lesser extent) typically worn by melee players is good at stopping ranged attacks, but provides very poor defence from magical attacks (and actually increases the accuracy of an attack, by using negative bonuses).
The most common defence of a melee player under attack by a mage is therefore to unequip the plate armour. Magical spells allowing mages to stop a player from moving are a problem for the melee player, who must be next to the mage in order to fight back. Prayer also offers some protection against the mage.
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