Every time an update creates a new method of training that is viewed as either easier or faster experience, or a combination of both, player's reactions seem to be split, even if it was just an inconvenience. Consider the addition of the toolkit or the left-click option "Smith" on anvils late last year. Many players were clearly thrilled with this update and the number of clicks it would save. No longer would one have to click on a knife or tinderbox and then "use" it on a log; instead, it could be done swiftly with a right-click or even left-click on the item itself with aid from the omnipresent toolbelt. On the other hand, many players expressed their displeasure through the Rants forum and by mocking the update by calling it a product of "EasyScape".
The latter group's resentment for such updates likely stems from the "value" of experience. One can assign a value (or at least a lower bound on it) to almost anything. Goals, achievements, and experience in RuneScape are no exception. A player who had obtained 99 Firemaking or Fletching prior to the update did a certain amount of work to earn that level, to which one could assign an amount of value and with the update came a reduction in the value of such an achievement. Before long, the players who had obtained the amount of experience before and after mix, and aside from word of mouth or dated screenshots, become indistinguishable. Moreover, after a while, people subconsciously assume that everyone used the new, "standard" and improved, method and think that the respective level is not as difficult. This detriments the achievement's value, and hence it is seemingly "worth less" than it was once.
Defining whether this is a "good thing" or not is definitely not easy, and perhaps not possible beyond an individual basis – this entire topic eventually boils down to your own opinion on the matter. However, it is easy to see why this is the model perused by Jagex. For example, obtaining more experience than anyone else is in some ways similar to setting a new world record. The player has achieved something no one else has, and this often generates excitement and enthusiasm, and other generally positive things. It is powered by the same mechanic as a world record in real life: if there was a story on the news tomorrow about a Frisbee thrown a new record length, other people may be inclined to try the sport out, not necessarily with the aim of breaking the record.
Of course, there is quite a distinct difference between records set in the real world and those in gaming. Much like everything else in the gaming world, there is a thirst for things to happen faster. Quite plainly, tracking the progress of a particular world record becomes quite dull. Such boredom may just as well spill into the gaming world-one can imagine players saying "Oh, Player X has been at the top of the hiscores for five years," But measures such as making experience easier to gain are an artifical way to prop up challengers and rekindle excitement. Indeed, it does still seem to be a race, judging from the vast number of views and replies in places such as Tip.It's own "200M in all skills?" thread.
Occasionally, in an interesting twist, the reverse process can occur: experience can actually increase in value. One recent example would be the recent changes to the effigy system, notably including lowering the rate at which monsters drop them. Perhaps this is due to accidentally accelerating the race for experience too much, but analyzing motivations for such a change is not really within the focus of this editorial.
However, despite the general trend of easier and faster experience, it will remain a fixture for some time to come. Many players can name the current leader, who is now prominently featured at the top of the hiscores. In fact, by putting whichever player currently holds that position in such a light, Jagex is ensuring one thing: the value of experience may decrease over time, but it will never be completely devalued.