Pay-to-play (also known as P2P; paying players are called members) is the payment-subscribed version of the game. Members pay Jagex a real-world money fee every month in order to access much more content within the game.
There is no way to directly pay for membership in RuneScape Classic. Instead of this, by paying for membership on the current version of the game (RuneScape 3), players will automatically receive access to RuneScape Classic as well. For this reason, all players in RuneScape Classic are now members, as the free version no longer exists and membership is required to play it. The membership is also shared with Old School RuneScape.
The main advertising points of membership over the free to play version are duelling, and new content (areas, quests, monsters, and items), as well as the removal of advert banners from the top of the game window.
In the early days of RuneScape Classic, a principle appeal was that the pay-to-play worlds had less users in them, allowing more training areas to be used that would otherwise be full. In December 2002, there were 10 free worlds and 4 members' worlds.
The following locations are exclusive to pay-to-play:
- Kandarin (including Ardougne, Yanille, Seers Village, Taverley, the Fishing and Legends' guilds, and Catherby, among other points of interest)
- The Tree Gnome Stronghold and Tree Gnome Village
- Most of Karamja, e.g. Shilo Village (does not include Musa Point, which is free-to-play)
- The high-level wilderness around the Mage Arena, including the High level wilderness dungeon.
- The King Black Dragon lair.
- The Desert.
- Feldip Hills
- The Underground Pass.
- The Fishing Trawler.
- The wilderness section of Edgeville Dungeon.
The following skills are members' only:
- On free-to-play worlds, pay-to-play locations were non-existent. If a player were to log off in a members location and re-log on a free-to-play server, they would appear in the black void or in the middle of a body of a water, with no way out. The only way out was to move out of the area on a members world.
- Some players believe that PKing is unbalanced on pay-to-play due to the high hitting capabilities of the multi-way charged god spells.
- In the day of release, Andrew Gower had to manually upgrade players who had bought membership.