Runescape is best defined as a sandbox with themepark motives

You’re free to do whatever you wish or plan, but before you can do it you’ll have to do a certain set of objectives if they hadn’t been done already. The main goal of the game is hard to say unless you’re already a veteran, so I guess for new players it’s to focus on the quests you can do and train skills to unlock further ones.

PvP at this point is questionable. It’s there, it’s supported with a variety of minigames, it’s based on you if you find it fun (You’ll find one or two forms of it fun that’s guaranteed.) Its really risky in some cases where you can lose all items on death, very safe where you simply die and respawn intact.
There is no criminal system in-universe, just a report, ignore (cant see what the ignored people say), and ways to filter chat.
There is player looting within a special PvP area called The Wilderness, along with the (not played usually) Crucible. If you die outside of those areas you usually spawn a gravestone with all (but 3) items in it in the area you died.
There are tons of meanings for different PvP. Dueling/Staking, capture the flag, kill opposing team’s avatar, Free for All last one standing, gather more resources, etc.

PvE wise, the game’s quests (especially the recently released ones) are far superior to your typical ‘collect X item, go here’ games, in my opinion.

Hi guys! I have been following Runescape since I heard of the revamp that is going to happen in Runescape 3. I have been reading about the game for weeks, forums, some wikipedias, youtube videos, but I can’t still get a clear idea of what the game is really about. I love PvP and PvE, but I hate themepark games like WoW and love sandbox games like Ryzom, Darkfall, SWG, etc. I don’t know why, but I have always had the impression that Runescape was a game for childs, not very deep and with bad grapchis and animations (which I think will be changed in Runescape Gold), i know I might be wrong and that is why I want some player to explain me how the game really is.
I know there are quests, skill system, deep crafting, and PvP. But how is PvP? Is it open world PvP? is there any criminal system? Is there player looting? Is there any meaning for PvP?

Runescape is not a game just for kids. I have been playing for years with my wife. I think RS is a game that gets overlooked because people remember the old grafics, so they avoid it. The grafics are good, and will be better once RS 3 launches later in the year.
I would recomend getting a membership, as you would get a lot more gameplay (quests, skills, and a larger gaming world). I don’t enjoy themepark games, which is why I play RS..