I think Runescape got away with haqving item-drop-on-death and unique/special equipment by allowing for 3/4 items to be saved. This allows generic drops to be sacrificed and avoid frustrating players by making them lose unique/special items. (Realm of the Mad God, on the other hand, tend to be more niche and hardcore than Runescape because they force you to lose your unique/special equipment)Runescape had a very nice PvP flavour with that too, in that you lose all items when you are skulled (i.e. after agressing another player). Though for some reason they gradually changed this (probably because PK kids were whining about losing their stuff?).
The fact of being skulled and the risk of losing everything was the "price" you had to pay for attacking others. Which was a fair trade-off, and a challenge.
First, it was changed so turning on the protection prayer would allow you to keep an item even when skulled (if for no other reason, this is someting I would not do because of lore -- a "prayer" should not work if you act against your deities, no matter how strong you pray).
And more recently, the entire concept of "skull" was dropped. I wonder why. So basically now you can just do what you want without any consequences, if I understand correctly. Everything you do (good or bad) should have a consequence.