The concept is deeply rooted in nostalgia for sure, but what made OSRS so popular is the fact that the two games are so vastly different now. I think the shift that you are describing began with the combat update way back when, if you recall pre-combat update most skills did not have cooldowns but took time to load up before use. This old combat style was very unforgiving if you were running dungeons or shadow missions of great difficulty cause once you got aggroed it was difficult to get out of the situation without playing dead ( if you could), that combat style however required players to do dungeons and shadow missions as groups in order to survive so there were plenty of great memories that came out of runs with strangers who would often become friends.
During the pre-combat days there was far less content but the overall pace of the game was also much slower. certain skills like intermediate magic took awhile to get but were so rewarding! I think the lack of content then wasn't an issue because it took players a while to reach end game content ( mainly Peaca dungeon) at that point.
The introduction of the combat update was a welcomed change for most as it allowed for much more fluid combos and the added combat styles helped spice these up more! It was at this point however that all the new combat styles added plenty more stats to obtain and allowed for many players to hold their own soloing missions from this point on Mabi was having issues keeping their player base, I feel that was due to a large portion on the players at that time frame were entering college or the workforce and life just prevented many from playing as often and I can't speak on Nexon's marketing efforts for the game but Mabi was very niche-based as its not like any other MMO so some ppl loved that and others didn't. In order to keep the game alive they started introducing features to allow players to level up quickly or have access to hard to obtain skills early on to keep them interested as at this point there were tons of gachas being introduced to cater to the player base who liked to afk with fancy outfits on ... but hey that probably helped keep mabi alive. I think the large hike in the price of items often costing several millions of gold was a big turn off to alot of players or overtime they just were interested in playing newer games with their friends to obtain that nostalgia feeling from something else.
Although im sure there are some Mabi private servers still out there, id wager they are as populated as Tir Na Nog so reviving that sense of community would be very difficult if not impossible. I recommend if you do desire to keep playing, that you do your best to adapt, the server merge may provide that community again but its largely up to you to search for other players or guilds to get those interactions up again. Best of luck on your mabi journey!
I honestly hated the animated logins, they slowed my old pc down sooo much when they removed them and switched to a static 2d image the login took less time, the music didnt remix it self due to lagg, the game didnt crash while trying load log in page
Im honestly glad they switched to a 2d log in and i honestly hope it stays that way
Sure but the overwhelming majority of players aren't playing on a potato.