Jagex addressed this issue and wanted to make the cape cosmetic only or try to create the RS gold capes only trigger particular kinds of high-quality cape slot things but their was a huge backlash of people who awakened months obtaining these capes. It creates sense using the max capes be the best capes in Runescape, but getting 99 are far more of a time sink afterward a skill challenge.
I would love a comp cape in OSRS for some thing for me to use but I wouldn’t want it to have any special perks past the regular max cape stuff. No one uses maximum or comp. It’s now outclassed from the kiln capes. They did nerf the stats about the comp and max capes, and now with the release of wars retreat, there’s absolutely no need for being maximum for the maximum guild.
Skillcapes have been a problem for quite a very long moment. Following their debut in 2006 we saw a massive increase and botting in 2007. Skills which were useless to max like Firemaking and Herblore needed a massive demand all of a sudden and RWTers simply filled that gap. Correlation does not equal causation. Having lived it, I would be quite likely to believe that the interval between when capes were released along with the spike in RWT and bot action you mentioned was also one in which Runescape saw a good quantity of growth.
Beyond this, what you’re proposing is that the act of getting people to play Runescape longer is going to worsen the botting and RWT issues. I remember the shift in mindset the launch of skillcapes. It really was a simpler time before skillcapes. It seemed like hardly anyone cared to get high stats, let alone get level 99 in futile or unenjoyable skills. Then after their launch everyone seemed to abruptly care.
Now its much worse. The playerbase is obsessed with efficiency, its foolish. I truly believe its damaging Runescape. There’s a lot of dead content ingame, simply as it is not thought to be efficient. Same thing for new content, which needs to be equally effective or better. The efficiency attitude the skillcapes caused definitely increased the demand for RWT and cheating. The perks are also a significant part of the issue, like IVIorphinz said, however, it all started with the OSRS buy gold introduction of skillcapes in my opinion.