The Trade limit was a mechanism in the trade system that prevented players from making trades considered to be too "unbalanced", that is, where one of the two players involved in the trade gave much more than they received according to the item's value in the Grand Exchange. Jagex introduced it as part of measures to curb real world trading. As a side benefit, the trade limit also discouraged and mostly eliminated "hacking" other players' accounts. Trade Limit is now removed along with the return of wilderness player killing.
For free players, the imbalance could be up to 10,000 coins every 15 minutes; for members, the limit increased with quest points up to a maximum of 60,000 coins every 15 minutes. This limit also affected stakes made when duelling, any charge made for lending items, and the Rat Pits.
Jagex's intention to implement the limit was announced in the Trade and Drop Changes update on 10 December 2007, as part of several other updates, to allow players to prepare for the limit. In fact, the trade limit was already applied to new players who signed up after 10 December 2007, as well as various other "high risk" players. The limit was instituted for all players in the Unbalanced Trade Removal update on 2 January 2008.
New free to play account trade limit:
There is still a trade limit in which certain players can not make a trade where they give away more than 25,000 coins, to prevent players from buying/selling gold. This was introduced on 22 November 2011 to combat Gold farming. The limit only affects accounts created after this limit was introduced, which have never had membership, however this trade limit is lifted once the player obtains membership and the limit will never come back once membership is activated on the account.
As initially planned, the trade cap would have been 3,000 coins for all players. After considering suggestions from players, Jagex decided to increase this limit, depending on quest points. Below is a table with trade limits for given numbers of quest points, as provided by Jagex.
Quest points No-Friend Margin 1 Month Friend 2 Months Friend 3 Months Friend 0 to 10 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 34 10,076 20,152 30,228 40,304 75 18,750 37,500 56,250 75,000 150 34,615 69,230 103,845 138,460 225 50,480 100,960 151,440 201,920 270+ 60,000 120,000 180,000 240,000
Calculating trade limits
The formulae below can be used to calculate trade limits:
Range Formula 10 < QP ≤ 33 round(QP*170+3300) 33 < QP ≤ 75 round(QP*(213+17/41)+(2743+9/10)) 75 < QP ≤ 225 round(QP*(211+8/15)+2885) 225 < QP ≤ 270 round(QP*(211+5/9)+2880)
If you use a graphing Calculator, input it like this to get correct estimates:
Range Formula 10 < QP ≤ 33 (QP(170))+3300 33 < QP ≤ 75 (QP(213))+(17/41)+2743+(9/10) 75 < QP ≤ 225 (QP(211))+(8/15)+2885 225 < QP ≤ 270 (QP(211))+(5/9)+2880
The announcement of the limit resulted in much criticism from players, and was a factor in the well-known Pay to Pk Riot (though that was primarily in protest at the changes to the Wilderness, which coincided with the trade limit announcement). Many players disliked the update, as it prevents larger gifts from being given to others, and reduces the amount of help that can be provided to fellow players. On 3 January 2008, shortly after the implementation of the limit, the Unbalanced Trade Riot occurred as a result.
In addition, some players disliked the fact that quest points were the determining factor in the trade cap, as some experienced pures don't meet the requirement. Also, some free players disliked that the trade cap was widely varied between free and member accounts. It would seem that Jagex made an inconvenience to free players instead of an incentive for getting a member account, although one could argue this is one in the same.
Some players also used the Party Room, in very quiet worlds and having totals of just enough value (<50,000 GP) that it would not be advertised throughout RuneScape. However, this became less effective when the Party Room became usable only on specific worlds.
Another method was to look for items that have a large discrepancy between the Grand Exchange value and the player market value. For example, various items have a relatively high Grand Exchange value compared to their street value. Players often used these items to "balance" a trade. This practice was known as junk trading.
On 21 December 2010, a petition was created by Jagex asking players whether or not they wanted the Wilderness and free trade to return. In 24 hours over a million people voted to have the two return. In the second phase of the vote, a referendum was made with "Yes", "No", and "Don't Mind" options. The referendum was closed on 14 January 2011, with 91% of players voting yes. On 1 February unrestricted free trade returned, making the trade limit obsolete.
- When the trade limit was implemented for all players, a bug prevented it from working properly. Some players used this to scam others by asking them to try trading several million and saying that the limit was in place.
- The trade limit was originally 3k for free players and members. This was then changed to 5k for members and non members. This was subsequently changed to 30k for members and 5k for non-members. Finally, when the While Guthix Sleeps quest was released, the trade limits became 10k for non-members and 60k for members. After the 1 February update, the trade limit was completely removed.
- There was a glitch that sometimes when you trade and lower your trade limit for the hour, if you go to price check it will say that it was worth more than it actually was.
- Sometimes, a glitch occurred where the trade limit was -1 or -46. The trade limit could then be bypassed. This glitch was fixed by Jagex.
- Sometimes, another glitch occurred after the max trade limit had been given away. The trade limit for the unglitched player would be the maximum trade limit of the lower of the two players' trade limits. The trade limit for the glitched player was -3 coins. In this event, no trade could occur.
- The days before it was implemented, many scammers were active. Mainly because that this was one of the last chances they could have at scamming large amounts of money.
- Accidental removal of a friend did not immediately reset how long players have been friends. There was a delay in how long it would take for the friendship to reset.