The information contained within should not be considered fully accurate and/or complete.
Melee weapons are more commonly used than other weapons available, because they do not require ammunition to use, unlike most Magic or Ranged weapons. Most types of basic weapons come in eight different kinds of metal, while higher tiered weapons can be made from monster or boss drops.
Melee weapons fit into many general categories. No type is superior to any other, as they vary in attack style, and speed/damage. In general, weapons of the same tier (eg: Steel) have the same damage per second ratio, with two-handed weapons dealing the combined damage of a one-handed weapon and its off-hand of the same tier.
Equally as fast as a dagger. However, maces are unique among other weapons of a given metal in that they carry a prayer bonus which makes them useful for those who make heavy use of Prayer, especially in player killing scenarios.
A very popular weapon that can hit just as fast as a mace or dagger, but is also equally weak. Scimitars are, however, generally more expensive than daggers and maces and do not carry the latter's prayer bonus.
Slower than scimitars, maces, and daggers, but can deal the same damage per hit as a shortsword of the same metal type, except with slashing impact instead of stabbing. Although its speed is slightly slower than that of a scimitar, its extra damage makes it just as suitable.
One of the most powerful basic weapons, but it sacrifices both speed and the ability to be used with the off-hand slot, as its name suggests. However, it can be used with two-handed abilities, many of which can cause large amounts of damage.
The whip is an uncommon weapon type that is functionally similar to a scimitar, in that it hits low for its level, but quickly to compensate for the relatively low hits. The most notable whip is the Abyssal whip, a level 70 weapon.
Rapiers are primarily found in Daemonheim, though players can access other rapiers such as the Chaotic rapier and Drygore Rapier outside of Daemonheim. They are identical to shortswords in every aspect.
Defenders are off-hand equipment that provide both offensive and defensive bonuses. They are non-tradeable and can only be obtained sequentially starting from the lowest tier. Bronze through Dragon defenders can be obtained from the Warriors' Guild while higher tier defenders are made from boss drops.
Melee weapons are generally based on the attack stat, with some exceptions. Many weapons require multiple stats.