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This was one of the great controversies back in my day.
On 18 April 2006, Jagex released the Pest Control mini-game. At the time, they probably saw that RuneScape lacked a safe, team-based PvM mini-game (this was well before Barbarian Assault was released) and wanted to fill that gap with Pest Control, while also introducing some new combat equipment and giving players some points they could use towards combat experience.
The issue was that, soon after its release, the players discovered that it was, for its time, an absurdly fast way to gain experience in the combat skills; it was much faster than any method that existed in the game at the time. The only requirement to play Pest Control was a combat level of 40, and the only requirement to be awarded the points was to deal a minimum of 50 total points of damage (which wasn't very much) during the course of a game. Meanwhile, the mechanics of Pest Control were such that if your team had enough high-level players, games could be won at lightning-fast speeds—so fast, in fact, that at times I struggled and even failed to deal the minimum 50 points of damage required to earn a reward point (and sometimes had to resort to attacking the damn Splatters to satisfy that requirement, as they had lots of hitpoints and it was pretty easy to damage them).
A lot of players started complaining that Pest Control made combat too easy; experience and levels that used to take months and years to obtain could be gotten in weeks or days. People could achieve 100 combat very quickly with Pest Control, yet have nothing close to the knowledge and the experience with the game traditionally expected of someone of that level, as most of their training was done in a single mini-game. Thus emerged the term
PC prod, short for Pest Control product, which was used back in the day to describe (and usually insult) a player who had attained most of his combat experience points grinding Pest Control games, rather than through traditional monster-killing; it implied a certain amount of noobishness and inexperience with RuneScape. Even I am guilty of using Pest Control as a very fast way to train combat: I played it intensively for a week or two in early/mid-2007 as a way to quickly level my Attack, Strength, and Defence levels from the low/mid-60s to level 70, so that I could wear Barrows armor.
Then came the great nerf on 17 July 2007. The nerf made games artificially longer by introducing the shields, so even the shortest games would now take around two minutes, as opposed to well under a minute before, which was very possible if you had a good team. It also split the single boat that had existed previously into 3 boats: a low-level boat requiring at least 40 combat to enter, a mid-level boat requiring at least 70 combat, and a high-level boat requiring at least 100 combat, with the points awarded and the strength of the monsters adjusted accordingly. In effect, though, I can remember that games in the high-level boat—where everybody was using endgame equipment like Barrows or abyssal whips or crystal bows—turned out to be a cakewalk, while we could pretty much never win in the mid-level boat, so we ended up having to jump into the low-level boat just so we could win games consistently. Even in the high-level boat, though, you couldn't get combat experience as fast as you could before the nerf, so Pest Control generally stopped being a combat training shortcut. I don't really remember people calling others PC prods very much after the nerf.
I guess people mostly play Pest Control for fun these days; there's nothing wrong with that. But remember, you noobs, always kill the damn Spinners first!
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