The calculation was similar. That means that a maximum magic or ranged player (let's take 99 Defense and 99 Rangd/Maged) could be between levels 100 and 110 and a maxed melee person could be at or around 120 levels. (These figures are estimates, of course, as they do not include prayer points or hit points). This would give Ranged or Magic players an advantage in PvP against Melee players.
We are currently in the Evolution of Combat update. The update balances the triangle of combat. Now, the combat classes are not "arguably identical", but they are clearly balanced. With this, the Jagex developers decided to ditch the 138 formula (the maximum level of combat was raised from 126 to 138 with the release of Summoning) and install the current or past (depending on how far into the future you've read this) combat formula. The 200 formula treats all classes equally. So, for example 99 defense and ranged players will have the same combat levels as 99 Magic and 99 defense players. Problem fixed, right?
It's basically. The 200 system isn't perfect, but it outperforms the current system for scaling players. But, the 200 calculation had a problem that could not overcome: nostalgia.
A lot of the responses to polls were fueled by nostalgia. It is not surprising that players grew-up with specific combat strategies. They would like to see them carry on. This isn't an excuse to not implement something, but nostalgia is. There are many other reasons why that you could choose to vote for the number 138 that aren’t nostalgia-related. One of them is the an element of familiarity. The 200 calculation has been part of this game for well over 1 year.
There is a way to add more danger to those forests inside. The map is designed for players of mid- to low levels. Dragons aren't a common thing to see and Barrows armor would be extremely rare. The most dangerous places aren’t always the most hazardous. Literally, adding boss monsters in the forests' centres would increase the risk. This isn't possible but if the areas are big enough to allow players to move around them.