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RuneScape combat

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Combat, a set of trainable skills in the MMORPG RuneScape, is the act of battling opponents, whether they are non-player characters or other players. Combat between players and NPCs can take place in most locations in RuneScape, while combat among players can take place only in designated areas.

Levels and skills

The combat level of a player is calculated internally by the game engine using the seven combat skills. The maximum combat level in RuneScape is 138. In RuneScape Classic, the maximum combat level is 123. In both versions of RuneScape, the minimum combat level upon departure from Tutorial Island is three. As a player progresses, it becomes more time-consuming to obtain combat levels, due to the exponential progression of levels.

Attack is trained by using the "accurate" style of combat. Attack level determines how frequently a player's attack hits the opponent as well as the weapons a player can wield in combat.

Strength is trained by using the "aggressive" style of combat. Strength level determines the maximum damage during a single hit that a player can deal in melee combat. Higher strength levels are required to wield certain weapons and armour, such as halberds or granite weaponry and armour.

Defence is trained by using the "defensive" style of combat when fighting, by using the long-range style with most ranged weapons, and by having a spell selected when using a magic staff or wand in the defensive style. Defence level determines the chance of avoiding damage during an opponent's attack as well as the armour that a player can wear.

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The Descent of Dragons Special Attack of the Dark Bow.

Hitpoints, which determines how much damage players can sustain before they die, is trained during any combat. Hitpoints lost in battle can be restored by eating food. Hitpoints also regenerate automatically as time passes. The rate of regeneration can be increased by the use of prayer, jewellery or magic.

Magic is trained by using runes to cast spells. Magic level determines the spells a player can use, how often a spell hits an opponent, and how often a player avoids a spell. Many spells, such as teleport, alchemy, and enchant spells, are not combat related; therefore, magic can be trained when players are not actively engaged in combat. The maximum damage a spell can do is determined by the actual spell, not the player's magic level.

Ranged is trained by using arrows, throwing knives, and other projectiles in combat. Ranged level determines the chance of hitting an opponent with a projectile weapon, the amount of damage done, and the ranged armour and weapons that can be worn and wielded. Arrows have a large chance of reappearing when shot, allowing players to pick them up when training.

Prayer can be used on demand to improve a player's chances in combat. These range from temporarily improving a certain combat skill - to allowing hitpoints to regnerate faster. Prayer is trained by honouring the dead in various ways - most commonly burying bones (which are obtained from killing monsters). Different types of bones can gain different amounts of prayer experience when buried. Prayer level determines which prayers the player may use as well as how long prayers will remain active before players must recharge their prayer points at an altar or through the use of potions. Prayer was originally called necromancy in the extremely early stages of RuneScape.

To achieve the highest combat level, players must earn the highest level in the attack, strength, defence, and hitpoints skills as well as one level below the highest level in the prayer skill. While the ranged and magic skills affect combat levels, once a player reaches a certain level in the melee skills, ranged and magic no longer affect the total combat level.

summoning is the only pure pay to play combat skill. Summoning allows the player to call on friendly monsters for a limited amount of time to help them in combat or skilling. Generally, the higher level need to summon the creature, the better the monster fights along side you. Players need to complete a certain quest to unlock the powers of summoning. In order to summoning a familiar the player must have the corresponding pouch in their inventory. Summoned creatures won't help you if you are in single way combat

Classes and Styles

When RuneScape was first designed, like many existing MMORPGs, players were required to choose a class. At an early stage however classes were removed. This means that players are not bound to a specific category of combat, and they may freely use all three styles of combat at any time simply by switching weapons, armour, or the form and focus of attack. Players can carry the weapons and armour of the three combat categories in their inventories, switching between or even combining the styles at will.


Melee fighting is the art of hand-to-hand combat, with or without weapons. Melee fighters, or warriors, concentrate on training their attack, strength, and defence skills as these skills determine the quality of the weapons and armour players are allowed to use as well as the amount of damage they can inflict or avoid in battle.

Runescape combat melee-2

A warrior fighting a White Knight.

Melee armour and weapons are usually metallic or magical and are made of many different materials, from bronze to dragon, as well as many other speciality sets of armour. One such set is known as Barrows armour, and, when, worn in a complete set, with helmet, platebody, and platelegs, as well as its respective weapon, has a special effect that occurs randomly during combat. Many of the weapons and armour used by warriors can be made by players using the smithing skill. Specialty pieces made of other materials are also available.

Armour consists of various pieces, form fitted to protect various parts of the body. Players can wear a platebody or chainbody to protect their torso and arms. Platelegs or plateskirts protect the legs. Helmets to protect the head come in two styles: full helms complete with visors and plumes, and medium helms that are open faced. Gloves or gauntlets worn on the forearms and hands and boots on the feet effectively cover the player.

Weapons are a mix of medieval and fantastical. Daggers, swords, longswords, two-handed swords, scimitars, maces, warhammers, battle axes, spears, halberds, claws, and whips are commonly available. All the Dragon Weapons and the Abyssal Whip and Mauls have a "Special Attack". Rune claws and throwing axes have special attacks as well. Pickaxes and hatchets, while intended as tools for mining and woodcutting, can also be used as weapons.


Ranged fighting is the art of combat with projectile weapons. Many of the weapons used by rangers can be constructed by players using the fletching skill. Many of the ranged armour can be constructed by players using the crafting skill.

Runescape combat range-2

A ranger fires bolts with a Rune Crossbow at a White Knight.

Ranging armour is constructed of lightweight materials to enable rangers to move and fire their weapons effectively. While mostly intended for ranging, the use of this type of armour is common among players who use melee due to the fact that they can give decent defence while being lightweight as well. Materials for armour include cowhide and various dragon hide leathers, as well as snakeskin. Speciality pieces, including a Robin Hood hat and Ranger boots, are also available.

Ranging weaponry consists of bows and crossbows, as well as thrown weapons, such as knives, darts, and javelins. Bows are made of different types of wood with metal fittings and come in short, long, composite, and ogre variants. Arrows used as ammunition for bows can be constructed by players from wooden shafts with metal arrowheads. Crossbow bolts can be tipped with gemstones, which can then be magically enchanted. Some types of bow also have special attacks.

The ranging skill is useful because it allows the player to attack from a distance or across a fence instead of close up melee fighting. Ranging can also be used to access "shortcuts" across the map that allow players to cross rivers or fences more easily.


Magic combat involves the use of spells powered by runes in the player's inventory. The runes, which are consumed upon the casting of a spell, can be purchased or created by players using the runecrafting skill. With the appropriate runes and skill level, players can cast a variety of spells.

Runescape combat magic-2

A mage uses the Ice Barrage spell against a White Knight.

Three separate spell books exist in the magic skill. The default spell book is the most diverse and is available to all players, although some of its spells are restricted to those players who choose to pay a monthly fee for additional content (members). It contains combat, teleportation, and helping spells. The ancient magicks spellbook focuses on combat and teleportation spells and can only be used after completion of a difficult quest that is restricted to members. The lunar spell book, also available only to members after completion of a quest, uses a special kind of rune, astral runes, and focuses on team cooperation and non combat spells. Players who have earned the right to use various spellbooks can change freely among them; however, they must travel to specific locations to do so.

Magical armour is comprised of robes made from simple cloth, so as to allow more magical energy to flow through the mage without the hindrance of inflexible or uncomfortable materials. Any protection against physical attack provided by robes is derived from magical enchantments.

Combat triangle

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The RuneScape combat triangle

The three classes of combat in RuneScape form the combat triangle. Each class has its own disadvantages and advantages over the other classes. Many variables, such as the weapons and armour used as well as the relative statistics of the combatants, affect the outcome of any battle.

Warriors have an advantage against rangers because of the poor melee defence bonus of the ranger's leather armour, which allows the warrior to deal heavy damage to the ranger. A warrior's metallic armour is also very effective when defending against the ranger's projectile weapons. Mages have an advantage against warriors due to the magic conducting properties of the metallic armour worn by warriors. Magic spells can bind and freeze players for a small period of time, keeping warriors, with their short-range weapons, from reaching mages. But if a warrior wore leather (high Mage defence) then he might win against a mage.

Rangers have an advantage against mages as their leather and dragonhide armour have high magic defence bonuses. Arrows easily pierce mage robes to cause damage to the wearer. Rangers' long-range attacks allow them to deal damage from a distance even when bound or frozen.

Player versus monster

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The Kalphite Queen in her 2nd form after a long battle.

Players engage in combat with NPCs for many reasons. Experience in attack, strength, defence, range, mage, and hitpoints is gained by inflicting damage upon opponents. Prayer experience is gained by burying the bones left behind when certain NPCs die or by simply killing certain NPCs. Wealth is gained by defeating many NPCs, as they drop items, equipment, or coins when they die. Quests are often completed by defeating a particular monster or group of monsters. Mini-games, such as Pest Control, the Barrows, or the TzHaar Fight Cave, require players to defeat monsters in order to gain rewards.

However, the more powerful monsters can drop Clue Scrolls. These scrolls are often long and tedious mini-quests, but almost always provide worthwhile rewards. Very often, these scrolls involve visiting someone,, searching hidden crates or areas, or wielding various equipment and performing an emote somewhere.

Player versus player (PvP)


In the earliest versions of RuneScape, players could not engage in player versus player, or PvP combat. With the release of the third version, PvP combat was introduced to the game; however, players were required to choose whether they wished to play as player-killer characters or non-player-killer characters. Players were allowed to switch from player-killer mode to non-player-killer mode only three times, after which they remained at their chosen setting forever.

PvP combat could take place in most locations throughout Gielinor. Lumbridge was eventually designated as a neutral area where players could not attack each other in order to prevent players from being killed again immediately after respawning, a practice known as spawn camping. NPC Guards and White Knights patrolled the cities of Varrock and Falador respectively, breaking up PvP battles by attacking the aggressors; however, these guard units were limited in number. When all the guard units in the city were already engaged in combat, PvP combat flourished.

On 13 August 2001, this system of PvP combat was replaced by the Wilderness. Over the next few years, Jagex continued to add locations for PvP combat in mini-games, such as Castle Wars, the duel arena, and the TzHaar fight pits.


In the December 10th, 2007 update, major alterations to the Wilderness were made.

To prevent item transfer by rigged PvP battles, open PvP combat was no longer possible, with the wilderness danger element being provided by new roving monsters of extreme power, the Revenants.

PvP moved to a smaller area within the wilderness, bounty hunter, with rules to make arranged item transfer very difficult, and only combat items and supplies permitted in the area.

Original Wilderness

In the Wilderness, a barren area located in the northern part of the RuneScape map, players can engage in combat with each other, a practice commonly known as PKing (player-killing). Players may attack any player within a specified range of combat levels dictated by the level of Wilderness. This level increases as players proceed further north into the Wilderness.

Players who initiate combat by attacking other players are identified by a skull icon affixed above their heads for approximately 20 minutes. This is commonly known as being skulled. If the aggressors subsequently die while skulled, they drop all items they are carrying at the time of death on the ground, instead of keeping their three most valuable items. Use of prayer can allow skulled players to retain their single most valuable item. The items dropped can be picked up by other players. However, the items appear first to the player who dealt the dead player the most damage. Only after do the items dropped appear to other players.

Some players will create special PKing characters, known as pures, in order to optimize certain skills while keeping their combat level low. This is accomplished by heavily training the skills that are being optimized (usually range, mage or strength), while training the other combat skills to the minimum level required for effectiveness or not at all. In most cases, defence and/or prayer is sacrificed for high ranged, magic, and/or strength, leading to a misleading combat level to deceive the enemy.

Some players will band together to form teams that travel the Wilderness together, defending themselves from attack more effectively than a single player. These larger groups lead rise to more complex combat strategies, such as the "Death Dot", where all players stand on one square of the map making them appear to be a single character. Teams may be formed for one foray into the Wilderness, or they may be part of a larger clan. Most clans are permanent organizations, complete with websites and forums. Clan members usually have something in common, either combat levels, RuneScape goals, age, or other factors, that bring them together as a cohesive unit to perform various functions together.

Duel arena

The Duel arena is located in Al Kharid and is available to everyone. It allows a formal fight between two and only two players, in which the loser does not lose their held items on death. Players can choose to stake items and/or gold pieces that will be received by the winner, or else duel for fun and experience. The combatants must agree to the terms and conditions of their fight before it starts. These terms include whether or not combatants are allowed certain combat styles (melee, ranged, or magic); use food items to heal health, potions, prayers and special attacks. Players can also disallow use of specified weapons/armor/equipment.

Castle Wars

Castle Wars is a combat-based minigame, similar to capture the flag, in which two teams of players attempt to invade the enemy team's castle, steal their flag, and bring it back to their own castle. Players can choose to fight on the side of Saradomin (blue) or Zamorak (red) by entering a portal. There is a third "side", which is Guthix (green). If the player chooses to enter the Guthix portal, the player is placed on the team with the least amount of players. Inside the game players can pick-up bandages, barricades, and even rocks to fire the catapult with to help bring the team to victory. Players may only attack their enemies on the opposing team, and dying inside the minigame will respawn the player in the safe-zone of their team's castle, and carries none of the normal penalties such as loss of items and being transported to a respawn point. The game lasts twenty minutes, and after the game there is a 5 minute cooling time, for the players to use the bank and return to their teams. Each player on the winning team gets two tickets, which can be exchanged for decorative armour, while a tie results in all players in the game getting only one ticket.

TzHaar fight pit

The TzHaar fight pit is a combat arena located under the Karamja volcano in the city of Tzhaar. Players can enter the arena and fight each other to the death using any style of combat. Players who are killed in the fight respawn in the waiting area with all their items; therefore, there is no risk. The last player standing receives a prize that is based on the number of players that were defeated that round and is marked in the next battle by a red skull above his or her head.

Player owned houses

Players may create combat rooms in their houses using the construction skill. In the combat room, they can build several combat rings each with their own rules. All of these combat rings allow players to gain experience in the combat skills.

Players cannot gain or lose items in any combat room, as players will simply reappear outside the ring should they die, with no loss of items. The combat ring is popular for clan events. Combatants gain experience for every blow landed - as with other forms of combat.

Players may also build their own throne rooms and dungeons. In the throne room players can turn their dungeon on and off and can also turn on player vs. player (PvP) mode. There is still nothing to lose in a PvP dungeon, but if players make it to the treasure room and defeat the boss, they can gain treasure (donated by the house owner). The owner of the dungeon may place various monsters in the dungeon for other players to fight; these monsters range from a basic skeleton guard to a powerful steel-scaled dragon available only to those who have a very high construction level.

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