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Combat icon large.png

Combat is an event in RuneScape in which two or more players and/or creatures fight.

Combat is based around randomly generated numbers in the form of "damage", which deplete a target's life points. The damage done by the parties involved is determined by their skills and, in a player's case, their equipment among other factors. There is also hit and block chance, the likelihood that a party will land a successful hit. Combat lasts until one participant is killed or flees.

Players can influence their effectiveness in combat in many ways, such as boosting their combat skills via potions or prayers, or lowering their enemy's stats via curses or curse spells. There are also some items that offer special buffs to combat.

A player fighting with Melee.
A player fighting with Magic.
A player fighting with Ranged.

Combat classes[edit | edit source]

The combat triangle, depicting the three combat classes.

There are three methods with which a player or monster may fight in combat: with melee attacks, ranged attacks, or magical attacks. The classes involving these attacks are known as the warrior, the ranger, and the mage. A player's class is determined by their worn equipment and prioritised skills, and thus their class may change as desired.

Each combat class is stronger against one class and weaker to the other. This forms the combat triangle, a depiction of this relationship.

  • Warriors are strong against rangers. Rangers' projectiles cannot penetrate metal armour well, but warriors' blades cut through leather with ease.
  • Rangers are strong against mages. Their leather and dragonhide armours absorb magical spells, whereas their projectiles easily pierce the soft cloth of mage robes.
  • Mages are strong against warriors. The metal in warriors' armour conducts spells. Their magical robes resist melee attacks, and they can use bind or freeze spells to keep warriors out of attacking range.

By bringing weapons and armour for multiple combat classes, and switching between them at will, a player can use multiple combat styles in a fight. This is called "hybridding". Hybridding is often used to gain an advantage in player-versus-player combat, especially to avoid protection prayers that halve damage from a single combat style, and it is a common tactic in large multiplayer battles such as Clan Wars.

Monsters use attacks from one or more combat classes, and the vast majority have a weakness against one particular class. Other monsters have no weakness and may be fought effectively with any class.

Combat variables[edit | edit source]

A player's life points, adrenaline, prayer points, and summoning points on the action bar.

There are several variables in combat which moderate an entity's performance. Life points are possessed by players and foes, whereas the other mechanisms are used in foes sparingly or restrictively.

  • Constitution (action bar) icon.png Life points — These represent how much damage a player or creature can withstand. When an entity loses all its life points, it dies. A player's maximum life points is determined by their Constitution level and their worn armour. The primary method of recovering life points is eating food.
  • Auto-retaliate icon.png Adrenaline — This determines the abilities a player or creature may use. Adrenaline is gained and lost by using different types of abilities, and unlike other mechanisms, it is represented as a percentage. Only a few foes are capable of using adrenaline.
  • Prayer icon.png Prayer points — These are drained at the cost of using prayers. Some foes can use prayers, though only players pay in prayer points, their maximum points being determined by their Prayer level. Prayer points can be replenished by praying at an altar, or by drinking a prayer potion.
  • Summoning icon.png Summoning points — These are spent to summon a familiar, and are drained while a familiar is kept. A player's Summoning level is their maximum summoning points, and these points are recharged by drawing energy from an obelisk or small obelisk. Only a very small amount of foes can summon familiars.

If playing on Legacy Combat Mode, the adrenaline mechanism is replaced with special attack energy, which is found in the combat settings tab. Special attack energy is used for special attacks and regenerates naturally.

Combat skills[edit | edit source]

Combat skills are levels possessed by players and creatures that influence their combat proficiency. There are offensive and defensive skills that increase damage, hit chance, and block chance, while there are further skills that augment the others or offer additional options in combat.

Accuracy skills[edit | edit source]

These skills contribute to the player's accuracy stat, offering up to 1212 base accuracy at level 99.

Attack-icon.png Attack raises your accuracy with melee attacks.

Magic-icon.png Magic raises your accuracy with magical attacks.

Ranged-icon.png Ranged raises your accuracy with ranged attacks.

Damage skills[edit | edit source]

These skills contribute to the player's damage stat. The damage gained scales with weapon speed and handedness, though as a base, each level contributes 2.5 damage.

Strength-icon.png Strength raises your damage with melee attacks.

Magic-icon.png Magic raises your damage with magical attacks.

Ranged-icon.png Ranged raises your damage with ranged attacks.

As seen above, proficient melee combat requires training in two skills whereas Ranged and Magic each require only one. However, as such, melee combat makes use of both Attack and Strength abilities.

Other skills[edit | edit source]

These skills are used by all combat classes.

Defence-icon.png Defence raises your chance to block foes' attacks, and it reduces the damage of attacks received. At level 99, Defence provides 1212 base armour and a 9.9% damage reduction against creatures and players.

Constitution-icon.png Constitution raises your maximum life points by 100 for each level. Players start out with level 10 in this skill. At level 99, Constitution provides 9900 base life points.

Prayer-icon.png Prayer is used to grant buffs to combat, such as raising your combat skills, and it offers benefits like item protection, damage upon death, and even the ability to halve damage from a combat style. Using prayers depletes prayer points. A higher Prayer level allows access to more powerful buffs and benefits.

Summoning-icon.png Summoning is used to conjure familiars to aid you. Many familiars will fight alongside you, while others act as a beast of burden, or will heal you and bank your items among many other traits. As with Prayer, the best familiars require a high Summoning level to use. Some familiars are meant to aid non-combat skills, making Summoning a skill used in and outside combat.

While creatures possess life points, and a rare few use prayers or summon familiars, creatures do not have a Constitution, Prayer, or Summoning level.

Combat level[edit | edit source]

An entity's combat level is a representation of how tough it is to defeat, calculated using its skill levels; most bosses, however, have an assigned level that more accurately reflects their danger. An entity's combat level can be seen by right-clicking it, though players not in combat and with sheathed weapons will display their skill total instead.

A player starts out after account creation as combat level 3; the maximum level one can achieve is combat level 138.

Skill boosts[edit | edit source]

Players can boost their combat skills via several methods, the foremost being potions and prayers, both of which boost the player's accuracy skills, damage skills, or Defence skill. Potions temporarily raise the skill levels seen in the skills tab, the extra levels diminishing by one every minute, whereas prayers maintain an invisible, constant boost until disabled. The strongest combat potions are untradeable and, similar to prayers, require a high Herblore level to obtain.

Constitution cannot be boosted, but a player can raise their maximum life points by equipping high-level armour, by throwing logs on a bonfire, or by using the Fortitude prayer. To heal above one's maximum life points, one can consume Saradomin brew or certain foods such as rocktail and sailfish, soak in the thermal bath at the Oo'glog spa, pray at the Elidinis Statuette in Nardah, or use titan's constitution summoning scrolls.

Players can restore prayer points above the maximum by praying at special altars like the Senntisten altar, by soaking in the sulphur spring at the Oo'glog spa, or by catching Guthixian butterflies. Guthixian butterflies can also boost a player's summoning points above their normal maximum, as can a Clan Battlefield powerup tile.

Prayer and Summoning levels can only be boosted by using advanced pulse cores.

Skill drains[edit | edit source]

Not only can combat skills be boosted, they can be drained by some creatures, bosses, and environments like the snowy land north of Trollheim. Skill drains can be combated by drinking a restore potion.

As with boosted skills, drained skills will return to their former levels at the rate of 1 level a minute.

Combat equipment[edit | edit source]

While skills are valued, the bulk of a player's combat ability comes from their weapons and armour, and additionally from jewellery which provides extra bonuses. Using good equipment is essential to combat.

Weapons[edit | edit source]

Dragon longsword detail.png

Weapons are held in the main- and off-hand slots and contribute most of a player's damage and accuracy, and determine attack speed. A warrior may fight with daggers, swords, scimitars, maces, spears, and other weapons; a ranger may shoot from shortbows, shieldbows, and crossbows, or may throw weapons like knives or darts; and a mage may cast from a wand, an orb, a book, or a staff.

A ranger uses the ammunition slot to hold arrows and crossbow bolts, though this slot is not needed for thrown weapons. A mage requires runes in their inventory to cast spells.

Players may wield a main-hand weapon and off-hand weapon simultaneously, known as dual-wielding, or they may use a two-handed weapon that occupies both slots. Either method offers equal damage output. Alternatively, a player may fight with a main-hand weapon and a shield, sacrificing damage output for defensive ability.

Armour[edit | edit source]

Armadyl chestplate detail.png

Armour raises a player's block chance and reduces their damage received. It is worn in the head, torso, legs, gloves, boots, and cape slots. A warrior wears heavy armour made of metal; a ranger wears nimble clothing sewn from animal skins; and a mage wears magical robes. Armour defends against each combat class as determined by the combat triangle; this can be witnessed in the Loadout screen as Style Bonus, which is added or subtracted from the player's Armour stat.

Armour not matching the combat class of the player's weapon will penalise accuracy, this being viewable by mousing over one's Accuracy stat. As such, each combat class requires its own armour. Another option is hybrid armour, which has no specific weakness and will not penalise accuracy under any style.

While a full set of armour should always be worn in combat, a player may also equip a shield, which grants further defence and allows the use of shield abilities.

Most armour only aids defence; however, some armour sets sacrifice defence for bonus damage, and other sets are meant for use by all combat classes.

Jewellery[edit | edit source]

Arcane stream necklace detail.png

Jewellery is worn in the neck and ring slots and enhances a player's combat ability, usually by a damage or prayer bonus. Most jewellery is limited to one combat class, though some items benefit all classes and can be used by any.

Some jewellery carries special effects: as examples, the demon horn necklace restores prayer points for every bone buried, and luck enhancers slightly increase the drop chance of rare items. Other items have non-combat benefits like the amulet of glory, which can teleport the player around the map.

Capes share the same function as jewellery, though they are counted as armour.

Abilities[edit | edit source]

The Defence ability book.
A player using Omnipower, an ultimate magic ability.

Abilities are unique moves a player may perform in combat, which can deal extra damage, stun opponents, defend, and apply buffs or debuffs. They are the primary method of fighting and dealing damage. A player's adrenaline determines what abilities a player can use.

Each combat class has its own abilities: some have equivalents like the basic stunning abilities, while others like Snipe or Decimate are unique to their class. Furthermore, there are abilities related to Defence and Constitution which can be used with any class.

Ability usage depends on a player's combat mode. With Full Manual, each ability must be triggered manually; with Revolution, basic abilities trigger automatically according to their placement on the action bar. On Legacy Combat Mode, a game setting that recreates combat prior to the Evolution of Combat, all abilities are disabled with special attacks in their stead.

Abilities for each skill are found in the Powers screen, and can be dragged out onto the interface. Once there, abilities can be clicked to use, or they can be dragged onto the action bar and activated by pressing the bound keybind.

Buffs and debuffs[edit | edit source]

Several abilities leave a temporary effect on the player or their target, persisting for a time and possibly changing their combat capability. Examples are Debilitate which halves damage received from a target, or Fragmentation Shot which inflicts a damage-over-time effect. These effects are known as buffs or debuffs, and they are applied by many abilities. A player can observe theirs via the interface, and inspect their enemy's through its combat overlay, under their life points bar.

Buffs and debuffs are not applied solely through abilities: any change to an entity's combat performance counts as such. The most common player buffs are skill boosts from potions and prayers.

Special attacks[edit | edit source]

Special attacks are unique abilities available by wielding certain weapons. They are accessed as the foremost ability in the Constitution set, and unlike other abilities, each special attack requires its own amount of adrenaline and drains that full amount when used. Some special attacks are particularly potent, such as the Saradomin godsword, which restores the user's life points and prayer points, and Statius's warhammer, which drains the target's Defence by 30%.

In Legacy Combat Mode, special attacks use special attack energy instead of adrenaline. The percentage of energy required and drained functions in the same way.

Combat instances[edit | edit source]

Player versus Monster (PvM)[edit | edit source]

Player-versus-Monster combat is the act of a player fighting a non-player character. Fighting and killing monsters is usually done to collect their drops, such as hide and bones from chromatic dragons, or to gather combat experience.

The Slayer skill involves being assigned an amount of a monster to kill, and is a common form of PvM combat. Some monsters requiring a Slayer level to kill may drop valuable items.

At higher levels, players may take on bosses, which are powerful monsters with vast life points and defence that deal high amounts of damage and are a challenge to fight. Some bosses like the Queen Black Dragon and Araxxor are fought solo, whereas other bosses like Vorago require a team of skilled players to defeat. Bosses may drop coveted items which are usually sold on the Grand Exchange for gold.

Player versus Player (PvP)[edit | edit source]

Player-versus-Player combat, also known as player killing or PKing, is the act of two or more players fighting each other. PvP combat requires a different approach from PvM combat, as opponents have full access to the ability book and are capable of much greater damage than most monsters.

Fighting other players is restricted to the Wilderness and specific minigames. Some PvP environments, like the Wilderness and Crucible, are dangerous, meaning all items are lost on death for the victor to loot. Other minigames like Castle Wars are safe, allowing players to respawn without losing their items.

Combat training[edit | edit source]

A player setting melee combat experience toward Strength.

When a player defeats a monster, an amount of experience points is awarded according to its life points, combat difficulty and the damage dealt by the player. The experience earned per life point is not constant: generally speaking, monsters with a higher combat level award more experience for the damage dealt.

Players can change which combat skills receive experience via Settings -> Gameplay. Then either click Combat -> Combat XP, or Skills -> Experience, both are the same. Experience earned with each combat class can be put toward its related skills, or to Defence, or split between them. An extra 33% of all combat experience earned is put into the Constitution skill.

Levelling combat skills is often done by training the Slayer skill. For faster experience rates, or if levelling a single skill, players may kill monsters close to their level and weak to the combat style being trained.

For training guides, see:

Update history[edit | edit source]

This information has been compiled as part of the update history project. Some updates may not be included - see here for how to help out!
  • patch 9 August 2021 (Update):
    • Melee Area-of-Effect abilities will now correctly hit NPCs larger than 5x5 squares when attacking them away from the southwestern ‘corner’ of the NPC’s hit box.
  • patch 10 May 2021 (Update):
    • Mobile players can no longer open the bond shop when in combat.
  • patch 26 May 2020 (Update):
    • While attacking other NPCs, NPC melee damage was appearing with black font rather than white. This has been changed and should be easier to read.
  • patch 18 May 2020 (Update):
    • Combat XP is now rewarded when an enemy's HP reaches zero, rather than at the end of their death animation.
  • patch 11 May 2020 (Update):
    • Fixed an issue which caused the red combat vignette to not appear if the user opened an interface while in combat.
  • patch 27 January 2020 (Update):
    • Keybinds for the action button trigger (such as the one used to place a Blessing of Nature or to phase into the mind of Solak) no longer triggers while chat is in focus.
  • patch 14 October 2019 (Update):
    • Updated the QBD warning message to match the combat recommendation on the Beasts interface entry. Updated values for recommended combat levels for each boss on the Beasts interface.
  • patch 21 January 2019 (Update):
    • An issue causing AoE spells, such as the burst and barrage ancient magicks, to not award adrenaline correctly has been fixed.
    • Performing abilities whilst moving with revolution enabled will now correctly play attack animations.
    • Added a small delay when equipping items from the action bar so that they can't accidentally be instantly removed.
    • The Provoke ability can no longer accidentally be triggered when equipping a Barrows shield.
    • Should the Greater Dazing Shot ability or Salt the Wound miss on your enemy, the timer for Puncture will now still extend.
    • The Greater Dazing Shot ability puncture effect will no longer cause Nex to heal during the blood siphon phase.
    • Ability queuing will no longer stop the buff from Needle strike going to the following ability.
    • Ability queuing will no longer stall the players movement after using an ability.
    • Ability queuing no longer stops 'on-tick' heals with the Resonance ability.
    • Seren Godbow special attack changes:
      • Fixed an issue with some of the damage calculations.
      • The special attack now ensures damage bonuses are applied correctly, for example Death's Swiftness.
    • The Bladed dive ability will no longer change the direction the player is facing shortly after using it.
    • Bladed dive will now award adrenaline when being used to enter combat.
    • Using a basic ability while running in to combat will now award adrenaline correctly.
    • Bladed Dive will no longer allow you to click on another player when activating it outside PvP
    • The damage modifiers from damage enhancing scrimshaws, Berserker auras and the Metamorphosis ability are now calculated earlier. This means that bosses phase correctly when they reach their HP threshold and mechanics that rely on damage to progress (such as Telos' tendrils or Vorago's pushback phases (Phase 5 - Normal Mode, Phase 10/11 - Hard Mode)) will now take the additional damage from the modifiers into the equation.
    • Boss kill time messages are no longer filtered.
    • There is no longer a small delay of the character after using the Snipe ability with Nightmare gauntlets equipped.
    • The damage values of rune throwing axes have been corrected.
    • The phase transitions for Rune Dragons has been vastly improved and made smoother.
    • The book of death effect should now correctly work when fighting Rune Dragons.
    • Removed a delay when activating the Metamorphosis ability.
    • Aggression potions now correctly affect cockatrices.
    • We've now added a way to track your highest Telos streak, everyone's will start at 0 and streaks completed from the launch of this update will track your highest streak.
    • You can now quickchat your current Telos killstreak and enrage as well as quickchat your highest killstreak
    • When viewing Telos in the beast tab it'll now display your highest killstreak
    • Added a small delay after first activating the Reprisal ability so that its effect cannot be immediately triggered by accident.
    • There is a new user setting called "Automatically trigger regenerate" which activates when leaving combat. The setting can be found under Gameplay-> Combat-> Action Bar.
      • This setting is disabled by default for existing users but will be enabled by default for any new users or any returning users that have lapsed for over 3 months.
  • patch 21 May 2018 (Update):
    • Your auto attack delay can no longer move backwards.
  • patch 5 February 2018 (Update):
    • Hovering over an NPC while in combat now correctly shows their overhead bar.
  • patch 3 April 2017 (Update):
    • Players can no longer disassemble dyed weapons in combat.
  • patch 10 October 2016 (Update):
    • NPCs that scale to your level will now award combat and item experience.
  • patch 12 September 2016 (Update):
    • Re-entering combat shortly after leaving will no longer drain 5% adrenaline.
    • The duration to automatically leave combat while using the Detonate ability has been increased to 15 seconds.
    • Bosses are no longer so friendly, and hence will no longer go for peaceful walks with you when you insist on walking with them. The following NPCs/Bosses are affected by this change to prevent "boss walking":
      • Rise of the Six
      • Dagannoth Kings
      • Kalphite Queen (including exiled)
      • Kalphite King
      • Vorago
      • Beastmaster Durzag
      • Araxxor/Araxxi
      • Nex
      • Corporeal Beast
    • These bosses gained the ability to attack players, even if their main target was under them. This was to stop players from "walking" high-level bosses and making the fight significantly easier.
  • patch 22 February 2016 (Update):
    • Swapping to an augmented item as your target dies will no longer provide the same amount of XP as if you had had the item equipped the whole time.
  • patch 11 January 2016 (Update):
    • Combat overlays are no longer lost when moving out of sight of your target.
  • patch 7 September 2015 (Update):
    • Corrected an issue that was causing certain non-combat buff icons to disappear upon teleporting.
    • Updated combat prisms and the ruby aurora effect to respect single and multi-way wilderness rules.
    • Players will no longer lose focus on Crystal Shapeshifters in combat when they switch combat styles.
    • Ensured that all relevant buff icons are cleared upon death.
  • patch 24 August 2015 (Update):
    • The Combat Targeting overlay will no longer appear when trying to range an NPC without any ranged ammo.
    • The targeting reticule no longer remains after catching an entangled impling in Puro Puro.
  • patch 8 December 2014 (Update):
    • It is no longer possible to cast certain abilities faster than normal with manual spell casting enabled.
  • patch 8 September 2014 (Update):
    • It is no longer possible to stall damage by enchanting unblessed holy/unholy symbols or lighting celebration candles.
  • patch 1 July 2014 (Update):
    • Ability queuing has been altered to fire abilities at the same rate as Full Manual.
  • patch 3 March 2014 (Update):
    • A selection of non-combat spells can no longer activate the ability queuing system.
    • Players will no longer remain in the combat stance after using a combat ability and then constructing flat packs.
  • patch 25 September 2013 (Update):
    • An outdated arrow that appeared on out-of-range combat targets has been removed.
    • Customised hit splats now appear in PvP combat correctly.
  • patch 13 August 2013 (Update):
    • The rat pole will now be held correctly in combat.
    • The combat overlay no longer gets confused when using AoE attacks.
    • Players should find their PvP opponents' buffs/debuffs are no longer cut in half under the combat info bar.
    • The combat overlay will no longer appear on Muncher in the Death tutorial.
    • NPCs that use overhead Prayer / Curse icons have now been reworked.
    • The inoculation brace now protects players from 500 poison damage before crumbling to dust.
    • The Rapid Fire ability now fires the correct number of shots.
    • The Dazing Shot ability now applies the correct debuff.
    • Sighted magic and maple shieldbows now convert to coins when dropped on death in the Wilderness.
    • The skeletons in the Divine Skinweaver boss room now display 100% lifepoints when spawned.
    • Strykewyrms no longer show two combat overlays.
    • The target icon will now disappear if a player tries to attack an NPC when they do not have the right amount of ammo or runes.
    • The combat overlay on deadly red spiders no longer obscures the hitsplats.
    • The damage output for the Chain, Dragon Breath, Detonate and Tsunami abilities has been corrected.
    • The ornate katana now works correctly when in a dragon keepsake box and players are leaving combat.
  • patch 3 July 2013 (Update):
    • Level 198 monsters now give the expected amount of combat experience.
  • patch 30 April 2013 (Update):
    • Lowered the enforcement of the combat triangle.
    • Re-added the ability to stall adrenaline loss by using certain combat abilities outside of combat.
  • patch 21 September 2010 (Update):
    • Adjusted the combat checks when using cannons to fight frost dragons.
  • patch 20 October 2009 (Update):
    • Removed an extraneous combat level for an NPC that doesn't fight.
  • patch 17 September 2009 (Update):
    • Fixed a combat issue with the phoenix familiar’s special move.
  • patch 5 June 2008 (Update):
    • We have made efforts to stop the strange 'dancing' effect that occurs when fighting monsters on the same square as you. You should find that, instead of moving from side to side, you find a more suitable position to attack the monster from.
  • update 8 December 2001 (Update):
    • Level requirements have been added.
      • You now need a certain minimum attack/defence to use the higher level weapons/armour respectively.
  • update 30 January 2001 (Update):
    • The retreating mechanic has been improved (particularly when being attacked by multiple players/monsters at once).
    • Skulling was introduced to the game.
      • Attacking another player will now lose you the item-protection for 20 minutes of game time!
  • update 27 January 2001 (Update):
    • You can no longer log-out during combat.
      • The person attacking you is stunned for 2 seconds to give you a better chance of getting away.
    • You now keep your 3 most valueable items when you die.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In RuneScape Classic, players could only retreat from combat after three turns.
  • Also in RuneScape Classic, the message "You are under attack!" would appear if the player is attacked by a monster or another player. The message was removed in RS2.