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For the rating of a player's combat abilities, see Combat level.
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Zero weakness icon Combat is an event in RuneScape in which two or more players and/or NPC fight. Combat, even when in groups, lasts individually, until that individual involved is dead or retreats. Combat is based on randomly generated numbers in the form of "damage". The damage done by all the parties involved in combat is deduced by the expertise of at least two skills, and the application of numerous other factors. There are three different forms of combat, and are four "constants" (in the form of combat based skills) in most combat situations; Constitution, Defence, Prayer and Summoning. The most important of these is inarguably Constitution, which directly correlates to the number of life points a combatant has. Once an avatar or an NPC reaches 0 life points, the event known as "death" happens (unless under special circumstances which prevent death). It is possible to improve damage done by yourself, lessen damage done to you, and restore your life points during combat.

Combat skillsEdit

Damage dealingEdit

Below is a brief synopsis of the three styles of combat.

  • In Melee-based combat, Strength is the skill that determines an individual's base damage in addition to the wielded weapon's damage stat. Attack seems to affect accuracy along with the weapon's accuracy.
  • For Range-based combat, both the Ranged level and the type of ammunation determine the maximum damage. The accuracy is determined by both the Ranged level and weapon used.
  • Mage-based damage is determined by the level of a combatant's Magic skill and by the Combat spell used. The accuracy of magical attacks is affected by both the equipped staff or wand and by the player's Magic level.

Even though each level is designated for one style of combat, multiple styles of combat can be used in one fight, since players have the ability to switch weapons at will and at any time. The act of using two or more combat styles in a fight to gain an advantage is called "hybridding". While not usually popular or effective in PvP or low level wilderness combat, hybridding is a necessary tactic in high level wilderness combat and often used in large scale group fights such as clan wars. The purpose of hybridding is, generally, to constantly have the advantage over your enemy and avoid the damage reduction of prayers.

Defensive skillsEdit


Constitution (originally called hitpoints) is the level that limits the life points of a player or monster. This is the skill which essentially decides a battle, as an individual loses when their life points hit 0. Since this skill is the deciding factor in combat, there are various methods of adjusting your life points.

  • Primarily, it is possible to restore your life points through the use of various items, although the most commonly used are food, drinks, some potions. There are some roundabout methods of healing, including healing others through butterflies and magic, or going to an NPC for healing, but these methods are often ineffective and therefore useless.
  • It is possible to boost your life points past the current maximum, through the use of saradomin brews, some foods, titan's constitution scrolls, jumping into the thermal bath in pools of Oog'log, life point boosting armour, and bonfires. While the majority of these boosts are temporary and your life points slowly would naturally reset to their regular level, they can be very significant in a fight. Bonfires and armour, though, are permanent boosts until the effect or armour is removed.


Defence is the second constant skill which plays an active role in nearly all combat situations, except when the individual in question is not being attacked and yet is attacking another from a distance, or when the opponent does not retataliate. Defence as a skill doesn't negate all of the effects of the damage based skills, but rather simply decreases the accuracy of whoever may be attacking the individual, which may contribute to it being a rather unpopular skill to train. In essence, your defence affects the chances of you being hit by both melee attacks, spells, and ranged attacks, and increases the chance of 0's, or missed attacks. In this way, Defence could be equated to "evasiveness". There is no skill in the game which reduces the effects of Strength, or the damage boosting effect of a persons Ranged level.

Magic defenceEdit

It may be interesting to note that while defence is responsible for reducing the accuracy of most hits, it is only 30% effective for magic spells. Instead, 70% of the reduction of accuracy for a spell is determined by your own magic level. To guard well against magic, you would need a sizable magic level yourself.

Other combat skillsEdit

The two other combat skills in existence are, unlike the previous skills, optional to use, but also allowed to be used in all forms of combat, unless you are in a situation which prevents you from using them. Prayer is a skill which allows the use of prayers, which can best be described as temporary passive boosts which a player can activate at will. Higher levels in prayer allow access to much better prayers. Prayers effects can include individual stat boosters, item protection, life point restoration, and even damage upon death. Prayer is an interesting system; while the effects of a prayer would normally last forever unless manually switched off, the amount of time a person can use his or her prayers is dependant on his or her remaining amount of prayer points. Like life points, the player is allotted prayer points based on his or her prayer level. When your prayer points hit 0, your ability to use prayers would be gone until you restore your prayer points.

The other optional combat skill, Summoning, has a variety of functions. But combat wise, it enables the user to conjure familiars to aid them. Familiars act as an extension of the player's damage, hitting the opponent and using their own special attacks if the appropriate command is given with the appropriate item. As with Prayer, the best familiars can only be accessed with high Summoning levels. There are some non-combat familiars which aid the player by restoring their life points, but passively and upon the activation of their special attack.

Other factorsEdit

While skills are an important aspect of combat, damage done and received is mostly determined by external traits, and there is a multitude of other factors which contribute to the fight.

Armour and WeaponryEdit

The most glaringly obvious of these is armour and weaponry, As a general rule of thumb, armour boosts a persons defensive capabilities through the form of accuracy reduction, and weaponry boosts a players offensive capabilities. However, this is not always true, as some pieces of armour boost a player offensive traits, and vice versa. High levels without corresponding armour and weapons usually greatly inhibits your ability in both dealing and reducing damage.

Skill boostsEdit

Stat increase is available to anybody through the use of certain items, mainly potions and certain food. What this does is temporarily increase a specific combat statistic, albeit temporarily, to a (sometimes much) higher level. The advantage of this, obviously, is to give yourself the abilities of a higher level. If you are the appropriate level and using the appropriate boost, you can elevate your levels beyond the known cap of 99.

Special attacksEdit

Special attacks were determined by the weapon being used by a player. Special attacks were unique traits of high level weaponry which gave the ability to initiate a unique move which could have diverse effects, from damage to run energy absorption. They have since been removed from the game and replaced by Abilities.

Attack speedEdit

All weapons in RuneScape have a specific speed, which will determine how often you attack with that weapon. The stronger a weapon is, the more likely it is that it will have a slower attack speed. A fast weapon is usually used when a person is fighting something with a high defence level, as it is far more consistent and it is far easier to make up for low hits.

  • For magic, almost every spell has the exact same attack speed, except for the exception of the spell Storm of Armadyl when equipped with the Staff of Armadyl. This boosts the speed of the spell by one bar.

Combat instancesEdit

PvP (Player Vs Player)Edit

PvP, or more commonly known as PKing (player killing), is the act of two or more players fighting each other. Normally, players cannot fight each other, except in certain minigames, such as Castle Wars. However, players can fight each other anywhere in a specific section of the map known as the Wilderness, except in specifically designated "Safe Zones". PvP combat, generally, is more dyanamic than fighting NPC's, and can vary greatly. IF you are going into a PvP environment, anything can be expected. On top of this, there are plenty of restrictions in a PvP environment. For a full explanation on how PvP works and various strategy recommendations, head over to the PvP page.

It may be important to note that the Duel Arena is a minigame designated specifically for 1vs1 PvP, and the only location to specifically do so. The minigame also allows the two contesting players almost complete control as to how the battle be played out.

PvM (Player Vs Monster)Edit

PvM, whether it be large amounts of relatively weak monsters, or bossing, is the largest part of combat. The majority of all combat in the game will involve you fighting NPC's, unless you specifically aim to PvP the majority of the time. Normal monsters usually do not have many restrictions and are easy to kill as long as you are an appropriate level. Generally, there only three reasons to kill average monsters; you need to for a quest, you are training your combat levels, or you are training the Slayer skill. The latter is by far the most popular as it, while not being a skill that affects your combat level, assigns the players a number of monsters to kill in the form of Slayer assignments. The restrictions for killing monsters of this caliber are usually the restrictions of the area in which they spawn in.

Bossing, however, is much more interesting and requires far more attention than that. Bosses are spread around RuneScape, each one having its own set of attacks and abilities which set it apart. Usually, bosses require much better equipment and levels to take down compared to low levels NPC's, and many require groups for all but the elite players. To boss effectively, many factors must be taken into consideration, including the boss's special attacks, the boss's life points, and the area it is in.

Some bosses have abilities that players have as well.

  • Protection prayer have rarely been used by bosses. In the case that they are, the bosses have a seemingly infinite supply of prayer points, and no known abilities can deactivate the prayers. However, the set effect of Verac the Defiled's equipment works even on the prayers of bosses.
  • Bosses can use poison, dragonfire, and attacks that hit multiple players all at once (sometimes all players in the room).

Bossing in some instances presents the opportunity to tank. While this role is not popular, it is sometimes done when the majority of the party is comprised of low-level players.

Dungeoneering deserves a special mention, as it places a player or group into an instanced environment where they must handle difficult monsters and a boss to complete the dungeon. Thus, it exposes the player/s to the two base forms of PvM, and is usually a very dynamic experience.

Also, it is recommended to be well rounded in all your combat skills if you intend to be an avid PvMer. Skills only help, and it is far easier to level a lower skill ten times than level a higher skill even once.

Combat levelEdit

A player's combat skills display themselves through their combat level. As a person increases his or her base statistics, their combat level will rise in accordance to that. The current highest possible combat level in-game is 200. Combat level is not displayed upon right-click unless the player has an unsheathed weapon.

Combat trainingEdit

Experience points are given after a monster is killed, not during the fight per hit.

To change where the experience goes, one must go to the Powers interface window and click on the tab for whatever xp you want to change. In the lower right hand corner are options to change the xp gained. For melee, the choices are attack, strength, defense, or a mixture of the three. For ranged, it is either ranged, defense, or both, and for magic it is either magic, defense, or both.

Since the xp rewarded does not scale up with the health of the monster, it is wise to fight monsters with a low health to xp ratio. For example, level 4 goblins, yield 1 xp per 3 damage dealt.

Training is usually done by necessity via the Slayer or Dungeoneering skill. If you find yourself in need of combat levels, there are specific monsters in the game which yield high experience rates. Killing random monsters for experience is usually a waste of experience, not to mention time.

There are various areas in the game which give decreased or no EXP when fighting, but they are usually very specific and restricted, such as clan battlefields.

See also:


  • Sometime during 7 December-12 December, 2009, when players would hit damage including a zero in it (like 10 or 0), it would show as "0", without a diagonal line across it.
  • Sometimes there is a glitch that the message level up appears two times.
  • Combat training areas are identified on the map with the combat training icon ( Combat training map icon ), but combat training is only allowed to players with an Attack, Strength, or Defence level less than 9, depending on what is being trained. Also, these training dummies will only provide experience in the Attack, Strength, and Defence skill. Magic can be trained at the training area in Lumbridge, but ranged must be trained on other attackable NPCs.
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