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Player killing

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Player killing (commonly known as PKing, player vs. player, or PvP), is the act of two or more players engaging in combat against each other. Player killing differs from other forms of combat in that players do not fight against monsters whose actions are defined by RuneScape's game engine.

Before 13 August 2001, the entire map was available for PKing. On that date, normal PKing was restricted to the newly opened Wilderness in the update. However, on 10 December 2007, Jagex ended PKing in the Wilderness and released Clan Wars along with Bounty Hunter as partial replacements. Pre-2007 style PKing was re-implemented in the Wilderness on 1 February 2011 due to the Wilderness and Free Trade Vote being tilted in the favour of bringing it back.


Originally, after the release of RuneScape Classic, players could select whether or not to play as player killer characters. Players could switch from player-killer mode to non-player-killer mode (in which the character could not attack or be attacked by other players) three times, after which they remained at their chosen setting "forever". The player-killer/non-player-killer modes were, however, removed from the game on 13 August 2001 when the Wilderness was added.

PvP combat could take place at most locations in the RuneScape world. The rules of combat were the same as in modern RuneScape Classic Wilderness. Lumbridge was designated as a neutral area in which players could not attack each other; this was done to prevent a practice called "spawn camping", in which recently killed players were immediately killed again as soon as they respawned. However, it was possible for a character to be attacked in the upper levels of Lumbridge Castle. In addition to this restriction, NPC guards and White Knights patrolled the cities of Varrock and Falador, breaking up PvP battles by attacking the aggressor. These guard units were limited in number, however, and if all the units in a city were already in combat, PvP combat could go on freely. At this time, the Bank of RuneScape was limited to Varrock and Falador and could only store gold coins. As a result, players would carry their valuables with them.

On 13 August 2001, this system was replaced by the Wilderness, partly due to complaints from many players who were unable to leave Lumbridge without being attacked by hordes of hostile player killers. Later, additional areas where PvP combat is allowed were added.

On 10 December 2007, Jagex made a highly controversial update that made pking in the Wilderness only possible at the Bounty Hunter, which is unsafe, and Clan Wars, a safe activity. Fist of Guthix, also safe, was not added until about four months after these updates. RuneScape lost a sizeable percentage[1] of its paying players within the following month, although more long-term statistics have never been released. No amount of lost free players is known, however it is possible it was more than the number of quitting members. The exact numerical makeup of quitters (bots versus legitimate players) is uncertain. Many of the quitters were PKers, while others were the leaving accounts of autoers. According to Jagex, almost all of the lost players since the 10 December update have been replaced by new subscribers. Riots started amongst many players after this update.

On 15 October 2008, Jagex reinstated map-wide PKing on designated PvP worlds, although many aspects had been altered. On 1 February 2011, the Wilderness was returned to the original PvP Wilderness system from 2007.

When entering the Wilderness or other PvP based areas, warning signs will display the dangers of proceeding into the dangerous area.

PvP worlds (historical)Edit

Main article: PvP worlds

PVP worlds, or Player-Vs-Player worlds, were entire designated worlds that were almost entirely Player-Vs-Player combat enabled. Only select areas (such as banks, respawn points, Entrana, and some guilds) were disabled to combat, and were marked by a skull with a cross over it. These worlds were sculpted after the original wilderness; much of the same rules apply, such as level restraints to attack and "skulls", You were "skulled" upon logging in to a PVP world and the Protect Item prayer were disabled. If you died whilst skulled, you would lose all of your items. To begin, one would have simply chosen a world that was marked as a PVP world when logging in. You were warned of the dangers. The first time you entered a PVP world, you were transported to Lumbridge and a manual was given to you explaining much of the concept (you could get a new one from the Doomsayer in Lumbridge should you have lost it). You would have a short immunity period before you could be attacked. After the first time, you had to be standing in a 'PVP Safe Zone' or you would not be able to login. In PVP worlds, you could lose your items, but at the same time, there were great rewards to be had!

While they existed you must have had at least level 20 combat, not including summoning, to enter a PvP World.

As of 1 February 2011, PVP worlds no longer exist.

Bounty Hunter worldsEdit

Main article: Bounty Hunter world

Bounty Hunter worlds were released on the 6th of May 2009. These worlds only allowed players to fight each other in the wilderness and travel throughout Edgeville and the Grand Exchange. These worlds were removed with the re-addition of the wilderness.

On 14 November 2016, an updated version of Bounty Hunter was released along with 2 new Bounty Hunter Worlds, one using the Evolution of Combat and the other using Legacy Mode.

Combat areasEdit


The effects of piling in multi-combat areas

  • Single combat restricts players so that they may only fight one target at a time, unlike Multi-combat areas. However, if a player stops attacking their opponent for a certain amount of time (the amount of time it takes to eat three pieces of food), one or both of them could be attacked by other players. This is referred to as player-jumping (PJing) and is considered dishonourable in PKing.
  • MulticombatMulti-combat areas are identified upon entering by two crossed swords appearing above the player's head. Anywhere else is classed as a single combat area. Multicombat areas are especially dangerous in the Wilderness, as more than one player can attack you at one time. These areas are beneficial to groups of players, as it allows them to pile a player and greatly decrease the opponent's chance of escape or allows a group of lower level players to fight a higher level player at the same time.


Main article: Wilderness
Multi-combat area marker

A sign indicating a multi-way combat area

The Wilderness is a large area of the world map in which Player versus Player combat is possible. Players will keep their three most valuable items should they die, unless they are skulled because of attacking another player, in which case they will lose all of their items, unless the Protect Item prayer/curse is used, in which they will keep four/one item respectively. A player who successfully kills another player in the Wilderness will immediately be able to pick up their dropped items, and gain a 10 second "grace" period in single-way areas. Items dropped intentionally onto the floor also become immediately visible to other players. This makes the Wilderness a popular location for player killing due to the potential to make money. Dying in the Wilderness will always cause the player to respawn in Edgeville.

The Wilderness contains multiple levels, from 1-57 (to confirm). Players may only attack each other if the difference between their combat levels is less than or equal to the Wilderness level. This means that a player may be attacked by a greater range of combat levels the farther into Wilderness they travel. Single combat and multiway combat areas in the Wilderness are divided by visual cues in the game world, and by a crossed swords symbol in the upper-right corner of the screen.


Main article: Minigames

Player killing is allowed in some minigames. In Clan Wars, it is the whole point of the minigame. While in some others, like Stealing Creation, it is mixed with skilling. Player killing in minigames are usually safe but not always. Other than minigames listed as non-safe, like the Crucible, there are glitches that occur, such as the Scrimshaw of Cruelty glitch.

Combat classesEdit

Main article: Combat classes

General tipsEdit

If you're traveling to a teleport-restricted area, it is recommended to be well prepared. Such examples involve bringing a shield, as Reflect and Resonance are extremely helpful skills to fend off PKers. Knowing what skills to use is highly helpful, as teams will often "skull trick" victims, especially in multi-way zones. It is imperative not to panic at any time, as it will increase the chances of you making a mistake and getting killed in the process.

Teleportation gear is a must. Runes, interruptable items, and tablets are NOT recommended, due to inventory space issues along with spell and teleport limits to level 20 Wilderness. Dragonstone equipment, such as the amulet of glory, as well as the ring of life allow teleportation from up to 30 Wilderness. (Note: One should not rely on the ring of life as one's sole escape method. If one is hit with damage greater than 10% of his or her maximum health, he or she will die.)


  • Advantages - Melee fighters generally are capable of doing greater damage than Mages and Rangers due to the bonuses of their weapons. It also requires no ammunition as opposed to Ranged or Magic. (Note: Due to the Evolution of Combat, combat magic is much cheaper than before.)
  • Disadvantages - Melee armour is highly conductive to magic thus those using melee will take large amounts of damage when facing a skilled mage. Additionally, many mages will bind a melee fighter to the spot, then make a kill.


  • Advantages - Magic attacks are highly accurate against plate armour, and holding spells can keep an opponent from inflicting significant damage. The Ancient spellbook further increases a magician's power by giving the ability to freeze opponents for up to 10 seconds with Ice Spells, while Blood spells can heal back any damage received. A skilled mage with a high Magic level can be a dangerous opponent in Player-Versus-Player situations.
  • Disadvantages - Robes give no defence against a Ranger. In addition, Melee fighters can simply wear dragonhide armour to give protection from attacks. The Ancient Magicks spellbook also lack a Teleport Block spell, which limits the practicality of maging in low Wilderness levels. Magic users tend to be extremely vulnerable to pile jumpers and player jackers of any combat style. 
  • Spellbook notes: Many players believe that using mage is useless unless one has the Ancient spellbook; although some may choose the Lunar spellbook to use the Spellbook Swap spell allowing them to tele-block and freeze along side the Ancient Magicks spells. Others may prefer to stay on the regular spellbook as it has everything a mage PKer would need, such as binding spells, Storm of Armadyl, which devastates almost any foe, and Teleport Block.


  • Advantages - Dragonhide and other ranged armour generally provide a high magic defence; opposing mages may find that most of their attacks will miss when fighting a ranger with a high Magic level.
  • Disadvantages - Ranging gear has mediocre melee defence, which can leave a player vulnerable to attack unless they are willing to sacrifice accuracy.


Backstabbing, also known as BSing or Luring, is the act of killing someone who has mistakenly placed their trust in the back-stabber or killing a player who is in the back-stabber's clan. For example, one joins a clan, a player takes him or her into the Wilderness then kills him or her. Players may also backstab a person already in the player's clan. Backstabbing is almost always effective if one reaches the high-level Wilderness.


Rushing is the act of killing a player without giving him or her the opportunity to attack back. Many consider rushing to be dishonorable, but the most effective PvP strategy by far. Usually rushers will use a combination of 2 - 3 attack forms, the most common being magic/melee and melee/range. 

Most rushers use Protect from Melee when they are not in a safe zone. However, many players wielding the hand cannon and wearing Void Knight armour may try to kill rushers with ranged attacks from which the rusher is not protected (Also called Anti-Rushing).

Due to player complaints by people being rushed after killing an opponent in a single-way zone, an anti-rushing mechanic was implemented. Upon killing another player in a single-way zone, there is a 10 second "grace" period for the victor to obtain their spoils.

Event exploitationEdit

Occasionally, events in the Wilderness attract large amounts of players, many of whom are not prepared to combat serious threats. Penguin Hide and Seek, in particular, seems to be a popular target on weeks where penguins wander about the Wilderness. As many dedicated penguin clans prefer trapping penguins in enclosed locations, like the Dark Warriors' Fortress, player killers will camp near the entrance and spam Ice Barrage, killing several players at once. However, due to the vast range in penguin hunting clans, anti-player killers (see below) are quickly called in to dispatch the menace, forcing players to either run or forfeit their winnings. Of course, since people entering the Wilderness for penguins usually don't carry anything of value, camping a penguin location is usually done for the purposes of griefing, although at other times people may also offer to kill them once they are done spotting the penguin in order to skip the long walk back out of high level Wilderness areas.

This is generally done for fun, not profit, as people who do not wish to fight rarely risk anything.

Anti-player killingEdit

Anti-player killing (anti-PKing or better known as anti-rushing) is the act of killing a player killer - generally denoted to be any armour wielding player. An anti-PKer is someone who only ever attacked PKers and never attacks anyone else. Some RuneScape clans are "Anti-Random PKing clans" and only ever kill PKers. Usually, when anti-PKing, the requirements are to use either Smite or Soul Split, which results in the PKer dropping all their items if their prayer drops.


Looting is the act of going into the Wilderness and attempting to get drops from other PKing kills, while risking nothing. Usually looters make level 3 accounts and hope to make profit by looting food, potions, neglected drops, and high value items dropped in a double ko. Looters may group up and start placing items that show above a PKer's loot from their kills so that they cannot get the items until they are removed by the people that put them there, then remove the items when the loot shows to get profit.


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Prior to the Evolution of Combat, players were able to get combat experience from attacking other players. For a very long time after the Evolution of Combat, player killing did not yield any combat experience. This has since been changed, albeit with slight changes. XP is now given only after either the attacker or victim dies, and is based on damage dealt. Any "damage overkill" is also taken into account, so say if the victim had 100 more LP left and the attack would've done 4,000 damage, that also ends up into the XP calculation. Constitution XP is slightly below 1/3 of total XP gained as well.

For those who do not wish to gain experience while Player Killing for whatever reason, it can be disabled at the Combat Settings tab under the "XP Selection" area.


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