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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.

Combat typesEdit

Single combatEdit

Single combat, also known as 'singles' or '1v1', restricts players so that they may only fight one target at a time. 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.

Popular single-way combat areas are Edgeville and the White and Red portals in Clan Wars.

If a player is being attacked by multiple players in a multi-way combat zone and runs to a single zone, he will remain in single-way combat with the first person that attacked him.

Multi combatEdit

Multi-combat area marker

A sign indicating a multi-way combat area

Multi-combat areas are identified upon entering by two crossed swords appearing in the corner of your screen. The zones will also have markers made out of rocks, flags and banners near the edges. 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. Multicombat zones get more frequent and larger the deeper into the Wilderness you go.


Main article: Skull (status)

If a player attacks another player inside a PvP zone he will get marked with a skull. This skull will appear above his character until he dies or leaves combat for 10 minutes. While skulled, you lose all items on death. Protect item still allows you to keep 1 extra item, resulting in 1 item kept in total.

If you are being attacked by a skulled player, you can retaliate without being skulled yourself. Be careful though, as there might be players out there that are trying to trick you into skulling.


Main article: Wilderness

A map of the Wilderness

The Wilderness is the largest and most popular Player versus Player zone in the Runescape world. It is divided into multiple single and multi zones and home to different activites, creatures and skilling spots.

A player killed while inside the Wilderness will by default keep his three most valuable items. This is reduced to zero items kept if the dying player has a skull above their head, and/or increased (up to a max of five items kept) by one each, if the player has:

  1. The Protect item prayer active/the Protect item curse active
  2. A Portent of item protection in their inventory
  3. A Sign of item protection equipped
  4. Recently eaten a Fury shark

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. 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. When a player has a Demonic Skull equipped, he can be attacked by anyone, whatever their combat level is.


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.

Deaths in PvP minigames are usually safe but not always. This makes minigames like Soul Wars, Deathmatch and White portal good practice grounds for PvP. You can use them to get comfortable with the basics without losing any gear.

General tipsEdit

If you're traveling to a teleport-restricted area, it is recommended to be well prepared. Here are a few tips that can help you to survive in the Wilderness:

  • Always wear armor. While it may look tempting to go in naked (0 risk), it is actually not a smart thing to do. Wearing cheap armor like Royal dragonhide armour or Batwing robes will dramatically increase your chances of survival at almost no risk.
  • Always bring a shield, even if you don't plan on fighting back. Using defensive abilities like Freedom, Anticipation, Reflect and Resonance are key to surviving an attack by another player. A popular choice is the Darkbow. The bow allows you to use both ranged and defensive abilities. This opens up combo's like Anticipation to avoid getting stunned, Binding Shot to bind your opponent and a diagonal Surge to put some distance between yourself and your attacker. Practice this rotation and you should be able to get away from nearly every encounter.
  • Teleportation gear is a must. You should always have an escape plan. Runes and interruptable items are NOT recommended. This is due to inventory space issues along with spell and teleport limits to level 20 Wilderness. Dragonstone equipment, such as the amulet of glory, allow teleportation from up to 30 Wilderness and are a good option. One of the most efficient escape options is the Saradominist token or Zamorakian token.

PvP basicsEdit

To be a successful PKer, you need to have a strong game knowledge and fast reflexes. You should know what abilities are available to you and your opponent at any given time in a fight. It is also crucial to visually recognise theese abilities, and react in time with the counter to that ability. For example, if a warrior uses Slaughter on you, followed by Kick to move you and force the 2x damage bonus, you should recognise this combo and use Freedom to counter the bleed damage as fast as possible. Doing this fluently takes practice.

Furthermore, you also need to be able to stay calm and play your strengths correctly. If you mess up, you become vulnerable and this is deadly when facing good PKers.

Managing healthEdit

One of the core mechanics of a PvP fight is to stay alive, you do this by eating food and/or potions. In the past, eating food would result in losing Adrenaline, but this drawback is no longer present in the game.

When you decide to eat is entirely up to you. Some players prefer to let their health drop to low numbers (1-3k) to trick their opponent into trying to finish the fight. This is called 'risking' or 'baiting'. Other players prefer to stay safe and top up their health everytime they get hit. This is called 'safing'.

In the past, safing was considered dishonourable by a large part of the PvP community. But in EoC, there are moments when you are forced to top of your health. For example when you have already used Freedom, Anticipation is on cooldown and you know your opponent has the Destroy/Assault combo up, which can easily deal 10k+ damage. Certain ultimate and threshold abilities have a very high damage output, which forces you to fully use your health pool to survive them.

A popular basic trick for eating is to layer a food tick together with a potion tick. You do this by clicking a piece of food, like a Rocktail and a healing potion, like a Saradomin Brew in quick succession. Doing so will heal you for both the amounts on the same tick.


Adrenaline is gained by using basic abilities, and used by the stronger thresholds and ultimates. Every basic ability you use will give you +8% adrenaline. Every threshold will use 15% adrenaline. Every ultimate ability will use 100% adrenaline.

Adrenaline is a precious thing in a PvP fight. The player with the most adrenaline at any given point is at a big advantage. This makes abilities like Natural instinct very strong.

Always keep an eye on the opponent's adrenaline bar. It can tell you what he is planning to do, or what ability might be coming next. If he has 50% adrenaline but keeps using basic abilities he is either going for an ultimate or setting up a combo attack. If he used an ultimate like Metamorphosis and is approaching 50% adrenaline, you should expect a [[Wild Magic ]] to come out and prepare for that.

Defensive abilitiesEdit

Defensive abilities are very important in PvP combat. They are the only tools you have to defend yourself against stuns. Therefore, it is advisable to always rotate Anticipation and Freedom to have as much stun invulnerability as possible.

The general tips mention to always bring a shield. This is because equiping the shield unlocks abilities like Resonance, Reflect and Barricade. While these abilities are crucial to tanking in multi-way combat zones, they are shunned by people in single-way combat. The reason for this is that a very experienced player with a shield, can negate almost all damage an opponent can inflict on him, dragging the fight out and making it boring for both players. This is called 'shielding' and is considered an un-fun mechanic.


Keybinds are what ties all the previous basics together. While you can be adequate at PvP by clicking all your abilities, food, potions and defensives, it is generally better to keybind these things and learn to use them from the Actionbar.

This way, using the Rocktail/Saradomin Brew combo can be done with 2 simple keypresses or Freedom can be used to remove bleeds right when you spot them.

While keybinds make it a lot easier to activate most things, there are some exceptions. It's tricky to bind Protect item to a key, because it opens up the danger of double-tapping it.

Combo attacksEdit

PvP is the only combat encounter in Runescape where your opponent has access to unlimited healing. This calls for a different way of doing damage. Rather than a slow and steady damage output, you want to generate a explosive burst of damage.

These bursts can be achieved by using a certain combination of abilities in sequence. Each combat class has a few possible combo's:

If these combo attacks were used with a Noxious weapon of their style, they would hit around 14402, 13252 and 10568 respectively.

Combat classesEdit

Main article: Combat classes

Each combat style has it's own character with certain advantages and drawbacks. You should pick your class based on your strongest levels, but also on the opponent you'll be fighting or the activity you'll be doing.

As a rule of thumb, the Combat triangle makes sure that each class has a strong and a weak matchup. But besides that basic advantage, each class also has unique abilities and gear that distinguish them from eachother.


  • Melee has access to strong bleed abilities such as Slaughter and Blood Tendrils. These abilities can be stacked to put a lot of pressure on opponents. This forces them to use Freedom to remove the DoT. Once Freedom is on cooldown, they are vulnerable to stuns like Destroy or Kick.
  • Has a lot of reach with Surge and Barge not sharing a cooldown.
  • Has access to Berserk. This ultimate ability can be used in combination with strong thresholds like Hurricane to one-shot opponents from almost full health. The drawback is that it leaves the melee player vulnerable due to the increased damage taken.
  • Requires no ammunition as opposed to Ranged or Magic.


  • Magic has access to a strong threshold combination with Wild Magic and Asphyxiate. This sequence of abilities are so strong they are known as a 'KO combo'. If used by a high level mage with high level gear, they can easily take out an opponent from near full health.
  • Dragonbreath is a very strong basic ability. It disables the opponents protection prayer, which is key in PvP. It's also an instant cast (1.8s) and does high damage (188%). In comparison, the Ranged basic that disables protection prayers has the drawback of a long cast time (2.4s) and the Melee one has lower damage (125%).
  • Magic also has strong ultimates with Sunshine and Metamorphosis, but Sunshine is weaker due to it being bound to one location and Metamorphosis offers a lower damage boost than Berserk. Still, a Wild Magic used while under the effect of Metamorphosis can be deadly and should be feared.


  • Ranged is very popular for it's cheap gear. Royal dragonhide armour, Death Lotus darts and Ava's accumulator are all very strong pieces of gear that have a very low replace cost.
  • Same with Magic, Ranged also has a strong 'KO combo'. Although Rangers have to complete a quest to get access to their ability: The Dig Site. Once the player has earned the right to use Shadow Tendrils, they can be used together with Snap shot to deal a lot of damage.
  • Unlike Magic and Melee, Ranged doesn't have a mobile ultimate. Their only option is Death's Swiftness, which can be easily avoided by running away. Their other options Deadshot and Incendiary Shot offer lackluster damage output compared to the Ranged thresholds and are often not used at all.
  • Another drawback to ranged is the fact that their prayer disabling ability Snipe has a long cast time (2.4s). If fighting at max range, the opponent can simply walk back a few squares during the cast of this ability and it will be cancelled. Although this is considered dishonorable by a lot of people, it is a strong tactic to use.

Dangerous mechanicsEdit


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.

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.

Some players will attempt to rush with no gear and only a weapon equipped. They are known as '1 itemers'. Their aim is to quickly burst you down before you can react.

Skull trickingEdit

Skull tricking involves using less known game mechanics, bugs or deceptions to skull a player against their will. You should always be aware of your surroundings when inside the Wilderness and be careful when another player is doing something unusual near you.

A few common mechanics used to skull trick are:

  • Having multiple players near you. They will often stack on each other, follow you or have similar names. They might have a demonic skull equipped. Their goal is to get you to attack a wrong target, either by missclicking or using AoE abilities.
  • Attacking your familiar/making their familiar attack you. Familiars are currently bugged in game, often skulling you by accident. This can happen through a variety of different things. If someone summons a new familiar near you or is not attacking you but making his familiar attack you, be very careful!
  • Attacking you with fun weapons, like a Candy floss maul, while equipping a piece of equipment with the Committed perk. This might make you think that they skulled on you, but attacking them will still result in you being skulled.


Macing refers to a group of players or team using the Ancient mace special attack to rapidly drain your prayer points and disable your Protect Item. The success of the attack depends almost entirely on the coordination of the team. If they are well practiced and prepare well for their attack, it is almost impossible for the target to get away. Macing happens most in areas of the Wilderness that are above level 30 and have a lot of players. Popular locations are Forinthry Dungeon, the Chaos Elemental and the Lava strykewyrms.

It's often hard to predict a macing attack, because by the time you spot the team holding Ancient Maces it's too late to get away. The teams will probably be accompanied by mages that cast Teleport Block and/or Snare on you.

The only thing you can do to prevent losing your protected item is to stop eating food, die as quickly as possible and spam click your prayer potion. If you are teleblocked and you see multiple hostiles, it is very unlikely that you will survive this encounter. The best option you have in that situation is to protect your gear by not getting your prayer points drained to 0. You do this by dying as fast as possible and drinking as many Prayer Potion doses that you can. If you keep eating, you allow them to use Smite on you for a longer period of time or land more Ancient Mace specials on you. This will endanger your protected item.


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.

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.


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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.


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.


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