Player killing (commonly known as PKing , player vs. player, or PvP), is the act of two or more players engaging in combat. 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.
In summary, PvP has been modified by many updates since its conception, but has been restored to a reasonable degree, enough to attract players angered by said updates.
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 of its paying players within the following month, although more long-term statistics have never been released. No known 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.
On 15 October 2008, Jagex re-instated 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 area's, warning signs will display the dangers of proceeding into the dangerous area.
There are two forms of combat area found throughout the land of RuneScape - single and multicombat 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 PJing, and is considered dishonourable in PKing.
- Multi-combat areas are identified upon entering by two crossed swords appearing in the top right hand corner of your screen. 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.
PvP worlds (Historical)
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, much like being skulled currently. 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 were 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 Worlds (Historical)
Bounty 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.
The Wilderness is a large area of the world map in which Player versus Player combat is possible. The wilderness has different rules with regards to how items are kept upon death and when dropped. Players will only retain 3 items upon death in the wilderness (4 with a protect item prayer). In addition, if another player is attacked, the attacker will be skulled and so no items will be saved upon death (1 with protect item prayer). A player who successfully kills another player in the wilderness will immediately be able to pick up their dropped items. Items dropped intentionally onto the floor also become immediately visible to other players. This makes the wilderness a popular 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 - 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. The wilderness contains both multiway and singleway combat zones.
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 it may depend on the setting.
If you are going to be in an area that does not allow you to teleport, which would entail most places, it is recommended that a player takes more than one combat style. This helps to bypass a player's protection prayers, and is useful for a melee fighter in particular; the logic being that if you face a mage, you can still fight back with range and have a chance to win.
Teleport gear is a must. Runes, items which have an interruptable delay, 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 and Combat Bracelet, will let you teleport from up to 30 wilderness, an ability shared with the Ring of Life. (Note: Do not rely on the ring of life as your sole escape method, as it is very unreliable due to the ability to be hit 600+ damage in 1 hit by high level players.)
- 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 and Magic. In addition, melee fighters have the luxury of being able to swap armour freely without heavy attack penalties, unlike other fighters.
- Disadvantages- Melee armour is highly conductive to Magic, and Meleers will take large amounts of damage when facing a skilled Mage. As mentioned above, a good way for melee fighters to solve this problem is very simple: wear Ranged armour with your melee weapon when you encounter Mages.
- 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 20 seconds with Ice Spells, while Blood spells can be used to heal back any damage received. A skilled mage with a high Magic level can be a very dangerous opponent in Player Versus Player situations..
- Disadvantages - Robes give no defence against a Ranger, and little to no protection for a Meleer. Another less obvious disadvantage of the Mage is that they must carry runes, which take up space in the inventory, which results in the mage having less food than his opponent. In addition, Melee fighters can simply wear Dragonhide armour to give protection from attacks. The Ancient Spellbooks 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. Also, many players believe that using mage is useless unless your spellbook is on Ancients, though some may choose to use the lunar spellbook for the Spellbook swap spell allowing them to tele-block and freeze, leaving their opponent no way of escaping.
- Advantages - Dragonhide and other Ranging armour generally gives large offensive bonuses, which results in very accurate and fast attacks with a very high Magic defence. A mage may find that most if not all of their attacks will miss when fighting a Ranger with a high magic level. If one wishes to increase their resistance to Melee attacks, plate armour can be used in place of 1 or 2 dragonhide pieces to boost melee defence while keeping offensive bonuses high. In addition, due to the method used to calculate a player's Combat level, a player can have a relatively high Defence and Constitution level compared to a warrior of the same level.
- Disadvantages - Ranging gear has mediocre Melee defence, which can leave a player vulnerable to attack unless they are willing to sacrifice accuracy. High-level rangers should also note that there is no equivalent to the Turmoil curse for rangers, and may leave them at a severe disadvantage.
Back Stabbing, also known in slang as Bsing, is something that most experienced players frown upon highly. It is the act of killing someone who has mistakenly placed their trust in the back stabber or are in the same clan. For example, you join a clan, then they take you out to the wilderness and kill you. Players can lure unsuspecting players into their clan and then, perhaps, take them into multi-combat wilderness to kill them for their drops to make money. Players may also take advantage of people in their own clan and back stab them, hoping to catch them off guard. It is rare to get away from this when being lured into high level wilderness.
Rushing is the simple act of killing a player without giving them the opportunity to attack back. It is frowned upon by many pkers and is considered dishonourable or even labelled as griefing. Usually rushers will use a combination of 2 - 3 attack forms, the most common being magic/melee and Melee/Range. Normally to rush, the rusher needs a "rushing weapon" which is usually a weapon that has a special attack that allows it to attack more than once or that attack once but hit very high. Examples would include a Dark bow, Hand Cannon, Korasi's sword, Granite maul, Dragon Dagger or the most common, Dragon claws. However, Some would argue that Rushing is not totally about profit. It is more about the satisfaction in knowing that in several seconds, without your victim knowing, you have caused that person to just possibly lose significant amounts of coins (gp).
Dragon claw rushers commonly use Vengeance from the Lunar spells since its animation causes them to appear to be not moving, even if they are, so when the victim is hit the rusher appears to be attacking from afar.
Most rushers use Protect from melee when they are not in a safe zone, usually because they are risking a lot of money to maximize damage, and do not want other rushers to rush them first. However, many Hand cannoners using Void Knight armour may try to kill rushers with Ranged, which the rushers are not praying against. Another way that rushers may bypass this is by use of Korasi's sword.
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 a fruitless pursuit, as people who do not wish to fight generally do not risk much.
Anti-Player Killing (Anti-PKing or better known as Anti-Rushing, also dubbed Anti-Random Player Killing, PKKing/Player Killer Killer, or Ar-PKing by prominent clans dedicated to the practice) is the act of killing a Pker - generally denoted to be any armour wielding player with a skull.
An Anti-PKer is someone who only ever attacked PKers (i.e. Only attacking players with skulls) and never attacks anyone else. Some RuneScape clans are "Anti-Random PKing clans" and only ever kill PKers. Ironically, Anti-PKers often make more money than PKers, as the players they kill were skulled from attacking other players, thus taking more of their opponent's items.
Looting is the act of going into the wilderness and attempting to get drops from other PKing kills, while risking nothing, and is frowned upon by PKers. 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 have a rusher attack the winner with the Korasi's special attack (2 if using a ring of vigour) in hopes of a making a double ko in which they can collect their items for profit, or will group up and start placing items that show above a PKer's loot from their kills so that they cannot get the items untill they are removed by the people that put them there, then remove the items when the loot shows to get profit.