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), it is possible for other players to attack one or both fighters. This is also known as "PJ" (player jacking), and considered dishonourable in PKing.

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

If a player runs from a multi-combat to a single combat zone, only one of the attackers can attack the player as long as they are in the single combat zone.

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 very dangerous, as multiple players can attack you at any given 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. Multi-combat zones are very common on the east side of the Wilderness, while there are sparse groups of multi-combat zones on the west side.


Main article: Skull (status)

If a player attacks an innocent player in the Wilderness (one that has not attacked them), a white skull will appear above their heads. This skulls the player for ten minutes. If the skulled player continues attacking other innocent players, the skull's timer will reset.

While skulled, players lose all items upon death. They can keep one or two extra items with the Protect Item prayer/curse and/or after eating a Fury shark.

If a player is attacked by another player, they can retaliate back safely without being skulled. Be careful though, as teams will often try to trick players into skulling themselves against their will. (See Skull-tricking)


Main article: Wilderness
Wilderness map

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 their 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. 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 (or carrying Warbands supplies, a Hellfire bow or Cursed energy), they can be attacked by anyone, regardless of their combat level. Once attacked, however, the player may then also retaliate regardless of combat level difference.


Main article: Minigames

Player killing is allowed in some minigames. In Clan Wars and Castle Wars, it is the main objective of the minigame (alongside flag capturing in Castle Wars). While in some other minigames, like Stealing Creation, it is mixed in with skilling.

Minigames like Castle Wars, Soul Wars, Deathmatch and White portal make good practice grounds for PvP due to being safe. You can use them to get comfortable with the basics without losing any gear. However, minigame PvP only helps to develop a very shallow understanding of Wilderness PvP. Players in safe PvP situations are more inclined to use higher tier gear without the risk of losing it. Additionally, players usually conserve supplies when there is no loot to be gained, meaning that they usually tend to not use food or potions.

General tipsEdit

If you're travelling 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:

  • It helps to wear armour. While it may appear tempting to go in naked (0 risk), it is not always a smart thing to do. Wearing cheap armour like Royal dragonhide armour or Lunar armour will dramatically increase your chances of survival with little risk. However, roaming the Wilderness naked can also prove useful, as player killers may hesitate to skull or expend time on someone who does not appear to be carrying any loot.
  • A shield goes a long way. Using shield abilities such as Reflect and Resonance are key to surviving an attack by another player, especially if you are on low health and/or out of food. A popular and cheap option is the Dark bow which allows you to use both ranged and defensive abilities. Mixing resonance and a binding shot in with your general anti-stun rotation can help to improve your chances of survival.
  • 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.
  • Fight back. In some cases, the attacker will not expect any retaliation and this in itself may drive them away. If they do persist, having a good understanding of PvP basics can even help you win the fight.

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 these abilities, and react in time with the counter to that ability. For example, if a melee PKer uses Slaughter on you, followed by a Kick to move you and force the 3x damage bonus, you should recognise this combo and use Freedom (or preferably a numbing root) to counter the bleed damage as soon as possible. Doing this fluently takes practice.

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 PvP situations.

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 every time 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. Dragging the food items onto your action bar and assigning keybinds may help to aid this technique.


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.

For players with Adrenaline potions, 25% adrenaline can mean an immediate threshold (usually a stun) to catch you by surprise. Additionally, 40% adrenaline with adrenaline potions can top up a player's adrenaline to 65%, allowing them to use two threshold abilities in succession.

Preventing stunsEdit

In the middle of a fight, always remain calm and maintain a good anti-stun rotation. The ideal order is:

Anticipation > Debilitate > Freedom > repeat

This rotation should typically be started when your opponent is about to reach 40% adrenaline. You must also strictly maintain this rotation throughout the fight, alongside keeping your health above zero and trying to combo your opponent at the same time.

Note: Freedom should only be used when it is really needed. If your opponent does not stun you (nor apply a tripled Slaughter/etc), you should just Anticipate again and start this rotation over. Take care not to waste Freedom while your Debilitate is active.

The general tips mention to always bring a shield for abilities like Resonance, Reflect and Barricade. In the event of an emergency, such as when your Debilitate splashes and your Freedom is still on cooldown, equipping a shield to use Reflect can be the difference between life and death.

While shield abilities are crucial to tanking in multi-way combat zones, using them continuously is regarded as taboo in single-way combat. The reason for this is that a very experienced player with good armour and a shield can negate almost all damage an opponent can inflict on him, dragging the fight out and expending time and resources. This is called 'shield camping' and should be avoided in the Wilderness.


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 Action bar. Pressing a well-acquainted keybind dramatically lowers response time for most players, as compared to clicking.

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. Instead, it may be worth setting it up as a Quick prayer.

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:

  • Asphyxiate -> Wild Magic (or vice versa): 716.2% average damage over 10 game ticks or 547% average damage over 7 game ticks (if cutting off the Asphyxiate, since the stun only applies for 3.6s).
  • Shadow Tendrils -> Tight Bindings -> Snap shot: 659.7% average damage over 9 game ticks (with a stun).
  • Berserk -> Hurricane: 530% average damage over 3 game ticks.
  • Detonate (charged) -> Wild Magic: 490% average damage in 1 game tick.
  • Assault -> Destroy: 901.6% average damage over 12 game ticks or 676.2% average damage over 8 game ticks (cutting off each after 4 ticks).

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, Barge and Bladed Dive 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.
  • Rather vulnerable to attacks from long range due to the lack of range most melee weapons have.


  • Magic has access to a strong threshold combination with Wild Magic and Asphyxiate.
  • Dragon Breath is a very strong basic ability. It disables protection prayers/curses, which can be essential in PvP if the opponent uses a protect/deflect prayer. It does more damage than Havoc/Smash (melee abilities prayer disable), while it does not take time to charge like Snipe (ranged ability prayer disable).
  • Magic has access to debuffs, including the Guthix staff special attack which also deals considerable damage in a combo and leaves them vulnerable to further threshold abilities. Additionally, casting Tele-block and Entangle can significantly decrease the likelihood of a target escaping.


  • Ranged is 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 strong killing potential. This is done through Shadow Tendrils, requiring completion of The Dig Site. Shadow Tendrils does a lot of damage, though the primary drawback is that you take recoil damage when using it (regardless if it hits or not).
  • A drawback to ranged is the fact that their prayer disabling ability Snipe has a long cast time (2.4s). Players can avoid the effects of Snipe by getting far away from the user or hiding behind an obstacle such as a tree. If using Snipe often, bringing nightmare gauntlets will allow the user to move while casting Snipe and potentially avoid this drawback.

Dangerous mechanicsEdit


Rushing is the act of attacking a player without giving him or her the opportunity to be ready to attack back. Many consider rushing to be dishonourable, but despite this, it is the most effective way of initiating a fight to your advantage.

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.

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 vigilant at all times.

A few common mechanics used to skull trick are:

  • Having multiple players near you. One person will attack the victim while multiple other players will follow or stand under that player while the victim is fighting them in a multi-way area. When the victim uses an AoE ability, they will skull themselves because the AoE ability will hit the other players that the victim did not hit.
  • 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 Superior ancient mace special attack to rapidly drain your prayer points and disable your Protect Item. The success of the tactic depends almost entirely on the coordination of the team. If they are experienced and well prepared for their attack, it is almost impossible for the target to get away. Macing happens in frequented areas of the Wilderness, such as the Chaos Elemental, Revenants and lava strykewyrms.

It's often hard to predict a macing attack, because the team is hidden from view. Two players of the team will head to the desired spot, look for any potential victims, and attempt to skull trick them. Once the victim falls for the skull trick, the rest of the team appears and maces the victim to remove any prayers they may use.

If you find yourself surrounded by a large amount of players (who are most likely carrying ancient maces), keep your prayer points as high as possible at all times. Do not attempt to eat (unless you are sure you can get away), as by eating, you allow the PKers to deal more damage, which in turn results in you losing unnecessary prayer points. Be aware that PKers may attempt to use Calorie bombs to forcibly restore your health to drain more prayer points with their attacks.

If possible, try to run to a single-way area. This forces only one person to attack you at a time, which can be easier to deal with than multiple people attacking you.

Carrying one or more Fury sharks helps counter macing teams, as upon eating the Fury shark, you are given the effect of Protect Item for one minute. Try to remember when you eat the fury shark so you can reapply its item protecting effect if you find yourself still alive after one minute.


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. This is considered to lean towards griefing, since the players who go to the Wilderness to spot penguins generally risk very little or nothing at all.

However, the WildyWyrm is one of the more popular and active events in the Wilderness. Randomly spawning with a Server-wide Announcement, it is a group boss and has very lucrative rewards upon its death. This attracts large groups of players, including other PKers who may arrive to kill players after the WildyWyrm has died.

Anti-Player KillingEdit

Anti-player killing is where players will fight to defend themselves (or other innocent players) from the attacks of another PKer. Anti-player killing is relatively safe if the player is just defending themselves, so they typically take more valuable items since they will not skull themselves. One should still be wary of their surroundings though, as PKers will typically attempt to exploit skull tricking and macing to make the player lose most if not all of the items.


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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 guards were limited in number, however, and if all them 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. PKers could kill other players in those worlds; on other worlds, Revenants wandered the Wilderness as the game's substitute for PKers on those worlds. Essentially in those worlds, the Wilderness was rather safe, as revenants were unable to pick up drops from players they killed, meaning that if the player was fast enough, they could reclaim their items.

On 1 February 2011, the Wilderness and Free Trade update was implemented. This reverted the Wilderness back into its original state. The revenants, who patrolled the Wilderness when PKers could only do so in PvP worlds, were banished to the Forinthry Dungeon.

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, players had to had a minimum combat level of 20 to enter a PvP world. Their Summoning level did not count towards this requirement.

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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