Soul Wars (abbreviated as SW) is a members-only minigame that was released on 10 February 2009. Similar to Castle Wars and Stealing Creation, it is a team-based minigame that lasts twenty minutes per game and can be played on any world. In Soul Wars, two opposing teams compete against each other to gather soul fragments and offer them to the Soul Obelisk in order to weaken, and ultimately defeat, each other's avatars through combat. Soul Wars has also been a great place for players to train Slayer, due to the Slayer monsters located in the arena.
Far to the west, upon an island long isolated from the rest of RuneScape, two great creatures vie for control of a powerful obelisk but without any clear victor. Recently, a curious man upon a strange pilgrimage found the island and, for his own obscure purposes, has opened the field of battle to any who wish to pit their mettle against the smaller creatures of the island, other adventurers, or even the mighty avatars themselves. See if you can be the ultimate warrior.
To get to Soul Wars, one must enter the Soul Wars portal in Edgeville. It is located south-west of the bank, and west of the abandoned mausoleum. After going through the portal, the player will arrive at Nomad's camp, where players can exchange Zeal points for rewards, learn how to play Soul Wars, or join one of two teams to play Soul Wars.
- Edgeville lodestone - teleports to Edgeville slightly north west of the Soul Wars portal.
- Amulet of glory - teleports outside of Edgeville bank.
- Combat bracelet - teleports to the Monastery near Edgeville.
- Canoe - travel from Lumbridge, Champions' Guild, or Gunnarsgrunn.
- Paddewwa Teleport - teleports the player into the Edgeville Dungeon, just a few steps away. Uses the Ancient Magicks spellbook.
- Skull sceptre - teleports a player inside Gunnarsgrunn, just south of Edgeville, via the Invoke option.
- Fairy ring - code D•K•R teleports the player to the other side of the river, where it is a 15 second walk from there.
- Players who have completed Nomad's Requiem can change their respawn point to Soul Wars, and then die.
Soul Wars does not require any levels or quests in order to be played. Players should note the following things, however:
- They will need to battle other people and monsters; higher combat levels would be advantageous, however, they are not absolutely necessary.
- Fighting the avatars and monsters is easier with higher Slayer levels; pyrefiends and jellies have Slayer requirements of 30 and 52 respectively while higher Slayer levels can be used to kill the other team's avatar faster. Players can still be useful to the team with a low Slayer level as it is not required to attack other players.
- This is a combat-based minigame, so it would be a good idea to have at least level 43 Prayer for Protect from Melee.
- Players will be asked to remove their cape before entering a waiting room; each team has a different cape colour for identification (blue and red)
The objective of Soul Wars is to defeat the opposing team's avatar more times than they defeat yours in 20 minutes. The avatars begin each battle with a Slayer requirement of 100, making them impervious to all attacks. (Note that a slayer capes, wild pies, and slayer's respites cannot be brought to the battlefield.)
In order to reduce their Slayer requirement, players will have to kill some of the smaller Slayer creatures to gather soul fragments and offer them to the Soul Obelisk, which can only be done if the team controls it by having more people in the surrounding area.
Low level players can still contribute to the minigame. They can gather bones and bury them if the required level to attack their avatar drops below 100. Each bone buried at a team's graveyard has a chance to raise the Slayer level required to attack their avatar, and will restore Prayer points. If a team's avatar's health is low, or the other team has the Soul Obelisk, then more players are needed to gather and bury bones to prevent their avatar taking further damage. Low level players can also stand near the Soul Obelisk to assist in its capture.
The capes worn in Soul Wars act like team capes, meaning that those players wearing the same colour cape as you (meaning they are on your team) are blue dots on the minimap, and the other team's players are white dots. That means attacking is the default left-click option on any player of an opposing team, which is useful when one does not target a certain player and is in a crowded place such as the soul obelisk.
When activity is low a warning will be sent through the chat box explaining that you will be kicked from the game. Note that when kicked from the game, players will be unable to join another game until the current game ends. 'Hopping' to another world doesn't reduce the penalty. For example, if you are kicked with 10 minutes until next game showing in the lobby, you will not be able to join any game of Soul Wars within seven minutes (10 minus the waiting time, three minutes). Going to another world will still make the penalty seven minutes.
Because this is a combat-based minigame, players should consider bringing the following:
- The best armour that the player has and is able to wear. Players may consider bringing multiple sets; for example, one with a high melee and ranged defence bonus (melee armour), alongside one with a high magic defence bonus (ranged armour).
- The best weapon that the player has and is able to use. Players may again want to bring a selection of weapons of different combat types.
- A Summoning familiar, if the player has the ability to summon one that could assist him or her in combat.
Items available during the gameEdit
Players will be able to obtain the following items during the game. These items will be lost upon death. They will be removed from both the field and the player's inventory upon the game's end.
From the Supply Area:
- Bandages (heals)
- Barricades (prevents players from running through it)
- Explosive potion (destroys a barricade instantly)
From killing players:
- Bones (Players might drop extra bones if they're carrying more. You will always get at least one as a drop. The player that deals the most damage to said player will receive the extra bones.) Bones will also be found anywhere on the ground as higher level players generally don't pick them up.
- Soul fragments (if the player killed is carrying any their dropped soul fragments will be visible to all players.)
- Soul fragments (one from a pyrefiend, two from a jelly)
When players first arrive on the island, they will encounter Nomad and his imp familiar, Zimberfizz. Nomad will offer players a tour of the battlefield along with a short explanation, or a book that explains fighting in the Soul Wars.When players feel they are ready to battle, enter one of the portals to the south of Nomad. The blue barrier will align the player with the Avatar of Creation; the red barrier will align the player with the Avatar of Destruction; and the green portal will attach the player to the team with the least players. You cannot get into a Soul Wars game with six minutes or lower remaining (six minutes in game and three minutes in lobby) no matter how early you went into the barrier.
The barriers are entrances to the waiting rooms of each team. Each waiting room is a 10x9 rectangle with a torch on each corner. There is nothing to do in the waiting room, but some players are found advertising a Soul Wars clan, most doing it between games. After every minute that a player is inside a waiting room, the player's priority is increased along with the message, "You now have a higher priority to enter a game of Soul Wars." When a new game starts, a lot of players get in. Those with higher priority will get usually into the game first, but there is some luck involved and players without any priority may get in before those with priority. However, many will be left out. If players are keen to join in, they may wait; and once per minute, a few new soldiers with the highest priority will be added to the battle, provided the number of players on each team remains equal.
Players in the waiting rooms may try to trick others out in an attempt to increase their own chance of getting in the game. They do this with several ways: by manually typing untrue Quick Chat in, a player can lie that "The blue team's avatar level is: 22." when in reality the blue team is winning and the red team's avatar is weaker; this may trick someone into joining the red team. Other ways involve pretending a famous player is in the other team, saying the door is stuck (to trick people into clicking it, leaving, and losing their priority), and telling everyone that someone outside the waiting room is lending a rare item (e.g. Armadyl godsword) for a low price or free. Another way to do this is to do a "fake switch". This is done by having a bunch of players walk up to the barrier, but not click it, while some players say "switch." Other players might believe them and pass through the barrier. A protection prayer is often used in this method. This is the most common technique. This kind of trickery may fool a few people, but rarely enough to make a noticeable difference. A "reeler" is someone who will actually leave the waiting room and runs to the other team. Several can be used for more believable switches.
Games last twenty minutes, with a minimum three-minute waiting period in between, so players may have to wait for the previous game to end before they can get in. 5 players per team are needed for the game to begin.
Every minute of waiting gives the message: "You now have a higher priority to enter a game of Soul Wars."
How to contribute to your teamEdit
There are various ways you can help your team win and increase your activity bar. Below are all possible ways.
- Attack players on the opposing team.
- Set up barricades (which does not raise the activity bar).
- Heal your allies (by using bandages on them, this does not raise the activity bar if your team mate has full life points).
- Bury bones in any of your team's graveyards or base. (which has about a 50% chance of increasing your avatar's Slayer level, as well as restoring a portion of your own prayer points & activity bar).
- Kill slayer creatures for their soul fragments to offer to the soul obelisk (to lower the opposing avatar's level).
- Damage the enemy avatar.
- Blow up barricades (if necessary, such as if someone wastes them by putting them in useless areas, or if enemies hide themselves behind one) - remember to use Explosive potions which are located in the supply area.
- Assist in the capture of graveyards or the Soul Obelisk.
A labelled map to help you find your way around is shown. Refer to it for help.
The battlefield is divided up into three main areas:
- Avatar of Creation's Base
- Players on the blue team will begin here. None of the locations in this area can be captured by the red team.
- Avatar of Destruction's Base
- Players on the red team will begin here. None of the locations in this area can be captured by the blue team.
- Main Battlefield
- There are a number of locations here, the most important of which are the Soul Obelisk and the two graveyards.
- These can be captured by having a greater number of your own team within their bounds for a short period of time.
- Jellies and pyrefiends can also be found wandering in the ruins around the battlefield.
The base is composed of three main features:
- The avatars
- Supply area
- Graveyards (East Graveyard and West Graveyard)
- The graveyard is the location where players will be resurrected when they die. See "Graveyards" for more information about this.
AvatarsEditTo kill the other team's avatar, players must collect soul fragments/shards. Each fragment used on the obelisk gives a deduction of one point.
In order to kill the opponents' avatar, players must first weaken it to enable as many of their team-mates to fight it as possible. As noted above, this is done by killing the jellies (two shards per kill) and pyrefiends (one shard per kill) around the main battlefield and offering the resulting soul fragments to the Soul Obelisk. The more fragments that are offered, the lower the Slayer requirement will be to kill the avatar. This is stated in the "Avatar Level" entry in the top-right of the window. Players should note that they can offer shards to the Soul Obelisk only if their team controls it. Player who do not have the required Slayer level to attack the jellies or pyrefiends can obtain shards by picking up those that other players have dropped upon death.
Players may attempt to restore the avatar's Slayer requirement by burying the bones of defeated foes in their own base or in a graveyard their team controls. Each time this is done, there is a chance that the avatar's Slayer requirement will rise by 1 level. Burying bones in either place will also restore some of that player's prayer points.
Both the Avatar of Creation and Avatar of Destruction have a combat level of 100 and should not be underestimated due to its seemingly low combat level. They also drain Prayer points with each attack. Enchanted ruby bolts are an effective choice of ammunition due to their high Constitution, although the damage is capped at 700. Protect from Melee prayer is also helpful, although prayer is drained very quickly if the avatar is attacking the player.
Note that Summoning familiars are unable to harm the avatars, but are useful for killing off the smaller Slayer creatures and opposing players.
Death and graveyardsEdit
Dying in a game of Soul Wars will result in being temporarily transformed into a ghost. This state lasts for 15 seconds, after which time the player may participate in the game again.
If a player puts on the equipment stats interface, they will stay a ghost until closing the interface, when they will change back. This only works if the player waits the seconds before going back, so it cannot be used to quickly play again.
When players are killed in Soul Wars (either by one of the creatures of the battlefield, or by another player), Nomad will protect the player from the hunger of the Soul Obelisk and ensure that they are resurrected in the graveyard closest to where they died, provided that the team controls it.
For a few moments, the player will be a purely spectral form and unable to interact with anything, but they will soon be restored to the usual state, along with any equipment they were carrying, with the exception of bones, supplies from the tables, and soul fragments. Note that the soul fragments will be won by the enemy who killed you; they will be visible to everyone.
Because the two graveyards in the main battlefield can be captured, they are valuable resources for getting access to the smaller Slayer monsters, the Soul Obelisk, and the opposing base.
Each base's supply area contains bandages, barricades, and explosive potions, all of which are useful for ensuring the battle favours a particular team.
Players cannot trade in Soul Wars using the traditional method, but they may use bandages on their teammates to heal lost life points or give bones, barricades, soul fragments, and explosives to their allies by using each respective item on them. They may also use the bandages on themselves by left-clicking them healing 10% of their life total and 50% run energy. Players may carry as many bandages as they have inventory space. Players cannot take bandages when they are under attack; the message "You're too busy to be taking bandages now" appears when attempting to do so.
Along with the bandages, players will discover that each supply area contains a table of barricades. Players can only carry one barricade at a time, and the team may only have ten barricades set up at once. They may set up a barricade in many places to hinder the opponents by simply left-clicking it in the inventory. If a barricade is blocking a path, players on both teams cannot walk past it, but they can click manually to walk around it. They may also attack the barricade(s), or use explosives, to remove the obstacle(s). Saboteurs (see below) often set up barricades in their own team's supply area or away from the battlefield in order to handicap their team. Barricades do not give experience to attackers.
Explosive potions can be used on the barricades to destroy them in a single blast. Players can carry as many explosive potions as they have inventory space.
It should be noted that each of the tables, excluding the barricade table, has a "take-x" option, allowing players to quickly take a certain amount of items.
Players may also use the other team's supply area as well, which helps if there is a need to restock before fighting the avatar. This feature may be changed by Jagex in the future, similar to what was done with the bandage table in Castle Wars.
There are a number of Soul Wars friend chats, most operating on official Soul Wars worlds.
Clans generally use certain level requirements, combined with a clan/friend chat for communication, to ensure a win in a Soul Wars game (with all clan members joining the same team).
Clans can generally be distinguished as either; attempting to win continually on a given world by gathering players with high combat skills, attempting to win by 'leeching' calls from higher-levelled clans for an advantage to win free zeals (often called leech clans), or clans attempting to 'crash' a world by winning matches against that world's dominant clan (often called crashers).
To help players keep track of all of the useful information, there is a display in the top-right corner of the screen.
- West Graveyard (left) - which team controls the graveyard (none, red, or blue)
- Soul Obelisk (centre) - which team controls the obelisk (none, red, or blue)
- East Graveyard (right) - which team controls the graveyard (none, red, or blue)
- Avatar deaths - The number of times the avatar has been killed.
- Avatar level - The current Slayer level of the avatar. Starts at 100.
- Avatar health - The current health (life points) of the avatar. 100% is 10,000 life points.
- Time left - The time left for the game to finish. Each game lasts 20 minutes.
- Activity bar (far right of display)- Shows the player's level of activity. The bar diminishes and changes from green to orange to red over time, but can be replenished when a player fights, uses soul fragments, buries bones, uses bandages on teammates, or dies during the game. When the bar is completely depleted, the player is removed from the game without zeal, and cannot rejoin the waiting lobby for 10 minutes. Recently, Jagex changed it so that players do not receive activity for using bandages on teammates that are already at full health. If player gets disconnected from the game from losing internet connection due to lag, they cannot rejoin the waiting lobby.
There are many players in Soul Wars who intentionally don't help their team to win; instead, they actively try to make them lose or simply don't do anything useful at all.
In every Soul Wars game, there used to be a group of people who would just stand around and do nothing. These people were called "Free Loaders." Freeloaders were usually players at a fairly low level wishing to take advantage of the fact that they could perform the equivalent of "afk training", by only clicking once every three minutes or so to earn experience in combat skills. This freeloading upset legitimate players as they took the places of people who wanted to play the game properly, giving an advantage to the opposite team.
This tactic was similar to players exploiting the fast experience gain in Pest Control when it was first released, with players saying that it was far too easy to train skills within the minigame, a similar complaint made by critics of Soul Wars. Killing freeloaders was an excellent way to earn combat experience. Nowadays, players trap freeloaders in small areas with barricades, to ensure they cannot escape; thus their activity bar will eventually run out, kicking them from the game.
As of 19 May 2009, Jagex added an activity bar to the Soul Wars minigame. If a player does not take part in the game, the bar will go from green to orange, and finally to red, after which the player will be kicked from the game.
Because of the activity bar, the assortment of freeloaders near the base has been reduced, and, as a result, the amount of Soul Wars players has decreased. Before, some freeloaders used to stay in the supply area and use bandages on teammates, which would replenish half of the activity bar; however, an update was introduced that removes the ability to heal players whom already have full life points. Players are, however, still able to conduct freeloading by picking up a full inventory of bones and then burying the bones whenever the activity bar gets low. They can also run into an opposing area to get killed, thus replenishing the activity bar. If the avatar's level is reduced it is often beneficial, though, to have a few people actively burying bones. However, these methods of freeloading take considerably more effort than in the past, as players still have to contribute some sort of activity into the game.
Saboteurs (known in-game as sabos or sabs) are players who play for the opposing team by using the current team's resources (such as barricades and explosive potions) to slow their own team and make it easier for the opponent to win.
In the supply areas there are often some players (similar to freeloaders) who hinder their team by setting up many barricades in the entire supply area, mostly in front of the explosive potions, bandages, and barricades. These saboteurs occasionally proceed to start attacking the barricades with magic, ranged, or melee, untruthfully claiming that they gain experience. Sabotage tactics are sometimes used by clan members who did not make it in to their clan's chosen team or are willing to sacrifice potential zeal to help their clan win.
The main sabotage tactics are:
Blocking: the main goal is to block their team's access to the obelisk by setting up barricades on the bottom or top extreme of their starting side's bridge. This slows down the players running to the obelisk, and grants the other team higher chances to own it.
Clearing: the objective of these is to give easier access to the opponent to vital spots (known as 'hotspots') by destroying barricades using commonly explosive potions. These hotspots can be the obelisk or the avatar.
Saboteurs are often looked down upon by "real" players who are trying to win the game. The barricades block and frustrate other team members that are trying to get bandages. Other players trying to set up barricades in strategic locations may not always be able to do so because of the 10-barricade limit.
It is possible for a saboteur to lure a player into a corner and trap them with barricades, only to have the player be kicked out for inactivity while they try to destroy the barricades. This is considered extremely dishonourable, as it withdraws the player from the game and bans them from rejoining despite not having intentionally left. Barricading players is, however, an effective way to get bots kicked from the game, as some bots cannot attack the barricades and become trapped.
Some saboteurs choose to block the route from their team's base to their grave, allowing the opposing team to capture it more easily. This can result in a significant number of players being trapped near their base by mages using Ice Barrage. A clan using large amounts of players for this purpose is generally seen as inefficient, as all players involved only gain one zeal point if successful.
The fastest way to counter saboteurs is to use explosive potions on the barricades; however, it may take some time to destroy a barricade that is already in front of the potion table. This will require one person continually taking potions and using them, as the saboteur(s) will be likely to persist.
Some players choose to complete pyrefiend or jelly Slayer tasks in Soul Wars, as they can gain zeal while training. To gain maximum experience, they may choose to not use their soul fragments on the obelisk. This means that they fail to contribute to the team, and can potentially help the opposing team if killed.
The most effective strategy to win the game is to simply take control of both graveyards. The opposing team will thus only be able to bury bones in their own base in order to increase the avatars level. This is also effective because the other team will have to run more to re-join the battle upon death, making it harder to keep control of a given area.
If the opposing team has control of both of your graveyards, the best thing to do is to get a team of at least three to rush the graveyard that is farthest away your from avatar. This is because most of the opposing team spawns in the closer graveyard and there will be hardly anyone in the graveyard that is farther away. However, it is often difficult to even get to the other graveyard because white dots will most likely attack anyone attempting to leave.
You can increase your chances of winning by joining a friends chat designed just for Soul Wars. These commonly have combat level requirement, and for such, low level players who join are automatically kicked out. These friend chats (formerly known as clans) run the games by picking which colour people should join. To let players know what the leaders' decisions are, they call for the right colour minutes prior to the end of the current game.
It is important to have your screen heading towards where the team's lobby is at once the game finishes and you are back on the starter lobby. This is done to avoid missing out a game since due to the high amount of players in each game, this may cause lag and you would click late on the barrier for the corresponding team.
Once you are in game, you should follow your friends chat's calls. These calls can be for example:
Obby/Obelisk: means the team should go towards the soul obelisk to regain position.
Ava/Avatar: means the team should go towards the opponent's avatar to attack, unless specified "our avatar" to defend if the other team is currently in offence.
Coll/Collect: means a small proportion of players should go collect soul fragments. It is highly recommended to slay jellies since they drop 2 soul fragments instead of the single-drop by pyrefiends. A good way to collect is to kill the opposing team's collectors to gain as drop their soul fragments collected.
Grave/Graveyard: this means the team should move quickly to the specified graveyard (western or eastern). This is only recommended to do if the team can gain position of the other team's graveyard (slowing down their offence since the long run back to the obelisk from the original graveyard spawn) or your own team's graveyard (in case the opponent is taking it).
If players don't follow calls, games commonly end up in a tie or a loss. Cooperation in team is needed to win a game of Soul Wars because of the high activity required to earn 3 zeals. Players who choose to go on their own way but still join the friend chat for Soul Wars might be kicked for not following calls.
Leaving the gameEdit
Should players wish to leave the game they will not receive any zeal points. Unlike Castle Wars, however, players will not be able to join a game until the current game has ended. This ensures that players on the losing team cannot swap teams to receive more points. They used to be able to join with 1 minute left in the game, but Jagex changed it as it was unfair for quitters or freeloaders to have more priority than the people who finished the game.
Players will receive a number of zeal points based on their performance in the game, unless the player joined the waiting area after the game was half over; in which case no zeal points are awarded.:
- Three zeal for a victory
- Two zeal for a draw
- One zeal for a defeat
Players may trade these in with Nomad or Zimberfizz for a variety of rewards such as experience, charms, Slayer pets, and other items. Players can store a maximum of 50,000 Zeal points. This is equivalent to playing and winning 16,667 games.
Upon winning a game of Soul Wars, players have a chance to receive some hybrid armour legs. This chance increases with more wins.
Required for CompletingEdit
- Nomad's Requiem (Must complete the tutorial and at least one game)
As many players gather in certain areas, such as the Soul Obelisk and waiting rooms, the game may run slowly in those areas. In serious cases, players may be kicked for inactivity as any target is defeated before they could attack.
As high levelled players on a world often join a clan, the team chosen by that clan will win most games. This can be demoralising for those without the requirements to join a clan.
'Leech' clans and game entryEdit
Due to leech clans attempting to join the same team as higher levelled clans, players often fail to get ingame. This is because the number of players in each waiting room is usually unbalanced on official worlds.
Combat level differenceEdit
Players can be attacked regardless of combat level. This can result in repeated deaths for low levelled players, particularly against mages using spells from the ancient magicks spell book.
On Day 8 of Super September players were encouraged to complete a game of Soul Wars, the immediate demand and high amounts of lag on some servers caused games to last over an hour.
- Players trying to do an emote, or trying to blow the Penance Master Horn in the arena receive the message, "This is a battleground, not a circus." This could be a reference to the play Les Misérables in which the main character Jean Valjean says, "This is a Factory, not a Circus." in the song At the End of the Day.
- One Soul Wars minute is around 85 seconds, or 1 Minute and 25 seconds in real time. This makes one Soul Wars game add up to 25 minutes. This is possibly because Soul Wars worlds are prone to server lag causing the timer to count down slower.
- During Bot Nuke Day on 28 October 2011, the zeal rewarded after each game was tripled. Losing a game would yield 3 zeal, tying 6 zeal and winning 9 zeal.