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Combat in RuneScape is split into two systems: Evolution of Combat and Legacy. These systems work independently and offer different experiences, but in the end they all result in one thing - the death of you or your opponent. You can choose which system to use through the combat settings interface.

Regardless of which system you pick, there are a few things you should consider before getting into a fight:

  • Your combat level
  • Your gear (see the equipment guide for more details)
  • Your combat style
  • The combat triangle

Combat Level

The combat level is a general indicator of Combat ability. It depends on the combat skills of a player or NPC. Generally, the higher the combat level, the more skilled the player or NPC is in combat.

When you hover your mouse cursor over an NPC or player, that person's (or NPC's) combat level will be displayed.

Your own combat level is calculated from your combat statistics: Attack, Strength, Magic, Ranged, Defence, Summoning and Prayer.

( max (Attack+Strength,2*Magic,2*Ranged) * 13 / 10 +Defence+Constitution+ ( Prayer /2 )+ ( Summoning /2 ) ) /4

An NPC's combat level tends to be calculated by adding the highest of its combat stats together.

Combat Styles

There are three styles of combat in RuneScape. It is always worth considering your opponents' (player or monster) weaknesses when thinking of which combat style to attack with. Certain armours are weak to different weapon styles and it will give you a significant advantage if you play on these weaknesses.

Melee Melee Melee Magic Magic Magic Ranged Ranged Ranged
Melee combat is divided into two skills: Attack and Strength. Attack will determine your accuracy when fighting and will increase your consistency when hitting opponents. Strength will determine how hard you hit your opponent. These two skills are the Melee equivalent of the single Ranged and Magic skills. Melee can only be used in close distance, but it requires no runes or ammunition. To cast spells you will need the correct runes. Each type of rune contains a different type of power and is used when casting different types of spells. To cast combat spells click on a target then click individual spells to cast them. You can also set damaging combat spells to auto-cast by right-clicking them in the ability book. Magic can be used to keep your opponent bound and weakened, as well as inflicting damage. Ranged allows you to attack opponents from great distances, using a variety of projectile weapons. The bow and arrow is the most common weapon used by rangers. Shieldbows are more powerful, but at the price of rate of fire. Shortbows have a quicker rate of fire, but they sacrifice power to achieve this. You can also train your Ranged skill using other weapons, such as throwing knives, darts and javelins.
Melee offers stab, slash and crushing attacks. Magic offers fire, earth, air and water attacks. Ranged offers thrown-, arrow- and bolt-based attacks.

Combat Triangle

combat triangle.png

The combat triangle is how the three combat styles work together. It basically boils down to this:

  • Ranged attacks are best against Magic users, but weak against Melee
  • Magic attacks are best against Melee users, but weak against Ranged
  • Melee attacks are best against Ranged users, but weak against Magic

Specific weaknesses will have a further bonus to your hit chance if you attack with these. For example, monsters with a weakness to bolts weak to bolts.gif will be hit more often and receive more damage if you use a weapon that fires bolts over other ranged weapons.. Specific weaknesses do not come into play for PvP.

You can try to counter opponents strengths and your character's weaknesses with different armour, potions, and other combat aids, but they will always remain, albeit in a reduced form if you consider your setup carefully.

EoC rebalanced and reinforced the combat triangle – the bonuses and penalties applies when fighting across the different styles of melee, ranged and magic. With the introduction of Legacy in June 2014 these bonuses and penalties were slightly relaxed to allow for players wearing the “wrong gear” to still have a competitive chance both in PvP and PvE.

Combat Systems

Evolution of Combat

The Evolution of Combat - or EoC for short - is the more versatile of the combat systems. It allows you to mix up your fighting style using abilities. These abilities allow you to perform special moves and heal yourself, amongst other things. You will find a list of abilities sorted by combat style in the powers interface. You'll also find defensive and strength abilities here as well as prayers/curses for more advanced combat techniques.

There are three types of ability:

  • Basic - These abilities are quick, usually damage based, abilities that can generate Adrenaline. Adrenaline is used to perform more advanced and stronger abilities such as threshold and ultimate.
  • Threshold - Threshold abilities do more damage than basic abilities, but they also drain 15% of your adrenaline when cast. Threshold abilities require 50% adrenaline to use.
  • Ultimate - These are the most powerful of all abilities. Most of these abilities wipe your adrenaline bar completely, and do not generate adrenaline.

Some abilities have special requirements such as skill level, weapon requirements and, for Magic Abilities, rune costs. Unless you meet these requirements, you will not be able to use your chosen ability.

Most abilities are unlocked as you train your combat skills but some can be obtained in other ways. There are some abilities that can be unlocked by killing creatures in the God Wars Dungeon (Sacrifice, Devotion, Transfigure), some from completing The World Wakes quest (Balanced Strike, Death's Swiftness, Sunshine, Natural Instinct, Guthix's Blessing); and others from reading the Codex Ultimatus (Blood Tendrils, Shadow Tendrils, Smoke Tendrils, Ice Asylum).

The combat settings interface
The combat settings interface

Although manually activating your abilities can be far more versatile, there are other options for those who prefer a simpler interaction with EoC combat. Available through the combat settings interface, the combat mode offers three options for playing with EoC:

  • Full Manual - This selects your combat mode as manual i.e. you decide what abilities to activate and when.
  • Revolution - This selects your combat mode as revolution i.e. the first 9 abilities in your Action Bar will be used consecutively without input.
  • Momentum - This selects your combat mode as momentum i.e. your automatic attacks have increased damage and your basic abilities will be triggered automatically every 20 seconds. Attempting to manually activate basic or threshold abilities will result in momentum combat mode reverting back to full manual, but ultimate abilities can be activated manually without consequence.


The Legacy system of combat is a return to more nostalgic times in RuneScape history. It replicates our older combat system that was in place before the introduction of EoC, but offers improvements in terms of level calculations and works alongside the EoC system. Although Legacy may be seen as a simpler system, in most cases it will not penalise you for choosing to use it over EoC. Some of the more specialised bosses such as Vorago, which require the use of specific abilities, are not suitable for Legacy mode users.

In Legacy mode you have no abilities, so Melee and Ranged combat become much simpler - simply click on an enemy to attack them and your character will do all the work. Magic and prayer use is still the same as EoC, though the interfaces you access these spells and prayers from will look different.

The melee abilities interface
The melee abilities interface

In addition to the interface changes, you'll also notice a the return of an old interface - previously known as the combat styles interface. This interface allows you to alter how you attack other players and NPCs in the Legacy combat system. This interface shows your combat level, weapon type and special attack button. The interface also allows you to choose our combat style and turn the auto retaliate feature on or off.

In terms of changes to damage, Legacy scales down the visual representation of life points, effectively dividing it by 10 when it’s shown on your screen. It’s still the same amount of damage actually being done under-the-hood, but the numbers are smaller and more comfortable for players who preferred it from before.

Defeating your Enemies


The beginnings of your enemy's demise starts with them becoming a target. A player or NPC can be set as your target for all unlocked spells, attacks, and abilities. This will be automatically set when you attack them, but can also be set by clicking an ability and then selecting the enemy you wish to attack. This can be useful for starting combat with an ability rather than an auto-attack.

Some quest objects can also be targeted if, for instance, a spell needs to be cast on them.

When you have a target in EoC mode, it will have a red circle at its feet - a target reticule. When you are being targeted in EoC mode, a yellow circle will appear at the feet of the enemy who is attacking you. In areas where there are aggressive NPCs, you'll find that multiple enemies can attack you. Those that can hit you will be highlighted with a yellow circle as usual, but those who cannot reach you will not be highlighted in this way. That doesn't mean that they won't attack you once the thing preventing them from reaching you is removed, however.

When you have a target in EoC mode, you will see the target information interface. It will include details such as the name of your opponent, life point total, level and weakness. The details vary depending on what you have targeted. This interface will update in real time so, as you do damage to the monster and its life point total decreases, so will the bar behind the life point total.

Legacy mode users will not see target reticules or the target information interface.

Life and Death

Life points

Main article: Constitution

Constitution Life points are represented by the green and red bar above your head during combat. The green area on your life bar shows your remaining health, whereas the red shows how much health you have lost. If you want or need a more accurate view of your health, look at the life points globe next to your mini-map. This will display the number of life points remaining from your total; for example, 180 (out of 400).

Always keep an eye on this and make sure that your life points do not reach 0, or you will die! To avoid death, you will need to heal during a fight to restore your life points. For this you will need food. To see what food is 'best' and what heals the most, see the Cooking guide.

You can boost your life points by using equipment with a life bonus. The life bonus is added to your base number of life points.

When fighting an opponent, you are likely to become damaged and lose health. The health you lose is displayed on 'hit splats' rising from your character. These hit splats are also used to display the damage that you are doing to your opponent (these will rise from your opponent). You can view the type of damage that is being dealt (melee, ranged, magic and more) by looking at the icon next to the number. A blue shield icon indicates a miss, with no damage dealt.

If you find you are losing a battle, then you can run away by clicking on the ground. If you do retreat it's best to keep moving, as monsters will pursue you and carry on attacking. If you run far enough away, monsters will eventually give up the chase.


Main article: Death in Gielinor

If you are unfortunate, or do not take any health supplies, you may die as a result of combat. If this happens, you will appear in Limbo and will be able to choose your respawn point. This point will always include Lumbridge, but you may find that your 'hub' - the last city you passed through - is included on this list, and a number of respawn points that you have unlocked via quests.

If you die outside of the Wilderness then you will be able to choose three items you can keep on death in the death interface. These are set by default to the most valuable items according to the Grand Exchange guide price, but can be changed while you are in the death interface. If you are using the Protect Item prayer or curse at the time of your death, sometimes you will retain four items. You may also be holding a number of items that are kept automatically; this is because they are quest items, or are useful but common items that would be awkward to retrieve if you lost them. Coins are protected in this way.

Poison and Bleeding Effects

Main article: Poison

Poison or bleed, is a damage over time effect that causes damage every 30 seconds until cured. Damage caused by poison appears as a poisoned hit splat.png hit splat.

Applying a Weapon poison potion to your melee weapon has a 1 in 4 chance of causing poison damage to a player or NPC. For ranged weapons, this is a 1 in 8 chance. The damage caused depends on the potion used.

Some NPCs are immune to poison, therefore there will be no damage from your poisoned weapon.

For NPCs causing poison damage to you it can be calculated as: (40 + (poison * 10))/5 where poison is a non-player facing value that varies depending on the NPC. For example, a tribesman has a poison value of 30 causing 68 hit points of damage, whereas the jogre Champion has a poison value of 40 causing 88 hit points of damage. If you know the damage the NPC caused you, you can work out the poison value using this formula: ((poison damage x 5) - 40)/10.

Telling How Tough an Enemy Is


For players, you can tell their approximate difficulty by their armour and their combat level. This may vary due to player skill, but you can get a rough idea of how tough they are from this.

Higher level armour will determine how many additional hit points they have, and how well protected they are. Armour type can also tell you what type of damage they are protected from and weak to.


Main article: Bestiary

As with players, the difficulty of an NPC can be roughly guessed by referring to their combat level. Some NPCs are much tougher as they have a high amount of hit points for their combat level, or special resistances:

  • Immune to Poison
  • Immune to Leech
  • Immune to Stun
  • Immune to Shove

The target information interface will tell you what type of damage they are weak to, how many life points they have, their combat level and any buffs/debuffs that they have active.

Getting Equipped


Main article: Loadout


The Loadout interface can be accessed through the Gear interface, simply press 'F2' on your keyboard.

This interface is where you can see what items you are wearing in each slot and how heavy these items are. More importantly, the interface allows you to see just how much damage you are capable of doing, and how much damage you can deflect, under different circumstances. Equipping or unequipping items will change the numbers listed so you can see what effect they have.


Main article: Armour

Armour is worn in the back, head, torso, legs and feet slots of the worn equipment inventory. There are often several types of armour for each slot, each usually aimed at a different part of the combat triangle. For example, both chain bodies and robes can be equipped in the torso slot, but where the plate bodies are aimed at warriors, robes are better for mages.

Armour typically offers protection from attacks by way of an armour rating and a class type, some even provide a life point, Prayer, Strength, Magic and Ranged bonuses. Bonuses are added on to existing stats to boost them:

  • Prayer bonus is included in the prayer point drain calculation
  • Life bonus is added to your base life points
  • Strength bonus is added to you baser Melee damage
  • Ranged bonus is added to your base Ranged damage
  • Magic bonus is added to your base Magic damage

Bonuses vary from piece to piece, but typically the higher the armour rating, the higher the bonuses it brings. It should be mentioned, that some armour is cosmetic and provides no armour rating nor do they provide bonuses.

Armour comes in 3 types: tank, power and all/hybrid. These all vary slightly in terms of armour rating, some even come with damage modifiers.

  • Tank armour is the most common armour type and provides the best protection as it has a larger defensive bonus than other armour types.
  • Power armour doesn't offer the protection that tank armour does, but it does make up for this as it provides a damage boost.
  • Hybrid armour won't provide as much protection as the other amour types, and doesn't have a damage boost like power armour, but it does mean that your enemies won't get an advantage over you in terms of the combat triangle. Hybrid armour provides equal protection against at least two sides of the combat triangle. Hybrid armour marked as 'All' will provide protection against all three sides of the triangle.


Main article: Weapons

Weapons are worn in the right hand and/or left hand slots of the worn equipment inventory. There are often several types of armour for each slot, each usually aimed at a different part of the combat triangle. For example, both two handed crossbows and staves can be equipped in the main and off-hand slots, but where the crossbows are aimed at rangers, staves are better for mages.

Weapon speed determines how quickly you can attack your opponent. Slower weapons tend to do more damage than their one-handed equivalent in the same tier to make up for their slower attack speed.

Accuracy comes into play when determining your hit chance (see below). It can come from your weapons, or from your skills.

Weapons offer differing amounts and types of damage depending on their class, critical damage bonuses and damage rating. Some weapons even take into account the damage rating of their ammunition.

Off-hand Items and Accessories

Many non-combat off-hand items and accessories offer bonuses to Strength, Melee or Magic. In the case of Magic based off-hand items such as orbs, or books, these offer a bonus to accuracy meaning an increase to how fast you can cast spells. Other off-hand items like shields, offer additional armour rating.

Combat Areas

In Gielinor combat is common and you are able to engage (or be engaged upon by) multiple enemies at once. The only exception to this is in the Wilderness where you can choose to be set to single-way or multi-way combat through the use of a Constitution ability.

In a lot of areas, the local inhabitants aren't particularly aggressive and will only fight you if provoked, but exercise caution when exploring new areas as multiple enemies may be less than friendly to your arrival. Area-of-effect and multi-hit abilities can be useful for fighting multiple enemies at once as they can be used anywhere, but be careful not to draw more enemies than you can handle into a fight!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you explain the combat triangle to me?

2. When I left-click on a monster, my character does not attack it. I have to right-click and then select 'Attack'...

3. Once I enter a fight, how long must I wait before I can log out?

4. How can I calculate my maximum hit?

5. Does your Defence level have any effect on the amount of Ranged or Magic damage you receive?

6. What is the highest level a player can go up to?

7. I never seem to hit certain monsters, even though I've got a high Attack level. Why not?

Development Team

Evolution of Combat
Content Team
Developer: (Project Lead:Chris L, Chris E, Fred H, John P) Kevin G, Jose P
Editor: William D
Wiki: Michelle-Louise J
Graphics Team
Concept: Paolo P, Dave B, Neil R, Giuseppe G, Yann B, John McC
Character: Alec V, Zoltan H, Baj S, Mark C, Mark B, Damo C, Manu L, Kyle N
UI: Rakesh M, Thomas G, Tursan R
Animation: Chris W, Wing C, David C, Gurpreet K, Brad A, Stuart O, Hing C, Simon P, Victor G, Lelio C, Henrik V
Environment: Alan O'B
Quality Assurance Team
Core Testers: (Project Lead:Lewis R) Lewis R, Graeme C, Alistair H, Ian H
Additional Testers: Jamie B, Dan M, Richard D, Adam D, Alex D, Anthony D, Thomas H, Ian H, James H, Sarah J, Ben L, Vicki M, Stacey N, Kristina S, Juliet T, Sarah-Jane W, Lesleyann W, Giles W, Andrew Y
Audio Team
Audio: Adam B, Ian T, Adam R
Legacy Combat
Content Team
Developer: Jose P, Chris L, John P, Kevin G
Editor: William D
Wiki: Michelle-Louise J
Graphics Team
Character: Alec V
UI: Tursan R
Animation: Lelio C
Quality Assurance Team
Core Testers: (Project Lead:Lewis R) Adam D, Kyle R, Harrison P, Kristina S, Ryan P, Oliver H
Audio Team
Audio: Adam B

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