What Is RuneScape?

Jagex's RuneScape has been popular for years, but what is it?

With over 250 million accounts created, multiple spin-off games, a series of books, and a very dedicated fanbase, RuneScape is the world's largest MMORPG and arguably one of the most popular online games of all time. Learn how to play RuneScape on your desktop or mobile device.

Information in this article applies to the current standard version of RuneScape, also known as RuneScape 3.

How to Play RuneScape

RuneScape is a point-and-click game set in a fantasy world called Gielinor where players can interact with each other. What players do is entirely up to them, as everything is optional. Every player decides their own fate and can choose to do as they please, whether they want to train a skill, fight monsters, partake in a quest, play a mini-game, or socialize with others.

A players fight cows in RuneScape
Michael Fulton / RuneScape / Jagex Ltd.

RuneScape Combat Modes

RuneScape has two combat mechanics: Legacy or Regular (commonly referred to as EoC, or Evolution of Combat).

Regular Mode (EoC)

The Regular (EoC) fighting style gives players a plethora of abilities to utilize depending on the various weapons, items, and armors they have at their disposal. Other factors that play into EoC include the player's fighting style (Melee, Range, or Magic), the level they have obtained in a specific skill, the quests the player has completed, and more. EoC mode has been compared to other games like Blizzard’s MMORPG World of Warcraft.

In EoC mode, the Adrenaline bar will reappear the more a player uses their various abilities. Certain abilities, however, can only be used when the Adrenaline meter is at a certain point and will drain the meter a significant amount after being used. To reuse the same ability or others like it, the player will need to refill their Adrenaline meter and sometimes wait for a cooldown.

Legacy Mode

Legacy mode is the original combat system the core game was originally designed around. There are no abilities, Adrenaline, or any of the combat settings in EoC. Your character attacks automatically, although you can use items and Special Attacks.

These abilities are tied to a specific item and can be used in both modes of combat. An example is the Saradomin Godsword and its Healing Blade ability. When the ability is used with the sword, the Saradomin Godsword will hit a significantly higher amount of damage while healing the player’s health points and prayer points.

Training Your Skills

Players learn skills in RuneScape through training. Different skills require different types of training, but they all follow the same basic formula: do something, gain experience, gain levels, gain abilities.

If you choose to train Woodcutting, for example, you'll gain experience as you chop down trees. As you level up, you'll be able to chop down larger and larger trees. Larger trees grant more experience, granting faster leveling, which will offer new trees to chop down. The cycle doesn’t end until you’ve reached level 99 in a skill (or 120 in the case of Dungeoneering).

Skill Types and Categories

There are currently five types of skills available to players in RuneScape. Each skill type follows the same basic principles of training in their respective type.

  • Combat Skills: Categories include Attack, Defence, Strength, Constitution, Prayer, Magic, Ranged, and Summoning.
  • Artisan Skills: Categories include Crafting, Cooking, Construction, Runecrafting, Fletching, Herblore, Smithing, and Firemaking. Artisan skills utilize resource items from other skills to train. An example of this would be Firemaking, as you would use the logs obtained from Woodcutting to gain experience as you burn them.
  • Gathering Skills: Categories include Divination, Mining, Woodcutting, Hunter, Farming, and Fishing. All of these skills are trained relatively the same. The player goes out into a specific area and works for resource items. When a resource item is obtained, they will gain experience and the item.
  • Support Skills: Categories include Thieving, Dungeoneering, Slayer, and Agility. Thieving allows for the gaining of money. Agility allows the player to utilize shortcuts and run for longer. Slayer allows more diversity for fighting monsters. Dungeoneering lets players train their skills, unlock weapons, and other benefits.
  • Elite Skills: There is only one Elite Skill in RuneScape: Invention. Invention requires Smithing, Crafting, and Divination to be at level 80 to train. This skill allows players to break down items and gain materials to gain experience and create new items.

Questing in RuneScape

While most games’ quests feature only one goal, others offer an enjoyable story in which the controlled character is the main focus or protagonist of the quest. Quests usually end in a large experience boost and an item as a reward.


Dozens of RuneScape communities exist on Discord and other VoIP services. YouTube’s RuneScape communities have been thriving for years. DeviantART and Tumblr’s RuneScape art communities have also been around as long as the game.

Other Versions and Spin-Offs of RuneScape

Many players wanted to be able to experience RuneScape in its glory days without the use of a private server, so Jagex created what is known as Old School RuneScape. Old School RuneScape turns on the time machine and lets players enjoy a 2007 version of the game. Jagex has continuously added more content to it, allowing the players to dictate what enters and leaves the game.

RuneScape Classic is the least played version of RuneScape. This version of the game is RuneScape in one of its earliest stages. Using 2D graphics, the game is barely recognizable. While some players still enjoy this version of the game, hardly anybody accesses it.

RuneScape has had many other spin-off titles over the years. Armies of Gielinor, Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, RuneScape: Idle Adventures are just a few.

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