Free-to-play PvP techniques

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Free-to-play player-versus-player combat involves applying certain techniques to improve the chances of a successful knockout or the likelihood of survival. They are commonly used in both 1-vs-1 combat and multicombat by combat pures and other player killers alike. This article aims to be an overview of these methods.

Switches[edit | edit source]

Since there are no special attacks in free-to-play combat, knockouts are often performed by switching weapons or combat styles at the correct time. In 1-vs-1 combat, typically a quick and consistent weapon is used to deal most of the damage, while a slower, more powerful attack is used to finish the opponent off. This is commonly done with a maple shortbow, a rune scimitar or an event rpg used to lower the opponent's hitpoints, and a rune 2h sword, a rune battleaxe or a rune warhammer switch to knock them out.

Stacking[edit | edit source]

Stacking is a technique that involves switching the weapons at the right time to deal both hits at roughly the same time. By using well timed subsequent attacks, multiple hitsplats can be stacked on a single opponent within a short span of time. This aims to knock the opponent out by dealing more damage than they are able to heal. There are multiple variants of damage stacks that can be performed with free-to-play attacks.

Range to melee[edit | edit source]

The most common stacking combo variant involves switching from a quick ranged weapon to a melee weapon. To successfully stack damage, one must stand around 2 or 3 tiles away from the opponent in either direction, shoot an arrow with a shortbow, switch to a melee weapon and perform a melee attack. The shortbow attack style must be set to rapid.

Keep in mind that to immediately deal damage with a melee weapon after switching, one has to stand up to 2 tiles away from the target in either direction. Otherwise the character will have to move closer first, making the combo much less unpredictable. This can be improved up to 4 tiles with sliding.

Ideally, both hits should be applied in the same game tick, without giving the opponent a chance to react.

Magic to melee[edit | edit source]

Although pretty easy to perform on a non-moving target, it is not very practical or unpredictable. To stack magic and melee hitsplats, one has to stand around 7 or 8 tiles away from the opponent in either direction, cast a spell and immediately click on them to attack with a melee weapon. It is difficult (but possible) to apply both hits in the same game tick. This technique can be an interesting fight opener, especially on lower levels against unsuspecting opponents with low health.

Melee to melee[edit | edit source]

When using an event rpg or another 3-tick melee weapon as the first attack, it is possible (but difficult) to perform a stack with two melee hits when sliding or using movement stalls, although the hitsplats will not be applied in the same game tick. Range-to-melee combo are more effective and easier to perform in general.

Range to range[edit | edit source]

It is possible to stack two shortbow shots by firing the first arrow around 2 to 3 tiles away from the opponent, running next to them, and immediately attacking with the second shot. The shortbow attack style must be set to rapid. However, this technique is not as effective as in case of range-to-melee combos, since ranged attacks have much lower maximum hits.

Range to magic[edit | edit source]

It is possible to stack a shortbow shot with a combat spell, although the damage will not be applied in the same tick due to the casting speed. To stack damage, the player must be 2 tiles away from the opponent, shoot the arrow, run next to the target, and cast the combat spell manually. Two hitsplats can be briefly stacked, but since magic damage is not applied immediately after the casting, it is not possible to apply both hits at the same time. This makes the technique less effective than the range-to-melee stack.

Fake switches[edit | edit source]

These techniques involve switching to a different weapon without actually attacking with it. Depending on the type of wielded weapon, these techniques might make the opponent heal unnecessarily or not heal enough for the incoming hit, as the opponent expects a different kind of attack.

This is commonly performed by switching to a knockout weapon (e.g. a rune 2h sword), and then switching back to a faster weapon (e.g. a maple shortbow) to deal consistent damage. Especially combined with proper movement, this might force the opponent to heal, making them unable to attack. This allows to gain momentum in the fight, as well as trick the opponent into not healing enough before the actual knockout attack.

Variants of this technique might also include temporarily switching from a shortbow to a weaker melee weapon (e.g. a rune scimitar), and then to a knockout weapon (e.g. a rune 2h sword) to deliver the actual attack. This might have the opposite effect—the opponent might not heal enough or decide not to heal at all, expecting to take a hit from the weaker weapon, which allows to perform unexpected combos.

All variants of this technique are meant to confuse the opponent to eventually make them more eager to risk, as they are unsure which switches are genuine.

Delaying[edit | edit source]

Delaying is the act of switching to the knockout weapon at the last possible game tick to make the attack less predictable. Ideally, the opponent should not see the knockout weapon before the actual attack animation, so that they have no time to react.

If a player switches to the knockout weapon immediately after the previous quicker hit, their opponent will see the incoming knockout attack and will attempt to heal. However, if they manage to time the switch just right, the opponent will only see the attack animation, which does not give them any extra time to eat.

Used in both melee-only as well as range-to-melee combat, this is a basic technique that should be mastered when using a melee knockout weapon.

Movement[edit | edit source]

These techniques involving using movement to gain advantage in the combat.

Backstepping[edit | edit source]

This is a variation on the delaying technique. After a 3-tick attack like a rapid shortbow shot, players can run up to 4 tiles before delivering the subsequent attack immediately. Similarly, players can run up to 6 tiles after a 4-tick attack such as a scimitar hit.

Before delivering a melee knockout blow, a player can run few tiles back (hence the backstepping) and come back to hit the opponent. Make sure that the last target tile is up to 2 tiles away from the opponent in either direction to immediately hit with a melee weapon after the switch.

Sliding[edit | edit source]

Sliding is a distinctive type of movement that can be reproduced by sending multiple subsequent movement inputs. Sliding can be recognized by unusually fast movement, especially if a player appears to be "sliding" backwards or diagonally and shooting an arrow at an opponent.

To perform it on purpose, a player needs to command their character 3 or 4 times to move to tiles nearby in a short period of time, before eventually clicking on the opponent to attack. Each subsequent target tile must be in a straight line—horizontally, vertically or diagonally—in relation to the previous one. Due to the number of clicks required, this is one of the most difficult techniques to master.

Beside making the player harder to target and more tedious to fight against, sliding improves the distance from which melee weapons can damage the opponents immediately from 2 tiles to up to 3 or even 4 tiles, depending on the number of movement inputs. This allows to perform unexpected combos from unusually far distances.

Dodging[edit | edit source]

Movement can be used as a defensive technique, especially during fights involving ranged combat. Since melee attacks are typically used to perform combos, one can run away from the melee range as the opponent is switching weapons to distrupt their attack and gain some extra time to heal. The opponent can be completely prevented from attacking with melee, forcing them to switch back to a ranged attack. Constant movement during the fight also makes it more difficult to perform well-timed combos for the opponent.

Dragging[edit | edit source]

Deliberate movement out of the opponent's weapon range to force them to follow is called dragging. It can be performed both as a defensive technique to prohibit from weapon switching in a duel, as well as a lure by dragging the opponent into a more dangerous area, e.g. an area with enabled multicombat. To prevent the opponent from dragging in a 1-vs-1 fight, move in the opposite direction to force them to move closer in order to attack.

Hugging[edit | edit source]

Running around certain scenery objects that cannot be fired over such as trees or rocks to drag the opponent is called hugging. This might make the opponent miss attacks due to no line of sight, and might also allow to set up more unpredictable combos.

Supplies usage[edit | edit source]

Combo eating[edit | edit source]

Eating food usually prevents the player from performing actions such as attacking or healing. However, some foods with multiple bites—often called combo foods—do not prevent the player from eating another consumable immediately after. This is especially relevant on higher levels, where a single high tier fish is often no longer sufficient to outheal incoming damage.

A common food combo consists of an anchovy pizza half followed by a swordfish, healing a total of 23 damage. The trick is to start with eating half of a full pizza and then to immediately follow with the swordfish, which allows to use both consumables in a very short period of time. This is especially important when reaching low hitpoints after taking a hit from a quick weapon such as a rune scimitar or maple shortbow, as the opponent can easily follow up with a knockout attack.

Note that the attack delay after combo eating is longer than after eating a single piece of food. Due to the longer attack delay, combo foods like pizzas should not be used as a primary healing source in typical 1-vs-1 combat, and instead the players should primarily rely on single piece foods and movement to control their hitpoints.

Combo eating can be frowned upon by some players within the 1-vs-1 scene, especially during the risk fights. Since combo eating allows to recover after significant hits that would normally leave the player with low hitpoints, they greatly lower the chance of a successful KO and the impact of proper movement.

Potions usage[edit | edit source]

Contrary to eating food, drinking potions does not apply an attack delay. A player may chain these actions together, starting with a piece of food, then subsequently with a dose of a potion, to perform the actions on the same game tick.

Note that drinking a potion prevents the player from eating immediately after. When aiming to eat a piece of food and drink a potion, players should always start with the food to avoid the additional eating delay caused by drinking a potion.

Fake eating[edit | edit source]

If both players in 1-vs-1 combat have low hitpoints, both are expected to eat some food to heal. Instead of healing, one can drink a potion to perform the eating emote. Potions allow to perform the same food eating animation, but suffer from no attack delay, so the players can strike immediately after drinking a dose. Followed by a weapon switch, this allows a player to catch the opponent off guard without the ability to retaliate due to their own eating delay.

When both players have low hitpoints, some players might not use combo food in such situations, expecting to eat two pieces of regular food instead. This makes fake eating a particularly dangerous technique on higher levels where a single piece of food is often not enough to protect from a knockout attack.

Keep in mind that drinking a potion prevents from eating food immediately after, which makes this technique a bit risky. Especially if the attack deals no damage.

This technique is especially useful in melee-only fights and very effective when combined with well timed delaying.

Prayer flicking[edit | edit source]

To limit prayer points consumption, a player can turn the prayers right before the hit and turn them off after instead of keeping them on for the whole fight. This takes some practice to get correctly, especially when done alongside healing or weapon switching. However, this allows players with a low prayer level to leverage skill boosts and other combat prayers for a significantly longer time.

Magic combat[edit | edit source]

This section includes techniques specific to magic combat.

Manual casting[edit | edit source]

When casting combat spells manually, the initial attack suffers from a shorter delay in comparison to autocasting. This is especially revelant when trying to attack a player after movement, e.g. during chasing an opponent in the wilderness.

Spell downgrade[edit | edit source]

Combat spells are pretty dangerous early on, outdamaging other combat styles. This is why players fighting magic pures on low levels are likely to feel threatened and heal above their spells maximum damage. Combined with the rather slow speed of spell casting, this makes it difficult to perform unexpected knockouts solely with magic in 1-vs-1 combat.

Downgrading to a weaker spell of a similar element is a good way of making the opponent more comfortable with having low hitpoints, before delivering the final unexpected blow with a better spell. It can also be a way of preserving more expensive runes. For example, if the best available spell is the Earth Bolt, the Earth Strike can be used to wear the opponents down. With almost half the maximum damage, the opponents will be less likely to heal as much, and might not even suspect the eventual bolt due to their similar animations. This makes mages less predictable and their opponents more eager to risk.

Farcasting[edit | edit source]

Farcasting is perfomed by attacking the opponent outside of their own attack range, typically with combat spells. It is the direct equivalent of safespotting performed on NPCs. While rarely used in typical arranged 1-vs-1 combat, it is a very common technique in the deep wilderness and no honour fights. Typically used along with a binding spell such as Snare to immobilize the opponent, making them completely unable to retaliate. Especially effective against players relying exclusively on melee attacks.

In free-to-play worlds, only longbows, composite willow bow and magic attacks can achieve the maximum attack range of 10. Shortbows and crossbows have a range of 7 with the rapid and accurate attack styles, and 9 with the longrange style.

Stalls[edit | edit source]

Stalls involve interruption of movement or animations to gain an advantage in combat.

Emotes usage[edit | edit source]

Items with associated emotes, such as the Diango's claws or Marionette, can be used after or before an attack to hide its animation or to stall the movement. Spam-clicking on the target allows to break the delay of the animation.

Event rpg stall[edit | edit source]

Event rpg has a custom attack animation that stalls the movement, which makes the character move faster after each attack. When used along with sliding—or just constant movement in general—it makes it difficult to target the player and allows to perform some unexpected combos due to its high attack speed.

Multicombat and clanning techniques[edit | edit source]

These techniques are often applied by small teams and bigger clans alike to gain advantage over the opponents.

Team capes usage[edit | edit source]

Using team capes allows to left-click the teammates without attacking them.

Piling[edit | edit source]

Attacking a single opponent is commonly referred to as piling. When fighting in multicombat areas, it is often the most effective to focus on a single opponent, preferably low on food or with poor defences, to quickly finish them off one by one. Attacking multiple opponents simultaneously lowers the chance of a KO.

Death dot[edit | edit source]

Without third-party extensions, it is not possible to distinguish between a single player and multiple players standing on a single tile on the minimap. Clans can leverage this during luring or when camping certain locations so that the opponents underestimate the threat.

Pjing[edit | edit source]

Pjing, or player jacking, is interrupting combat between two players in single-way combat areas. Multiple players can take turns fighting a single opponent and heal only when out of combat to maximize the damage. This is especially relevant when fighting an opponent with a higher combat level than the team. Note that the efficiency of this technique was greatly limited by the increased PJ timer and PJ prevention within the wilderness and PvP worlds.

Luring[edit | edit source]

Teams might use an account (a lure) wearing expensive items such as trimmed or gilded equipment, to bring opponents into dangerous multicombat areas. This is often connected with skull tricking, as the opponents are expected to skull up on the lure account. Defence pures and tanks are commonly used for luring.

Scouting[edit | edit source]

Some teams use dedicated accounts to find opponents within the wilderness or PvP worlds. When camping in a specific location, scouting might involve world hopping. The scout is typically an account with a very low combat level that can be rarely attacked by other players, or an account with a high defence level such as a defence pure, a tank or a magic tank.

Muling[edit | edit source]

Alts, referred to as mules, are often used to perform tasks such as scouting or carrying supplies for the team.

Sniping[edit | edit source]

During arranged clan wars, sniping is sometimes referred to as killing opponents that break out of the ranks of the clan. Smaller sniping teams might perform hit-and-run tactics, finishing off opponents that venture too far from their group or are successfully bound with a spell such as Snare.

Autochat[edit | edit source]

Clans might use the autochat feature to locate crucial members.

Game mechanics[edit | edit source]

Pid[edit | edit source]

Pid stands for player identification number. It is a value assigned to each player that determines action priority whenever the players perform actions in the same game tick. Pids are assigned randomly every 100-150 game ticks, or every 60-90 seconds, which is commonly referred to as pid swap.

In player-versus-player combat, the player that has a pid with a higher priority has certain advantages in combat:

  • The damage from their attacks is applied before their opponent. Damage from their attacks appears immediately.
  • Hitpoints healed by supplies are added before their opponent deals any damage.

This means that not only can the player perform more effective combos that are more difficult to heal against, but also it is easier for them to heal against the incoming attacks. In game, having a pid with a higher priority is commonly referred to as having pid.

The easiest way to see which player has a pid with a higher priority is to observe attacks performed at the same time—the player whose attacks appear sooner currently has the advantage. When the attacks are out of sync, this can still be observed in a similar manner, as the attacks of the player that has the pid with a higher priority will be applied during or immediately after the attack animation as opposed to having a slight delay.

Using pid to one's advantage is a very useful ability. While having a pid with a higher priority, the player can perform more risky tactics and has a higher chance of surviving incoming combos. For example, if both players have a low number of hitpoints and both switch to their knockout weapon to attack, the damage of player with the better pid will be applied sooner, which means they can knock their opponent out before receiving any damage.

Lag[edit | edit source]

When experiencing severe lagging, consider choosing a World with a lower ping if possible. For example, European players might prefer World 308 and European PvP World for 1-vs-1 combat, while American players might have a better experience on the American PvP World when it is available.

F-keys[edit | edit source]

The Keybinding interface.

Using keybinds allows to associate actions such as side panel switching with selected F-keys. This can considerably speed up switching between interfaces such as the inventory, prayers, or spellbook.

Other techniques[edit | edit source]

Boxing[edit | edit source]

In single-way combat areas it is possible to engage in fights with NPCs or allied players to escape the opponents and prevent the opponents from attacking. This technique was severely limited due to the PJ timer changes, but still finds some use.

For example, it was a common practice to lure opponents into the The Forgotten Cemetery when escaping from the deep wilderness altar. While they are being attacked by ankous, the player can start fighting with a weaker NPC such as a man or a ghost, or simply use Protect from Melee to fight ankous. This gave them time to heal, and slowly move out of the deep wilderness, attempt to log out, or simply wait for their team to regroup and help.

Boxing can be done with alts or allied players. A player can engage in combat with an account such as a defence pure or a tank to avoid PKers. This prevents the other PKers from attacking the player, and allows the player to run into safety while exchanging a few hits every now and then. This can be somewhat useful when waiting for a Tele Block spell effect to run out.

Since the PJ timer changes, interrupting combat between players and NPCs is not possible in the single-way combat areas of the wilderness. This severely limits the viability of boxing, since NPCs and allied players can no longer PJ the opponent to stop the combat.

Skull tricking[edit | edit source]

Skull tricking is forcing unwilling players to skull up. Due to how inexpensive the best gear is, most players already have a skull when they participate in player-versus-player combat, so this practice is not as common on free-to-play worlds. However, it might still be used against players that wear expensive cosmetic items or PvMers training in armours such as full rune within the PvP worlds.

There are various techniques that fall under this category. Examples of this practice include logging in under a looting player, or changing between two accounts with a very similar name, so that the opponent thinks they are fighting with a single person.

Telegrabbing[edit | edit source]

Telekinetic Grab can be used to pick up loot without entering dangerous locations, such as multicombat areas. Since the required runes—law and air—are needed for teleportation spells either way, this spell is commonly available for players within the deep wilderness.

This spell can also be used to restock on nature runes within the wilderness, since there are two rune spawns on a lava isle north-east of the Demonic Ruins.

Alching[edit | edit source]

High Level Alchemy can be used to convert items into coins within the wilderness to save inventory space. This usually does not affect the overall loot value by a considerable amount, since rune and dragonhide items can be alched for profit even with the runes cost. Notable exceptions from this include runite ores and zamorak wines, as well as most cosmetic and trimmed items, which are worth more coins than their high alchemy value would suggest.

Alternatively, items can be sold to the Bandit Duty Free within the Bandit Camp for their high alchemy value without the additional runes cost.

Note that loot keys can also solve the problem of the inventory management, as they allow to carry the entire loot as a single item.

See also[edit | edit source]