A player killing mechanic, or PvP mechanic, is an term that can be used to describe any mechanic used in player versus player combat.
Skull[edit | edit source]
When a player attacks another player they will gain a skull above their character's head. Whereas players who are unskulled protect their 3 most valuable items on death, a skulled player will lose all of their items on death. If, however a player is attacked by another player first, no skull will be received if they retaliate. Use of the Protect Item prayer allows players to protect one additional item for a total of 1 for skulled players and 4 for unskulled players. Some worlds (labelled as high-risk) do not allow the use of Protect Item. Refer to Server#Player killing for further information.
Player killers will often skull therefore they often use cheap, easily replaceable gear in case they die. If using Protect Item, they may opt to bring a valuable or powerful item knowing that they can protect it on death. However this is vulnerable to prayer-draining methods such as the ancient mace's special attack and the smite prayer. Should the player's prayer points hit 0, all of their prayers will deactivate (including Protect Item).
In arranged fights such as those observed in PvP worlds, both players are expected to skull unless doing so would lead to one player risking significantly more wealth than their opponent. Some players will not fight others unless they are skulled period which allows for high-risk fights where both parties agree to risk a pre-determined amount of wealth on death.
Combat level[edit | edit source]
The Wilderness level indicates how many levels above or below the player's combat level their opponents may be. This level begins at 1 just past the Wilderness ditch and progressively increases as one travels north, up to level 58 in the northern most section of the Wilderness Volcano. On PvP worlds, players outside of the safe zones can fight others who are within 15 combat levels.
Because of these combat level restrictions, many player killers level up their accounts in ways that minimise their combat level and optimise their killing potential. This is achievable because of certain characteristics of the combat level formula.
Note: denotes the floor function.
Because final is calculated using only the highest stat out of Magic, Ranged, and melee (Attack + Strength), one can freely train Magic, Ranged, Strength, and Attack after just one of them has been trained to the desired level. For example, a player with 80 Ranged may train their Magic up to 80 and train Attack and Strength to a combined level of 120 (1.5 * Ranged) without gaining additional combat levels (except for those gained from training Hitpoints). Base skills such as Defence, Prayer, and Hitpoints always increase one's unrounded combat level for each level gained in the respective skill, making the cost for training these skills higher. In optimising combat level, players often restrict their levels in skills that have less of an impact on their account, creating "pures" that do not train certain skills. Some of these skills include Prayer, Defence, and Attack. Defence by itself is less important than other skills because it only decreases an opponent's accuracy, not their maximum hit. Defence levels are only obtained when they unlock worthwhile equipment. Similarly, Attack is less impactful than Strength because it does not increase max hit and usually has less of an impact on damage per second (dps). Therefore, Attack is only useful when it unlocks especially powerful weapons. The different milestones for Attack, Defence, and Prayer largely define player killing builds.
Level milestones and builds[edit | edit source]
Example build (granite maul pure)[edit | edit source]
Player killing techniques[edit | edit source]
In the majority player versus player scenarios, each player will have an abundant supply of food or other healing items such as saradomin brews. For this reason, player killers will attempt to deal high damage in a short period of time in order to out-damage their opponent's healing. Even in deep wilderness situations or situations where magic is used to prevent one's opponent from moving (e.g. Ice Barrage), battles of attrition are usually only effective for getting kills when either player is unprepared or has been fighting for a long period of time and therefore are low on supplies.
Knockouts (KOs) and special attacks[edit | edit source]
One of the simplest ways to deal a high volume of damage in a short period time is to use a weapon with a high max hit (i.e. a KO weapon). However, these weapons (such as 2-handed swords and ballistae) typically have slow attack speeds and low damage per second. For this reason, Pkers often use KO weapons in conjunction with high damage per second such as scimitars and shortbows. These weapons typically have high attack speed, which makes them doubly advantageous because this allows Pkers to attack with their high-hitting weapon more quickly. Switching from one weapon to another in the middle of combat allows the second weapon to hit at the same time as another the previous weapon would have. For example, a PKer using a magic shortbow hits every 3 ticks and can switch to a dragon 2h sword to hit 3 ticks after the last magic shortbow hit, but for all proceeding attacks they must wait 6 ticks (the d 2h attack speed). Some special attacks (such as that of the Armadyl godsword and dragon dagger) are used like a KO weapon to deal high damage in a short time. Special attacks usually have higher max hits than KO weapons and have other useful abilities, but they are limited by special attack energy.
No Honour[edit | edit source]
No Honour (NH) player killing, is a type of player killing involving all 2-3 attack styles. NH PKing gets its name from its use of farcasting and protection prayers. Hybridding is a specific type of NH PKing that typically uses just melee and magic while tribridding involves all three. Each attack style has its advantages and disadvantages, and an NH PKer must switch between them quickly to outplay their opponent
- KO weapons and spec weapons
- High dps,
- Melee gear has low mage defence
- Short range
- Some KO potential
- High dps
- Range gear has high magic defence
- Long range
- Low dps
- Mage gear has low defence
- Can restrict opponent's movement/melee attacks
In addition, NH PKers are constantly switching protection prayers and offensive prayers to minimise damage taken and maximise damage output. Changing attack styles frequently is especially important for evading the opponent's protection prayers.
Combo food[edit | edit source]
Pkers use the unique characteristics of certain healing items to consume multiple items in one tick or nearly one tick. Some foods such as karambwans, chocolate bombs, and tangled toad's legs, can be eaten on the same tick as a normal piece of food if eaten quickly after. Potions such as Saradomin brews or Guthix rests can also be consumed on the same tick as a normal piece of food if eaten just after or during combat without delaying an attack. Combining normal food, potions, and karambwans, one can heal up to 56 hitpoints in one tick.
Ranged stacking[edit | edit source]
Ranged stacking is the method of inflicting multiple hits at the same time or in rapid succession. This can be achieved by using long distance attacks (ranged or magic) in combination with a short ranged attack. Distance attacks have a travel time which can delay the hit so that it occurs at the same time or close to the same time as a short ranged attack following it. For magic, stacked hits can occur by standing roughly 15 tiles away. For ranged, stacked hits can occur by standing 2-3 blocks from the opponent.
Vengeance[edit | edit source]
Pkers sometimes stack recoil damage from rings or vengeance with a KO or special attack to do deal high damage in a short period of time. Vengeance spell reflects X damage. With good timing, a Pker can cast Vengeance just before their opponent attempts to KO them to do a greater amount of recoil damage and stack this damage with their own attack. Players can also take off their armour before being attacked while they have cast Vengeance to increase the likelihood of their opponent rolling damage and triggering the recoil effect.
Delayed hits/one-ticking[edit | edit source]
Pkers often delay the animation of their KO weapon to make it difficult to eat in response to their attack. By equipping a weapon during the second to last tick of the dps weapon's attack, one can "one-tick" their KO attack animation and have it play on the same tick as the hitsplat appears. This gives the opponent no time to respond and can be very deadly. One ticking can also be applied to special attacks. This method is difficult to achieve when the dps weapon does not have a special attack bar. In these cases, the player must click on the area where the special attack would be on their dps weapon just before switching to the special attack weapon.