Tick manipulation

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Tick manipulation is a method in which players are able to use the RuneScape clock to their advantage in activities such as combat and skilling.

The RuneScape game engine runs on a unit of time colloquially referred to as "ticks", with each tick lasting 0.6 seconds (specifically 0.603 seconds due to server lag). By performing actions quickly enough within a tick, players can interrupt animations to optimise skilling and combat. Due to the click-intensive nature of tick manipulation, many players shy away from using these methods in favour of more conventional methods, but if a player optimises the amount of actions performed between each game tick, it's possible for them to achieve a much higher experience rate per hour or perform actions much quicker than what would normally be expected.

While most forms of tick manipulation are technically glitches, Jagex's stance is that they are considered balanced and accepted due to the extra effort involved.[1]

Combat[edit | edit source]

Prayer flicking: Once a prayer is active, it will drain at a constant rate; however it will only ever deplete one's prayer points on a game tick. If a player were to quickly deactivate a prayer before that game tick happens, they can keep the benefit of the prayer while not losing any prayer points. This is particularly useful with overhead protection prayers or offensive prayers.

Tick eating: Certain types of damage such as Ranged or Magic attacks are calculated prior to them being applied to a player’s health. So if a player heals before the damage is applied, they can survive attacks which would otherwise kill them. It's difficult for most players to use this effectively in combat, however, more skilled players can use this to do things that would otherwise require Prayer points or levels, such as the Fight Caves. Since an update, tick-eating is no longer possible in PvP situations. Some bosses, such as Tz-Kal Zuk, completely ignore tick eating and will deal full damage even if it is more than the player's current health.

Food combination: Food and potions can normally be consumed once every 3 ticks. However if a player were to chain these actions together, it's possible to eat a piece of food then drink a potion in the same game tick. Cooked karambwan are one of the more popular 'combo-foods' as there is no tick delay in how fast they can be eaten in combinations with other foods. For example, it's possible to eat an Anglerfish, drink a Saradomin brew, then eat a Karambwan, healing a player by 56 hitpoints in a single game tick. Pizzas also can be eaten instantly alongside other foods, and otherwise have a very limited tick delay for any other action.

Skilling[edit | edit source]

When a skilling method is referred to as "2-tick" or "3-tick", that means it takes that many game ticks in order to complete the specified action.

In optimised skilling, it is common to use a set of items that starts a cycle of ticks, which can be combined with some skilling methods to make them faster. For example, when using a knife on a teak log, it normally creates a teak stock in three ticks; however, if the player clicks on a fishing spot before three ticks have passed, a fish is caught (or more precisely, a chance is given to catch a fish) instead of a stock being created. As Fishing is normally an action of five ticks and it is reduced to three, this speeds Fishing by 40%. Provided that the original action never finishes, no materials are consumed, meaning one teak log can be used indefinitely until a mistake is made. Another caveat is that there must not be another teak log in the inventory, as it would otherwise give a "Make-X" interface.

There are certain items or actions with which this works to create a 3-tick action:

  • Using swamp tar with a low levelled herb (guam leaf to harralander) with a pestle and mortar in the inventory — this is recommended unless more inventory space is helpful, as a herb sack can be used to store more grimy herbs in case of mistakes
  • Using teak logs or mahogany logs with a knife
  • Using kebbit claws with any vambraces
  • Eating most food (not recommended in most cases as it consumes the food in question)
    • Cooked karambwan can be eaten to start a 2-tick cycle, but due to them not being stackable and having a cost attached to them, their use is limited
  • Collecting snow spawned by reindeer hat

Celastrus bark can be used to start a 4-tick action; however, due to 3-ticking being generally superior, its utility is limited and is mostly used in advanced hunting.

Another common way of using tick manipulation, generally for 2-ticking, is having something or someone attacking the player. This can be two weak NPCs with 4-tick attack speeds (such as birds) attacking out of sync, or another player using darts on a PVP world. For the latter, using Saradomin brews or Justiciar armour is recommended to deal negligible damage. The player skilling should have Auto Retaliate turned on and a shortbow equipped with no ammo. Defensive and health regenerating jewellery, such as Ring of suffering (i) and Regen bracelet, are helpful to negate damage.

Common methods[edit | edit source]

3-tick Fishing[edit | edit source]

3-tick fly fishing

Fishing is normally a 5-tick action. Using a similar method to 3-tick mining, performing an action which takes three ticks will allow a player to receive a fish every three ticks rather than five ticks, therefore being 40% more efficient. This method is more commonly used while Barbarian fishing or Fly fishing, but can be useful for other fishing spots.

When fishing for experience through Barbarian fishing and fly fishing, it is recommended to drop the fish between catches instead of waiting until one's inventory is full. This can be done by starting the 3-tick cycle, dropping the fish and clicking on the fishing spot.

3-tick Barbarian "cut-eat" fishing

A noteworthy addition when 3-tick Fishing through Barbarian fishing is that eating roe or caviar is a 3-tick action. With this in mind, players may take a knife to cut fish and eat the roe/caviar they leave behind to start another 3-tick cycle. This method is often called "cut-eat fishing". The benefits of this method is that it also provides some passive Cooking experience, it does not require players to drop fish (therefore Shift is unused), and it is slightly cheaper due to fish offcuts also being produced which are used as bait over feathers. However, it is less predictable due to randomness being involved, which may take time getting used to. It is also stricter with timing; if the cutting and eating is done too late, the cycle becomes offset, similar to 3-tick Mining. It is still advisable to take along a set of items to start a 3-tick cycle (such as herb and tar), for when there is no fish to be cut or the cut-eat cycle is lost.

2-tick Fishing[edit | edit source]

2-tick fishing on the shores of Piscarilius

Similar to 2-tick Woodcutting, the player can use Auto Retaliate to catch fish every two ticks despite it being five ticks by default. However, unlike Woodcutting, one does not have to interrupt the fishing, although they have to right-click on the fishing spot if they wish to harpoon. For tuna and swordfish, a common method of doing this is fishing in Piscarilius with two rats attacking. For other fish such as sharks, an alternate account using a fast attacking weapon (such as darts) with minimal offensive bonuses on a PVP world can be used.

Although this can be used to get the highest Fishing experience rates with harpooning tuna and swordfish, it is less efficient overall, as 3-ticking at Barbarian Fishing provides Strength and Agility experience making it generally more worthwhile, and 2-ticking does not work for Barbarian Fishing. However, 2-tick fishing tuna and swordfish is the fastest method of obtaining the heron, in terms of hours spent fishing on average.

3-tick Mining[edit | edit source]

"3t4g" (3-tick 4 granite) mining in the Bandit Camp Quarry

Whether it be mining the same rock continuously such as in the Motherlode Mine, or mining a rock adjacent to your character, mining is usually always a 3-tick action when using a rune or dragon pickaxe (exceptions include gem rocks). However, when attempting to mine rocks which aren't adjacent to your character, it can take 5 ticks as the act of walking towards the next rock resets the initial mining action. Performing a separate 3-tick action such as creating herb tar allows for a new rock to be mined within the 3-tick period, thus saving 2 ticks every time you need to move your character. The level of pickaxe correlates with the amount of ticks to mine a rock, for example an adamant pickaxe mines a rock every 4 ticks, therefore 3-ticking may also be used to mine at the speed of rune pickaxe with bronze to adamant.

A practical use for 3-tick mining is at the Bandit Camp Quarry, due to the presence of sandstone and granite which can be mined for quick experience. Mining granite through tick manipulation is the fastest Mining experience in the game, while doing it without tick manipulation is on par with other methods that also have other benefits such as yielding profit.

An important detail to note when 3-tick mining is that starting the 3-tick action (such as creating herb tar) must happen on the same tick as moving to the next rock. Should the action start before moving, wait three ticks at the next rock to 'reset' the cycle.

When powermining, it is recommended to attempt dropping the mined ore on the ground between mines. This is done by starting the 3-tick action and clicking on the next rock, quickly dropping the ore and clicking the rock again. This requires accurate clicking and some practice to perform consistently, but it is more efficient than dropping a full inventory.

2-tick Woodcutting[edit | edit source]

2-tick woodcutting on Ape Atoll

When woodcutting, it takes four ticks for a player to get a chance of receiving a log. However, if a player is being attacked exactly two ticks apart, due to the way Auto Retaliate works, it's possible to receive a log once every two ticks, effectively doubling the normal amount of experience per hour.

This is typically done on Ape Atoll while being attacked by birds. Simply having a shortbow equipped and set to Rapid and having Auto Retaliate on will ensure that every time you retaliate, you'll also have a chance of receiving a log. To make your character retaliate, you can click the ground, drop an item, make darts, or equip an item; all of these actions will cancel and reset the action of woodcutting.

1.5-tick Woodcutting[edit | edit source]

1.5-tick woodcutting on Fossil Island

Players can start a 3-tick cycle with a herb and tar (or other such items) while woodcutting. Normally, this is referred to as 3-ticking, as a chance of getting a log happens every three ticks. However, while cutting a tree grown with Farming, if the player moves to a different tile after starting the 3-tick cycle while still being next to the tree, they gain two chances of getting a log every three ticks, hence the method being called 1.5-tick Woodcutting.

The ideal location for this method is Fossil Island, as there are three hardwood tree patches close to each other where teak trees can be planted. Due to the rapid rate of cutting logs, the trees deplete quickly, so moving between them is recommended. When powercutting and dropping the logs, stamina potions are recommended for the method; however, ironmen may find it more beneficial to teleport to their house with a full inventory and send their butler to the sawmill, and recharge their run energy while there.

3-tick/1-tick Hunter[edit | edit source]

3-tick and 1-tick hunting at red chinchompas

The default speed of laying a box trap is four ticks, which can be reduced to three with the use of tick manipulation. Furthermore, when correctly timed, it is possible to lay a trap instantly after picking up another; this is done by moving to the desired spot on the same tick as laying the previous trap, picking up the next, and clicking it up as soon as possible in the inventory.

An extra factor is that using a celastrus bark with a knife will start a 4-tick cycle. This is useful where there is a pause of more than three ticks after the cycle of box trap resetting breaks. Walk on the tile with the box trap, use the celastrus bark, pick the trap up and lay another one down.

1-tick Cooking[edit | edit source]

Cooking karambwans once per tick

Raw karambwan, while also being able to be eaten without a delay, can also be cooked without a delay. When a player attempts to cook a karambwan, they're able to open a new skilling dialog and click it on the same tick that the karambwan is cooked (or hold the corresponding key). This allows for a player to cook an entire inventory in as little as 16.8 seconds and achieve experience rates of up to 800k-900k per hour, with a stable connection, decent timing, and high enough click accuracy.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Jagex. Mod Ash's Twitter account. Oct 20 2017. Mod Ash: "Quite a lot of tick-manipulation techniques exist; so far we've chosen to accept them as they need considerable interaction to use."