Melee, Ranged and Magic being used


Combat is probably the biggest and most widely trained of all the skills in RuneScape, it's a very useful skill. This guide will explain and help familiarize you with the collection of skills that we know as the combat skills. These skills play an important role in RuneScape; they are the focus of many mini-games and quests, and a big source of money and items for players. Without combat, how else would you be able to slay dragons, if you didn't know how to fight?

This guide will go generally over combat; it will mainly focus on the melee aspect of it but will give a quick overview of Magic, Ranged and Prayer. To learn more about them, visit our skill guides section.

Combat Level and Combat Skills

Your combat level is an important thing in RuneScape, it can determine who you can and cannot attack in the Wilderness and it can gain/lose you respect among the community of players. The lowest combat level is 3. The highest is 126 in F2P and 138 in P2P, at level 99 in all of the combat skills.

Level Range / Colours

Other characters have, when you move your cursor over them, a name, a level, and a colour. That level is their combat level, the higher it is the more combat efficient they are and the better they would do in a fight. The colour is how much higher/lower combat level they are. Anyone less than 7 combat levels of your character will show up as a light green, anyone higher than 7 levels is a dark red. If someone is your level, they are a yellow. As a level approaches your level, it becomes more yellow. A person that's just lower than you would be a yellow-green colour; someone just higher would be an orange.

Leveling Your Combat Level

Your combat is determined by these factors:
  1. Constitution level and Defence level
  2. Prayer level
  3. Summoning level (on member servers)
One of the following:
  4. Attack level and Strength level
  5. Ranged level
  6. Magic level

As you level up in the combat skills, your combat level increases.

The Eight Combat Skills

Here are the eight combat skills, with a brief overview of each skill:

Attack effects how accurate your character is with a weapon, it also allows your character to wield better weapons.

Increasing your strength skill will increase how much damage your character can hit with a weapon. Some weapons, armour, and agility obstacles require strength to use.

Defence increases your character's ability to dodge/block attacks, making them harder to hit. Armour requires a higher defence level to wear as the quality of the metal increases.

Your Constitution level (previously called hitpoints or HP), determine how many life points your character have, thus determining how much damage your character can take before (s)he dies. The number of life points your character has is the constitution level times 10. Death takes place when your character's life points drops to 0. Food can replenish your life points and can be vital for survival, making food and good armor vital in some situations.

A better ranged level allows you to equip and use better bows, better armor, and other ranged equipment. Ranged is like attack and strength combined, a higher level allows you to hit higher with ranged weaponry and makes you more accurate with it.

Increasing a magic level allows you to equip better (magic) armor, gain access to better spells, and have better accuracy with spells. Spells have a set max hit so increasing a magic level does not increase your maximum damage dealt with spells. It does, however, increase the ability to defend against spells.

Prayer is sort of a self-support magic-ish skill; your character prays to one of the three RuneScape gods, Saradomin, Guthix, or Zamorak, for aid in battle. By activating a prayer, depending on the prayer's effect, your character's stats are increased, whether it be attack, strength, defence, range, or magic, for as long as that prayer remains active. Some prayers have different effects, three being the protection prayers, which give defence and resistance to the chosen combat style.

Summoning Members only
Summoning is a members only skill, and will not affect your combat level if you are in a free world, however it will show your combat level without summoning and then have a addition symbol then how many levels your Summoning increases you by. Using this skill, you can summon familiars which will help you out in combat by fighting your opponents in multicombat areas. Different familiars use different types of attacks, for example the Compost Mound gives Strength experience. Also the familiars you summon will help you in Slayer assignments as well as generally getting around.

Combat Skill Training

Training your combat skills are easy, all you have to do is attack an enemy. Depending on how much damage you deal, you will get a certain number of XP. Now, if you were to ask a more specific question, such as "how do I train the strength skill", you'd open up this menu, the attack style menu:

The different buttons on the menu will customize how your character attacks. Depending on which attack style is selected, your character will use a different style of attack (accurate style, aggressive style, etc), use a different type of attack (stab, slash, crush, etc), and get XP in a different skill. Using the previously mentioned question, "how do I train the strength skill", you would select the "aggressive" style. It's pretty self-explanatory. Here's a chart for information on the different attack styles, what they train, and how much XP you will get.
Style Trains XP Formula
Accurate Attack (damage dealt) × 0.4
Aggressive Strength (damage dealt) × 0.4
Defensive Defence (damage dealt) × 0.4
Controlled All 3 skills (damage dealt) × 0.133
Style Trains XP Formula
Accurate / Rapid Ranged (damage dealt) × 0.4
Longrange Ranged & Defence (damage dealt) × 0.2
Style Trains XP Formula
Accurate / Agressive Magic (Base Spell XP)* + (damage dealt) × 0.2
Defensive Magic & Defence (Base Spell XP) + (damage dealt) × 0.1 = Magic XP
Damage dealt × 0.1 = Defence XP
Any (melee, ranged or magic)
Style Trains XP Formula
Any Constitution (damage dealt) × 0.133
For information on the base spell XPs (the XP you always get if the spell is successful), check our Magic guide.

These aren't really important to know but it might be handy to know these, granted you know what they mean. Remember, math isn't a useless skill that you'll never need. Pay attention in class.

Looking at the table, you'll see that beside each attack style, it says what it trains. This is pretty self-explanatory, IE a "defensive" attack style will train defence XP, and an accurate trains attack. To end the question that many people wonder, "how do you get constitution XP", you get it by dealing damage to an opponent. The table there pretty much says all you need to know about the attack styles.

Dragon longsword special attack

Special Attacks Members only

Some weapons, and all dragon weapons, have special attacks. A special attack is an attack or effect that has an effect, such as increased damage or a stat drain. Some of the specials increase your stats for a little while, as if you have drunk a potion. When you wield a weapon that has a special attack, and go to the attack styles menu, you should see this:

Special attack bar
This is the special meter. When clicked on, your character should perform a special attack, granted you have enough energy. When a special attack is activated and used, a certain percent of the special meter will be drained. If part of the special meter is drained, it will slowly replenish its self until it is back at 100% of the meter.

Defenders Members only

A player using a defender
The defenders are a set of new off-hand items which are acquired at the Warriors' Guild. They are an "off-hand weapon", meaning that they are wielded in the shield slot. Defenders give a decent defence bonus to melee attacks, but a low (negative) defence against ranged and magic attacks. However, they add a good melee attack bonus to your attacks, and make you much more effective in combat against enemies with a large defence bonus. Higher quality defenders will also give a moderate strength bonus. Note that defenders need both an attack and a defence level to use, the metal and levels match the bronze-dragon scale. All defenders give the same stats in attack and defence.

Weapon Types

To increase your character's combat efficiency, you must be able to weild and use better weapons. As the quality of the metal improves, weapons require a higher attack (and sometimes strength) level to use. Some weapons are faster than others, some have different attack styles, and some hit harder than others. You might, if you're a member, be able to get a weapon with a special attack on it, an attack that does a special effect, like hitting twice or increased damage. It is important that you know what the differences are between weapons, and their different attributes and specialties.

Image Type Styles Speed
Dagger Stab, Slash 6 out of 10
The dagger is the fastest melee weapon in the game, at the cost of power. Members can poison daggers and thus make them more effective.
Hatchet Slash, Crush 5 out of 10
The hatchet is mainly used in woodcutting, but can be used as a weapon if need be. It is slower than a dagger but is a little bit more powerful.
Mace Stab, Crush 5 out of 10
The mace has the same speed of a hatchet and has about the same power. Maces, however, have a bonus to prayer and can be decent in some situations. The dragon mace is better than normal since it has a special attack which increases the damage dealt by quite a bit. Maces have a "controlled" attack style.
Sword Stab, Slash 6 out of 10
Short swords, or swords, are slightly slower but more powerful than a dagger. Like the dagger, it has a primary function of stab, but has a secondary slashing function. It has a "controlled" attack style.
Scimitar Stab, Slash 6 out of 10
Though the scimitar can use a stabbing attack, it is much more of a slashing weapon. It has a "controlled" attack style and is a fast, semi-powerful weapon. Scimitars are a very popular, and cheap, weapon.
Longsword Stab, Slash 5 out of 10
Longswords are a pretty balanced melee weapon. They have a decent power, a medium speed, and are pretty cheap. The longsword is usually the first dragon weapon that new members buy. Longswords have a "controlled" attack style.
Battleaxe Slash, Crush 4 out of 10
Slower, and more powerful, than the longsword, the battleaxe makes a good weapon for a warrior. It has a crushing attack which can be useful when attacking an opponent in platemail.
Warhammer Crush 4 out of 10
Warhammers have the same speed and power as a battleaxe, but they are a crush only weapon. They make very good weapons when faced against an enemy clad in platemail.
Two-Handed Sword Slash, Crush 3 out of 10
The Two-Handed Sword, or "2h", is a very slow weapon. It makes up for the speed by its high power and accuracy. As it is a two-handed weapon, you cannot use a shield when weilding it, and vice-versa. It has a crushing function so it can stand up to platemail fairly well.
Claws Stab, Slash 6 out of 10
Claws have the speed of and, are slightly more powerful than, a dagger. However, they are two-handed and are not poisonable. Unlike most rune weapons, the rune claws have a special attack. Claws are a member only item.
Spear Stab, Slash, Crush 5 out of 10
Spears are very versatile. Their stats are the same in all three attack styles, stab, slash, and crush, and they have a "controlled" attack style. Spears are two-handed, and can be poisoned. On completion of the Tai Bwo Wannai quest, you can use a special poison on spears. Spears are a member only item.
Halberd Stab, Slash 3 out of 10
Halberds are a very unique weapon. They are more accurate with the aggressive, slashing attack style than they are with the accurate, stabbing attack style. Black and up halberds require strength the weild, and they can attack from two spaces away, making them a very good weapon for killing things at a range. Halberds are two-handed and are a member only item.

Armour Types

Along with the large, 5 star menu of weaponry there comes a selection of armour. Each piece has its own strengths and weaknesses. Learning what these strengths and weaknesses of armour can give you an advantage in a battle. Like weapons, you'll need a higher defence level to be able to wear armour made out of better types of metal.
Picture Name / Description
There are generally two types of helmets in RuneScape, the full helmet and the medium helmet. The full helmet offers better defensive bonuses and give slight decreases to rangers. The medium helmet is a little less armoured than the full helmet, but rangers have no penalties from wearing these.
Like helmets, there are two types of shields, square shields and kite shields. Square shields have a good defence against stabbing and slashing attacks but have a low defence against crushing attacks. The kite shield has a higher defence against slashing and crushing attacks, but a lower defence against stabbing attacks. Note that you can't have a shield equipped at the same time as a two-handed weapon, like the halberd. Magical staves are not considered two-handed and can be used with shields or other off-hand weaponry.
Chainmail is made out of small metal rings, and can absorb crushing and slashing attacks fairly well. However, it provides with a lower defence against stab based attacks. Chainmail provides no penalties for ranged attacks when worn.
Platemail is a popular choice for warriors; it gives high defence to three of the most widely used attacks, stab, slash, and ranged. Platemail gives a lower defence against crushing attacks, and, being a metal armor, it has a bad defence against magic attacks.
Ranged armour
Ranged armour, leather through dragonhide, gives bonuses to ranged attack and defence. Dragonhide armour is most noted for its high defence against magical attacks. Being able to wear dragonhide armour can be valuable for a melee specialist since metal armour doesn't hold up to spells very well.
Magic armour
Robes, while giving a high magic attack and defence, give no defencive bonus to melee and ranged attacks. Some armor, such as Ahrim's and split bark, give some defence against melee attacks at the cost of a small amount of magical stats. Note that neither give defence bonuses to ranged attacks.



Picture Weapon type Needed level
Bronze Bronze 1
Iron Iron 1
Steel Steel 5
Black Black 10
Mithril Mithril 20
Adamant Adamant 30
Rune Rune 40
Granite Granite* 50
Dragon Dragon* 60
* Members only


Picture Weapon type Needed level
Bronze Bronze 1
Iron Iron 1
Steel Steel 5
Black Black 10
Mithril Mithril 20
Adamant Adamant 30
Rune Rune 40
Granite Granite* 50
Dragon Dragon* 60
Crystal Elf Crystal** 70
* Members only
    • Elf crystal also requires level 50 agility to use, and is members only.


All items are members only
Picture Weapon type Needed level
Black halberd Black halberd 5
Mithril halberd Mithril halberd 10
Adamant halberd Adamant halberd 15
Rune halberd Rune halberd 20
Granite maul Granite maul 50
Tzhaar-ket-om TzHaar-Ket-Om (Obsidian Maul) 60


Frequently asked questions about combat.

I keep getting magic/ranged levels but my combat level isn't increasing, why is that?
Your character is "based", meaning that it is either melee, a ranger, or a mage. If your character is melee based, you will not get combat levels until you get enough levels in one of the other skills to change the base to either ranger or mage. 4/7 of the combat skills determine the base:
• Attack + Strength = Melee based
• Ranged = Ranger based
• Magic = Magic based
Note that the bases for mages and rangers are the same, while the one for melee is different. They are the same, meaning that if my ranged level is 49, I'd just need to get 1 level higher (level 50) in the magic skill to change my base. 49 range, 50 magic=mage based, 49 ranged, 48 magic=ranged based. Remember that the melee based skills can take over pretty quickly, so if you're trying to stay ranger or magic based, use a combat calculator or just limit yourself in the melee skills.

There are guys that are level 40 that have red and black dragonhide armor, is that possible?
Yes, they're pures. Being pure means that you keep one of the non-based skills, such as defence and prayer, down at 1-10 to keep your combat level lower. A level 55 pure with a dds (dragon dagger (p++), dragon dagger with super poison) would be much more combat efficient than a level 55 with a rune weapon. The pure would have 55+ strength and would hit 140+s with the dagger and the non-pure would be hitting 80s with a rune scimitar, at about 45 strength. Bear in mind that pures are pking characters, so have a good main account before you start a pure, if you want one that is.

Those monsters like Elvarg seem tough, they're so high level! Would I be strong enough to win against one of them at level, say, 50?
Absolutely! Don't be afraid of some of the "super high" level monsters, they aren't that strong. I see countless posts on forums asking if they're high enough to beat Elvarg. Just bring food and good armor and you'll be fine. Don't forget to train that magic level and bring teleportation runes, just in case.

Guide credits
Written by: Syntax Error
Guide written by: Syntax Error
Special thanks to: Sk84ever159, Olex Ahon, Moon Switch
Last update: 13-Jun-2010 21:25 by Hitman
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