New to RuneScape? This guide will cover all there is to know about the basics of the game, what to do next after the tutorial, and where you can find more help if you need it.
Welcome to RuneScape, a bustling MMO with a ton of activities to enjoy. The problem is – where do you get started? This guide aims to cover the basics of how to play, what you can do in the world of Gielinor, and how you can climb your way up to be the greatest skiller or monster-killer that ever lived.
We recommend that you create a new character and play through the opening tutorial before reading this guide, as that will cover the basics of moving around, levelling up some skills, and more. After that, come back here and learn what there is to do next!
If you’ve played RuneScape before and just want an overview of the new content available to you since you last delved in, you can check out our Returning Players Guide.
Movement is easy in RuneScape – simply click where you want to move and your character will run (or walk) over there. If there’s an NPC you’d like to talk to, you simply click on them to interact. The same applies for interacting with an object like a tree, or to initiate combat with a monster like a goblin. Sometimes, an object can have additional options for interaction, including an “Examine” option, which you can find by right-clicking on it.
To help you find your way around, you can use the minimap at the top right of your interface. The minimap shows the area surrounding your character, including nearby NPCs (yellow dots), other players (white dots), and dropped items (red dots). There are also various icons that appear on the minimap to indicate what features are nearby, whether it be a bank, a furnace, or a fishing spot, and if you see something you’d like to move your character towards, you can do so simply by clicking on the minimap itself.
When travelling to a new area, you may come across a lodestone on the ground. You can click on the lodestone to activate it, which will allow you to teleport freely back to the area using the Lodestone Network by clicking the “H” icon near your minimap.
As you venture through towns and cities, you will come across other players who are on their own adventures. Why not say hi? The in-game chat can be found at the bottom left of your interface, and from there you can see all of the messages sent by other players you’ve been near. You can send your own messages which are visible to players around you by pressing Enter on your keyboard, and once you make a friend with someone, you can add them to your Friends List by right-clicking one of their chat messages and clicking “Add Friend”.
After creating your character and finishing the tutorial, you are thrown right into the middle of the world of Gielinor, in a place called Burthorpe. Gielinor can be overwhelming at first, but there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you love a good story, you can explore the rich history of the world and the six Ages through some quests. If you like to hack and slash, there are some rabbits and cows nearby that can be killed for their items. If you’re ready to grind some skills, there are some trees and fishing spots that can be interacted with. Or, if you just like exploring, you can venture out of Burthorpe towards the city of Falador.
Let’s talk about quests. Quests help you understand the history of Gielinor, and some grant you access to sometimes unique and powerful rewards, such as certain types of weaponry and armour, or even brand new areas. Most quests reward experience for completing them, so it can be a great starting point to level up your skills.
You can find quests on the map by looking for an icon that looks like a blue star inside of a compass. By hovering over them on the world map, you can look at what the requirements are for starting them. You can also open a list of all quests by clicking the quest icon on the main ribbon interface on the bottom right corner of your screen.
All of the quests in the game are split by difficulty and length, and some even take place chronologically before others. There are many different quest storylines for you to experience, whether you’re dealing with vampyres in Morytania, or investigating a mysterious plague in Ardougne.
Here are some quests that are great for when you’re just starting out in RuneScape:
- Wolf Whistle – Travel a short distance to Taverly and aid a group of druids, providing an introduction to the Summoning skill.
- The Blood Pact – Fight some monsters in the Lumbridge Catacombs, and learn more about combat in RuneScape.
- Cook’s Assistant – This is a classic RuneScape quest, where you gather ingredients for the chef of Lumbridge Castle. Short and sweet, the rewards will help you with your Cooking skill.
- Gertrude’s Cat – Help Gertrude find her lost cat, Fluffs. Get a furry little friend to accompany you in return.
- One Piercing Note – The nuns of the Abbey of Saint Elspeth need your help in solving a mystery.
- A Shadow over Ashdale – Explore the beautiful island of Ashdale, and be rewarded with some experience to help level up your combat skills.
- What’s Mine is Yours – Learn more about the Mining and Smithing skills as you help out a dwarf named Doric.
Eventually, you’ll become a renowned adventurer in Gielinor, and as your skills progress, you’ll be able to take on some quests with huge rewards. Here are the key quests to complete as you play, some of which will require RuneScape membership:
- Dragon Slayer – Slay the mighty dragon Elvarg to unlock the ability to purchase rune platebodies
- Desert Treasure – Discover hidden treasure in the Kharidian Desert to unlock the powerful Ancient Magicks spellbook
- The Temple at Senntisten – Restore an old temple underneath the Digsite to gain access to a new set of “cursed” prayers
- The World Wakes – Enter some ruins near the Legends’ Guild to discover the history behind the god Guthix and an event that changes Gielinor forever
- Plague’s End – Put an end to the West Ardougne plague and gain access to the city of Prifddinas
Skills are used almost everywhere in RuneScape, and as you perform skilling actions in the game world, you’ll be gaining experience and unlocking more items. They are your characters’ trainable abilities. Levelling certain skills, like Slayer, provide more places to explore, and more quests to do. Activities which train skills in RuneScape range anywhere from catching fish, to delving deep into the depths of dungeons.
During the tutorial, you learned about some of the basic skills in RuneScape – Fishing, Woodcutting, Firemaking, Cooking, Mining, and Smithing – but there are many more that you can level up. Free players have access to 17 skills, while being a member grants you access to all 28.
For players that are interested in combat, it will be important to not only consider improving your combat skills like Attack, Strength, and Defence, but also to improve “secondary” skills like Herblore and Summoning. These skills will help you in combat, as you can brew new potions to give you the edge over enemies, or summon familiars who can fight on your behalf.
Like most fantasy worlds, Gielinor is inhabited by a variety of creatures: some of them friendly, many of them not. From dungeon rats to dragons, killing these monsters provide valuable experience in combat, and the ability to sell their loot for money. Monsters each have their own combat level, as indicated by the number shown above their head when you hover over them. These vary from easy level 1 rats, to super hard level 60+ dragons and bosses.
You also have your own combat level, which is a general indicator of how well your stats compare to the monsters you want to fight. Your combat level increases through training Attack, Defence, Strength, Prayer, Summoning, Magic, and Ranged skills – usually by killing monsters with the respective skill items. Levelling up your combat level unlocks more armour for you to wear, and weapons for you to use, which can help you kill stronger monsters.
When you first jump into the world after the tutorial is finished, your character will be quite weak, and only able to wield basic weapons and armour, such as bronze gear. By killing weaker monsters such as cows, goblins, and chickens, you can slowly increase your levels and gain the ability to wear even higher tier gear. Soon, you’ll be ruling the world with a dragon longsword, or even a weapon as mythical as a godsword.
The main combat system in RuneScape revolves around “action bars” and is called Revolution. When you attack a monster, your character will automatically cycle through abilities on your action bar to deal damage, apply bleeds, and stun it. All abilities have a cooldown, and generate adrenaline. Adrenaline allows you to use higher tier abilities, known as “threshold” and “ultimate” abilities. They usually deal an epic amount of damage compared to the basic abilities, and can even deal damage to multiple enemies in the area. You’ll have access to a number of action bars that you can switch between depending on the combat style that you’re using or the situation that you’re in.
Each action bar can have a number of abilities on them, which you can activate manually using hotkeys on your keyboard if you like, but if you have Revolution enabled, the game will automatically cycle through them (indicated by a yellow border around the slots on the action bar that will be cycled through).
Some monsters have certain weaknesses that mean that certain weapons are more effective against them. For example, you may find that attacking a hellhound with “slash” weapons will do more damage to them than shooting at them with a crossbow.
A good way to level up your combat skills is to train Slayer. By speaking to a Slayer Master, you can be assigned a task to kill a specific number of a type of monster, which will not only grant Slayer experience but also experience in whatever combat skills you’re using along the way. Maximum efficiency!
While travelling around Gielinor, be careful of an area called the Wilderness. The Wilderness is a dangerous PvP-enabled area on the north side of the world, where if you die, all of your items drop to the ground for any other players to freely take. Of course, there is no risk without reward, so be aware that some of the best training methods for skills in the game may require you to venture into this dangerous area.
Money or gold pieces (GP) is the main currency in RuneScape and used for purchasing and selling items in the game, so you’ll need to accumulate a lot of it to progress through the game. You can primarily earn money from quest rewards, selling monster drops, or selling items made through training skills.
Some simple methods for making your first big bucks in RuneScape can be found over on our Money Making Guide, however here are some tips to keep in mind while playing:
- When monsters drop coins on the ground, you can see a rough visual indication of how many coins are in the stack. If there’s only a few coins on the ground, it won’t be worthwhile further into playing the game. If there’s a bigger stack, then the monster could have dropped thousands of coins, and you should definitely pick them up. After you train up your Dungeoneering skill, you can use a Gold accumulator to pick up monster dropped coins for you.
- You can sell items gained while training your skills – such as logs from Woodcutting, fish from Fishing, and ores from Mining. Sometimes, it’ll be useful to keep some of these items to allow you to train up other skills. For example, logs could be used for Fletching, or burned to raise your Firemaking level. Always weigh up the value of an item with how useful it is to your progression in the game. If you were chopping Oak logs and you can already fletch/burn Yew logs, it’s probably worth selling the Oak logs instead of keeping them.
- Keep an eye on your bank. At every point through your experience with RuneScape, your bank will slowly become full of junk that you’re hoarding from previous quests, monster fights, or skilling. In bulk quantities, a lot of these items can become valuable and give you an extra boost.
The primary way of buying and selling items in-game is using the Grand Exchange (GE), which is located north-west of Varrock. By interacting with one of the booths at the GE, you can create buy or sell offers for specific items, and see their current price. The price of an item on the GE is a good indicator of how much the item is actually worth. When you list an item on the GE, as soon as a buyer tries to buy that item for your price (or higher), your transaction will complete and you can collect the coins from the GE, or at any bank by right-clicking a bank booth and clicking ‘Collect’. If you try to buy an item on the GE, you’ll buy it as cheap as possible – no higher than the price you entered.
Trading directly with other players in the game couldn’t be easier. You can right-click another player and click ‘Trade’ to start a trade with them if you find a worthy buyer, but always check to see what the current price of an item is on the Grand Exchange first to ensure you’re getting the correct payment.
RuneScape is a free-to-play game, and a lot of the content in the game can be accessed without paying for a membership subscription. However, if you’re enjoying the game, paying for membership will allow you to access even more skills, monsters to kill, and areas in the game for you to explore. You’ll also get access to members-only worlds, and complex stories in the form of quests.
Membership costs a fixed amount of real-world money a month and can be purchased directly through Steam or on the RuneScape website. If you prefer, you can pay for membership using in-game money too, which’ll be possible as you grind through the later levels in the game. This requires purchasing bonds, which you can find on the Grand Exchange.
While the RuneScape community is full of pleasant and helpful people, you may come across some less pleasant players during your time in Gielinor. Always be on the lookout for anything that looks like a scam or may be a phishing attempt on your account.
If anyone asks you for personal information, such as your login or personal details, you should not give them this information. You may also see messages with URLs in the chat box – be cautious when visiting these websites if you do not recognise the links, as they could be dangerous.
Often, scams happen when other players advertise services, in which you have to trade them gold or items. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, a common scam that has existed for as long as RuneScape has existed is that players will propose to “double” your money, by first trading them your coins. This is always a scam, and they will simply disappear with your money.
To help keep Gielinor safe, you might come across Player Moderators. These are normal players in the game that have a silver crown in the chat box to distinguish them from other players. These players have the ability to mute others in the chat, and report them directly to Jagex. Rarely, you might come across Jagex Moderators, which are represented with a gold crown in chat instead. These are actual Jagex employees, the developers who make the game. If anyone without one of these crowns tells you that they are a moderator or have the ability to mute/ban you, they aren’t telling the truth.
Another type of scam, known as luring, happens in the Wilderness. If someone asks you to enter the Wilderness holding something that you aren’t willing to lose, don’t listen to them! They are trying to kill you inside of a PvP area so that they can take your items.
You can report any player by right-clicking their message in the chat box and clicking ‘Report’.
So, you’ve been playing RuneScape for a little while now. You’re levelling up your skills, exploring the world, making friends, and doing quests. But what should you work towards next?
If you’ve been enjoying quests, one of the hardest quests in free-to-play is Dragon Slayer. It involves navigating your way to the abandoned island of Crandor, where the dragon Elvarg awaits you. This will be a challenge, so make sure you have a good combat level, strong weapons, and sturdy armour before giving it a go.
Speaking of armour, what type of equipment are you currently using? Rune equipment, made of runite ore, is some of the strongest early game melee armour available. You can either make this yourself (with high enough Mining and Smithing levels), or purchase it with your hard earned gold.
If you’re more of a skiller, you can try working towards accessing Guilds – special buildings across the world, which can only be accessed once you have enough experience in their relevant skill. They can provide a good space for training up certain skills through mid levels, and you may find other people training the same skill there too that can help you out! A guild you can access early on is the Cooks’ Guild at level 32 Cooking. It has cooking ranges, a windmill, and water sources nearby for you to cook to your heart’s content.
To help progress your skills faster, there are a number of boosts that can help you. For example, wearing certain equipment can increase your levels in certain skills, allowing you to access higher level content before you’ve reached the required level. Some boosts can provide extra experience, such as portable skilling stations which can be placed down by other players for anyone to use and provide an increase to the experience you get while skilling with them.
If you’re a sucker for being a completionist, completing achievements are a great way to explore what RuneScape has to offer, level up, and get some unique rewards in return. The Lumbridge achievements are a good start to see what achievements are all about – they come in Beginner, Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulties, so there’ll be something you can do whatever level you’re at. See if you can complete them all!
Want to take a break from the traditional skilling and killing of RuneScape? You can check out the various minigames and Distractions & Diversions (D&Ds) dotted around the map. A lot of these provide experience in several skills, cool rewards, and allow you to have some fun with friends. Minigames can usually be accessed as often as you like, while D&Ds are accessible on a schedule. Early on in the game, you may find it useful to take part in the Tears of Guthix (members-only) and Giant Oyster D&Ds for a chance to get some experience and potentially valuable items.
Lastly, the Stronghold of Security is a great place to train your combat early on, learn about keeping your account secure, and get some nice rewards along the way. The Stronghold is full of monsters that get stronger the deeper you go – make sure you’re well prepared with food and strong equipment before you enter.
There’s a lot to do in RuneScape, and this guide only provides a small insight into the kind of things you can expect to find in-game. If you get stuck at any point, don’t worry. The RuneScape Wiki is the most extensive source of information on the game out there, and can help you with common questions like: “what is this item?” or “where do I find this monster?”. Check out https://runescape.wiki for more help. You can also access the wiki at any point straight from the game by typing /wiki [query] into the chat box.
Thanks for reading our guide, and have a great time getting started in RuneScape!
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