A beginner’s guide to RuneScape

Over 260 million RuneScape accounts have been created since it was released in 2001. That’s a lot of players adventuring inside this fantasy MMORPG, which can make it intimidating if you’re just getting started. Unless, that is, you have a guide to help you through.

Before you can dive into Gielinor you’ll have to sign up. Here you can make a RuneScape account – all you need is a valid email address, date of birth, and a display name. From there, you can download and log into the game client, create a character, and play through the tutorial – which sets you up with the basics you’ll need to play Jagex’s MMO.

But what about after you’ve completed the tutorial? RuneScape is set within a vast virtual world and it’s teeming with things to do – are you the sort of person who wants the thrill of combat? Or would you like to solve puzzles and save defenceless NPCs in quests full of danger? Maybe you would prefer to simply sit by a river and spend a few hours fishing while chatting to your clan mates.

Given that there are so many things that you could do, we’ve put together this handy guide to lead you through those first few hours of RuneScape. You’ll have found your particular corner of Gielinor in no time at all.

Follow the path

Completing the tutorial will transport you to Gielinor where you’ll find yourself put on the Path System. It’s highly recommended that both new and returning players follow the Path System as it’ll walk you through a number of game features. This includes the Daily Challenges and setting a bank PIN. You’ll also be given three quests to complete, which serve as a proper introduction to the different modes of combat – melee, magic, and range.

The Path System also supplies you with a starter set of equipment and experience lamps that give your combat skills an early boost. Completing the route will allow you to explore freely or, if you choose, pick a new Path. There are Paths that teach you more about the skills or ones that encourage you to further explore the game world.

If you want to explore Gielinor freely, however, you can turn off the Path System. You do this by opening the Adventure Tab, choosing the Path option, and then clicking ‘Switch Off Path’. Do note that while you’ll lose progress on the current task you have been set, you won’t lose any quest progress overall.

Set off on an adventure

Off the beaten paths and out of the tutorials, your search for adventure can truly begin. Quests are the best way to find it, and you can see all the available adventures in the Quest List tab – you can delve into the details by clicking on the journal entries in equipment and skill experience. In here, you’ll find info on where to start the quest, its difficulty level, what its requirements are, any recommended items, and, most importantly, its rewards. Rather handy, really.

Don’t worry, there are many quests available for free-to-play RuneScape players. A good place to start if you want a furry companion is to head to west Varrock and talk to Gertrude. Completing her quest will reward you with a kitten and some cooking experience (don’t worry, the two aren’t combined). Meanwhile the One Piercing Note quest, found outside the Abbey of St. Elspeth Citharede, east of Al Kharid, offers up a murder mystery to solve as you investigate a death in the abbey.

RuneScape offers a huge range of quests – over 220 of the the blighters at last count – some of which will keep you occupied for an hour or two. They’re often rather funny, too, playing up to the game’s smart, self-referential style. Oh, and while you’re questing, make sure to activate the lodestones you discover on your travels – they offer a free mode of transportation.

Build up your character

As you would expect, levelling up your skills is an important part of RuneScape as it unlocks new abilities, equipment, and quests. There are 27 skills in total – 17 of which are available to free-to-play players. Even then, you can still dip your toes into member-only skills like Divination, but they are capped with a level 5 limit – normally, skills can be trained all the way up to level 99. There are even some that go up to 120.

While you might be tempted to focus on training in one skill, we’d recommend that newcomers try to spread their training across all of your skills so that you have a well-rounded character. The whole experience is pretty relaxed, though, and you can choose how much you want to lean into the skilling process. It’s also worth noting that there are no classes to worry about, so you can try your hand at anything you like.

Fishing is a great skill to begin with, because you can also train cooking alongside it by cooking the fish you catch. You can then either sell your haul or keep them for lengthy battles (no, not as weapons – you can eat them to regain health).

If you want to focus on combat first, however, then Lumbridge Catacombs is the perfect dungeon for beginners – though bear in mind that you’ll need to complete the Blood Pact quest (speak to Xenia in Lumbridge Cemetery to kick this one off) before you can access it. While you’re tackling the catacombs, you can collect the statues hidden among the tombs and then sell them for profit, too.

While you’re doing all of this, set yourself a level or XP target by right clicking on your chosen skill in the Skill tab.

Get a handle on combat

Back in 2012, Jagex released an update called Evolution of Combat (EoC for short), which radically changed how you fought in the MMO. It added dual-wielding, ranged weapons, and magical abilities. Players who preferred the old style of combat can still opt to fight with Legacy Mode, which simplifies combat to auto attacks and special attacks.

When creating your character you’ll be asked if you have played RuneScape before. If you choose ‘Never played’ then you’ll be defaulted to Legacy Mode, but it’s worth switching to EoC combat as soon as you’re comfortable. Head to Lumbridge Catacombs for a safe place to practice and get brave.

Joining a Clan

Don’t forget to embrace the social aspect of RuneScape by joining a clan. The best way to do this is to head over to the RuneScape forums where there are a number of boards dedicated to clans. There is a board where you can post a thread about yourself and what kind of clan you’re looking to join. If you wish to do the searching yourself there are five separate boards for the different kinds of clans available – those for players with combat levels under 100, clans for players over level 100 combat, skilling clans, social clans, and clans that specialise in questing and minigames. Take your time to find the right clan for you and you’ll soon be building new friendships.

If you become stuck on a quest or skill head over to the RuneScape Wiki, which contains all the RuneScape knowledge you should ever need. Consider upgrading to a membership (you can take this for a test drive with the RuneScape Twitch Prime bundle) so that you have access to the full range of skills and quests. Good luck on your adventure!

About Matthew

Playing RuneScape since the original RuneScape Classic back in 2001 and a proud member of The Gladiatorz in 2007 when clans were at their peak.

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