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Old School RuneScape beginner’s guide

Despite its age, Old School RuneScape is more popular now than it was 10 years ago. The nostalgic MMORPG has continued to evolve and recently made its way to both iOS and Android smartphones — further expanding its reach and total player count. Now more than ever, people are flocking to Gielinor to experience the glory days of massively multiplayer gaming.

However, beneath its simple graphics lies a complex web of mechanics — many of which are never fully explained to new players. If you find yourself struggling to come to grips with the free-wheeling ways of OSRS, you’re not alone. Here are a few beginner tips to get you on your feet and help you understand everything there is to know about Old School RuneScape.

Further reading

Essential quests for beginners

After finishing the lengthy tutorial, you’ll be unceremoniously thrown into Lumbridge. Ahead of you is a vast world full of opportunities, but your best bet to figure out the intricacies of Old School RuneScape is to dive headfirst into a few quests. Not only do these grant you impressive rewards — such as XP for important skills — but they also introduce you to key characters, concepts, and locations you’ll probably want to familiarize yourself with.

Some even come with skill requirements, meaning you’ll get the opportunity to learn about cooking, crafting, woodcutting, fishing, and more as you work through a few quests.

Both free-to-play and members have a variety of quests available to them, although we’d recommend beginners start with the following:

  • Cook’s Assistant: A simple, iconic quest that will introduce you to the world of cooking.
  • Waterfall Quest (Members): You’ll want to gain a few levels before trying this one, but it’s a great source of XP and a great way to check out one of the most intricate quests in OSRS.
  • Grand Tree (Members): Another great way to earn XP and the perfect way to learn about safe-spotting — that is, using a ranged weapon in a location that is safe from enemy attacks.
  • The Knight’s Sword: Bring a bit of food, but completing this quest grants you tons of Smithing XP and is a great introduction to the bustling city of Falador.

Beyond those, most free-to-play quests provide you with a great introduction to all things Old School RuneScape. Take a few minutes to scroll through the available quests and pick out a few that look interesting to you — before you know it, you’ll have finished them all and acquired the coveted Rune Platebody.

Skills to focus on

As mentioned earlier, some quests will require you to hit a certain skill level before you’re eligible to start. If you find yourself locked out of quests — or if you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend your time with OSRS — there are plenty of skills you can work on leveling. At the end of the day, there’s not a “best” way to level your character. Instead, just find a skill you like and start grinding away.

Old School RuneScape will let you reach max level in all skills, so don’t feel as if you’re missing out on one skill by leveling another. Still, if you’re looking to make some quick cash as a new player, it pays off to focus on these three abilities:

  • Fishing
  • Woodcutting
  • Mining

As for leveling up your Combat skills, we’d recommend Attack, Strength, and Defense — in that specific order. You’ll also want to equip the best weapons available at your current level, as it’ll provide you with a massive boost in damage output and increase your XP gain rate.

Start following an Adventure Path

If you’re a new OSRS player, you’ll have the option to follow specific Adventure Paths. Talk with Adventurer Jon just north of Lumbridge and he’ll give you a few tasks to help acquaint you with the sprawling world of Gielinor. There’s no wrong option here — pick a few that look interesting and work toward completing them. Not only is it a great way to learn about the different mechanics at play in OSRS, but you’ll also be rewarded with some great beginner gear.

Places to explore

An MMORPG is only as good as its open-world environment, and OSRS arguably has one of the best in the business. As a new player, you’re going to be pulled in a dozen different directions, but make sure you take a few moments to check out the following areas — each of which offers plenty of quests and NPCs to chat with.

  • Lumbridge
  • Varrock
  • Falador
  • Al Kharid
  • Draynor Village
  • Port Sarim
  • Seers’ Village (Members)
  • Ardougne (Members)
  • Kingdom of Great Kourend (Members)

Earning your first million on the Grand Exchange

While you can make a bit of money selling your unwanted items to an NPC, the best way to earn gold in Old School RuneScape is by using the Grand Exchange. Found just northwest of Varrock, the Grand Exchange is essentially a massive online marketplace for other players. Simply pick an item you want to sell, choose a price — or go with the current average on the market — and put it up for sale. Other players can then purchase your items, which typically sell for much more than they would to an NPC.

It’ll take some time, but once you’ve sufficiently leveled up a few gathering skills, you can make fast cash using the Grand Exchange. It’s also a great way to pick up elusive items and gear that are only sold by a few across Gielinor.

Learn how to AFK skill

With Old School RuneScape now available on iOS and Android, AFK skilling has become an even more important part of the game. AFK skilling is simply sending your character to perform a task while you step away from your phone or computer. Some skills are better suited for this than others — fishing and woodcutting are popular ones — as they allow you to carry out a few minutes of work with just one click.

This can also work with combat skills if you fight enemies that are aggressive and attack you even while idle. Free-to-play characters can dive into the Stronghold of Security in the Barbarian Village and fight Flesh Crawlers, while members can fight Rock Crabs north of Rellekka. In both cases, the mobs will eventually become immune to your presence and stop attacking after a few minutes. When this happens, simply leave the area and come back and they’ll start attacking you again.

There’s no wrong way to play Old School RuneScape

No matter what you’re doing or how fast you’re leveling, it’s important to remember that there’s no wrong way to play Old School RuneScape. Some veteran players will go for months without touching a quest, while others will never even venture into the PvP Wilderness. Old School RuneScape is considered a sandbox MMO, meaning you’re free to do whatever you want in its sprawling world. Amass a fortune on the Grand Exchange, become a questing champion, or try to max out all your skills — whatever you choose, just know you’re playing exactly how the devs intended.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a freelance journalist whose gaming addiction began with the SEGA Genesis. His work has been published on…
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