Old School Runescape vs. Runescape 3 Combat (OSRS vs. RS3)

We recently published an article on the differences between Old School Runescape (OSRS) and Runescape 3 (RS3). There we talked about the main engine/graphics and monetization differences between the two games. In this article, we are going to tell you the main combat differences between the games. Moreover, even if you are a fan of Runescape, Runescape 3 has changed a lot since its original release, and it may not work exactly the way you think.

There are also other general gameplay differences between the games, which we’ll cover in a later article. Once published, the link will appear here.

The evolution of combat

End 2012, Runescape 3 has been updated with the Evolution of Combat (EoC) update which has completely reworked the game’s combat system. Melee, ranged and magic combat abilities have been added, hotbars have been introduced and the combat in general in the game world has been reworked.

fight in Old School Runescape works very differently. Enemies take turns attacking and there are only a few different attack styles alongside a variety of different weapons that work best against certain types of enemies. Tactically positioning, activating, and deactivating your prayers (called prayer flicks) to maximize your offensive and defensive bonuses, and equipping your character appropriately while bringing the right supplies for the situation was what combat was all about.

Related: Old School Runescape vs. Runescape 3 (OSRS vs. RS3)

After the EoC update, Runescape 3 played a lot more like World of Warcraft. You had a bunch of hotkeys and abilities that you had to rotate during combat. Damage numbers have skyrocketed and player characters have become much stronger. With a variety of stuns and effects, PvP changed forever, and once the change was made, most PvPers at the time called the PvP side of Runescape dead.

What was once a simple combat system with a high skill ceiling that anyone could master but few could master became a complicated beast of a game that played like wow but not as well with the slower pace of Runescape. Ultimately, the change modernized Runescapewhat gamers wanted, but changed beloved core game systems, which gamers didn’t want.

These changes have decimated the gamer population of Runescape at the time. Graphically, the game had changed a lot, and suddenly the basic gameplay systems of the game were also very different. In many ways, Runescape 3 was an entirely different game than what Runescape was before the EoC update. All of this led Jagex to introduce Old School Runescape the following year in February 2013 after the November 2012 release of the EoC update.

Related: How to Play HD Old School Runescape (OSRS)

The release of Old School Runescape bring Runescape firmly to a pre-EoC state, but in the 9 years since Old School Runescape launched and many players left Runescape 3 for Old school, Runescape 3 continued to be updated, and many, many things have changed.

How Runescape 3 Combat Has Changed Over Time

Since the EoC update in Runescape 3, the game has changed a lot. First of all, the balancing has been overhauled in the many years since the update’s initial launch. As a result, the base systems introduced by the update work much better now than before.

PvP, while not particularly popular even in RS3 today, has also become much less cheesy and exploitable, bringing players interested in PvP back to RS3 to some extent. More than it attracted people when the EoC update was first released.

Related: RuneScape 4/RuneScape Next Gen: Jagex’s Next Project Explained

But beyond the system changes introduced in the EoC, new ways to play Runescape 3 have also been added to the game. Legacy Mode, a battle mode that removes all abilities, hotbars, and most of what was introduced in the EoC, is a way to play through the entirety of RS3 now.

Plus, years of updates have refined Legacy Mode. Originally, it was extremely inferior to the game’s main combat system. At the high end, i.e. late game bosses and raids, Legacy is still generally considered weaker than the other combat modes in the game, but it is far less disadvantageous than it once was.

However, Legacy Mode does not not play exactly like Old School Runescape. Damage numbers are generally higher, there are no fighting styles in the same way as they once were, and many adjustments to the overall balance of the game exist. Ultimately, Legacy Mode plays very similarly to Old school but as a modern version of it. In general, early game content in Legacy mode is easier than in Old school while later content is more difficult.

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Legacy mode or normal play aren’t the only ways to play Runescape 3, yet. There is also another battle mode called Evolution. Evolution takes normal EoC combat from Runescape 3 and gives you the ability to automatically fire abilities. You set up your abilities in the order you chose on your hotbar, and when you enter combat, your abilities trigger automatically.

There are a ton of customizations you can do on this system as well as from the number of abilities you cast and the types of abilities you want to autocast. Indeed, this system takes advantage of the EoC changes while making the gameplay much closer to the turn-based battles of Old School Runescape.

So you can play the main game with manual ability activation, where you’ll have a ton of hotkeys like in World of Warcraftin Legacy mode which looks more like Old school, or with automatic ability activation via Revolution Mode. None of these ways to play are like Runescape from 15 years ago, but the game gives players immense choice in how they want to play.

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