The Assist System allows players to temporarily use each others' skill levels. The Assist System is designed to be a replacement for temporarily giving an item to another player so that they can process it in some way, and then trusting them to give it back.
For example, a player might want to turn an uncut ruby into a cut ruby, but not have the level 34 Crafting required. Using the Assist System, the player simply "borrows" someone else's skill levels and then cuts it themselves, which means that the ruby never leaves their own inventory. The assister receives all skill experience, which is their payment for assisting.
Previously, if a player did not have the requisite skill level for a task, they would have to trade the uncut ruby to another player, and trust that they would cut it and give it back. This system was relatively often abused to scam players.
With the Assist System there is a right-click option for players, labeled "Req Assist". Assistance requests are similar to trade requests, in which the target player receives a message in the chat box which opens up a window when clicked.
The Assist icon will appear in the top right corner of the game window of the player being assisted. The assisting player is unable to move or do anything other than chat to friends or surrounding players whilst the window is open.
Most of the non-combat skills are displayed in the window, along with the amount of experience the target player has gained through the Assist System in the past 24 hours. All of the skills are shared by default, though the assisting player can click on any skill to switch it off. The effects of a temporary boost will also pass to the assisted player.
Players can choose to restrict or block notification of assistance requests. To do this, they can right-click the "Assist" button below the message box to set it to "On" (receive requests from any player), "Friends" (receive requests only from players on their Friends List), or "Off" (block all requests).
If the player requesting assistance already has the requisite skill level to do something, they will gain experience rather than the target player, even if the target player has lent their level.
Temporary status boosts, such as dwarven stouts, carry over to the person being assisted.
The following restrictions apply to usage of the Assist System:
|Runecrafting||Higher level pouches (large and giant) cannot be filled by using assist. Multiple runes per essence can be crafted if the assister has a high enough level.|
|Crafting||Demonic sigils, lightning rods, and silvthrill rods cannot be crafted, because they are untradeable quest items. Also, banner easels cannot be used. After a recent update, the Feather headdress now can be made with the assist system. Sapphire Lanterns can't be made using the assist system because it is non-tradeable. A Dramen branch cannot be crafted into a Dramen staff with assistance.|
|Fletching||Ogre arrows cannot be fletched using the Assist System because they are quest-related.|
|Construction||Only flat-packed items can be made, rooms cannot be made.|
|Farming||Trees and calquats cannot be planted because the potted versions of these are untradeable, bushes and cacti are also unable to be planted. Experience will not be given for harvesting if you are not assisted during that process.|
The only Lunar Spells that cannot be used are Vengeance and Vengeance Other, Teleport and Tele Group spells. No spells from the Ancient Magicks spellbook can be cast, as all the spells in the spellbook are either teleportation or combat spells. From the normal spellbook, only the following spells can be cast:
|Smithing||Darts cannot be made unless Tourist Trap is completed by the assisted player, claws cannot be made unless Death Plateau is completed and pickaxes cannot be made unless Perils of Ice Mountain is completed.|
|Cooking||Gnome foods cannot be prepared because they are used in the Gnome Restaurant mini-game; lava eel cannot be prepared because it is non tradeable.|
|Herblore||The Assist System cannot be used to make Sanfew serum, Guthix balance potion, Magic essence potion, Shrink-me-quick potion, Super truth serum or Relicym's balm, nor be used to grow the Yommi tree in Legends' Quest, as these are all used in quests. Some Quests (For example, the Heroes' Quest) do work with the assist system. Also, blamish oil cannot be made as said above with lava eels. Players cannot make any of the extreme potions, nor the dangerous overload potion with the assist system.|
This feature was originally added in the Assist System update on the 5 November 2007. On the 12 November 2007, an Assist System and Skills Interface update was released. This removed Fishing, Hunter, Mining, and Woodcutting from the Assist System, because those skills are used to obtain raw materials. Players suggested on the forums that these skills could in fact be developed faster without the assistance system, and that players seeking resources could obtain these items from direct player to player trades just as easily. Those players of lower skill levels typically didn't know how to efficiently gather resources and typically wasted the time of the higher level players that could have been spent simply gathering these resources in the first place.
When the Knowledge Base Article on the main RuneScape page first came out, the picture showing "Req Assist" from the player had a right-click "Report Abuse" option (which is used by player moderators and Jagex staff). This picture has since been removed and replaced with a new one.
On 10 June 2009, there was a glitch where you could not request assistance.
Jagex made an update, so you could see the current skill levels of the player providing assistance. This change was made to prevent scamming, especially at Runecrafting altars.