This is a safe minigame. If you die here, you will not lose your items.
|Location on World map|
|Poison Waste Slayer Dungeon||←||Castle Wars||→||Yanille|
Castle Wars is a members-only minigame released by Jagex in December of 2004, but was added to the world map in the month previous to its release as a spoiler, with text explaining it was "Coming in December 2004". It is similar to Capture the flag, but with a RuneScape twist. Please note that this is a "Safe" mini-game. Upon death, you will NOT lose your items. Currently the official worlds for this minigame are worlds 15, 24, 52, 166 and 82; although worlds 15 and 24 are the main worlds. The majority of Castle Wars players are high levels (combat levels over 75) so it may not be worth playing if you are below this level, unless you just want the tickets. It can be worthwhile just to use the catapults.
In January 2009, Castle Wars was voted the most popular player-versus-player minigame in a poll.
Castle Wars is found in the south-west corner of Kandarin and may be accessed via a number of ways:
Once you are in castle wars, you CANNOT take capes or helms into the arena, as the Zamorak/Saradomin cloak will be on you when you enter the waiting room and in the game. There is a bank chest on the west side of the entrance room of the building.
The aim of Castle Wars is to take the enemy's standard, or flag, from their castle and return it to the standard in your own castle's keep, gaining 1 point each time. You must prevent the opposing team from taking your standard by blocking them from your castle (place barricades, lock doors or collapse tunnels underground), or by killing them. (Note: Your team has a maximum of 10 set barricades on the field). Slain players will respawn in the Starting area within the game, so both sides are constantly fighting with a near (if not totally) equal numbered team. Each game lasts for 20 minutes, and the team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. You will gain two castle wars tickets if your team wins, and one ticket if the score is tied. You will not gain extra or bonus tickets if you kill another player or score a point. Castle Wars tickets are redeemable for a number of decorative armours and other rewards only available through the game. To be successful in Castle Wars, it is better to have a higher combat level, but lower level players can focus on the defensive measures mentioned below.
Also, be warned that there are "veterans" at this game that will take it more seriously than others. They often know all of the tricks of the game. If your team has a few of them, you're most likely going to win.
When playing Castle Wars it is best to sort out who's going where. Mages using Ancient Magicks and high level rangers are normally put on the section near the catapult so they can kill potential flag-stealers quickly without getting killed themselves. Also when a ranger or mage runs out of ammo, they can use the catapult or turn melee and join the fight below.
Warriors tend to split up. Players levelling over 100 normally get the flag underground or above, if not they are normally found defending their flag. Warriors normally have an edge over rangers or mage. When a mage is defending the castle from the catapult the warrior may climb over the wall, using a rope and attack them. Due to low defence the warrior normally comes out on top. Lower levels (under 60) normally just go to get the flag but are normally killed in seconds by rangers or mages. Lower levels are also more well known for guarding their team's standard.
Players are only allowed combat items into the waiting area, including potions, runes and armour (with the exception of helmets, hats, pets, scarves and capes). Recently, Jagex has allowed players to bring in Castle wars tickets won for being on a winning or tying Castle Wars team to the Castle Wars minigame, meaning that winning team members no longer need to rush to the bank chest after a game ends to deposit their tickets, and can go straight back to the portal. Food cannot be brought in, but bandages can be obtained within the arena - which are used to heal players, cure poison and give approximately 30% energy. Alchemy spells cannot be used during the game along with Lunar spells such as Heal Other and Cure Other. Also Dwarf Multicannons cannot be brought into Castle Wars, as they are a non-combat item when unassembled. Originally, players were allowed to bring their pet cats into the arena, but after many players complained, Jagex removed this ability. Some players have noted that it is difficult to get the enemy standard when it is in possession of the enemy, for example, a level 138 Saradomin player will hold the Saradomin standard whilst being defended by other level 100's for the entire game; thus creating an "impenetrable fortress". This can be very irritating to other players.
Unlike the Duel Arena, arrows will not be returned after each match. It is the player's responsibility to pick up any projectiles fired if they choose to do so. However, upon completion of Animal Magnetism players to speak to Lanthus in order to receive the effects of Ava's Device during play. Also, unlike Fist of Guthix, runes are not supplied.
Also, if players are wearing armours or prayer symbols/books of the three gods (Saradomin, Guthix, Zamorak), they will have strange effects on the wearer if they enter the wrong portal. Saradomin will turn a player into a hare if they are wearing a Zamorak or Guthix symbol or armour when entering his portal; Guthix will turn them into a sheep if they are wearing a Saradomin or Zamorak symbol or armour upon entering its portal; and Zamorak will turn them into an imp if they are wearing a Saradomin or Guthix symbol or armour when entering his portal. Players transformed into a rabbit, sheep or imp cannot perform any tasks. They also cannot view menu screens other than private, public and clan chat, music and settings. However, when the waiting period elapses and the game starts the player will be turned back to normal. Void Knight Equipment counts as a Guthix Symbol.
The large square formation covering most of the map is the actual arena. Inside the arena there are 2 smaller castles, one for each team. There are 5 levels to a castle.
All players on the winning team receive two Castle Wars tickets. In the event of a draw, all players receive one Castle Wars ticket. These tickets can be used to purchase decorative armour, capes, and, hoods. The lowest decorative armour is red and blue, which has the strength of Steel. The mid-strength decorative armour is silver and blue, which has the strength of mithril. The strongest decorative armour is gold and navy, which has the strength of adamant. Players may also purchase (with tickets) Saradomin and Zamorak capes and hoods. Anything bought by using Castle Wars tickets cannot be traded to another player, but can be sold back for the same number of tickets it can be bought for.
Here is a list of the prices:
|Red-blue Decorative Helm||Steel med helm||4 tickets|
|Red-blue Decorative Shield||Steel kiteshield||6 tickets|
|Red-blue Decorative Armour||Steel platelegs||6 tickets|
|Red-blue Decorative Armour||Steel platebody||8 tickets|
|Red-blue Decorative Sword||Steel longsword||5 tickets|
|Silver-blue Decorative Helm||Mithril med helm||40 tickets|
|Silver-blue Decorative Shield||Mithril kiteshield||60 tickets|
|Silver-blue Decorative Armour||Mithril platelegs||60 tickets|
|Silver-blue Decorative Armour||Mithril platebody||80 tickets|
|Silver-blue Decorative Sword||Mithril longsword||50 tickets|
|Gold-navy Decorative Helm||Adamant med helm||400 tickets|
|Gold-navy Decorative Shield||Adamant kiteshield||600 tickets|
|Gold-navy Decorative Armour||Adamant platelegs||600 tickets|
|Gold-navy Decorative Armour||Adamant platebody||800 tickets|
|Gold-navy Decorative Sword||Adamant longsword||500 tickets|
|Saradomin Hood||-||10 tickets|
|Saradomin Cloak||Normal cape||10 tickets|
|Zamorak Hood||-||10 tickets|
|Zamorak Cloak||Normal cape||10 tickets|
|Castle Wars Handbook||-||5 coins|
Note that Castle Wars tickets, armour, and weapons are non-tradable.
One catapult is located in each team's castle's wall. Players may use the catapult if they have ammunition, which they can obtain from tables on the first floor. After players have ammo, they can operate the catapult by clicking on it. A display will open up and players must then choose the X and Y coordinates of where they wish to fire; however, often the shot will not go exactly where you aim. The highest X and Y coordinates are (30,30). All players near the area of impact, regardless of which team they are on, will take damage. Catapults can be destroyed by the enemy team using a tinderbox or an explosive potion. A toolkit can fix a broken catapult. The catapult is not often used as players normally keep moving. A catapult that is on fire may be put out with a bucket of water. Be careful when using the catapult, because it is possible to harm and even kill your own team-mates with it if you haven't finished the Catapult Construction quest. So be on the look out for renegade flying rocks!
These are located in the North-east and South-west points of the river. Players can jump from stepping stone to stepping stone to cross the river in the middle of the arena. The stepping stones have many uses, one main use is to escape the enemy team while capturing the standard. If the standard is dropped while standing on stepping stones it returns to the base. Players were once able to evade Ancient Magicks ice spells by crossing these stepping stones but this was recently changed so that bind spells now prevent you from crossing the stones.
The collapsible rocks are located in the caves below the arena. Using a pickaxe or an explosive potion, players may collapse the walls and fill the cave passageway with rocks, so that players may not pass. To get past the collapsed rocks, players must use either 2 explosive potions or a pickaxe or both. If rocks are collapsed on top of a player, he or she will die immediately. This is an excellent trick if you are running through the tunnels with the standard, as it gets rid of many chasers and blocks the rest, but they could also kill you. The best trick to use is when it's clear, put a barricade on one side of you and put one under you. Therefore, the player doesn't see it under you, and when they go to attack you they actually attack the barricade, then you can use an explosive potion on the wall, killing them.
One useful strategy:
In the caves, the most popular cave tunnel is the one on the right when coming down the ladder in a castle. The least popular is the one on the left.
Collapsible stones are also subjects to many minor bugs. For example, a player may appear to be collapsing the tunnel from inside of it, and when it collapses the player walks out unharmed. If someone dies directly when a tunnel is collapsed over them, you might see a zero over a red background. If you kill a player holding a standard in the tunnel, you may mine through it and if you are fast enough, the standard will appear on the floor where the player died. If you drop a standard under the tunnel and then collapse it, take the standard you may walk into the cave without taking damage while it is collapsed. If you take two standards and put them next to each other (so that each one is on a different side of the cave) and collapse the cave, and take both the standards, you may walk all the way through the cave. Note: the two previous glitches may cause the cave to become "broken", where they will not collapse and the cave will stay open until the world resets. Most of these bugs have been fixed, though.
For some players, mostly mages or rangers, the rocks provide a great bonus. They can shoot arrows or cast spells from the other side of the rocks even when they have fallen. The players can attack their opponents without being harmed themselves.
A small island with two bridges connecting it is found in the middle of the map.
It has four ruined towers on it with stairs leading to the top. Mages/Rangers can snipe enemy players from above there.
It has two ladders leading down to the middle of the underground caves. It allows either team to reinforce their comrades down or up in the middle, preventing the other team from completely dominating it.
This area usually the site of a brutal slug-fest between both teams during the beginning of the match. Players slam into each other and attack whoever with no discretion at all. *Controlling the middle gives the team an advantage over the other. But mostly in a typical match, the middle area is contested by both sides with no gain to either side. But occasionally, one side manages to drive back the other team and technically controls the centre. While attackers from the driven-back team still make their run for the enemy flag, the other team is given a clear route to the enemy castle. The majority of the fighting now takes place at that castle where the invading team storms the castle, allowing someone to swiftly steal the flag.
The battle tactics in Castle Wars vary. This is because each and every game of Castle Wars have different players, different situations and the balance of power changes every game.
One useful tactic is to block off the corridor going around the teams room (the one you start in). Most of the time, each team will have at least one Ancient Mage. The Ancient Mage often tries to defend the castle from potential standard stealers by freezing them with spells like ice barrage. Once frozen this gives the melee attackers a chance to finish off the helpless thieves. Sometimes the ancient mages will also have a bow to use, so they can range after freezing enemy players.
Very rarely, a very high-levelled player able to cast Ice Barrage and Blood Barrage, (some of them have level 99 summoning and come with a steel titan) might camp at the enemies spawn zone and use the area spells to demolish enemy players. The caster uses Ice Barrage to freeze enemies, but when the caster is getting piled by enemies, he quickly switches to blood barrage and uses to restore health. Most of the players tend to have low levels and weak magical defence, allowing the blood barrage user to stay alive a lot longer and give his team a diversion to capture the flag. The caster will end up racking a lot kills when the game ends.
Ancients are also useful underground for stopping standard Thieves as they try to infiltrate the castle from the underground passages.
A strategy to counter the use of Ancient Mages lies in the reduction of the magic stat. By lowering an opponents mage level, a player is often likely to prevent them from using their higher level spells. Due to the innate high mage levels required to utilise the Ancient Magicks, almost any reduction in magic level will render an Ancient Mage useless. The most readily available magic reducing effect comes as a result of the magic attack Flames of Zamorak. However, this attack is somewhat flawed in this scenario since an Ancient Mage will in all likelihood be wearing armour that provides good magic defence. However, it may take just one hit to disable an Ancient Mage so it is well worth the slightly reduced accuracy.
The most effective way to cut an ancient mage's magic level is through the use of the Seercull bow's special attack, Soulshot, which when used in conjunction with Eagle Eye can stop a mage's magic attacks instantly. The special attack reduces the magic level by the amount it hits and drains the special attack energy 100%. With a max hit corresponding to your range level, you can lower the mage's magic level significantly! To recharge your special after using it, simply get killed, and you will have full special attack energy again. In this manner, you can render mages useless if you hit a high enough amount to render their spells useless. Against a person wearing full Ahrim's and 99 magic, a hit of 6 or more would render Ice barrage useless. This can be achieved through the use of range boosting prayers and ranged armour.
Mages and rangers tend to hang on the top of the castle near the catapult where they can see enemies storming the castle. They then strike down potential threats at the safety of the wall. This however may not last long if a powerful melee shows up on the wall. Then they will attack the mages and rangers taking them down quickly because of their low defence due to robes and dragon hide armour. This has however been compromised if there are enough mages or rangers to quickly take the melee player down.
Lower level players often stay in the underground with a pick and collapse the tunnels with explosive potions and picks. Normally they will wait for the person to walk under the tunnel when trying to attack them, then collapse the tunnel instantly killing the other player. Other methods for higher-level players wishing to use low-level strategies include ranging them in order to lure them under the tunnel or using an ancient spell to trap them under the tunnel have been used, although not as often due to expenses.
Lower-level players may also operate the catapult as a team and attempt to fire on the opponent (Note: Catapult attacks can damage your own team as well as your opponents). Another thing lower-level players can do is heal your teammates with bandages; a better target for your bandages would be the flag carrier and their bodyguards.
You could also set up barricades around the arena in strategic locations. Make sure you think before setting up a barricade because there is a limit of 10 barricades that can be set up at one time. Handy places to set up are around the stairs leading up to the flag or other narrow pathways.
As for standard defending, most people barricade the standard and the exit so that when a standard stealer comes they are trapped and quickly killed. Usually players stealing the flag will carry explosive potions with them, placing a barricade and burning it makes it unable to be exploded and giving more time to kill the thief. Sometimes if players are quick enough in the beginning they may be able to capture the opposing teams standard room and defend it for the whole game taking the standard when it shows back up from a score. This may sometimes backfire if a low level player takes the standard. When this happens the other team will allow the player to leave the castle then take him down and take their standard and hold it. This may cause the defeat of the standard room raiding team.
Also, if nearing the end of a close game, it may be wise to attempt to stall the enemy rather than outright killing them. For example, ancient magicks or the spells bind, snare, and entangle may buy valuable time. Time for your team to either set up defences or catch up with the enemy. Barricading the enemy castle becomes a viable tactic to prevent the enemy runner from scoring, as well as hitting them with the dragon spear's special ability, "Shove", which stuns them for five seconds. This is because they have most likely used up their resources trying to steal the standard in the first place.
To join a team, either enter the red portal (for Zamorak, God of Chaos) or the blue portal (for Saradomin, God of Wisdom). There is a possibility that the team you are trying to enter has too many people, so to keep the teams balanced you may not join it at that time. However, if you enter the green (for Guthix, God of Balance) portal, you join the team with the fewest number of players.
When you enter the portal, Hooded cloak will be equipped automatically, with the colour depending on your team, either red for Zamorak or blue for Saradomin. This cloak cannot be removed in game, as it serves as an indication of which team you're on.
Once you join a team, you have to wait in an underground cavern until the next game starts. The Time remaining till the next game begins is displayed near the top of the screen in white print. The time to wait is always 5 minutes longer than the current game lasts, so if a game have 12 minutes left, the time to wait in the waiting area is 17 minutes. When a game has just finished, the next game will start in 5 minutes.
If you need to leave, you can do so through the portal of the god's colour located inside the waiting area.
If another player leaves an on-going game, a window will appear asking if you wish to enter the game, "There's a free space, do you want to join? Yes. No." First player to answer Yes will join the on-going game.
If you wear an item associated with a particular god in the opposite god's room you will be turned into either a sheep (if entering Guthix), hare (if entering Saradomin) or imp (if entering Zamorak) for the duration of your stay in the waiting room (you will be transformed back to your regular form for the game itself).
There are a number of special items that players can pick up while playing Castle Wars. These items are free and respawn immediately; however, they disappear once the game you are playing is over. (Also, if you choose to teleport back to the waiting area during a current game with these items in your inventory, you used to be able to keep them until you either entered the game and used them, or left the waiting room. However, Jagex recently changed this so the only item you keep when you exit the game is a tinderbox.)
These can be picked up on one of the tables on the 1st floor of the castles. Barricades can be placed anywhere in the arena, and they are used to "block" the opposing team, hindering their ability to capture your standard. When somebody tries to walk around the barricade, the player must manually click to walk around it, otherwise he will be stuck. If barricades are set up at the ends of the stairs, it will only allow one way direction transport; for example, if a player is going up the stairs and the other end is being blocked by barricades, the player can still go back up/down without leaving the stair's end or go through the barricade without destroying the barricade for the first time. However he/she cannot go back up/down to the stairs after leaving the stair's end, unless the barricade has been destroyed.
Barricades can be destroyed by setting them on fire, by manually attacking them, or by using an explosive potion. One of the downsides to setting up barricades is that a team can only set up 10 at a time and it also blocks the way of friendly forces.
Barricades are not favoured among many players. Some people will knock them down, even if the barricades are helping them. This is because inexperienced players tend to set them in illogical places, like stairways to block everyone, and doors, blocking their team. This could lead to the loss of the game.
Other tools which can be outside Castle Wars or can be obtained in Castle Wars are:
Due to the many features of Castle Wars, players may choose to perform one of several unofficial roles:
Flag holding is a tactic used by teams to ensure that the opposing team is unable to score points. This consists of a player grabbing their own team's standard after an enemy player has dropped it outside their castle, and then holding on to it, rendering the opposing team unable to pick it up. To retrieve the standard the opposing team needs to defeat the player holding the standard and pick it up.
When the opposing team has taken a team's standard, the team waits until their enemy is outside the castle and kills them, taking their own team standard in the process (if the standard is dropped inside the castle, attempting to pick it up will result in it being moved back to the standard stand).
A player cannot go into the base when holding their team's standard. This includes climbing up from the ladder underneath the supply room. Attempting to do this will result in the standard going back to the stand.
The standard is often taken to a corner of the field, near the stepping stones, with some players protecting the person holding the standard, as a player can be easily protected using two barricades, using the walls as defence from the other two sides.
Another tactic is to hide underground, next to the collapsible walls. The standard holder can then use an explosive potion or a pickaxe to collapse the walls when their enemies try to reach them, thus killing them. One way of using this method is by placing barricades on the spaces where a player can collapse the walls. The standard holder stands in one of the barricades, they put it down, then doesn't move. This way, if a player tries to attack the standard holder, the standard holder can simply collapse the tunnel. The attacker, having no way to move out of the way, dies. The only way they can reach the standard holder is by going around the other tunnel.
One more common tactic is to stay around the spikes near the outer wall of your own castle. Running around these spikes when attacked often traps the attacker on the other side, out of melee range. This buys time for the standard holder's team to kill the attacker, and prevents them from taking damage. This strategy also leaves the enemy attackers within attack range of the mages and rangers on top of the outer walls.
The player holding the standard will very rarely hide in the corner of the third level of there own castle while blocking the entrances of with barricades. The only allow a small space to be open within the barricades and will fill it up with body guards.
The player that holds the standard will often be someone with a high defence level and bonus, or a high level Magic or Ancient Magicks user. Defence and armour help protect the standard holder from attacks, and players with high levelled Magic or Ancient Magicks can use spells such as Entangle, Ice Burst, or Ice Barrage to immobilise the enemy team without the need to hold a weapon. This is advantageous as they can protect themselves using Magic, whereas a player using Ranged will be unable to attack as they will be holding the standard, and a player using Melee will have their attack power compromised by holding the standard, as they will have to use the standard as their weapon (the standard gives no bonuses to Attack, Defence, Strength or Prayer, and has the same attack styles as a spear).
The player will attempt to stay alive for as long as possible, with a group of other players acting as bodyguards. Donating bandages and other supplies to the standard holder may also prove useful.
Red= Taken, which means someone has the standard,
Yellow= Dropped (on the ground),
Green= Safe, in proper area.
Some players have argued that flag holding stops the fun of castle wars, as it stops the game from being "Capture the standard" and turns it into a "Hunt and Kill" game. They argue that standard-holding is basically unfair as if a high-level player gets the standard, they consider the game to be essentially over, especially if their team does not have a player of matching combat ability (This is also known as "Stacking" among the "Veterans" of Castle Wars). However, some players consider standard holding another method of strategy used to outplay the other team, even if perceived as unfair.
Jagex has made an update to balance out the effects of standard holding by making 1 of the enchanted bracelets to a Castlewars bracelet. A castlewars bracelet works for 3 games and is then destroyed. While wearing this bracelet, players will deal 20% more damage to the holder of their standard, and bandages heal 50% more health to them.
Many players have lag issues when playing Castle Wars. Immediately after getting out of the waiting room, if there are high numbers of players, there is an off-chance of an automatic log out for lag-related server issues.
Barbarian Assault • Blast Furnace • Castle Wars • Clan Wars • Fishing Trawler • The Great Orb Project • Pest Control • Shades of Mort'ton • Soul Wars • Stealing Creation • Trouble Brewing • Vinesweeper
Archery competition • Barrows • Champions' Challenge • Creature Creation • Gnome Ball • Gnome Restaurant • Impetuous Impulses • Mage Arena • Mage Training Arena • Pyramid Plunder • Ranging Minigame • Rogue Trader • Sorceress's Garden • Tai Bwo Wannai Cleanup • Tears of Guthix • Temple Trekking • Treasure Trails • TzHaar Fight Cave
Agility Pyramid • Ape Atoll • Bandos agility course • Barbarian Outpost • Brimhaven • Dorgesh-Kaan • Gnome Stronghold • Penguin • Rogue's Den • Werewolf Agility Course • Werewolf Skullball • Wilderness