In any role-playing game, character level is a general indication of how powerful a character is. Two characters who are the same level will generally be able to compete against each other.
Levels are obtained by gaining experience points in various ways. Player characters in Guild Wars start at level 1 and have a maximum level of 20. Unlike other MMORPGs, this level cap isn't a barrier to character development. Level 20 player-characters will still earn additional Skill Points and be able to learn new skills, although additional health and attribute points are no longer acquired (beyond the 30 additional attribute points earned by quests).
Character level directly affects the damage of spells and caster weapon attacks. (For more information on the effect, see Damage calculation.) Additionally, as you level up, your maximum Health also increases.
ArenaNet has the following to say on the subject of a maximum level:
The level cap of 20 is a fundamental balance mechanism for Guild Wars, a game that revolves around player skill. The levelling system allows you to track your progress as you start a character. But by Level 20, your character is fully trained and is ready to experience the most exciting content in the game.
Skills are a player's abilities that may be developed throughout the game. Skills are trained by various actions which use that skill, which give experience in the skill, until enough experience is earned for the next level. Some skills allow players to cook, chop down trees, make fires, use magic, make runes, and so on. Some skills support each other. For example, logs obtained from Woodcutting can be used for Firemaking, and fires from Firemaking can be used for Cooking food, and food can be used to replenish hitpoints to help in Combat. The higher your levels are the more of the skill you will have access to.
All skills but Hitpoints start out at level 1. Hitpoints start out at level 10. Players can advance a skill to level 99; after that, they can increase their experience up to 200,000,000 - but gain no more levels for doing so. A player's combat level begins at 3, because of 10 Hitpoints. The maximum combat level a member can reach is 138. Non-members can reach up to level 126, this is because a non-member can't train the Summoning skill. See the hiscores for the relative rankings of the different skills.
If a knowledgeable player were to start a new character, with certain assumptions for efficiency in activities like training combat and summoning with slayer, it would take approximately 3600 hours to go from all level 1 skills to all level 99 skills.
If a player is in the top 2,000,000 players in a skill, and is of level 30 or greater in that skill, they will appear on the hiscores.
It has also been confirmed by Mod MMG that a new skill will be introduced to RuneScape sometime during 2010. Which skill this is, however, has not been announced. On Monday the 25th of January Mod SteveW responded to a comment on the Runescape Channel saying that the new skill would be released in a month with 28 days. The next day, Tuesday the 26th of Jauary, Mod Crow posted on the YouTube Runescape Channel the following: "Hi all, just thought I would quickly clear up something. It appears no one really got Mod SteveW's attempt at humour when he said it will be in a month with 28 days in it. ALL month's have 28 days in them! It was a cheeky way of saying 'No sneak information' from the Steveanator." This seems to be a confirmation that the skill will be released in Febuary, however, all months in fact have at least 28 days, so Jagex likely did not want to set any sort of date for the release.
We’ll also be casting a critical eye over our existing skills, searching for holes, and filling them with new training activities and rewards. That’s before we even mention the new skill that is coming in 2010!
- — Andrew, Mark Gerhard and Mod Fetzki
Free players have access to 15 skills.
|Attack||Allows players using melee weapons more accuracy per hit and increases their average damage per second. Generally, players with higher attack levels hit more often than players with lower attack levels. A higher attack level also allows you to wield better weapons.|
|Strength||Allows players to deal more damage and equip certain weapons. It also gives access to several agility shortcuts. (members)|
|Defence||Allows players to wear stronger armour and decrease their chance of being hit (a common misconception is that high Defence reduces an opponent's maximum damage).|
|Ranged||Allows players to fight with missiles and projectiles from a distance. It, in conjunction with Strength, also gives access to various agility shortcuts. (members)|
|Prayer||Allows players to pray for assistance, such as combat ability boosts. Effects last until the player runs out of prayer points, or turns their prayers off.|
|Magic||Allows players to cast spells, including teleportation. Reduces chance for magic-based attacks to hit you.|
|Runecrafting||Allows players to make runes in special altars using tiaras or talismans, either for magic, experience or money making|
|Hitpoints||Allows players to sustain more damage without dying. The Hitpoints is skill is basically your 'Health' limit.|
|Crafting||Allows players to craft items from raw materials, such as pottery, ranged armour, jewellery etc.|
|Mining||Allows players to obtain ores and gems from rocks found in some specific places.|
|Smithing||Allows players to smelt ores into bars and smith bars into armour, weapons, and other useful materials.|
|Fishing||Allows players to catch certain fish. The fish can then be sold or cooked and eaten.|
|Cooking||Allows players to cook food. The food can then be consumed to heal a player's Hitpoints. Some foods have special effects (for example, various members-only pies).|
|Firemaking||Allows players to light fires on logs, lanterns, etc. Players can cook on these fires.|
|Woodcutting||Allows players to cut down trees for logs, and to carve out canoes for transportation (members). The logs can then be sold or used in Firemaking or Fletching.|
Members have access to 9 additional skills:
|Agility||Allows players to use shortcuts and increases the rate at which energy recharges. Certain equipment such as the Crystal bow also requires certain agility levels to wear.|
|Herblore||Allows players to clean grimy herbs and to make potions which can be used to boost/restore skills.|
|Thieving||Allows players to steal from market stalls and chests and to pickpocket non-player characters.|
|Fletching||Allows players to create projectiles (arrows, bolts) and bows/crossbows which can be used for Ranged.|
|Slayer||Allows players to kill certain monsters using tactics not used in normal combat. Useful in raising combat skills.|
|Farming||Allows players to grow plants (fruits, vegetables, herbs, trees, etc.) in certain patches across the world of RuneScape.|
|Construction||Allows players to build a house and its contents such as chairs, tables, workshops, dungeon, etc.|
|Hunter||Allows players to track, net, deadfall, snare, and trap animals, which may give useful materials for many other skills (Ranged, etc.).|
|Summoning||Allows players to summon familiars and pets to enhance gameplay in both combat and non-combat skills.|
There are four types of skills in RuneScape: Combat, Resource, Production, and Character Development.
Combat: - These skills involve fighting in Combat.
Resource: - These skills involve regular spawns.
Production: - These skills involve creating Resource items into other, generally more useful, items.
Character Development: - These skills help with travel and making money.
*Magic could be a Production Skill because of Enchantment, Superheat Item and Lunar Spells. It could also be a Character Development Skill because of Teleport Spells (a commonly used method of travel) and Alchemy Spells.
**Summoning familiars have a wide variety of abilities. Although most are designed to help with combat, several have gathering based abilities (not considered Resource because you don't take anything from the environment), others Production abilities, and others help with traveling, making them have Character Development abilities.
***While Slayer is related to combat, it does not contribute to combat level .
The equation below calculates exactly the minimum experience needed for a given level:
The above equation can be approximated with minimal rounding error as:
This approximation can then be used to find the maximum additional experience required to level up:
You want to find the experience that it would take to level up from 28 Strength to 29 Strength:
It takes 83 experience points to get from level 1 to 2 in any skill. Thus, it would take a maximum of 1207 experience points to get from level 28 to level 29.
To calculate the experience gain for combat skills, a simple equation can be used:
Using sacred clay weapons and armour enables the player to gain double experience for a certain period of time.
To calculate the experience gain for Hitpoints, another simple equation can be used
For certain skills, you can use Stealing Creation equipment to double your xp gained.
These skills are:
*The Magic boost only works with combat-related spells.
**The Hunting boost only works with implings and butterflies.
***The Combat boost works while using armour not related to the specific combat type. (ex. using Melee Sacred Clay Legs will give an experience boost to range while the player is ranging.)
These skills are:
|Summoning||15 January 2008||Originally envisioned to be an extension to the Magic skill. (Existed in DeviousMUD.)|
|Hunter||21 November 2006|
|Construction||31 May 2006||Originally planned to be called Carpentry.|
|Farming||11 July 2005||Originally planned to be released along with Carpentry|
|Slayer||26 January 2005|
|Runecrafting||29 March 2004||Released alongside RuneScape 2.|
|Agility||12 December 2002|
|Thieving||30 April 2002|
|Fletching||25 March 2002|
|Herblore||21 February 2002||Was named Herblaw in RuneScape Classic.|
|Fishing||11 June 2001|
|Prayer||24 May 2001||Known as Necromancy at time of release.|
|Crafting||8 May 2001||Known as Tailoring at time of release.|
|Magic||17 March 2001||This original skill was initially divided into good magics and evil magics.|
|This article or section contains information about a scheduled future release or update.
As such, the information found in this article should consist only of facts said in official Jagex® releases, but NOT speculation.
Remember: The RuneScape Wiki is NOT a crystal ball.
|“||We are working hard on a new skill, which will be available to free-to-play and members and which shows our continued commitment to the free game.||”|
— Mark Gerhard
The image shows Mod MMG (Mark Gerhard, CEO) confirming that Sailing would not be a skill in the time of his career as CEO, but during a live Q&A session with Mark Gerhard (Mod MMG), he claims he was only joking, but lead belief that the new skill is less likely to be Sailing.
Quote from MMG in the live Q&A session on 6 July 2009:
|“||Q) In your CC you allegedly said that Sailing will not become a skill while you're CEO, true? Thanks for taking the time to read||”|
|“||A) Hi Kaoru
I was only joking around about sailing, maybe there will be sailing maybe there won't be?
Jagex has also mentioned that the skill will be open to free players as well as members. Currently, very little is known about this unreleased skill.
Q) "Probably a question you saw coming - Can you shine anymore light on the new skill that's coming?"
A)Mod Mark: "Honestly, it’s not the Sailing skill. That was a crazy rumour based on a picture of a mage on a dock, who apparently is sailing a ship. He isn’t, and there is no Sailing skill. Interestingly, several of the team here at Jagex love sailing, so it did give us some cool ideas for the future. Oh, and the new skill is far better than sailing."
"Without giving away the new skill, could you briefly describe the awesomeness of said skill?"
Mod MMG replied:
"Haha, I really can't without giving bits of it away. All I can say is that I personally found it unique, inventive and thoroughly enjoyable. I certainly hope the players will feel the same way. What I can say is that it’s not too far away now so you will be able to make your own mind up soon."
It is also revealed on the RuneScape official youtube channel, Mod Paul M gave a hint at the new skill. The only hint was that it started with a 'B'. However, there has also been a hint that the "B" was just a red herring. 
Mod arko on the french forums, february '09:
"Je suis désolée mais les développeurs ne sont pas intéressés par de nouvelles compétences pour le moment."
Translated: "I'm sorry, but our gamecreators are not interested in new skills at the moment."
This means that they were already busy on a new skill.
The current skills screen, stretched to show all skills
The old skills screen, prior to 2003 in the RS2 beta
Back in RuneScape Classic, people caught botting would be stat-swiped, meaning all their skills would be taken back to 1, including Hitpoints, making a Combat Level of 1. The only active player known to have been stat-swiped back in RuneScape Classic and is continuing to play now is Life Hated.