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Learning PvM


Runescape PvM is relatively easy to get into but hard to master. The system is certainly not perfect, with emotionally taxing factors such as counterintuitive mechanics and a lack of phase-specific practice modes. All in all, players may be easily discouraged to continue learning PvM. This channel offers some tips to aid the learning process.

Approaching Runescape

Since RuneScape has a long tick system, most PvM encounters are essentially very fast rhythm games. As a result, to PvM well you must be:

⬥ Focused.

⬥ Consistent in inputs.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• A controlled attitude bolsters focus and consistency.

This means that you must avoid emotional or environmental factors that are distracting like:

⬥ Feeling agitated. Anger makes you a much worse PvMer.

⬥ High caffeine levels, which can cause jitteriness.

⬥ Sleep deprivation.

⬥ Being intoxicated or high.

⬥ Being dehydrated.

Setting Realistic Expectations

It is important to have aspirations but equally important to have realistic ones. It might take a long time before you can reach end-game levels of DPM, so it is important to set small achievable goals and take them one step at a time.

You might notice that the skill gap in PvM between the players can be quite large. This is not a discouraging thing! It means there is a vast PvM landscape and that you should traverse it gradually, rather than diving off the deep end as a learner.

Avoid Multi-task Learning

Skills like movement, prayer switches, eating food, using keybinds or executing basic ability rotations are impossible to learn all at once, as it becomes exponentially harder the more you try to do them simultaneously. Develop these skills one or two at a time to develop the muscle memory required before moving on to the next.

Common avenues of frustration

Here are some occurrences in PvM that tend to cause the most frustration. Acknowledge them and consider some of the suggested ways to process them to avoid anger, especially if it becomes too interfering.

Lethal Mechanics

Numerous bosses have mechanics that are extremely deadly and can kill you from full HP in a short amount of time unless managed properly. This can be extremely frustrating especially if one is closing in on a long kill and dying towards the end.

Examples include:

⬥ Solak

⬥ Telos

⬥ Kerapac

⬥ Tz-Kal Zuk

⬥ Zamorak


⬥ Channel your attention towards the Instakill

Often in PvM, you will find that you need to split your attention. However, when it comes to these make-or-break mechanics, switch gears and focus entirely on getting past the mechanic. Telos is a notable exception, as you are tasked to deal with many things at once during his instakill.

⬥ Upon death, take a moment to plan or seek advice

If you are uncertain of how to get past the mechanic consistently, explore a plan or strategy from friends or more experienced players. Engaging the encounter with a plan can make handling mechanics or DPM easier.

Stuns/DPS disrupting mechanics

In a game where constant ability use and specific movements are essential, bosses with stuns or other mechanics that stop you from DPSing can be massively tilting as they cause a significant disruption in combat momentum.

Examples include:

⬥ Kalphite King

⬥ Telos

⬥ Nex

⬥ Araxxor


⬥ Do not button mash

Button mashing might make you more agitated and does not usually help the fight. Think about what to do next when you are unable to continue DPSing and deal with these mechanics calmly.

⬥ Learn when these mechanics occur

Usually, the most efficient way to deal with such mechanics involves properly learning the timing of the mechanic to accurately plan around it.

Not meeting DPS expectations/boss times

Sometimes, you might stagnate on DPS-oriented bosses, and it may seem unclear why you are not getting desired times. DPM can be unintuitive, and it is natural to be confused by a multitude of factors.

Bosses that may make you feel this way include:

⬥ Raksha

⬥ Kerapac

⬥ Solak

⬥ Elite Dungeons


⬥ Compare and contrast with VODs

DPM is comprised of many factors that can be broken down. Compare your fights to a video of a more experienced player and break the fight down into phases.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• At each phase, note down what they are doing that you are not. Once you can identify the different factors, address each of them one at a time.

⬥ Try YarB (or other rotation builders)

YarB lets you build your rotations and assists you in visually tracking cooldowns, damage, buff timers, and adrenaline. This is generally very helpful for melee, as most rotations are concrete by nature. Check #spreadsheets for more information.

⬥ Consider doing a Self or Peer VOD Review

Sometimes it is hard to tell your mistakes without watching back fights. Reviewing a VOD can help you or someone else catch blind spots, mistakes or correct approaches that were either missed or underappreciated. Reviewing footage across all forms of professional gaming is a well-adopted method for improvement.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Generally, submitting in #vod-reviews for peer vod review is better for remedying sub-optimal DPS than asking in #pvm-help

Group PvM

Many players are hesitant to get into group PvM and with good reasons such as the lack of a good matchmaking system or feelings of inadequacy. However, everyone should try group pvm occasionally as it is a great way to make new friends and experience more PvM content. Here are a few tips to get you going.

Everyone must start somewhere

Learning bosses usually involves a great deal of dying, but do not be afraid that you will hold back your teams just because you are prone to this! Most bosses have Discords with experienced teachers to guide you through the process and their only requirement is that you are willing to listen to what they have to say.

⬥ Communities with active teachers include:

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• RotS

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Solak

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• 7-man AoD

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Zamorak

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Vorago

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Raids

Communicate clearly

Communicate your thoughts, especially to teachers. Do not be afraid to voice out your uncertainties and weaknesses if you feel like it is necessary. If you feel like you are getting overloaded with information or are unconfident regarding a part of a fight, communicate that too clearly and respectfully.

Exercise patience, but do not tolerate bad behaviour

Sometimes you run into negative social experiences, such as experiencing toxic comments or having someone keep a drop they were supposed to split. Remember that these players form a very small minority of the player base and that such experiences should not prevent you from forming more friendships and enjoying social PvM in the future. Many team-forming discords also have ban lists which you can look at to see who the toxic players you should avoid are.

Aspects of learning

There are many different methods and mindsets to adopt when learning PvM. This section covers some of the more helpful ones to help one obtain faster progress.

Deliberate practice

PvM requires vast amounts of knowledge and experience to be an expert. In terms of experience, deliberate practice is the most important component of improvement. Below is a list of goals you should actively push yourself out of your comfort zone to practice if you feel that you are stagnating.

⬥ Keystone PvM goals (some might not be applicable to you e.g. if mobile user):

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Prayer flicking

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Revo with manual Threshold and Ultimates

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Full manual

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Two-Handed and Dual Wield swapping

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎⬩ Related: Auto attack manipulation (e.g. 4taa, defensive autos)

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Other switches

These goals are dynamic. You will find yourself revisiting the basics and retheorising approaches with different bosses.

When trying to improve, you MUST constantly reflect on your progress to see if you are keeping on track with achieving your goals, and if not, think about what is turning out to be harder than you expected so you can start practising with a focus on those areas.

Skill acquisition routine

Generally, it is ideal to repeat a cycle of reading up new knowledge immediately followed by practice to see how it plays out in-game. Farming a boss without considering other players' strategies or just reading about strategies without trying them yourself is limiting your learning process.

Whenever feeling hard stuck, it might be worthwhile to revisit the same video or rotation as you might pick up more things that you missed previously due to having less experience.

Take note of mistakes after every session. Exercise self-awareness, acceptance, and actively keep track of one's weaknesses. This is the most important part of the routine.

Expecting a rough learning curve

Generally, one will expect their skill to always be improving, but oftentimes you will notice dips in your skill level. This is completely natural. Engaging in new skills will result in underperforming initially. This is natural and necessary to improve at PvM.

⬥ Some examples include:

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Learning proper ECB.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Incorporating 4taa

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Revo to full manual

Improvement will be slower as you progress upward. You will not always be able to improve as fast as you did initially.

⬥ You can mitigate this by either:

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Taking on learning something that is currently way beyond your skill level (only if you are not easily discouraged).

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Make drastic changes to your PvM style to copy what you see more experienced players use.

Asking for help

Asking for help in PvM can be hard, but alas, sharing experiences with a more experienced player and getting feedback can make learning much smoother, here are a few things to take note of and remember.

Do not be scared! The first step is always the hardest. Remember, good PvMers are usually not as judgmental as you might think. Most of them have been where you are and can often offer very relevant advice on overcoming specific challenges or reaching specific benchmarks.

⬥ Be more open-minded/willing to try.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Helpful solutions/strategies are often plans that are not immediately obvious or require proper trial and error.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• If you receive an idea or suggestion that you feel does not apply or is too advanced, do not dismiss it immediately but keep it in mind as something to try later on.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Proactive open-mindedness allows you to fully utilise suggestions and ideas that you would have shrugged off otherwise.

⬥ View feedback objectively.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Take feedback given in vod reviews or trials as matter-of-fact statements and never as a personal attack on one's ability.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎⬩ Sometimes feedback you receive may seem nitpicky or blunt, this is often the result of reviewers stating their thoughts in honest details to drive across everything they think you need to know.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎• Most players giving feedback are NEVER trying to attack you personally or purposely acting condescending to make you feel bad. This may not be obvious especially if conveyed over text.

‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎⬩ At the end of the day, there are few things that make a good PvMer happier than seeing someone they helped become better.

Final notes

Ultimately, what is mentioned above are just guidelines. At the end of the day, RuneScape is just a game, and you can PvM however you want. Some people will simply be better at it than you by being more talented. Whenever you feel bad about your standards by comparing them with others, remember that it will NEVER define you as a person in a way that matters.

If you decide at the end of the day that PvM is not for you even after considering and trying out different things, there are always plenty of other things to do in RuneScape and communities to join!