Project Rebalance – Item & Combat Adjustments – OSRS

Project Rebalance - Item & Combat Adjustments

Our third Project Rebalance blog focuses on item adjustments and other combat changes.

Project Rebalance: Combat and Item Changes
Anxiously eyeballing your Bank? Wondering what changes Project Rebalance will bring to your favourite bits of gear? Well, wonder no longer, because here’s the blog you’ve been waiting for! Today we’re talking buffs, debuffs, and other changes to various bits of combat gear – and just to round things out, we’ve also got some more combat changes for you.

Before we move on, just like the last Project Rebalance blog, this one coincides with an Open Beta that you can take part in by jumping into any of the beta worlds once they’re live today (which should be shortly after this post). These worlds feature all of the changes from the NPC Defence changes blogs and all of the changes from today’s blog too – so jump in and take a look!

Here’s a handy summary of everything we’re touching on here. Note that some things in the ‘Adjusted’ category are effectively buffs, but might be subject to opinion in some instances!

Item Adjustments

Before we get started, please note that the Tomes of Fire and Water will be adjusted as per our previous Project Rebalance blog, so we won’t be rehashing those changes here.

First, we’ll look at perhaps the most anticipated – or dreaded – set of changes, focused primarily on Magic gear progression.

Magic Gear and the Occult Necklace

The Occult Necklace does an astronomical amount of lifting for Magic’s damage output – and to make a long story short, we think an item this powerful should set you back more than a mere 800,000 GP.

For example, let’s assume two players both have 99 Magic and fancy a bit of Barrows. Player A equips an Occult Necklace for 800,000 GP and calls it a day. Player B equips the Ancestral set, a Magus Ring, Eternal Boots (gotta rock that FashionScape) and turns on Augury, which sets them back a whopping 454 million GP. Now, who do you think kills the melee Barrows Brothers fastest?

If you answered Player A, you’re correct – and we hope you understand why this situation seems more than a little unfair. It’s time to break the Occult Necklace’s stranglehold on Magic’s gear progression!

There are already too many Occult Necklaces out there for us to reasonably make them less common. Making them harder to get will just punish Iron players who have to climb all the way to 93 Slayer for this all-important unlock.

In addition, the Occult Necklace is so powerful that other gear upgrades become less exciting by comparison.

We plan to kill two birds with one stone by redistributing the Occult Necklace’s stats around other Magic gear:

  • Occult Necklace: Magic damage reduced from 10% to 4%.
  • Ancestral Robes set pieces: Magic damage per piece increased from 2% to 4%.
  • Virtus Robes set pieces: Magic damage per piece increased from 1% to 2%.
  • Infinity Robes set pieces: Magic damage per piece increased from 0 to 1%.
  • Dagon’hai Robes set pieces: Magic damage per piece increased from 0 to 1%. This also applies to Ornamented versions.
  • 3rd Age Mage Armour pieces: Magic damage per piece increased from 0 to 1%.
  • Augury: Magic damage while active increased from 0 to 4%.
    • Note: Tumeken’s Shadow doesn’t multiply accuracy or damage bonuses gained from Prayers, so this would remain a 4% increase rather than 12%.

How does that shake out, damage wise?

  • Buffed: Occult + Full Ancestral + Augury = 20% Magic damage, up from 16%.
  • Unchanged: Occult + Full Ancestral = 16% Magic damage, as it is currently.
  • Buffed: Occult + Full Virtus + Augury = 14% Magic damage, up from 13%.
  • Nerfed: Occult + Full Virtus = 10% Magic damage, down from 13%.
  • Buffed: Occult + Dagon’hai/Infinity/3rd Age + Augury = 11% Magic damage, up from 10%.
  • Nerfed: Occult + Dagon’hai/Infinity/3rd Age = 7% Magic damage, down from 10%.
  • Nerfed: Occult + Ahrim’s Robes + Augury = 8% Magic damage, down from 10%.
  • Nerfed: Occult + Ahrim’s robes = 4% Magic damage, down from 10%.

These changes bring the Necklace’s power a little more in line with its obtainability, so that players can feel themselves getting stronger as they unlock other gear. Additionally, Augury now has greater offensive power, increasing the value of the Arcane Prayer Scroll.

We also see new utility for robe sets which are currently best suited for accounts with Defence limitations. We want to see Ahrim’s Robes sit in a unique, tankier ‘battlemage’ niche, with Defence that outshines other options in exchange for slightly less offensive potential. In some scenarios, you don’t even gain Max Hit from equipping more offensive sets, so these higher defences are effectively free.

For players with near best-in-slot setups, these changes buff Magic and bring other weapons closer to Tumeken’s Shadow.

Now, this approach still has its issues. Magic has traditionally struggled to keep up with the other corners of the Combat Triangle in PvP, and these changes make it even weaker – especially for 1 Defence accounts. We think we could resolve these issues with a ‘Blighted’ necklace slot, and a little more damage on the Elder Chaos Druid Robes, but we’d like to hear your feedback first.

Speaking of, we’d also like to hear about other bits of gear that deserve a little boost. We can even work in increments of 0.5%, if it helps.

We’re committed to bringing the Occult Necklace down a notch, but remember that it will still remain the best-in-slot necklace offering for any Magic setup, and will likely remain affordable. That’s a good deal, as far as rebalances go!

The Soulreaper Axe

Moving swiftly on to this hard-hitting Slash weapon, capable of dishing out some serious damage… if you’re willing to go through the frustrating process of bringing out its true potential.

We don’t plan to increase the Soulreaper’s damage directly. Here’s what we’ll be doing instead:

  • Stacks will no longer be lost instantly upon switching weapon.
  • Stacks will start decrementing after 20 ticks (12s) without attacking, up from 10 ticks (6s).
  • When stacks naturally degrade, they’ll heal you for the damage you took while building those stacks up.

Effectively, we’re making stacks easier to maintain and removing the overly-punishing stack drain when switching weapons. This does indirectly buff the Soulreaper’s damage output – but it also means you’ll no longer run out of stacks while waiting during intermission phases in some boss fights, such as Verzik’s transition between phases 2 and 3.

We’ve seen more suggestions regarding the Soulreaper Axe, but right now our focus is on improving its usability and ensuring it doesn’t lose power every time you switch gear.

The Elder Maul

This thunderous Crush weapon is a mega-rare drop from Chambers of Xeric, but its PvM use-cases are few and far between – barring a brief moment in the sun when you all discovered the ‘1:0’ method for taking down the Great Olm’s melee hand.

It’s hard to bring a slow, hard-hitting weapon in line with other mainhand options, because our combat system rewards speed. 5-tick weapons like the Scythe of Vitur and the Twisted Bow do a fantastic job, but an even slower 6-tick weapon requires a max hit that would level half of Varrock.

What makes the Elder Maul great is that feeling of bringing this behemoth weapon down on an opponent and softening them up for future blows while they’re still reeling from the impact. Initially, we thought about shaving off a little Defence for each swing, but struggled to get it to a place where it wasn’t either totally broken or outperformed by the Dragon Warhammer.

Instead, we’re giving it a Special Attack worth 50% of Special Attack Energy, which reduces your target’s Defence by 35%.

This makes it a better Defence reduction option than the Dragon Warhammer, and also frees up an Inventory slot for scenarios where you’d otherwise use two-handed weapons. For example, if you’d only be using the Scythe of Vitur and a Dragon Warhammer in a raid, you’ll be able to skip out on an Avernic Defender and bring something else in that extra slot.

Given the prevalence of Defence reduction in many end-game encounters, we feel this should give you more reason to bring the Elder Maul out of the Bank every once in a while. Do let us know if you think it could use a little something more!

Inquisitor Armour and the Inquisitor’s Mace

The Inquisitor Armour set and Mace are a Crush-focused set dropped by the Nightmare and Phosani’s Nightmare. Each piece of the armour set boosts your damage and accuracy by 0.5% when equipped, with an additional 1% for the full set, totalling a +2.5% increase in both damage and accuracy.

You generally see people using this set with the Scythe of Vitur against enemies weak to Crush, trading off low Defence for hefty damage output. But where’s the Mace?

While the Mace is a strong weapon, it’s staggeringly expensive at more than 275 million GP, and its damage output simply doesn’t make up for the cost.

You’ll hear later about how we plan to adjust the Nightmare’s drop rates to make her uniques more obtainable, but for now, here’s how we’re giving the Mace some extra juice:

  • While using the Inquisitor’s Mace, damage and accuracy bonuses from the Inquisitor’s Armour – including the set effect bonus – is tripled. In a full set with the Mace, the bonuses increase from +2.5% to +7.5% total damage and accuracy.

This change should make the Mace feel like a worthwhile stepping stone between the Abyssal Bludgeon and the Scythe of Vitur, adding more utility to a rarely seen set.

The Voidwaker

When we first said this crazily consistent Special Attack weapon was on the table for Project Rebalance, we said we wanted to tweak it because completely bypassing Accuracy checks in combat could become a limiter for future SpecDPS weapons.

So, although we’re still presenting our proposed changes today, we’re aware that this is something many of you have spoken out against and will continue to bear your feedback in mind.

Our proposal looks like this:

  • Adjust the Voidwaker’s Special Attack so that it no longer ignores Accuracy, but instead rolls with +200% increased Accuracy and rolls against your target’s Slash or Magic Defence, depending on which is lower.

This means the Special Attack still rolls with triple Accuracy, and picks the lowest of two values so you always have the best odds of hitting. It fits nicely with the Voidwaker’s ‘Melee, but Magic’ identity! It also keeps it an incredibly consistent choice in both PvM and PvP scenarios, without being so consistent that it bypasses one of our main balancing levers.

We’re especially keen for your thoughts on this one, so get in touch and let us know!

The Ancient Godsword

This Zarosian spin on the classic melee weapon is designed from the ground-up for PvP – although it does see use in PvM, especially against Slash-weak monsters where long trips are preferred. It’s all about outlasting your opponent, while still packing a punch.

Its Special Attack, ‘Blood Sacrifice’, increases your Max Hit by 10% and, upon a successful hit, marks your target. If they don’t move at least 5 tiles away after 8 ticks (4.8s), they’ll take 25 Magic damage, and you’ll heal for the same amount of HP.

If your PvP opponent is frozen and you hit them for even a measly 1 damage, you’ll ultimately wind up with a 50 HP differential. The damage isn’t mitigated by Protect from Melee or Magic, so there’s actually very little your opponent can do about it. Is that… fun?

To even the odds, we want to reduce the healing provided in PvP without reducing the Godsword’s already limited utility in PvM scenarios:

  • Healing from successful Blood Sacrifice now heals for 15% of the target’s maximum HP, up to a 25 HP cap.

This still leads to a 40 HP differential in PvP, but stops fights stretching out without counterplay, even when your opponent is playing perfectly.

The Ancient Godsword is basically unchanged in PvM, except in the rare case of fighting low-HP targets – and it isn’t really designed for such encounters anyway.

Again, we’d really like to hear your feedback about this change – we’re not committed to it, and if The Ancient Godsword’s role in today’s meta has changed, we’re more than willing to leave it alone!

Other Combat-Adjacent Changes

The rest of the changes focus on other aspects of PvM combat… such as drop rates!

The Dragon Warhammer

Dragon Warhammer mentioned, all Irons to battle stations!

This quintessential grind item is a staple for those taking their first foray into PvM. Unfortunately, it’s not that common. Lizardman Shamans aren’t hard to kill, so the whole hours-long adventure can also be quite boring – which is why we’re making the following change:

  • Boost the Dragon Warhammer’s drop rate from 1/5,000 to 1/3,000.

This is effectively an 80% increased drop rate (since a 100% increased drop rate would be 1/2,500, half of the original value), which we feel is better suited to a mid-game upgrade required to chase more challenging uniques.

Now, we don’t often adjust drop rates, and we don’t plan to make it a habit – but for the Warhammer and a few other persistent offenders, we’re making an exception. Speaking of which…

The Nightmare and Phosani’s Nightmare

These bosses are tough, and their uniques do the heavy lifting in terms of rewards. However, these uniques are so rare that players don’t feel either variant of this beastly boss is worth their time… or their supplies.

To add to the issue, the Nightmare’s uniques are mostly niche or underpowered, which doesn’t exactly justify their rarity. We’ve already spoken about making changes to the Inquisitor’s Mace, and we feel adjusting the drop rates for uniques will provide the other half of the equation.

Here’s the specifics:

  • The Nightmare: Inquisitor pieces + Nightmare Staff loot table has a 1/90 chance to roll, improved from 1/120.
  • The Nightmare: Orb loot table has a 1/450 chance to roll, improved from 1/600.
  • Phosani’s Nightmare: Inquisitor pieces + Nightmare Staff loot table has a 1/150 chance to roll, improved from 1/200.
  • Phosani’s Nightmare: Orb loot table has a 1/720 chance to roll, improved from 1/960.

In short, all Nightmare uniques are being made 50% more common.

We’re conscious that this change may affect the GE value of these items, although some may actually receive a boost due to other Project Rebalance changes. We feel that these changes are important enough to go ahead regardless. However, if you’ve got thoughts about either of the drop rate changes we’ve spoken about today, we’d love to hear them!

Minimum Hit adjustments

For those of you not in the know, Old School’s combat works a bit like Dungeons and Dragons. You roll once to ‘hit’, and then roll again to see how much damage you do. In the current system, it’s possible to hit, and then roll 0 damage.

This is especially punishing early in the game where players have a lower max hit overall. If a low-level player can only hit 1 damage, there’s a 50/50 chance that they’ll deal 0 damage instead! Even in late game, when players are significantly more powerful, the potential to roll 0 is always looming – and anyone who’s ever whiffed a Dragon Warhammer Special Attack knows exactly how frustrating it can be!

Previously, we proposed that any successful hit should guarantee at least 1 damage, but we still feel there are further changes required.

The thing is, increasing either the minimum or maximum hit by x will increase the average hit by x/2. We’re actually increasing the damage output of every single weapon in the game, and this change would be disproportionately impactful for multi-hit weapons like the Scythe of Vitur.

As a result, our changes are focused on improving the feel of early combat and improving the ‘readability’ of Combat in late-game scenarios:

  • On-hit, damage rolls between 1 and (Current max hit – 1). For example, if your max hit is 58, your damage rolls between 1 and 57.

This leaves DPS unchanged aside from the extremely early stages of the game, which should feel much better.

We’re also conscious that some account builds may be disproportionately impacted by this change. In response, we’re looking to introduce items especially for these players which will let them continue on as they always have.

Early-game Combat Prayers

In other early-game news, we’ll be making changes to Thick Skin, Burst of Strength, Clarity of Thought, Sharp Eye, and Mystic Will. They may look like the names you came up with for the band you always wanted to start in high school, but they’re actually the first tier of Prayers players unlock. We’ll forgive you for being unfamiliar with them, because currently they’re not strong enough to feel worth using – and (much like your high school band), they don’t stay active for very long.

Here are our plans:

  • Reduce the drain rate of Thick Skin, Burst of Strength, Clarity of Thought, Sharp Eye and Mystic Will from 5 points per minute to 1 point per minute.
  • Adjust Sharp Eye and Burst of Strength to boost your Ranged and Strength levels by +1 respectively if they’re lower than 20.

The drain rate change should be self-explanatory. At the levels players will realistically use these Prayers, they don’t have enough Prayer Points to get good use out of them, and this change will fix that.

The second change ensures that these damage-boosting Prayers will actually boost some damage in some instances. For context, Old School’s systems almost always round down. So, for a 5% Strength increase to actually work, you need a Strength level of at least 20. By that point in the game, players are often past the point where they’d turn to these basic Prayers for a boost. Adding just 1 flat level for levels below 20 gives these Prayers utility at their recommended level and serves to demonstrate how useful Prayers will be later on, since it might be the difference that gives you an added max hit early-on.

Autocast Delay

We already spoke about this change when you asked us about it following the NPC Defence Changes Blog, so it shouldn’t catch anyone off-guard.

Essentially, when selecting the Autocast option on a staff and then clicking an NPC, there’s a 1-tick delay before your first attack actually fires. This makes it feel a bit clunky, and also reduces your damage in scenarios where you’re reducing and restoring your Magic level or switching into a Magic setup.

Now that we’re introducing Elemental Weaknesses, we want spell-based Magic to feel nice and smooth, so we’re removing this delay.

Theatre of Blood: Verzik Phase Two

Solo Theatre of Blood enjoyers have expressed frustration at the disparity between how Verzik’s mechanics are handled in Normal and Hard Mode. We’re fixing that!

  • If only one player is left alive during Verzik’s second phase, only one Nylocas Matomenos (also known as ‘red crabs’ despite clearly being ticks) will spawn.

This change isn’t just for solo players – should your team meet an untimely end during phase one, you should now be able to clutch it out!

Tombs of Amascut: Path of Apmeken and Ba-Ba

There’s no escaping the dreaded monkey room! Thankfully, your prayers to the Menaphite pantheon have been answered:

  • Increase hitpoints for all style-based enemies inside the Path of Apmeken.
    • These enemies will now always take maximum damage when attacked with the opposing combat style.

Assuming you’re in a solo raid, this is how the HP values and Max Hits will shake out:

  • Baboon Brawler: 25 HP and 30 HP. Always max hit by Magic.
  • Baboon Thrower: 30 HP and 35 HP. Always max hit by Melee.
  • Baboon Mage: 20 HP and 25 HP. Always max hit by Ranged.

Note that there are stronger and weaker variants of all these NPCs (indicated by the two HP values in the list above), and the HP totals will scale with group size and Raid Level.

At the end of the Path of Apmeken awaits Ba-Ba and her extremely potent Melee attack. Since we’re here, we may as well take a swing at it:

  • Ba-Ba now only hits for 25% of damage through Protect from Melee, down from 33%. This reduces the damage by around 24%.

This should prevent players losing so much DPS to red-X, although those looking to save supplies will find it isn’t removed entirely.

And that is that!

As always, we’re excited to hear your thoughts and feedback regarding everything we’ve discussed today. We’re making these changes to relieve the most common frustrations you’ve told us about, and we believe they’ll massively improve progression and safeguard Old School’s future. A huge thank you, again, to everyone who’s provided feedback so far. No doubt we’ll be back soon to discuss it further!

See you soon!

You can also discuss this update on the 2007Scape subreddit, the Steam forums, or the community-led OSRS Discord in the #gameupdate channel. For more info on the above content, check out the official Old School Wiki.

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