Armour describes any item worn to provide Defence. Defence bonuses decrease a player's chance of being hit. Armour comes in many shapes and forms for all classes giving the player a variety of bonuses to choose from. To wear armour of different metal types, certain Defence levels are required. Good armour is recommended when attacking enemies of a higher level, as the higher defences give the opponent less opportunity to do damage. Players should always have the best armour they can afford and equip although 'the best' may differ from player to player.
The combat triangle works in a way to make one fighting style weak or strong to another. It's similar to the Rock-Paper-Scissors game.
- Melee fighters are strong against rangers because leather is easily sliced with a Melee weapon. Melee armour is also strong at protecting against Ranged attacks, as arrows and bolts cannot easily penetrate metal plate armour.
- Rangers are strong against Magic users because of their Ranged abilities and how easily they penetrate cloth robes. Ranged armour is crafted from animal and dragon hides, and is resistant to magical attacks.
- Magic users are strong against Melee fighters because Melee armour amplifies magical attacks (like electricity on metal). Mages are also Ranged, similar to rangers. They are able to use binding and ice spells to hold Melee fighters and prevent them from moving.
This doesn't necessarily mean that just because you're melee and you're fighting a ranger you'll automatically win. It's just the way armour, weapons, and spells were structured to keep any one style from being the most powerful. A high-level ranger can defeat a melee user by trapping them behind an obstacle such as a fence, for instance.
Types of armour
There are a wide range of the types of armour, most of which can be made using metal bars through the Smithing skill. Players can also craft armour from various types of dragonhide, soft and hard leather.
- Melee armour is usually made from metal, making this type of armour strong against Ranged attacks, but tends to provide negative bonuses toward Magic attacks.
- Melee also tends to provide bonuses in Attack or Defence, as well as a few to Strength.
- Melee armour slows the player down because it's heavy, making them more of a target to mages and rangers in PvP (Wilderness).
- Ranged armour tends to be more flexible material, like leather or dragonhide.
- Ranged armour is capable of defending against light attacks, but is weak against close-combat (Melee).
- Ranged armour also dispels Magic fairly well, while negatively impacting Magic attack, though not as much as plate armour.
- Ranged armour offers the necessary mobility for Ranged attack bonuses which most players wear while using Ranged attack.
- Magic armour is not "armour" per se. It is more in the line of robes and other similar garments, but there are a number of more protective Magic items. Some of these items give a bonus to your magical defensive levels which can be seen in the armoury tab.
- Magic "armour" is known for being very weak, and is preferable for Magic casting, offering no negative influence, but amplifying magical attacks. However, lightweight robes do not stop arrows or swords well, and therefore fall short in terms of protection against them.
- Some Magic armours, such as Void robes, provide good protection against arrows, swords and Magic itself. However, magical armour with good Ranged and Melee stats aren't common.
- Prayer armour is not as often meant for protection, but lowering the rate at which Prayer points drain, which can be useful in some battles, especially Slayer.
- Prayer armour is more diverse in terms of types of armour available, including items from all three forms of the combat triangle, generally providing decent, although not outstanding, Defence. A large portion of Prayer armour, similar to Magic armour, is however more in the line of robes, although it is this category that often provides the highest bonuses.
- Most Prayer armour is only available for members, such as Proselyte. Exceptions include Monk's robes, which can be obtained at the Edgeville Monastery and are obtainable by both free players and members.
It is a debated subject whether or not a defender is considered armour, because it is wielded in the players left hand and gives some Attack bonuses, as well as Defence bonuses. A defender can be acquired in the Warriors' Guild by slaying Cyclopes. Many Melee warriors will use a defender in hand-to-hand combat because of its various bonuses, especially in places where Defence isn't really a necessity. These defenders are, however, not able to be traded or sold to any other players in RuneScape.
Armour set effects
Some armour provides special effects when the full set of armour is worn. This may make the armour useful for reasons other than just the standard Defence bonuses.
- Barrows armour sets provides their own specific effect when used in combat. For example, Dharok's armour set hits higher when on lower Hitpoints, Verac's armour can hit through an opponent's protection prayer, Guthan's has a chance of healing, and so on.
- Void Knight equipment sets also have their own effect, as well as being hybrid armour - they provide no negative bonuses to all 3 combat styles. Switching the Void helms is required to gain their specific bonuses for the correct combat style. For example, the Void mage helm provides +30% Magic accuracy and the Void melee & range helms provide +10% accuracy and damage.