The Assist System allows players to use each other's skill levels temporarily. The Assist System is designed to be a replacement for temporarily giving an item to another player so that they can process it in some way, and then trusting them to give it back.
For example, a player might want to turn an uncut ruby into a cut ruby, but not have the level 34 Crafting required. Using the Assist System, the player simply "borrows" someone else's skill levels and then cuts it themselves, which means that the ruby never leaves their own inventory. The other player receives all skill experience, which is their payment for assisting.
Previously, if a player did not have the requisite skill level for a task, they would have to trade the uncut ruby to another player, and trust that they would cut it and give it back. This system was relatively often abused to scam players.
With the Assist System there is a right-click option for players, labelled "Req Assist". Assistance requests are similar to trade requests, in that the target player receives a message in the chat box which opens up a window when clicked.
The Assist icon will appear in the bottom right corner of the game window of the player being assisted. The assisting player is unable to move or do anything other than chat to friends or surrounding players whilst the window is open.
Most of the non-combat skills are displayed in the window, along with the amount of experience the target player has gained through the Assist System in the past 24 hours. All of the skills are shared by default, though the assisting player can click on any skill to switch it off. The effects of a temporary boost will also pass to the assisted player.
Players can choose to restrict or block notification of assistance requests. To do this, they can right-click the "Assist" button below the message box to set it to "On" (receive requests from any player), "Friends" (receive requests only from players on their Friends List), or "Off" (block all requests).
If the player requesting assistance already has the requisite skill level to do something, they will gain experience rather than the target player, even if the target player has lent their level.
Temporary status boosts, such as dwarven stouts, carry over to the person being assisted.
The following restrictions apply to usage of the Assist System:
- It cannot be used for any combat skills except the noncombat aspects of Magic.
- It cannot be used for Woodcutting, Fishing, Mining, Hunter, Thieving, Firemaking and Agility.
- Does not work for quests, Achievement Diary segments, and minigames.
- Only 30,000 experience can be gained each day through assisting others. Once this limit is reached, it is impossible to assist any further.
- Assist requests can only be sent if the target player has set the "assist" option at the bottom of the interface to a group that includes you ("friends" if on their friend list, otherwise "on").
- The player that is being lent a skill must remain within 20 squares of the player they are being assisted by.
- The player lending their skills cannot do anything except use the player chat interfaces; they can't move, use items, etc.
|Runecrafting||pouches (large and giant) cannot be filled by using assist. Multiple runes per essence can be crafted if the assister has a high enough level.|
|Crafting|| Demonic sigils, lightning rods, and silvthrill rods cannot be crafted, because they are non tradeable quest items. Also, banner easels cannot be used.
After a recent update, the Feather headdress now can be made with the assist system.
|Fletching||Ogre arrows cannot be fletched using the Assist System because they are quest-related.|
|Construction||Only flat-packed items can be made.|
|Farming||Trees, bushes, calquat, and cacti cannot be planted, because the potted versions of these are non tradeable. Experience will not be given for harvesting if you are not assisted during that process.|
|Magic|| The only Lunar Spells that cannot be used are Vengeance and Vengeance Other. No spells from the Ancient Magicks spellbook can be cast. From the normal spellbook, only the following spells can be cast:
|Smithing||Darts cannot be made unless Tourist Trap is completed by the assisted player, claws cannot be made unless Death Plateau is completed and pickaxes cannot be made unless Perils of Ice Mountain is completed.|
|Cooking||Gnome foods cannot be prepared because they are used in the Gnome Restaurant mini-game; lava eel cannot be prepared because it is non tradable.|
|Herblore||The Assist System cannot be used to make Sanfew serum, Guthix balance potion, Magic essence potion or Relicym's balm, as these are all used in quests. Some Quests (IE Heros) DO work with assist, Blamish oil, but as said above not with a lava eel.|
This feature was originally added in the Assist System update on the 5 November 2007. On the 12 November] 2007, an Assist System and Skills Interface update was released. This removed Fishing, Hunter, Mining, and Woodcutting from the Assist System, because those skills are used to obtain raw materials.
Many players had complained on the official forums and elsewhere (including a few minor riots) that the assist system ruined work ethics, but the complaints quickly died down after the change.
When the Knowledge Base Article on the main RuneScape page first came out, the picture showing "Req Assist" from the player had a right-click "Report Abuse" option (which, presumably, Jagex had intended to replace or augment the report abuse screen). This picture has since been removed and replaced with a new one.