|Release date||25 March 2004 (Update)|
|In spotlight rotation||No|
|Hiscores||Yes (tournament rank)|
|Music unlocked||Shine, Duel Arena|
|Developers|| • Original: Jonathan S|
• 1st update: Nancy J
• 2nd update: Ashleigh B
• 3rd update Anthony W
Despite being property of Al Kharid, the Duel Arena is in fact much older than the town. The arena was constructed as early as the Second Age by forces unknown. It became a training ground for the warriors of the Menaphite demi-god Het. There was also a nearby settlement, but little remains of that today.
At some point in history, parts of the Duel Arena, and the area around it, were destroyed. Perhaps the advancing forces of Zaros were to blame, or the Zamorakian armies who invaded the Kharidian Lands during their violent campaign in the Third Age. Either way, the Duel Arena itself suffered surprisingly little damage. Over time, long after it had last been used, the arena was buried by sand and forgotten by mankind.
In the late Fifth Age, excavations started in a digsite east of Varrock, where the ruins of three ancient cities, Saranthium, a Zamorakian city and Senntisten, had been discovered. With agreement of Emir Shah of Al Kharid, archaeologists broadened their search in the desert town and uncovered the Duel Arena. With only ancient symbols, statues and carvings to remind people of its original purpose, the Duel Arena became a commercial attraction. Run by master duellists such as Mubariz, adventurers and other fighters alike were invited to participate in one-on-one duels in the partially excavated arena. A Saradominist hospital was erected with the aid of the Abbey of St. Elspeth Citharede and the arena attracted many visitors to watch the duels. Archaeological worked stagnated in the area, and as such the Duel Arena has not completely been unveiled in the Sixth Age.
The arena is located north-east of Al Kharid. Players can rub a ring of duelling to teleport directly to the arena entrance. Other options include the Al Kharid lodestone and then walk north, an amulet of glory which teleports to the Al Kharid palace, or a fire altar teleport and then walk south.
The main building is located along the northern fence of the arena. This is where the majority of players stay to challenge others. There are a good number of surgeons there that can heal a player when needed. There is also an altar in the southern side of the building. The capability to heal and recharge Prayer are somewhat useless however, as when a player enters a duel, all statistics are restored to their normal levels. In the north east side of the building there are two bank chests. Since the graphical update, Fadli is no longer the banker and does not sell the player rotten tomatoes.
Picking a fight
To fight another player, players must right-click their intended opponent and select the "Challenge" option. This will tell that player that someone wishes to duel with them, and they accept by challenging that player in return.
This will open the duelling options screen, which defines the parameters for the battle. The screen shows the name and combat level of the opponent, as well as what each player is offering up for a "bet", or a "stake". Free-to-play players can only bet up to their trade cap in coins or items worth up to that amount. Pay-to-play players can bet limitless amount of money, or items in any value. Finally, there are 11 different options that can be turned on or off and are adjustable by either player. These are detailed as follows:
- No Ranged: No ranging weaponry can be equipped during the battle.
- No Melee: Players cannot engage in hand-to-hand combat, including bare fists/feet.
- No Magic: No magical attack spells can be cast.
- No Abilities: Abilities and special attacks cannot be used.
- Fun Weapons: The only allowed weapons are the rubber chicken, flowers, mouse toy, and other items that have very negative combat bonuses. Bare fists are not allowed, nor are snowballs as they do not cause any damage.
- No Forfeit: Players cannot escape the arena; the fight lasts until one player dies.
- No Drinks: Players cannot drink anything that boosts stats, such as potions. All stats that are boosted prior to the fight are reset to their default values once the fight begins. This is available on free servers as well, as a free player can obtain low level combat potions.
- No Food: Eating food and/or using the phoenix necklace is not allowed.
- No Prayer: Use of any Prayers is not allowed.
- No Movement: Players cannot move during the battle, and they start next to each other, which means they can still use melee. Players are also prevented from being knocked back by kick and stomp, as well as the special attacks of the dragon and Zamorakian spear. Surge and escape cannot be used at all.
- Obstacles: The arena becomes like a mini-maze during the fight, also the fighting area is separated from the obstacle-free one.
- Summoning Enabled: Players are allowed to summon during the battle. This is also separated from the obstacle-free and obstacle arena(s). (Members option only)
It is also possible to take equipped items off on this screen, rangers should be careful not to check off shield if they intend to use a bow.
Some of the options cannot be combined with one another, as they would create situations where players would either not be able to duel. Examples include:
- No Ranged, No Melee, and No Magic cannot be active all at once, as players will not be able to fight at all.
- No Forfeit cannot be enabled alongside No Melee as players may run out of ammo or runes.
- Obstacles cannot be enabled alongside No Movement.
- Familiars cannot be enabled if Obstacles is enabled, as they may become stuck.
- Fun Weapons cannot be enabled alongside No Melee as all fun weapons are melee weapons.
- No Melee cannot be enabled if the mainhand slot is disabled because players cannot use ranged or magic if they are not wielding a weapon in their mainhand.
- The quiver slot cannot be disabled if No Melee and No Magic are enabled, even though options exist for ranged without the quiver slot (such as thrown weapons and chargebows).
When the battle begins, players are teleported into the arena itself with a 3-second countdown before the fighting actually begins. If "No Forfeit" was not checked off, players who are losing (or simply wish to end the duel early) can retreat through one of the trapdoors, ending the battle immediately. Anything staked is awarded to the other player. When a player's opponent has a weapon that is faster than the speed of a longsword (For example, dual wielded weapons), it is relatively difficult, if not impossible, to forfeit, as the screen to confirm "Yes", disappears when attacked.
During the fight
After reciting "3-2-1-Fight!", the players can then engage in combat. Any player on the walls of the Duel Arena can throw rotten tomatoes at any other player. This will, however, cause no damage to either person duelling. When in the duel, they can only fight players with a yellow arrow above them, signalling they are one other player's opponent.
After the battle ends, players are transported back to the building beside the arena and all the stats are healed, along with fully recharged run energy (poison and stat-reducing effects are negated as well). Any ranged ammo that fell to the ground are automatically returned to the owner, if the ranger had no inventory space, the arrows would drop to the ground, ready to be picked up by the ranger only. If there was a stake, the victor claims the prize(s).
Near the gate and outside the main building, are scoreboards, where players can view the last 50 battles on that server. The scoreboards show the combat levels of the combatants and who won the round. The scoreboard automatically updates every five minutes. Lots of free xp is earned at 200-700 per death/kill based on how much damage is done to the opponent
Watching a duel
If a player walks up the stone steps leading to the statue of Het, the player will be in a network of walkways on top of the walls of the various Arena rooms. A good view of the fights from up here is available. If you right click on a certain part of wall, you'll be given a "Lean on Wall" option. If you select it, you will get a close up view of the battles. You can exit this window by clicking the X in the smaller sub-window by the minimap. Another option is to use the orb of oculus to get a close up view, but the player can't be using the Legacy Mode interface, as the orb only works with the new interface system.
The following NPCs are found at the Duel Arena:
- Captain Daerkin
- Head Registrar
- Surgeon General Tafani
On 20 November 2007 a limit of 3,000 gold (or items value thereof) per stake, per every 15 minutes, was put into place. This update was heavily criticised by players. On 30 September 2008, the limit was raised to 5,000 coins and 60,000 coins depending on quest points. For free-to-play, the limit was raised to 10,000 coins. On 1 February 2010, the trade limit was updated again. Friends with each other's names on the friends list for over 1 month will have their trade limit doubled when trading with each other, tripled if over 2 months, and quadrupled if over 3 months. However, the limit was reset if one accidentally removed the friend from their list.
Currently there is no limit for duelling for members. All F2P duels have a limit of 40,000 coins.
On 20 November, 2007, A new way of participating in the Duel Arena called tournament mode was added. Up to 64 players can compete and the entry fee is based on the registrar the tournament is being held from; up to 1 million coins on register 5 for a 64 player tournament.
In the Tournament dungeon, 5 registrars hold 5 different tournaments with random rules varying on difficulties. The rules might include food or potion usage, healing between rounds and special attacks, although some rules never change.
All combat styles are always allowed (to discourage real world trading) and there are rarely ever obstacles. Additionally, winning or losing against a player will affect the winner's and loser's tournament rank. If a weak player loses against a high levelled player the tournament points won or lost won't be of much significance.
Tournaments are also restricted with a range of tournament ranks allowed; the tournament value depends on the set of rules and the rank range allowed. It also affects the players rank more or less at the end of the tournament respecting to its value.
On 20 October 2009, the tournaments were reworked in response to player feedback asking for fairer fights. As a result, registrars are now assigned on entry to the waiting area based on a player's highest status in strength/range/magic.
Each registrar now has a rank cap limit, incrementing in 500s; Registrar 1 has a rank cap of 1999, Registrar 4 has a cap of 3499, and Registrar 5 has no rank cap. Ranks are now secured at every 500 milestone. If a player has a rank of 1754, said player cannot fall below a rank of 1500.
Rewards have also been affected: first place in a tournament will only receive 80% of entry fees, and second place now receives 20%.
With the Wilderness & free trade update on 1 February 2011, the tournaments were removed from the game. Jagex stated that it was not providing the service that both they and players wanted, and it was better to remove it overall..
- Prior to 10 December 2007, the Duel Arena was members only.
- Setting ranged on, arrows off and movement off, the game was fooled and players stood facing each other unable to attack, making the duel never ending. It was also used as a scam, with a duel set to only ranged, movement off, and at the last second arrows off, one player used knives while the other player couldn't use a bow. This is no longer possible. However, as there are many ways to create this scenario, the situation itself can still occur.
- Entering a duel with movement turned off between two melee players, one used the "fetch" interaction with a pet rock to be able to move, and could then range or mage their opponent to death. This is no longer possible.
- "Snowball fights" are sometimes (but rarely) used as scams. Players would each stake items and set no melee, ranged, magic and fun weapons. The idea of this was that the opponent would eventually give up and forfeit, losing the stake. Setting no forfeit as well would make it time out.
- Just under 25,000 players are ranked in the tournament hiscores because it required 1800 or more points.
- Both the ice amulet and the snow imp it summons are not allowed into duelling, though they actually have no effect in combat. They are from the 2008 Christmas event.
- If you run on top of the arenas and talk to the NPCs, one may shout "Keep Fighting!!! It's Just a Flesh Wound!", in reference to the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.