The RuneScape clock is a term that is used to refer to the time-frame used for actions in RuneScape. RuneScape runs on units of time of approximately 0.6 seconds which are sometimes called "ticks." All actions are a multiple of this basic tick time. This includes any instant where a message appears in the chat interface, any instant that experience is gained, and any instant that a monster spawns. It does not necessarily include animations or loading times.
Length of a tick
The length of a tick can be measured by timing a repeated action using a stopwatch. For example, lighting 25 logs without re-lighting a log takes 100 ticks. If the stopwatch can be stopped to within 0.1 seconds, the tick can be measured to within 0.001 seconds.
Ideally, without any lag, there should be exactly 100 ticks per minute, or 0.600 seconds per tick. However, the observed length of the tick is actually slightly more than this, presumably because of some type of lag or delay. The observed length of the tick is usually about 0.606 to 0.608 seconds.
Length of selected actions
The length of the following actions are given in ticks.
- Abyssal whip: 4 per hit
- Any scimitar, dagger or shortsword: 4 per hit
- Any longsword: 5 per hit
- Godsword: 6 per hit
- Dharok's greataxe: 8 per hit
- Fastest lap of Ape Atoll Agility Course: 63
- Fastest lap of Extended Barbarian Agility Course: 61
- Fastest lap of Extended Gnome Agility Course: 61 or 64 (randomly depending on which part of the bars the player takes)
- Building and removing a larder or door or table: 5 per item
- The Demon Butler is gone for 10 ticks and the Butler is gone for 20 ticks.
- Cooking fish: 4 per fish; this can be lowered with additional clicking, such as using food again on the source of heat after 2 fish have been cooked and quickly selecting the option to cook. This allows for fish to be cooked at 4 and 2 game ticks alternately. Also, the last fish can be cooked in 1 game tick.
- Making wine: 2 per wine
- Attaching orbs to battlestaffs: 2 per battlestaff
- Crafting d'hide bodies: 3 per body
- Cutting gems: 1 per gem
- Burning logs normally: 4 per log
- Burning logs with a Pyrefiend: 5 per log
- Catching a fish from any fishing spot: 5 per fish
However, you are not guaranteed a fish every 5 ticks; rather, every 5 ticks there is a chance to catch a fish.
- Cutting wood into unstrung bows: 3 per bow
- Stringing a bow: 2 per bow
- Fletching arrows: 2 per set of 15 arrows
- Up to two sets of 10 darts or bolts may be fletched per tick.
- Putting a herb into a vial: 1 per herb
- Putting a second ingredient into a potion: 2 per potion
- Catching Red chinchompas: 8 per chinchompa (if sufficient box traps are ready to be checked)
- High Level Alchemy: 5 per cast
- Enchant Jewelry spells: 3 per cast
- Superheat Item: 3 per cast
- Plank Make: 3 per cast
- Bake Pie: 3 per cast
- String Jewellery: 3 per cast
- Camelot teleport: 4 per cast
- Enchant Crossbow Bolt: 1 or 2 per cast(The game allows this spell to be cast every tick, but it is virtually impossible to do so)
With a rune pickaxe or inferno adze, there is a chance to mine an ore every 3 ticks.
This does not apply to rune essence, which comes more frequently than this, or to using a dragon pickaxe, which can mines ores at varying times.
- Offering bones: 3 per bone
- Buying bones: 1 per bone (used to be 2)
Naturally, prayers are activated or deactivated only on game ticks.
At fastest, there are 6 ticks between crafts at the Nature altar if 2 or 3 pouches are emptied, or 5 ticks if 1 pouch is emptied. At fastest, there are 5 ticks between crafts at the Ourania altar if 2 or 3 pouches are emptied, or 4 ticks if 1 pouch is emptied.
- Smelting ores at a furnace: 4 per ore
- Smithing at an anvil: 4 per item smithed
- Blackjacking: 6 per round
- A Pyramid Plunder minigame is 500 ticks.
- Cutting a log from any type of tree: 4 per log
However, you are not guaranteed a log every 4 ticks; rather, every 4 ticks there is a chance to cut a log.
- Running covers 2 squares per tick, while walking covers 1 square per tick.
- Party Pete counts down drop parties in ticks.
- Bankers countdown to an important drop party in ticks.
- The amount of time a player can spend collecting tears in Tears of Guthix is a number of game ticks equal to the player's quest points.
- Boosted or reduced stats move towards normal at a rate of 1 level per 100 ticks, which is just a tiny bit over one minute.
- Player chat messages stay above their heads for 5 ticks.
In general, knowledge of the RuneScape clock does not matter much, but it can make it easier to time actions. Timing just one of a repeated action may clearly give a tick number, which may be able to be used to estimate experience per hour. For example, Superheat Item, Plank Make, and Bake Pie all are spells that take 3 ticks each and are cast one by one on an inventory of supplies. If it is known that superheat item may be cast about 1800 times per hour, plank make and bake pie would be known to be very nearly the same rate merely by timing a single cast. The 1800 itself could even be estimated without actual measurement by noting that about 5940 ticks per hour divided by 3 ticks per cast is 1980 casts per hour of hypothetical continuous casting, and that 7-10% should be subtracted for mistakes and banking.
When the High Level Alchemy animation was changed, there was much argument about whether it was slower or faster. Based on the RuneScape clock, it should have been incredibly clear that the time was not changed, since if there was any change in the speed, it would have to be by a full tick and therefore be extremely noticeable.
A 0.6 second tick time fits all measured times for repeated actions.
Also, in April 2009, Andrew posted a thread in the Game Feedback forum (quick-find code 74-75-443-58678931) about whether a Prayer update caused delay in prayer being activated, and he brought up the point that if prayer really was slower, it would have to be a full 0.6 seconds slower because RuneScape runs on units of time of 0.6 seconds.
Andrew: "Also it is not possible for it to just a tiny bit slower than before either. The game 'ticks' at 600 millisecond intervals, so if the script was broken (like it was previously) then it would be a full extra 600 milliseconds slower which would be obvious when clicking and counting. It's not possible for an error to cause it to be something other than a multiple of 600 milliseconds slower."