|Release date||24 May 2001 (Update)|
Click animation for full size
High Level Alchemy (high alch, or alching) is a non-combat Magic spell used to convert items into coins at the best price a player could sell them for at a specialty store. The amount of coins generated is precisely 60% of the item's value (its non-GE price). Excluding rounding errors, high alchemy produces 50% more coins than low alchemy, and 100% more coins than selling to a non specialized shop.
The cost of runes to cast high level alchemy is 888 coins but is reduced to 403 coins with a Staff of fire, Fire battlestaff, Mystic fire staff, Steam battlestaff, Mystic steam staff, Lava battlestaff, Mystic lava staff, any skeletal/necromancer versions of the above, Mindspike (fire), Mystical staff or a Dragon staff, as these staves supply unlimited fire runes. Alternatively, the Explorer's ring 4 and Radiant alchemist's amulet provides 15 rune free casts of High level alchemy a day, which still grants full XP.
High Level Alchemy is a popular way for mages to train their Magic level, by buying or making valuable items and nature runes, then casting the spell on the items. For example, a player might buy or make yew shieldbows to cast High Level Alchemy on them. Buying them would create profit or loss depending on the item's market price, while making them from scratch would usually create profit. In practice, smartly buying items in bulk from other players usually results in more coins being created than paid for the converted item. This is widely regarded as a major cause of inflation in the game.
In Daemonheim, High Level Alchemy will always yield double the shop price (twice what the smuggler will buy for).
High (and Low) Alchemy can be cast on noted items, saving much withdrawal time from the bank, simplifying the "click pattern", and allowing the spell to be used in almost any location. Also, it should be noted that High Alchemy always grants 65 experience (6.5 in Dungeoneering), regardless of the rarity or expensiveness of the item you are alchemising. For example, high-alchemising a Rune bar grants no more experience than high-alchemising a Bronze bar.
High Level Alchemy takes 5 game ticks, or 3 seconds, to cast. It can be cast up to exactly 1200 times in one hour which adds up to exactly 78,000 xp/hr, although in practice many people cast a little less, due to lag and timing inconsistency.
It is possible to use High Level Alchemy without disrupting other tasks, such as using battle spells or skill tasks like woodcutting or running. If the alchemy spell is cast any time after 5 game ticks since the last alchemy cast, you can cast alchemy as low as every 6th tick without it disrupting the combat/task in any way, and continue battle as normal. If you click any time BEFORE 5 ticks since the previous alchemy cast, then it will disrupt your task. You can still cast alchemy and continue combat fluently, and have alchemy cast every 5th tick, but you will have to issue the combat command again in order to keep casting the battle spell or melee/ranged attack fluently. Auto retaliation can be effectively used to do this.
Players can also cast High Alchemy by dragging and dropping an item into their Money Pouch provided that they have the required runes. It will cast at the same speed and cooldown as if it was casted from spellbook or action bar.
Certain items cannot be alchemised, such as untradeable quest items, Treasure Hunter prizes, Crystal equipment, and most Invention items. In addition, members-only items cannot be alchemised in a free-to-play world. The following areas also prohibit the use of alchemy spells:
- The Duel Arena
- Soul Wars
- Pest Control
- Castle Wars
- The Great Orb Project
- Fist of Guthix
- Castle Wars
- Stealing Creation
- Fishing Trawler
- Big Chinchompa
- Barbarian Assault
Role in the economy
Since each item holds a fixed amount of coins gained from High Level Alchemy, this acts as a price floor on items, especially those that have turned relatively obsolete (adamant armour, for example), which varies depending on the cost of nature runes. As the price of an item plummets below the point at which a profit can be made from alchemising it, the market demand for said item stabilises the price and prevents it from further decreases.
Essentially, players who wish to train magic through High Alchemy for experience or money tend to seek opportunities to profit. When an opportunity for a significant profit arises, players will exploit that opportunity, causing the price to rise, therefore providing a price floor.
Casting alchemy spells on stackable items will only alchemise one at a time; in RuneScape Classic, the entire stack becomes alchemised.
Originally, users had to time this spell casting so that they could maximise the number of alchs/hour (similar to burying bones at double speed). However, Jagex implemented a spell-cast queue for this spell, so players can choose the cast option while the previous animation runs, so the character will automatically queue another cast. Note that the queue will only hold a single cast, and clicking the interface more than once every 3 seconds will simply cause some clicks to be discarded.
In the past, Castle Wars was a favourite location for casting this spell because the 20 minute time limit provided a reasonable amount of measurement. It was also enjoyable for the players to watch others fight. Due to player complaints about other players free-loading this way, this spell can no longer be cast inside a Castle Wars activity. However, people still go along the walls of Castle Wars and cast alchemy spells, as you can still get somewhat of a show as you do it. Soul Wars was a very popular place to alch because there was a lack of random events.
Some items, such as rares, are worth far more on the street than in the store. Prior to the 9th November 2009 update, it was inadvisable for players to carry such items in their inventory, as accidentally alchemising them would cause a major loss for the player. A warning message now appears if the player tries to cast high level alchemy on an item with a market value of 500k or more.
The items that you keep when you are killed used to be based on the amount of money the item alchemies for. You would keep the items with the highest alchemy value. There were many items which have higher alchemy values than items that are more expensive on the Grand Exchange, and you will keep the lower valued item because it has a higher alchemy value. This led to quite some controversy. Some players used this system of item-keeping to scam other players, such as luring them into the Wilderness and giving them or dropping for a player to pick up, an item which has a large alchemy value but a low G.E. value, such as a dragon battleaxes. A dragon battleaxe has an alchemy value of 120,000 coins, while the (formerly) very expensive abyssal whip has an alchemy value of 72,000 coins. If a player dies and has 4 dragon battleaxes and an abyssal whip in his or her inventory, even with the Protect Item prayer, he or she would keep the dragon battleaxes over the abyssal whip. As of 19 April 2011, this scam no longer works, and items kept on death depend on their Grand Exchange guide price instead.
- In issue 14 of the god letters, Saradomin mentions that casting the High Level Alchemy spell is a serious crime, as only the coins minted by the Fief are legal tender, so high alchemy is tantamount to forgery.
- Upon reaching level 55 Magic, it would take approximately 197,967 casts of High Level Alchemy, roughly equal to 165 total hours of non-stop casting to reach level 99.
- If one chooses to alchemise gold pieces, the action will be denied, since the object is "already made from gold." However, one can still alchemise gold bars and jewellery.
- Alchemy spells formerly could not be used on Freneskae, but this was changed in a hidden update.