|Release date||18 April 2006 (Update)|
|Location||Void Knights' Outpost|
|Skills involved||Combat, Construction|
|In spotlight rotation||Yes|
|Next spotlight||3 April (wrong?)|
|Custodians||Squire (Novice), Squire (Intermediate) and Squire (Veteran)|
|Music unlocked||Pest Control|
|Developers|| • Original: Graham B|
• 1st update: Tim C
• 2nd update: Daniel R
Pest Control is a co-operative members-only combat-based minigame. In it, players must defend an NPC known as the Void Knight from an onslaught of monsters, while at the same time destroying the portals from which the monsters spawn. It is advisable to have some players stay at the Void Knight and some at each portal.
This minigame is played in the name of Guthix to retain balance in the world, which may be disrupted by an influx of monsters invading islands in the south of the world. It is run by an order of Guthix known as the Void Knights.
Firstly, players board landers, which transport them to islands under invasion. The minigame is divided into three landers; the access to each one is determined by combat level.
This is a 'safe' minigame. Players who die keep their items, respawn on the lander and can rejoin combat immediately. In addition, Life points, Prayer points and run Energy are fully restored at the end of each game (Note: arrows and runes are NOT returned to you at the end of the game). All stats are restored to their normal levels at the end of each game. This means that stats boosts of various Potions like Super sets do not carry over from game to game. This makes using these potions somewhat expensive, as each game will require a new dose from each potion. It is highly recommended not to bring any food or potions, just due to the fact of cost. The only time to consider bringing them is if you're playing with a small group or you're doing a Veteran game; even then, it really is not needed.
Having played at least one game of Pest Control is a requirement to complete the quest Quiet Before the Swarm.
To start playing Pest Control, you must go to the docks of Port Sarim, south of the Lady Lumbridge (ship), north of the charter ship. Speak with the Squire and she will ask if you want to go to the Void Knights' Outpost. Alternatively, you can right-click the squire and select 'Travel'.
The fastest way to get to Port Sarim is to use the Lodestone Network, if the lodestone has been activated. You can also use the explorer's ring 3 to teleport to the cabbage patch north of Port Sarim, or use fairy ring code A-I-Q to Mudskipper Point. The Call to Arms scroll special brings you directly to the Void Knights' Outpost.
Players with Level 83 Farming can grow a Spirit Tree in Port Sarim, allowing quick access from the Grand Exchange or Mobilising Armies.
Another quick way to get to Port Sarim starts in Al Kharid. Talk to Shantay at Shantay Pass, ask him about the place, tell him you are an outlaw, ask to be deported to Port Sarim jail, picklock the jail door, and it's a quick stroll to the dock. It is also possible to travel to Port Sarim by using Captain's Log.
Players with 78 magic can use Khazard teleport on lunar spells and charter a ship to Port Sarim.
The only requirement to participate in a game of Pest Control is to have a combat level of 35 or above. A minimum level of 35 is required to use the novice lander. To use the intermediate lander, a player must have a combat level of 70 or higher, and to use the veteran lander, a player must have a combat level of at least 100 or higher.
Some players attempt to recruit Pest Control players into their clans, in the hopes that high level players will join the clan and help to win a higher percentage of games in a short amount of time. These players state the clan name to join.
Other players try to get high level players to switch to a world where a clan of high level players play Pest Control, again in the hopes that high level players will help to win a higher percentage of games in a short amount of time. These players announce their intentions by saying things like, 'Trade for a 100 plus world'. By opening the trading interface (no items need be exchanged), the advertising player can verify the trading player's combat level and, if it is high enough, will then disclose the world that the clan is playing Pest Control on. The world is disclosed by the number of items (usually coins) the advertising player places in the trading interface. For example, if the advertising player places 150 coins in the interface, then the clan is on World 150. This procedure keeps the world number private and thus prevents its disclosure to anyone below the clan's desired combat levels.
In order to receive commendations, a player must inflict 5000 points of damage before the end of the game. Repairing a barricade or gate on the island acts as 500 points, allowing players who may not be able to get the required points in the time allotted or players who do not want to train a combat-related skill to receive points. Therefore, if a player did no combat at all during a game of Pest Control, he/she would have to repair 10 barricades or gates. You can get 500 points of damage from repairing gates on any level boat.
It is important to note that all experience earned via combat in this minigame is halved. To compensate for this loss in potential experience, a player may later choose to invest his or her commendations into experience rewards for Attack, Strength, Defence, Constitution, Ranged, Magic, Prayer or Summoning. There are also various item rewards to choose from.
See Void Knight commendation points for further details about rewards.
A game of Pest Control can be played by 5 to 25 players. Multiple games may be played at once by many groups of 25 players. Anyone who wishes to play must board the lander. If the lander fills with 25 players, the game will begin automatically. If you join when there is over 25 players, you will still be in the boat, because it only holds 25 players. You will have a priority once you get left behind, which means you will most likely go in with the next crowd. Otherwise, players must wait 5 minutes for the game to begin.
Pets are not allowed on the island. Dwarven Multicannons and Familiars cannot be used during the minigame. A message similar to "You feel it's best to keep your Familiar away during this game" will appear if you try to summon your familiar during the game. Players are not allowed to bring their own logs to the game to repair the gates and barricades with. Piles of logs are provided on the island for this purpose and cannot be taken off the island; they will vanish at the end of the game.
The Outpost is an island, with various utilities, including:
- General store - Sells unique item - Field ration
- Anvil - Squire is a smith who can repair Barrows armour
- Void Knight Archery Store
- Void Knight Magic Store - Which stocks body, air, water, earth, fire, mind, chaos and death runes
Harboured at the docks, in the south-west corner of the island, are three LCVP-style ships, called "landers", which a player must board to participate in the minigame. The landers carry a combat level requirement of 35, 75 or 100 to board. The lander must have 5 users on board before the minigame may begin.
In busy Pest Control worlds, the landers can fill up quickly. A lander leaves as soon as it has 25 players on board. Sometimes, far more than 25 players attempt to get on a lander. A player not taken in the first load of 25 players is assigned a priority number for the lander, starting at 1 and rising by 1 with each load that leaves without the player. The higher the priority number, the more likely the player will be taken in the next load. Priority numbers as high as 5 have occasionally been seen, as the game will simply repeat "You have been given priority level 5 over other players in joining the next game."
On slow Pest Control worlds, a lander with a minimum of 5 but fewer than 25 players will leave after a 5 minute wait.
The rules for pest control are simple. There are two ways to win the game:
- Keep the Void Knight alive for 20 minutes (very difficult and rarely done due to the fact it is much faster to just destroy the portals).
- Destroy all 4 portals before the Void Knight is killed (very commonly done). Many games are won in 2 minutes with this strategy. However, the Void Knight can easily be killed even in two minutes if left undefended, so a small number of players should defend the knight. Since players rarely organise themselves, it can be worth checking the knight's status after each portal kill and switch to defence for a while if the knight is being swarmed or has less than 1/2 health.
When in the game, three readouts appear at the top left corner of the screen:
- The upper readout is the Void Knight's current health. This starts at 20000, and the knight dies when it reaches 0. This is perhaps the most important piece of information in the game, as players can use it to know when to come to the knight's aid. As a rough rule of thumb, if the readout is below 10000 and there are two or more portals yet to be destroyed, the knight needs rescuing, as he or she may die before the portals are taken down.
- The middle readout is the number of points the player has received for fighting pests and the portals. This starts at 0, and a player must achieve at least 5000 points to be able to win commendation points. After exactly 32,767 points, the readout says "LOTS!"
- The bottom readout is the time left remaining in the game. It starts at 20 minutes and is updated every 30 seconds.
Portals and monsters
|Name||Weakness||Attack style||Combat levels||Notes|
|Brawler||Fire spells||Melee||120, 140||Blocks the way due to its massive size. It is impossible for players or pests to shoot over it with ranged or magic attacks.|
|Defiler||Stab||Ranged||130, 150||Can range over the walls.|
|Ravager||Water spells||Melee||84, 100, 116||Destroys Gates and Barricades. Non-aggressive, but can hit hard with melee.|
|Shifter||Fire spells||Melee||134, 154||Can teleport (also over the walls). Immune to poison.|
|Spinner||Air spells||Melee||92, 110, 128||Can heal the portals. Will not retaliate when attacked.|
|Splatter||Earth spells||Melee||100, 120, 140||Explodes when killed, damaging nearby players and pests. Will explode instantly upon moving adjacent to gates and barricades.|
|Torcher||Thrown||Magic||136, 154||Can cast spells over the walls.|
Monsters are the beasts that spawn out of portals to kill players or the Void Knight. It's mentioned that they have a hive mind in Quiet Before the Swarm quest.
Brawlers are the largest and most powerful creatures in the Pest Control minigame, and they defend the portals. They resemble a gorilla mixed with a small elephant with spikes sprouting from their backs and a pointed, very slightly transparent, snout. When you see one of these creatures, avoid attacking them, as they are the lowest priority to kill, unless they are in your way and you cannot get around them. The only exception to this is if multiple Brawlers are preventing allies from attacking portals, or some are blocking your allies from defeating Spinners repairing the portals.
These monsters do not attack the Void Knight, though they are still a match for any attempting to destroy the portal. They are weak to Fire spells. Brawlers are one of only six creatures that you cannot run through (the others being level 126 bearded Monkey Guards on Ape Atoll, Skeletons summoned by the Necrolord and the monsters fought in the quest Dream Mentor) - they block your path in a similar manner to the barricades in the Castle Wars and Soul Wars minigames.
Defilers are fast agile creatures in the Pest Control minigame. They have the appearance of the lower half of a snake, a humanoid top half and a face resembling that of a cat. They can throw flying spikes over long distances, can inflict a large amount of Range type damage with the missiles, and will actively attack the Void Knight. They can even launch their barbs over walls, though if they are in the spaces right in front of one of the three gates, they cannot shoot over it, so keeping them closed will block those directly in front of it. They are weak to stab weapons.
Ravagers are short humanoid creatures with large claws in the Pest Control minigame. Their appearance is closely related to that of a mole with over sized claws and red eyes. Although they do not attack the Void Knight directly, they are capable of tearing down the gates and barricades with just a few swipes of their claws, giving Torchers and Defilers a clearer shot at the Void Knight. As such, they must be killed as quickly as possible to protect the void knight from the torchers and defilers. Ravagers are non-aggressive and have low defence and attack, but they have high strength and can hit fairly hard for their levels. They are weak to Water spells. When attacked, a ravager will often continue destroying its target (if any) before engaging in combat with the attacking player and may also destroy anything nearby that gets repaired, so they are the second priority to kill. However, if their damage is done and gates are destroyed, priority should then go to protecting the Void Knight or attacking the Portals to prevent pests from using the opening.
Shifters are creatures that excel in melee combat and can teleport across the island and even past walls. For this reason, they are very dangerous for those on defence since they can teleport right next to the Void Knight and start attacking. They have the bottom half of a spider with the scythes of a praying mantis (similar to the Abyssal demon). They are weak to Fire spells. Although it has the ability to teleport other monsters, such as ravagers and torchers (and up on to towers), they can only teleport others a very short distance.
For some reason, shifters are some of the few monsters that can attack at a diagonal, other than ranged monsters, most single squared beasts will align with the player to attack. They also seem to hit the knight from corners.
SpinnerSpinners are creatures that appear as spinning tops or jellyfish and float above the ground. They repair the Portal on the island and must be defeated if the portals are to be destroyed. It is therefore recommended that players kill the Spinners first, before attacking the portal, especially if more than one Spinner is present. If the humans over power the portal and destroy it before the spinner can finish healing, it will begin to spin around and then explode, hitting all players within a few squares with poison that does instant damage and weaker gradual poison thereafter. They are weak to Air spells. They are the top priority to kill around the portals, and are best dealt with using Ranged or Magic. The explosion radius is 3x3, so make sure you stay 1 space away from the Spinner.
Splatters are creatures that appear like a giant wrinkled ball with a single eye in the middle and liquid inside them. They will explode near doors and barriers, causing heavy damage to all players, monsters and objects in the immediate area. This will also happen upon death. When a splatter "detonates" near another splatter, if the secondary splatters' life points are low enough, the damage may cause a chain reaction, increasing the overall damage. Some players find amusement in exploiting the splatter's detonation. By making several or many splatters follow a player with auto-retaliate turned off, leading them into a group of enemies or players, then killing one, they can start a chain reaction of detonations, likely killing everything/everyone surrounding them. They are weak to Earth spells. If the opportunity arises, you can use the splatters sort of like a Void Seal by detonating them near large groups of monsters. This does work on portals. This "attack" is sometimes called "splatter barrage". Also, if you are fast enough, you can avoid the detonation by running away when you know they are going to detonate but haven't started the detonation yet. This is unreliable, however. Currently, no prayer protection can defend against their "detonation". Along with that, the explosion damage caused can kill other players who are trying to destroy the Portal, and if the Spinner is not in the explosion's radius, it may heal the portal to its max life points. Players wearing Dharok's equipment may wish to kill Splatters to lower their health and activate the set effect to do extra damage. Killing them is a higher priority the closer they get to the gates, as their explosions can damage the gates. Splatters will never attack the Void knight, and if killed near it, no damage would be dealt to the Void Knight. As hordes of Shifters tend to cluster behind the Void Knight, luring a splatter to the Void Knight and killing it would cause massive damage.
As of a hidden update, players who kill a Splatter will be dealt with one part of unblockable damage, and the explosion will deal a second unblockable damage to any players nearby.
Torchers are creatures that look like snakes with bat wings and will actively attack the Void Knight. They have a long distance magical attack which can harm both players and the Void Knight. They can even launch this attack over walls, though if they are in the spaces right in front of one of the three gates they cannot shoot over it, so keeping the gates closed will block those directly in front of it. They are weak to thrown weapons.
A portal is not technically a monster, but it is attackable by players. The portals health varies depending on difficulty, with 20,000 for novice, 25,000 for intermediate and 50,000 life points for veteran landers. Players have to wait until the shield around it disappears before the attack may begin. Its defence is very high, so high Attack, Ranged or Magic levels are helpful when attempting to attack it. Upon the destruction of a portal, the Void Knight will gain 5,000 life points back. Beware of spinners, as they can heal the portals and will poison all surrounding players if the portal is destroyed before them.
Each portal has a different weakness. However, unless you are attacking a portal with very few people or by yourself, these weaknesses can generally be ignored.
At the beginning of the game, all portals will be shielded from any harm. Eventually, these portals' shields will slowly be dropped in random order by the Void Knight's efforts. To figure out which portals are vulnerable, the player must pay attention to the chat, or the portal status interface at the top right-hand corner of the screen.
If a portal is destroyed then the Void Knight will receive a small amount of health. For each portal destroyed 5,000 life points are restored. A total of 15,000 life points are restored per game session provided 3 portals are destroyed. Since games immediately end after all 4 portals are destroyed, the last health restore is insignificant.
The Void Knight only has a possible maximum of 20,000 life points, so destroying a portal will not always heal the knight 5,000 life points; any amount of overhealing done will be lost.
Destroying portals is an important objective of the game. Not only does it heal the Void Knight, but it stops the monsters from spawning at that location and eventually reaching and attacking the knight. Thus, some players may wish to specialize in attacking the portals.
When at the portals, floating creatures called Spinners that appear as spinning tops or jellyfish may spawn. They repair the portals from which they have come and must be defeated if the portals are to be destroyed, making them the top priority to kill. It is recommended that players kill the Spinners first before attacking the portal, especially if more than one Spinner is present. If players manage to overpower the portal and destroy it before the spinner is killed, the spinner will explode, hitting all players within a few squares with poison that does 50 life points instantly and poisons starting at 18 LP thereafter. Their combat levels can be 37, 55, 74, 88, or 92. Spinners are best dealt with using Ranged or Magic while standing at least 1 space away, as their explosion radius after death is 3x3.
Please note: While some players assume that killing Spinners and destroying all the portals is the main and only objective, if players ignore defending the Void Knight, the Void Knight when left undefended, could take heavy damage and be killed much faster than the destruction of portals, resulting in a loss. Therefore, players must split between accomplishing these tasks; if the defence of the Void Knight is lacking, help out. Players should attack monsters both inside, and outside the gates, protecting either the Void Knight or the gates accordingly.
The use of gates stop some enemies from attacking the Void Knight for as long as they survive for. Closing them can be beneficial when trying to save the Void Knight and not losing the game. These gates can also be repaired if needed.
Winning players are rewarded with commendation points. Depending on your boat, you will gain a different number of commendation points upon winning a game:
- Novice Boat: 2 points per game won.
- Intermediate Boat: 3 points per game won.
- Veteran Boat: 4 points per game won.
If a player trades in 10 points in one go, they get an extra 1% experience per point. If they trade in 100 points, they get an extra 10% experience.
Another form of reward a player can obtain, with commendation points, is Void Knight Equipment. The equipment includes the following items: three helmets (Magic, Ranged and Melee), Void knight robe, Void knight top, Void knight gloves, Void knight deflector and the Void knight seal. If one of the previous helmets are equipped with three of the four armour items (Void knight robe, Void knight top, Void knight gloves or Void knight deflector), you are provided with an additional bonus, which varies depending on what helmet you are currently equipping.
The most commendation points one can have at any time is 1,000. If you board a boat while holding 1,000 points, a warning will be given to the player to trade the points in. If a player continues to play with 1,000 points, subsequent games will not award any commendation points. You will also get a warning if winning the next game would result in wasting points, for example, if you had 998 points and you were playing in the Veteran boat (4 points per game). In this event, you would not be given any points for winning the game, wasting your time. Also, while playing Pest Control, you have a chance to obtain boots from the three Hybrid armour sets.
Iron-man characters cannot receive the seed pack, mineral pack, herb pack or any experience.
The official worlds to play Pest Control on are:
- World 53 (main game world)
- World 69
Before the Evolution of Combat, veteran boats were extremely difficult, unless most of the group was of a very high combat level, and was thus rarely done other than by arranged teams. Both veteran and intermediate landers suffered from a low win rate. Therefore, most players entered the novice boats, which usually saw optimal speed and 100% win rate, with the only delay being the time needed to get into a game due to the sheer number of players over 25.
After the Evolution of Combat, Pest Control was made much easier. While the number of players suffered a great decline and the Outpost is often deserted even on official worlds, there are sometimes groups of less than 25 players doing both the intermediate and veteran boat. A few players can be stationed at the intermediate boat while a veteran game is underway to start the intermediate boat countdown, allowing the main group to start the intermediate game quickly after finishing the veteran game, and vice versa. As of 1 July 2014, an update has increased the difficulty of the game by dramatically increasing the stats and damage of the pests and the portals. The same update reduced the wait time between games from five minutes to three minutes.
- The minigame was first released on 18 April 2006. Initially, players of all levels were allowed into games and there was no damage requirement in order to receive a reward. Originally, the max points a person could receive was 150.
- This was changed on 16 May 2006, along with a game engine update. Players now needed a combat level of 40 to enter the game, and must do 50 life points (corresponding to 500 life points) to monsters or portals to receive rewards. During the first few months of the game's existence, players gathered on world 78 to play Pest Control, often bringing the player count to server capacity. Within a few months, however, higher levels established "PC clans", and began playing on other worlds, in order to reduce the number of low levelled players in the games. This led to very fast experience points for the players in the clans.
- On 19 February 2007, pet cats were blocked from entry into the minigame.
- On 17 July 2007, Jagex launched a new update to the minigame, with the following changes:
- Pest Control was split up into three boats, one for each levels 40+, 70+ and 100+, a feature long requested on the official forums.
- Monster and portal difficulty was adjusted so that the lower level boats were easier to play. The three boats now give two, three and four points as a reward, respectively. However, each point only gave 35% of the experience it used to. Rewards for Magic and Ranged were reduced a further 10%.
- In order to balance the effects of this, players were allowed to run through all monsters without being blocked apart from Brawlers, and Jagex introduced a "shield" on the portals, effectively making the shortest games two to three minutes long, instead of the thirty seconds possible before. Many players viewed this as unfair and launched the World 99 riot in response.
- There was a hidden update during the summer of 2009 in which the behaviour of Brawler (monster) was greatly changed. Along with this update, Ava's devices started working differently and wouldn't retrieve arrows shot at brawlers and portals. The "south-west" position no longer affects arrow pick-up.
- In May 2010, the Ava's device started acting differently than normal. It now will never pick up the arrows/bolts fired at portals, and the ammo fired at portals is not retrievable; it simply disappears.
- On 1 July 2014, Pest Control received a major update. In addition to new rewards and functionality for existing rewards, the island received a graphical rework and the pests had their stats dramatically buffed. Before the update, winning a game of Pest Control awarded coins equal to 10 times a player's combat level in addition to commendation points.
- On 23 May 2016, the Void Knight's Outpost received a graphical rework, with the addition of a dark atmosphere and rainy effects.
In total, Pest Control has been a source of two controversies. Before the 17 July 2007 update, some players claimed that it was too easy to raise combat, and had coined the term "PC product," which was usually used as an insult.
Jagex made a reference to the "PC product" label in the TokTz-Ket-Dill quest. If you choose the plot option where a human defeats the TzHaar criminal after training with the Void Knights for several months, TzHaar-Hur-Brekt refers to them as "Void Knight Products".
After the experience cap update, there was more outcry from players who trained this way.
There have been many debates about the experience cap being lowered and on the day of the release of this cap, some riots sprouted up in Falador and the Ice Plateau on World 99. Originally, the game calculated this as your level squared, divided by 6 (or 12 for prayer). Jagex decided that was too generous, and changed the way it was worked out. Players who had Pest points left over after the update had to spend all of their points to be able to get more, but they still had the more beneficial formula. However, players who had purchased Void Knight items, instead of experience, ended up paying more than those purchasing the same items under the new formula.
- During Hallowe'en events, there is a chance that Death will appear and say "Let me escort you to Lumbridge/Falador/Camelot/Soul Wars, player display name." despite the fact that you respawn back in the lander.
- When players win a game, the squire from the novice lander will always congratulate them, even if the game is not on the novice lander.
- The landing boats resemble United States' Higgins boats from the WWII era.