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The Great Orb Project
The Great Orb Project
Release date 12 August 2008 (Update)
Members No
Location Runecrafting Guild
Participants 4-10
Skills involved Runecrafting
Reward currency Runecrafting guild token
In spotlight rotation Yes
Next spotlight 3 October (wrong?)
Hiscores No
Tutorial No
Custodians Wizard Acantha and Wizard Vief
Music unlocked None
Developers John A, Nancy J

The Great Orb Project is a Runecrafting minigame located in the Runecrafting Guild. The Great Orb Project was originally created as a research project by Runecrafting wizards which involves two teams gathering different orbs near various Runecrafting altars. To play this game, players must have at least level 50 Runecrafting.


Runecrafting guild world map

The minigame can be played from the Runecrafting Guild, which can be accessed through a portal on the top floor of the Wizards' Tower, found south of Draynor and south-west of Lumbridge.

Different ways of reaching this area include:



The objective of the game is for players to move as many orbs corresponding to their team colour as they can to the altars, as well as keeping orbs of the opposite team away from the altar. The team with the most orbs that has gone into the altar when the timer runs out wins the round.

Starting the game

Great orb project portal

To join a game, players may talk to Wizard Acantha to join the green team, Wizard Vief to join a yellow team, or other Wizards found in the guild to join a random colour team. A timer starts after each team has at least two members. The timer lasts for one minute, after which a portal opens in the north end of the room allowing players to enter the game. In order to join a team, players need to have at least 2 free inventory spaces and empty weapon and helmet slots. In addition, the player must deactivate any head override in order to play.

There may be 2 to 5 players per team, but the timer will not run unless:

  • There are at least 2 players on each team,
  • The number of members on the two teams differ by no more than 1.

Players may not join a team that already has more players than the other team.

To leave a team before the start of the minigame (before the portal has opened), players can simply destroy any of the given wands or speak to any wizard in the Guild to leave a team. Doing this will not result in any penalty (see the section on Abandoning the game).


Three wands are given when players enroll to either team, namely an Attractor wand, a Repeller wand, and a Barrier generator. A Runecrafter hat is also given to distinguish which team players are on. The hat and attractor wand are equipped automatically.

Image Name Use
Runecrafter hat (The Great Orb Project, yellow) Runecrafter hat (The Great Orb Project, green) Runecrafter hat Helps identify team members, and other players.
Green attractor Yellow attractor Attractor wand Attracts orbs that are up to 10 tiles away from the player.
Green repeller Yellow repeller Repeller wand Repels orbs that are up to 8 tiles away from the player.
Green barrier generator Yellow barrier generator Barrier generator Creates a barrier which blocks all orbs and players trying to go through it. Only one barrier per player can be made. Destroying another team's barrier may take several tries, but only one try is required for barriers from the player's own team. Right-click it for the option to destroy it.


There are 6 altars for free players and 8 altars for members, which are the following Runecrafting altars in sequence:

  1. Air altar
  2. Mind altar
  3. Water altar
  4. Earth altar
  5. Fire altar
  6. Body altar
  7. Chaos altar (members only)
  8. Nature altar (members only)

Some altars are not included in the GOP minigame.

Each altar lasts 2 minutes (that is, 200 ticks), excluding a small break of 15 seconds between each altar. A complete F2P game lasts 13 minutes 30 seconds, while a P2P game lasts 18 minutes. There may also be a waiting period of up to 1 minute before starting a game although it may take longer if there are not enough players to start.

In the battle

Audio options icon
Your team has claimed the altar!
Audio options icon
Your team has lost the altar.

To score points, the team's orbs must be led to the 1-grid square around the altar with an appropriate wand, by either attracting or repelling the orbs which will spawn randomly in one of the ca. 200 fixed spawnpoints per altar. Orbs respawn once they touch the altar. There are 3 orbs of each colour at a time. Note that it is also possible to attract or repel the opposing team's orbs until the last 30 seconds of the game.

Activity bar

During the minigame, an activity bar is present next to current score indicator, which shows how active the player is. This bar gradually depletes over time. Once a player's bar reaches the bottom, the player will be removed from the minigame and sent back to the Guild. In order to keep the bar up and to stay in game, players must attract/repel orbs or create and destroy barriers which will fill a portion of the bar. The bar is reset and pauses at each break between altars, to start back at the start of the next altar.
GOP Activity

End of an altar

After each round, players will receive a number of Rune essences (or Pure essences for members) equal to their team's score minus half the other team's score, plus 1. If this number is below 1, the player still gets 1 essence. If players' inventories are full, the extra essences will be left on the ground. Players can then choose to craft them into runes at that altar or to keep them for later use.

Runes crafted during a game of GOP award twice the normal experience for each essence. Runecrafting gloves or Bonus experience will double the base amount of experience received. So, if a player wins an altar and uses runecrafting gloves or bonus experience, they will get three times the regular rate. The Explorer's ring's (2, 3, or 4) can be used to craft additional runes at the elemental altars.

After a few seconds, a purple portal will appear in the altar. Players will need to step into it to be teleported to the next altar for the next round. People who stay behind at the altar will be dragged into the next round 30 seconds after its start. After the final altar, the portal will teleport players back to the Guild.

A game can also abruptly end if members of either team quit the game which may send all players back to the Guild if there are not enough players to keep the game in session.

Abandoning a game

If the player leaves an on-going game, they will be sent back to the Runecrafting Guild. Some ways a player can achieve this is by destroying any of the wands, letting their activity bar reach bottom or losing connection. Abandoning the game at the beginning will result in a 10-minute time penalty for F2P and 15-minute penalty for P2P where players will be unable to play the next game until the penalty expires. This penalty will decrease to a minimum of 1 minute as the game progresses through the altars.


In order for a player to gain tokens at a decent rate when playing against a random sample of players in GOP, they have to learn some basic strategies for playing efficiently, unless they have consistent teammates that help them and are good at GOP, or if they play against bots, or if they fix the game results in something called 50/50 (each team win half of the altars). The most advanced strategies are less needed when just trying to get tokens, but they are very interesting when the motivation is to play GOP in a competitive way, going for high scores and tournaments. See The Great Orb Project/Strategies for some guidance in how to play GOP effectively.


Audio options icon
Your team was victorious!
Audio options icon
Your team was beaten...

In addition to the essence received after each round, Runecrafting guild tokens will be awarded at the end of the game. For each altar that a team wins, each player on that team receives 100 tokens. For each altar lost, players receive 10 tokens. For each tied altar, players receive 25 tokens. An additional 200 tokens for members, or 150 tokens for free players, are awarded to players on the team that won the most altars. If both teams win the same number of altars, then the majority bonus is split evenly between both teams (100 tokens for members and 75 for free players). Therefore, the maximum number of tokens members can receive is 1,000, while for free players it is 750.

To receive tokens for a given altar, players must "touch" (attract/repel) at least one orb of either team for that altar. Simply creating barriers will not count allow you to receive tokens for that altar, though it does keep your activity bar up.

These tokens can be traded with Wizard Elriss at the entry of the Guild for robes, teleportation tablets, essence, talismans and staves. All of these rewards are untradeable, except for the essence and talismans. Ironmen are unable to purchase any rewards excluding cosmetic rewards and a single Blood altar teleport.

Runecrafter robes

Main article: Runecrafter robes
Image Name Tokens
Runecrafter hat (green, goggles off) Runecrafter hat (blue, goggles off) Runecrafter hat (yellow, goggles off) Runecrafter hat 1,000
Runecrafter robe (green) Runecrafter robe (blue) Runecrafter robe (yellow) Runecrafter robe 1,000
Runecrafter skirt (green) Runecrafter skirt (blue) Runecrafter skirt (yellow) Runecrafter skirt 1,000
Runecrafter gloves (green) Runecrafter gloves (blue) Runecrafter gloves (yellow) Runecrafter gloves 1,000


  • All three sets may be stored in the Magic wardrobe of a Costume Room.
  • They do not provide any bonus to Runecrafting levels either in or out of the minigame.
  • The goggles on the Runecrafter hats can be flipped up or down.

Master runecrafter robes

Image Name Tokens
Master runecrafter hat Master runecrafter hat 15,000
Master runecrafter robe Master runecrafter body 15,000
Master runecrafter skirt Master runecrafter skirt 15,000
Master runecrafter boots Master runecrafter boots 15,000


  • These are members only.
  • Each piece of master runecrafter robes provide a small experience boost when Runecrafting. When all four pieces are worn, this experience boost is raised to +5%.
  • At 405 tokens per F2P game it will take 148.2 games to get. At 540 tokens per P2P game it will take 111.1 games. Since a 50/50 split of altars will reward at the same rate of tokens per hourly rate in both F2P and P2P, it will take 33.33 hours to obtain the full set.


All talismans except for death, blood and soul talismans can be purchased with Runecrafting Guild tokens. Free-to-play talismans cost 50 tokens, and members-only talismans cost 125 tokens.

Runecrafting staff

Main article: Talisman staff

Buying a Runecrafting staff costs 10,000 Runecrafting guild tokens. Binding a talisman to the staff (by using either of them on the appropriate altar) creates the corresponding talisman staff. Once wielded, this allows players to enter the designated altar through the mysterious ruins, as well as distracting the eyes in the Abyss to help them sneak past. Once a talisman is attached to a staff, it cannot be disassembled.


Teleport tablets

Runecrafting teleport tablets are a stackable single-use teleporting devices (similar to teleport tablets made in a player-owned house) that teleport the player outside the specific altar. Thus, players require a talisman, tiara, or Runecrafting staff to enter the altar. They are also the only teleport tablets available to free players.

It can be argued that these tablets do not save much time while runecrafting, as it takes time to collect the points required for these tablets. Some runecrafters believe conventional runecrafting through the Abyss is just as fast as using the tablets, given the amount of time to collect these.

Rune essence

The last reward a player may buy with their Runecrafting guild tokens is essence. Although the reward screen says "Rune Essence" on both free worlds and members worlds, the type of essence received actually depends on which type of world the player is on. Players on free worlds obtain Rune essence, while players on members worlds obtain Pure essence. Players can specify the amount of essence to buy with a Buy X option. The essence are noted for convenience.

Money making

The best money making method for free players is to buy talismans, which are usually the best.

Free players can get up to 750 tokens each game, equating to 15 water talismans in 14 minutes and 30 seconds. Free players can potentially earn up to 248,000 coins per hour.

Members can get up to 1,000 tokens per game, equating to 20 water talismans in 19 minutes. Members can potentially earn up to 252,000 coins per hour. Because demand for the talismans is driven by its use in Geyser Titan pouches, the price fluctuates more rapidly than other talismans.

Alternatively, members may purchase pure essence, up to 1,000 pure essence per game, potentially resulting in 69,000 coins per hour.

Another great way to make money is by purchasing Teleportation tabs as they can be useful for Runecrafting runs. One can expect altar runs to be reduced to 20 seconds each, consuming around 180 tablets per hour.


  • Altar Explorer (RuneScore 10) - Play a round of Great Orb Project on each different altar map.


  • The Great Orb Project includes references to the game Portal. Examining the exit portals, even as an observer, reads: "Look at you, examining things when there's Runecrafting to do!" A similar line in Portal appears in the song "Still Alive" where GLaDOS sings: "Look at me still talking, when there's science to do." Another reference to the lyric is after failing a match without getting a single altar win. Wizard Vief will say "This was a disaster! I'm making a note here: HUGE FAILURE", instead of "This was a triumph. I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS."
  • If you try to perform the emotes "Give Thanks" and "Seal of Approval" it says "The magic of the orbs prevent you from doing this emote." however when trying to perform the "Skillcape" emote the word becomes "prevents."
  • You can gain faster tokens playing on P2P worlds. This is due to having two extra altars before having to wait 1 minute for the game to start again. The difference makes gaining tokens in a P2P world 1.75% faster than a F2P world.
  • The theoretical maximum score for someone soloing is 98 for air altar and 48 for mind altar. This is calculated from attracting orbs that constantly spawn on the closest spawnpoints, knowing that there are only 199 playable ticks in each altar, and that orbs move at a rate of one tile per tick. The likelihood of orbs constantly spawning there, though, is extremely unlikely.
  • Prior to RuneTek 5 there were different mechanics that would follow into different responses to "taps" or "angles" within a game.
  • There was glitch where you couldn't deposit when the Wizard Tower graphics update was implemented. This has been fixed.
  • Before 28 November 2012 (Wizard Tower graphics update) players could follow each other simultaneously while having (run on) around the portal. This no longer can be done.
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