Honour (or Honor) is a style of gameplay adopted by clans as a means of ensuring fairness during an engagement with an adversary. Historically, a clan was considered honourable if it would abide by a set of de-facto rules known as the Honour Code or Code of Honour. Clans which did not adopt the honour code were labelled No-Honour (NH). The Wilderness Guardians considers itself an honourable clan, and has always maintained an honour code which members are required to abide by.
Universal Honour Code
The code itself is a gentleman's agreement, and its provisions are subject to the preferences of the entire clan world, with many clans transcribing and abiding by their own interpretation. The code has also gradually transformed over the years as acts which were previously considered dishonourable have become overwhelmingly common, such as a player dying during a fight, re-gearing, and rejoining to battle (simply known as "returning"). In the early years of RuneScape the vast majority of clans adhered to the code, and clans which chose not to were established and subsequently branded as "no-honour" (NH).
As time progressed, more and more NH clans began to appear and some formerly honourable clans chose to abandon the code in order to compete with the rapidly changing environment. As of 2019 there exist several clans apart from WG who continue to promote their commitment to honourable gameplay, though the effectiveness and relevance of the honour code in the clan world has been the subject of debate for several years.
As a general rule of thumb, clans considered honourable will avoid taking part in the following:
- Breaking Terms of War – disobeying any pre-determined fight rules such as boundaries and restrictions on items and gear.
- Law and Rule-Breaking – breaking Jagex's code of conduct (e.g. scamming, hacking enemy players' accounts) or breaking real-world laws (e.g. leaking enemy players' personal information ("doxing"), orchestrating Denial of Service attacks (DDoSing)).
- Spying – sending a player to join a rival clan solely to feed or leak information and intelligence.
- Welfaring/Ragging – one-iteming or fighting with cheap equipment such as Adamant armour and crystal bows.
- Backstabbing – attacking members of a player's own clan/team/group.
There is currently no consensus on whether taking part in the following is dishonourable or not:
- Flaming – verbally abusing an opponent in-game in an attempt to demoralise them. While still considered somewhat dishonourable, this has become overwhelmingly common between clans in Old-School RuneScape with almost every active clan engaging in some form of flaming on occasion.
- Multiclanning – a single player holding membership in multiple clans at once. Many clans have rules against multiclanning, though the prevalence of teams and the blurring of the distinction between teams and clans makes this somewhat difficult to enforce.
- Camping – targetting and constantly attacking a single player as often as possible. This is sometimes considered player harrasment by Jagex, but occurs frequently in multi-combat fights and often without consequence.
- Skull Tricking – tricking an unskulled player (usually a PvMer) into obtaining a skull so that they can be killed for their valuable items. Skull tricking is a frequently debated topic within the wider RuneScape community.
Historical and now-redundant aspects of the honour code included avoiding taking part in the following:
- RPKing – attacking players in the Wilderness who do not wish to engage in PvP, such as PvMers, skillers, and clue hunters. Over the years it has become increasingly common for clans to simply attack any non-friendly player on sight.
- Praying – using prayers (specifically overhead prayers such as Protect from Melee) during a fight. This was later reduced to praying only while in single-combat zones to be considered dishonorable, before the concept was dropped from the honour code entirely.
- Object Hugging – maneuvering around in-game furniture (such as rocks and trees) in order to hinder an enemy force's attack. Hugging was a tactic developed by the more innovative clans around 2004, and many players within the clan world spoke out against it. Within 6 months of RuneScape 2's release, almost every clan was using the tactic and it has since become a staple for multi-combat PvP.
- Returning – a player dying during a fight, re-gearing, and returning to continue fighting. This was popularised by Damage Incoporated in 2005, and has since become an essential part of both planned and unplanned fights.
- Dragging – running a good distance away from the main battle when under attack. This does not include breaking the boundaries of a planned fight, which would come under breaking the Terms of War. Dragging was popularised by Dark Slayers.
- Account Sharing – sharing account(s) between multiple players within a clan, which was formerly against the RuneScape rules. This was pioneered by several clans including Adelais and initially recieved backlash from the wider clan community, but has since become common with Jagex turning a blind eye to it and its overwhelming usefulness in aspects such as the Deadman tournaments.
- Single Hugging – attacking an enemy positioned in a multi-combat zone from within a single-combat zone and drastically reducing the enemy's ability to retaliate. Historically most clans fought between Annakarl and the giant spider hill in deep Wilderness, and fleeing to a single-combat zone was considered retreating and dishonourable. This has since become an incredibly popular tactic, notably at the entrance of the Revenant Caves where most modern fights occur.
- Retreating – ending a fight by either running to a single or safe zone, logging or teleporting out. Members of honourable clans were expected to fight to the death, but most clans now choose to leave when overwhelmed and avoid having their members take a final death. Teleporting at the end of a fight is especially common in the Revenant Caves.
- Sniping – one player or group of players choosing to attack other targets other than their clan's main pile. If the entire clan does not have a main pile at all, it becomes "mass-sniping". This was originally considered annoying and frowned upon, though sniper caps started to be introduced in planned fights to cater for it, and it has since been recognised as a legitimate tactic.
- Crashing – engaging in battle with two or more clans already fighting. Interrupting a fight was originally considered dishonourable in any scenario, but eventually started to apply only to planned fights rather than unplanned run-ins. Modern clans frequently will call their allies to aid them rather than risk being defeated.
- Tagging – hitting enemies sporadically in a single-combat area so they cannot get kills. This differs from Player-Jumping (PJing), where the aim is to interfere in a fight between two other players. Both have become exceptionally common.
- PJing – Player-Jumping, which has become very common within single-combat as multiple people from a clan take turns dealing damage to a single target.
- Luring – tricking a player into enter a dangerous area such as the Wilderness. While still against Jagex's code of conduct, the ability to perform successful lures has reduced drastically over time. Historically this also applied to luring players out of a single-combat zone and into multi.
WG Honour Code
As of 2020, the Honour Code of the Wilderness Guardians contains the following provisions:
- Guardians must not verbally abuse another player (Flaming).
- This clan will enver crash a planned fight (Crashing).
- We do not spy on other clans (Spying).
- Guardians must adhere to the agreed rules of a planned fight (Breaking Terms of War).
- Guardians must not flee a battle (Retreating).
- All members must wear appropriate PKing equipment (Welfaring/Ragging).
There are also two optional provisions, which members are not required to follow:
- We do not kill non-PKers in the wilderness (ARPK).
- Share loot from your kills (Splitting).
The original Honour Code of WG was combined with the general clan rules in The Rules and Beliefs of the Wilderness Guardians (shortened to Adopted Clan Rules & Beliefs). It was outlined on the clan's AvidGamers Website and contained 7 provisions:
- Rule 1 on ARPK, which prohibited members killing unskulled players.
- Rule 2 which prohibited multiclanning, with the exception of Clan Representatives.
- Rule 3 which prohibited disobeying orders from members of a higher rank.
- Rule 4 which prohibited scamming.
- Rule 5 which outlined the right to voice opinions, but prohibited swearing, racism, sexism, discrimination, insulting individual(s), irrelevant content, advertising and adult material.
- Rule 6 which prohibited hacking RuneScape-related websites.
- Rule 7 which prohibited breaking the RuneScape rules.
The document was later split to separate rules from additional beliefs, with an 8th rule added prohibiting spamming of the Forums. With the release of the clan's Flash Website the Honour Code continued to be combined with general clan rules, but updated accordingly with modern stipulations such as prohibiting the hacking of player accounts. An interesting development was the decision to allow luring - a highly controversial and much debated aspect within the wider RuneScape community. His Lordship deemed it acceptable to lure a solo player from within a single-combat zone into multi.
Controversy over ARPKing arose after December 10th 2007 and WG's ARPKing code would change multiple times, occasionally falling out of use entirely. Following The Reckoning in 2011, the Honour Code of WG was finally distinguished from the other clan rules and given its own separate topic on the forums. This was split into three sections: the code during clan Raids and PK events, when PKing with another clan, and when PKing solo or with a team of friends. Provisions included:
- Prohibiting breaking the ARPK policy.
- Prohibiting crashing.
- Prohibiting welfaring, but allowing 1-iteming while solo PKing against enemies of the clan.
- Allowing reteating from a clan which is clearly overpowering WG.
- Allowing the use of a Ring of Life on PKing trips.
- Allowing luring but prohibiting backstabbing.
- Allowing tagging if the opponents are also tagging.
- Prohibiting PJing.
- Allowing retreating/teleporting/running/logging when solo PKing.
In October of 2011 two additions were made by Vio which stipulated prohibiting both breaking Terms of War and Single Hugging, and clarifications were made in regards to retreating and teleporting which were prohibited in fights unless ordered by an official. The ARPK policy also recieved a rework, increasing the criteria for acceptable targets to include players with combat weapons, with a clan or team, who attacked a WG member first, who requested to be killed, or was clearly using botting software.
The honour code continued to undergo various modifications over the years including multiple instances of revoking and reimplementing the ARPK policy, until it was finally declared "optional". A second optional provision on splitting (sharing loot from kills) was added during the IPB4 era. The most recent revision was on 5 June 2019, which added a clarification to the rule on multiclanning and teams.