The Spicy Stew

Runescape Through Adulthood 1: Are Dating and OSRS Compatible?

buying girlfriend image


The Runescape community is growing up. As such, many players must grapple with new factors that may inhibit the progress of their account.

While it may be uncommon, some players even find themselves in relationships - or at the very least are considering the possibility of pursuing a meaningful relationship. In this article, we set out to analyze whether a relationship with a real life person is worth the lost EHP.

There is no question that most IRL relationships do negatively impact average EHP gain, so we will focus on whether the happiness output of a relationship outweighs the lost EHP. By the end of this farce, we do NOT expect to claim that all players should or should not pursue IRL relationships, but to illuminate the cases where relationships are more likely to be worth the lost EHP. We also want to provide a quantified value for converting relationships to lost EHP, and a framework for comparing whether increased happiness is worth the lost EHP.

We will start simple in this first installment, and try to quantify the lost EHP of relationships. In the future, we will dive into the literature for a more nuanced understanding of the trade-offs.

* EHP -"Efficient Hours Played - is a standard metric used to compare xp gains across skills. Read more about it at"

** Citations for peer reviewed resources can always be found at the end of this article.

When I first started pondering these sorts of questions, I figured it made sense to use myself as an anecdotal guinea pig. The interview produced below occurred between me and my girlfriend.

This interview occurred before I had really formulated my key questions, so I will admit that the questions do not optimally address the goals of this article.

Section 0: The Interview:

Context: this interview was conducted in our University's library while Hallie was very busy with an assignment. Perhaps I should have chosen a more clinical and deliberative setting. Despite this, I think this conversation serves as a useful jumping off points for the rest of the article.

Q: How many hours a day do you think we spend together that I would otherwise have to myself if we weren't together?

A: Maybe 3 hours a day, I don't know..?

Q: Do you think my passion for Runescape is a good thing? Why or why not?

A: Uhhhh...neutral. giggles uncomfortably. I wouldn't say its like a great thing, but it could be so much worse? Right?

Q: "Do you think Runescape makes me more attractive/hot. Why or why not?"

A: Definitely does not make you more attractive.

Q: Would you be upset with me if I chose to not hang out with you to level up a skill?

A: If that was the reason and it really made you happy, you do you. (Authors note: there's no way this is true.)

[HER] Q: What's this about?

[ME] A: I'm trying to come up with the average xp waste generated by a relationship.

Q: ...

she leaves (comes back later tho)


So while this was a fun way to procrastinate, there's obviously not a whole lot of value to extract from this conversation. We must dive deeper...

Chapter 1: The EHP Cost of Dating

If you care at all about the grind, you should constantly be thinking about how allocating time for in-real-life activities takes away from account progress. This is the same concept as considering purchasing decisions by their time-value - e.g. If you make $10/hr, is that $6 Chipotle burrito really worth 36 minutes?

Unfortunately, I could not find any data in the literature for the average daily amount of "personal time" that are lost in relationships. As such, I polled a few of my friends to come up with a rough estimate.

Average lost daily personal time: 3 hrs/day (n=6 males; avg. age = 21 years). Lets put that time into meaningful perspective using EHP.

Please note that EHP assumes the most efficient method possible of leveling the skill with an alt for making money. As such, I provide a ballpark estimate for lost xp for the more casual player in the third column. Please do not eat my ass because my estimate of casual play is different than yours.

EHP Rates given for 1,000,000 xp in the relevant skill. That corresponds to level 73. You can find exact rates at

Skill EHP Relationship Opportunity Cost (xp/day) Ballpark Estimate for the Filthy Casual (xp/day)
Attack 190,000 150,000
Strength 190,000 150,000
Defense 950,000 150,000
Hitpoints 0 45,000
Ranged 750,000 150,000
Prayer 5,400,000 1,800,000
Magic 750,000 180,000
Cooking 1,470,000 800,000
Woodcutting 540,000 180,000
Fletching 2,100,000 600,000
Fishing 261,000 150,000
Firemaking 1,000,000 750,000
Crafting 990,000 450,000
Smithing 1,124,000 540,000
Mining 270,000 135,000
Herblore 600,000 500,000
Agility 150,000 130,000
Thieving 660,000 600,000
Slayer 180,000 140,000
Farming 1,050,000 600,000
Runecrafting 375,000 90,000
Hunter 603,000 300,000
Construction 2,700,000 1,200,000

ZAM ZADDY! That's a lot of EHP!

So to put that in perspective, if you used to play four hours a day in your personal time, and you lose three of those hours because you "found someone," you should be constantly aware of the fact that you are hemorrhaging xp.

Using that example and my account as an example, I am 1043 efficient hours played away from maxing. I do not play efficiently or use alts, so let's call it 1500 hours. At 4 hrs/day, I would max in 375 days.

However, if I lose three of those hours, now I'm 1500 days - or almost 5 years - away from my dreams.

Obviously, this is just an example and every case is different, but it serves a useful purpose.

Chapter 1 Conclusion

We just skimmed the surface in Chapter 1; there is much more rigorous content to come. The goal today was not to provide ground breaking information, but more to state the obvious and to provide the cognitive foundation needed to tackle the nuance of the issue later in the series.

We now have a jumping off point to consider arguments like: "is jerking off and playing Runescape more efficient than pursuing a relationship and being 10% happier?" For that question - and many - stay tuned!

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