Melvor Idle beginner’s guide

2.1.2024
By Callum Bains, Contributor
Sit back, relax, and let the bright green progress bar do the adventuring for you. Melvor Idle distills all the essentials of the ever-popular MMORPG Runescape into a single handsome menu. Skills need leveling up, goblins need bruising, and you can bet there are a heck of a lot of runes to craft. The difference here is that instead of running across a pixelated map populated with thousands of other players, it all runs along in the background of your desktop.

True to its name, Melvor Idle is an idle game—the sort of game you don’t so much play as leave running to its own devices, progressing through checkpoints and challenges by merely riding the passage of time. At heart, it’s a grind. But it's the sort of gamified grind which lets you enjoy seeing your character’s skill levels tick upward while your attention is focused elsewhere. Set things going and reap the rewards of gainful idleness. The trick, though, is to progress as shrewdly as possible, letting no spare second go to waste. Here’s what you need to know to get going.

Up-skill yourself

As in Runescape, you begin Melvor Idle as a blank, fresh-faced, and totally unqualified wannabe adventurer in dire need of honing their survival skills. If you’ve ever played Jagex’s original MMORPG, what’s available to you here will be familiar: woodcutting, fishing, firemaking, cooking, mining, and smithing (among a few others). Each is used to gather increasingly valuable resources, and can be leveled up by practicing each skill.

But where to start? We suggest fishing. Send your character to throw out a net and they’ll catch raw fish—starting with shrimp—that you can turn into food through cooking. You also have the chance to reel in gems, junk, and the occasional treasure chest that may contain various stat-boosting items. Keep the cooked fish to munch on later during combat and sell any leftovers to the bank for a payday.

You need to make sure you go in prepared. Upon completing the tutorial, you’ll have enough gold to purchase an iron fishing rod from the shop. It’s basic, and you’ll want to replace it with the steel rod (and all the improved rods thereafter) as soon as you’ve pooled together enough gold, but the -5% to fishing time will speed up your angling nicely. Once you’ve got a few levels in fishing, you’ll be well set-up to tackle other skills—and have plenty of gold to boot.
How To Start Your Engines Idling In Melvor Idle Rod
Keep an eye on your bank

While your pockets are deep, they’re not limitless. The bank, which functions as your inventory, will fill up very quickly as you gather more resources and pick up random item drops. When it’s full, you’ll be unable to gather any more, and anything that does drop will be lost. It’s important, then, to keep a close eye on your bank to save yourself wasted time. No one wants to come back after a three-hour idle binge to find their bank had filled within the first twenty minutes, which meant the valuable diamond they found was automatically chucked away.

Fortunately, you’re not stuck with the 20 bank slots you’re given at the start: Extra slots can be bought with gold from the shop. They’re pricey, and will only become more expensive with each slot you buy. That’s why it’s important to keep a steady supply of money coming in by selling off your valuables. In the late game, once you've gathered a mammoth 100 million gold pieces, you’ll be able to purchase entirely new bank tabs to store even more loot.

Test your mettle

Combat is where your various skills start to combine. You’ll need a healthy supply of cooked food to regenerate your health. Mining is vital for digging up high-level ores required to create more powerful weapons. And you’ll need to progress your smithing abilities if you want to kit yourself out with armor. Add to that the importance of fletching for ranged builds—as well as runecrafting for magic users—and it soon becomes clear that you won’t get far in battle without the skillset to back you up.

In other words, don’t get ahead of yourself. Even a humble cow can spell doom for low-level players, and while the penalty of dying isn’t too high (you’ll lose a random equipped item) you’ll instantly stop practicing the activity and be left inert—the true horror of any idle game, where time is everything.

When starting out, it pays dividends to pick a combat type (melee, ranged or magic) and stick with it. Each combat type is supported by different skills, and diversifying too early will only hold back your progress. If you fancy bashing things in close quarters, make sure you prioritize smithing and mining to create armor. Ranged builds, meanwhile, should chop a lot of wood and fletch a lot of longbows. And magic users will want to pump up their runecrafting ability so they can kit themselves out in wizard garb and create a big stockpile of spell-slinging runes.

You'll want to make sure you're pairing your combat type with suitable enemies. Although the rock-paper-scissors design is somewhat hidden, melee is strongest against ranged enemies, ranged attacks against magic, and magic against melee. Go toe-to-toe with an incompatible opponent, and you might get more than you bargained for.

Catch the easy wins

Try your luck against a few higher-level enemies, and you’ll quickly learn that few things are as important in Melvor Idle as eating. High-damage attacks can come out of nowhere, and unless you’ve got something edible to regenerate your health, you’ll be left worse for wear. To start with, however, you’ll have to manually instruct your character to eat mid-combat, meaning you can’t trust them to keep themself standing upright when you’re AFK.
How To Start Your Engines Idling In Melvor Idle Menu
The solution is auto-eat, a buff that can be purchased from the shop for a mere one million gold. It’s a game-changer for combat, and all but essential if you want to seriously level up your combat skills. Focus on making money early on—perhaps through fishing, which is one of the more lucrative skills—and you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to start taking fighting seriously.

Don’t forget to pick up your spoils of war. Tucked away at the bottom of the combat screen is an easy-to-miss looting section displaying the bounties of your fight. Like food, loot—which ranges from items to pricey junk—has to be collected manually, until you’re of a high enough level to pick up the Amulet of Looting from a mid-game dungeon. Until then, don’t forget to help yourself to your enemies’ remains.

Be an active idler

Although Melvor Idle doesn’t demand your full attention, you should probably give it at least a little bit. In the early game, as you level up your basic skills, you will quickly unlock different types of trees to cut down, fish to gather, and ores to mine. These unlocks lay the path to new items, and they're essential in accelerating your progression, with higher-level drops providing more XP.

It’s worth keeping tabs on what new unlocks are coming up and how their XP rates fare compared to your current drops, as well as planning how you might hedge your idling activity. Fishing, for example, can often yield random special items that boost your stats, while smithing requires you have metal bars available in your inventory. If you run out, you’ll automatically stop smithing, and your time spent hanging about the furnace will produce nothing. Farming, meanwhile, can be completed alongside other skills simultaneously, as you can leave your crops to grow without your oversight.

Of course, this is an idle game, so it should be played without much active participation. But you won’t go anywhere quickly without putting in a little forethought.

What’s the point of it all?

Completion, essentially. All skills can be pumped up to level 99 (and then further to level 120 with the Throne of the Herald expansion). That will take you long enough, but it's really just the beginning for the most dedicated players. There are dungeons to raid, bosses to defeat, and special Slayer areas to explore (and denizens to promptly butcher) where you can find rare combat drops.

Melvor Idle is not a game to finish quickly, or even a game that can be finished quickly. Some players have sunk thousands of hours into idly progressing through every inch of its content, and you’re best to start with the expectation that it could be months before you finish.

And if you don’t want to reach the end? Well, there’s the kicker. You can’t really call it quits. Walk away for as long as you like, you’ll always be able to jump back in, set your character a new task, and watch as they toil away in the background of your desktop.

If you fancy idling your way to adventure, pick up Melvor Idle on the Epic Games Store.