In DQ, Attacks per Second (APS) is a complicated issue. There is a general mechanic for all skills but many skills have unique APS interactions and will also be listed separately. I hope you will enjoy the following read.
Before we get into the deeper mechanics, lets makes sure everyone understands some terminology:
- Attacks per second (APS): the number of times you can attack in 1s. Disregarding CD.
- Cooldown (CD): the time you need to wait to reuse the same skill. Disregarding APS.
- Attack speed (ASpd): an Item Affix that increases your APS.
- Attack Time (AT): the time it takes to finish an attack before you can attack again.
All skills have an APS and a CD. Both start applying the moment you start the skill. Some skill effects start applying at the start of the animation and some at the end but these 2 are always immediate. Nothing can stop a skill from going off once started. This is why you can die while in Stealth with 100% Dodge. The APS you see in the Stat Screen is currently unable to take into account this complicated system since there was no need to when the game was first created.
It is important to understand that APS is independent of CD. They are totally different mechanics. During the much simpler times it was fine to have them linked together. But now the game has grown and it is time to change.
The APS of an attack is determined by something called an Attack Time. In this duration, you CANNOT do anything else, period. For example, you cannot move while calling down a Meteor. There are exceptional skills who will allow you to use other skills during its AT that will be explained in the individual skill breakdown below.
For simplicity's sake, the devs use APS instead of AT since players tend to only use 1 skill continuously (hence why CD was originally and is still included in the Stat page's calculations). It is much easier to undertand "you do 1.5 Comets per second" than "it takes 2/3s to attack again after Comet". In most scenarios, you don't care about the latter.
But sometimes it is important to know that after pressing the Meteor button, it takes 2/3s to use Shatter; but after using Shatter, it takes 1s to use Meteor. In total, it takes 5/3s to reuse Shatter again after a Meteor+Shatter Combo with Rank 4+ Aftermath. This however is more advance thinking and such players can just easily calculate AT=1/APS.
There are many ways to increase APS and they are all multiplicative with each other. For example, 60% ASpd, 5 Hunger Set, and 40 Fletcher all multiply with each other to give you a 3.08x APS. One thing most players don't realise is that Weapons give APS boosts too (Values are in the Wiki)! The APS boost of the weapon only applies to that weapon. IE: The Wand gives 40% APS to MH skills only.
Though there are lots of ways to increase APS, the most accessible and important is ASpd. It has a high cap of 60% and can be acquired via a multitude of ways. Like any other APS mods, this affix is not just important for spamming primary MH skills but affects even skills with CD as all skills have an Attack time.
This mechanic is much simpler than APS. During the CD of a skill, you cannot reuse it but you can use other skills instead. Originally, there was no way to have AT and CD values conflict with each other. Before 2.0, your CD will always be > AT or 0s. Now, there are builds that require both ASpd and CD Reduction to maximize DPS.
Though the mechanic is much simpler, there are more effects that differ in the way they affect CD. Unlike APS, there is a specific order to the CD effect. Let's separate them into tiers:
- The CD Reduction affix reduces all CD's in the stat page. Nothing else is reflected there. This is important for Discordance.
- Heroic Skill reductions are multiplicative with the CD Reduction affix.
- Discordance switches the CD in the stat page of MH Primary and Specials while giving Specials a min CD of 0.5s.
- Clear Cast changes the CD of non-MH Primaries 0.5s (MH Primeries get 0 CD) when activated even if the CD was originally between 0s and 0.5s. While Hunger reduces any remaining CD up to this point. Normally Hunger will reduce Clear Cast. But when used in tandem with Discordance, Clear Cast will Prevail.
- Quickattack reduces CD by 1s per hit so, if you hit 5 enemies at once, it will reduce any remaining CD by 5s.
- Aftermath, Deadly Arts and Mastery will instantly refresh skills.
Blast APS: 1.5 CD: 0s
Comet APS: 1.5 CD: 0s
Pierce APS: 1.5 CD: 0s
Barrage* APS: 1.5 CD: 0s
Twister APS: 1.5 CD: 3s
Meteor APS: 1.5 CD: 4s
Orb APS: 1.5 CD: 1s
Storm APS: 1.5 CD: 8s
Teleport* APS: 1 CD: 1s
Skulldra APS: 1 CD: 0.5s
ManaShield* APS: 1 CD: 1s
Summon APS: 1 CD: 0.5s
Shatter* APS: 1 CD: 5s
Skulldraga APS: 1 CD: 5s
TimeWarp APS: 1 CD: 10s
Command APS: 1 CD: 3s
Wiz is the first class to be created and the simplest. Special notes:
- Barrage: has an innate +50% APS effect that is further increased by its Heroic Skill (neither are reflected above).
- ManaShield: takes effect immediately and allows all actions. Essentially, APS does nothing.
- Teleport and Shatter: takes effect immediately.
Cleave APS: 3/2s CD: 0s
Flurry* APS: 10/3s CD: 0s
Smash APS: 30/41s CD: 0s
Charge* APS: 4/1s CD: 0.5s
Whirlwind* APS: 3/1s CD: 1s
ThrowSword APS: 10/3s CD: 2s
EarthShatter APS: 10/9s CD: 5s
KnightsCharge* APS: 30/13s CD: 1s
Bash APS: 15/14s CD: 0.5s
Sprint* APS: 30/13s CD: 1s
Toss APS: 5/4s CD: 0.5s
Fear APS: 3/2s CD: 0.5s
ShieldWall APS: 3/2s CD: 12s
Torrent APS: 3/2s CD: 5s
Scalp APS: 5/4s CD: 3s
Taunt APS: 3/2s CD: 5s
This is where things start to get complicated. The devs started using prime numbers as a base (3, 7, 13 and 41) so this is why I put the APS values as a fraction. Why were such numbers chosen? I don't know probably because the devs can and they felt like it. Lol Special notes:
- Flurry: has a +50% APS effect not reflected above.
- Charge: takes effect immediately. It moves you forward until you either reach an enemy or 0.25s have past. APS effects do nothing for this skill. There is a minimum of 0.1s even if the enemy is directly infront of you. This means, that if you have 0 CD, you can get a max of 10 APS against enemies directly infront of you. Unlike other skills, the AT of Charge applies even when Proc'ed. So if you are using Fanatic, it can reduce the APS of your other skills and cause you to move uncontrollably.
- Whirlwind and KnightCharge: does not prevent movement during its AT and takes effect immediately on cast. During the effect of these skills, you cannot attack so APS and CD effects do nothing to help you spam them more.
- Sprint: takes effect immediately and allows all actions. Essentially, APS does nothing.
Guidedshot APS: 1.5 CD: 0s
Boomerang* APS: 3 CD: 2s
QuickStrike APS: 3 CD: 0s
Ricochet APS: 5 CD: 0s
MultiShot APS: 3.75 CD: 3s
WhirlingBlades* APS: 1.5 CD: 5s
BlinkStrike* APS: 1.5 CD: 5s
ScatterShot APS: 1.5 CD: 2s
Vault* APS: 4 CD: 0.5s
LayTrap APS: 3 CD: 0.5s
Swap* APS: 3 CD: 1s
CoatWeapon APS: 3 CD: 0.5s
SmokeBomb APS: 1.5 CD: 5s
Sentry APS: 3 CD: 5s
MirrorImage APS: 3 CD: 5s
Stealth APS: 1.5 CD: 16s
Back to normal? No. This is the newest class and has the most complicated APS mechanic. It even takes some complexity from the previous classes. Sadly, its buffs do not take effect immediately and prevents any action when using them. This is why you can die while stealthed. Special notes:
- Boomerang: CD does nothing but is only there due to Discordance. APS determines how fast you can throw the Chakrams but does not affect the speed in which they return to you. Remember you are limited to 2. ASpd, Heroic Skill and Celerity will increase its projectile speed allowing you to attack more often. Since ASpd affects both APS and Projectile Speed for this skill, it is a very important affix to boost your DPS. Obviously, moving away from the Chakrams increases the time you cannot attack.
- Whirling Blade: CD does nothing to help you spam this skill. Just like Boomerang, APS determines how fast you can throw the Chakrams but does not affect the speed in which they return to you. Remember you are limited to 2 and require 2 Chakrams to cast. Nothing increases its Projectile Speed. Disables MH attacks for the duration of its CD but Boomerang can bypass this once at least 1 Chakram has returned.
- Blinkstrike: takes effect immediatly
- Vault: just like Charge but sadly does not stop even when you bump into an enemy that blocks your way in PVP. So 4/s at 50% CD is max and APS does nothing.
- Swap: takes efect immediately.
Originally, I did not have this section because Internal CD's were rare and nothing could affect it. They were only seen on Elemental Crits, reactive effects and Stealth so they had no affect on the DPS of your attacks. This changed with 3.0.
So what is an Internal CD? It is an invisible CD built into the Affix, Elemental Crit, Skill or Talent. Generally, they cannot be reduced with Procs being the only exception. Below is a list of things with this mechanic:
Procs: Same Internal CD as the Default CD of the triggered skill listed above. This is the ONLY Internal CD that can be reduced by the "Cooldown Percent" stat.
"Reactions" (No official term yet): These are reactive effects that activate "when struck", "on Dodge" or "on Block". Listed below.
Arc Dodge 1s
Cerebral Vortex 3s
Poison Cloud: 3s
Each Internal CD is independent from one another. The Terrashaper Set for example gives 2 Earth Shatter effects and they both have their own Internal CD, 5s for the Proc and 1s for the "Reaction". This means you can see multiple Earthshatter's in 1s. Since Earthshatter also has a delayed effect (it smashes the gound infront of the user then spawns a Crater underneath nearby enemies 1s later), you can see more than you expect! This is not a bug.
Another complex example would be the Vanish Mythic which gives a Proc for a skill that also casts Stealth. The Vanish Proc has the reducible 8s CD of the Vanish Skill. But even if you reduce the Proc's CD to 2s, when the affix triggers, the AoE DMG and Blind of the Vanish Skill will always trigger but the Stealth portion will still have the 3s Internal CD.
As you can see APS, ASpd and CD effects are all important depending on the main skill you want to use. But I am sure some of you still have trouble understanding all of this. Let's use Toss for example.
Toss APS: 5/4s CD: 0.5s
Many players complained that the 0.5s CD is a huge nerf. But it only had a 1.25 APS (0.8s AT) anyways. Even with 60% ASPD, you get 2 APS (0.5s AT) with it. The 0.5s CD made no difference unless you had other APS boosts. All good? No.
Sadly, Hatchets give a 55% APS boost so hatchet players lost 55% DPS! (CD>AT) Thankfully, you will regain your original DPS by decreasing the CD by 36%. (CD<AT). The optimal goal is to invest into both APS and CD Reduction so that AT=CD. Don't forget that APS calculations are different than AT calculations! APS=1/AT
If you want to maximize the number of times you can cast Toss in a second, you need to invest into both APS and CD. Get 60% ASPD and 36% CD Reduction. Then if you use the Angelic Set, you need 49% CD reduction. Luckily Hunger increases both APS and reduces CD so it is a great set to use without worrying much about this math stuff.
With 3.0, CD Reduction has gained another importance with regard to Procs. You will need to account for this as well when maximizing your DPS. In this same example, if you were using Assault for Toss Proc, then CD Reduction affix further adds to your DPS.
Notes: I might add Mythic skills in the future if we ever get to manually cast them again. XD