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Attack Speed 101

For years when players asked questions about attack speed on this forum, they were bombarded with misleading or incorrect information. Even if someone did provide accurate answers, said answers were incomplete and/or worded bizarrely, which only served to further confuse the players.

Why does this continue to happen? It's because Nexon made the attack speed system very convoluted.

Hopefully this Wiki will let you understand the attack speed system better.
Now allow me to explain the factors that affect your final attack speed.

1. Attack Speed of your Weapon

All weapons come with an attack speed description as follows:
Faster > Fast > Normal > Slow > Slower.
More specifically, they are quantified as:

  • Faster (3)
  • Fast (4)
  • Fast (5)
  • Normal (6)
  • Slow (7)
  • Slow (8)
  • Slower (9)

There are additional attack speed values that exceed Faster (3), which are:

  • Fastest (0)
  • Fastest (1)
  • Fastest (2)

Currently, no weapon comes with the above three Fastest attack speed values, but we'll get to the importance of the above three values later below.

But basically, the smaller the attack speed value number is, the faster you attack.

You may be wondering, why does Fast and Slow speed descriptions each have two values?
This is because some Slow/Fast-labeled weapons are noticeably faster than other Slow/Fast-labeled weapons. Therefore, having two values for Fast and Slow speed weapons became necessary.

An example of this is the Lv80 Eclipse polearm weapon. Like most other polearms, it is labeled as a Slow speed weapon, but those who have used this weapon can tell that the Eclipse polearm attacks faster than other Slow speed polearms. Thus, the Eclipse polearm is designated as Slow (7), while other Slow speed polearms are labeled Slow (8).

You can click here or here to check for the attack speed of the weapon(s) you wish to inquire about.

2. Weapon Boosting Skills and Sources

All classes come with a standard weapon boosting skill. Almost all of these booster skills increase your attack speed by +2, but some only gives you +1 attack speed (i.e. Angelic Buster's Melody Cross), while some gives +3 attack speed (i.e. Aran's Polearm Booster).

In addition, a few classes have skills other than their typical weapon boosting skill that further that boosts their attack speed (i.e. Buccaneer's Speed Infusion giving another +2 attack speed, a Kaiser using key-command skills when their Dragon Gauge is filled up that grants them another +2 attack speed, etc.)

Then there sources beyond your class's skill book that you can obtain to further increase your attack speed (i.e. +1 attack speed inner ability, +1 attack speed from Decent Speed Infusion, +1 attack speed from Green Monster Park Extreme Potion, etc.)

All of them can potentially boost your attack speed, with the method explained below.

3. Calculating your final attack speed

The actual math in calculating your final attack speed is very easy. You just take your weapon's attack speed then subtract it by the total attack speed boosts you get from your skills and sources.

Examples:

Player 1 is a Dark Knight wielding a Fafnir Brionak, which is Normal (6). The Dark Knight uses his Weapon Booster skill that gives +2 attack speed, plus he has Decent Speed Infusion that gives +1 attack speed (for a total of +3 attack speed).
Thus, his final attack speed is: Normal (6) - (+3 attack speed) = Faster (3).

Player 2 is a Cannon Shooter with a Fafnir Lost Cannon, which is Slow (8). The Cannon Shooter gets +2 attack speed from her Weapon Booster skill, +1 from the Reinforced Cannon skill, +1 from the Overburning Cannon skill, +1 from the Green Monster Park Extreme potion (for a total of +5 attack speed).
Thus, her final attack speed is: Slow (8) - (+5 attack speed) = Faster (3).

Easy enough, right?

Now, you may be inclined to start obtaining as many attack speed boosting skills and sources to heighten your attack speed and make your DPM go through the roof.

Not so fast.

4a. Speed Cap 1 - The Soft Speed Cap

Nexon implemented TWO speed caps to prevent players from going crazy over attack speed.
The first speed cap is the Soft Speed Cap, which is Fastest (2).
Most attack speed boosting sources and skills cannot bypass the soft speed cap, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Decent Speed Infusion
  • +1 Attack Speed Inner Ability
  • Almost all weapon boosting skills from your job's skill book.

Example:

Player 3 is a Shadower with a Fafnir Damascus, which is Fast (4). The Shadower gets +2 attack speed from her Weapon Booster skill. She also decided to use 100k NX on Miracle Circulators and got the +1 attack speed Inner Ability (for a total of +3 attack speed).
You may think her final attack speed is Fastest (1), since Fast (4) - (+3 attack speed) = Fastest (1). However, her weapon boosting skill nor the +1 attack speed inner ability can break the soft speed cap of Fastest (2). Thus, she's stuck at Fastest (2) despite her inner ability.

In other words, the Shadower wasted 100k NX on something she doesn't even benefit from.

Now you might be wondering, how do you reach the Fastest (0) and Fastest (1) attack speeds?
There are a handful of attack speed boost sources that can ignore the soft speed cap of Faster (2). These are the following:

  • Rune of Decay (+1 attack speed)
  • Rune of Destruction (+1 attack speed)
  • Rune of Swiftness (+3 attack speed)
  • Green Monster Park Extreme Potion (+1 attack speed)
  • Crimson Queen soul's attack speed buff (+1 attack speed)
  • BaM's "Yellow Aura" (+2 attack speed)
  • Zero's "Divine Speed" (+1 attack speed)
  • Kaiser's "Kaiser's Majesty" (+1 attack speed)

Example:

Player 4 is a Xenon with a Fafnir Split Edge, which is Normal (6). The Xenon gets +2 attack speed from his Weapon Booster skill, and an additional +1 attack speed from his Decent Speed Infusion (for a total of +3 attack speed).
Thus, his attack speed is: Normal (6) - (+3 attack speed) = Faster (3).

Later, he parties with a Battle Mage who uses the Yellow Aura party skill, which grants the Xenon an additional +2 attack speed that can ignore the soft speed cap.
With that, his new attack speed is: Normal (6) - (+5 attack speed) = Fastest (1).

Well then, why not just use all of the attack speed boosting sources and potion that ignores the soft speed cap?

Remember how I said Nexon put TWO speed caps?

4b. Speed Cap 2 - The Hard Speed Cap

The absolute fastest attack speed a player can achieve is Fastest (0), no exceptions.
Fastest (0) is thus known as the Hard Speed Cap.

Example:

Player 5 is an Aran with the Eviscerator polearm, which is Slower (9). The Aran gets +3 attack speed from his Weapon Booster skill, +1 from his Polearm Mastery skill, +1 from Decent Speed Infusion, +1 from Inner Ability, and +1 from Green Monster Park Extreme potion (for a total of +7 attack speed).
Thus, his attack speed would be: Slower (9) - (+7 attack speed) = Fastest (2).

Later, he finds a Rune of Swiftness and uses it, granting him another +3 attack speed that can ignore the soft speed cap (for a total of +10 attack speed).

However, even the Rune oattack speed boosts are limited by the hard speed cap of Fastest (0), thus the Aran would attack at Fastest (0), and not (-1) (whatever that would be called).

TL;DR

Getting more attack speed buffs will not necessarily make you attack faster. It all depends on your class, the attack speed on your weapon, and the attack speed buffs you already have.

Is the weapon speed system in this game more confusing that it needs to be? Totally, but this is just how it's been since the release of this game. 10 years in and Nexon has made no efforts to make it easier to understand, so I doubt they will anytime soon.

Granted, it was simpler before as there was only one speed cap before (the soft speed cap), but the introduction of Green Monster Park Extreme potions and runes that allowed a player to break that speed cap made it imperative to create distinctive terms to describe the different speed caps--and with it made this attack speed debacle a whole lot more confusing.