Part of optimizing how well your character performs in combat is to maximize how often you attack with your weapon every minute while simultaneously maximizing your defenses against the attacks of mobs or other players. This guide attempts to summarize the concept of initiative and the Agg/Def slider.
I. Effect of Initiatives
Sample Weapon Speed (Chrispy Chiropteras)
The skill that affects how quickly you attack is the initiative associated with your weapon. Each weapon has an attack speed and a recharge speed. This is the base speed for each weapon. All weapons can be made to attack faster by increasing your inits. For every 600 points of init, you reduce the attack speed by 1 second and the recharge speed by 2 seconds. Nearly all weapons have a capped attack and capped recharge speed of 1 second. You may hear other players refer to this as 1/1. Some weapons, such as Queen Blade have higher attack/recharge speed caps. However, the formula in general is:
Adjusted Attack Time = Base Attack Time - Weapon Init / 600 or 1 second, which ever is higher
Adjusted Recharge Time = Base Recharge Time - Weapon Init / 300 or 1 second, which ever is higher
Using the skill and Crispy Chiroptera from the images above we obtain the following computations:
Adjusted Attack Time = 1.25s - 767 / 600 = -0.03s ( which is below the weapon speed cap ) = therefore 1.0s
Adjusted Recharge Time = 1.25s - 767 / 300 = -0.03s ( which is below the weapon speed cap ) = therefore 1.0s
Sample Nano Program Speed (Incinerate)
For nano programs, the init computation is different. The casting time of the nano program is reduced by 1 second for every 200 points of Nano Init you have. The cast time of nano programs can be reduced until they can be instantly cast. The recharge time is completely unaffected by your nano init skill.
Adjusted Cast Time = Base Cast Time - Nano Init / 200
The above is only true for init skills up to 1200. Over 1200, every 1200 points of initiative reduces your weapon attack/recharge speed by 1 second, while every 600 points of initiative reduces your nano program's cast time by 1 second.
Once again, using the skill above and Practice Incineration as an example, we obtain the following calculation:
Adjusted Cast Time = 5.0s - 672 / 200 = 1.64s
Recharge Time = is fixed at 4.0s
II. Effect of Agg/Def Slider
-100% Agg Side
Agg/Def Slider Bar
100% Agg Side
A weapon's attack recharge time can be further modified by the AggDef Slider. There are no markings on the slider, and many people refer to the left side as 0% and the right side as 100% agg. I don't think that's an accurate representation of the effects of the slider.
For the purposes of this guide, I will refer to the left side (or the Def side) of the slider as 100% Def (and for computations that translates to -100%) and the right side (or the Agg side) as 100% Agg, and the mid point of the slider as 0%. (You will see that the numbers and the math is a lot more straightforward if we think of the bar as going from -100% to 100% instead of 0% to 100%)
When the AggDef slider is at 75% Agg position, there is no modification to your weapon's attack/recharge speed. Sometimes you will hear other players refer to the Agg/Def's "neutral" position. This is the spot they are referring to. Sometimes you will hear them refer to it as the 87.5% position. The neutral position is 87.5% if you go from 0% on the left to 100% on the right.
For every 25% Agg (moving the slider to the right) you will reduce both your weapon's attack/recharge speed by 0.25 seconds. For every 25% Def (moving the slider to the left) you will increase both your weapon's attack/recharge speed by 0.25s. Again, the 1/1 second cap or weapon specific speed cap still applies here. Thus at full Agg, your weapon's attack/recharge speed is reduced by 0.25/0.25 seconds. With the slider at the middle of the AggDef bar (or the 0% position) your weapon attack/recharge speed is increased by 0.75/0.75 seconds. And at 100% Def, your weapon attack/recharge speed is increased by 1.75/1.75 seconds.
Adjusted Weapon Time = Base Weapon Time - ( Slider Position - 75 ) / 100 or 1 second, which ever is higher
For nano programs, there seems to be some general disagreement over what the precise affect of the AggDef slider is on a nano program's cast time. I have seen numbers such as reduce 1 second at 100% Agg and increase 2 seconds at 100% Def. I have also seen reduce 0.5 seconds at 100% Agg and increase 1.5 seconds at 100% Def. On the AO Wiki, the values appear to be an reduction of 0.75 seconds at 100% Agg and an increase of 1.75 seconds at 100% Def (which seems to be a compromise between the two previous values). It seems the number that most people agree with on the Anarchy Online Official forums is that at 100% Def your cast time is increased by 1.25 seconds and at 100% Agg your cast time is reduced by 0.25 seconds. Any setting in between does not affect cast time. That would make the computation nanos:
Adjusted Nano Attack Time = Base Nano Attack Time - 1.25 seconds if at 100% Agg or
Adjusted Nano Attack Time = Base Nano Attack Time + 0.75 seconds if at 100% Def
III. Why care about the Agg/Def Slider?
So why should you even worry about the Agg/Def Slider? Why not just set your slider to 100% Agg and dump as much IP as possible into the appropriate init skill?
There is an additional effect of the Agg/Def slider. The further left the slider is set (toward Def), the harder it is for mobs and other players to land a hit on you and the less likely you will get hit with critical hits from mobs and other players.
Because setting the slider toward the left increases your survivability in combat, it is to your advantage to set the slider as far as possible to the left without sacrificing damage dealt due to the increase of your weapon's attack/recharge time.
IV. Putting it all together
So, in order to compute your weapon's true attack/recharge time you must combine the two computations above:
Adjusted Attack Time = Base Attack Time - Weapon Init/600 - (Slider Position - 75)/100 or 1 second, which ever is higher
Adjusted Recharge Time = Base Recharge Time - Weapon Init/300 - (Slider Position - 75)/100 or 1 second, which ever is higher
Additionally, knowing what your weapon's attack/recharge speed cap is (in general it is 1/1 seconds), the optimum setting for your AggDef slider is the position as far to the left (towards Def) as possible while keeping your weapon's attack/recharge speed is capped at 1/1. Thus there is also a maximum amount of initiative needed to cap your weapon at 1/1 seconds with the AggDef slider at 100% Def.
Notice in the image of the Agg/Def Slider bar above, the slider is set at 50% Def. Given that slider position note the computation of our weapon speed below:
The example above shows that the Crispy Chiroptera is not hitting at full speed. The Agg/Def bar should probably be backed off to -25% (25% Def) to achieve the maximum (1/1) speed.
There are several different AggDef/Init calculators available on the web as well as in in-game chat bots. You must be careful to figure out whether the calculator refers to the left end of the slider as 0% Agg (generally the case) or 100% Def.