Classic AO NCU Guide

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What is NCU and why is it important?

NCU is short for Nano Compiler Unit. Basically this sets the amount of buffs you can have at any one time. The more you have, the more beneficial nano programs can be cast on you at the same time. Unfortunately, negative nanos can be cast even if you have your NCU space filled.

Each character has a default of 8 NCU available when created. By equipping certain items although most efficently, belts and memory chips, you can greatly increase your NCU space for nano programs. You can check what you have equipped in the weapons window, located by clicking the wear icon. The most important skills needed for equipping most items in those Deck Slots is computer literacy.

Since even the best memory chips have limited capability, it is likely that you will want to equip as many of them as possible. For that you need a belt. There are several of them available, mostly giving you options to equip more chips, but some have some nice modifiers of their own. Many of the standard chips and belts can be found in missions, in particular, NCU and belts very often drop from "Broken Android" type of "chests".

If you're considering getting the Shadowlands expansion you may want to see what items you can get here, or perhaps what the AI expansion can offer on this subject here.

List of belts:


BeltCan holdInformation
Holds 1 memory chip.This belt is the most basic of belts and is rarely used because of its limitation.

Available from shops or as loot from mission chests.
Holds 2 memory chips.Available from shops or mission chests.
Holds 3 memory chips.Available from shops or mission chests.
Holds 4 memory chips. Available from shops or mission chests.
Holds 5 memory chips.Available from shops or mission chests.
Holds 6 memory chipsAvailable from mission chests.

QL 160 is lowest this belt exists in, recommended QL.
Holds 2 memory chips and adds 2 NCU when equipped. Reward from mission started by Brandon Thorn at the ICC Shuttleport.
Holds 3 memory chips.This belt is for Clan characters only.

Drops off Abmouth Supremus and Vergil Aeneid in the Condemned Subway.
Holds 5 memory chips.Drops off Neleb the Deranged in the Steps of Madness.
Holds 5 memory chips. Adds 15 NCU and 70 Max nano.

Drops off Guardian of Tomorrow in the Temple of Three Winds.

AO Universe recommends this belt for lower level characters!
Holds 5 memory chips.Obtainable via trade skills from the Pit Demon in the Crypt of Home.
Holds varying amounts of memory chips depending on QL.Drops from Trash King and can be found as chest loot.


Whatever expansion you have (or lack of it), the more memory chips you can equip, the better. Additional stats the lower belts might have, get overcompensated with buffs quite easily. For memory chips there's a similar criteria; the more NCU space they add, the better. Possible exception might be specific chips with resistance to Snares and Roots, which are useful for PvP. Chips will always equip in the first deck slot they were designed for, so for adding more than one you need to drag it in proper place in the Wear window.

List of NCU items

(list contains only items important to Nano casting and not regular NCU Memory)


16 - 31 NCU Memory is available in a wide range of quality levels from shops and missions. It can be equipped in all Decks and as mentioned before will allow you to have nano programs cast upon you. Lets have a look at some of the NCU which are more specifically important to nano casting:

Deck ItemDeck SlotsInformation
Can be equipped in all Decks. Upgraded (tradeskill process to upgrade) NCU memory chips.

Available in wide range of quality levels.
Can be equipped in all Decks. Drops off Neleb the Deranged and Notum Habit in the Steps of Madness.
Can be equipped in all Decks. Drops from Lien the Memorystalker in Temple of Three Winds.

Adds +40 Max nano and 1% resistance to roots.
Can be equipped in all Decks. Drops from Lab Assistants in Biomare.

Available from QL 50 to 90, removes 1% of Nano costs.
Can be equipped in all Decks. Drops from Lien the Memorystalker in Temple of Three Winds.
Can be equipped in all Decks.Drops from bosses in the 3rd room of Inner Sanctum.

Adds +50 Max nano and 1% resistance to root.
Can ONLY be equipped in deck slot 1.Morphing Memory starts its life as a yellow NCU Chip as can be seen above.

Drops from mobs in the Subway.

It is a leveling item, right clicking on it will increase it's QL instead of equip it. Adds Nano resist.
Can be equipped in all Decks. Drops from the Dust Brigades in Perpetual Wastelands.

Requires level 180 to equip.

Adds to Energy and Radiation AC, Intelligence and Max nano.
Can be equipped in Decks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.Drops in the Crypt of Home.

Can be only used by Fixer.

Adds to First aid, Matter metamorphosis, Biological metamorphosis, Pharmaceuticals.
Can be equipped in all Decks. Drops from Waste Collectors.

Adds +3 to Vehicle air.
Can be equipped in Decks 2 and 3. Drops from the Omni-Pol Command Juggernauts located in Avalon and Lush Fields.

Can be equipped only by Clan.

Adds +5 to Melee and Ranged Energy.
Can be equipped in all Decks. You can purchase them from Wandering Metalworker in Penumbra, or learn how to build it here.

Available in QL from 160 to 300. Adds to Treatment.
Can be equipped in Deck 3. Drops in missions, available in all QL.

Increases Nano range.
Can be equipped in Deck 5. Drops in missions.

Decreases Nano cost.
Can be equipped in Deck 6. Drops in missions.

Adds to nano init.


How to choose your deck setup usually depends on character, profession and how much PvP he or she's involved in. Most non-PvPers try to equip the 6x belt, the highest memory chips and a recompiler as soon as possible. Those that need more buffs, yet they don't cast a lot during fights go for all memory chips setup and such with heavy nano use can go for nano cost reducing items.

Last updated on 01.09.2011 by Ukblizzard
Information originally provided by Trgeorge.
Additional information added by Uragon and Ukblizzard
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