Understanding Attack Speed and DPS – DOTABUFF

Understanding Attack Speed and Damage Per Second in Dota 2

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to Attack Speed and DPS. For some reason most players heavily lean towards larger damage numbers when it comes to DPS optimisation and while there are reasons for it, it is not always optimal. Today we would like to spend some time diving into Dota 2 AS and DPS mechanics and clear some misunderstandings related to them.

Equalizing Attack Speed and Damage

A single point of AS is equal to a single point of Damage. Kind of, as it all depends on relative amounts of AS and Damage. To maximise DPS, a hero should have equal AS and Damage, so when a hero is lacking AS, buying damage is preferable and vice versa.

Most heroes start the game with 100+ AS and ~55 Damage, hence why early on we see a high return on damage item purchases. As the game progresses, however, many right-clicking cores start scaling damage at a faster pace, compared to their AS scaling.

It could be a result of them having damage-increasing abilities, or it could be a result of itemisation, but we quite frequently see heavily skewed Damage and AS numbers even in higher level pubs.

Practical Applications of Attack Speed and Damage

The idea for this type of post started from a trend from several years ago, where most professional players playing core Tiny Tiny would rush a Moon Shard Moon Shard as their first item. Intuitively it felt like it didn’t make sense, but it was, indeed, the most efficient way to spend gold on a farming hero that has a very strong damage steroid, but has an AS malus built-in.

Right-clicking Tiny is well and truly a thing of the past, but the realisation stayed and in many cases it can now be applied to other heroes as well. For example, Sniper Sniper currently has a guaranteed +110 (or +140 with level 10 talent) AD boost from Headshot Headshot when using Take Aim Take Aim. With the latter effect activated, his DPS becomes skewed towards AD, so it’s only natural that he starts needing extra AS to maximise efficiency.

BAT and Its Impact

More knowledgeable readers are probably aware of BAT (Base Attack Time) that is the basis of most Attacks/Second calculations in Dota. Most heroes have 1.7 BAT, meaning that with 100 AS they will attack once every 1.7 seconds, but there are exceptions to the rule, like Juggernaut Juggernaut, Anti-Mage Anti-Mage and about ~20 other heroes.

Alchemist Alchemist has a decreased BAT when using Chemical Rage Chemical Rage and when using the same two Alchemists from the previous test we get:

Efficiency versus Adaptability

Finally, there is a third Alchemist:

He got +175 AD (Blue Rapier + Nullifier Nullifier) and +175 AS (Moon Shard Moon Shard + Blitz Knuckles Blitz Knuckles). It is clear how much higher his DPS is, compared to his unbalanced brothers and it is why we feel understanding this rather trivial concept is important.

That said, efficiency isn’t everything in Dota. It might be very efficient to buy a Moon Shard Moon Shard on Sniper, but most of the time you will need a Hurricane Pike Hurricane Pike to stay safe. Or a Black King Bar Black King Bar.

Thank you for reading and let us know whether you found this blog post useful in the comment section below! Your feedback will allow me to make better content plans in the future.