Casting Speed

General

The animation of all spells1 is split into two part, 'startup' and 'casting'. Depending on the player's dexterity and spell in question, a certain number of frames at the end of the startup animation may be skipped, shortening the duration of the attack as a whole and of the time it takes for the attack's hit to occur.
Although this naturally makes attacks safer and increases DPS, the effect on PvE is negligible, while it is indispensable for most PvP builds and is partially responsible for the dominance of Pyromancy in the game's meta.

Mechanic

The startup animation ends when the earlier of two events occurs:

  • A certain number of frames pass. This is a hard-cutoff, and represents the casting speed at low levels of dex.
  • The end of a specific time-window is reached. For all spells that can be shortened, this will occur at all levels of dex beyond a certain freshold.

This time-window is placed near the end of the startup animation, has a set length which it maintains while having 20 or less dexterity, has a duration of 0 frames (the animation ends immediately when the window would start) at 45 dex or above, and in between shortens linearly. In mathematical form:

(1)
\begin{align} \textrm{ShorteningWindowDuration} = \begin{Bmatrix} \textrm{MaxWindowDuration} &\textrm{Dex}\leq20\\ \textrm{MaxWindowDuration}\cdot\frac{45-\textrm{Dex}}{25} &20\leq\textrm{Dex}\leq45\\ 0 &45\leq\textrm{Dex}\\ \end{Bmatrix} \end{align}

One possible method of modelling the entire behavior would be to divide the startup animation into: pre-Active-Window, Active-Window and Passive-Window.
In this way, the pAW would represent the duration at 45 dex as well as the start of the window, pAW+AW represents the duration at low dexterity, and AW+PW the duration of the entire window.

Startup Animation durations

Animation ID2 Example pAW AW PW
6200 Soul Arrow 10 5 47
6201 Magic Weapon 39 - -
6202 Hush 29 - -
6203 Heal 54 - -
6204 Fireball 18 12 22
6205 Power Within 29 - -
6207 Combustion 9 6 20
6208 Poison Mist 39 - -
6209 Firestorm 30 20 27
6210 Undead Rapport 44 - -
6211 Chameleon 9 - -
6214 Sunlight Blade 49 - -
6215 Gravelord Sword Dance 54 - -
6316 Magic Shield 35 - -
6217 Emit Force 39 - -
6218 Lightning Spear 30 20 28
6219 Cast Light 39 - -
6220 Soothing Sunlight 54 - -
6222 Force 9 - -
6224 Heavy Soul Arrow 30 20 27
6225 Fire Surge 10 10 47
6226 Fire Whip 10 10 47
  • The startup animation for all left-handed casting starts with 62, all corresponding right-handed animations start with 63. These values are all identical between the two, with the exceptions:
    • Fire Surge - When used with the right-hand, it does not have a shortening window at all and is not sped up by dexterity.
    • Magic Weapon - Does not have a corresponding animation.
    • Magic Shield - Startup of Second Chance from Demon's Souls, naturally unused.
  • Interactive calculator (sheet)
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