The Rate of Fire or ROF determines the speed at which a unit or building attacks. It is a measure of the time between two attacks, e.g. a unit with an ROF of 3 will attack every 3 seconds. The lower the Rate of Fire, the faster it attacks, resulting in a higher damage output.
The rate of fire is not to be confused with firetime: 'Rate of Fire' is a value per a set time interval (e. g., rounds/attacks per minute), while 'firetime' indicates the very interval itself. However, due to 'rate of fire' being a more common term and the usage of firetimes in game code (referred to as '(Attack) Reload time'), in most sources and articles regarding Age of Empires, 'Rate of Fire' is henceforth used with the meaning of 'Firetime' in this article.
Because of this, in the past, technology trees in Age of Empires II incorrectly stated the percentage values of several civilization bonuses and unique technologies. For example, the Japanese technology tree stated that "infantry attack 25% faster", which actually meant that the Japanese infantry's firetime was reduced by 25%. In reality, the rate of fire was actually increased by the following:
Age of Empires
Most infantry and cavalry units in the game have a fast ROF, as well as the Scout Ship line and the Helepolis. The Stone Thrower line, on the other hand has slow ROF, and so does the Catapult Trireme and the Juggernaught, whereas the Ballista has medium ROF.
The unit with the fastest ROF is the Fire Galley, which coupled with its large attack, means that it can easily fell ships in groups.
These civilizations have bonuses related to ROF (firetime):
- Assyrians: Archery Range unit firetime
- Persians: Trireme firetime
- Phoenicians: Catapult Trireme and Juggernaught firetime
- Romans: Swordsmen -33% firetime
- Sumerians: Stone Thrower, Catapult, and Heavy Catapult -30% firetime
Age of Empires II
In Age of Empires II, the most common ROF is 2.0. There are some units with a faster attack: most notably the Fire Ship with a ROF of 0.25, which has by far the fastest attack. Quite a few units have a slower attack, though. Units with heavy attack, such as siege weapons and gunpowder units have a much higher ROF, and most trash units and mounted archers also attack at a lower speed. Lastly, naval vessels (bar the Fire Ship) range below the standard value. Listed below are all units and buildings in Age of Empires II that have a ROF different from 2.0 (civilization bonuses not included).
In the table below, default ROF of the generic and unique units is presented.
|Unit/Building||Base Rate of Fire|
|Fire Galley line||0.25|
|Knight, Cavalier, Cataphract, (Elite) Magyar Huszar||1.8|
|Hussar, Winged Hussar, Paladin, (Elite) Samurai, (Elite) Plumed Archer, Condottiero, (Elite) Boyar, (Elite) Keshik, (Elite) Leitis, (Elite) Coustillier||1.9|
|(Elite) Mangudai, (Elite) Tarkan||2.1|
|(Elite) War Wagon, (Elite) Ballista Elephant||2.5|
|(Elite) Longboat, Spearman line, Skirmisher line, (Elite) Genitour, Galley line, (Elite) Caravel, Harbor, (Elite) Chu Ko Nu||3.0|
|(Elite) Organ Gun, Hand Cannoneer, (Elite) Janissary, (Elite) Hussite Wagon||3.45|
|Mangonel line, (Elite) Turtle Ship, Bombard Tower||6.0|
|Bombard Cannon, Houfnice||6.5|
|Trebuchet, (Elite) Cannon Galleon||10.0|
- Bulgarians: The Stirrups unique technology increases all Cavalry (including mounted Konniks) ROF by 33%.
- Byzantines: Fire Galley line ROF is increased by 25%.
- Celts: Siege weapons ROF is increased by 25%. The Stronghold unique technology increases Castles and towers ROF by 25%.
- Ethiopians: Archer line ROF is increased by 18%.
- Japanese: Infantry ROF is increased by 33%. The Kataparuto unique technology increases Trebuchets' ROF by 33%.
- Mongols: Cavalry Archer (including unique units and Genitours) ROF is increased by 25%.
- Saracens: Galley line ROF is increased by 25%.
- Spanish: Gunpowder units (except Conquistadors) ROF is increased by 18%.
Age of Mythology
The Rate of Fire also plays a role in Age of Mythology but is instead divided into two factors: Rate and AnimationRate. In a unit's proto definition, most unit attacks have a rate of 5, however it is unknown whether or not this truly affects a units Rate of Fire.
Otherwise the Rate of Fire is dependent on the frames, and total length of a unit's animation, combined with tag definitions within a unit's anim file. Animation rates can also be affected by technologies (although Weightless Mace is the only example of this).
Age of Empires III
Almost all civilizations' ranged units (such as Musketeers, Crossbowmen, and Dragoons) have a standard ROF of 3 for their ranged attacks, regardless of their weapon. Siege attacks are also generally fired at a ROF of 3. All melee attacks have an ROF of 1.5. Cannons' ROF are normally in the ballpark of 4-6.
The main exceptions are ranged cavalry with a bow, such as the Bow Rider and Cavalry Archer, which have an ROF of 1.5, and Mercenaries/Outlaws, which vary from 1.5 to 4.0. For artillery, the Chinese Flamethrower is a very special case, having an ROF of 0.5 (essentially firing continuously), while the Great Bombard has a ROF of 8.
With the The African Royals expansion, units with variable attack of rate based on distance where added:
- Oromo Warrior
- Yoruba Oyo Legionary
- Somali Issa Warrior
- Sudanese Dervish
- Dahomey Amazon
- Corrected for actual rate of fire; inverse values affecting 'AttackReload time' were usually presented in game before update 42848.