A tick is a unit used to measure the passage of time in the game. There are different kinds of ticks, and a character can be under the effect of more than one at a time.
The most important tick is the Game Tick, also sometimes called the AP tick. It occurs every 15 minutes, usually at the top of the hour, 15 minutes past the hour, 30 minutes past the hour, and 45 minutes past the hour.
A number of things happen at a Game Tick. In no particular order:
- Every character at less than their maximum Action Point total gains 1 AP
- Every character at less than their maximum Magic Point total gains 1 MP
- Every factional ward at less than its maximum Hit Point total regenerates a portion of its strength
- Every pet that suffers from decay loses 1 AP
Certain other skills also activate at each Game Tick. For example, the Nexus Champion skill Tattoo of Soul is a passive skill that adds an additional point to a character's Magic Point regeneration -- instead of regaining 1 Magic Point per Game Tick, the character regains 2 points.
A Status Tick is another important tick. Status ticks are used to measure the duration of certain skill effects and other timed occurrences. A character can have more than one active Status Tick counter applying to them at one time. For example, a Paladin could have one Status Tick counter measuring the duration of their Bolster Attack skill (8 ticks left) while another counter measures how much longer the Doomblight Status Effect (3 ticks left) will last.
A Status Tick counter decrements by 1 every time:
- The character takes an action (other than dropping an item or speaking)
- The character is attacked by a character (attacks by pets do not affect status ticks).
- The Game Tick activates
Once a particular Status Tick counter reaches zero, the effect associated with the counter ends and no longer applies to the character. The ending of one Status Tick counter does not end or influence any other Status Tick counter in effect on the character.
Contrary to popular belief, pet ticks are not actually summoned by petmasters. A Pet Tick is something the petmasters love. It is the tick that causes all Pets to suddenly wake up, slash at their surroundings if need be (and stance allowing) and then go back to sleep. This tick occurs once every 10 seconds. See Pets and Combat for more details.
A Retaliatory "Tick" occurs when a pet or pet master is attacked, resulting in the attacked pet, or pets of the attacked keeper, targeting and attacking the aggressor (if the pet-specific targeting requirement are met, e.g., for good pets the target's MO must be no greater than -20 or, if the petmaster has taken the Hand of Zealotry skill, the target's MO must be less than 20, otherwise the target is invalid and no target change occurs). While it is not the same mechanism as Status and Pet Ticks, player's sometimes use the term Retaliatory Tick to distinguish retaliation actions from Pet Tick actions when analyzing an attack. Retaliatory actions are in addition to, not instead of, Pet Ticks, and changes in target persist whether initiated in a Pet Tick or retaliatory action.