When you’re playing an online game, you’ve probably encountered this term: DPS. You’ve probably seen it being spammed in recruitment chats, trade chats, and discussion boards.
But what does DPS mean and how did it even come into the gaming scene?
What Is DPS in Gaming?
DPS stands for “damage per second”, and is the relative value of how much damage you are capable of dishing out per second. A DPS character in MMORPGs, MOBAs, and even FPS games are the classes responsible for dealing damage.
Within the gaming world, you’re looking at other roles that work together with the DPS:
- Tanks – These are classes that protect other team members in a group. Their main role is to soak as much damage as they can and hold aggro (for MMORPGs). An example would be Paladin from World of Warcraft.
- Support / Healing – These are the classes that are responsible for healing and buffing other team members in any game. Some support classes may even be considered DPS heroes because they have damage dealing skills or abilities. A couple of examples here would be Restoration Druid from World of Warcraft, or Lucio from Overwatch.
What Is The Goal of DPS Heroes?
DPS classes and heroes only have one goal and that is to get rid of enemies as quickly as possible. DPS characters will always have the highest DPS or damage per second metrics compared to Tank and Healer classes.
What Are Different DPS Classes?
In the gaming world, there are different DPS classes but they are not built equally. Generally, you have two kinds of DPS classes:
- Melee DPS or MDPS – These are DPS heroes that focus on close quarter combat. They’re slightly more tanky than the Ranged DPS because they’re positioned right alongside the tank.
- Ranged DPS or RDPS – These DPS heroes are the exact opposite. In most games, these classes are the mages or any class that make use of magic. There are also many classes within this category that use guns and chemicals as opposed to magic. Ranged DPS toons are squishy, but to compensate, they often have more mobility.
In MMORPGs, you’ll find that raid groups or parties will have different compositions for their DPS lineup, and there’s no concrete approach to creating the “most effective way” to make the perfect roster.
For example, World of Warcraft raid bosses will often require a specific number of Ranged DPS and/or Melee DPS to beat them in a short amount of time.
What Are Different DPS Terms?
To fully understand what is DPS in gaming, you also have to be familiar with the many jargon associated with the term itself.
In the gaming context, there are different ways for a damage dealer to dish out against their enemies:
- Sustained DPS – Sustained DPS is damage that is sustained over a period of time. For MMORPGs, you want more sustained DPS than burst damage because sustained DPS is great for high health targets. Sustained DPS toons don’t dish out massive damage all at once, but rather, the good sustained damage builds up until it reaches peak and maintains a general average throughout the encounter. The downside to using sustained DPS is that you won’t be dealing damage when you’re moving around. That means your character will need to stay in place for the rotation to sustain damage.
- Burst DPS – These are your “Fire and Forget It” type of characters. A general consensus of their ability involves dishing out tons of damage over a short period of time. High burst damage, or nukes, are great for clearing out mobs and packs of enemies in a particular location, as long as you can hit them. The downside to burst damage is that they don’t sustain their high damage up until their full rotation comes out. Their damage per second metrics will show them dealing the highest damage for one second, and the lowest damage amongst DPS toons the next.
How Is Damage Over Time Different From DPS?
A common misconception within MMORPGs is that DPS characters are all the same, but in reality, there are toons out there that specialize in dealing damage over time.
Damage over time is a lot similar to sustained DPS, but there are subtle nuances. Damage over time usually involves damage that ticks away as long as it is maintained. For example, poison, bleed effects, and curses are common damage over time properties. They don’t do damage quickly in many circles or games, but as long as the application is maintained, then you see more consistent damage compared to heavy sustained damage.
How Is DPS Improved In Gaming?
Whether you’re playing MMORPGs or an FPS, DPS is improved through one means only: get better gear. Getting better gear allows you to increase your stats, gain new abilities, and even gain some defensive skills while you’re at it.
Ideally, your optimal DPS range is reached when you have your BIS (Best In Slot) items. These items have the stats that will boost your damage along with other properties (i.e. poison effect, bleed effect, etc.).
How Do You Compute For DPS?
As the name implies, DPS is computed by dividing damage done by time. You can refer to this formula: Damage / Time.
Damage output for a full rotation is averaged within a set period of time in an encounter. The longer the encounter runs, the more damage you need to do to get your DPS up. All damage is computed for DPS, from splash damage
For example, your full damage output with a full rotation of skills is 500. The time it takes you to complete the rotation is five seconds. Your DPS value would put you at 100 damage per single second. Whether or not the target reaches low health or whatever the total HP is is irrelevant.