Damage per second (DPS or dps) is a measure of the damage dealt by a person or group over one second. DPS is a more practical measure of damage output than plain damage, as it allows characters of differing levels and classes to effectively compare their damage output.
The term dps is also sometimes used to describe the act of applying damage to a target (as in "all dps on the boss" or "stop all dps"), or to refer to a class whose primary role in a group is dealing damage (as in "Gundrak group needs one more dps to roll"), i.e. damage dealer. There are UI modifications which enable players to track their DPS.
Some players will be able to get an effective idea of DPS from getting their Hit Cap for bosses of their level. You can find out your Hit Cap by mousing over Hit Rating in your Character Attributes Menu, which is to the right of your Character Info UI frame. For the easiest way to determine Hit Cap, use 17% for most DPS at Level 70 and above. This includes Caster and Ranged DPS. Your hit chance will drop as you level until you get gear that is your level with Hit Rating. At max level, getting Hit Rating will be much easier as you do not have to worry about the rating dropping with Level Gain.
- Rogues - Look at your special abilities Hit Cap. Auto-Attack Hit Rating is much higher.
- Mages - Spell Hit Chance is 17%
"Burst DPS" refers to damage dealt over a relatively short period of time. High burst damage is the preferable form of damage against targets at/with relatively low health. Most classes have at least a few spells or abilities that generate high damage very quickly. This type of damage is preferred in PvP environments, but is usually too expensive or has too long a cooldown to be sustainable.
"Sustained DPS" refers to constant damage dealt over an extended period of time. High sustained damage is the preferable form of damage against targets with relatively high health. Every class is capable, when specced and geared properly, of doing good sustained damage. Hunters, Mages, Rogues, and Warlocks tend to have the highest sustained dps, as "pure" dps classes.
- Note that Sustained DPS is best calculated on a one-boss encounter. Full raid / dungeon DPS calculates AOE damage into your DPS, greatly increasing it.
Weapon Damage Per Second (DPS) Formula
The general formula for your weapon's DPS is:
((Min Weapon Damage + Max Weapon Damage) / 2) / Weapon Speed
DPS = ((Min Weapon Damage + Max Weapon Damage) / 2) / Weapon Speed DPS = ((97 + 181) / 2) / 2.60 DPS = (278 / 2) / 2.60 DPS = 139 / 2.60 DPS = 53.46 DPS = 53.5
Some weapons also have extra damage, e.g. "Holy Damage". This should be factored in by adding the min and max values to the above averaged weapon damage. Suppose the above hammer dealt an additional 20 - 40 Holy Damage. Then the formula would look like:
DPS = ((Min Weapon Damage + Max Weapon Damage + Min Extra Damage + Max Extra Damage) / 2) / Weapon Speed DPS = ((97 + 181 + 20 + 40) / 2) / 2.60 DPS = (338 / 2) / 2.60 DPS = 169 / 2.60 DPS = 65.0
Formula for: Tooltip DPS & Damage Range:
Damage Ranges (for melee):
Minimum Range = (((Minimum damage / Weapon Speed) + (Melee Attack Power / 14)) * (Weapon Speed)) * (Dual Wield Penalty) Maximum Range = (((Maximum damage / Weapon Speed) + (Melee Attack Power / 14)) * (Weapon Speed)) * (Dual Wield Penalty)
Note: Dual Wield Penalty only applies to off-hand weapons and can change depending on how you are spec'd.
Example: A rogue with dual-wielding specialization at 5/5 would use 0.75 as the penalty value, for dual-wielding specialization 0/5 you would use 0.5 as the penalty value.
Damage Ranges (for ranged):
Minimum Range = (((Minimum damage + Scope damage bonus) / Weapon Speed) + (Ranged Attack Power / 14) + Ammo DPS bonus) * Weapon Speed Maximum Range = (((Maximum damage + Scope damage bonus) / Weapon Speed) + (Ranged Attack Power / 14) + Ammo DPS bonus) * Weapon Speed
Note: "Weapon Speed" is your actual fixed value on your weapon, not your Attack speed.
DPS = ((Minimum Range + Maximum Range) / 2) / Attack Speed
Note: "Attack speed" is not your fixed value on your weapon. It is adjusted for any speed enchants/buffs/procs.
Example #1 (melee):
(Rounding error is considered in all formulae.)
1354 Attack Power
5/5 Dual-wield specialization = 75% damage from off-hand = 0.75
Slice and Dice activated (40% speed increase)
Weapon speed: 2.60 Minimum damage: 147 Maximum damage: 275 Minimum Range = ((147 / 2.6) + (1354 / 14)) * 2.6 = 398.46 Maximum Range = ((275 / 2.6) + (1354 / 14)) * 2.6 = 526.46 Attack Speed = 2.60 / (40 / 100 + 1) = 1.86 (would be 2.60 if no haste effects were on) DPS = ((398.46 + 526.46) / 2) / 1.86 = 248.63 (would be 177.87 if no haste effects were on)
Weapon speed: 1.60 Minimum damage: 94 Maximum damage: 176 Minimum Range = (((94 / 1.6) + (1354 / 14)) * 1.60) * 0.75 = 186.56 Maximum Range = (((176 / 1.6) + (1354 / 14)) * 1.60) * 0.75 = 248.06 Attack Speed = 1.60 / (40 / 100 + 1) = 1.14 (would be 1.60 if no haste effects were on) DPS = ((186.56 + 248.06) / 2) / 1.14 = 190.62 (would be 135.82 if no haste effects were on)
Example #2 (ranged):
1323 Ranged Attack Power
5/5 Serpent's Swiftness = 20% increase in Ranged Combat Attack Speed
= 15% increase in Ranged Combat Attack Speed
With a attached (+10 damage)
Firing ammunition (Adds 34 DPS)
Weapon speed: 2.80 Minimum damage: 130 Maximum damage: 242 Minimum Range = ((((130 + 10) / 2.80) + (1323 / 14) + 34) * 2.80 = 499.80 Maximum Range = ((((242 + 10) / 2.80) + (1323 / 14) + 34) * 2.80 = 611.80 Attack Speed = (2.80 / (20 / 100 + 1)) / (15 / 100 + 1) = 2.03 DPS = ((499.8 + 611.8) / 2) / 2.03 = 273.8
Individual Spell DPS
The DPS of a single spell can be calculated as either (Damage / Cast Time) or (Damage / Cast Interval). The former, also referred to as "damage per cast time" (DPCT) is the amount of damage dealt over time spent casting the spell. The latter is used to express the spell's damage contribution over the total combat time, a figure used to express its damage contribution relative to other spells. For most calculations, an instant spells' cast time is treated as the GCD, 1.5 seconds / (1 + Spell Haste). Some spells have a reduced GCD as affected by talents.
where HI is the spell hit percent, D is the base damage, P is spell power, CP is the spell power coefficient, B is the critical damage bonus, SC is the critical strike percent, HA is the spell haste percent, and T is the base casting time.