A Guide to Damage and Time (DPS)

The Claims of the High and Mighty

I did 11.4 million DPS! I’m sure you have heard something similar in your days of playing Rift (or any MMO for that matter).  Something like this jumps immediately to your attention. You ask again for them to reclarify and they repeat it. Then they post it from there damage meter and you see that it was only for four seconds total.  o you roll your eyes and move on or you ask the person a spec and rotation so you too can do this?

In Einstein’s 1905 Annus mirabilis publication on special relativity he put fourth (eventually) a couple of ideas. One of those was that there was no such single thing as time and no such single thing as space. Instead there was actually something called space-time. It is a much deeper yet common sense thinking, after all you can’t just tell someone you are meeting them at a place or time. You have to tell them you are meeting them at a certain place at a certain time. You need both pieces of information to accurately know. In Rift thinking of damage without time, or time without damage is almost the same thing. One is irrelevant without the other.


Damage in a MMO is almost identical. You can tell someone how much damage you did or how long it took you to do damage but neither one by themselves really tell you anything at all about the effect of your damage. Did you stand there for five minutes and autoattack? Did you blow everything you had in five seconds then stand there twiddling your thumbs for the next ten?

The truth is typically in between these two somewhere. So how do we tell?


Back to Basics

There are many terms associated with how much damage a person or group of people inflict over a period of time. What follows is a basic definition of each of these.

Damage Per Second: The amount of damage done per second as a function of time divided by total damage.

Burst DPS: A generally short and typically high amount of damage over time.  Generally when some is talking about Burst they mean something that is less than ten (10) seconds. When you see someone post a high number, it almost always is the burst and means nothing.

Sustained DPS: This is your longer total over time damage that is done to an enemy. If you were to tell someone your DPS this is typically the number they are looking for. A good measure of your damage over time sustained is at least a three minute parse with four or higher being even better.

Sustained Short: This is normally anything between Burst and Sustained DPS. Many players will link an actual parse that falls into this category. The problem is the actual parse can be manipulated in such a way that the numbers will come out way higher than on a sustained role.

Area of Effect Damage: An amount of damage done to typically three or more enemies at once, with many parses taking on five at once to calculate damage.

EncDPS: If you are using a parser such as Advanced Combat Tracker then you may notice another term. This is short for encounter DPS and is the total DPS of a character throughout the entire fight.

CharDPS: If you are using a parser such as Advanced Combat Tracker  then this means the amount of DPS that a character does while they themselves are in combat.  For example say that a character arrives to an encounter 60 seconds late and the total encounter lasts 5 minutes. There calculation of damage would be there total damage divided by four minutes.

So as an algorithm we can run the following to determine your dps. This is just basic math, no 4th dimensional integral calculus here.

Total Damage
Total Seconds
= Total Seconds < 20  = Max Burst DPS

Total Seconds > 20 AND < 60  = Sustained Burst DPS

Total Seconds < 180 AND > 90 = Sustained Short

Total Seconds > 180 = Sustained DPS


Addons and DPS

Since the introduction of add ons in Rift there have been quite a few that have caculated and made easily avialable in game DPS. A few such popular examples are Rift Meter, Simple Meter and RiftCount DPS Meter.  Each of these meters may show you with a diffent amount of DPS depending on different circumstances.

For example Rift Meter typically waits until you are out of combat of sometimes  up to six seconds before it actually ends On a 60 seconds parse this can bring your total DPS down by over 10%.

Much like Einstein and his theory of relativity, you need more information to determine whether or not your damage was actually any good. How is this information actually calculated?


 Open World Is not a Raid

So many times someone will see someone in the open world doing a ton of damage and wonder what they could be using. You should be sure to understand that in the open world there are many more buffs which make overall dps higher than they would be if they were in raid.  For example there is the ability Fury of the Ascended which increases damage by 20%, there are quite a few buffs to planar enemies in planar attunement, nightmare rifts have a lot of different buffs that can really boost your damage.

If you really want to compare DPS to others, especially if you are raiding. then your only real option to see where you stand is to compare yourself with those listed on a website like prancingturtle