The DPS role is the most popular role in World of Warcraft Dragonflight. It has been that way since Vanilla WoW and it will continue to be that way until the franchise hangs up the gloves for good.
DPS roles are incredibly important due to the way the game has been designed. You will need multiple DPS (along with a few tanks and healers) to complete dungeons, raids, and even PvP battlegrounds or arenas.
Since there are lots of different DPS classes and specs, it would be impractical to have a complete guide on how to play DPS in World of Warcraft without missing anything. So, this guide will focus mainly on tips and tricks on how to be a successful DPS using any class.
These tips will involve things like understanding the DPS role, preparing for content, and looking at general rules you need to follow. All of these will help increase your DPS and become more successful with whatever content you are finishing.
Here’s how to play DPS in Dragonflight.
What is the Role of a DPS?
DPS stands for “damage per second” which is a bit of a clunky name, but here we are.
The main purpose of a DPS is to be a source of consistent damage in a group. There are different kinds of DPS classes, and picking one depends on your preferred play style.
Since this is a general guide, we won’t be diving into the details of how each and every class and specialization can deal maximum damage.
Instead, we’ll look at how you can become a more efficient DPS player and how to maximize your damage. Maybe you could even parse above the 95 percentile on Heroic or Mythic difficulty raids, after reading and practicing everything in this guide and combining it with a few specific class guides.
Other than dealing damage, you need to understand what kind of content you are running and what kind of team composition you have at your disposal.
For example, let’s say that you are going into a dungeon as a Fire Mage. Your weaknesses when compared to other DPS classes are your long interrupt cooldowns, mediocre 2-3 mob pull damage, and low mobility.
Your strength is bringing Heroism or Bloodlust, a Mage buff, punchy single target damage, and impactful 5+ mob pull damage.
Obviously, patches can change the intricacies of how a Fire Mage might perform, but it’s still worth having a general understanding of these pieces of information.
It’s good to have a grasp on the basic strengths and weaknesses of different DPS classes, so that you can form a group to compensate for your own weaknesses or at least be aware of what your team might be lacking in a fight.
Get a healer who can constantly interrupt to help you out, and try to get a tank with decent AoE damage abilities too. You’ll also want to find another DPS with good 2-3 targets damage output, to balance out your own abilities.
As for DPS fight mechanics, there are different ones to be aware of for every dungeon and raid in the game.
Special mechanics like moving the eggs for Artificer Xy’mox, doing belts in the Siegecrafter Blackfuse fight, or being a runner in the G’huun fight are usually done by the DPS role.
If your group is lacking damage for the fight, you can even have a healer do some of the mechanics.
General Rules for DPS Roles
While every class is different and has its own DPS rules and mechanics to consider, there are some general rules for DPS roles that are essential to understand if you want to truly get to grips with how to play DPS in Dragonflight.
Don’t Pull Mobs
As a DPS, you want to leave the pulling to the tanks, unless told otherwise. All tanks have a ranged skill that can pull enemies from a distance, and they can even use their taunt skill here as well.
Sometimes, there are ‘acceptable’ scenarios where a DPS can pull mobs.
For example, if the DPS wants to pull a big pack because they want to use cooldowns and burn the mobs down quickly, it’s alright to do so as long as this has been cleared with the tank and the healer. This is much easier with proper communication tools at your disposal, such as the in-game voice chat or Discord.
As a DPS, you want to focus on interrupting hard-hitting or crowd control abilities from enemies. These are quite prevalent in dungeons and raids, and you can read about when you will need to deal with them in the in-game Adventure Guide.
They’re also worth keeping an eye on when you are doing quests or fighting elite mobs, too. It’s good practice to keep on top of these abilities whenever you come across them.
Follow Mechanics and Calls
If a fight calls for focusing adds, you will need to focus the adds. If a fight calls for ignoring the adds, you will need to exclusively focus on the boss.
An "add" means that there is an additional mob in the fight with you.
The decision to focus on adds or bosses will usually fall on the raid or dungeon leader, who will let every DPS player know what they need to do.
There are also mechanics in some fights where you will need to move around and do something instead of doing damage. You have to do these for the sake of finishing the fight.
One particular mechanic that DPS will need to be aware of is pushing through phases.
For example, in the Sire Denathrius fight (Castle Nathria’s last boss), the first phase is actually a DPS-check, where you will need to push to the second phase before you run out of space in the arena.
A "DPS-check" means that the fight calls extensively for the DPS to do enough damage to finish the fight or phase, so that a mechanic does not trigger and wipe the group.
This means that you need the DPS to push through the phase fast by maximizing damage as efficiently as possible.
Avoid Bursting Mobs That Aren’t Focused By the Tank at the Start
When you are doing a lot of damage, and the tank can’t keep up, you might end up pulling the aggro of one of the mobs.
This is rare, but when a DPS pops their cooldown on a mob pull, you can see it happen. You need to wait for a little while so that the tank can build up some AoE aggro on a big pull before popping off.
Tips & Tricks for All DPS Roles
All DPS classes have cooldowns, where they have a powerful burst of damage for a short period of time during a fight. The burst damage output and duration can be different for each class, but here are the tips you should know.
Always think ahead about what is about to come. Raids and dungeons often follow similar patterns, so you’ll be able to pick up on timings and strategies after some time. Once you pick up on the timings, you will know how long it gets from fight A to fight B.
During your fights, you want to maximize your DPS cooldowns so that you get as many uses as possible.
Most players just use their cooldowns on boss fights in M+ dungeons. If you can use a DPS cooldown on a mob pull and have it ready for the next boss, even if you are going to use it towards the end of a fight, it will be more efficient than just using it on every boss fight.
To put it into perspective, let’s say that you are doing a 30-minute dungeon with 4 bosses. If you use your cooldowns on every boss, you will only use them 4 times.
If your DPS cooldown time is roughly every 3 minutes, you could use it 9 to 10 times in that dungeon. Just following this tip can help to carry you through M+10 dungeons every week.
For raid bosses, you can use the same logic. However, you will usually want to save your cooldowns for parts where you need to do burst damage. Check the Adventure Guide before going into a new raid so you know where burst damage might be relevant.
Always Bring Potions
As a DPS, you should always have these three types of potions:
- Healing potion
- DPS potion
- Utility potion (movement and invisibility)
Healing potions are a must-have for almost every situation – leveling, questing, dungeons, and raids. In group settings, it helps the healers a lot to use them at crucial moments.
DPS potions amplify your damage for a short period of time. It might be minimal, but it actually matters a lot on raid progressions or high M+ dungeon keys.
You can use these DPS potions when you are about to use your DPS cooldowns. Since most DPS potions increase your primary stat for a short period of time, the boost you will receive while doing your quick DPS burst will be significant.
There are other DPS potions that you can use, but it will differ depending on the expansion or update. It’s worth spending some time looking at which ones exist.
Utility potions can also be incredibly helpful. Invisibility potions will help you skip mobs, which is good because not all classes have invisibility-related abilities.
Movement potions are also very handy, as they can help you to kite and survive when you get aggro or when you are tackling a difficult mob during leveling.
Macro Trinkets to DPS Cooldowns
There are DPS trinkets in the game that you can activate. Since trinkets aren’t on GCD, you can make a macro that activates your trinkets and DPS cooldowns at the same time.
GCD, or global cooldown, means that using any skill or item with a GCD will trigger a short cooldown that needs to expire before you can use another skill or item. The length of a GCD is 1.5s, and it becomes shorter with more haste stats.
It helps a lot if you are trying to save space on your hotbar or trying to min-max DPS.
If you have two DPS trinkets, it will be more useful as you can actually use 2 trinkets and ability in just one button.
Start Off Simple
If you’re learning a brand new class or spec, it’s best to go for the simpler pieces of content first and give yourself time to adjust to the new rotation. Work your way through standard dungeons as you level and make a note of which ones you enjoy.
Do you like linear dungeons with a few big bosses? Do you prefer more complex dungeons with mini bosses and elite mobs? This may seem trivial, but it’s good to know what you enjoy as it often reflects how your class or spec performs in that dungeon.
Once you hit the relevant level, you can start tackling the easier M+ dungeons and work your way up the ladder from there.