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Damage per second

Damage per second (DPS) is a term commonly used to describe the rate of damage inflicted over time. DPS is a Game Mechanic in Starcraft 2 and is a method for standardizing the amount of damage dealt by units. The term is an aspect of theorycrafting. As a measure of capability, it is more accurate than a simple damage value that does not reflect how often the damage can be dealt.

Explanation of DPS[edit]

Damage per second is the rate at which "damage" is dealt to an attackable object within the game over a unit amount of time (1 second). Every unit in the game has a different attack rate and damage dealt per attack. Attack speed is the time interval between each activation of a unit's weapon. e.g. if a Zealot attacks a Stalker, the time until it next attacks is 0.86 s on Faster speed. This time interval is a constant. This property is also referred to as the Attack Cooldown. The amount of damage a unit deals is also constant for each unit, although this can be increased in the game, such as with Attack upgrades, Some units also deal damage in volleys, i,e, they deal their base damage twice or more per attack, e.g. if a Zealot attacks a Stalker, 8 damage is dealt twice, for 16 damage with each attack. Since every unit has a different attack value and Cooldown, it can be difficult to compare their damage-dealing potential. DPS is one method of comparing two units. Broadly speaking, the higher the DPS value, the less time that one unit takes to defeat another unit.

Calculation[edit]

Damage per second is calculated by multiplying a unit's Attack Value by its Attack Count and dividing by its Attack Cooldown.

Example: A Zealot has an Attack Value of 8 damage, an Attack Count of 2, and an Attack Cooldown of 0.86 seconds. What is its Damage per second?
We use the equation Damage per second = (Attack value × Attack Count / Attack Cooldown). Thus (8 × 2 / 0.86) = 18.67 damage per second.

Weapon Damage is usually notated alongside the damage gained from the weapon upgrades.

Thus the Zealot's Attack Value is 8 (+1) (×2), and the Zealot's DPS per upgrade is (1 × 2 / 0.86) = +2.33.

Shortcomings[edit]

Relying on DPS to ascertain a unit's worth is inadvisable due to several key shortcomings.

First, DPS does not account for Splash damage. For example, the Archon's DPS is technically 19.95(+2.39), and this would be the case if the Archon were fighting a solitary opponent. However, when an Archon attacks an opponent closely surrounded by several opponent units, the Archon does damage to all of the opponent units. Depending on the number and spacing of the opponent units, the actual damage dealt may be many times what the DPS value of the Archon predicts.

Second, base DPS does not take into account the object being attacked. It is only a measure of the damage output of the unit doing the damage. DPS can be reduced by the opposing unit's Armor Value, which decreases the Attack Value of the attacking unit by the Armor Value of the unit being attacked. Furthermore, some weapons have bonus damage against certain Attributes, the tags that belong to each unit; if a unit has a bonus against Armoured and the defender is not armoured then the damage dealt by that unit will be lower than the highest it could be.

Thirdly, because DPS is an average, it suffers from several key problems, [1] which can lead to some problems when the attack value or cooldown of a unit is relatively high and the time frame being considered is relatively small. For example, a Siege Tank in Siege Mode does a base damage of 40 versus non-armored units and has a cooldown of 2.14 seconds, and therefore has a DPS value of 18.67 damage. Assuming an attack against a single non-armored opponent unit, the DPS value would suggest that 1 second after the tank began to attack it would have dealt 8.72 damage. However 1 second after it began, the tank would actually have dealt 40 damage, because the Siege Tank's attack occurred at 0 s, and all damage was done at that moment. Similar discrepancies will occur when using DPS to predict damage output at any interval between its attacks, although as the number of times the attack has occured increases, the discrepancy between actual damage output and predicted damage output decreases.

DPS can also be deceptive about how much damage enemy units will take. For example, the Thor's ground weapon DPS is the highest in the game, 65.63, but because it is dealt in 60 damage volleys, much of the damage will be wasted in overkill against low-health opponents.

Finally, as some units and abilities deal one-time damage only, Damage per second cannot be calculated. These include the Baneling, and Tactical Nuke.

Damage and DPS by Unit[edit]

The following sortable table includes the DPS by unit with multiple permutations. DPS calculations are based on a unit's Damage output only. Note that the Disruptor, Oracle, and Widow Mine only attack with abilities, and the Carrier and Swarm Host only attack with sub-units. Bold indicates special ability or upgrade.

Unit Race Notes Ground
Damage
Air
Damage
Cool-
down
Ground
DPS
Air
DPS
Bonus Bonus
Damage
Bonus
DPS
Adept Protoss Resonating Glaives 10 (+1) 1.61
0.64
6.22 (+0.62)
15.56 (+1.56)
L 12 (+1) 7.47 (+0.62)
18.67 (+1.56)
Archon Protoss Splash 25 (+3) 25 (+3) 1.25 19.95 (+2.39) 19.95 (+2.39) B 10 (+1) 7.98 (+0.8)
Carrier Protoss With 8 Interceptors 5 (+1) (x16) 5 (+1) (x16) 2.14 37.33 (+7.47) 37.33 (+7.47)
Colossus Protoss Splash 10 (+1) (x2) 1.07 18.67 (+1.87) L 5 (+1) 9.33 (+1.87)
Dark Templar Protoss 45 (+5) 1.21 37.19 (+4.13)
Disruptor Protoss Purification Nova 145 (+0) 145 (+0) 23.54 6.16 (+0) 6.16 (+0) Shields 55 (+0) 2.34 (+0)
High Templar Protoss 4 (+1) 1.25 3.19 (+0.8)
Immortal Protoss 20 (+2) 1.04 19.31 (+1.93) A 30 (+3) 28.97 (+2.9)
Interceptor Protoss 5 (+1) (x2) 5 (+1) (x2) 2.14 4.67 (+0.93) 4.67 (+0.93)
Mothership Protoss 6 (+1) (x6) 6 (+1) (x6) 1.58 22.81 (+3.8) 22.81 (+3.8)
Oracle Protoss Pulsar Beam 15 (+0) 0.61 24.42 (+0) L 7 (+0) 11.4 (+0)
Phoenix Protoss 5 (+1) (x2) 0.79 12.73 (+2.55) L 5 (+0) 12.73 (+0)
Photon Cannon Protoss 20 (+0) 20 (+0) 0.89 22.4 (+0) 22.4 (+0)
Probe Protoss 5 (+0) 1.07 4.67 (+0)
Sentry Protoss 6 (+1) 6 (+1) 0.71 8.4 (+1.4) 8.4 (+1.4)
Stalker Protoss 13 (+1) 13 (+1) 1.34 9.73 (+0.75) 9.73 (+0.75) A 5 (+1) 3.74 (+0.75)
Tempest Protoss 40 (+4) 30 (+3) 2.36 16.97 (+1.7) 12.73 (+1.27) MaAir 22 (+2) 9.33 (+0.85)
Void Ray Protoss Prismatic Alignment 6 (+1) 6 (+1) 0.36 16.8 (+2.8) 16.8 (+2.8) A 4 (+0)
14 (+0)
11.2 (+0)
39.2 (+0)
Zealot Protoss 8 (+1) (x2) 0.86 18.67 (+2.33)
Auto-Turret Terran 18 (+0) 18 (+0) 0.57 31.5 (+0) 31.5 (+0)
Banshee Terran 12 (+1) (x2) 0.89 26.88 (+2.24)
Battlecruiser Terran 8 (+1) 5 (+1) 0.16 49.78 (+6.22) 31.11 (+6.22)
Cyclone Terran 18 (+2) 18 (+2) 0.71 25.2 (+2.8) 25.2 (+2.8)
Ghost Terran 10 (+1) 10 (+1) 1.07 9.33 (+0.93) 9.33 (+0.93) L 10 (+1) 9.33 (+0.93)
Hellbat Terran Splash
Infernal Pre-Igniter
18 (+2) 1.43 12.6 (+1.4) L 0 (+1)
12 (+1)
0 (+0.7)
8.4 (+0.7)
Hellion Terran Splash
Infernal Pre-Igniter
8 (+1) 1.79 4.48 (+0.56) L 6 (+1)
11 (+1)
3.36 (+0.56)
6.16 (+0.56)
Liberator Terran Defender Mode 75 (+5) 1.14 65.63 (+4.38)
Liberator Terran Fighter Mode
Splash
5 (+1) (x2) 1.29 7.78 (+1.56)
Marauder Terran Stimpack 10 (+1) 1.07
0.71
9.33 (+0.93)
14 (+1.4)
A 10 (+1) 9.33 (+0.93)
14 (+1.4)
Marine Terran Stimpack 6 (+1) 6 (+1) 0.61
0.41
9.76 (+1.63)
14.64 (+2.44)
9.76 (+1.63)
14.64 (+2.44)
Missile Turret Terran 12 (+0) (x2) 0.61 39.03 (+0)
Planetary Fortress Terran Splash 40 (+0) 1.43 28 (+0)
Reaper Terran 4 (+1) (x2) 0.79 10.18 (+2.55)
SCV Terran 5 (+0) 1.07 4.67 (+0)
Siege Tank Terran Tank Mode 15 (+2) 0.74 20.19 (+2.69) A 10 (+1) 13.46 (+1.35)
Siege Tank Terran Siege Mode
Splash
40 (+4) 2.14 18.67 (+1.87) A 30 (+1) 14 (+0.47)
Thor Terran Explosive Payload
SplashAir
30 (+3) (x2) 6 (+1) (x4) 0.91G
2.14A
65.63 (+6.56) 11.2 (+1.87) LAir 6 (+1) 11.2 (+1.87)
Thor Terran High-Impact Payload 30 (+3) (x2) 25 (+3) 0.91G
0.91A
65.63 (+6.56) 27.34 (+3.28) MaAir 10 (+1) 10.94 (+1.09)
Viking Terran Assault Mode 12 (+1) 0.71 16.8 (+1.4) Me 8 (+1) 11.2 (+1.4)
Viking Terran Fighter Mode 10 (+1) (x2) 1.43 14 (+1.4) A 4 (+0) 5.6 (+0)
Widow Mine Terran Sentinel Missiles
Splash
125 (+0) 125 (+0) 28.57 4.38 (+0) 4.38 (+0) Shields 35 (+0) 1.23 (+0)
Brood Lord Zerg 20 (+2) 1.79 11.2 (+1.12)
Broodling Zerg 4 (+1) 0.46 8.68 (+2.17)
Corruptor Zerg 14 (+1) 1.36 10.32 (+0.74) Ma 6 (+1) 4.42 (+0.74)
Drone Zerg 5 (+0) 1.07 4.67 (+0)
Hydralisk Zerg 12 (+1) 12 (+1) 0.59 20.36 (+1.7) 20.36 (+1.7)
Infested Terran Zerg 6 (+1) 14 (+1) 0.61G
1.14A
9.76 (+1.63) 12.28 (+0.88)
Locust Zerg 10 (+1) 0.43 23.33 (+2.33)
Lurker Zerg Splash 20 (+2) 1.43 14 (+1.4) A 10 (+1) 7 (+0.7)
Mutalisk Zerg 9 (+1) 9 (+1) 1.09 8.26 (+0.92) 8.26 (+0.92)
Queen Zerg 4 (+1) (x2) 9 (+1) 0.71 11.2 (+2.8) 12.6 (+1.4)
Ravager Zerg 16 (+2) 1.14 14 (+1.75)
Roach Zerg 16 (+2) 1.43 11.2 (+1.4)
Spine Crawler Zerg 25 (+0) 1.32 18.92 (+0) A 5 (+) 3.78 (+0)
Spore Crawler Zerg 15 (+0) 0.61 24.4 (+0) B 15 (+) 24.4 (+0)
Ultralisk Zerg Splash 35 (+3) 0.61 56.98 (+4.88)
Zergling Zerg Adrenal Glands 5 (+1) 0.5
0.35
10.06 (+2.01)
14.37 (+2.87)

References[edit]