The Acronym "DPS" Is All Over the World of Gaming — but What Does It Mean?


Jan. 26 2022, Published 12:40 p.m. ET

When it comes to gaming, part of the rush is finally completing a rough level or getting the unlockables that seemed almost impossible. With new games coming out all the time, there are more weapons, characters, abilities, and more to fall in love with, but that also means there are terms that may not make sense to everyone, especially those who are new to the industry or the hobby.

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New terms for things pop up all the time. And those playing a certain type of video game may be hearing the acronym "DPS" for the first time. But what does it even mean in games? It's actually very useful when it comes to trying to beat some of your favorites.

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What does "DPS" mean in games?

According to, DPS stands for Damage Per Second, primarily in multiplayer games. It's used to describe types of weapons and characters as well as how much damage they're capable of in that short amount of time. This is a quick way for gamers to know the most effective way to beat a level or campaign.

DPS describes damage, but this can be a combination of how many attacks a character or weapon can perform per second along with how much damage each of those attacks generates. So even if one punch from a character can deplete another's HP (health points) by five, if that same character can punch five times per second, the overall damage is actually –20 HP. This is even better if you can hit multiple enemies at once.

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Although it's not exactly clear when DPS started being used, many say that it began in MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) and specifically in World of Warcraft. But eventually, it spread and has now been used across the gaming world.

What is a DPS character?

A DPS character is one whose main