So You Decided to Raid as DPS!

So You Decided to Raid as DPS!

 Welcome to the basics of raiding as dps.

 This guide is created for those who are currently level 80 and are looking for a raid spot for the first time in this guide I wanted to go over some basic methods of increasing dps for those who are interested in working their way into an active raid roster. If you are experienced, feel free to give any of your personal tips that you have below. Remember this is a beginner’s guide for all classes, if there is one exception to a rule, please tell us about it but remember it is an exception.

 1. What class do you play? What spec are you?

 Most classes have two or three primary dps talent trees that are available. The exceptions are Paladins and Priest (apparently light wielders don’t need a lot of ways to hurt things). Some talent trees will produce more dps than others. For example, arcane mages are putting out exceptional single target dps today, compared to frost mages. Frost mages have more utility, but not the raw damage output. Therefore, in this example, arcane would be your choice for optimal dps on raid bosses, which is what you are now in the business of killing!

 In short, if you’re looking to improve your dps, it would be advisable to locate the tree that does the best damage versus bosses.

 *Sometimes, multiple trees will be competitive – in those situations, pick the tree that you are most comfortable with.

 2. Pick the right talents for your build!

 Once you identified your primary damage tree, you need to put talent points into it. Talent choices are extremely important for optimal dps. A talent that gives you additional damage is far more useful in most cases to one that adds survivability or resistance. Your job is to hurt things. The healer’s job is to keep you alive as long as you’re not standing in big pools of whatever painful liquid the encounter designers decided to pour on the floor or in front of a boss that likes to cleave, breath fire, do some sort of damaging attack that will remove your entire life bar in one hit…ect.

 If you’re looking to raid, you should be playing smart, so DPS talents are your primary concern.

 The question you should be asking next would be –

 Well then, where would I find the best build? Seems like a lot of math and experimentation!ell “Good news” as Professor Putricide would say! Someone has already done all that work for you. Many sites have the information available. They have done the testing so you don’t have to.


 One site I like to use is Elitist Jerks. They have all of the information neatly categorized by class and spec. Links per class are at the end of this guide!

 3. Abilities and Rotations

 Ok you have a big bad talent build, but how do you use it to its potential? You will need to learn the proper sequence of abilities to generate the highest possible dps hereafter called Rotation. This is highly dependent on your class and spec. The highest dps rotation will be different for an arms warrior and a fury warrior.

 Oftentimes, for optimal dps, you will need to repeat a sequence of abilities in a certain order. For example, shadow priest have a talent that gives a 2% shadow damage done ability for every shadow spell cast that stacks 5 times for a total of a 10% damage increase. One of their dots, Shadow Word Pain, will stay up on the boss for the remainder of the fight when cast in most situations (due to another talent). Due to that, they want to cast Shadow Word Pain after the 10% damage increase buff is up as this will make the spell do 10% more damage throughout the fight. Knowing the proper order to use abilities greatly increases dps.

 There are always exceptions to the rotation based on how a boss encounter works, but in general you will do the most dps knowing your

 This information can also be located on Elitist Jerks in the class forums.(see below!)

 4. Gear

You have a talent build and know what spells to cast at the right times. But your dps is still not high? Time to take off your [Big ol’ Helm of the Whale] and get some gear that is good for your class / spec!

 Identify stats that are beneficial to your ability to do damage. For every dps class Hit Rating is a valuable stat to have to a certain point. What good does your 10000 damage spell of death do if it goes flying by the head of your enemy? None! Locate the amount of hit needed for your class and get gear to reach it. This will be a different number for different classes due to mechanics and talents so learn your number!

 After you have enough hit rating so you are not missing special abilities, start stacking other stats. Some classes get more benefits from strength, agility, intellect, spell power, haste, critical strike rating, ect. So find out what benefits your class and gather that gear.

 The next question you would ask is “Where do I get gear?” – Good question! Some gear can be acquired from the auction house; however the best way to get gear is through instances, heroic instances to be specific. They drop actual gear as well as provide badges which can be used at a badge vendor to trade for gear. With the dungeon finder tool, you can queue up for a heroic instance and begin putting together a solid starter raiding gear set!

 To find out what dungeons contain what loot, I would recommend Kaliban’s Class Loot List –

 5. Gemming/enchanting/gear modifications

 You have run multiple dungeons and now have epic gear. Now to prepare it for raiding!

Most raid guild will expect you to be gemmed and enchanted properly. This will be based on class, but there are often optimal gems/enchants that you will want to have in your gear. Once again see Elitist Jerks for what is the best and use it!

 Ensure the following –

 A. The following gear slots should be enchanted –

Head (from a reputation vendor)

Shoulders (from Sons of Hodir or from Inscription)






Belt (via the Eternal Belt Buckle)

 B. Add an armor kit to your leg slot – Leatherworks make a physical dps kit and there are 2 caster kits made by tailors

 C. Ensure your head slot has a meta gem.

 D. Fill out the rest of your gem slots according to the stats your class benefits from most making sure to activate your meta gem.

 6. Professions – if you leveled professions they will give you a benefit of some sort to your stats. Really go with anything here other than Herbalism or Mining. The former gives a mediocre self heal and the other raises stamina. Neither of which raises your dps, which is your job, so avoid them.

 Otherwise level your professions and get the free buff from them.

 7. Knowledge

 This is simple, learn the fights! If your raiding ICC – find out what jobs the dps have in fights.

One example of this is Lord Marrowgar in ICC – As a dps you have a few jobs:

1. DPS the boss

2. DPS the people in Bone Spikes.

3. Move out of the fire ASAP

4. Move away from the boss during bone storm

 Step one goes without saying. The boss needs to die, and as dps that is your specialty. An unsuccessful dps will go into a fight not knowing much more than that. But that dps will die, or strain the healers, or will let someone else die to a fight mechanic like the Bone Spikes.

 The other steps are just as important as dpsing the boss. A good dps player will realize that and do whatever it takes to down the boss. Dpsing the bone spikes keeps people alive to help kill the boss. Moving out of the file and away from the boss keeps you alive to continue dpsing as well as not straining the healers.

 Various sites have boss descriptions and videos so that you can learn them prior to stepping into a raid. I would recommend the following:

 8. Add-ons (all add-ons listed can be located at

 Add-ons are valuable tools that help a raider become as situationally aware as possible. As a dps you can use them to help you know what to do, and when.

 A. Boss Mods –

Boss Mods make raiding easier for everyone. Period. Standing in fire? They will tell you that. A phase change is incoming where you need to burn cooldowns to get thru it successfully? A timer will let you know.

 The two popular boss mods are listed below – get one and run it!

 Deadly Boss Mods

Big Wigs

 B. Threat meters –

 There is only one thing you need to know about threat – you should not have it. That is the tank’s job. They have things like huge health pulls and the ability to not be critically hit. You do not. So you want to avoid angering a mob to the point where it turns and swings at you. And if you do make some big monster angry, it lets you know to do something about it, from using a cooldown that removes or reduces threat (ex. Feign Death, Hand of Salvation, Vanish, Fade, ect) so the big angry monster doesn’t flatten you.

 Blizzard added a threat meter component to faceplates a while back. This can be turned on without any add-ons installed. However a threat meter gives a much clearer picture of your threat level. I would recommend Omen, however there are several available and as long as it gives a graphical display of your threat level, you are covered.

 C. Recount

This is a valuable tool that gives a graphic display of various things occurring in raid, including the amount of dps done. The thing to understand about recount is that it is a tool, nothing more. As a dps, recount tells you how much dps you are doing during a particular fight. But like any tool you need to understand how to properly use it.

 There are two very good reasons to use recount as a dps. The first reason is to clock your own dps versus training dummies. Why do this? Practice. When learning your rotation, it is useful to know how effective you are.

Secondly, this can be used to see if you are carrying your own weight to a raid. If you are significantly below another raid member and you are of the same class, this tool will tell you that. It also allows you to analyze the ability choices of that person and gives you an idea of what you are doing that is not optimal.

 Once again, recount is a tool. There are some things that you should not do with it.

1. Spam dps reports in raid unless prompted by your raid leader

2. Yell at people for poor performance (they may have a reason, like they were kiting an add when you were just dpsing – also, this is the raid leaders responsibility – report it to them)

 D. Other stuff

 There are various other add-ins that have the potential to improve your dps – they will be listed in the specific forums on Elitist Jerks.

 9. Class information –


Deathknight –


Druid –


Hunter –


Mage –


Paladin –


Priest –


Rogues –


Shaman –


Warlock –


Warrior –




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