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I'm wondering how much I should be trusting the character sheet dps value. Are there certain stats/skills that it ignores? What should be I taking into account when comparing dps values?

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The character sheet DPS is only "base DPS", meaning that it does not take into consideration things like:

  • abilities that increase your attack speed (e.g. Barbarian's Frenzy)
  • abilities that increase or decrease the damage dealt per hit (almost all abilities have this in some form: "Deals x% weapon damage")

Note, however, that it takes passive abilites (such as Barbarian's +5% crit, +10% critical damage) into consideration when calculating the value.

However, if you just want to know "base-dps", meaning the DPS, not considering any skills, then you can trust the DPS value from the character sheet. It's easy to see that it's working: Just remove items from your equipment that somehow alter the DPS (attack speed, main attribute, etc.) and you can see that it changes.

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Recall also that DPS is just an average. Statistically it should average out, but in short time windows, especially with slow weapons, your mileage will vary. –  EBongo May 17 '12 at 17:11
    
It does add some percentage for the skills you use ;) But it doesn't now how much u use witch one. –  user25587 May 18 '12 at 14:05
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Frenzy and other skill dps is added to your sheet for the duration of the effect (So, for frenzy, you need to have your inventory open for the 5 seconds it is on to see it.)

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The DPS calculation is based on:

  • Weapon and item attributes (attack speed, critical hit, +main attribute etc.)
  • Currently active and passive skills / buffs. I shows you the damage of you next hit, if you are able to constantly deal the same damage for the next second. This is why Sharpshooter does not work as expected for the DPS calculation.

It does not consider your attack skills and any modification for them. It assumes you select no skill and attack just with your weapon. This is not applied:

  • attributes like +X% damage / critical for skill Y (e.g. +10% damage Elemental Arrow).
  • +X% (element) damage (e.g. +5% poison damage).
  • attributes like +Mana / +Hatred etc. that would increase your overall damage

Actually it makes sense if you think about it, because the game cannot know which skill (primary / secondary) you will spam in a fight and how often you switch between them.

You should use the calculated DPS as an indicator, but do not rely on it being acurate. Usually your DPS should be higher, except for Sharpshooter and similar passive skills.

Try different items and skills and evaluate yourself what is best.

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You also need to keep in mind that DPS is calculated assuming that you are using a skill at the speed that your weapon attacks. If you are using clicking slower than your weapon can attack, you will do less DPS than is listed. More importantly, skills that do damage over time (ie "250% of weapon damage over 3 seconds") are unaffected by weapon speed, so DPS can actually be quite misleading with these skills. Weapon damage is the actual range listed on your weapon, without being multiplied by attack speed, so given a fast weapon and a slow weapon with equal DPS, the damage over time skill will do more damage with the slow weapon, despite your character sheet displaying the same value.

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