This term is often used in reference to RPGs, where it is employed in the context of an ability. E.g. "Ability A has higher DPCT than ability B". What does this term mean / signify?

  • 5
    I've played a lot of RPGs. I've never come across this term before.
    – Frank
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 11:34
  • 1
    I've never heard of it either, but it looks like it is more commonly known as Spell DPS Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 2:07

1 Answer 1


Damage per cast time

The term refers to the effective "dps contribution" that casting an ability does. The total damage an action contributed divided by the time it took.

The simplest examples are from turn-based RPGs, where actions frequently consume one 'unit slice' of time or one 'turn'. Note that some RPGs can have variable-length turns, where the length of the turn might depend on the character's stats and/or the selected move.

Let's consider an example for the simple case: Character C has 2 abilities, call them

  1. poison. Does 10 damage each turn for 3 turns, including the turn that you cast it.
  2. fireball. Fireball does 25 damage.

Let's say our hypothetical enemy has 110 health. To kill the enemy in the optimal number of turns, our character should cast Poison -> Poison -> Fireball -> Fireball, assuming the two instances of Poison count separately. The dpct then of the casts of Fireball are obvious, 25. Since the Damage/turn was 27.5, some simple math gets you the dpct of the poison casts: 30.

It's a useful measure to compare abilities for dealing damage when the plain damage numbers of the spell are complicated, to ask ourselves the question "Which ability should I cast now".

  • The second casting of Poison only adds 10 DMG to the total count, while a Fireball cast at the same time would add 25. It is indeed more useful to cast Poison as the first attack due to higher DPCT, but after that it is better to cast Fireball while Poison runs. Better make an example for an enemy with more HP to illustrate that, the best course of actions is then Poison-Fireball-Fireball, repeated until the enemy is dead. The example you provided only works if the effects of each casting of Poison stack, which is not true in most games I have seen. Otherwise Poison would be always better. :) Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 9:22
  • Note: the answer states 'assuming the instances count separately' or 'stack' in game terminology. I prefer using less terminology to explain other terminology to lower the barrier of entry to learning (at the cost of some verbosity). Real examples are indeed usually more tricky than this; this is basically the simplest possible non-trivial case where DPCT is useful. Whether a damage over time effect stacks with itself is not always true. An example where it is would be the game 'Darkest Dungeon'.
    – aphid
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 10:57
  • I've also seen games where damage over time abilities stack to a certain number of stacks but not an unlimited number of stacks. Obviously, the max number of stacks would then factor in to the cast order to get maximum DPCT. Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 15:58

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