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When talking about end-game builds, a lot of players commonly refer to their builds having "x amount of Shaper DPS". That said, I don't actually understand what Shaper DPS is.

I know there is tooltip DPS, which shows me how much average DPS I am dealing with a specific skill, but the game itself has no listed stat for Shaper DPS, nor can I understand why the Shaper is used to measure DPS.

What is the difference between Shaper DPS and tooltip DPS?

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What is the difference between Shaper DPS and tooltip DPS?

The Shaper has 40% elemental resistances, 25% chaos resistance, and 66% reduced curse effectiveness. These effects can significantly reduce the damage that many builds can deal against him, especially builds which rely on elemental damage and/or curses.

The same properties are present on many other endgame bosses, like The Elder, Shaper guardians, Elder guardians, and Legion generals, as well as in lesser forms on Atziri, Delve bosses, Abyssal liches, Incursion architects, etc. As such, "Shaper DPS" is a useful proxy for a build's effectiveness against endgame content.


Additionally, "tooltip DPS" generally refers to the number displayed on the in-game tooltip. This number is calculated in a relatively simplistic fashion, by summing all types of damage dealt by a skill and multiplying by attack/cast speed; it does not take into account other effects which may boost a player's effective damage, like elemental penetration, debuffs placed on enemies, conditional bonuses, or damage-over-time effects you can cause such as ignite, bleed, or poison. (It is also entirely ineffective at calculating DPS for skills which deal damage indirectly, like minions, traps, or mines, or for skills which are triggered by Cast on Critical Hit or other trigger supports.)

"Shaper DPS" is generally calculated using the third-party Path of Building tool, which can take most of these effects into account.

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Tooltip DPS - number shown in your game, it simply represents damage (divided onto your attacks per second) you can deal with a single attack of your skill to a normal enemy. It could miss lots of things, like additional damage over time from the same skill or piercing into other targets. So, tooltip DPS is about your single skill versus some abstract enemy.

So community come up with proper tooling to calculate actual DPS. For example, one can use Path of Building (I am not affiliated, but I use and recommend it), where you can customize lots of things - for example, effect of curses you apply. Also, in PoB you can take into consideration enemy skills or resistances - there is drop down menu with different bosses.

So here comes Shaper DPS - DPS in PoB against Shaper. His resistances are 40 fire, 40 cold, 40 lightning, 25 chaos, and he has 66% less curse effectiveness. So Shaper DPS is about your character applying whatever skills they have onto this specific end game boss.

Why Shaper though? I don't know, he is one of the end game bosses, maybe the toughest.

Also, this Shaper DPS makes little sense - you cannot deal damage all the time, you will spent majority of the battle running from that huge flying thing or crazy laser beam or that growing spot on the ground.

  • Does the Shaper have any Physical DR? – senpai Jun 20 '19 at 4:32
  • @senpai No, neither Elder or Shaper have Physical DR – FoxMcCloud Jun 20 '19 at 14:21
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The existing answers are fine but there's a fine distinction:

a. Tooltip dps - literally the in-game displayed tooltip, which is commonly a number made up by multiplying your skill's base dmg * attacks/casts per second * crit chance * crit multiplier * accuracy rolls (for attacks)

b. A skill's "real" dps - a computed estimate based on the skill's actual mechanics, ex. barrage fires several projectiles per attack. The tooltip only reflects the damage from a single projectile hitting, while depending on positioning, you could get several projectiles to hit a single target/boss. Practically all totem/trap/mine setups fall into this same example of vastly different tooltip and real dps.

On this standard of "real" dps, there's the side of both conditional buffs on you (flasks most commonly and power/frenzy/endurance charges) and debuffs on the enemy (curses, status ailments etc) and sometimes a combination of the two along with all the extra statuses and effects from unique and ascendancy interactions.

Shaper has just been the standard endgame boss for a while, since the era of Path of Building - PoB (a software build simulator and planning tool for PoE) which does a lot (but not even close to all) of these scenario settings and calculations for you.

Others have already mentioned about Boss/shaper chaos/elemental res and curse reduction etc. which lowers the effective dps of most builds.

Tl;DR; - with the advent of PoB allowing people to mock up and share builds pretty effectively, Shaper just became the most commonly used standard reference point to demonstrate a build's dps for the purpose of comparing two builds. It's complete BS to go on this alone btw... but it's a handy reference check when most of the time comparing builds is like comparing apples to oranges.

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