How to Measure DPS

Posted: by Frostheim

reviewed and accurate
Reviewed 12/8/09
Patch 3.3

View all WHU WoW guides Here.

We talk a lot about hunter dps, and how to measure your dps. We talk about the heroic target dummy, and how Patchwerk is a real-life target dummy, and our dps in 10-mans, 5-mans, and 25-mans. But the one thing we never addressed is how to find out what your dps is!

The best way to measure your dps is with a free Addon called Recount. Recount measures a lot of stuff, including dps, damage done, healing done, healing taken, damage taken, etc. As hunters, we’re pretty much only concerned with damage done, and maybe a little bit in hit percentage, crit percentage, damage by shot, etc.

What Recount Looks Like:

Generally you’ll be looking at this little box. Some people keep it up in the corner of their screen all the time. Some people just check it out after boss fights, or at the end of a raid. But this is what people are talking about when they talk about measuring their dps (note that I’ve changed other ppls names on this one):

Now, if you click on anyone’s name, you get a screen that gives you a breakdown of all of your abilities, how much damage each one did, how often you missed, crit, etc. It looks something like this (I added the yellow circle — this is a recycled image from another guide):


How to Get Recount

Very simple. You can download Recount Here.

Then you just put the recount folder into your Addons folder. You can find your addons folder at:

C:>Program Files > World of Warcraft > Interface > Addons

If you have a Mac, the process is a bit harder. You first have to go purchase a PC, install WoW, and watch your quality of life improve.

Once the Recount folder is inside the Addons folder, you’re good to go. Launch WoW (or relaunch it) and you can just type: ” /recount show ” to see the little box. From there, play around with it a bit. It’s big fun, and an essential tool of the hunter trying to maximize his or her dps.

Where to Go For Best Results

In the real world… well, the real world of warcraft… your actual results are measured in your raids and dungeons. But those are not good ways to compare different talent specs, or gear choices, or shot cycles. The reason is that one raid is very different from another. What other classes were there and what buffs did you have? Were you missing some buffs? Were some debuffs applied to some bosses and not others? It’s very changing.

So when we test our dps we do it against a Target Dummy. These can be found in the main old world cities. I recommend the Ironforge target dummy, because why would you want to go to any other city? I mean, really.

The Target Dummy you’re looking for is the Level 83 Heroic Target Dummy. This is the one that represents a raid boss in terms of hit chance, crit chance, armor, etc. To measure your dps to the following:

  • Be in Aspect of the Hawk
  • Put up Hunter’s Mark
  • Send pet in to attack
  • Use your optimal shot cycle

Keep shooting until you run out of mana, and note your dps there at the end. I recommend not using any big red pet or rapid fire or anything with a long cooldown. Now, you’ll want to do this at least three times, preferably five times, because with the randomness of luck you’ll see that every result is slightly different. Doing it several times will give you a good mean result.

And now you know what your baseline dps is, self-buffed only. That is something you can quote to compare to other hunters, or other classes.

Facebook Twitter Snailmail
  1. Cocky Mage says:

    I need you to get a different scren shot of recount… that one makes me look like I’m slacking.

  2. Frostheim says:

    How about the one from our 25-man Malygos takedown?

  3. Tala says:

    but, big red pet is a huge part of BM DPS, and uhh it will go off about 3 times during the test dummy run ( or about once per minute)

  4. Bristal says:

    Hey, my Mac is a much prettier target for my head while I’m wrestling with UI issues. Your PC quality of life may be better, but my phat purple iMac makes me feel EPIC!!

    Seriously, I have wrestled with issues but all addons including Recount are running smooth as silk.

  5. Cocky Mage says:

    Heh… umm… I dont remember how I did… How bout the 25 man Naxx that I know I crushed this week?

  6. Hrist says:

    Nah, this Recount meter is a more accurate representation of your ability! >:)

  7. Marick says:

    If you got to best buy to get a computer, you deserve what you get.

  8. SmashD says:

    Tala makes a fair point… why would you not use BW in measuring your dps as BM? I know that puts you on the slippery slope of what cool downs to use and which not, but it really is such a big part of being a BM dps and is up so often, esp. when you have the glyph of reduced cooldown…

    Another question, what about trinkets – shouldn’t you pop those also? Thing is, I have mirror of truth and grim toll trinkets which proc automatically, so a little unfair to compare against someone not using their’s manually…

  9. Erik says:

    As long as you use the same buffs for each run, you can use them to compare different shot rotations, gear and specs. Generally I just test with whatever method I would use on a boss.

  10. KILYAN says:

    love the site by the way, my dps has improved drastically because of you. just a simple question to start with, im lvl 76 currently hitting 1350dps, how does this compare to most my lvl?

  11. Frostheim says:

    Kilyan: We don’t normally pay a lot of attention to the dps bar for levels lower than 80 – since it changes so significantly with every level. However, my best guess is that you’re doing very will for your level and the below-80 gear.

    Erik: even if you have the same buffs on a 25-man run, your dps can still change radically from raid to raid. Some of your buffs are dependent on what other people in the raid are doing. Then for fights that aren’t Patchwerk, you have the situational changes of running around and avoiding the various roving death traps that each boss brings.

  12. Sasko says:

    Alright what are your thoughts on trap dancing ive heard alot of speculation on this is it for better or worse? could you please elaborate and show me some pretty numbers and proof for one way or the other?

  13. Tarannna says:

    Gotta first off hand this to you Frost i enjoy reading all there is on this site! I hooked my self up with a nice devilsaur, and respecced myself i bit in bm, and now on the dps charts i went from a little bit above the healer! to number one or two. (Damn warriors sometime put in a bit more). Thanks!!

  14. Tina says:

    I have Recount installed but its not coming up on game when I log in. How do I enable this meter to show?

  15. Frostheim says:

    Type /recount show

    That should bring it up!

  16. Khyros says:

    This is great and all… but i have a problem..

    Can you please tell me the Shot Cycle for a Survival Hunter :)

    i cant seem to find it anywhere

  17. Frostheim says:

    Here it is:

    In general you can find everything you ever need to know in our Guides section. Note that the SV shot cycle has not yet been updated for patch 3.1, but should be very soon! The “Reviewed and Accurate” graphic has a date under it, so you know when it’s updated.

  18. Ishatain says:

    /recount toggle

    Works for me

  19. Elriel says:

    I have been trying to get my DPS at least to 3K or better. I just respeced to 2/14/55 and changed out 2 glypgs to Serpint Sting and Steady Shot.

    Ran 4 dummy runs with Hunters Mark and pet attacking, Dragonhawk on. Shot rotation was ES, Serpent Sting and Steady Shot. On ave I was hitting for 1700-2000 DPS on the test dummy.

    Any help in getting to 3K+ DPS?


  20. Blada says:

    This is coming from a 5k+ dps hunter.
    Elriel: right now you have nearly 30 to much hit. Replace a hit gem with a 16 agi gem and replace the enchant on your boots with a 20 agi enchant. That should put you where you need to be.
    You need to be using either aimed or multi shot no matter what.. It will be a huge dps increase. (For me its another 5k+ hit)
    You are also using Glyph of Aspect of the Viper. Replace with the Explosive shot glyph (4% crit for explosive shot).
    Is your pet doing optimum dps? What is your pet, and what is it’s build? Getting a wolf for its Furious Howl ability would be a optimal dps increase.
    The biggest thing is gear. Your gear isn’t bad but with more and more naxx 25 gear you dps should shoot up.
    These are just some basic things. You could also have some problems with timing your shots. When there is only a couple seconds left on your explosive shot just wait for it before shooting off a steady and ALWAYS make sure you keep multi/aimed shot on cooldown.

  21. Cheesin says:

    ok…i am very confused about kill shot. should that be used at all? should i justt be used when im almost out of mana?

  22. Frostheim says:

    You don’t want to use Kill Shot when measuring your target dummy dps.

  23. Leth says:

    Hi, I think you have a great site. Very professional, with detailed info for hunters not found elsewhere, that I have found anyway. So in that light, I thought your slam of Mac computers was a bit crude, especially in this day and age. Installing recount on a Mac is absolutely no different than on a pc. Me and others in our raid guild use Macs, and I get 45+ fps consistently in a 25 man Ulduar run, and I rarely have problems otherwise, whether in WoW or out. This is 2009 not 1989. Awesome site, keep up the good work.

  24. Minot says:

    Actually with a Mac it’s much easier since I don’t have to wait for my computer to restart after it crashes for the 50th time today… That and spyware… and viruses… and various frustrations both minor and major… etc…

    From a long time PC luser turned recent Mac user.

  25. dbodinem says:


    I’ve been having some issues with Recount.

    Under options, I click Merge with Pet, but when I get the detail it doesn’t show my pets damage at all. Instead it’ll break down my damage by shots. This becomes problematic when someone else in the party has clicked the Merge with Pet function and gets some reading that says I’m doing 1900 dps. But on my Recount I’ll show 1900 dps for me and another 600 dps for my pet. Since I’m BM, a big part of my dps is my pet’s dps.

    I’ve looked around at Recount to see if there is a bug report on this but can’t find anything. I’m pretty convinced that Merge With Pet is not functioning properly at all. Anybody else having that problem?

  26. Tannin says:

    I ‘m having the same problem or just not reading it right anyone know

  27. Fradin says:

    I have not had that problem before is there a apply button or a ok button you need to click before it takes place ?, i have been using recount for about 4 months and never had a problem. I wonder if you have something ticked that will keep them seperate until you join a party like omen threat meter does. Just like to say on a positive note that Frost You Rock on the weekend after 1 shotting the 1st x 3 bosses in ulduar 10 man we had a Nax 25man scheduled and i averaged 4000dps overall but in the Thaddius fight i killed the DPS meters with 7034dps i was absolutely stoke and over the moon just want to say thanks for all your guides and info here. PS im still SV time i look at MM talent see if i can hit 8000 dps lol.

  28. Aregont says:

    Please help. I raided with a “pugged” hunter today and i was sure he was the weak link in our group. He was speced MM same as me and he was in lvl 200 Blues and store bought purps with 3 raid pieces. He out dps’d me by 300 dps. (2400 Me 2700 him) he had a few minor chants of various things. agi and haste? I really dont suck i have played hunters for years and am usually in top 5 dps(top 1 or 2 in 5 man) He wouldnt tell me his shot rotation but my recount listed his top 3 as Volley Auto shot and Multi shot? WTF?? and his crit was 37% Mine is allmost 50% i have 400 more Agi and almost 1k more AP. How can he be out dpsing me. Do i really suck that bad?

  29. Arthemystia says:

    Aregont, a single instance isn’t proof of much at all. I wouldn’t worry too much. But a quick perusal of the various guides on this site’s main page will help you out if there’s an aspect of your hunter that needs tweaked. With almost 50% crit (and similarly scaled stats), it’s very possible to eclipse 2700 in any setting, so there may be something you can change to improve your dps (spec, rotation, glyphs, etc.)

    Also, if Volley was his top shot then it probably means he was getting a lot of his dps on trash pulls. My guess is that your boss dps (single target) was higher, which is the more important of the two kinds of fights. You can actually set your Recount to save boss fights, so comparisons of this kind will be easier.

    With the bugs to Recount, usually DL’ing the newest version will fix it. But even when working properly, if you’re merged with your pet for dps tracking, and then click on your name, only your shots will come up, not your pet’s attacks. So that’s not broken…it would only be broken if it wasn’t including your pet’s dps in with your total dps and dmg numbers. If that’s the case though….bummer. I hope it gets corrected soon.

  30. Fradin says:

    I agree with Arthemystia i would say Aregont that he has put talent points into his volley which will out dps you on multiply trash pulls however most boss fights are single targets and volley does not really help in that situation so he would lose dps there. Next time you both raid together after you kill a boss look back at the dps numbers for that fight and take a look i think you will find your on top. One of the icons at the top of recount allows you to select current fight or you can look back at every individual boss fight. In my last 25man nax run i only averaged 4000dps overall however in the thaddius fight i managed to hit the top with 7000dps this is because my build is for killing bosses not trash and theres more trash then bosses so i lose dps there. But i would prefer to kill a boss before it enrages and wipes the party then taking out the trash lol .

  31. aregont says:

    Thx for the help. I raided with him again and checked for individual bosses and i nearly doubled him with me being at 4k and him staying at 2400 so thx a ton guys. always a great site keep it up guys!

  32. Laura says:

    I just hit my first 80 and I’ve been trying to get my dps up to a worthy standard, but I have been running into a problem on raids and dungeons. I am always the worst dps on the team, but sometimes the read outs make no sense. 900 dps? I don’t think so. But it’s causing me to be repeatedly booted from raid groups because people think I am not contributing enough.

    However, I’ve tested my dps on a target dummy and I can frequently get my dps to 1700 unbuffed. So why does my dps go down so drastically?

    I have a theory that because I turn on Aspect of the Viper during pre-boss fights to regen mana, my dps average goes down. I’ve tested this on my own and it seems to be the case. Does that sound about right, or is there something I’m missing? It doesn’t make sense that I can do 1700 dps on my own, yet it goes down by almost half when I’m in a dungeon.

  33. Arthemystia says:

    Laura, target dummies are an “ideal” boss. No moving, no debuffs, no switching to Viper in between. Just stand and shoot. So it’s not uncommon to see a drop in dps.

    That said, try not to worry about your standing in the raid, and just focus on what you can do to improve. Browsing through the guides here should help. Are you using the recommended SV spec for dps (which is the best build for when you’ve just hit 80)? Are your gems, chants, rotation, pet, etc. all maximized for dps? Improvements to even 1-2 of these areas will usually yield substantial rewards.

    And since you just dinged, chances are you’re a bit under-geared for many raids. Run heroic instances first, build up some gear and conquest badges, and come back to raids when you feel ready. Also, it does sound like you’re in Viper a bit much. Allow yourself to run out occasionally to get a feel for how long you can go without Viper. Being topped up for bosses is good, but that usually only requires using Viper 1-2 pulls before a boss fight, or drinking a consumable as you wait to pull the boss.

  34. Fradin says:

    Laura you are proberley under geared just hitting 80 and it will take a while however now that conquest emblems drop from every heroic i would suggest to be hitting those up alot and get yourself the tier 8 gear. When you test on the dummy it is the heroic training dummy right your testing on, theres only 1 in each test ground. As for viper yes you lose 40% damage so its a good idea to carry honeymint tea or some sort of other mana drink and if you have a mage get a table and fill up before you start the raid. I always try to fill up on mana as we are going through the instance and the only time i use viper is in long boss fights as you can’t drink while fighting however if you notice the fight is almost over you can drop a runic mana potion too which is normally enough to finish them off. Flasks of endless rage help DPS too and i also like to carry speed potions which are pretty cheap for those extra long fights.

  35. What am i doing wrong, i am a sv and are doing 3k on the dummy with Black Arrow, Serpent Sting, Explosive Shot, Multi Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot rotation.
    If anyone have a suggestion what i should do i am greatful.

  36. Bindura says:

    Now, you’ll want to do this at least three times, preferably five times, because with the randomness of luck you’ll see that every result is slightly different. Doing it several times will give you a good median.

    It won’t give a median….Frost! It will produce a mean dps

    Sorry I just like to be technically correct when using definitions for Physics, Maths and Probabilty. Something that most people find irritating about me.

  37. Conbar says:

    Im new to the site, and have been reading and following the guides. I really believe I should be doing more DPS than I am. Im using the suggested shot rotation, but I think I could improve. Any advise would be great. I play on Saurfang and my toons name is Conbar.

  38. Sialies says:

    The other day… a level 78 hunter asked me what DPS was.
    I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry…

  39. Prelious says:

    I’ve been a close follower of WHU for over a month now and my dps has increased fantastically. Love this place and it’s only a matter if time before my boss catches me hanging out here instead of managing servers and cans my ass =D. I’m still confused however as to why I consitantly average 2300 on target dummy (Aspect and Hunters Mark only) yet when I go on 5 mans, typical stand-still tank & spank boss (for example), and buffed…I sometimes only pull 1700dps. I can understand if it’s a moving fight and I’m not as efficient on my rotation as I should be but last night I went to CoS on a pug and damned if I couldn’t get above 2k on any of the bosses. Perhaps my recount is configured wrong?

  40. Prelious says:

    Hmm…please disregard. As I’ve read above I may be seeing the fallout from using Viper during trash fights (i.e. less dps toward overall) and not taking ‘boss-only’ snapshots to get a better picture.

  41. J says:

    “If you have a Mac, the process is a bit harder. You first have to go to Best Buy, purchase a PC, install WoW, and watch your quality of life improve.”

    If you’re shopping at Best Buy for a gaming rig, you’re quality of life will not improve.

  42. Krakkinheds(Whisperwind) says:

    Question for the group.

    I hear what is being said for using the target dummy as a way to measure DPS, but at least for me, running to OOM is not realistic to a true boss fight like Ony where I need to run an aspect change or two to ensure mana for the third phase of the fight. That being said, what are your thoughts on measuing true sustained DPS through at least 2 aspect changes.

    i.e., Aspect of the Dragonhawk till OOM -> Aspect of the Viper till full -> Aspect of the
    Dragonhawk till OOM

    Seems more realistic to me since I still basically 219-226 geared.

  43. Kevin says:

    Frost, since no one here has specifically said it, I thought I would help YOU out for once. (Since your site has been SUCH a blessing to me!)

    Addons on a Mac do indeed work exactly the same way on a Mac as they do on a Windows machine. You even use exactly the same files. If you want to tell Mac users where to put their addon folders, use this:

    Applications > World of Warcraft > Interface > Addons

    Thanks again for the fantastic site, and all the help you’ve given me!

  44. Caius says:

    I dunno, on ummies I can crak the 5k soil ad on 25 man I can 7k on single targets if I’m steady. everything is changng ofc if you move a lot. on fights that I move a lot aoiding voids and fancy lights I can d 3k 3.5k
    On ting is sure…If I run an heroic and ppl cat break 2k, well thath pisses me off, regadless of gear.

    My measure of judgemnt is this
    Less then 3.4k = revise your rotation, maybe drunk, seepy, you suck.

    10 man:
    Less then 4.5K = you are not using Volley/MS, not that you must do it but it makes you feel great ^^

    Single Target / Boss: If it’s steady fight:
    6K and Up = You Rock, It’s not just gear…you are skilled.
    Less then 4K: Hmm…did you check your rotation? Lub your barrell?
    Less then 2.8K: Gtfo

    If it’ a dinamic fight….something around 3.8K= yuo are good, cant be arse to MD, Sting, Kite, Spin shot ballets, MD trah on OT and pretendin to crak 7k

    25 Man
    SingleTargets: 6K nd up is good, Less then 4K is Bad

  45. cmurph says:

    dude, i took your advice, and as a survival hunter with a 2.9k gs, i was doin 2.8-3k dps. as a matter of fact, whenever i see a bad hunter, i send them to this site. keep it up.

  46. Kathy says:

    This is a question about why I’m not getting the DPS my setup should be getting. I’ve changed things til blue in the face. Current setup using SV common talent spec, wolf pet. I put all this into armory loading for DPS calc on your other page and come out with a DPS 1K higher than I’ve EVER seen. I use the common shot rotation, NEVER on Aspect of Viper during fight (yes I go thru tons of pots), hit rate @ 7%, do all the things recommended…..just never get the DPS I should. My question is, where do I go from here, having spent months trying to get this fixed, to find new things to try.

  47. esqo says:

    Fantastic site!

    One question, are we supposed to be using the “Merge pets” option & counting our pet’s dps as part of our score when measuring? I would have thought so, just thought I’d check though.

    Just dinged 80 and I’m using recount & the target dummy to get a baseline on my BM/Tenacity build before starting to build my DPS up with a Survival/Ferocity strategy (as recommended my your great site!)

  48. Aigamuxa says:

    Not sure if this is the place for this but; how mutch agility is normal for a lvl 70 player, what is crap and wht is insanely good…. i got an lvl 69 hunter on the Saurfang ralm, and it feels good when i grind with my pet, but it’s my first hunter and the information for hunters is just too mutch….

    Feel free to check me in the armory for any feedback…
    Aigamuxa, Saurfang ralm lvl 69 Hunter

  49. Ryuushin says:

    @krakkinhead – The target dummy is a way to measure ur dps althou maybe not realistic to a true boss figth main reason = it stands still, the target dummies main reason is for you to be able to compare different specs gemmings glyphs etc to see where u can pump out more dps.

  50. Paul says:

    Trash your PC, get a Mac and never have to worry about a virus or networking or system crashes again.

  51. Whitfield says:

    All the info ive gathered has been great and in all honesty i pull 5.9 to 6.2k self buffed on heroic test dummy (with wolf). I went and got a ravager and my dps on test dummy shot up to over 6.2k even after 3 attempts and stayed between that and just shy of 6.5k so all the hype about a wolfs furious howl is really a bluff, and to be clear i tested at least 3 times with each pet. Oh and anyone who has deathbringers will they just dont want well let me know.

  52. Glairdon says:

    Just a shame that mac will not be supported with Cataclysm, so right now I am happy with my PC :)

  53. Krogagre says:

    I have some serious problems with my dps and cant find the reason, could you please post some reference numbers on lvl 80 dps for each tier so that we have some kind of reference to what is achievable?