The role of damage dealer (commonly referred to as DPS) is perhaps the most obvious of all; they focus on dealing damage to the party’s targets. While the tank holds the attention of the enemy and healers keep everyone alive, it is up to the DPS to actually deal the damage which will result in victory for the party. Every class is capable of performing the DPS role, using the right specialization.
Compared to players in other roles and specs, DPS can deal damage very quickly and sustainably. However, good DPS must learn not only how to deal damage, but how to do so without drawing the fire of the target; dealing too much damage too quickly may lead the target to turn its wrath upon the DPS, leading to a stressed tank, a mana-drained healer, or simply a dead DPS. Most DPS specs have aggro control abilities which can help with this, but must still take care not to exceed the tank‘s capabilities for holding aggro. DPS often have additional responsibilities within the group, such as interrupting critical abilities and applying crowd control, and may also be called upon to assist with healing or off-tanking.
DPS tends to be the most numerous role in any group, with at least half of the group typically being DPS, and is usually also the least critically responsible. A tank who fails to taunt quickly enough, or a healer who fails to notice a target taking damage can quickly lead to the death of members of the group; the DPS usually have a greater degree of latitude in performing their role.
However, the DPS must still pay close attention to the fight; not only are they often responsible for critical interrupts and other situational elements, but should the DPS fail to deal sufficient damage in a period of time, the group will usually wipe, whether because of a boss’s enrage timer or the healers simply running out of mana. It is therefore the responsibility of the DPS to deal damage quickly enough for the group to triumph.
The DPS role is available to characters of all specs, and these specs are often chosen for use while levelling, since they deal damage more quickly than the others. DPS is by far the best way to begin experiencing group play. Its limited responsibility allows players to find their feet before taking on a more critical role, and the basic experience gained in this way is vital for performing either of the other roles.
Thanks to: Gamepedia