Hit and expertise caps

There was some interesting discussion in guild chat the other day (we have left our raiding guild and joined another more casual Singaporean guild since we weren’t doing much raiding anyway). A friend who was playing his 80 death knight was asking about dual wielding for dps/tanking, and asking for advice. Amidst the discussion I brought up the problem of the miss rate of dual wielding along with the necessity of capping expertise.

To my surprise I realised that many people still are very confused about this and have no idea how it works. To be frank, while I knew the mechanics I had also not really paid much attention to the difference in ratings at level 80 since I wasn’t raiding. So I figured I might as well compile something here for my own reference as well.

Hit rating has been consolidated for both melee and spells. Hit basically affects your chance to see that dreaded “Miss” or “Resist” floating on top of a mob’s head. For melee classes, there is an additional complication that there is a different chance to miss depending on if you are dual wielding or not.

Melee hit : 32.79 rating = 1%
Spell hit: 26.23 rating = 1%

The base chance to miss varies depending on the level of the target (assuming that you have maxed out weapon skill for melee… levelling up skills in instances = veriterribad). Dual wielding also imposes an additional 19% miss rate. The following are the ratings you need to never miss for melee:

Target level Single weapon Dual wield Cap for
80 5% = 164 rating 24% = 787 rating PvP
82 6% = 197 rating 25% = 820 rating Heroics
83 8% = 263 rating 27% = 886 rating Raids

The hit rating required for dual wield classes looks astoundingly huge, but it’s not as important to reach the cap for them. All special attacks have at most a 8% miss rate so most dual wielding classes can aim for that as a minimum, all the rest only helps auto-attack damage.

Note that this may not be accurate for hunters, but hunters are boring so I don’t care >.<

Thankfully, spells are much simpler and don’t have any funky variations.

Target level Hit required Cap for
80 4% = 105 rating PvP
82 6% = 158 rating Heroics
83 17% = 446 rating Raids

Unfortunately, you might have noticed that casters get shafted when fighting mobs higher level than them. There is a whopping 17% chance to miss for mobs 3 levels higher, which is what raid bosses are. However, for heroic mobs which are 82, you only need 6%. This is why most people are dead wrong when they claim that the abysmal dps put out by their pugmates is because they don’t have hit rating on their gear. 6% miss doesn’t result in 1000 dps… or rather, it means they would do 1064 dps if they were hit capped, which isn’t much better.


Expertise is a new statistic Blizzard came up with during the latter part of TBC to replace weapon skill on gear. It basically reduces the chance for your enemy to dodge and parry your attacks. It is both a tanking and physical dps statistic. Guess this is how they are balanced vs the hit rating needed by spellcasters.

Expertise : 32.79 rating = -1% dodge and -1% parry

Most sources cite bosses having 6.5% dodge and 15% parry. Since mobs can’t parry attacks that come from behind, this means there are different caps for tanks and (non-retarded) dps, since dps attacks from behind and only needs to worry about the dodge portion.

Tanks 60 expertise = 492 rating Parries eliminated
DPS 26 expertise = 214 rating Dodge eliminated

Expertise for dps is almost exactly like hit, except it works on dodge instead of miss. It’s good to have, but in the end it is simply a dps-increasing stat similar to attack power, crit, and hit.

Expertise for tanks, however, is both a threat (dps) and survivability stat. Because parrying an attack causes the next attack to be hasted by roughly 40%, a hard-hitting boss parrying can result in a string of quick hits that catch healers unprepared.

This isn’t usually a problem for most tanks since one or two hasted hits isn’t a big deal and as such I would also consider expertise as a secondary tanking stat… unless you’re a dual-wielding death knight. Since DW DKs have so many fast auto-attacks and specials, not being expertise capped can result in the boss effectively being permanently “enraged” since there are many many opportunities for him to parry the numerous small attacks.

So the moral of the story for our DK guildie? Unless you have great gear, go 2H 🙂 It’s much simpler and you don’t have a spend a huge amount of your item budget on hit rating and expertise rating to dps or tank respectively. Factor in the -50% damage penalty on the off-hand weapon (which I don’t think DK’s have any way of negating) and the difference between 2H and 1H becomes even smaller.


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