Rogue Hit caps in Cataclysm at level 85

This page was for the Cataclysm expansion.  It is out of date as of August 28, 2012

To see the hit caps for level 85 Rogues during patch 5.0.4 (pre-Mists) go here


This is an update of my post on hit rating from way back in 2008.  I’ve reworked the numbers to reflect the new figures at level 85 and the Cataclysm changes.  The discussion of the mechanics of hit rating is still the same.

If you read the mechanics post back in 2008, or if you just want the numbers, then scroll to the bottom where there is a chart.


When looking at relative weights of stats, the first priority for any rogue is to get to a point where their attacks will hit reliably.  Since we dual wield, we suffer a significant hit penalty.  We likely won’t get to a point where we never miss.  However, it is possible to get our stats so that our special attacks (e.g. sinister strike, mutilate) never miss and our poisons are never resisted.  That is vitally important, because our special attacks give us our combo points, crits, procs, and energy return, and poisons (especially for assassination rogues) are a huge portion of our dps.

While leveling, its nice to get some hit rating, but you don’t need to focus on it. Once you get to 85 and you are doing endgame heroics and raids, then you will want to find gear with hit rating. How much do you need?

Rather than just throw numbers at you, here is an explanation of how hit rating works, along with the numbers that we need to aim for.  (FYI – I am a teacher in RL.. I can’t help it)

Warning, some math to follow. Pass this point with caution.

There is no magic number. Some classes try to be hit-capped, meaning that they will never miss. For rogues (and fury warriors, ret paladins, and dual-wielding shamans) that’s out of reach for now. Get as much as you can without making huge sacrifices to Agility, Crit Rating, Haste, etc..  Lets look at the “caps” in our ratings.

There are three separate miss chances – one calculation for white damage, another for special attacks, and a third for poisons (treated as a spell).

Special Attacks

For special attacks, the chance to miss is 8% against tier 11 raid bosses.

White Damage

For regular attacks (white damage) at level 85, the chance to miss when dual wielding is

   23% + (mob level - your level)*.5%

Unless the opponent is more than two levels higher than you. If that is the case then the equation is

   21% + (mob level - your level)*2%

Translated to simple percentages, that will mean a 23% chance to miss against a level 85 foe, a 24% chance to miss against a level 87 boss (heroics) and a 27% chance to miss a level 88 T11 raid boss with your autoattacks (white damage). So, to be completely hit-capped you would have to have enough hit rating to reduce your chance to miss by 27%.


Poisons are treated as a spell.  The hit rating calculations are different.   At level 85, the chance to miss a level 88 tier 11 raid boss with a spell is 17%.

Pause, take a deep breath. More math coming.

The amount of +hit% that you get from hit rating changes with level. That’s one way that Blizzard scales the combat system. The numbers that you got used to pre-Cataclysm are no longer valid.

The conversion from hit rating to hit % is now this: For a level 85 character, 120.109 hit rating = 1% reduction in chance to miss for melee combat.  (compared to 30.7548=1% back in Wrath)

Here are the +hit numbers to look for:

  1. The first +hit milestone is to reduce your chance to miss by 8%. That will mean that your special attacks never miss on raid bosses. To do that you need  961 hit rating. However, many (if not all) rogues will take points in Precision. If so, it reduces that required hit rating.  One point in Precision brings it down to 721, Two points makes it 481, and three points makes it a very manageable 241.  We’ll have that much from leveling green gear, I’d guess.
  2. Next is the Poison cap. This means that your poisons will never miss (be resisted). You need 17% for that. However, this uses the hit rating conversion for spells rather than melee. That conversion is 102.446 hit rating = 1% at level 85. So we would need 1742 hit rating without anything in Precision, 1537 with 1/3 Precision, 1332 with 2/3 Precision, 1127 with 3/3 Precision.
  3. The next one is to never miss with auto-attacks (white damage). You would need 27% for that, which is a whopping 3243 hit rating if you have not taken any points in Precision. With 3/3 Precision talent factored in, it drops to a still-high value of 2523.  You could eat some +hit rating consumables to get that figure down, but you still aren’t going to be hit-capped any time soon.

Hit rating is immensely important up to the special attack cap (+8%).  That’s called a “soft cap” because you can still increase dps by going above it.  Hit rating is still extremely important up to the poisons cap (+17% spell hit).  That’s also a soft cap because you still gain dps if you exceed it.  However, any hit rating above the poisons cap only helps your white damage, so its not as important.

The white cap is called a “hard cap” because there is no benefit at all if you exceed it.

These numbers seem very high to us compared to what we are used to in Wrath.  A quick skim over some of the level 85 gear in the WoWhead database shows that some armor pieces have upwards of 180 hit rating on them per piece.  I think that the poison cap might be tough to reach at first, but the specials cap will not be a problem.

The best advice is make sure you are above the “special attacks” cap, and try to be as close to the “poison cap” if possible (especially for Mutilate rogues). After that, you’re probably going to want to work on agility, mastery, and haste rather than hit rating, because you don’t get as much benefit from stacking hit rating.


TL; DR Summary:

0/3 Precision 1/3 Precision 2/3 Precision 3/3 Precision
Specials Cap 961 721 481 241
Poisons Cap 1742 1537 1332 1127
White Cap 3243 3003 2763 2523

Note: In Burning Crusade and WotLK, we almost always had a Draenei in our group to give us a tasty 1% buff to hit. That racial ability has been changed to self-only, so rogues will no longer get that bonus hit.

Also note: these numbers are only for the first tier of Cataclysm raiding.  As further tiers are added, the equivalent level of the bosses will increase, requiring even more hit rating on our gear to maintain the soft caps.


15 Responses to “Rogue Hit caps in Cataclysm at level 85”

  1. 1 TheReaper
    December 8, 2010 at 6:15 am

    If EJs current calculations hold up, hit won’t be anywhere near as important as it was during BC/WotLK.
    It seems agility trumps every other stat (even special attack hit) by a wide margin (even wider if you want to go subtlety).
    Somewhat disappointing in my oppinion, since stacking agi means very little gear choice, hopefully Blizz will correct this quickly (or EJ turns out to be wrong).

    • December 8, 2010 at 6:50 am

      Well, agility is certainly going to be the most important stat, as it has been for some time. What I hope is that pieces of similar iLvL will have comparable amounts of agility. If that’s the case, then we can look at the secondary stats – hit, crit, haste, mastery – when making gear choices.

      It only becomes a problem if pieces have widely varying amounts of agility. If that happens, then we always just just the piece with the highest agility.

      And remember that you can’t reforge into more agility. So even if we are stacking agility, we’ll still have to make reforging decisions.

  2. 3 Trisomy21
    December 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Ah thanks. Well written and makes sense, all those other articles on hit caps and stats are all over the place and harder to follow.

  3. 4 Mark
    January 14, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Thank you for being the one resource that breaks this down well for Cataclysm.

  4. 6 Dave
    February 20, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Wow – excellent post!

    One major question – I understand the idea of Special -> Poison -> White Cap, and how you need different #s to ideally “cap” them.

    My question lies in that does the stat “Increases your hit rating by X” add to all three, or just one? Lets say I needed (just making this up) 150 Special/200 Poison/250 White more to cap, and I equipped an item that gave me “Increases your hit rating by 25”. Would all 3 of the cap #s needed go down by 25?

    Thanks again – look forward to hearing your response!

  5. June 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    does this work on the patch 4.1?

  6. 11 Mike
    February 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Excellent explanation of the Hit caps. Clarified my reforging issues.

  7. 12 Lawrence
    July 14, 2012 at 1:23 am

    THANK YOU for writing this. This is the best explanation of hit rating I’ve come across.

  8. June 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Hi just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know
    a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why
    but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

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