Rogue Hit and Expertise Caps in Mists of Pandaria

This is a rewrite of my past posts on hit rating.  I have updated this with each expansion, reworking the numbers each time to reflect the new figures.  This one applies to level 90 rogues in Mists of Pandaria.  

Mechanics have changed with Mists of Pandaria.  If you understand the mechanics, or if you just want the numbers, then scroll to the bottom where there is a chart.


The attack process has been relatively unchanged for a while, ever since combat ratings were introduced.  We were on a one-roll system that determined with a single random number if you hit, missed, crit, or glanced.  Now, in Mists of Pandaria there is a two-roll system.  The first roll determines if you hit, miss, or glance and then the second roll determines if you crit.  The fundamental hit mechanics have not changed, though.

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) and our poisons never miss.  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 90 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 used to be  three separate miss chances – one calculation for white damage, another for special attacks, and a third for poisons (treated as a spell).  However, in Mists of Pandaria, the poisons use the melee hit chance.  That simplifies things for us into just two hit chances – white damage and everything else.

Special Attacks and Poisons

In MoP, for special attacks the chance to miss is 7.5% against raid bosses.

White Damage

Dual wield classes get a 19% penalty to their hit chance on autoattacks (white damage).  The base miss chance is 3% and you add or subtract 1.5% per level difference between attacker and defender.

Translated to simple percentages, that will mean a 22% chance to miss against a level 90 foe, a 25% chance to miss against a level 92 boss (heroics) and a 26.5% chance to miss a level 93 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 26.5%.

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-Mists are no longer valid.

The conversion from hit rating to hit % is now this: For a level 90 character, 340 hit rating = 1% reduction in chance to miss for melee combat.

Here are the +hit numbers to look for:

  1. The most important +hit milestone is to reduce your chance to miss by 7.5%. That will mean that your special attacks and poisons never miss on raid bosses. To do that you need  2550 hit rating.
  2. The next one is to never miss with auto-attacks (white damage). You would need 26.5% for that, which is a whopping 9,010 hit rating . 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 and poison cap (+7.5%).  That’s called a “soft cap” because you can still increase dps by going above it.  However, any hit rating above the poisons cap only helps your white damage, so its not as important.  Most experts will recommend that you stop adding hit rating after you reach 7.5%.

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 Cataclysm.  Stats on gear will be quite inflated by the time we reach level 90, so getting these soft caps should not be difficult.

The best advice is make sure you are above the special attacks and poison cap (+7.5% hit), and try to be at the expertise hard cap (+7.5% expertise, assuming you are attacking from behind) to get rid of dodges. 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.

A note on expertise:

A lot of people read a blog post from Ghostcrawler that said that spells have a 15% miss chance.  It is worth noting that this does not apply to rogues at all.  Poisons have been moved to the melee hit chance, and rogue attacks do not use the spell hit at all.  Traing Dummy testing by Elitist Jerks and other places has confirmed this.  Poisons are no longer considered to be a spell.

That said, expertise is a valuable stat for all rogues.  Dodged attacks are bad.  Will it need to be capped?  Testing and theorycrafting will tell how its value compares to haste, crit, mastery, etc…  It doesn’t hurt to have it, though.


TL; DR Summary:

Specials and Poisons Hit Cap (7.5%) 2550
White Attack Hit Cap 9010
Expertise Cap (7.5%) 2550

8 Responses to “Rogue Hit and Expertise Caps in Mists of Pandaria”

  1. September 24, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Very good, and well written, post. I will make a mention to that on my blog 🙂

  2. 2 Nymeros
    November 16, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    “There used to be three separate miss chances – one calculation for white damage, another for special attacks, and a third for poisons (treated as a spell). However, in Mists of Pandaria, the poisons use the melee hit chance.”

    For clarity, I think “melee hit chance” in the second sentence should be “special attacks” hit chance. Otherwise, great post!

    • 3 ErisStrife
      May 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      @Nymeros: “For clarity, I think “melee hit chance” in the second sentence should be “special attacks” hit chance. Otherwise, great post!”

      That’s a negative. They got the wording correct. Poisons can be applied without ever using a “special attack” Auto-attack or “white damage” will apply your poisons, therefore your poison application is rolled with the melee hit chance.

  3. 4 Feannag
    July 6, 2013 at 11:38 am

    It should be noted ret paladins can be hit-capped, 2H use only requires 7.5%. It’s the OH weapon-wielding that suffers, I’m pretty sure you COULD go 2H as enhancement shaman, but I don’t think the damage output compares to dual-wielding.

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