Hit Rating is one of the most important stats to understand as a dps caster, because it can potentially do so much, or so little, for your overall dps. Hit rating is typically easy to acquire, so stacking the right amount of hit can drastically improve your dps against raid bosses. Keep in mind, though, hit is a weighted stat just like any other, and while powerful, there is no special significance to reaching your maximum effective hit. In some rare cases it can be optimal to ignore hit in favor of other stats.
For all casters, 26.2 spell hit rating is equivalent to 1% increased chance to hit at level 80.
When you reach the maximum amount of spell hit that is effective for your class/spec, you are referred to as capped. All spells cap their chance to hit at 100%. For a target 3 levels above your character (all raid bosses), spells have a native 83% chance to hit. That means the most effect a spell caster can ever get from spell hit rating is 17% (446 rating). However, raid debuffs and talents will usually lower the effective cap for your class/spec. A typical dps caster will gain 3% hit from debuffs and 3% from talents, so 11% (295 rating) is usually enough for a 25-man raid group.
All talents that are worded "reduces your target's chance to resist by" or "increase your chance to hit with spells by" are effectively the same as spell hit gear, and should be treated as such regarding the spells they affect. Thus you can reduce the amount of hit rating needed to cap through talents. See Spell Hit Rating and Talent Specs for more information on particular class talent specs and their respective hit caps.
The level of a mob relative to your character directly impacts your native chance to hit. Assuming a level 70 caster, base hit chance is as follows:
All skull level bosses are level 83. However, many fights have adds that are level 82 or below. Because there is a steep drop off in hit cap against anything less than 83, it may be optimal to swap gear for stats other than hit rating for encounters with particularly unfriendly adds.
Depending on the composition of your raid, you may receive group buffs which lower the effective hit rating needed on your gear. Moonkin or Shadow Priests can provide a debuff that increases chance to hit against the target by 3%. Draenei Mages, Priests, and Shaman have a group aura that increases spell hit chance by 1%.
[top]Resists and Spell Penetration
Spell Penetration and Hit Rating serve entirely separate functions. What's important to note is that spell penetration is entirely useless for the vast majority of pve encounters. It's primary purpose is as a pvp stat. For more information see Spell Penetration.
Thanks to Vontre for updating this article for 3.0.
A couple things were missed in the update:
In the section Mob Level you say “Assuming a level 70 caster.” This should be changed to 80.
Also in the Group Buffs section the sentence, “Draenei Mages, Priests, and Shaman have a group aura that increases spell hit chance by 1%.”, is a little misleading as the racial buff was consolidated to be 1% hit for spells and physical attacks regardless of the Draenei’s class. For the most clarity something like the following would be appropriate: Draenei have a non-stacking group aura that increases the hit chance of everyone in their party by 1%.
Unseen Detrimental effects of being under hit cap
This post was horrifically incorrect and has been removed in the interests of everyone's sanity. Follow the link from that orange box if you want to see how to not contribute to the TTT. -->>
Could you clarify Spell Hit for PvP? First of all, the following questions are crucial:
1. PvP Cap?
2. Cap for control spells?
(I observed that control spells (like shaman's hex) miss the target quite often than damage spells. Is it due to some class abilities or by another reason?)
You say 1% is 26.2 and in the next section say that 11% is 295.
26.2 x 11 = 288.2.
This bears out from my experience. I remember having a 10.98% at 288 (numbers from mouseover in game). This calculates to ~26.23 per percentage point.
I believe a table that included the maximum hit rating possible for level 60's, level 70's, and level 80's of both factions in exact numbers and percentages would benefit this thread. I came here first to find such information, and ended up looking elsewhere to find what I needed. :)
Regardless, useful information here for new players like myself, so thank you!
Edit: Just to clarify, I did see the information there. I just thought a table for quick reference would be nice :p
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