Welcome to the Level 80 WotLK Hit Cap and Hunter Hit Rating Guide. We’ll talk about everything you need to know in WoW about hunter hit, miss, hit chance, hit rating, hit cap, pet hit rating, how your hit rating affects your pet hit rating, and your pet hit cap. We’ll also explain how Focused Aim and the Draenei racial affect your hit cap. Every raid hunter should know the basics of hit and miss chances, what the hit cap is, and understand how this affects gear decisions.

The Hunter Hit Cap Basics
As a level 80 hunter, you sometimes miss when you shoot your target. Your chance to miss depends on what level mob you’re attacking.

Level 80 Hunter vs:

Level 80 mob: 5% miss chance
Level 82 mob: 6% miss chance (heroic boss)
Level 83 mob: 8% miss chance (raid boss)
This means that against a raid boss, for example, 8% of your shots miss – that’s your hit cap. By increasing your hit by 1%, you’ll have 1% more of your shots hit, therefore you’ll be doing 1% more damage (actually, it’s a wee bit different because of complicated stuff explained below). So it’s very much in our interest to increase our hit chance. However, since we can’t hit more than “always,” going above 8% does not help us at all, which is why it’s referred to as the Hit Cap. It’s the cap of the amount of hit you can have that will benefit you.
We hunters have three ways to increase our hit chance: “hit rating” found on gear, the Focused Aim MM talent, and the Draenei racial bonus.

Hit Rating
 For a level 80 hunter, 32.79 hit rating gives you 1% hit.
263 Hit Rating is needed to reach the Hit Cap

With 3/3 Focused Aim 165 Hit Rating is needed to reach the hit cap
With 2/3 Focused Aim 197 Hit Rating is needed to reach the hit cap
With 1/3 Focused Aim 230 Hit Rating is needed to reach the hit cap

Therefore you would need about 263 hit rating to reach the hit cap and ensure that you (and your pet) always hit against a raid boss.

Furthermore, your bonus hit chance from hit rating is also applied to your pet’s hit chance. (note that fractions are dropped, so if you have a +5.99% hit chance, your pet will get a +5% hit chance – reaching the WoW hit cap against lvl 80 mobs, but not bosses).

Focused Aim
This talent is high in the Marksman tree and gives you +1% hit chance per point of the talent. This is an easy shortcut toward the hit cap so that you don’t have to rely as much on gear.

As of patch 3.1, this Focused Aim hit chance is also transferred to your hunter pet!

Dreanei Bonus
The Dreanei have a heroic presence that grants a +1% hit to everyone in their group. So if you are a Draenei or have one in your group, this counts toward reaching your hit cap. Obviously this ability also extends to your pet!

I should note that it is still not a good idea to roll a Draenei hunter — even with this bonus, you still have a tail. It’s just not worth it.

Pet Hit Chance
Your pet is a level 80 character just like you. It has the same miss chance as you do, and the same hit cap as you do. So increasing your pet’s chance to hit by 1% increases your pets overall dps by 1%. But how do you do this?

Any bonus hit you get from gear with hit rating on it will transfer to your pet (with +hit chance fractions dropped). The bonus hit you get from the Focused Aim talent also increases the hit chance of your pet (this came to us in patch 3.1).

What about expertise from Animal Handler?
Expertise does not increase hit chance. Instead it decreases the chance that the mob your pet is fighting will be able to dodge or parry your pet’s attacks (by 2.5% if you have both ranks of the talent). Note also that if your pet isn’t tanking, it automatically attacks from behind, and mobs can’t parry attacks from behind anyway.

What Does It All Mean?
Every 32.79 hit rating you gain will increase your chance to hit by 1% and will increase your dps by about 1% — but only until you have +8% hit. (or less, if you’re fighting lvl 80 mobs). It will also increase your pet’s hit chance and dps by about 1%.

I’ve seen a lot of hunters talk about how hit rating is the most important hunter stat, and have seen a lot of hunters say that the very first thing they go for on gear it to reach the hit cap – ignoring all other stats – then they start working on equipment to give them AP, crit, Agil, etc.

Frankly, that’s just stupid.

When you’re choosing between two pieces of gear, you should choose the one that will increase your dps the most. And that may not be the gear with the most hit rating. After all, 75 attack power is clearly better than 10 hit rating. So always choose the gear with the biggest upgrade.

Who cares if you still miss 2% of the time (2ish % reduction in dps) if you’re doing 4% more dps because of it?

The only reason reaching the hit cap would be vital is if we end up with boss fights in which we cannot miss (for example, we have to Tranq Shot a boss when it enrages, and if we miss, the raid wipes). But so far of those kinds of fights don’t exist Wrath.

Many hunters carry around a few spare pieces of high hit rating gear that they swap in just for boss fights — after all, a lot of that hit rating is just going to waste against trash mobs. This isn’t vital, since trash mobs shouldn’t be a problem in your raid progression, so you don’t need to squeak out every last drop of dps against them. But if you like to be on top of the dps charts for the raid it’s something that will help.

Some Technical Info
Miss chance is calculated by the difference between your weapon skill (bow, gun, crossbow) and the mob’s defense skill (which is 5 * level) using the following formulas:

If the difference between your weapon skill and the mob’s defense skill is 10 or less (ie: mob up to two levels higher than you):

5% + (Defense Skill – Weapon Skill) * .1%

If the difference between your weapon skill and the mob’s defense skill is 11 or more (is: mob three or more levels higher than you):

6% + (Defense Skill – Weapon Skill – 10) * .4%

Interestingly, it seems that WoW uses a two roll system for special attacks. (ie: roll to see if it hits, then roll to see if it’s a normal hit or a crit), as opposed to the one roll table for regular attacks. This means that the increased hit chance also increases your chance to crit — again, up to the hit cap. For example: you have a 30% chance to crit. Then on that extra one percent of the time you hit there’s a 30% chance that your hit will turn into a crit. Thus the 1% hit gives you 1% bonus to your auto-attack dps, and a 1.3% bonus to your special attack dps. So you’re total bonus dps for 1% hit is something close to 1.15% dps increase.