For all but World of Warcraft's healers, Hit Rating is a necessary evil. Bear Form tanking Druids are no exception. Below I will attempt to answer some of the common questions about Bear Form and Hit Rating as well as provide tips on how Druid tanks should deal with the stat.
What is the Bear Form Hit Cap?
For all classes, the "hit cap" is the amount of hit rating a particular character needs to never have an attack miss an endgame raid boss. This number is important to know not only because it gives you a target to reach to avoid losing threat because of misses, but also because picking up any hit rating beyond the cap is a complete waste.
For a Bear Form Druid, the Hit Cap is 263. Once you have reached 263 you should no longer see "Miss" pop up when you are attacking your enemies. To maximize your threat, you should try to clear this number. Also, keep in mind that if your hit rating is well above 263, you are not seeing an appreciable return on that stat and should see if you can change your gear around to bring your rating down to as close to 263 as possible.
What about Growl's Chance to Hit?
Growl is the exception to the Bear Form 263 Hit Cap. Currently, World of Warcraft characterizes Growl as a Spell rather than a physical ability like all of the other Bear Form powers. Where a physical attack only has an 8% chance to miss a raid boss, a spell has a 17% chance to miss. To remove the chance for a spell to miss requires a hit rating of 446. Removing Growl's chance to miss through hit rating would then require you to build an extra 183 hit into your gear. I am sure that I don't even need to tell you how impractical that is.
Spell hit rating is also calculated slightly differently than physical hit rating. I will not bore you with the numbers, but it works out to where 263 hit rating will leave your Growl with a 7% chance of missing. With regard to Growl, a Bear Form tank then has two options. First, they can simply tolerate the fact that Growl will miss 7% of the time (or slightly less if you are over the hit cap). Second, there is Glyph of Growl which, if you are at the 263 cap, will more than eliminate the chances that Growl will miss.
Does a Druid Bear Form Tank Need to Be Hit Capped?
The short answer is no. A Bear Form Druid can still be a capable tank while below the hit cap. However, a Druid tank needs to keep in mind that every miss generates zero threat and, depending on how far under the hit cap you are, misses can severely compromise your ability to maintain aggro.
Most Druid tanks make an effort to reach the hit cap. It increases your dps, helps your threat generation, and generally improves the quality of your tanking. So although you do not need to have 263 hit rating, you should if at all possible.
What if I have a Draenei in My Party?
The Draenei racial ability Heroic Presence generates a party wide buff that increases physical and spell hit chance by 1%. For Bear tanking purposes, this buff equates to 32.79 static hit rating. If you can always count on having a Draenei in your party, a bear tank would then theoretically need only 231 hit rating to be capped rather than 263. Keep in mind, however, the Draenei must be in your particular party, not just in the same raid.
What if I am Under the Hit Cap?
Obviously, the first line of defense for avoiding hit rating issues involves gear selection. Unfortunately, however, sometimes your ideal armor configuration will leave you a bit light on hit rating. Thankfully, there are several options for upping your hit chance beyond getting new gear.
The first option is through buff food. You can pick up 40 hit and 40 stamina by eating Worg Tartar or Snapper Extreme. If you take this route, keep in mind that you will be sacrificing the 40 agility you could have gotten from Blackened Dragonfin.
Your second option is to use an elixir, namely Elixir of Accuracy. This will give you 45 hit rating and you can pair it with either an Elixir of Mighty Defense or an Elixir of Mighty Fortitude to get full bang for your consumable buck. The sacrifice here is either the 1300 health you would otherwise get from a Flask of Stone Blood, or the 45 Agility from an Elixir of Mighty Agility should you usually choose to go the elixir route.
Your third option is to gem for hit. Rigid King's Amber grants 20 hit rating. If you choose this path, you would be missing out on the 30 stamina from a Solid Majestic Zircon or the 20 agility from a Delicate Cardinal Ruby. Again, the sacrifice is a point for point loss of agility. However, if you gem for hit, you might be able to counter some of that agility loss by picking up otherwise ignored gem color bonuses. Unfortunately, there is also the added cost of swapping in and out these expensive gems as your gear based hit rating fluctuates over time.
There are also a couple of item enhancements which can boost your hit. Enchant Gloves - Precision will boost your hit rating by 20, but you will miss out on the 20 agility from Enchant Gloves - Major Agility. You could also go with Enchant Boots - Icewalker for 12 hit rating and 12 crit, but at the cost of 16 agility from Enchant Boots - Superior Agility.
When considering these options, keep in mind that you do not need to push things too far. Obviously, clearing 263 should be your goal, but do not sacrifice your health, avoidance, or mitigation too much to get there. It is a delicate balancing act and you will need to figure out how far you want to push your hit.
What Bear Gear is there with Hit On It?
Unfortunately, you are going to have to wait for the answer to this one! Check back for my Guide to Feral Druid Hit Rating Gear which is coming soon.