Monday, January 3, 2011

Feral Druid Guide to Hit and Expertise in Cataclysm

Hit Rating and Expertise are important stats for Feral Druids to keep tabs on.  Unfortunately, they can also be rather confusing.  To help take some of the mystery out of these stats, I have put together a brief guide laying out everything you need to know about these stats and your performance as a Feral DPS or Feral tank.  Read on after the bump to find the answers you have been looking for.
What is the Cataclysm Hit Cap?

The term "hit cap" references the amount of hit rating needed never to miss with any of your attacks.  To reach the cap, all melee classes must raise their chance to hit chance by 8%.  Reaching that magic 8% requires just under 961 points of Hit rating.  As a result, the Cataclysm hit cap for Feral Druids is 961.

Does a Feral Tank Need to be at the Hit Cap?

The short answer is no.  Hit is helpful to a Feral tank because an attack that misses is an attack that generates no threat.  It is also impossible to crit and therefore trigger Savage Defense when an attack misses.  As a result, hit does help our survivability, albeit astoundingly incidentally.  There are, however, other stats which generate more threat and survivability point per point than hit.

As for how much hit you need, the answer varies depending on what you intend to do.  Should you plan to do progression raiding, you should probably aim to at least be close to the cap.  Misses add unpredictability to your performance which might lead to problems in a high end raiding environment.  If, however, you just plan to run Heroics, you will never miss so long as you have at least 721 Hit rating since your base chance to miss a Cataclysm Heroic boss is less than the base chance to miss a raid boss.  Getting close to that number would then serve you well.

Generally, you want to make sure the number of times you miss your target is limited.  So long as you have only a small chance to miss, it is generally a bad idea for a Feral Tank sacrifice other threat (like Crit) and survivability (like Dodge) stats simply to reach the hit cap.

Does a Feral DPS Need to be at the Hit Cap?

Misses deal no damage.  A miss can also complicate the already challenging Cat Form rotation.  As a result, Feral DPS players should aim to reach the hit cap.  Obviously a Cat still can be functional with a small miss chance, but reaching full dps potential in raids will likely require the full 961 points.  Keep in mind though, that for Heroics, the cap is only 721.

What is the Cataclysm Expertise Cap?

Expertise reduces the chance that an enemy will avoid your attacks by dodging or parrying them.  A raid boss has a 6.5% chance to dodge your attacks and a 14% chance to parry them.  These chances can be reduced and hypothetically eliminated with sufficient amounts of Expertise.

At just above 195 Expertise, you can completely remove the chance that a raid boss will dodge your abilities.  At that point, a boss would still have a 7.5% chance to parry.  To eliminate that remaining parry chance requires a total of just over 420 Expertise.  The "soft cap" for Expertise is then 195 because that is the point at which further Expertise will no longer reduce both dodge and parry chance, but instead will reduce only parry chance.  The "hard cap" for Expertise on the other hand is 420 as after that point additional Expertise will be entirely wasted.

How Much Expertise Does a Feral Tank Need?

Expertise plays a similar role to hit for Feral Tanks.  More Expertise means fewer of your abilities not connecting, which means more threat and potential Savage Defense up time.  Up until the "soft cap" of 195, Expertise actually provides more threat per point than Hit.  Until that cap is reached, Expertise is then a fairly valuable stat for Feral Tanks.  Gemming or reforging for it is generally discouraged, however, as those stat points would be better spent on Agility and Dodge.

As for the "hard cap" of 420 Expertise, hitting it is entirely unrealistic.  As a result, just know that Expertise is a pretty useful threat stat for Feral Tanks until 195 and still conveys some appreciable benefit even thereafter.

How Much Expertise Does a Feral DPS Need?

Since a good Cat Form Druid will not be attacking a boss from the front, Feral DPS players do not need to worry about parries.  Unlike a player, however, a boss can dodge attacks from behind.  Since Dodged attacks do no damage and mess up a Cat's rotation, a Feral DPS should look to eliminate a boss's dodge chance by reaching the "soft" Expertise cap of 195.  Generally speaking, any Expertise beyond that will be wasted.

Hopefully this guide takes some of the mystique out of these important stats.  Did you find the guide helpful?  Are you having trouble hitting your Hit and Expertise target numbers?  Are there any other stats which you feel could use some additional explanation?  Let me know in the comments.


  1. Whilst this is a nicely written guide, and useful for those looking to hit those caps, unforutanetly its just to suggest a feral dps should be looking to cap either hit or expertise.

    It its a dps loss to use hit/expertise over a stat such as mastery or agility. This is due to the way our energy is refunded on a dodge or miss, and as we arent GCD capped, it really doesnt matter that much. We only losse out on white misses/dodges, which are a low part of our dps.

    Recent hotfixes to skullbash mean that you will need a hit set if you are on interupt duty.

  2. "unfortunately just wrong" that was meant to say :)

  3. Never played a Druid, may have to change that!

    Love your Blog! I’ll be checkin out your archives! I specialize in “Best Of” posts, and your blog will be added to one of my posts.

    Rock on Dude!
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  4. First great info!! Thank you

    Can you speak to a Dodge cap? Or how much dodge should a bear tank have?

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  6. this looks just wrong to me

  7. Feral should never be looking to cap Hit or Exp.

  8. This is a horrible guide for Kittys. Never NEVER NEVER go for Hit. Kittys are Just fine with 0 hit 0 expertise. You want to stack nothing but Mastery > Crit. And Reforge in this order. Expertise / Hit / Haste --> Mastery, unless the item already has mastery on it. Then you want to Reforge it into Crit. Take this from a very skilled feral cat. However with current gear, you will most likely be around 4% hit. Due to Fuild Death being one of the Top DPS Trinkets. And Assassins Chest plate and other BoE epics. If you try to reach hit cap, you suffer greatly.

  9. True feral cats do NOT need hit cap, all missed attacks are refunded energy anyways. I have 3% hit just from gear I couldn't reforge and I never miss a special attack, only some white hits.

  10. Nice blog, man! I play WoW too, and this helped me understand my druid a little better. Thx for that.

    If you have time I would love it if you could check out my blog too. It has a similiar topic to your blog, and I would love to hear what you think. It's at:

    Again, way to go man! Awesome blog.

  11. Gathering together ideas is very difficult to do and for that I salute the one who made this blog for I know this has been a product of a combination of diverse brilliant ideas

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  12. Thanks man! I recently ditched my old tankadin main to instead try out a Feral bear. Your blog has been most helpfull in teaching me the ropes without too much number crunching. THANKS! Your time and effort is really appreciated.

  13. Hey there, I know it's a bit later on but I'm trying to get that hit cap and I'm finding myself struggling for it as I need my crit and mastery rating for damage. Any advice on which gems to use?

  14. As Curious druid said, I am also having troubles. Please, some ideas!

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  15. The statement about the energy being given back is not entirely true. Although the energy is given back for regular attacks and abilities it is not refunded on combo point abilities. So therefore having your abilities not able to dodge will greatly increase your dps. If the boss dodges a 5 combo point rip not only is the energy not restored, but also the combo points are lost. Reaching the 0 percent dodge chance is a must in my opinion. As for Gems it is typically best to roll with just a flat agility. If a socket bonus will add an extra 13 on average to each socket then it is alright to grab a mixed gem such as agility and mastery. Also keep in mind the requirements for meta sockets in your helm. Make sure you grab a meta gem that has a number of gems you can get. Usually 2 yellow or 2 blue metas are a dps loss for Geming. Hope this helps

  16. for the people here that complain about it that this blog is wrong bla bla bla

    if you know it all better then this,. why are you looking this kinda stuff up then, go and be a internet-hero in the trade chat.

    i play feral (tank) druid since vanilla, and must say this is a nice blog about it and very helpfull if people are stuck with some stuff,

  17. Good post, and for those who say druids attack form the back only? Dragon Soul Raid, Ragnaros Boss in FL. there isnt a place to get behind some of the bosses. getting hit capped and expertise cap is definately useful.

  18. You may all say that druids do not need hit or exp cap, just because you get refunded energy if you miss or they dodge, however if you hit more often, it allows you to build up your combo point faster, therefore allowing more time to just use Ferocious bite instead of Savage Roar or Rip, also since you are using Savage Roar, you are auto attacking, which i find is always my 2nd top amount of dmg, so saying you lose no dmg if you miss auto attacks is completely wrong, in my personal expierence i love having my hit and exp maxed so they cant dodge or miss

  19. Great blog and great ppl agree with me above :) Big Thanks

  20. As far as I can see, this guide is good for bear *what I was looking for! :)* and a bit sketchy for Kittys, I dont have much hit chance on my kat and I dont think I suffer @ all, I tend to only miss my white attacks that someone else has said doesn't make up a huge chunk of my dps, Also I dont belive as someone has said that if you miss a 5combo point skill you loose the combo points.. I havnt noticed this... I'm not a pro so what i said is just from my own exp,

    Still good guide for what its meant to be for :)

  21. This is a great guide, Thank you for all the work you put into it and helping me understand how I could be a better raider.

  22. Capping the capable and besting all you can best is the way. Always :D

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  25. Hit Rating and Expertise are important stats for Feral Druids to keep tabs on. Unfortunately, they can also be rather confusing. To help take some of the mystery out of these stats, I have put together a brief guide laying out everything you need to know about these stats and your performance as a Feral DPS or Feral tank. Read on after the bump to find the answers you have been looking for.
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