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.