Hit or Miss

Well I asked for it.

The other day, I mentioned that the most-used search to get to my site had to do with the tiny colored eggs from the Noblegarden event. I closed the post demanding that people either search for useful things or watch rabbit porn.

Now people are searching for useful stuff and stumbling on to my site. My rabbit porn also got more hits.

So far I think the most useful thing I’ve provided has been a how-to for the Horde on getting the Westfall chicken.

But today, that will change!

I will provide something useful, just a couple days too late for the guy searching for it…

The query was “arcane mage hit cap for 25 man naxx.”

There is a lot of information out there on hit rating and whatnot and I’m sure there are plenty of sites that break it down for you. And here’s another.

So without further ado: something useful!


Arcane Hit Cap

Disclaimer: This information is only valid until it changes and only for level 80 characters. And I’m only talking PvE here. PvP has a different hit table. As of patch 3.1.something this *should* be accurate. If it isn’t, correct me. If there comes a major patch change that throws all this out the window, don’t correct me.

Your chance to hit a target is expressed as a percentage. To hit a mob of your level (80) you have a base chance of 96%, leaving a 4% miss chance. As the difference in level progresses, the miss percentage becomes astronomically huge.

Notes: Once upon a time there was a cap of 99% to hit an opponent; there was always a 1% miss chance. This was removed in patch 3.0.2. Spell hit also used to be different than physical hit, they were combined in patch 3.0. 

Here is a handy dandy chart with information shamelessly stolen from WoWWiki where I get most of my useful-type stuff.


Creature Level

Chance to Hit

Chance to Miss




















Thankfully, raid bosses currently cap out at the equivalent of 3 levels above you, but the jump from 82 to 83 still sticks you with almost thrice the miss potential.

Percentages are great and all, but your gear talks about hit rating. How does it correlate?

At level 80, it takes 26.232 points of hit rating (as shown on gear stats) to get 1% of hit. So to take on the big, bad, nasty level 83 raid boss and overcome your 17% miss chance you need a whopping 445.944 points of hit. Call it 446 to be absolutely sure.

Don’t cry yet, there is some good news.


That’s right, fearing a flood of mage tears and QQ riots, Blizzard has made sure to include talents in our trees to help with the hit issue.

In the arcane tree, first tier, you have Arcane Focus. There are 3 ranks available from it, each rank giving you 1% hit. Each rank also reduces the mana cost of your arcane spells by 1% for each rank. You need to take something in your first tier, these are 3 easy points for you to figure out.

Over in the frost tree, second tier, you have Precision. These 3 ranks reduce the mana cost of all spells by 1% for each rank and increases your chance to hit on all spells by 1% for each rank. You take these points. Unless you’re doing some sort of arcane-fire thing and you can’t afford to put 8 points in frost, in which case you cry when your PoM-Pyro goes whizzing by KT’s head.

So buck-ass naked, you have reduced your frost/fire miss rate to 14% and your arcane miss rate to 11% using talents. Now we’re looking at 368 and 289 points respectively to be derived from gear.

The 368 points to be hit capped for frost and fire spells can be thought of as a hard-cap for spell hit; reach that number and none of your spells should miss. There are still mechanics for immunities and resists, but you’ve done everything in your power to make the spell land.

The 289 points to be hit capped for arcane spells is your soft cap.

As an arcane mage, think back to your last boss fight. What percentage of your spells were arcane compared to frost or fire? My guess is you had 99.9% arcane spells and may have used an Ice Lance to get on the threat meter or Fire Blast as a finisher.

Our bread and butter is arcane. And looking at a difference of 79 points of hit between the hard and soft caps, your butter is going to get spread awfully thin trying to meet the hard cap. If your play style includes a heavy dose of frost or fire (even though you claim to be an arcane mage) ON RAID BOSSES (not trash) you’ll need to go for the hard cap. If you stick to your arcane spells and only toss out something hot or cold situationally, you can use the soft cap.

So 289 is your goal to be self-sufficient in meeting your arcane spell hit cap.


And you thought it would end there? Ha!

For the Alliance, if you’ve got a draenei in your PARTY (not raid, unless this has been changed recently, I certainly can’t verify it), you get a freebie 1%. Same goes if you are the draenei. Cheaters. That would reduce your arcane cap to 263.

Got a shadow priest? They can provide a target debuff that gives an additional 3% hit, assuming they specced into Misery. Which they should have. It’s in tier 8 in shadow if you want to inspect them and check. Note that this ability is triggered by their use of Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Flay, and Vampiric Touch spells. The debuff lasts 24 seconds; one would hope they cast one of those 3 spells every 24 seconds. Drops you to 210 hit, 184 with a cheating draenei.

Got a boomkin? Their hit contribution comes in the form of Improved Faerie Fire. This tier 7 balance talent gives an additonal 3% hit as a target debuff. However, not every balance druid picks this little puppy up or keeps it up on the target. I don’t know why, seems insanely useful to me. Drops you to 210 hit, 184 with a squid-faced cheater.

Got a shadow priest and a boomkin? Tough. The debuff will only stack once. You don’t get to rock with 6% to hit. You still need 210 or 184 for cheaters.

And remember, the target debuffs only last as long as the priest/druid is alive to keep them up. If they die, they won’t be able to reapply it.

So in my bags, I carry the gear I need to hit 289 by my lonesome since I cannot count on the presence of a shadow priest or moonkin. On the off chance that one or the other is there, I carry gear that gets me to 210 and swap as appropriate.


If you’re not quite ready to hit raids or still run heroics for giggles, everything tops out at level 82. With Precision and Arcane Focus, you only need 157 points of hit to be hard capped (frost, fire, and arcane). 131 if you’ve got a cheating space goat with you. 79 with a shadow priest or lazer chicken. 53 if the shadow priest is a draenei. If your druid is a draenei I call cheater and hax.

With hit rating requirements that low, I generally just go for hard cap so I don’t have to carry around an ass load of gear to swap. If you want to squeeze a little more DPS out, your arcane cap is 79 with talents, 53 with a draenei, and 0 with a shadow priest or boomkin.

Hit versus Spellpower

Because I’m sure someone is thinking it… but if I pack on enough spellpower could that make up for missing once in a while?

In theory, maybe.

From personal experience, no.

When I’ve been an idiot and forgotten to switch between my DPS gear and hit gear I notice a distinct decrease in my damage. You won’t notice it on trash, since trash is usually of the level 82-variety, but it makes a big impact on the bosses. This is further reinforced by tools such as the Theory Craft-o-Matic (if you’re a mage and you haven’t been looking at this you need to port yourself there ASAP).


If you couldn’t research this yourself AND couldn’t be bothered to read my work, here is the easy answer: 4.



5 comments on “Hit or Miss

  1. Telanarra says:

    My brain hurts now are u happy. Wait i know u so yes you are :P


  2. Dorn says:

    Excellent…I’ll start sending people here every time I see a “mage hit cap” question in guild chat. I’m just gonna have to trust that you did a good job explaining it though…I kinda got sidetracked once I read “rabbit porn.”


  3. smart001 says:

    Ugh, I thought hit was easy on my hunter, now (if I start my mage) I will have to worry about this too? /cry.


  4. gregor says:

    thanks very much for the link for this :)
    awesome info simplified :D


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s