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 For the magical type, see spell critical strike.
Critical strike (often abbreviated as "crit" or "crit strike") refers to 100% bonus physical damage (twice your normal damage) that occurs as a result of an attack made with melee or ranged weapons. The chance to critical strike can be viewed in the character pane under melee stats and is affected by agility, critical strike rating, and talents. Some classes have talents that increase the amount of bonus damage for critical strikes or talents that increase their critical strike rating. Attacks made by mobs can not result in a blocked critical strike, but this can result on a player attack. It can also be viewed by opening the spell book and mousing over the "attack" ability. Notable about critical strikes is that any nonspell attack on a sitting target will always result with a critical hit(taking into the account that you are more vulnerable sitting or lying down than you are standing facetoface with your enemy).
In Mists of Pandaria
All spells and abilities will crit for double damage, baseline. There are a few exceptions where crits can get larger, but the default is x 2.0 for everyone.^{[1]}
Critical Strike Rating
Critical Strike Rating is a combat rating found on gear, enchants, and gems. It takes approximately 22.08 rating to increase your critical strike chance by 1% at level 70 and 45.91 at level 80. As of patch 3.0.2, Critical Strike Rating affects melee,ranged and spells.
Critical Strike Rating required for 1% Critical Chance  

Level 60  Level 70  Level 80  Level 85  
14  22.08  45.91  179.19 
Attack Rating and Defense
This article is flagged for a fact check!

Mobs which are the same level as you always have a 5% chance to crit. A mob's or player's crit chance is modified by the difference between the attacker's Attack Rating and the defender's Defense. The attack rating equals the skill with the currently equipped weapon (WS = Weapon Skill), being level * 5 for mobs and the same for player chars with maximum weapon skill. Each point of AR exceeding the target's Defense will increase chance to crit by 0.04%.
This table assumes a player attacking either a mob or another player:
Target type  Target's Defense  Difference to basic crit chance [basic crit chance: tooltip value for players, 5% for mobs] 

player or mob  Def = AR  no change 
mob  Def < AR  no change 
mob  Def > AR   0.2% per point of difference [unsure, if correct] 
player  Def > AR   0.04% per point of difference 
player  Def < AR  + 0.04% per point of difference 
Example: Level 70 player at maximum weapon skill against boss mob (level 73).
Mob's crit chance against player: 5% + 0,04%*(365350)= 5,6%
Player's crit chance against mob: tooltip crit chance  0,2%*(365350) = tooltip crit chance  3%
Agility
The agility you need to acquire 1% critical hit chance depends on your class and level. Keep in mind everyone has a base crit of 5% from agility. Only agility on gear adds to the base of 5%. Ex. If a level 80 paladin has 161 agility (90 base agility and 71 from gear) the crit chance from agility will be 5% + 71/52.08 = 6.36%.
AGI per 1% Crit  

Class  L. 60  L. 70  L. 80 
Death Knight  20  33  62.5 
Druid  20  40  83.3 
Hunter  33  40  83.3 
Mage  20  25  51 
Paladin  20  25  52.08 
Priest  20  25  52 
Rogue  29  40  83.3 
Shaman  20  40  83.3 
Warlock  20  25  51 
Warrior  20  33  62.5 
Effect of increased crit or hit chance
Both increased hit and crit chance have a kind of "diminishing returns" mechanic built in. A 1% increase of either stat will not increase the total damage output by 1%, but usually by a little less. Consider the following Attack table:
 2% base miss
 5% dodge
 5% parry
 5% block
 25% crit
Damage = BaseDamage * ((1.00  0.02  0.05  0.05  0.05  0.25) + 2 * 0.25) = BaseDamage * 1.08
(With 0% crit we'd do 83% of BaseDamage)
Now the same calculation with 26% crit chance:
Damage = BaseDamage * ((1.00  0.02  0.05  0.05  0.05  0.26) + 2 * 0.26) = BaseDamage * 1.09
We increased the total damage output by 1% of the base damage. Since the total output is more than 100% of that base damage, the actual increase in total damage output is "only" 0.93%. If the total output is significantly greater than the base damage, this percentage will be smaller, if the total output is below the base damage, the resulting increase will even be higher than 1%.
What's better, +hit or +crit?
In principle they are equal. Which is better depends on circumstances. An increase in hit rate will usually yield a constant level of damage, whereas a high crit chance gives a spiky, more random damage distribution over time. An important factor is whether there are procs related to either hits or critical hits. Also, both ratings have caps (which are not fixed to a certain % but rather depend on multiple factors such as hit chance, enemy's level and defense rating). To hit can only be used to counter the base chance to miss (5% for one or twohand users without any offhand weapon, and 24% for dualwielders), whereas the crit chance cannot become higher than available space for hit chance. If a dual wielder attacks a target with a high chance to dodge or parry the attacker can lose crit chance because the attack table is full. (See the "Crit Cap" section below.)
For example, a dual wield in a raid, attacking from behind, with a 0 chance to hit, you have a maximum critical chance of 40%. Any additional critical chance increase is wasted. This number might seem high but take into consideration talents, potions, buffs, procs and skills that increase your crit rate to 50% or more, these are wasted.
From a raiding perspective, your miss chance increases by 3% (so 8% and 27%  base of 8% for special attacks) and increasing your Hit to at the very least cover your Special attacks is seen as more beneficial than increasing your Critical chance. After you have hit that level, you can focus more heavily on Critical Chance.
 For single wielder classes, increasing your hit chance past 8% is ineffective.
 For dual wielder classes (rogues for example), increasing hit past 8% is still beneficial, just not quite as much as that first 8% was.
 For casting classes, hit rating is nearly always more valuable than critical strike rating, because of the tworoll spell attack system.
Crit cap
Whitedamage attacks made by a player with fullytrained weapon skill against a mob 3 levels higher have a fixed 24% chance of being glancing blows.
Therefore, with no +expertise/+hit gear on, and no talents or racial abilities that increase Expertise or the chance to hit, attacks made by a level 80 dual wielder against a level 83 mob have the following table from the front:
From the front, dualwielding  

Result  Chance 
Miss  27.0% 
Dodge  6.5% 
Parry  14% 
Glancing Blow  24.0% 
Block  6.5% 
Combined hit + crit  21% 
Attacks against mobs made from the back cannot be blocked or parried (thus, attacking from behind will never trigger "parry haste" on the mob). Losing those values from the chart makes the "combined hit + crit" entry appropriately larger. Players cannot dodge, parry, or block attacks from the back.
It is not as bad if the same character attacks the same mob from the front with a twohanded weapon:
From the front, not dualwielding  

Result  Chance 
Miss  8% 
Dodge  6.5% 
Parry  14% 
Glancing Blow  24.0% 
Block  6.5% 
Combined hit + crit  40% 
This is a 40% + your +hit + 2x your Expertise bonus crit cap.
Finally, consider attacking the mob from the rear, where the mob cannot block or parry:
From the rear, dualwielding  

Result  Chance 
Miss  27% 
Dodge  6.5% 
Parry  0% 
Glancing Blow  24.0% 
Block  0% 
Combined hit + crit  42.5% 
From the rear, not dualwielding  

Result  Chance 
Miss  8% 
Dodge  6.5% 
Parry  0% 
Glancing Blow  24.0% 
Block  0% 
Combined hit + crit  61.5% 
All these crit caps could have been increased by increasing your Expertise (0.5% increase per point from the front, 0.25% increase per point from the rear) and by +hit (1% increase per percantage increase in your Hit chance).
Dual wield full raid buffs example from the front:
+0 hit +50% crit: 6.5% dodge, 14% parry, 28.0% miss, 6.5% block, 25% glancing blow, 20% crit = 30% of your crit rate did nothing +6% hit +40% crit: 6.5% dodge, 14% parry, 6.5% block, 22.0% miss, 25% glancing blow, 26% crit = 14% of your crit rate did nothing +15% hit +31% crit: 6.5% dodge, 14% parry, 6.5% block, 13% miss, 25% glancing blow, 31% crit, 4% hit = no +crit was wasted in this example
Dual wield full raid buffs example from the back:
+0 hit +50% crit: 6.5% dodge, 28.0% miss, 25% glancing blow, 40.5% crit = 9.5% of your crit rate did nothing +6% hit +40% crit: 6.5% dodge, 22.0% miss, 25% glancing blow, 40% crit, 6.5% hit = no +crit was wasted in this example +15% hit +33% crit: 6.5% dodge, 13% miss, 25% glancing blow, 33.0% crit, 22.5% hit = no +crit was wasted in this example
DPS Implications
Hit Rating is very important due to the crit cap. The following shows the difference in white damage between various stat options:
Assuming 30% crit and +0% hit from the front, its 6.5% block for 70% damage 20% crit for 200% damage (impale doesn't work on whitedamage attacks!) 25% glancing blow for 70% damage 48.5% miss, dodge, or parry for no damage per swing its an average of .065 * .7 + .20 * 2 + .25 * .7 = 62.05% of your damage per swing
Assuming you add +5% hit, the numbers become... 6.5% block for 70% damage 25% crit for 200% damage 25% glancing blow for 70% damage 43.5% miss, dodge, or parry no damage so per swing its an average of .065 * .7 + .25 *2 + .25 * .7 = 72.05% of your damage per swing
Enhancers that affect critical strike
Various items can be added to your equipment (or imbibed) to increase your chance to critically hit.
Elixirs
Enchantments
 Shoulders
 Greater Inscription of the Axe
 Greater Inscription of the Blade
 Inscription of the Blade
 Greater Inscription of Vengeance
 Lesser Inscription of the Axe
 Might of the Scourge ...no longer drops
 Legs
 Icescale Leg Armor
 Nerubian Leg Reinforcements Leatherworking only
 Nerubian Leg Armor
 Nethercobra Leg Armor
 Cobrahide Leg Armor
 Ranged
Enchanting
 Enchant Weapon  Accuracy
 Enchant Gloves  Blasting
 Enchant Boots  Icewalker
 Enchant Boots  Surefooted
 [Brilliant Wizard Oil]
Gems
Northrend Gems
Color  Name  Effect(s)  

Yellow  [Smooth King's Amber]  +20 Critical Strike Rating  
[Smooth Autumn's Glow]  +16 Critical Strike Rating  
[Perfect Smooth Sun Crystal]  +14 Critical Strike Rating  
[Smooth Sun Crystal]  +12 Critical Strike Rating  
Orange  [Wicked Ametrine]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  +20 Attack Power 
[Wicked Monarch Topaz]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  +16 Attack Power  
[Perfect Wicked Huge Citrine]  +7 Critical Strike Rating  +14 Attack Power  
[Wicked Huge Citrine]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +12 Attack Power  
[Inscribed Ametrine]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  +10 Strength  
[Inscribed Monarch Topaz]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  +8 Strength  
[Perfect Inscribed Huge Citrine]  +7 Critical Strike Rating  +7 Strength  
[Inscribed Huge Citrine]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Strength  
[Deadly Ametrine]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  +10 Agility  
[Deadly Monarch Topaz]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  +8 Agility  
[Perfect Deadly Huge Citrine]  +7 Critical Strike Rating  +7 Agility  
[Deadly Huge Citrine]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Agility  
[Potent Ametrine]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  +12 Spell Power  
[Potent Monarch Topaz]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  +9 Spell Power  
[Perfect Potent Huge Citrine]  +7 Critical Strike Rating  +8 Spell Power  
[Potent Huge Citrine]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +7 Spell Power  
Green  [Jagged Eye of Zul]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  +15 Stamina 
[Jagged Forest Emerald]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  +12 Stamina  
[Perfect Jagged Dark Jade]  +7 Critical Strike Rating  +11 Stamina  
[Jagged Dark Jade]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +9 Stamina  
[Sundered Eye of Zul]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  +5 Mana every 5 Seconds  
[Sundered Forest Emerald]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  +4 Mana every 5 Seconds  
[Perfect Sundered Dark Jade]  +7 Critical Strike Rating  +4 Mana every 5 Seconds  
[Sundered Dark Jade]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +3 Mana every 5 Seconds  
[Radiant Eye of Zul]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  +13 Spell Penetration  
[Radiant Forest Emerald]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  +10 Spell Penetration  
[Perfect Radiant Dark Jade]  +7 Critical Strike Rating  +8 Spell Penetration  
[Radiant Dark Jade]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +9 Spell Penetration  
[Misty Eye of Zul]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  +10 Spirit  
[Misty Forest Emerald]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  +8 Spirit  
[Perfect Misty Dark Jade]  +7 Critical Strike Rating  +7 Spirit  
[Misty Dark Jade]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Spirit  
Meta  [Beaming Earthsiege Diamond]  +21 Critical Strike Rating  +2% Mana 
[Chaotic Skyflare Diamond]  +21 Critical Strike Rating  3% Increased Critical Damage  
[Destructive Skyflare Diamond]  +25 Critical Strike Rating  1% Spell Reflect  
[Enigmatic Skyflare Diamond]  +21 Critical Strike Rating  Reduces Snare/Root Duration by 10%  
[Enigmatic Starflare Diamond]  +17 Critical Strike Rating  Reduces Snare/Root Duration by 10%  
[Impassive Skyflare Diamond]  +21 Critical Strike Rating  Fear Duration Reduced by 10%  
[Impassive Starflare Diamond]  +17 Critical Strike Rating  Fear Duration Reduced by 10% 
Outland Gems
Color  Name  Effect(s)  

Yellow  [Stone of Blades]  +12 Critical Strike Rating  
[Smooth Lionseye]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  
[Smooth Ornate Dawnstone]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  
[Gleaming Lionseye]  +10 Critical Strike Rating  
[Gleaming Dawnstone]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  
[Smooth Dawnstone]  +8 Critical Strike Rating  
[Smooth Golden Draenite]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  
[Gleaming Golden Draenite]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  
[Smooth Amber]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  
Orange  [Assassin's Fire Opal]  +6 Critical Strike Rating  +5 Dodge Rating 
[Inscribed Ornate Topaz]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  +10 Attack Power  
[Wicked Pyrestone]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  +10 Attack Power  
[Deadly Fire Opal]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  +8 Attack Power  
[Wicked Noble Topaz]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +8 Attack Power  
[Unstable Citrine]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +8 Attack Power  
[Wicked Flame Spessarite]  +3 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Attack Power  
[Inscribed Pyrestone]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  +5 Strength  
[Enscribed Fire Opal]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +5 Strength  
[Inscribed Noble Topaz]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +4 Strength  
[Inscribed Flame Spessarite]  +3 Critical Strike Rating  +3 Strength  
[Potent Pyrestone]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Spell Power  
[Iridescent Fire Opal]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Spell Power  
[Potent Noble Topaz]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +5 Spell Power  
[Potent Flame Spessarite]  +3 Critical Strike Rating  +4 Spell Power  
Green  [Jagged Chrysoprase]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Stamina 
[Jagged Seaspray Emerald]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  +7 Stamina  
[Jagged Talasite]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Stamina  
[Barbed Deep Peridot]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +3 Stamina  
[Jagged Deep Peridot]  +3 Critical Strike Rating  +4 Stamina  
[Radiant Seaspray Emerald]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  +6 Spell Penetration  
[Radiant Talasite]  +4 Critical Strike Rating  +5 Spell Penetration  
[Radiant Deep Peridot]  +3 Critical Strike Rating  +4 Spell Penetration  
[Sundered Chrysoprase]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  2 mana every 5 sec  
[Rune Covered Chrysoprase]  +5 Critical Strike Rating  2 mana every 5 sec  
Meta  [Destructive Skyfire Diamond]  +14 Critical Strike Rating  1% Spell Reflect 
[Enigmatic Skyfire Diamond]  +12 Critical Strike Rating  +5% Snare and Root Resist  
[Chaotic Skyfire Diamond]  +12 Spell Critical  3% Increase Critical Damage 
Abilities and traits that affect critical strike
Racial abilities
Some races have racial abilities which increase the critical strike chance with certain weapons by 1%:
 Dwarf: Gun Specialization
 Troll: Bow and Thrown Specialization
 Orc: Axe Specialization (as of patch 2.3.4, orc axe racial no longer gives 1% crit. It now increases weapon expertise by 5 for Axes and TwoHanded Axes.)
 Prior to Patch 2.3.0, these racial abilities affected weapon skill instead.
Professions
 Master of Anatomy from the Skinning profession
References
 ^ Ghostcrawler 20120302. Dev Watercooler – Mists of Pandaria Stat Changes. Official World of Warcraft Community site (US).
Ghostcrawler 20120302. Coffee With the Devs — Mists of Pandaria Stat Changes. Official World of Warcraft Community site (EU).
See also
