|Spell Hit Quick Facts|
- Not to be confused with Hit.
Spell hit is a combat attribute that increases a caster's chance to hit with spells. Spell hit is primarily obtained from talents or gear that has hit rating. The more gear with hit rating a caster has the lower the chance the caster's spells will miss. With patch 3.0.2, spell hit is capped at 100%; with enough spell hit, it is possible to reach a state where it is impossible for your spells to miss. A spell that fails to hit is shown as a miss, while misses caused by a target's resistance are shown as a resist. Healing spells always hit thus healers do not need spell hit.
Hit rating is part of the combat rating system that was introduced with Patch 2.0 and the Burning Crusade expansion. Each point of hit rating increases chance to hit with spells by a percentage. When the player's level increases, the points of +hit rating needed to achieve +1% chance to hit with spells increases as well. Viz, the percentage contribution by each +hit rating point is reduced when the player's level is increased.
Prior to Patch 3.0, Hit Rating only increased your chance to hit with melee and ranged attacks; a separate stat, called Spell Hit Rating, increased your chance to hit with spells. 3.0 unified both ratings together, and now Hit Rating increases your chance to hit with both spells and melee/ranged attacks.
Besides hit rating, a caster can increase chance to hit with talents, depending on class.
The spell hit mechanic has been confirmed by Blizzard CM Eyonix. Base chance to hit is based on level difference between caster and target, starting at 96% for equal levels, and going up or down from there, capping at a maximum 100%. Furthermore, the chance to hit is different for mobs (PvE) and player (PvP) targets.
For example, a level 70 caster attacking a level 73 mob will have a 83% chance to hit with spells in PvE.
Players many levels below their target will always have at least a 1% chance of landing a spell.
For casters, 1% of additional hit can amount to more than 1% additional damage statistically. This is due to mobs being able to partially resist your spells when you are bellow hit cap in addition to your miss rate.
Increasing spell hit
Chance to hit can be increased by talents or gear up to 100%. Hit rating is a stat found on gear that increases hit chance by a certain percent per point, based on level. At level 70, 12.615 hit rating is equivalent to 1% hit. At level 80, 26.232 hit rating is equivalent to 1% hit.
At level 80, the highest level mob currently present is level 83 (e.g. all WotLK raid bosses), so a level 80 caster has an effective spell hit rating cap of 446. That assumes no other spell hit sources.
Aside from gear with spell hit rating, chance to hit can also be increased through some buffs and spells. Draenei give an additional 1% hit to their group with Heroic Presence, as well as debuffs like a balance druid's Improved Faerie Fire and a shadow priest's Misery. The following table lists some talents that also increase a caster's chance to hit with spells. Taking these effects into consideration lowers the effective hit rating cap.
With Patch 4.0.1, many of these talents were changed or removed. This sections needs to be reviewed and updated.
|Druid||Balance of Power||Balance, Tier 6||+ 2% per point, 4% max||All spells|
|Druid||Improved Faerie Fire||Balance, Tier 7||+ 1% per point, 3% max||Target debuff*|
|Death knight||Virulence||Unholy, Tier 1||+ 1% per point, 3% max||All spells|
|Mage||Precision||Frost, Tier 2||+ 1% per point, 3% max||All spells|
|Mage||Arcane Focus||Arcane, Tier 1||+ 1% per point, 3% max||Arcane spells only|
|Priest||Misery||Shadow, Tier 8||+ 1% per point, 3% max||Target debuff*|
|Priest||Shadow Focus||Shadow, Tier 2||+ 1% per point, 3% max||Shadow spells only|
|Rogue||Precision||Combat, Tier 2||+ 1% per point, 5% max||Poisons|
|Shaman||Elemental Precision||Elemental, Tier 6||+ 1% per point, 3% max||Fire, Frost, and Nature spells|
|Warlock||Suppression||Affliction, Tier 1||+ 1% per point, 3% max||All spells|
- Hit debuffs do not stack.
With Talents and gear combined, chance to hit with spells can reach 100%. Casters should keep this cap in mind when considering their gear. For PvE raiding, bosses are considered to be 3 levels higher than the caster, meaning that +17% is the most that will be effective. For high level arena PvP sufficient +hit chance is very important as missed crowd control like sheep, fear and cyclone can easily lose matches. The base miss chance versus any player target of the same level is 4%, however certain races have an increased 2% chance to be missed by certain spell schools (nature for Taurens/Night Elves, shadow for Draenei/Undead, arcane for Gnomes, frost for dwarves, and ALL spells for Blood Elves). For this reason, max hit can range from 4%-6% depending on what spells you intend to use. Also see spell penetration for increasing chance for spells to land or to land unresisted in PvP. Note that some classes (for example Paladins, Rogues and Druids) can spec to gain extra chance to have spells miss them, which CANNOT be mitigated by additional chance to hit. Also, some abilities (e.g. - Cloak of Shadows, and spell resistance for binary spells) give the player using the ability extra chance to have spells miss as well. Extra spell hit does in fact mitigate these spells' extra chance to miss, but is typically unnecessary.
Effect of resistance
Spell resistance has a separate effect that is considered in addition to spell hit chance, and is based on a resistance stat for a specific school. In general a certain amount of resistance will mitigate a certain percentage of damage from a magic school. For binary spells that do not partially resist, the resistance mitigation is combined with the spell hit chance to give an overall percentage for the spell to land or be resisted. The chance to hit is multiplied by the mitigation factor from the resistance to give an overall chance to hit. For the following formula, B is base chance to hit with spells, H is increased chance to hit from gear and talents, and R is the mitigation factor given from resistance.
(B + H) * R
For example, a caster with 6% increased chance to hit, attacking a mob 3 levels higher (83% base chance) that has enough resistance to mitigate 50% of spell damage, the overall chance to hit with a binary spell is 44.5%
(83% + 6%) * 50% = 44.5%
For non-binary spells, resistance is computed as a second calculation after the spell hit chance is rolled. After a spell hit is determined, a partial resist calculation based on resistance is done, which can also result in a full resist. These two resists once appeared identically in the combat log, and there was no known way to distinguish a spell miss from a full resist. However, as of patch 3.0.2 the combat log now distinguishes between a spell miss and a resist.
The effect of Hit chance on Critical Hit chance
Unlike the melee combat system, spell crit makes absolutely no difference to hit chance. All spells, regardless of whether they are treated as binary or not, roll hit and crit separately. Conceptually, the game rolls for your hit chance first, and if the spell hits you have a separate roll for whether it crits.
Overall chance to crit over all spells cast is thus affected by hit rate. To calculate overall crit rate, multiplying the two chances together:
crit rate over all spell casts = crit * hit
For example, a caster with no spell hit rating gear or talents, against a mob 3 levels higher (83% hit chance), and 30% crit rating from gear and talents:
crit rate over all spell casts = 30% * 83% = 24.9%
In addition, direct damage spells suffer from partial resistance, but again, that has no effect on whether a spell hits or not.
Hit rating chart
The following chart shows the total hit rating required to 2 decimal places for the range of spell hit % commonly desired. It is obviously not possible to achieve a fractional hit rating, and the decision to round up or down to an integer is left to the individual. See the hit rating caps for level 80 below for the rating required to reach 100% hits with spell casting.
|Level||Hit Rating Required|
Hit rating caps for level 80
A common question among casters is how much hit rating is needed to hit the 100% chance to hit cap. As stated earlier, this depends on the level of the targets one expects to encounter, and any talents that add chance to hit with spells. The following table summarizes how much hit rating is needed for a certain level, after all talents and buffs are taken into consideration. To use the table, first add up how much hit you already have (don't forget the possibility of a draenei in your group or debuffs on your target that can increase your chance to hit with spells), then look up that row to find the hit rating cap for targets level 80 up to 83. End-game raiding casters generally use the level 83 column, as the effective level of bosses is 83 (level 80 content). However, many boss fights involve killing level 82 and below adds. An example is the Dreamwalker fight in ICC. It can be argued that a 446 hit rating against level 82 mobs is not an efficient allocation of stats.
Note: For Misery (Shadow priest ability) or Improved Faerie Fire (Moonkin Talent) affected mobs (often in 25 man raids), refer to 3 rows down (3%->6%, etc). Also, for Heroic Presence (if a Draenei is in your group) move one more row down.
Note: For casters doing heroics exclusively and not planning on raiding, you may use the 82 column instead, as that is the highest level of mobs found in heroics (i.e., bosses).
|Hit rating needed at 80 (per target lvl.)||Notes|
|0%||105||132||158||446||No talent bonuses or buffs|
|1%||79||105||132||420||Draenei Heroic Presence|
|8%||0||0||0||237||Balance druid with Balance of Power, Improved Faerie Fire, and Heroic Presence|
|9%||0||0||0||210||Arcane mage with Arcane Focus, Improved Faerie Fire/Misery and Precision|
|10%||0||0||0||184||Draenei Arcane mage with Arcane Focus, Heroic Presence, Improved Faerie Fire/Misery and Precision|
The hit rating numbers in the above table are all rounded up to the next integer number. E.g. 26.23 (1% at 80) becomes 27, 393.47 (15% at 80) becomes 394. While this may seem counter-intuitive at first, the intention is to provide the number which will give 100% spell hit (i.e. the "hit cap"). If they were rounded to the nearest integer, some would still leave a small chance to miss, e.g. rounding 393.47 to 393 only provides 14.98%, leaving a 0.02% chance to miss. It is up to each individual to determine whether they are willing to tolerate that very small chance to miss, or if they wish to completely eliminate it. The assumption in the table is that it is desirable to guarantee that spells will not miss. The hit rating chart above provides the ratings to 2 decimal places for those that wish to consider the merits of rounding up or down in more detail.
As a rule of thumb, a level 80 player against a level 83 boss needs +26.232*k hit rating, to achieve +k% chance to hit with spells. That means that on 80-vs-83 fights each point of +hit rating contributes about +0.038% chance to hit with spells.
Also bear in mind that if you have a draenei in your group, their Heroic Presence will get you one scale lower from where you are currently in the above table, thus enabling you to swap 1% hit rating from your gear for more useful stats. However, be aware that the draenei must be in your party (the aura is not raid-wide), and if you ever find yourself in a group that does not contain a draenei, you will no longer be hit capped if you have used the aura in your hit calculations for gear, gems, enchants, etc. The inspiring aura buff does not stack, of course.