**UPDATED. Changed the white attack crits to be a bit clearer.**

I couldn't resist.

With the new patch feral cats are going to start having to consider a couple of interesting soft and hard caps on their gear. At least I thought it was interesting; it wasn't something I was thinking about. And one...may surprise you.

First, the basic easy ones that everyone should know about already: the hit and expertise caps for ferals.

Hit Cap:

The normal hit cap for ferals is 8% hit - meaning that you need 8% hit to reduce the chance of misses to 0% against bosses that are 3 levels above you. This comes out to be 263 rating - or 230 rating if you have a draenei in your party. Any hit rating above this is wasted. For sake of completeness, here are the different caps with the most relevant ones to raiding highlighted:

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 80 mobs: 164

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 80 mobs with draenei: 132

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 81 mobs: 180

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 81 mobs with draenei: 147

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 82 mobs: 197

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 82 mobs with draenei: 164

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs: 263

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs with draenei: 230

Expertise Cap:

The expertise cap is dependent entirely on whether or not you took primal precision or not. Which you should almost certainly do if you do not cap for hit or expertise, as the secondary function (refund on misses) is the reason that hit/expertise are not ranked as highly for cats as they are for other classes.

For every 8.2 points of expertise rating, you gain 1 expertise skill. Each point of expertise skill reduces your chance to be dodged/parried by .25%. You can be dodged at a rate of 6.5% against level 83 mobs. So with Primal Precision, you need 16 total expertise skill. Without it, you need 26.

Expertise rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs (with primal precision): 132 (due to rounding)

Expertise rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs (without primal precision): 214

Armor Penetration Cap:

The armor penetration cap is simply how much armor pen it takes to reduce the contribution from armor to a maximal value. This is a fairly complex calculation used to figure out exactly how much will be reduced, but the end result is this - at level 80, you need 13.99 armor penetration rating to reduce 1% armor.

Thus, at 1399.something rating (or 1400), armor penetration is capped in contribution at 100%. That's the absolute hard cap.

There are several soft caps based on trinket procs. A soft cap means that with a proc on the trinket, you will reach the hard cap - but only with that proc on the trinket. Every simulation I've seen uses this logic: it is better from a gearing perspective to get one of these trinkets and gear to the soft cap (and go agi afterwards) than it is to go over the cap. This makes some sense, as every time the proc is up on the trinket, all that extra armor pen that you went over would be wasted.

As of writing now, there are three trinkets that provide (or will provide) armor pen procs:

Grim Toll (provides 612 armor pen for 10 seconds on a hit every 45 seconds) - found in Naxx

Mjolnir Runestone (provides 665 armor pen for 10 seconds on a hit every 45 seconds) - from hard mode 10-man Thorim

Needle-Encrusted Scorpion (provides 678 armor pen for 10 seconds on a crit every 45 seconds) - from Devourer of Souls in heroic Forge of Souls - the new 5-man.

For the sake of this discussion it's unimportant about which is going to be better than which here; I'll talk about that later this week. The numbers are what matter right now.

Armor pen cap without any armor pen proccing trinkets: 1400

Armor pen cap with Grim Toll: 788

Armor pen cap with Mjolnir Runestone: 735

Armor pen cap with Needle-Encrusted Scorpion: 722

This was the new and exciting bit of information for me. With procs of various trinkets, cats are going to be easily blowing past their critical strike caps some of the time. For instance, Death's Choice gives a crazy 510 agility on a proc - that's 6.1% crit by itself and that's pre-Blessing of Kings multiplier.

But what are the cap levels? Well, this is where it gets complicated, as there are two different systems depending on whether it's a normal melee attack (white attack) or if it's a special attack (yellow).

For white attacks, there is a one roll system. This means that every attack rolls randomly against your hit table, and depending on where it lands will determine whether or not the attack misses, dodges, hits or crits. Paladin tanks should be very familiar with this hit table. The important thing to understand is that things on this table have a precedence, and you can push values off depending. For example, getting 8% hit pushes misses off the table completely.

But you can never remove Glancing Blows. The way it works is that there is a 24% chance of an attack being a glancing blow. This is independent of any other ability and can't be reduced, and can't be pushed off the table. In other words, no matter how high your crit chance is, you will always have this chance. In addition, there's a 4.8% chance of an attack always being a 'hit' due to some kind of crit deflation. This means that 4.8% of your crits will be converted to hits and not a crit no matter what - again, this cannot be changed to a crit no matter what. However, you need 4.8% crit to push this off the table - otherwise you'll have even more hits. Then there's misses, dodges, and parries. Those can be replaced by crits assuming you have the proper hit and expertise cap.

So the highest white attack crit % is (100-24%) = 76% crit. Any higher than that, and you're wasting crit chance on your white attacks. This means that in practice, 76% is the highest crit value (assuming maximum hit/expertise caps). And this means assuming you hit an infinite amount of times, you will get 71.2% crits from your white attacks.

For special/yellow attacks, WoW uses a two-roll system. What this means is that first the game checks to see whether or not the attack lands (using your hit/expertise skill), and then uses your crit chance to determine whether or not it was a crit. This means that the crit cap is higher, as special attacks cannot be glancing blows.

What's more interesting here is that there appears to be a special crit reduction in place on all yellow attacks. This has been shown to be 4.8% over at EJ. Which means that the base cap for yellow attack crits is 104.8%.

Yikes. Add into this that you will have Rend & Tear, and it gets fairly annoying to figure out.

But thanks to Murna, here are some fairly nice descriptions of various scenarios for crit caps (edited with more information - the 4.8% chance needs to be pushed off the table)

And finally, if you're not at hit/expertise cap, these numbers will be different for you.

In terms of what this likely means for Icecrown...it's fuzzy. Chances are that we wouldn't be able to hit 71.2% crit naturally, but that would definitely be a point where you should consider gearing something else (like, oddly, strength). My gut feeling is that we'll be going for the hard cap of armor pen, and if you happen to reach 1400, then you can try for the caps for crit. I also think that this clearly indicates hit/expertise capping is going to be valuable given some of the procs on trinkets, just because more crit isn't going to necessarily help you. I wouldn't worry about reaching the FB cap; FB still will not be a large component of your damage most of the time.

But again, more on that in a bit.

With the new patch feral cats are going to start having to consider a couple of interesting soft and hard caps on their gear. At least I thought it was interesting; it wasn't something I was thinking about. And one...may surprise you.

First, the basic easy ones that everyone should know about already: the hit and expertise caps for ferals.

Hit Cap:

The normal hit cap for ferals is 8% hit - meaning that you need 8% hit to reduce the chance of misses to 0% against bosses that are 3 levels above you. This comes out to be 263 rating - or 230 rating if you have a draenei in your party. Any hit rating above this is wasted. For sake of completeness, here are the different caps with the most relevant ones to raiding highlighted:

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 80 mobs: 164

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 80 mobs with draenei: 132

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 81 mobs: 180

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 81 mobs with draenei: 147

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 82 mobs: 197

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 82 mobs with draenei: 164

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs: 263

Hit rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs with draenei: 230

Expertise Cap:

The expertise cap is dependent entirely on whether or not you took primal precision or not. Which you should almost certainly do if you do not cap for hit or expertise, as the secondary function (refund on misses) is the reason that hit/expertise are not ranked as highly for cats as they are for other classes.

For every 8.2 points of expertise rating, you gain 1 expertise skill. Each point of expertise skill reduces your chance to be dodged/parried by .25%. You can be dodged at a rate of 6.5% against level 83 mobs. So with Primal Precision, you need 16 total expertise skill. Without it, you need 26.

Expertise rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs (with primal precision): 132 (due to rounding)

Expertise rating needed vs. lvl 83 mobs (without primal precision): 214

Armor Penetration Cap:

The armor penetration cap is simply how much armor pen it takes to reduce the contribution from armor to a maximal value. This is a fairly complex calculation used to figure out exactly how much will be reduced, but the end result is this - at level 80, you need 13.99 armor penetration rating to reduce 1% armor.

Thus, at 1399.something rating (or 1400), armor penetration is capped in contribution at 100%. That's the absolute hard cap.

There are several soft caps based on trinket procs. A soft cap means that with a proc on the trinket, you will reach the hard cap - but only with that proc on the trinket. Every simulation I've seen uses this logic: it is better from a gearing perspective to get one of these trinkets and gear to the soft cap (and go agi afterwards) than it is to go over the cap. This makes some sense, as every time the proc is up on the trinket, all that extra armor pen that you went over would be wasted.

As of writing now, there are three trinkets that provide (or will provide) armor pen procs:

Grim Toll (provides 612 armor pen for 10 seconds on a hit every 45 seconds) - found in Naxx

Mjolnir Runestone (provides 665 armor pen for 10 seconds on a hit every 45 seconds) - from hard mode 10-man Thorim

Needle-Encrusted Scorpion (provides 678 armor pen for 10 seconds on a crit every 45 seconds) - from Devourer of Souls in heroic Forge of Souls - the new 5-man.

For the sake of this discussion it's unimportant about which is going to be better than which here; I'll talk about that later this week. The numbers are what matter right now.

Armor pen cap without any armor pen proccing trinkets: 1400

Armor pen cap with Grim Toll: 788

Armor pen cap with Mjolnir Runestone: 735

Armor pen cap with Needle-Encrusted Scorpion: 722

**Critical strike cap:**

This was the new and exciting bit of information for me. With procs of various trinkets, cats are going to be easily blowing past their critical strike caps some of the time. For instance, Death's Choice gives a crazy 510 agility on a proc - that's 6.1% crit by itself and that's pre-Blessing of Kings multiplier.

But what are the cap levels? Well, this is where it gets complicated, as there are two different systems depending on whether it's a normal melee attack (white attack) or if it's a special attack (yellow).

For white attacks, there is a one roll system. This means that every attack rolls randomly against your hit table, and depending on where it lands will determine whether or not the attack misses, dodges, hits or crits. Paladin tanks should be very familiar with this hit table. The important thing to understand is that things on this table have a precedence, and you can push values off depending. For example, getting 8% hit pushes misses off the table completely.

But you can never remove Glancing Blows. The way it works is that there is a 24% chance of an attack being a glancing blow. This is independent of any other ability and can't be reduced, and can't be pushed off the table. In other words, no matter how high your crit chance is, you will always have this chance. In addition, there's a 4.8% chance of an attack always being a 'hit' due to some kind of crit deflation. This means that 4.8% of your crits will be converted to hits and not a crit no matter what - again, this cannot be changed to a crit no matter what. However, you need 4.8% crit to push this off the table - otherwise you'll have even more hits. Then there's misses, dodges, and parries. Those can be replaced by crits assuming you have the proper hit and expertise cap.

So the highest white attack crit % is (100-24%) = 76% crit. Any higher than that, and you're wasting crit chance on your white attacks. This means that in practice, 76% is the highest crit value (assuming maximum hit/expertise caps). And this means assuming you hit an infinite amount of times, you will get 71.2% crits from your white attacks.

For special/yellow attacks, WoW uses a two-roll system. What this means is that first the game checks to see whether or not the attack lands (using your hit/expertise skill), and then uses your crit chance to determine whether or not it was a crit. This means that the crit cap is higher, as special attacks cannot be glancing blows.

What's more interesting here is that there appears to be a special crit reduction in place on all yellow attacks. This has been shown to be 4.8% over at EJ. Which means that the base cap for yellow attack crits is 104.8%.

Yikes. Add into this that you will have Rend & Tear, and it gets fairly annoying to figure out.

But thanks to Murna, here are some fairly nice descriptions of various scenarios for crit caps (edited with more information - the 4.8% chance needs to be pushed off the table)

68.72% - White Crit Softcap with [Death's Verdict] proccing (+ 7,28% from Procc + 24% Glancing Blows = 100%)Again, these are samples. If you have DM:G or some other crit trinket proc or a proc like mongoose, this will change. But what this does indicate to me is that you should value these possibly a bit less, especially as you get into higher-end gear. For example - right now, without procs, I'm sitting at a bit over 61% crit when I'm raid-buffed. With a proc from DM:G and mongoose, I'll be at the white cap and the extra crit is going to be wasted. Right now that can't be helped (mongoose is on the staff because I'm using it for cat and bear) but it definitely factors in my view of what to gear.

69,58% = White Crit Softcap with [Death's Verdict] proccing (+ 6.42% from Procc + 24% Glancing Blows = 100%)

76% - White crit cap (+ 24% Glancing Blows = 100%)

79.8% - Ferocious Bite Crit Cap (+ 25% Crit from Talent - 4.8% Crit Suppression = 100%)

97.52% - Yellow Crit Softcap with [Death's Verdict] proccing (+ 7,28% from Procc - 4.8% Crit Suppression = 100%)

98.38% - Yellow Crit Softcap with [Death's Verdict] proccing (+ 6.42% from Procc - 4.8% Crit Suppression = 100%)

104.8% - Yellow Crit Cap (- 4.8% Crit Suppression = 100%)

And finally, if you're not at hit/expertise cap, these numbers will be different for you.

In terms of what this likely means for Icecrown...it's fuzzy. Chances are that we wouldn't be able to hit 71.2% crit naturally, but that would definitely be a point where you should consider gearing something else (like, oddly, strength). My gut feeling is that we'll be going for the hard cap of armor pen, and if you happen to reach 1400, then you can try for the caps for crit. I also think that this clearly indicates hit/expertise capping is going to be valuable given some of the procs on trinkets, just because more crit isn't going to necessarily help you. I wouldn't worry about reaching the FB cap; FB still will not be a large component of your damage most of the time.

But again, more on that in a bit.

## 21 comments:

Bravo! Thanks a bunch for sorting all that number mumbo-jumbo in one solid post!

Good post, I think it needs to be stated that no one should be trying to max out all 4 caps at the same time as that is just not possible.

With the information on gear that 3.3 has provided so far, it's very evident that ArP is starting to lose it's importance and with the introduction of the new 4pt10 (rakes can now crit) the appeal of stacking agility for crit is a lot higher.

Finally expertise as a kitty kat is kind of a secondary stat. I've never placed too much value on it. The only expertise I carry is from items that are BiS for other stats on the item (arp, sockets etc).

Very interesting read, thanks for the neat and clear presentation :o)

Ok simple question for the non-capped. (And a way to fully understand the math)

If I am say, 3% under the expertise cap, does that mean my white hits will have a guarantee of 3% dodge, and thus lowering my Crit Cap by 3% as well?

Interesting. Looks like I can ditch a point of Primal Precision with my current gear, according to Rawr.

And the crit cap may make certain Idols more valuable (i.e. an Agility proc on the idol may be worth less than the Rip idol).

I've got over 500 points of Agility on procs right now, with Mongoose, Idol of the Corrupter, and DM:G. Still a long way from the crit cap, but something to keep an eye on. (Since I'm not ready for a variety of reasons to gem AP.)

"With the new expansion feral cats..."

Don't you mean patch :P

good post

They updated the Scorpion trinket to over 650arp.

Looks to me like Hit Rating is going to be hard to come by in 3.3 - complete opposite to the endless hit available now. Ive drafted my rough shopping list and as far as I can see would end up with 115 hit rating on my Kitty.

As noted above Needle Encrusted Scorpion has been changed to 678 arpen to better match ilvl. This would make the cap with the proc 722, much nicer than the ~950 it was before. I've heard that the proc rate is ~10% on crits, which would seem ok for druids ( I know I have roughly 60% crit raid buffed)

I just wanted to mention that the encrusted scarab has been changed.

http://ptr.wowhead.com/?item=50198

It gives now 672ish ARPen-Rating

Great Blog though =)

I'm personally quite close to the white softcap, raid buffed. I've been debating gemming for hit and expertise, since the relatively large amounts on current gear (9 exp on helm alone) make it difficult to hit the cap exactly. I also have been considering haste, given how high a percentage white dmg is for us.

Forgive me if this has been covered before, but I'm still wet behind the ears as a feral, your numbers on the various caps caught my eye, I have a huge moral hindrance gemming for expertise. With the talent points invested into primal whatever does that mean as a bear I should only really be focused on maintaining 16 expertise and anything more via gear or enchant is just extra icing on the cake?

Speaking of caps, I'm at the point now where I am gemming agi/haste in yellow sockets. Is there a haste cap for cats, and if so what is it? Or is it one of those things that never becomes bad because we never get it to caster levels?

Vallen - that's kinda true, and maybe not. It's certainly reasonable to max hit/expertise caps, and it's very likely that gear will exist at least the heroic level that will allow hitting the arpen cap. The crit cap is more just an interesting sidenote, but won't reasonably matter; even if you're above the white crit cap, it won't hit your dps so hugely. Still, it means that haste is definitely the way to go.

Bulamis - that's exactly right.

Keith - that's possible, but I doubt it simply because the damage on rip isn't nearly as scalable as a crit is on yellow attacks. And those procs give a LOT of agi.

Hanzala - thanks and oops :)

Sanctuary - I've updated the post so that it reads the current version, which is a slightly better runestone in all ways.

Thessaly - I'll probably revise my values to value haste more than crit simply because of the high crit. According to FBN it's already higher. Haste is actually pretty awesome for cats - partially because we do a lot of damage from white attacks, and partially because of OoC procs.

Screamatme - gemming for expertise as a cat is probably not optimal, but doing so as a bear is not the worst thing you can do if you really care about threat and have health out the wazoo - and honestly, you do have health out the wazoo. 16 expertise is almost the bare (hah) minimum you want to hit; you should try and get more if you want more threat. But don't kill your health doing so.

Asp - I'm unaware of any haste cap. It's not like you can get your GCD down to 1 second or something or even care about it. More haste is more better, and it scales linearly for the most part.

I need to ask a really stupid question -- I'm sorry and I know you math types are gonna be groaning. Can you tell me exactly which expertise number I need to be looking at? Why so many different numbers? So without the math, which number do I need to look at?

When you look at the stats it says Expertise 33. If you mouse over it, it says

Expertise 190

Reduces chance to be dodges or parried by 8.25%

Expertise Rating 33 (+23 expertise).

I'm a bear tank (I'm pretty well geared and one of my guilds main tanks) and I have the 2/2 in Primal Precision. I'm pretty sure my expertise is low, but not sure. Is that 33 the one that needs to be 16 with primal precision? Which would make my expertise just fine. Or is that the number that needs to be 131? Which would make me really low. What is the +23 referring to?

Thank you for your patience :).

How interesting --

if I look at my expertise thru the Armory it looks like

Expertise 33.

when you mouse over it, it says

Expertise 190

Reduces chance to be dodges or parried by 8.25%

Expertise Rating 33 (+23 expertise).

but on my actual character in game it says

Expertise 33. If you mouse over it, it says

Expertise 33

Reduces chance to be dodges or parried by 8.25%

Expertise Rating 190 (+23 expertise).

that may explain part of my confusion.

Sorry, I didn't answer earlier.

The expertise on your character sheet is the expertise skill - similar to defense skill and dodge %. Every point of expertise skill gives .25% parry and dodge.

To get one point of expertise skill, you need about 8 points of expertise rating. That's what shows up on gear and what shows up when you mouse over your character sheet.

Your goal is to get 26 expertise skill at least. This will include primal precision. More is better, as a bear.

I just want to add that the "131" needed for Expertise Cap with Primal Precision is in fact "131.16". Meaning more then likely, you're going to need 132, as I found out first hand when I attempted to regem.

Other then that, great work.

Anon - thanks for the correction. :)I've updated the post accordingly.

Thanks so much for this, I was getting confused by the sudden problem of hitting caps, and finally having all the hard facts in one place helps a lot.

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