**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.