In World of Warcraft there are all sorts of stats that are important to you and your characters. Some are obvious in their importance and simple in their application. For example if you are a caster, more intelligence is always a good thing, if you are a DPS warrior, paladin, or death knight you can never go wrong with more strength. However, what about all those other stats like hit, expertise, haste, and more?

Many of the other stats have caps or breakpoints. Caps come in two forms, either hard caps or soft caps. A hard cap is where adding more of the stat gives you absolutely no benefit, where as a soft cap is a point where the stat provides one solid benefit, but adding more of the stat will grant a further benefit.

Breakpoints are very similar to soft caps, however more of a benefit is provided later, but not until the next break point. The simplest way to explain this is by looking at some made up numbers. If a character can normally attack 5 times over the course of 10 seconds, but if they add 800 haste could attack 6 times, or 1600 haste and attack 7 times, or 2400 haste for 8 attacks in 10 seconds. The break points in this situation would be 800, 1600, and 2400. If you could get to 1600 great go for it, but if you can only reach 1500 it is not a good idea and the points should be directed elsewhere until you can hit the 1600 break point, otherwise you are wasting those points.

World of Warcraft Hit Caps

Hit caps for PVE are all based on the difference in levels between you and the enemy. The important levels are those of higher level enemies, as you shouldn’t really ever be fighting an enemy below your current level.
All of the various hit caps are based on the level difference between you and your enemy.

The levels of enemies that are the most important are 2 and 3 levels above you. Most instances and heroic instances that you will fight in will have enemies only 2 levels higher than you are. When in a raid, bosses will all be considered 3 levels higher than you are. Therefore if you raid, you should always worry about hit cap against enemies 3 levels higher, while if you only do 5 player content you are wasting stat points by going over the required percentage to hit enemies 2 levels higher than you.

No mater what hit cap you are going for the hit stat on items grants you a single percent to hit at level 85 at the rate of 120.1 hit to get 1% of physical hit, or 102.45 hit to get 1% spell hit.

Basic Physical Hit Cap

The normal physical hit cap for DPS with a single weapon, ranged weapon, or for special attacks is as follows:

Basic WoW Hit Cap
Relative Enemy Level
Hit % Required
Hit Stat Required at 85

Dual Wield Hit Cap

For Dual Wielders the off hand weapon requires a lot more hit to guarantee a hit. It is as follows:

Basic WoW Hit Cap
Relative Enemy Level
Hit % Required
Hit Stat Required at 85

Spell Hit Cap

For casters the hit percentage required to land a spell on your opponent is as follows:

Basic WoW Hit Cap
Relative Enemy Level
Hit % Required
Hit Stat Required at 85

Expertise Caps

Expertise is a stat that reduces the chance that melee attacks that you make will be dodged or parried. This stat leads to some confusion because there are two different numbers used since it does not transfer to a percentage. There is expertise and expertise rating. Expertise rating is essentially the number or amount of expertise on an item. Expertise is the number that this equates to that we are going to worry about.

You need 120.11 points of expertise rating to get 1 point of expertise at level 85.

Expertise Soft cap

This gets rid of the chance an enemy has to dodge you. To reach the soft cap you need 26 expertise, meaning you need 781 expertise rating points at level 85. This is based on no other bonuses being provided. If you have bonuses from talents or racial abilities it may be lower.

This soft cap is a key stat for all melee based DPS players as it means that your target will not be able to dodge you and you will hit them more consistently for more damage. Assuming proper positioning, this is the only expertise cap that a DPS player needs to consider, because when behind an opponent they can not parry anyway so trying to remove their parry chance does no good.

Expertise Hard cap

If you are able to get to what is referred to as the hard cap for expertise then the enemy is no longer able to parry your attacks. This requires 56 expertise, meaning you need 1682 expertise rating points at level 85, given no additional talent or racial bonuses.

This hard cap is only really useful for tanks since DPS players should be attacking from behind the enemy and therefore cannot be parried. For tanks however it is important so that they can cause consistent damage / threat, and not suffer faster attacks due to being parried by some enemies and bosses.

Haste Breakpoints and Haste Cap

Haste is really a tricky stat to figure out in general for players as it effects each class very differently. Haste in general reduces the time it takes to use an ability or cast a spell, it also reduces the time that it takes for your Global Cooldown (GCD) to reset, which is a base of 1.5 seconds for most classes and can reduce it as low as 1 second.

The total percentage is easy to see but what does it mean?

Haste is even more important for classes that have either HOTs or DOTs as haste effects the number of ticks that these spells can produce once on a target. This means that it greatly increases these abilities effectiveness. If a spell did 100 damage over 10 seconds in 10 ticks, that means each tick does 10 damage. Therefore gaining an extra tick means the same spell would cause 11 ticks of 10 damage for a total of 110 damage, or a 10% damage boost. The same applies to healing spells or HOTs.

For the classes that do have HOTs or DOTs the haste required to gain an extra tick is based on the individual spell and has to be calculated for each individually.

The calculation to figure this out is a two step process, and fairly complicated, so it’s best to check out the complete guide to it here: Haste Explained: How it affects HOTs and DOTs.

All those numbers are for haste break points, however there is also a Haste Soft Cap. That soft cap is the amount of haste that is requires to drop a players Global Cooldown from the base 1.5 seconds that most classes have down to 1 second.

To reach the haste soft cap you would need to get to 50% haste, which at level 85 means 6,300 haste. That is a significant amount and therefore very hard to reach. In fact for most classes it will be almost impossible to reach other than being under the effect of Heroism/Bloodlust type effects.

Block Cap / Avoidance Cap (Tanks)

The last type of cap applies only to tanks in World of Warcraft and then mainly only to warriors and paladins since they can reach the cap much easier that Death Knights and Druids. The cap is the block cap, which is a number that represents the ability to not suffer a normal hit when fighting a raid boss as your opponent.

The block cap is a 102.4% total of your block, dodge, parry, and opponents miss chance (5%).

When you reach this percentage it is important to know that you should consider it like a hard cap and almost like a soft cap. Consider the 102.4% as a hard cap because going over it does not grant you any benefit. If you can reach 130% it still only means you will not suffer a normal hit.

However, consider it kind of like a soft cap because you can still shift numbers around in it. If you reach the 102.4% with 20% dodge, 20% parry, 5% miss, and 62.6% block you can still do better. This is because block is the weakest of the stats as you will still suffer some damage when you block an attack. Therefore shifting stats to be 25% dodge, 25% parry, 5% miss, and 52.6% block is significantly better.

Keep in mind that raid buffs should be considered when trying to reach the 102.4%, so base your math on your buffed statistics.

While this number is for tanks with block, if you could hit 102.4% total dodge, parry, miss you would essentially be unhittable. This is not possible given the gear in the game and diminishing returns on dodge and parry.

World of Warcraft - Related Content
Haste Explained: How it affects HOTs and DOTs | WoW Tank Guide
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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.


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