Beginners Guide: Combat Ratings and Advanced Statistics

There are a lot of statistics to track in World of Warcraft and a lot of them can be somewhat confusing. There is a group of statistics that we call “Combat Ratings” which grants your character powerful offensive or defensive boons in the form of increased damage or the ability to mitigate incoming damage. These combat ratings are expressed in a simple number form that can translate into an easy to understand percentage (such as 1% to avoid an attack or 1% chance to do double damage).

Originally, in vanilla WoW, all “Combat Ratings” were shown in simple percentages. However, it would be fairly unbalanced if, when the level cap increased, the percentages on current gear did not. Thus the Combat Rating System was born and it has undergone two revamps. The latest one was with the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm when the entire system was changed to make it simpler and easier to understand.

Combat Ratings begin to appear on gear around level 10, although at lower levels just one or two points of a single rating can give you a huge boost. At higher levels they become more and more important until you reach the level cap in which case you will need to worry about making sure you have the right stats for your class. Be sure to check out our Class Guides to help you decide which stats are important for your class.

Looking for a way to view your character's stats offline or delve deeper into its gear or statistics? Be sure to check out PlayerScore which will allow you not only to view your character's gear, stats, and more offline but show your rankings to other players across the world.

Combat Rating Basics

On most uncommon or higher level gear (green, blue, purple, and orange) you will see something similar to “Equip: Increases your critical strike rating by 4.” At level 40 this would translate into roughly a .4% chance to gain a critical strike (which does double damage). Yet, at level 80, this would translate into something obscenely low, like .0004% chance. As you gain more levels, the amount of a combat rating you need to gain a positive effect increases.

There are currently nine different combat ratings you can find on gear. Below is a simplified list of them and what they do:

  • Block Rating: Increases your base chance to block with a shield. Defensive and applies only to tanks.
  • Critical Strike Rating: The chance to deal double damage with an attack or spell. Applies to every class and specialization.
  • Dodge Rating: The chance for an attack to “miss” you completely. Defensive and applies to tanks.
  • Expertise Rating: Increases your Expertise which allows you to bypass an enemy’s chance to dodge or parry your attacks. Required for tanks and helpful for melee DPS.
  • Haste Rating: Decreases the time between attacks and decreases the time it takes to cast spells. Applies to everyone.
  • Hit Rating: The chance to avoid an enemy missing your attack. Applies to all tanks and DPS, however, beneficial spells like healing cannot miss.
  • Mastery Rating: Increases your Mastery which is based off of a skill all classes learn at higher levels and the benefit is determined by a class’s specialization.
  • Parry Rating: The chance to reduce the incoming damage for the next two melee attacks. Defensive and applies to tanks.
  • Resilience Rating: Decreased damage from players in PvP. Defensive and applies to all classes.

As you can see, different ratings do different things, but all of them are beneficial. Some classes and specializations gain benefit from some ratings while others do not. For instance, no caster will gain any benefit from Dodge, Parry, Block, or Expertise Rating which is why none of these stats are on cloth gear.

Some stats, such as Block Rating, require a shield in order be useful.

Most Combat Ratings are affected by diminishing returns. Meaning the more rating you have in one statistic the less effective the next point of rating is. This is figured out through extremely complicated formulas that are beyond the scope of this article. So for all intents and purposes, we’ll avoid talking about diminishing returns, which are usually only a problem for characters with extremely powerful gear.

Let’s delve deep into what each of these ratings mean on the next page.

Here are what each of the various combat ratings mean.

Offensive Combat Ratings

Critical Strike Rating

The most universal rating of them all and applies to every class and specialization. A critical strike allows you to do double damage or 200% of your normal damage done in melee or 150% to 200% with spell critical strikes. This is often modified by abilities, talents, and your class. For instance, Death Knights, Mages, and Warlocks do 200% damage with their spells while other classes only do 150%. Healers all do 150% of their normal healing amount when a healing spell crits.

The Critical Strike Rating increases your chance to gain a critical strike, which has a base chance of 5%. Below is a table that tells you how to convert your rating into a percent (you can also look at your character pane to see what your current percent to gain a critical strike is).

Melee Critical Strike Rating required for 1% Critcal Strike chance.

Level 60 Level 70 Level 80 Level 85
14 22.08 45.91 179.34

Spell Critical Strike Rating required for 1% Critcal Strike chance.

Level 60 Level 70 Level 80 Level 85
14 22.07 45.9 179.28

You can also gain spell critical strike rating from Intellect. At level 85, for all classes, you can get 1% critical strike with 698 Intellect.

Haste Rating

Haste Rating increases your Haste which affects the speed of your attacks and how long it takes to cast a spell. The more Haste you have the faster you will attack and the quicker you can get your spells cast (both offensive and defensive). For instance, if a spell takes 10 seconds to cast and you have 10% haste then that spell will now only take 9 seconds to cast.

Haste Rating required for 1% haste:

Level 60 Level 70 Level 80 Level 85
10 15.77 32.79 128.125

Haste is important for everyone, especially damage dealers and healers. The more haste you have the more times you can attack in a certain period of time, which means you’ll naturally do more damage or heal for more.

In Cataclysm, haste rating also increases energy, rune, and focus regeneration for Rogues/Druids, Death Knights, and Hunters.

Hit Rating

You can naturally “miss” whenever you sling a spell or try to stab an enemy with your sword. This causes a sharp decrease in DPS or threat generation. The higher level the enemy the more chances you have to miss them (and most bosses are naturally 3 levels above you). This doesn’t mean a lot at lower levels when your damage per swing/spell isn’t high but at higher levels this can be brutal if your 9,000 damage spell misses its mark.

To make things somewhat more complicated, everyone needs a different amount of Hit Rating or Hit to “Hit Cap” which is the point in which they no longer are capable of missing with their spells, weapons, or abilities. Everyone has different needs, based on if they’re a caster or if they’re melee, if they duel wield, or if their talents give them any hit rating.

At level 85 simple melee needs enough Hit Rating to achieve 8% Hit (or roughly 961 Hit Rating). Casters require much more, 17% or 1742 Hit Rating. Duel Wielding classes need 28% or 3586 Hit Rating. When you’re in the lower tier ranges of gear, you shouldn’t sacrifice other stats for Hit Rating, but as you get more gear you should focus on obtaining the Hit Cap (Duel Wielding classes obviously will have a difficult time achieving it and therefore only work towards getting the “Yellow Damage” hit cap of 5% and then everything above is butter).

At lower levels Hit Rating can mostly be ignored. It’s great, but not necessary to do much of anything outside of random dungeons.

PvP requires a simple 5% in order to hit cap (which is easy enough to obtain while gearing for PvP).

Hit Rating required for 1% chance to hit with melee:

Level 60 Level 70 Level 80 Level 85
9.38 14.79 30.75 120.109

Hit Rating required for 1% chance to hit with spells:

Level 60 Level 70 Level 80 Level 85
10 12.62 26.45 102.45

Expertise Rating

Expertise is a “tanking” stat that also helps melee DPS. Expertise counteracts an enemy’s chance to dodge or parry. It’s important to note that an enemy can only parry any attacks from a frontal arc or essentially any attack from the front. Therefore, melee DPS can focus their attacks from the rear removing the risk for Parry, but the chance for Dodge still exists. However, there are times or positional skills that require you to attack from the front which is why melee DPS should also get Expertise as well.

You need 56 Expertise or 1682 Expertise Rating to cap at level 85.

Variable Combat Ratings

Mastery Rating

This is a statistic that only comes into play at higher levels and its benefit changes per class.

Defensive Combat Ratings

Resilience

Resilience is a statistic that decreases the damage you take in PvP from other players and is viable for every class and race. Every percentage of resilience you have decreases damage taken from critical strikes by 2.2%, damage taken from player attacks decreased by 2%, and amount of mana drained or burned by 2.2%.

Block Rating

Blocking an attack with a shield will decrease the amount of normal damage by 30%. Block rating increases the chance that you will block an attack with your shield. At level 85 you need 88.3594 Block Rating for 1% increased chance to block.

Parry Rating

Parrying an attack will reduce the next two melee attacks by 50%. You need 176.71899 Parry Rating for 1% chance to Parry.

Dodge Rating

Dodging an attack ignores the attack completely. Like Parry Rating, you need 176.71899 for 1%, however this statistic is rarely located on gear.

Well that’s all the basics to combat ratings! If you’ve got questions and need answers head on over to the Ten Ton Hammer community forums and share your thoughts and opinions.

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