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Each week, Daniel Howell contributes *BigRedKitty**, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the hunter class sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.*

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- "Dear BRK, I heard somewhere that Hit will eventually reach a point where it "maxes out" and adding more won't do any good. I figured if anybody knew where that point was, it would be you. I'm up to 167. Eric."

Great jumpin' night elves, Eric, you're stacking Hit like it was being replaced by Original Coke. Like hiding your Halloween candy because your older sister is trying to trade you all her mini-Snickers for your Pixy Stix. Like hoarding DKP because your raid group has Druids and Shaman oozing from every orifice. Like trying to sell Netherwing eggs.

You're stacking Hit for no reason.

Is that a problem? You bet it is. It's like running your 1987 Ford F-150 on super-unleaded. Like attaching an eleven-inch amber CRT to your $500 Nvidia video card. Like using 5-DPS bullets with your Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle. Like borrowing your dad's Porsche to take your first cousin on a bowling-date.

It's overkill for no purpose.

There's a lot of hullabaloo out there about what and why and why-not about Hit, and every class has a different set of rules when it comes determining the difference between smacking a mob in the face or whiffing into the air. So what are the mechanics of Hit, the least-understood Hunter statistic?

Let's take a peek under the Hunter-bonnet and see how we tick.

Missing is huge.

When we hunters scrounge and fight for every piece of gear that can provide even a *tiny* boost to our DPS, ignoring the effects of Missing is a cataclysmic mistake.

Let's pretend we have a ranged weapon that delivers 400-500 damage per shot and we shoot at a rate of one shot every two seconds. Without taking talents or gear or bonuses into account, that's an average of 450 damage per shot. Since we fire every other second, that equates to 225 damage per second, 225DPS.

Now let's extrapolate that over sixty seconds where we would take thirty shots, one shot every two seconds.

( 30 shots * 450 damage-per-shot ) / 60 seconds = 13,500 / 60 = 225 DPS

OK, we're still good on our DPS calculation, so now let's introduce Misses.

What if we Miss 10% of our shots? 10% of thirty shots is three Misses. So over that minute we'd fire thirty shots but only hit the target twenty-seven times.

( 27 shots * 450 damage-per-shot ) / 60 seconds = 12,150 / 60 = 202.5 DPS

Wow, that's a massive decrease in DPS, isn't it. We just lost 10% of our DPS in this theoretical situation, didn't we. Does that 10% Miss = 10% less DPS correlation always follow? It's a good estimate to use, but it's not always accurate.

What if you're clearing trash mobs and you only get to fire four times but you Miss once? Since it takes our 2.0 ranged weapon eight seconds to fire four shots, we can write our formula:

( 4 shots * 450 damage-per-shot ) / 8 seconds = 1800 / 8 = 225 DPS

and if we Miss once:

(3 shots * 450 damage-per-shot ) / 8 seconds = 1350 / 8 = 168.75 DPS

And that is a 25% decrease in DPS.

Now as a rule we focus on long-term effects of Hit and how it affects our DPS as most Misses will only occur against mobs who are significantly higher level than we are -- we'll cover that a few paragraphs -- and *these* mobs are generally bosses. Boss-fights are long, not four-shoters. Also, our little Miss-to-DPS calculations do not take crits into account for DPS-loss purposes. But regardless of the insignificance of the latter example, the point should be apparent:

We don't want to Miss as that destroys our DPS.

But what makes us Miss? Well, we miss because of the difference between our hunter's ranged weapon skill and the mob's defensive skill. The greater the difference between the hunter's skill and the mob's skill, the greater the chance the hunter will Miss.

A level 70 hunter will have an attack skill, whether it be gun, bow, or crossbow, of 350. A level 70 hunter will also have a *defense *skill of 350. Both of these are calculated by multiplying one's level by five, ( 70 * 5 = 350 ). A mob's defensive skill is also calculated using this system.

Now if the difference between the attacker's weapons skill and the mob's defensive skill is less than or equal to ten, your chance to Miss is calculated with this formula:

Miss % = 5 + [ ( Defense Skill - Weapon Skill ) * 0.1 ]

If the difference between them is *greater* than ten, this formula is used:

Miss % = 7 + [ ( Defense Skill - Weapon Skill - 10 ) * 0.4 ]

When you fight an equal-skilled mob, i.e. your attack skill equals their defensive skill, your base chance to Miss is 5%.

When a level 70 toon fights a boss in Karazhan whose level is unknown, WoW calculates their defensive skill as if it were level 73. That means their defensive skill rating is 365. For a level 70 hunter fighting against a Karazhan boss who is mathematically considered to be level 73, his chance to Miss will be, of course, calculated using the latter formula:

Miss % = 7 + [ ( 365 - 350 - 10 ) * 0.4 ] = 7% + ( 5 * 0.4 ) = 7 + 2 = 9%

And as we recall, over a long fight your Miss percentage will result in a similar net loss of DPS. Did you run all those 5-man instances to get your gear and your enchants only to see all that DPS get flushed because of Misses?

To keep our DPS from going down the tubes, we want to reduce that Miss percentage, big-time.

The first and most obvious thing we can do is increase our weapon skill. For example, Dwarves get +5 to their gun skill rating and Trolls get +5 to their bow skill rating. What happens with that +5 to weapon skill? The first thing is that since the difference between our weapon skill and the mob's defensive skill is ten and not fifteen, we get to use the first Miss formula:

Miss % = 5 + [ ( Defense Skill - Weapon Skill ) * 0.1 ] = 5 + [ ( 365 - 355 ) * 0.1 ] = 5 + 1 = 6%

If we had continued using the second formula, our Miss *would've* been:

Miss % = 7 + [ ( Defense Skill - Weapon Skill - 10 ) * 0.4 ] = 7 + [ ( 365 - 355 - 10 ) * 0.4 ] = 7 + 0 = 7%

If a dwarf is given the choice between a gun and a bow of equal stats, he should chose the gun because it will immediately reduce his chance to Miss by 3% -- not 2% -- just by raising his weapon skill to within ten points of those mob's defensive skill rating. The opposite is true for Trolls, of course; they should grab the bow. And if you can find a ranged weapon with +Skill on it, you've got to take a second look at it before dismissing the weapon because of its stats.

The next way we can reduce our chance to Miss is by increasing our Hit skill rating. The Hit skill rating is part of the combat rating system. We accumulate Hit skill points that translate into increasing our Hit percentage, which decreases our chance to Miss. For level 70 hunters, every 15.77 Hit skill points equal +1% Hit, or 1% less chance to Miss.

Our dwarf hunter has his gun, so his chance to miss that Karazhan boss is at 6%. Then he adds some +Hit gems to his gear and increases his Hit skill rating by 30. That equates to an increase to Hit by 1.9% or a reduction in Miss chance by 1.9% to 4.1%.

That's nice, but how many Hit skill points do we need to reduce our Miss chance to zero? That's a simple calculation, just multiply 15.77 by 6 and get 94.62, which we'll round up to 95. Once our gun-toting dwarf hunter reaches a Hit skill rating of 95, he has reduced his chance to Miss to 0%!

(Note: there is still a tiny, unmitigatable chance to Miss buried in there; it cannot be eliminated. We've Missed a rat on the Deeprun Tram before.)

How about a bow-equipped Orc hunter with no weapon skill bonuses, how does he reduce his chance to miss to zero? He has to accumulate enough Hit skill points to overcome his 9% Miss chance, which is:

15.77 * 9 = 141.93 rounded to 142.

So a non-weaponskill-modified hunter needs a 142 Hit rating to eliminate misses when he goes against those level 73 bosses in Karazhan and onwards. Since one cannot reduce the chance to Miss more than 0%, anything past this skill rating is wasted. This is known as the Hit Cap.

There is a talent in the Survival tree, Surefooted, that increases ones chance to hit by 3%. With this talent, a hunter can reduce the number of Hit skill points needed to reach the Hit Cap to the same number that a gun-Dwarf or a bow-Troll requires, 95. And even more, a Survival gun-Dwarf or Survival bow-Troll get the 3% Miss reduction for their weapon skill *and* the 3% Miss reduction for the Surefooted talent. They only need enough Hit skill points to lower their Miss percentage by *3%*, which would be a 48 Hit skill rating.

Notice that the Hit Cap is gear, talent, and racially-based. Your Hit Cap may not be the same as our Hit Cap. There is no one-size-fits all for Hit rating.

So Eric has a Hit skill rating of 167. We don't know if he is getting a racial weapon-skill bonus or has the Surefooted talent, so we'll assume a best-case scenario and say that he is over the Hit Cap by only 25 points.

What can he do with this knowledge?

Re-gear, baby.

Some gear has +Hit bonuses but sacrifices agility or attack power for that +Hit. Maybe you've got some of that stuff in your bank. That purple belt that has no +Hit but loads of attack power that you removed to add that blue belt with the +Hit? Go get it and slap it back on. You can reduce your Hit skill rating, boost your ranged attack power, and still keep your Misses eliminated.

Re-gem.

Do you have some Hit/Agility or Hit/Crit gems? Feel free to get pure-attack power or pure-agility gems, or even a Crit/AP gem in place of those Hit/Whatever gems you've got socketed.

We want Eric to lower his Hit skill rating and boost his other DPS stats without going below the Hit Cap. When he accomplishes this, he'll optimize himself to blast his DPS onto the top of the meters.

Remember that your Hit Cap is based upon your talents, racial bonuses, and gear. Work out the math for yourself and reach for your own Hit Cap.

'Cause Misses stink.

*Daniel Howell continues his quest to get his Sporeling Snacks to add a Pet+Hit bonus as the hunter-pet duo extraordinaire known to lore as BigRedKitty. More of his theorycrafting and slanderous belittling of the lesser classes can be found at **bigredkitty.blogspot.com*.