In Wrath of the Lich King, the hit cap has moved from the original 16% to 17% hit. Why? Prior to this expansion, there was a baseline 1% chance to miss with spells that you could not remove. No matter how much hit rating you had, you were stuck with a 1% chance to miss. In Wrath, that's gone. It can be overcome.
Shadow Priests have two talents that improve their chance to hit: Shadow Focus and Misery. Though Misery is a debuff, you can more or less guarantee it will be up 100% of the time after your first spell lands, so we'll count it in our numbers. When you combine these two talents, you get a total of 6% 'free' spell hit. The Alliance has a slight edge in the form of Draenei slaves which offers another 1% hit, but we're going to pretend we're all Horde today and assume we won't have that buff at our disposal in a raid. That means we need 11% spell hit from gear.
This translates to about 289 hit rating, give or take a point. This is definitely something you can achieve before entering your first raid, especially if you use gems and enchants. However, don't kill yourself trying to get it. Try to get as close as you can without becoming frustrated. There aren't a lot of pre-raid options, and a lot of them are loaded in Heroics. You might find yourself running one place over and over for a drop with a ton of hit, and that's just not terribly necessary. The early raids are pretty forgiving on the whole Hit thing, so you probably won't wipe your raid if you're not right at the cap. You should still try to get close, but don't die over it or something.
Below is a pretty hefty list of items you can acquire before raids to work on your hit rating. You won't find a whole lot before level 80 that's worthwhile, most of it is in Heroics. The only gear you really need to start doing Heroics is a decent assembly of blues, so don't fret.
Violet Hold. It naturally has 62 Hit Rating on it, and it also has two sockets. Those sockets means that if you need to, you can toss an extra 24-32 Hit Rating in there. In addition to its natural stats (which you can see on Wowhead via those links), it could potentially have 94 Hit Rating (Jewelcrafters can have more, but nitpick later) and that's pretty sexy.
There are a total of zero pre-raid Rare or Epic boots with hit rating on them. The closest thing to that is Xintor's Expeditionary Boots from Emblems of Valor... which are acquired in 25-man raids. Sorry! No dice here.
Tailor-made, and they're best in slot until you're hip-deep in raids or well beyond the hit cap. Just go for the Ebonweave unless you're seriously opposed to spending money. It has a natural 51 Hit Rating, and if you need it you can slap a Precision enchant on it for an extra 20, bringing the total to 71.
Argent Vanguard and do the quests in the area. The quest The Crusaders' Pinnacle will eventually open up, and there's your hat.
However, easiest to get isn't necessarily best, and it isn't in this case. Again, you'll be going to Tailors or the Auction House for this one. Due to the materials involved, it's a little harder to get than the one above, but not a whole lot. The Skullcap has a little more baseline hit (and spell power), but the Hat of Wintry Doom has one big thing going for it: A Meta socket. Also, it looks like a blue verson of the Crimson Felt Hat. Those two things definitely top the minor loss in +Hit. If you have to choose between these items, go Wintry Doom.
There are no pre-raid shoulders with hit rating, as far as I've seen.
- Sash of the Wizened Wyrm
- Flowing Sash of Order
- Belt of Unified Souls
- Plush Sash of Guzbah
- Girdle of Bane
If you don't want to settle, aim for either the Plush Sash or the Girdle of Bane. The Girdle drops in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle from King Ymiron, and the Sash is from Emblems of Heroism. You can pretty much work on them both at the same time, and whichever comes first is pretty good. The Sash has no Spirit and less baseline Hit Rating, but it has a socket and Haste. The Girdle has no Haste and no socket, but it has Spirit and more baseline spell power. Which you want is up to you, or your loot luck. If you want to take a closer look, a Wowhead item comparison is but a click away.
There are no pre-raid level-80(ish) bracers with hit rating on them. Lamesauce! Best you can do if you absolutely need the extra Hit Rating is to find something with a socket. It shouldn't be necessary, though.