Elemental Shaman Mechanics: The Hit Cap

28 02 2009

  With dual spec functionality on the very near horizon, most of us who play Resto Shamans are going to be collecting some DPS gear. In the interest of keeping gear as homogeneous as possible (and, partly due to playstyle preference), I’m intending to make my specs Restoration and Elemental.

  An unfortunate reality of the Elemental spec is the absolute lack of any mail gear with spellpower *and* hit rating on it. In fact, only 8 such pieces exist in the game with an iLevel of 200 or more – and 3 of them are upgraded Tier versions of 3 of the others. With the Elemental Hit Cap at a staggering 368 (assuming non-Draenei, and 3% hit from talents), it can be fairly daunting to try to reach this number and make yourself a viable raider.

  So, in the interest of disseminating information, here are some gear targets that you can go after in order to reach the Hit Cap. I’ll try to stay to mail if possible, but downgrading to leather (or even cloth) may well be a necessity in order to make it happen.


  • Titan Forged Mail Helm of Dominance – 44 +hit (red socket) – one of the 8 illustrious mail pieces. Has a Meta socket as well, so this makes it fairly attractive. The lack of haste / crit is a deficiency, though.
  • Hat of Wintry Doom – 44 +hit (red socket) – Easily crafted, also has a Meta socket. Disappointing stats otherwise, though.
  • The Argent Skullcap – 61 +hit – Cloth again, and a quest reward. Overall, not too bad.

Neck(assuming Malygos quest rewards n/a):

  • Necklace of Taldaram – 43 +hit – Easy to obtain from Heroic Old Kingdom.
  • Chain of Latent Energies– 34 +hit – BOE trash drop from Naxx, usually around on the AH for about 1700-2500. Fairly solid piece that will likely remain in your set after other others are replaced.
  • Circle of Arcane Streams – 31 +hit – The only difficulty in obtaining this is that it drops from OS-10, and that’s only around once a week. Superior in some ways to the Chain of Latent Energies as it has +crit instead of +haste.


  • T7 / T7.5 Shoulder – 32/37 +hit (red socket) – As a mail piece with potential set bonuses and hit rating, these should be a priority item.
  • Mantle of the Corrupted – 37 +hit – Good luck prying this away from a Warlock, Mage or Shadow Priest; you’re better off staying with the Tier set.


  • Dark Soldier Cape / Cape of Seething Steam– 29 +hit – Absolutely identical items. Surprisingly, there is not one epic cloak – outside of PvP rewards – with +hit.


  • Heigan’s Putrid Vestments– 49 +hit (yellow / blue sockets) – Should be relatively easy to get from Naxx-25 as they get passed on a lot.
  • Water-Drenched Robe – 62 +hit (red / blue sockets / +6 hit bonus) – An acceptable stopgap for the slot, though the lack of auxiliary stats outside of hit / spellpower hurts.


  • Bindings of the Expansive Mind – 28 +hit – Another item that the clothies won’t be surrendering anytime soon as they’re best in slot for most cloth DPS.
  • Bands of Mutual Respect – 0 +hit (blue socket) – Best in slot mail caster bracer, at least you can socket some spell hit out of them.


  • T7 / T7.5 Gloves – 38/44 +hit (yellow socket / +4 hit bonus) – Another high priority item as they are again well represented in all of the desirable qualities.
  • Gloves of Grandeur – 38 +hit – Might be more readily available than a lot of cloth pieces as most clothies are using Tier gloves.
  • Corpse Scarab Handguards – 0 +hit (yellow socket) – More of a stopgap piece due to the socket and enchantability in case you don’t have the tier gear.


  • Plush Sash of Guzbah – 33 +hit (yellow socket / +4 hit bonus) – More or less an essential piece in reaching the cap for now as you won’t lose too much else in auxiliary stats, and with an Eternal Belt Buckle, you can reach a staggering 69 +hit with it, and it’s easy to obtain.
  • Belt of Blasting – 23 +hit (yellow / blue sockets) – Yeah, it’s level 70… but there are really that few options. In fact, Monsoon Belt (2 less on +hit) isn’t so bad either.


  • T7 / T7.5 Legs – 37/42 +hit (yellow / blue socket / +6 hit bonus) – Once again, a priority target, unless you want to use cloth.
  • Leggings of Atrophy – 50 +hit – Pretty Shaman-friendly stats, other than being cloth and drop off Anub’Rekhan-25 so attainability is not very difficult.


  • Titan Forged Sabatons of Dominance – 36 +hit (yellow socket) – Surprisingly, a pretty attractive option given the lack of available equipment.
  • Sabatons of Firmament – 0 +hit (yellow socket) – Very nice, but as they drop from Sartharion +2 drakes, you’re probably capped if you get them anyhow.
  • Eruption-Scarred Boots – 0 +hit (blue socket) – At least there’s a socket, and the rest of the stats are great. If you can make up the numbers from other slots, these are the most likely (and possibly best, within realistic obtainability parameters) option.
  • Windshear Boots – 18 +hit – Dumb as it may seem, the fact that this Gruul drop is still a competitive +hit option for this slot is indicative of the lack of available hit gear.


  • Signet of the Malevolent – 49 +hit – Believe it or not, this is the only epic level 80 ring in the game with +hit. As such, it should be a priority target, though you’ll face a lot of competition from other casters.
  • Ring of Northern Tears – 31 +hit (blue socket / +4 hit bonus) – Realistically, not a bad piece but it has no attribute stats to it.


  • Dying Curse – 71 +hit – Another piece that every caster in Naxx-25 is going to roll, but it goes a long ways towards making up the necessary number without sacrificing effectiveness.
  • Mark of the War Prisoner – 71 +hit – Fairly easy to obtain, and a decent on-use number to it. A near-necessary entry-level piece.
  • Rune of Infinite Power – 55 +hit – Easy to get, but you should try to rotate this out in favor of a better item as soon as possible – though it will help you to get the cap early in your effort.
  • Battlemaster’s Accuracy – 95 +hit – Highest bonus of any trinket, though adds almost nothing else via the on-use ability outside of PvP.


  • Haunting Call – 45 +hit – Trash drop in Naxx-25. Despite the presence of Spirit on the item, it’s a good piece to use.
  • Flameheart Spell Scalpel– 34 +hit – As a Kirin Tor rep item, this one should be available to almost anyone. Overall, not a bad piece in the slightest.


  • Not a single caster shield has +hit on it – unless you want to do something like use the Enamelled Disc of Mojo to socket +16 hit, which is a weak option.


  • Ward of the Violet Citadel – 38 +hit – Not a bad item statistically, but for the fact that you’ll cut your armor in half.
  • Surplus Limb – 32 +hit – Similar to above, but not as optimal for an Elemental build, and more difficult to obtain.


  Some ground can be made up here. Icewalker will add +12 hit and +12 critical strike to boots and is a must-have. Similarly, unless you’ve attained the rating elsewhere and can afford to use the +spellpower enchant and remain capped, Precision on your gloves is also worth +20 hit. While your weapon may be enchanted with accuracy, it is not economical to do so as the +50 / 63 spellpower enchants offer more return.

Gemming for Hit:

  • Yellow Socket – Rigid Autumn’s Glow (+16 hit)
  • Red Socket – Veiled Monarch Topaz (+9 Spell Damage / +8 Hit)
  • Blue Socket – Lambent Forest Emerald (+8 Hit / +3 MP5) or Vivid Forest Emerald (+8 hit / +12 Stamina)

Always determine if the offsocket bonus is worthwhile. Stamina or MP5 bonuses may not be worth using a +8 hit gem over the +16 one, while it is frequently better to adhere to the socket bonus when stats like spell power or critical strike rating are involved.

  So, there’s a basic list. It is by no means complete – there are certainly other items – but it’s a good starting point for where to look when trying to reach the magic 368.




15 responses

2 03 2009

Cool, thanks for putting the list together – very useful.

3 03 2009

What an amazing list! I’ve recently been trying to up my hit on my Shaman, and this has been the single most useful post I’ve found! Thanks!

6 03 2009

There is bufffood too. And if you have a shadowpriest in your raid that keeps his debuff up (or boomkin) you’ll need 289 only.

6 03 2009

I think your hit cap number may be off by 100. Good information nonetheless, thanks very much for putting it together.

7 03 2009

As Drug said, it is off to an extent – givent that you can supply up to 40 hit from food (though this would then preclude using a different food that may be more favorable) or the presence of a Boomkin / Shadow Priest (Improved Faerie Fire / Misery).

That said, I’m more in favor of getting the gear to attain the 368 number in the case that such class combinations are not present in your raid – an issue that is most likely to occur in 10-man, obviously. If you bring a hitcapped set of gear with you, and a few extra pieces that you can rotate out to reduce your number to 289 (and thus not waste itemization), you’re guaranteeing success.

I know that in my case, there are certainly items that I’m using to attain the cap that hamper my DPS (independant of the cap, at least) and could stand to be swapped out. For instance, you could change out the Mark of the War Prisoner for Sundial of the Exiled (73 hit, from 368 down to 295) if that Boomkin / Spriest was around.

Thus – aim higher just in case, and adjust around your raid composition for optimization.

14 03 2009

i’m surprised you didn’t add staffs you can use GreatStaff of the Nexus which has 95 hit 104 haste which is pretty amazing. would be great instead of going with the offhand and minusing a shield. just wanted to throw that in there.

30 03 2009

Hit Rating as an elemental shaman is COMPLETELY overrated, my Orc Shaman “Karok” on the servers ghostlands went elemental for a 10man run, using ONLY his resto set, none of the special elemental gear all you guys are striving for to up your dps. I didn’t have in the oh so amazing “Glyph of Flame Shock”. All my glyphs were still restoration ones, the only hit i got was the 3% from the Elemental Tree. Stop going for hit be smart, stack up crit and haste, also due to the large amount of Mp5 I get for being a fully geared restoration shaman, i never have to put Thunderstorm into the rotation (wastes a GCD which could of been another lightning bolt). I pulled 3.5k+ dps on the 10man Naxxramas bosses. Stacking this Hit rating loses alot of spell power, plus sucking hurts your dps, l2p.

31 03 2009


As a full time raiding Shaman, in 7.5 gear, I know that you’re full of it. You should make an effort to get to 289 – beyond that it isn’t worth it. Gaining that extra 10% hit, though, makes a huge difference. All that MP/5? Totally worthless. Literally worthless. I do not run out of mana either, and I only use thunderstorm when I’m dealing with an AoE pack. Haste? Only has value when it allows you to get that one extra lightning bolt in per Lava Burst cooldown. Where the real money is stat wise is Hit to 289, then Spellpower, then Crit. Crit has less value for us than it does other classes because one of our biggest spells is garunteed to crit every 8 seconds. Don’t get me wrong – critting like a madman is nice, but spellpower is better than everything else once you’re at 289 hit. I’m over the haste target right now – I could lose a fair bit – but for me to get another lightning bolt per cooldown would require a significant amount of haste (enough to shave .2 seconds/cast off of lightning bolt). I’m right about where I should be, though for post 3.1 as I’ll be able to cast 5 lightning bolts in-between Lava Burst cooldowns for when they nerf the damage of Chain Lightning.

1 04 2009

I’ll add to that myself, I used to do 10-mans in my Resto gear but Ele talent tree until Sapph / KT, when I’d port out and respec. This was back in the early days of WotLK, before people were really geared and most guilds really needed the three healers for those last two bosses. Unfortunately as a measuring stick, it was also prior to the Great Elemental Buff, so it’s hard to gauge the raw output.

For +hit, I had the Mark of the War Prisoner and that silly Wyrmrest Rune of Infinite Power; combined 128 hit. While it was *something*, it sure wasn’t sufficient. I wound up missing ~7.5-9%, if I remember the WWS. That’s not good for you in any circumstance. It doubly screws you because some of those misses come on Flame Shocks, and not having the debuff up leaves the Lava Burst crit to the RNG. Could you pull 3k+ in full Resto gear on a Burning Crusade boss? Yeah, I’ll buy that as possible. A level 83 boss? No chance.

If I’m wrong, link the WWS and show me.

As to Thunderstorm, it’s not a valuable part of the DPS rotation, and if you’re using it in raids as a part of regular mana regen, you have bigger issues. It’s useful on AOE trash (like Anub’Rekhan or Maexxna, for instance), for delivering a mob back to the tanks (or away from them, on Gluth), or – most importantly – as a “cast on the run spell”. Everything else but shocks has a cast time, so when you’re doing something like running from Positive to Negative on Thaddius, popping that off is always a win, because you’d be doing no other damage while running otherwise.

I’ll see your L2P and raise you one MMO Champion

1 04 2009


Incidentally, the only boss where I want the +13% (I is a spacegoat) hit in a 25 man is Instructor – otherwise we always have a Spriest. I’ve managed to dump some more Mana Regen (begone, stupid boots!) in favor of more crit, and managed to pull an average of 4k DPS last night through Military, Plague and Construct.

The only fight I saw misses on was Razuvious. I don’t know if its worth taking the gear from another player just to maintain that 100% hit rate. I suppose I should look at picking it up anyways for 10 mans, but my experience has been that most of the tanks I run 10 man content with have a hard enough time holding aggro as it is.

I would certainly aim for 10/11% (spacegoat dependent) and then after that pick up pieces when they present themselves, but don’t stress about it. If you know that you won’t have the benefit of a Druid or shadowpriest, then grab that last 3, but if you usually do? I’d consider it optional.

3 04 2009

well, I’m at 260 hit= 9.91%, which means I need less? see, this is the problem I always see (and I know I’ll get reemed for this), off numbers!! I’m a ele dranai shammy. do I go for 9% hit solo? and why was I seeing 17% hit cap in other forums?

4 04 2009

I think you’re good where you stand. It is 17%, but 3% is in your Ele talent tree, 3% accounted for via Moonkin *or* Shadow Priest, 1% by virtue of being a Draenei – so really, you’re there, outside of the unavoidable 1% miss rate that cannot be “capped out”. .09% miss is negligible – that’s like one missed cast in 1100?

11 04 2009

nice post but in fact am 11.51% hit 302hitrating
and i never miss one spell at all not one single miss in every raid
in fact am one of the top 3dps in our guild.. i suggest for elemental to get 300HR then go after crit rating as i did.. good luck

24 04 2009

I would suggest adding an entry for the crafted Ebonweave gloves. They’re very useful and crafted, so they’re easy to get: http://www.wowhead.com/?item=42111

With the +20 enchant you’ve got +71 hit from a single slot

11 06 2009

Actually there is an epic cloak that drops from 10man Naxx – Dark Shroud of the Scourge

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