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Critical strike (often abbreviated as "crit") refers to 100% bonus physical damage (twice your normal damage) that occurs as a result of an attack made with melee or ranged weapons. The chance to critical strike can be viewed in the character pane under melee stats and is affected by agility, critical strike, and talents. Some classes have talents that increase the amount of bonus damage for critical strikes or talents that increase their critical strike chance. Attacks made by mobs can not result in a blocked critical strike, but this can result on a player attack. It can also be viewed by opening the character sheet, as well as the spell book and mousing over the "attack" ability. Notable about critical strikes is that any non-spell attack on a sitting target will always result with a critical hit.
Critical strike is a combat rating found on gear, enchants, and gems. Critical strike affects melee, ranged and spells.
|Critical strike required for 1% critical chance|
|Level 60||Level 70||Level 80||Level 85||Level 90|
The agility you need to acquire 1% critical hit chance depends on your class and level. Keep in mind everyone has a base crit of 5% from agility. Only agility on gear adds to the base of 5%.
|AGI per 1% Crit|
|Class||L. 60||L. 70||L. 80||L. 85||L. 90|
Effect of increased crit or hit chance
Both increased hit and crit chance have a kind of "diminishing returns" mechanic built in. A 1% increase of either stat will not increase the total damage output by 1%, but usually by a little less. Consider the following Attack table:
- 2% base miss
- 5% dodge
- 5% parry
- 5% block
- 25% crit
Damage = BaseDamage * ((1.00 - 0.02 - 0.05 - 0.05 - 0.05 - 0.25) + 2 * 0.25) = BaseDamage * 1.08
(With 0% crit we'd do 83% of BaseDamage)
Now the same calculation with 26% crit chance:
Damage = BaseDamage * ((1.00 - 0.02 - 0.05 - 0.05 - 0.05 - 0.26) + 2 * 0.26) = BaseDamage * 1.09
We increased the total damage output by 1% of the base damage. Since the total output is more than 100% of that base damage, the actual increase in total damage output is "only" 0.93%. If the total output is significantly greater than the base damage, this percentage will be smaller, if the total output is below the base damage, the resulting increase will even be higher than 1%.
What's better, +hit or +crit?
In principle they are equal. Which is better depends on circumstances. An increase in hit rate will usually yield a constant level of damage, whereas a high crit chance gives a spiky, more random damage distribution over time. An important factor is whether there are procs related to either hits or critical hits. Also, both ratings have caps (which are not fixed to a certain % but rather depend on multiple factors such as hit chance and enemy's level). To hit can only be used to counter the base chance to miss (5% for one or two-hand users without any off-hand weapon, and 24% for dualwielders), whereas the crit chance cannot become higher than available space for hit chance. If a dual wielder attacks a target with a high chance to dodge or parry the attacker can lose crit chance because the attack table is full. (See the "Crit Cap" section below.)
For example, a dual wield in a raid, attacking from behind, with a 0 chance to hit, you have a maximum critical chance of 40%. Any additional critical chance increase is wasted. This number might seem high but take into consideration talents, potions, buffs, procs and skills that increase your crit rate to 50% or more, these are wasted.
From a raiding perspective, your miss chance increases by 3% (so 8% and 27% - base of 8% for special attacks) and increasing your Hit to at the very least cover your Special attacks is seen as more beneficial than increasing your Critical chance. After you have hit that level, you can focus more heavily on Critical Chance.
- For single wielder classes, increasing your hit chance past 8% is ineffective.
- For dual wielder classes (rogues for example), increasing hit past 8% is still beneficial, just not quite as much as that first 8% was.
- For casting classes, hit is nearly always more valuable than critical strike, because of the two-roll spell attack system.
White-damage attacks made by a player against a mob 3 levels higher have a fixed 24% chance of being glancing blows.
Therefore, with no +expertise/+hit gear on, and no talents or racial abilities that increase Expertise or the chance to hit, attacks by a player against a target that is 3 levels higher have the following table from the front:
|From the front, dual-wielding|
|Combined hit + crit||21%|
Attacks against mobs made from the back cannot be blocked or parried. Losing those values from the chart makes the "combined hit + crit" entry appropriately larger. Players cannot dodge, parry, or block attacks from the back.
It is not as bad if the same character attacks the same mob from the front with a two-handed weapon:
|From the front, not dual-wielding|
|Combined hit + crit||40%|
This is a 40% + your +hit + 2x your Expertise bonus crit cap.
Finally, consider attacking the mob from the rear, where the mob cannot block or parry:
|From the rear, dual-wielding|
|Combined hit + crit||42.5%|
|From the rear, not dual-wielding|
|Combined hit + crit||61.5%|
All these crit caps could have been increased by increasing your Expertise (0.5% increase per point from the front, 0.25% increase per point from the rear) and by +hit (1% increase per percantage increase in your Hit chance).
Dual wield full raid buffs example from the front:
+0 hit +50% crit: 6.5% dodge, 14% parry, 28.0% miss, 6.5% block, 25% glancing blow, 20% crit = 30% of your crit rate did nothing +6% hit +40% crit: 6.5% dodge, 14% parry, 6.5% block, 22.0% miss, 25% glancing blow, 26% crit = 14% of your crit rate did nothing +15% hit +31% crit: 6.5% dodge, 14% parry, 6.5% block, 13% miss, 25% glancing blow, 31% crit, 4% hit = no +crit was wasted in this example
Dual wield full raid buffs example from the back:
+0 hit +50% crit: 6.5% dodge, 28.0% miss, 25% glancing blow, 40.5% crit = 9.5% of your crit rate did nothing +6% hit +40% crit: 6.5% dodge, 22.0% miss, 25% glancing blow, 40% crit, 6.5% hit = no +crit was wasted in this example +15% hit +33% crit: 6.5% dodge, 13% miss, 25% glancing blow, 33.0% crit, 22.5% hit = no +crit was wasted in this example
Hit is very important due to the crit cap. The following shows the difference in white damage between various stat options:
Assuming 30% crit and +0% hit from the front, its 6.5% block for 70% damage 20% crit for 200% damage (impale doesn't work on white-damage attacks!) 25% glancing blow for 70% damage 48.5% miss, dodge, or parry for no damage per swing its an average of .065 * .7 + .20 * 2 + .25 * .7 = 62.05% of your damage per swing
Assuming you add +5% hit, the numbers become... 6.5% block for 70% damage 25% crit for 200% damage 25% glancing blow for 70% damage 43.5% miss, dodge, or parry no damage so per swing its an average of .065 * .7 + .25 *2 + .25 * .7 = 72.05% of your damage per swing
Various items can be added to your equipment (or imbibed) to increase your chance to critically hit.
Abilities and traits
Some races have racial abilities which increase the critical strike chance with certain weapons by 1%:
- Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Critical Strike Rating now modifies both melee attacks and spells.