One of the major changes for hunters in Mists of Pandaria is the introduction of expertise as a hunter stat. Starting in MoP hunter shots will be able to be dodged by our enemies, and we will need to collect expertise rating to ensure that our shots are not dodged.
We’ll go into some more detail about how MoP expertise works in a bit, but first let’s cover the basics.
The Hunter Expertise Cap Basics
As a hunter in Mists of Pandaria (or any time after patch 5.0 hits) your shots will sometimes be dodged, even if the shot would otherwise be a hit (you still need to be hit-capped to avoid missing). Your chance to be dodged depends on what level mob you’re attacking in relation to your level. The percentages will stay the same at level 85 and 90, but the ratings will vary.
Level 85 Hunter (after patch 5.0 hits):
102.446 Expertise Rating = 1% Expertise at lvl 85
3% Expertise needed (308 Expertise Rating) – capped against a level 85 mob
4.5% Expertise needed (461 Expertise Rating) – capped against a level 86 mob
6% Expertise needed (615 Expertise Rating) – capped against a level 87 mob (heroic boss)
7.5% Expertise needed (769 Expertise Rating) – capped against a level 88 mob (Cata raid boss)
Note that hit ratings will be identical. Level 85 conversion comes from Simulationcraft & I have not yet confirmed, though they’re a very reliable source. Level 85 hunters will need to get their expertise by reforging into it. Note that the amount of hit rating required to be hit capped will drop my nearly 200 hit rating, making reforging into the expertise cap a bit easier. Still, it might be a good idea to start gathering more hit gear: you want to be hit-capped without having to reforge at all, since you’ll want to spend nearly all your reforges pushing stats into expertise.
Level 90 Hunter:
340 Expertise Rating = 1% Expertise
3% Expertise needed (1,020 Expertise Rating) – capped against a level 90 mob
4.5% Expertise needed (1,530 Expertise Rating) – capped against a level 91 mob
6% Expertise needed (2,040 Expertise Rating) – capped against a level 92 mob (heroic boss)
7.5% Expertise needed (2,550 Expertise Rating) – capped against a level 93 mob (MoP raid boss)
This means that if you’re fighting a raid boss, 7.5% of your shots will be dodged by the boss. Attacking from behind does not prevent your shots from being dodged. The only way to reduce that is by having enough expertise rating to reduce your dodge chance by 7.5%, at which point none of your shots will ever be dodged.
Being at the dodge expertise cap is very important and is considered mandatory for all Mists of Pandaria hunters. Note however that any expertise rating you have over the cap is completely useless and doesn’t help at all.
Hit and Expertise work identically for hunters in MoP.
Dwarf & Troll racials: In Mists of Pandaria Dwarves and Trolls both gain 1% expertise as their new racial, thus their Expertise Cap is 6.5%, rather than 7.5%. This means that at level 85 they need 666 expertise rating, and at level 90 they need 2,210 to be expertise capped against a raid boss.
Hunter Pets and Expertise
Attacks from hunter pets can be dodged just like hunter shots, and expertise will reduce that chance. Hunter pets inherit expertise from the hunter — but in a very interesting way:
Hunter pets inherit expertise as half expertise and half hit rating. Thus if a hunter has 2% expertise, the pet will get 1% expertise and 1% hit. They inherit hit in exactly the same way. Thus if a hunter is both hit capped and expertise capped, their pets will be hit capped and (dodge) expertise capped.
It’s worth noting that hunter pet attacks can be parried as well as dodged (but not Kill Command — it cannot be parried), and being at 7.5% expertise will not prevent attacks from being parried.
Expertise and Parry
Expertise actually does more than just reduce your chance to be dodged. After you hit the dodge cap, expertise will reduce the chance that your attacks will be parried. Thus in WoW expertise has two caps: a dodge cap and a much higher parry cap. Since hunter shots cannot be parried anyway, we don’t care about getting more expertise than the dodge cap — so whenever we talk about the hunter expertise cap, we’re referring to the dodge cap.
Our pet attacks can be parried (but not Kill Command). However, enemies can only parry attacks that come from the front. By default hunter pets attack from behind as long as they don’t have aggro. Thus parry is not a concern for raiding.
However for pet tanking (including when leveling) your pet will have aggro and be attacking from the front, and its attacks can be parried. Unfortunately you can’t just stack extra expertise, since half of it gets wasted as more pet hit, and all of it is wasted for hunter shots.