To cap, or not to cap, that is the question

One of the common questions that come up when dealing with stat weights is how to handle going over a particular break point, soft cap, or hard cap. In most cases, going over the break point is advisable, over/under the soft cap depends on the case, and going over the hard cap is not advisable.

However, when you’re looking at a hard cap for a stat that is your most valuable, then things start to get tricky. Some people will say that going over a hard cap like hit or expertise is a bad thing, and should never be done. While this may be true in some cases, it’s not true for all of them.

The better way to figure out if you should go over the cap is to do some simple algebra: value of capped stat under the cap multiplied by the quantity remaining until capped, compared to the value of the other stat multiplied by the total quantity, and then pick the largest of the two.

Using Elemental as an example, we have rough stat weights of Hit: 4, Haste: 2, Mastery: 1.8, Crit: 1.3. Obviously the question is between Haste and Hit. To work out how far over the hit cap we can go before haste is better, we just take the ratio of the two values, ie: 2:1. While this means that hit is worth twice as much as haste, it also means that when comparing stats for reforging, enchants or gems, you can go over the hit cap by half of that amount before it’s better to use haste instead.

eg: You are 12 hit rating short of the cap. You can either gem for 20 hit, or 20 haste. 12 hit * 4 ep = 48.  20 haste * 2 ep = 40. Hit wins out.

Often you’ll find smaller differences due to re-forging, but the same principle applies.

One site that assumes that over the hit cap is bad is The following is how they tell me I should reforge with their default stat weights.

Raid Buffed Optimized Difference
Total Score 43578 43596 +19
Intellect 7603.58 7603.58
Spirit 1333.00 1311.00 -22.00
Mastery 1305.00 1205.00 -100.00
Spell Power 11428.53 11428.53
Spell Hit 472.00 480.00 +8.00
Spell Crit 620.00 620.00
Spell Haste 2492.00 2606.00 +114.00

As you can see, we’re trading a net 14 hit (22 less 8) for 14 haste, and I’m currently 7 rating over the hit cap. Using their “modified” stat weights of Hit: 2.7 and Haste: 1.73, we can see that hit = 7 * 2.7 = 18.9 vs haste = 14 * 1.73 = 24.22, and haste wins. However it is noted that they manually modify their stat weights so that Int > Hit, in order to make gem/enchant selection work correctly.

Using my own stat weights generated via SimCraft using my current gear I obtained different results: Hit: 4.475, Int: 3.8562, Haste: 2.0297, Mastery: 1.8153, and Crit: 1.2781. Doing the same calculation we get 4.471 * 7 = 31.297 vs 28.4158, in favour of Hit again. To make Mr Robot do what I’m expecting, I need to over-ride their default values, and set the hit cap to 17.1%. The new results match perfectly with my gear as it’s set up (I use to manage my reforging with a minimum hit cap).

In short, going slightly over a cap can be a good thing, as long as you consider it in context.

About binkenstein
I'm a geek, living in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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