Lhivera’s Library

Adventures in World of Warcraft, Dragon Age, the real world, and beyond

Multistrike and You

Monday, March 3 2014 at 9:15am CST

If you keep up with World of Warcraft news, you're probably already aware that some secondary stat changes are coming in Warlords of Draenor. Hit and Expertise are being removed, to be replaced by (at the time of this writing) Multistrike and Readiness.

The general idea is that the new stats should be more interesting to manage than the old, which had pretty clear right and wrong answers: you hit the right hard or soft caps with them, or you were wrong. The fact that the new stats don't cap as easily as Hit and Expertise offers another advantage: specs that had caps on additional secondary stats (like Frost's soft cap on crit) will now have more ways to scale. A Frost Mage could reach a point where Mastery was the only secondary stat left worth increasing; with the new stats, that sort of thing can't really happen.

A version of Multistrike already exists in the game, in the form of several trinkets. But many people have had questions about how the stat is going to work in WOD, and I've been kindly given permission to provide some details. This is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate at the time of this writing, but naturally things can change between now and release.

The Basics

Multistrike is a chance for an attack to score additional hits against the target for 30% damage. You might cast a Frostbolt against your target, hitting for 1000 damage, and then score a multistrike, causing a second Frostbolt to hit the target (with no additional mana cost or casting time) for 300 damage.

But it's not quite that simple, because multistrike has two chances to proc on each attack. Your multistrike value is halved, and then two rolls are made at that percentage. For example, if you have 25% Multistrike, each attack gets two 12.5% chances to score an additional hit. In other words, sometimes you'll hit just once for normal damage. Sometimes you'll hit twice, with the second hit dealing 30% damage. And occasionally you'll hit three times, with the second and third hits each dealing 30% damage.

Some additional points:

  • Damage Over Time spells can multistrike, with ticks getting two chances just like a direct damage spell. This also applies to combination spells like Combustion and Pyroblast: the direct damage components can multistrike, and so can each individual tick.
  • Ignite ticks cannot multistrike. However, if a spell that can contribute to Ignite damage scores a multistrike, its additional hits will also contribute Ignite damage.
  • Each hit crits separately. For example, if a spell scores a non-critical hit against the target for 1000 damage, and scores two multistrikes, you might get one 300-point non-crit multistrike and one 600-point crit multistrike.
  • Only the initial attack can generate procs.

A 200% Cap

One of the results of the way Multistrike uses two separate rolls at half the listed chance to proc is that its cap effectively becomes 200%. If you were able to cap Multistrike at 200%, the result would be two rolls with a 100% chance each, resulting in every attack generating two multistrikes. This is obviously very useful in allowing plenty of room for procs and cooldowns that temporarily increase Multistrike Rating without bumping into a cap.

But what does this look like in terms of actual damage output compared to a more familiar mechanic? Let's compare 30% Multistrike against 30% Crit:

30% Crit

  • You have a 30% chance to deal 200% damage in a single hit.
  • 70% of the time, you hit for 100%.
  • 30% of the time, you crit for 200%.
  • Average damage dealt is (0.7 + 0.3 * 2.0) = 130%.

30% Multistrike

  • You have two 15% chances to hit the target with an additional attack for 30% damage.
  • 72.25% of the time, you hit once for 100%.
  • 25.5% of the time, you hit once for 100% and once for 30%, totalling 130% damage.
  • 2.25% of the time, you hit once for 100% and twice for 30%, totalling 160% damage.
  • Average damage dealt is (0.7225 + 0.255 * 1.3 + 0.0225 * 1.6) = 109%.

Now, your initial reaction to this comparison might be: "Multistrike sucks! I'll stick with Crit!" But, while I can't give specific numbers yet (because I don't know them), I can say that Multistrike will be cheaper than Crit. Just as Haste and Hit currently have a lower rating point cost per 1% of the stat, so will Multistrike. The goal is not to ensure that 1% Multistrike is comparable in value to 1% Crit, but rather that 1 Multistrike Rating is comparable in value to 1 Crit Rating.


One of the concerns I've seen is that Multistrike doesn't really bring any gameplay to the table. It is, after all, just a chance to deal extra damage, like Crit. That basic characterization isn't wrong, but there are a couple of differences that I think are worth mentioning.

First, gameplay isn't entirely about the decisions you make and the buttons you push; it's about the overall experience. And while Multistrike may look very similar to Crit on a damage report, it will look very different when the player is casting spells. The multiple strikes will be visible in combat, with casting and attack animations. For spellcasters, the visual will be similar to that currently seen on glyphed Icy Veins, with additional bolts leaving the caster's hands in rapid-fire fashion. It may add up like crit, but it will look and feel more like a burst of haste.

Second, output from Multistrike will be much more consistent than output from Crit. The damage events are spread out over a few tenths of a second rather than being instantaneous, and the double roll means your per-cast output will hang closer to the average than with critical strikes. If you like consistency and dislike RNG, you'll probably find Multistrike more to your liking.

I hope this brief explanation has helped clear up any questions you may have had about Multistrike. If not, feel free to post in the comments below for further discussion.

A Table of Numbers

For those who are interested.

Multistrike % Single Hit One Multistrike Two Multistrikes Average Damage
10% 90.25% 9.50% 0.25% 103%
20% 81.00% 18.00% 1.00% 106%
30% 72.25% 25.50% 2.25% 109%
40% 64.00% 32.00% 4.00% 112%
50% 56.25% 37.50% 6.25% 115%
60% 49.00% 42.00% 9.00% 118%
70% 42.25% 45.50% 12.25% 121%
80% 36.00% 48.00% 16.00% 124%
90% 30.25% 49.50% 20.25% 127%
100% 25.00% 50.00% 25.00% 130%
110% 20.25% 49.50% 30.25% 133%
120% 16.00% 48.00% 36.00% 136%
130% 12.25% 45.50% 42.25% 139%
140% 9.00% 42.00% 49.00% 142%
150% 6.25% 37.50% 56.25% 145%
160% 4.00% 32.00% 64.00% 148%
170% 2.25% 25.50% 72.25% 151%
180% 1.00% 18.00% 81.00% 154%
190% 0.25% 9.50% 90.25% 157%
200% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 160%


Submitted by cinibas on

So with 30% multistrike.. even the math says you will ACTUALLY multristrike 27.75% of the time with the rolls split in two.  They should probably find a different way to express the stat other than a % on the character sheet... because my initial reaction to that was "YUUUCK" until I actually thought it through =)

Submitted by Lhivera on

Although I understand the confusion (and it's definitely something others have asked about), it isn't as misleading as it may seem. Only 27.75% of your casts will Multistrike, but you will see 30% as many Multistrike events as you do casts. The difference is made up by the casts that produce two extra hits instead of one.

In short, if you have 30% Multistrike, and you cast a thousand Fireballs, you should see just about 300 Multistrikes in the damage log.