How To: Feral DPS (So you want to be a Kitty)

Cat Form Druid IconAlright, so before I start and go and make myself look like a fool I would like to make it clear that I am neither the best kitty DPS on the planet, nor am I the worst. I have however been doing this job for long enough that I feel qualified to speak on the matter. What I have to say here I’m sure has been said all across the internet from Elitist Jerks to sticky post in the Druid  Forums. Needless to say, I’m making a rather large post with all the small details that you might want to know if you are thinking of rolling up a brand new druid or perhaps want to go from one druid spec to another.The advantage of this little post of course will be that in addition to some wonderful tables, charts, graphs, and tl;dr summaries I will be including pictures.

Why be a Cat Druid?

In the days of Vanilla and Burning Crusade, bringing a feral druid wasn’t so much an option as a penalty to your raid. In the past, the reason that you might bring a Feral Druid would simply have been for Leader of the Pack in Burning Crusade, so that you can give everyone that delightful 5% crit buff, or the extra innervate / rebirth. And it may seem like they have even less utility in raids now as Blizzard has shaken things up and given the 5% crit buff to several other classes; the Feral Druid innervate is much weaker [as innervate is now based off the mana pool of the Feral Druid rather than simply causing extra mana regen based off the target’s mana pool or spirit]; and there is now a cap on the number of times that a combat res can be used during a fight in a raid.

All this seems rather glum, but Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm have also brought a fair number of reasons that one might actually want to bring a Feral DPS druid to the table. There are of course all the benefits associated with bringing any kind of druid to the table, and many of them were pointed out above. There is also the addition that compared to the most common PvE specs, there is a great deal more mobility for Feral Druids than the other Melee PvE specs. In the most recent expansion, that mobility was highlighted with moves like Feral Charge (cat) , Dash , Stampeding Roar , Berserk (which breaks and makes the Druid Immune to fear) , the immunity to polymorph, and even the ability to shift out of cat form to remove movement impairing effects. All of these little helpful tips give druids an incredible ability to remain mobile even while the rest of the team is incapacitated. In fact, save plot driven stun events [think something like Mr. Smite’s phase transitions], there should be nothing in a PvE environment that a druid can’t use a cool down of some kind to get out of or rebound from.

Add to this, that we have the unique advantage of having our attacks based off of bleeds. Which means unlike the other melee DPS classes, we don’t have to put so much concern into the hit and expertise caps. And for those who are looking for a challenge, the Feral Cat rotation has long since been considered the single most difficult rotation in the game to manage.

And if you have never had a druid before, there are a myriad of advantages outside of cat form. This includes the ability to heal yourself on a consistent basis, access to the only class which has an instant cast flying mount, access to a diverse range of abilities and stances which can change the shape of combat, and a huge toolbox of things that can be called upon to fit the situation. Tank  Dropped in your dungeon? No problem go Bear form and continue trucking. Healer AFK? No problem, drop out and heal some folks in the interim. Melee DPS watching Onxyia fly off into the distance? Drop some moonfire on that oversized lizard. Now of course, there are other specs that more specifically fit those task, and as a kitty druid one can hope that you won’t have to play the fill in spot when your raids or groups go a foul.

There is a lot to being a druid, and being a feral druid can be tough at times as many people aren’t familiar with the mechanics of the spec and will ask you to do things that are simply outside of your range of abilities. But if the class and spec interest you than I highly encourage you to read on. And if you already have a druid and were considering the move from one spec to another, there will be details on the Spec / Useful Talents / Glyphs / Rotation / etc. below.

Leveling / Soloing

It used to be that you could ONLY level as a feral druid. Without the LFG tool, leveling as resto or boomkin was simply to much of a pain to work on gear wise. When Blizzard redesigned the entire face of Azeroth with patch 4.0.3, they also changed the way in which gear is given out at the lower levels. In fact, finding leather gear with Int on it outside of night elf areas in Vanilla was incredibly rare, with the recent changes it has been added to essentially ever zone’s questing loot table. So these days it’s not so difficult to level as Balance or Restoration.

But if you want to level as Feral still, there are some things that ought to be said. They have changed the way in which druids level, as cat form did not used to be available until level 20 after bear form. In addition to this, they have added a flood of abilities between level 1 and 85 which make leveling all that much easier. The first and most critical change is the addition of the following spell:

Skull Bash (Cat)Skull Bash (Cat) was added with patch 4.0.1 and for the first time cat druids have had a solid and reliable spell interrupt that did not require being stealth or having combo points on the target. The introduction of this ability changes things dramatically as with talents it becomes viable to nearly shut down casting mobs.  This means a lot less spell damage in the long run, which translates to less overall downtime while leveling.

ProwlAnd while skull bash isn’t the only spell you should keep a keen eye on, it does make things much easier in the long run. Some other things you should remember include the fact that as a feral druid you have a higher stealth rating than your boomkin and restoration brothers. This means you do have the ability to get into tight places, kill a single target, and stealth your way back out. This ability to ignore large gauntlets of trash mobs in order to knock out quest objectives is something you really can’t appreciate until you have a class that doesn’t have that ability.

While in stealth, you have the option to use the Pounce (which is now trainable at level 32) skill on your opponent, which stuns them and applies a small bleed as well. This can be invaluable not only in PvP, but also in PvE if you need a form of short Crowd Control. If that does not manage the job Feral Druids also have the combo point based ability known as Maim. Now, maim got a significant change in the early phases of Wrath of the Lich King where it was changed from an incapacitating spell to a stun, meaning that you can still do damage to the target and it will no longer break maim. In addition, on NPC’s only it will interrupt the spell being cast which can be a huge plus if your Skull Bash is on cool down. Sadly Maim isn’t learnable until 62, meaning that it will be a while before you really have the chance to keep one target stunned while you kill another (as between Pounce and a 5CP Maim, you should be able to kill another target in 7 seconds).

 

Bear Form

Don't Forget about Bear Form

Now, if you are dealing with fatties, creatures that are a few levels higher, or generally just unpleasant things you have the option to go bear form. They have bumped up the level requirement for bear form to 15 to make sure that we can still learn it before we end up doing our first instances. Bear is the Druid tanking form and has significantly more armor and threat than cat form, it also has the added bonus of having more HP. Bear form also has a number of abilities aimed at survivability including Frenzied Regeneration which uses rage and turns it into Hit Points.

 

Dead Druid

A dead Druid does not level nearly as fast

If you are still having issues, always remember that you have access to the druid healing spells ( Rejuvenation / Regrowth / Lifebloom / etc). In addition to this, there are a number of abilities built into the class including Barkskin which simply decreases the amount of damage taken, or if you are having trouble with one to many mobs, don’t be afraid to drop out and Cyclone or Root one. You can also choose to use Survival Instincts if you took the talent for it which should stack with Barskin. If all of that fails, it may be time to call on that druid mobility to run away. Changes to Nature’s Grasp make it possible to use the spell even when in a shape shifted from [like cat or bear], meaning there is no need to drop form as was the case before.

If you’re wondering about how to pull a mob pack, there are a few useful ways. One of which is the addition of Feral Charge (Cat) in WoTLK, which with talents will now cause Ravage! to proc, an ability at level 85 which is easily critting for 20,000. Failing that, there is also the choice to use Faerie Fire (Feral) which can help if you only need to pull one mob but don’t want to have to get within melee range of it, as it won’t take you out of cat form.

And of course, you probably want to stay in cat form most of the time, [failing travel or bird form] because of Feral Swiftness.

In terms of gear, always go for the gear with Agility and Stamina in the leather department, while later on making sure to go for Crit and then Mastery, but we will discuss the finer points of Gear later on.

Rotation

The Feral Druid rotation is one thing that brings many of the more Hardcore WoW players to the table. It is considered by most to be the single most difficult rotation in the game, and is easily one of the most difficult to manage. On a very basic scale it all seems very simple

  1. Keep Mangle Up, and make sure it is up First
  2. Keep Rake Up
  3. Keep Rip Up, but only at 5 combo Points
  4. Keep Savage Roar Up
  5. Keep an armor Debuff Up (your Faerie Fire for instance)
  6. Shred for combo Points, Mangle may look tempting, but with bleeds Shred does monumentally more damage. This has the added side effect that you must stay behind the boss
  7. Use Ferocious Bite only when you have plenty of time on Mangle, Rake, Rip, Faerie Fire, and Savage Roar or if the target is below 30% and you are using it to refresh RIP

And realistically, that is a heavily abridged version of what is going on.  The full rotation from start to finish can become even more complicated when you factor in trinkets, etc.

Savage roarA note about Savage Roar: In Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard introduced Savage roar, which had to be kept up at ALL times in order to obtain the optimum amount of DPS. This was because Savage Roar affected all damage done by the druid [white, special, etc]. With Cataclysm, that has changed somewhat and the damage is now only applied to our melee auto attack (white damage), and as such while still critical, it has gone down somewhat in priority.

Tiger's FuryTo counteract their changes to Savage Roar, they have also changed the way in which Tiger’s Fury works. Where as previously this ability was used only to gain back energy and provide a small additional bonus to white damage. It now applies a bonus to all damage dealt by 15% and with talents also extends the energy pool to 120. There is also a glyph which reduces the cool down to 27 seconds.

The following is a sample text-based combat order:

Feral Charge (Cat) > Ravage! (Should Crit at the start of the fight) > Savage Roar > Mangle > Rake > Shred (To 5 Combo Points) > Rip

Maintain All Debuffs

Use Tiger’s Fury before Using Berserk, and save for special instances in which DPS is needed at approximately the middle of the fight, or late it is best to use Tiger’s Fury + Beserk as soon as you run out of energy after your first round [depending on Clearcasting Procs, this could be the first or second shred]. This will allow Berserk to hopefully be up a second time if the fight last long enough, use Tiger’s Fury as often as you can and make sure you are using it when you are at 60 Energy or below.  You may wish to save Trinkets until further Tiger’s Fury procs as the amount of threat generated from your Initial Ravage, etc. could be quite a bit even for a well geared tank.

CowerSpeaking of threat, Cower has had a significant increase in Cataclysm as to what it actually does. In Wrath of the Lich King and below, it simply reduced the threat by a set amount. This made the ability all but useless when it came to well geared fights as a single shred would exceed the amount of threat lost by cower. Now, Cower reduces overall threat generated by 10% which means that it can be used to put the brakes on that threat meter. I would highly suggest doing it somewhere near the start of the fight, as because bleeds / ravage / etc. once our first full rotation has been completed that essentially becomes our max Threat per second for the fight, and by reducing our threat at that point, the take can easily get into their rotation without worry of us pulling.

Flowchart

Words to live by

This is the essential key to the Feral Rotation, there are some flowcharts which give the exact sequence one can go by, but most are outdated due to minor changes in the debuff up times and the like on Mangle. However, one flow chart has always stuck out if only for the comedy value when it comes to just how crazy the feral DPS mechanic really is.

As a note, as the flow chart points out, when you are in trouble you should probably consider the use of your defensive cool downs like barkskin, survival instincts, if you happen to be a night elf you can choose to shadowmeld. As you should be well aware a dead DPS does no DPS.

One final note on Mangle, as the Tier 11 pieces have an interesting buff. The Mangle buff on Tier 11 is clearly aimed at Feral Bear druids, as any feral cat druid probably isn’t using mangle except for when it’s about to fade which is every minute or so. As such, there is some debate on if one should use the 3 mangles to start the fight, or slowly apply them throughout the fight. I actually expect Blizzard will likely take a second look at the tier 11 buff. As it stands it doesn’t actually fit in the rotation [though it might have back when mangle use to only last 12 seconds]. If you are in full tier 11, you’re probably tracking sites like Elitist Jerks / Mew / and the likes and I’m sure someone over there is doing the number crunching.

Stats / Gear

The Primary stats you should go for of course is always Agility, so you will be competing with Rogues and Feral Tanks for your clothes and likely with hunters for your weapon. From that point on it becomes a question of what does on gear for beyond agility.

The current equation on stat priority is as follows:

Agi > Crit / Mastery > Haste / Expertise / Hit

You want to reforge all gear to mastery if it’s not already on there, and crit if it is. You also want to gem Agi for Red slots and Mastery for yellow, if you have a blue slot and the bonus from the gem’s being the correct color is 20 or above, go ahead and use a +20 Agi / Some Blue Stat (Hit probably), otherwise simply go with the +Agi Gem.

The following is a quick Match Up to Gear with what you want to enchant it with [note this assumes a nigh infinite amount of funds, so you may have to settle for something less appealing for the cash].

Head Arcanum of the Ramkahen – Which can be gotten by getting to revered rep with the Ramkaken and purchased from their Quartermaster in Uldum
Shoulders Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystals – Which can be gotten by exalted reputation with Therazane, there is a Superior quality version of this which can be attained at Honored. This is sold by the Therazane quartermaster in Deepholm
Back Enchant Back – Greater Critical Strike – I’m guessing Blizzard just wanted to make this easy, as it appears to be the only Back Enchant… at all save for it’s cheaper and more retarded brother.
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats – As there is very little in terms of bettering offerings on the chest, you really can’t argue with + 20agility and +20 Str (which helps ever so slightly with attack power)
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Greater Critical Strike – Like the cloak, this one appears to be pretty straightforward.
Gloves Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery – Pretty straightforward as mastery is on par with critical strike rating.
Pants Dragonbone Leg Reinforcements – I fully expect there to be an epic version of this, as there is one for the Charred Leg Reinforcements. If not, this is still better than the Charred Leg Reinforcements assuming my crit calculations are correct.
Boots Enchant Boots – Assassin’s Step – Though I doubt very much if the additional run speed will stack, the Agi is always worthwhile
Rings Enchant Ring – Agility – This is a pretty straightforward little enchant if you happen to be an enchanter.
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Landslide – This is much the Cataclysm version of Beserking, and the 1000 / 12 seconds will come off ahead [assuming the proc rate is not terrible]

Following what you enchant your gear with, you might actually want to know what you should walk into a raid with. Now as it stands, the loot list from the Raid bosses is only partially complete, when the raiding guilds have gotten those good and beaten I will probably make a new post with an updated list of the “BiS Raiding Gear”, so what follows is simply the BiS gear before you being to raid. If you are wondering what you should go into heroics in, I’ll say this if you are going with competent people and you know what you are doing, as soon as you hit the game’s required item level you are probably safe.

Elementium Poleaxe This is created by Blacksmiths and will probably cost you a hefty sum of cash in order to get a hold of; if you can’t get your hands on this you might consider the Baradin Hold Rep Reward Weapon: Spear of the Trailing Shadows.
Mask of Vines This is gotten through the Justice Point System, so it should be rather easy to get a hold of. In the event that you can’t grab it, there is also the Helm of Numberless Shadows off of High Priestess Azil in the Heroic Stonecore
Embrace of the Night Again, this can be gotten through Justice points, and only 1650 at that. If however you can’t get a hold of it, consider the Thieving Spaulders off of Commander Springvale in Heroic Shadow Fang Keep.
Assassin’s Chestplate This comes off of Leatherworkers and is a crafted epic, I think one might safely assume this will last you a good while. If you can’t afford one however, you can consider the Vest of Mishapen Hides off the final boss in Heroic Grim Batol or the Tunic of Sinking Envy from Justice Points
Double Dealing Bracers This drops off of Lord Walden in Shadowfang Keep, if you can’t manage to get your hands on it, there is an alternative in Poison Fang Bracers from the first boss in Halls of Origination.
Stormbolt Gloves / Liar’s Handguard This is the Exalted Reputation reward for the Wildhammer and Dragonmaw reputations respectively. It is an epic which means you won’t be getting rid of it any time soon. If you can’t get a hold of a pair there is always the Sticky Fingers which can be gotten through Justice Points.
Belt of Nefarious Whispers This like the Assassin’s Chestplate is an epic crafted leatherworking item. If you can’t manage to cough up the cash for this little piece there are numerous easy to get alternatives including the Reputation Reward from the Ramkahen or the Justice Point Belt
Leggings of the Burrowing Mole This is again a Justice Point Item, if you can’t manage to score yourself a pair the alternative is Beauty’s Chew Toy dropping off of Beauty in Heroic Black Rock Caverns
Crafty’s Gaiters This drops off of Siamat in The Lost City of Tol’vir. If that doesn’t work for you, there are VanCleef’s Boots from Vanessa VanCleef in the deadmines.
Silver Inlaid Leaf This is crafted by Inscription [I guess Blizzard wanted to give them something to do]. If you can’t find one on the AH or an Inscription, there is also a drop off the final boss of Shadowfang Keep known as the Relic of Arathor
Softwind Cape This is the Revered Reputation Reward for the Earthen Ring. This can be replaced by several other capes including the Cape of Brotherhood from Captain Cookie in the Deadmines
Signet of the Elder Council AND Elementium Destroyer’s Ring The Signet of the Elder Council is an exalted Reputation Reward from the Earthen Ring, while the Elementium Destroyer’s Ring is a Jewelcrafting item. You can also choose to use 2 Elementium Destroyer’s Ring as they are not unique equipped. If you can’t get either you can go for the Skullcracker Ring from Rom’Ogg Bonecrusher in Heroic BRC or the Ring of Blinding Stars from Isiset in the Halls of Origination.
Pendant of Lightless Grotto Drops from Ozruk in the Heroic Stonecore, if you can’t manage to grab this, you can of course pick up the Justice Point item Amulet of Dull Dreaming
Unsolvable Riddle and Tia’s Grace This is an exalted reputation reward from Tol Barad, while Tia’s Grace drops from Siamat in Tol’vir on heroic. If you can’t manage to get these you can go for the Grace of the Herald off of Corla, Herald of Twilight in Heroic BRC or Skardyn’s Grace from General Umbriss in Heroic Grim Batol.

If you are looking for gems, the current suggestion is the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond due to the fact that Agility is simply to good a stat to sacrifice, and  none of the level 85 Gems offer the stat. AS IT STANDS the gem requires more blue than red gems, this will be fixed in a future patch. In the meantime, in order to achieve the goal of meeting this meta gem’s requirements the following gems are recommended.

Delicate Inferno Ruby – Red +40 Agility
Sensai’s Dream Emerald – Green +20 Hit / + 20 Mastery
Glinting Demonseye – Purple + 20 Agi / + 20 Hit

Balance the gems as needed in order to activate the meta Gem.

This should cover any basic questions about the nature of gear, again the full 372 gear list isn’t completed yet, so that is up for evaluation. You can well imagine that you will want 4pc tier 11 with it likely being the Pants that get skipped this time round.

Races

Racial MenuWorgen – The Worgen are the prime choice for a Feral Cat, this is primarily due to the fact that they come with a natural 1% crit bonus. This far outweighs most of the other racials out there. They are also inherently better skinners which is beneficial for pure DPS. The dash ability is rather useless considering it is only 10% faster than cat form moves naturally and is slower than the Cat form dash.

Night  Elf – Night Elves work out better as Tanks than they do as cats due to the 1% buff to dodge. Unlike their worgen brothers and sisters; however, the Night Elf Racial is useful in battle. The ability to simply drop threat can be incredibly useful when things have gone south, and I can’t help but praise the number of times shadowmeld has saved me from a quick death.

Troll – While fantastic for Boomkins and healers, the Haste racial isn’t actually that useful for cat form druids. In addition none of their other racials are all that fantastic either as Druids don’t use thrown or ranged weapons, we can shapeshift out of any movement impairing effects, and the regeneration racial has never been useful.

Tauren – The Tauren like Night Elves make some decent tanks thanks in part to their stamina bonus. But with the AOE stun not being useable while shapeshifted and the +herbalism bonus being worthless, they don’t lend themselves as kitty druids.

This is of course purely by the numbers and there can be any number of reasons one might choose to go with one race over another. In addition, in the long run, the racials do not make up all that substantial a difference in end game DPS and Raiding.

Talent Tree

Link to Talent Tree: Here

 

Talent Tree

Must Have Talents

The above are the talents that you are going to have to taken in order to optimize your DPS. The above spec leaves you with 4 additional points that you can move around and spend.  If I were going to assign those points to any talents I would aim for survivability, as such these include

2/2 – Nurturing Instinct – This makes your healing Spellpower equal to an amount of your agility, and it also makes heals cast on you more powerful. The uses of this in a raid group or really even when you are out soloing are endless. It’s all about surviving towards the end of the fight, as you already have all the DPS, mobility, and utility talents that you are going to need.

As such, I also put a point in Survival Instincts and Pulverize. The Survival instincts is to give some additional survivability and also to make it easier on my healers during times of intense raid damage. The Pulverize is simply because I like to have a full spell set in bear form and just feel naked without it. Another possible combo one might go with is to put 3/3 into Thick Hide and 1 into Pulverize  so that in the event of not having a Tank, you can go in with crit immunity.

Glyphs

Feral Druid Glyphs

My Glyphs

When you are talking Glyphs , we are one of the few lucky classes where most of our glyphs are actually useful. Pictured above is simply the Glyph layout which I am using currently, there are only a few that are required

Glyph of Shred

Glyph of Rip

Glyph of Tiger’s Fury

These are the Prime Glyphs, all the other glyphs are up to the individual druid. It should be noted that Glyph of Ferocious Bite is a DPS Loss as it stands. I would strongly suggest the Glyph of Rebirth to ensure that when you do use Rebirth that it brings back the person being revived to full health. Glyph of Dash and Glyph of Feral Charge is also  useful for getting around more often in battle.

Outside of that I took Glyph of Rake for no other reason than it being useful while leveling. It could easily be replaced with something like Glyph of  Barkskin for PvP.

Everything else is essentially just for your own amusement or saving of money on mats and the like.

Professions

Crafting Bench

Meh, close enough

Skinning – Skinning is the profession that sits along with Leatherworking and has the distinct honor of being one of the only gathering profession that has only one Primary profession fully using the mats it generates. The bonus crit that comes from Anatomy is incredibly useful and it works well when you take into account that one can fly, find a corpse, skin it, and move about your merry way. Defiantly a worthwhile profession.

Leatherworking – Leatherworking will make leveling as a druid much easier. The key to this of course is that Leatherworking can provide you with armor as you level. In addition to this, Leatherworking currently provides 2 of the BiS pieces of gear for a Feral Druid. When you add all of this to the fact that Skinning is the required gathering profession and the +130 Agility to bracers it may very well be the single best combo for Feral Druids.

Jewelcrafting – Jewelcrafting offers the use of Trinkets, Rings, and the like and can provide leveling druids with items that are otherwise hard to come by from normal quest and dungeons. In addition to this, Jewelcrafting is a profession that everyone in the game relies on to produce goods and as such you can expect it to be profitable. On top of all that, Jewelcrafting provides special gems that are only available to them.

Blacksmithing – While it’s not necessarily the best for making your own gear, it does offer the ability to add an extra 2 slots on your bracers and your gloves for gems. There is also the fact that Blacksmithing sells well to others, which might be of interest to some out there.

Alchemy – Alchemy does provide a +60 Agility buff based on a flask, unfortunately this is quickly replaced by the +300 Agility buff from the Flask of the Four Winds. This would be fine if the 2 happened to stack, but they don’t. One could argue there is some serious profitability from the truegold transmutes alone, and it provides potions while leveling and raiding.

Inscription – Inscription provides a better shoulder enchant than the Rep with Therazane at exalted can provide. This actually comes off slightly better than the alchemy if only because the stats are more permanent than alchemy. One might also add that Inscription provides a decent amount of cashflow.

Herbalism – Herbalism comes off as completely worthless. the Lifeblood ability recovers an unsubstantial amount of health and provides a haste buff [one of our lower priority stats]. On the upside Herbalism fuels both Inscription and Alchemy and makes quite a profit while doing so.

Enchanting – Enchanting provides for Ring Enchants which allow for +agility. In addition the profession is essentially standalone as running dungeons and turning questing items into mats. There is the added bonus that enchanting is almost always profitable.

Tailoring – Tailoring happens to hold Swordgaurd Embroidery (which honestly surprised me). While it does not offer any sort gear for Feral Druids, the clothy classes definitely need the gear it produces, and it sits along quite nicely with Enchanting.

Engineering – Engineering gets along with some goofy little gadgets. In addition, it offers an epic helm as well as specialized helm “Gem” known as cogs which have some pretty remarkable stats on them such as +208 mastery ( x 2) cogwheel, making it worth picking up the profession if for that alone. It goes with mining.

Mining – Mining provides only a plus Stamina buff, making it useful for tanks, but essentially worthless to Feral DPS Druids. But the Profession does provide for large amounts of professions [Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing, Engineering], making it quite profitable.

In Summary:

Top Stat Gain / Profession

Leatherworking / Jewelcrafting / BlackSmithing / Engineering / Enchanting

Mid Tier

Skinning / Tailoring

Worthless

Herbalism / Mining

PvP

As of this posting [Jan 2nd 2011], Feral Cat bleeds are likely on the chopping block because of the severe amount of damage they are doing in PvP. As such, you can expect that there will be a nerf coming up in the near future.

PvP overall for a Feral Cat is very similar to a rogue, in that you want to use your ability to stealth like your ability to breathe [all the time]. If you aren’t killing something or healing yourself, you need to be stealthed.

Your basic opener in PvP will be to Feral Charge (Cat) the opponent, Pounce > Ravage > Mangle > Rake. At that point, the opponent will likely naturally break out of Pounce, if they use a trinket before that you are still pretty safe using that combination of attacks.

From there it becomes a matter of doing the old dance between yourself in the opponent. Don’t be afraid to blow cooldowns in order to survive, with Arena only having rebirth locked out. You’re of course going to want to go for some resilience gear with the next stat priority being mastery for bleed application. Your ultimate goal should be to have your opponent mangled, Raked, and Ripped with everything in between being up to you.

Make sure to shapeshift your way out of snares and the like, and heal when you have Predator’s Swiftness [using Healing Touch]. Talented that should heal for approximately 10k. I’m not the best in PvP not having ever really liked Arena, and only showing up in Battlefields as Resto during BC and WoTLK, so you may wish to consult a Feral Druid with some more knowledge in the field.

Addons

My UI

UI

The UI is of course up to each individual user, but I know some people like to see what others like to do. What you can’t see in that picture is Omen and Recount which are show up during 5 man instances / raids etc. but no while soloing or in battlegrounds, they are positioned above the 2 chat boxes respectively.

The Base of the UI is Toresh’s Edit 2.17 of Tukui located here, it takes care of a majority of getting things in place and organized, and setup only takes a matter of clicking 2 buttons. In addition to those, I am also using Bartender 4 [as I didn’t like the way that Tukui handled the bars and the various key binds]. In addition to that I am also using DBM for raids and encounters [though DBM still doesn’t have a lot of data, it might be a while before that’s a fully functional addon again]. Rounding out the list is Power Aura’s for letting me know visually what my health is looking like without having to glance at bars [by using a system similar to Gears of War with a cog that gets progressively more red]. I also have it display a green leaf at the center of the screen whenever Predator’s Swiftness is active. Rounding out the list is Buttonfacade with the Caith Package and Feral By Night.

The only truly controversial addon I have is Feral By Night. Now a few things about Feral by Night, it was designed by the folks over at Elitist Jerks as a way to make the Feral Cat rotation a bit more manageable. This is accomplished by creating an addon to suggest to you which moves you should use next [you can see it there at the center of the screen]. The problem is that the addon is not optimized for the perfect rotation and it will let Rip and Rake drop off on occasion, depending on how awry the algorithm goes you may lose up to 300 – 800 dps by trusting only what it has to say. That having been said, there is no need to track the various bleeds, debuffs, buffs, etc. by watching Feral By Night guide you through the rotation, and it leaves you with a LOT more time to focus on the fight at hand, helping to avoid tunnel vision. I also cut down Feral By Night to just the move suggestion and tweaked the back in algorithm to make the bleeds a priority with savage roar as less of one.  You can find the controls all in the Addon’s panel in your interface controls

Macros

Just some helpful macros that I have come across over the years:

#showtooltip
/castsequence reset=10 Feral Charge(Cat Form), Ravage(Cat Form)

This one you can put on your bars, basically when click it / activate it will cast Feral Charge, and then for 10 seconds the same button will provide you access to ravage. A little note about this one though is that you apparently have to have the normal ravage somewhere on your bar in order to for it to work [they may fix that in the future].

#showtooltip
/cast [stealth] Pounce(Cat Form); [nostealth] Shred(Cat Form)

This you can put wherever you want to put your shred button [I usually leave it as one], and when you are stealthed the button will become pounce. This is useful for a number of things including freeing up bar space.

#showtooltip
/s When you wait for rez’s you wait with Hitler and the Lich King
/cast [combat] Rebirth ; Revive

That will switch between Rebirth when you are in combat and Revive when you are out of combat. It will also say “When you wait for rez’s you wait with Hitler and the Lich King”, because I think of myself as witty.

#showtooltip
/cast [nocombat] Prowl(Cat Form); [stealth] Prowl(Cat Form); [modifier:alt] Savage Roar(Cat Form); [combat] Savage Roar(Cat Form)

That one will essentially make savage roar and stealth one button. Savage roar will only show up when you are in combat, at all other times it’s stealth. Again this is mostly for saving space one ones bars.

Tips and Tricks

The following are just some tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years that have made my life easier and may very well do the same for you.

  • Use Keybinds, and I say this only because I used to preach that one doesn’t need keybinds. The truth is that while yes you can get by without keybinds, there is a lot of time that having the ability to react without having to let the mouse go searching for a key can be pretty useful. I just feel a little more flexible knowing that the I can use 1-5, Shift + 1-5, Ctrl + 1-5, q,e,z,c,f and the shift and crtl version of each of those to tie them to abilities. Complex move patterns start to become muscle memory.
  • Buy a Mouse with the 2 little buttons on the side, as stupid as it may seem I can’t even begin to count the number of times having those two set as interrupt keys has saved my tail. It’s really intuitive once you start to get the hang of it, and more importantly it’s pretty cheap and useful for other things [most browsers treat it as a back and forwards button]
  • Save the x key for sitting, there is honestly only one decent reason to bring a druid to a raid, and that is to let it hump the corpses of the fallen, you probably won’t use the x key anyway as it’s in an awkward spot, so use it for corpse humping
  • If you are in serious need of some health but don’t have Predator’s Swiftness up, use 1 CP [a mangle, anything] and then use Savage Roar, it has a chance to activate Predator’s Swiftness, so you can cast a healing touch and save yourself.
  • Set your Hearth In Stormwind, have your necklace from the Black Temple, your Tabard from the Argent Crusade, and your Teleport Moonglade, and you show those mages what it means to get around the planet in a flash.
  • Bird form is your friend, you can use it to pick flowers, pick up items, pick up a lot of different things without having to land.
  • If you’re a Night Elf and you’re getting chased by some Horde on a PvP server, than Shadowmeld > Flight form and say goodbye to them as you cruise away with all manner of pride in your feathers.
  • Tranquility no longer sucks nearly as much, if your healers are hurting for some AOE heals, help out and drop Tranquility on the ground.
  • Innervate group members, it may not be much but we all know you aren’t using it.
  • Swipe and AOE: Swipe was good for about 3 solid patches before Blizzard remembered they don’t like us doing AOE damage. I have found that if you have 4 targets or less, you are going to be more effective using Mangle > Rake on each target than it would be to use swipe. If there are 5 or more targets and they are going to die quickly, then Swipe isn’t such a bad idea. Swipe’s usage becomes more prevalent with the more creatures involved up until the AOE cap.
  • 8% is the Hit Soft Cap, 26 is the Expertise Soft Cap, we don’t really need to be at either. For expertise, we should almost always be behind the boss so they won’t be able to Parry the attacks and the like, our white damage doesn’t make up enough to justify it, and our bleeds once applied can’t miss. Add to this that we are refunded energy if we miss with any special attack and it becomes apparent that those stats simply aren’t as important to us as they are the other melee classes.

That’s pretty much it, I hope this little guide has been helpful to you, if you want any more information please post something in the comments and tell your non druid friends wanting to learn more about the class how to find us.

And yes, the name is a joke, and no one has reported it yet [to my knowledge].

Advertisements
This entry was posted in gaming and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How To: Feral DPS (So you want to be a Kitty)

  1. fullphaser says:

    So I just found this: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/816470-So-you-want-to-be-a-Kitty-%28Guide%29 Which amuses me to no end, because not only are our two post within a couple of days of each other but we came up with almost identical titles. I would like to meet this poster, as I believe them to be my doppelganger.

    Edit, also I will be writing a follow up for 4.0.6 with gem changes, Epic Level gear, and some expansion on the PvP section.

  2. Pingback: Druids 4.1 (And a Feral Druid 4.0.6 Update) « Totally Not a Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s