Guest post: CAT DURID IS 4 FITE!
Today’s post is a guest post written by Cantor. Cantor is a hordie (ugh!) who plays a feral combat troll (>< why not tauren???) in the guild Omen on Emerald Dream EU. He has had a lot of experience as a feral since vanilla and so is a much better person than I am to write a post regarding feral kitties (and bears) 🙂
Hello and greetings everyone! This is a guest post, as Kat apparently sucks at Feral, and I’m a crotchety old greyhead who’s played the spec since forever; just to fill you in, I’ve played a Druid since WoW went live in Europe – starting, as everyone did back then, with a 9/11/31 spec and swapping to Feral when 1.8 dropped (the famous ‘Druids we haven’t forgotten about you but Resto is still going to be tree that you need to spec down to get into any raids’ patch. Or something like that; perhaps the actual name wasn’t quite that snappy). I have played as a Feral Druid in all aspects of this game, from 40-man raids to heroic 10-mans, and from the level 60 honour grind right through to level 85 Rated Battlegrounds.
So, what’s my first article going to concern? Well, I thought we’d take a general look at Feral gameplay – the state it’s in and how it’s faring in PvE (my speciality – I don’t do serious competitive PvP I’m afraid).
2 for the price of 1
Feral, of course, is unique in that it is both a competitive tanking and DPS spec with very similar builds; in fact, swapping just 9 points around from my particular DPS spec gives you a very workable tanking build, and a little more shuffling can make that tanking build into a very solid PvP or hybrid tank/DPS build, which is what several high-end Druids such as Reesi (of The Inc Bear) raid with.
This is what makes us truly unique in the tanking world – the ability to be raid-level tanks that can still DPS at a reasonable level when it comes to it on fights with tight enrage timers, like H Baleroc, or any fight with tank swaps (which is over 50% of the encounters in current content), and is frankly where we shine, particularly if you run with the above-mentioned hybrid build, and agi/stam gemming, potentially with mastery reforging. Don’t expect to rock the meters with the mainspec DPS classes, but you’ll be well above the other tanks that are forced to sit in Blood Presence/Defensive Stance/RF+sword and board.
By now, I’d assume most people have seen our T13 bonuses; if you haven’t, see below:
- Feral, 2P — Pulverize now also grants your Mangle (Bear) critical strikes a 100% chance to trigger Savage Defense, and your Blood in the Water talent now causes Ferocious Bite to refresh the duration of your Rip on targets with 60% or less health.
- Feral, 4P — Frenzied Regeneration also affects all raid and party members. This effect cannot be triggered if you have been in Bear Form for less than 15 sec. In addition, using Tiger’s Fury will cause your next Ravage to cost no energy, not require stealth, and have no positioning requirement for 10 sec.
At the time of writing, the section in bold had only just been datamined by Boubouille over on MMO Champ. Going through these piece-by-piece, you can see that Blizzard have obviously struggled to make sure that DPS Ferals aren’t benefitting from tanking bonuses, and vice versa, by linking them to talents that Cats and Bears aren’t going to pick up outside of their respective specs.
The Bear 2-piece is not something I’m particularly fond of – it won’t result in a dramatically increased SD uptime outside of Berserk, while Warriors get an additional physical absorb shield equivalent to 20% of the damage of Revenge and Paladins get a shield equal to 25% of their Judgement damage (both between 2000-5000 for an averagely-geared tank); Death Knights merely get a free Death Rune when they drop below 35% health, which frankly isn’t that stunning considering that Death Strike still requires 2 runes, and Blood Tap has a cooldown; frankly I think the shield-bearers came off on top with this one.
The Bear 4-piece is much in-line with what the other tanks got – a raid cooldown tied to one of our emergency buttons. I have to state here and now that I do NOT like the design here; having it not be useful for 15 secs after re-entering Bear form limits our (already limited) utility by forcing us to stay in Bear should there be any hint of a cooldown being required. This means no battle resses, no Tranquilities and no Kitty DPS from your Bears, which is just silly. Tie it in to Pulverise as with the 2-piece and you’re sorted.
The DPS bonuses are much more interesting – having Blood in the Water active for over 100% more of the fight compared to currently will lead to a dramatically increased number of Bites being thrown around – during Berserk I’d expect to see at least 4 5pt FBs used within the space of 25 seconds. This has been mapped out to an increase of roughly a few hundred DPS, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it creep higher should fight conditions favour it (ie, if you have to swap from the boss to a different target, you can refresh your Rip to the 5pt duration with a 1pt Bite if necessary).
The 4 piece was changed earlier to proc from Tiger’s Fury rather than Stampede, which I am incredibly grateful for – having a 4-set bonus tied to a talent that a) involves leaving melee range and b) isn’t usable on some bosses (Raggy, Magmaw, Al’akir, Sinestra, H Baleroc, I’m looking at you) was absolute nonsense, so I’m very happy to see this now linked to something that’s a part of our rotation. Indeed, this may lead to TF being pushed at even lower amounts of energy than currently, as the global from using a free Ravage will give us time to recover 10 more energy than normal. I don’t have the time to runs the maths at the moment, but I can see an additional Ravage every 30 seconds being incredibly useful to us in terms of damage AND CP generation.
Overall, Feral is placed quite solidly in PvE at the moment; in terms of tanking, our balance is good when placed against the other tanks – certainly better than it ever was in vanilla and TBC (when you were virtually obligated to be a Warrior) or early Wrath (when DKs ruled) – and in a recent post on WoW Insider (http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/10/04/state-of-dps-in-firelands/) blogger Brian Wood collated a ton of data from the Firelands for both 10m and 25m normal and heroic kills from the top 100 DPSers of each common spec in the game (ie, no Shockadins, no Discipline Priests, no DWing Blood DKs), and the results were quite interesting; basically, Feral Druids sit absolutely dead-on the median line for just about every result presented, including the breakdown of H Baleroc. This is not a bad thing by any means; it means we’re firmly sat in the middle of the pack, with plenty of room to manoeuvre our furry little bottoms upward when compared to other DPS players, and particularly other melee. Combat Rogues and Fury Warriors are out-performing the other melee classes by quite a long way, but with Fury slated to receive some nerfs in 4.3, and an overall melee buff, we should see the whole pack moving upwards to catch up with the ranged classes.
That’s all from me for now – next time (if Kat will have me back), we’ll be looking at my recommendations for the spec to improve it in both PvE and PvP (before the PvP QQ starts, that’s a QoL change, not a “buffmenowbecauseIgetbeatenallthetime” change).
Thanks to Cantor for his post and I think it would be great to have him back and write more about feral things. I can even overlook the fact he is a hordie (though being a troll is harder to get over ^^) 🙂