So, you’re new around here…part 1
Hello again everyone! I’m sticking this video here because (We Are) Performance are awesome and this came on to my generic MP3 player while I was writing this post. Enjoy 🙂
This post will be split into 2 parts – the first will concern starting a brand new Feral, your race selection and what glyphs you want to look at while leveling. The second will focus on what to do once you hit 85, stat weights, addons, rotation etc.
Starting Out – Races:
You’ve decided to create a new Druid, and spec Feral; your first decision, of course, is whether you want to play as the mighty Horde or the sissy prissy Alliance. Some points for consideration – Horde get 8ft tall walking cows and voodoo Trolls; Alliance get Elves and Twilight wannabes. HOWEVER, should you really want to play for the Blues…
Night Elves – the original Druidic race; interesting thing to note here is that back in the Vanilla beta, Chris Metzen didn’t want anyone other than Nelf males to be able to play as a Druid, although this of course was sacrificed in favor of gameplay. Night Elves are the second-oldest race in the game, and are ruled over by Tyrande Whisperwind, the High Priestess of Elune, the Moon Goddess. Night Elves with amber eyes (such as Malfurion, Illidan and Azshara) denote a character with great Druidic power, or that is destined for greatness.
Shadowmeld – allows you to drop combat until you take any action or take damage; Useful when trying to res quickly after a wipe, or to get away from world PvP with a ‘Meld/flight form macro. Bear in mind that if you move while the boss is still active, you’ll be put right back into combat.
Elusiveness – +5% speed while stealthed; reasonably useful but it’s not going to make or break your gameplay experience.
Wisp Spirit – Night Elves move twice as fast while dead; Hopefully not that useful to you, but hey, if you’ve got this far then you already play Alliance and there’s no saving you, so get used to corpse-running. Heh.
Nature Resistance – Night Elves gain a small boost to their Nature resistance; doesn’t stack with MotW, Resistance Aura/Totem or any other resistance buffs, making this of limited usefulness.
Quickness – the buff tanks would kill for if they could do enough damage to kill anyone. This is a flat +2% chance to be missed by all attacks, and functions even while you’re otherwise unable to dodge (say, while CCed). A very powerful buff for tanks.
Worgen – the race of humans that live behind the shattered Greymane Wall in the Eastern Kingdoms. One of the original 7 Alliance races (they others were Stormwind, Lordaeron, Stromgarde, Kul Tiras, the Magocracy of Dalaran and Alterac), these guys were introduced into the game with Cataclysm, and doubled the number of options for Druid races open to the Alliance. It is unknown how they came by their Druidic power, although we believe that Gilneans promised a primitive form of Druidism before the Greymane Wall was shattered (hence the lowbie Druid trainer Celestine of the Harvest), which was then expanded upon by the Night Elves.
Darkflight – a +40% speed boost for 10 secs; not much to say here, as a racial this is really powerful, and despite the flavour text it does NOT force you back into your caster form while using it.
Viciousness – +1% crit chance; again, not much to say, but this is really a pretty powerful racial for everyone. Mana conservation for healers, more damage (and combo points) for Ferals and Balance, noms.
Aberration – in the Cataclysm beta this reduced the duration of poisons and diseases by 15%, but that was a little too powerful; now, this simply provides a small boost to Nature and Shadow resist, but like all other resistance racials, doesn’t stack with totems, auras etc.
Flayer – +15 skinning skill, and skin faster; believe it or not, there are times when I’d have loved this skill. I’m the only one silly enough to stick with skinning in our FL group, so I’m always left there chewing my way through fire scorpion corpses while everyone else is off killing stuff. Still, if you’re not a skinner…
Well, that’s the Alliance done. To the Horde! Yay, Hordlings!
Tauren – huge, nomadic Minotaurs that live on the planes of Mulgore. The best description of the Tauren would be as gentle giants, although they are skilled hunters. As a Druid, you would be part of the Mistrunner, Runetotem or Wildmane tribes, each of which is involved with the Druidic teachings within Tauren society. Tauren revere the Earthmother, the embodiment of nature, who is also followed by the Wildhammer dwarves and Pandaren.
Endurance – +5% base health; this racial used to be amazing as it scaled with gear, now it barely amounts to an extra 2k health at level 85. Really not worth worrying over, especially considering the days of Stamina-stacking tanks are gone, and Bears will be getting an additional +10% health (which DOES scale) in 4.3.
Nature Resistance – identical to the Night Elf version (except Tauren are cooler, so we can say we had it first).
War Stomp – 0.5s cast to stun up to 5 enemies around you for 2 seconds; frankly, for PvP or tanking, this is amazing. Yeah, the cast time is annoying, but at least it can now be used in Bear and Cat; I was a Tauren from launch until Cataclysm, and race-changed to a Troll because I had no racials that were even marginally useful for Ferals; 2 days after I did, they announced that War Stomp would be usable in forms…
Cultivation – +15 Herbalism skill, and 0.5s herbing speed; the source of eternal frustration to other classes, as we can also herb while in flight form. Tauren Druids make the best herbalists in the game, even in Vashj’ir (due to having glyphed Aquatic Form which stacks with Sea Legs, we can travel as fast as others can while mounted), so even if you’re only making a Druid with the intention of herbing (why would you?!), this is a good-enough reason to be a Tauren.
Trolls – peaceful, moral, great table manners – none of these statements apply to Trolls. They are savage, dark and voodooistic (I have no idea if that’s a word), but closely tied to nature (they are the only race in the game, apart from Tauren, that have access to all 3 elements of a JungleCleave 3v3 team – Shaman, Druid and Hunter) through Loa Spirits. In lore, these spirits are what grant the Trolls access to their shapeshifting potential.
Beast Slaying – +5% damage to Beasts. You will be fighting a LOT of Beasts while playing WoW, so why not kill them 5% faster? There are actually still some bosses that are defined as Beasts, Beth’tilac being the only one in current content, but this racial alone is probably worth more on that boss than all the gems in your gear combined.
Berserking – +20% attack and casting speed for 10s every 3 mins; ties nicely in with the cooldown on Berserk, but it’s worth noting that this is not +20% haste, merely attack speed, so it won’t increase your energy regen. while active.
Bow Spec/Throwing Spec – +1% crit with bows and thrown weapons; Druids can’t use bows, so this is of no use to us.
Da Voodoo Shuffle – duration of snares and roots reduced by 15%; as we can’t shift out of roots anymore (*sob*), this is actually pretty useful. It’s not going to make or break your PvP encounter even against a dirty, stinking, overpowered Frost Mage, but it could help you get a couple of extra hits off.
Regeneration – the long-standing joke of all racials, this is poop. +10% health regen, and 10% of your health regen continues in combat. This will account for such a measly amount of healing it just isn’t worth even mentioning.
Conquer Doors – Trolls can fit through most doors while mounted. Tauren cannot. Note that while this racial may not be listen in the game files, it does exist, and by golly when you’ve played a Tauren since launch and never been able to run down to the Dalaran sewers on any mount other than a bloody Mechano-hog…
So, there’s the rundown of races; if you’re min/maxing, as a tank, you want to be a Night Elf or Tauren; as a Kitty, you want to be a Worgen or Troll (the difference between a Tauren and Troll on a Beast fight is actually quite significant, and as I play in a 6/7 heroic guild, you need everything you can get while you’re doing progression content; I wish it wasn’t this way, as I bloody love Tauren, but their racials are frankly crappy for DPS); for PvP, it’s pretty open – Night Elves have Shadow Meld, Worgen have Darkflight, Tauren have War Stomp and Trolls have Da Voodoo Shuffle.
You’ll unlock 9 glyph slots while levelling to 85 – 3 Minor, 3 Major and 3 Prime. Minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic changes or utility cooldowns; Majors are the “fun” glyphs, that actively change the function of certain spells; Primes are actually the most boring, providing simple damage increases to certain spells. Anyhoo, here are all the glyphs that you’ll likely be interested in as a Feral, both while levelling and at 85.
Dash – knocks 36s off the cooldown of Dash, bringing it down to a 2min 24sec cooldown.
Unburdened Rebirth – removes the reagent cost from Rebirth, freeing up a bag slot.
Aquatic Form – increases your swim speed in Aquatic Form by 50%; as mentioned above, a god-send in Vashj’ir, and I’ve never used a mount there on either of my 2 Ferals (yes, I have 2. No, I don’t know why).
Mark of the Wild – Reduces the mana cost of MotW by 50%; pretty pointless to a Feral, as you’ll be casting this once an hour in most cases, but could be reasonably useful to levelling Ferals who tend to cast a lot more frequently than geared max. level characters.
Challenging Roar – reduces the cooldown on Challenging Roar by 30s. Only useful to Bears, and probably only while levelling. With the introduction of Thrash, your AoE threat becomes a lot more solid, to the point that you’ll likely not be using CR at all after you hit 81 until you get into Troll heroics and start running into a few people in heroic raid gear.
Frankly, these provide such little impact on your gameplay, I’m raiding H Raggy with a glyph that makes me swim 50% faster. These are wide open, so use anything you want here. I will say, however, that Dash and Unburdened Rebirth are both very useful in all aspects of the game.
Barkskin – reduces your chance to be crit by 25% while Barkskin’s up; very useful in PvP – in fact, this is probably your best survival glyph combined with Bear Form and Frenzied Regen.
Thorns – cuts the cooldown of Thorns by 20s; certainly useful to the levelling tank, as Thorns is a real hard-hitter now. Not so great at 85, when there are much better options around and you won’t really have downtime between packs in dungeons,
Feral Charge – reduces the cooldown of Feral Charge (Cat) by 2s and Feral Charge (Bear) by 1s; meh, this is ok, but hardly standout. Could be good for the slightly added mobility in PvP, and it’s ok if you’re really trying to push out more Stampeded Ravages while DPSing.
Frenzied Regeneration – increases healing received while FR is active by 30%, but you no longer heal yourself; while raid tanking, you need this glyph. For 5-mans and PvP, it’s not AS good, and is really a judgement call on whether to use it or not, but basically if you’ve got multiple healers focusing on you, then this glyph will generate far more healing than the unglyphed version would do.
Rebirth – targets of Rebirth are ressed with 100% life; a really useful glyph for raiding Ferals, as Druids are one of only 3 classes than can res in-combat, and of those 3, we’re the only one that does it properly, not through some bastardised shadow magic (yes Warlocks and Death Knights, I’m looking at you). Anyway, getting someone back with 100% health rather than 20% is a big help to your healers, so you definitely want to look at investing in this glyph if you can.
Faerie Fire – +10 yards on the range of FF and Feral FF; gives your Bear a frikkin’ 40 yard critter-laser. And, I guess, a useful pulling tool. Not amazing, but decent if none of the other Majors appeal.
Ferocious Bite – heals you for 1% of your maximum health for every 10 energy you spend on FB; forgive me for not being thrilled, but a 5% heal is hardly amazing. This is ok sub-25% when you’ll be Biting every time you get 5CPs, and becomes more so when you get 2t13 (with BitW activating at 60% health).
Maul – allows your Maul to hit a second target for 50% damage. I’ve become so used to this glyph now I just see it as a standard part of the Bear toolkit. If you’re a tank, get it, use it, love it.
Majors are quite a lot more focused than Minor glyphs, and can actually impact your gameplay somewhat; I use Unburdened Rebirth, Ferocious Bite and Feral Charge while DPSing, or Maul, Frenzied Regen and Faerie Fire while tanking.
Mangle – +10% Mangle damage; I personally hate Mangle with a burning passion, as it’s the reason that Blizzard won’t make Shred usable from any direction. Until you’ve experienced p2-3 Al’akir and p2 Raggy in a 10m guild, and some other bosses with extremely awkward positioning like Magmaw, you won’t know how damned frustrating this is (I had to try very hard to to type a $@&”ing swear word there); I lose somewhere in the region of 4k DPS swapping to a Mangle rotation from Shred, which is just bloody pathetic. I want to see this ability OUT of the Feral spec entirely, but until then, this is a solid glyph to pick up while levelling, and should be your first Prime choice. Dump it when you hit 85.
Lacerate – +5% crit chance to Lacerate; quite handy for Bears, as we have a chance to proc Savage Defence every time we crit, and Lacerate is going to be the ability you spam the most while single-target tanking.
Savage Roar – boosts the autoattack damage bonus by 5%; kind of useful, but mathematically it loses out to our other Primes. That’s not to say this is bad in anyway, but the other glyphs beat it.
Tiger’s Fury – reduces the cooldown on TF by 3 seconds; given that this is a 15% damage boost that affects your bleeds as well, you want to be popping this as often as possible. Quite useful while levelling, but doesn’t compare to our 3 “main” Prime DPS glyphs.
Berserk – +10s on the duration of Berserk, pushing it to a 25s duration, which is massive. With 4t12, you can push Berserks for as long as 45s if you’re good with your energy management and lucky with crits. Pick this up as soon as you can after getting Berserk.
Rip – +15% damage to your number 1 finisher that you should be maintaining for the entire duration of any boss fight? Take. This.
Shred – your Shreds extend the duration of your Rip by 2 seconds, up to a maximum of 6 seconds; this is one of the prime reasons we lose so much of our damage when we can’t Shred – ignoring the fact that Shred crits about 12k harder than Mangle, you save so much energy when Shredding vs Mangling, it actually makes our rotation achievable. With Mangle, it’s actually quite tricky to maintain Rip and Roar on a boss, as your Rips will only be lasting for 12 seconds, so if you don’t get lucky with crits…anyway, this is being changed to the Glyph of Bloodletting in 4.3, and will proc off of Mangle as well, which will go some way toward alleviating the problem. Get this in your life too! You need it!
So, for tanking at max level, your Prime glyphs should be Lacerate, Mangle and Berserk; for DPS, you want Shred, Rip and Berserk. I know, boring, but as I said above, Primes are very easy to theorycraft as to which is going to provide the most damage; that third slot used to be a toss-up between Berserk, TF and Savage Roar, but then they doubled the duration increase on Berserk so that eliminated that choice pretty rapidly. It’s worth noting that Blizzard have said that they don’t really like the Prime slot, so we might see it removed in Mists of Pandaria, with the bonuses tied into the abilities, or just based around not having them (although Glyph of Shred would be ohrrible to not have, so it will likely become a Major).
Ok, this was significantly longer than I intended it to be, so I’m going to cut off there. Next time, I promise that I will bring a So-I’ve-Just-Hit-85-WTF-Do-I-Do-Now analysis. I know I’ve been saying it for a while, but it WILL get here.
Incidentally, I might as well make a shameless plug or my friend Lobbe (best Warrior EU) will eat me – Omen are recruiting a Balance Druid, a Mage and an Elemental Shaman for our second 10-man raid team, who are currently significantly progressed through H Firelands (4/7 if I remember correctly, although they may have swatted H Beth while I wasn’t looking). Feel free to apply on our website!