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Feral DPS guide

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The information in this guide is intended for endgame feral dps players in groups and raids. Pool information here and help update this to avoid having multiple out-dated guides on several different websites.

Specs and glyphs Edit

Solid base build Edit

Solid base build with three points left over for accessory talents. Includes required glyphs (prime) and suggested glyphs (major, minor).

Talent notes
Tier 1
  • [Feral Swiftness] 2/2: An important 30% ground speed boost that can provide a decent dps uptime increase on heavy movement fights.
  • [Predatory Strikes] 2/2: The primary portion of this talent allows druids to get the most out of Stampede at the start of fights and get a bump in initial combo points as well. The second half can be used to pop self-heals in tight situations to save yourself, or held in the pipe for instant Bres' if things go south in an encounter.
Tier 2
  • [Fury Swipes] 3/3: Since auto attacks make up one of the top 4 damage done abilities, this adds more weight to staying on a target.
  • [Primal Fury] 2/2: Free combo points on critical strike combo point granting abilities. Saves time and energy when building 5cpts for a rip or Ferocious Bite. Don't pass over.
  • [Feral Aggression] 2/2: Simple dps increase over taking more points in Furor or Infected wounds while filling out the tree. If your group lacks the armor debuff, make sure to apply Feral Faerie Fire at the start of a fight and when it's about to fall off.
Tier 3
  • [King of the Jungle] 3/3: Keeping Tiger's Fury on CD as much as possible is a cornerstone of Feral dps. With this talent, all you have to do is adjust when you use it as to not waste the extra energy gain.
  • [Feral Charge] 1/1: Cat version of this talent makes short work of travel time to targets, increasing dps up-time on movement fights.
  • [Stampede] 2/2: Cat version allows for the use of Ravage outside of stealth, and makes it free to boot! Charge at the start of a pull as well as when you're away from your primary target and reap the benefits of Predatory Strikes along with it.
Tier 4
  • [Leader of the Pack] 1/1: Solid party/raid buff. Has a nice self-healing buff as well. If another member of your group provides the 5% crit buff, LotP will override it one your character due to the secondary healing it provides.
  • [Nurturing Instinct] 2/2: Tranquility is a very strong heal for druids and this talent helps it keep pace while you're in feral. The additional healing done to you is just icing on the cake and shouldn't be overlooked with the changes made to healing for Cata.
Tier 5
  • [Primal Madness] 2/2: Ups your max energy to 120 during Tiger's Fury and Berserk. For the first, it allows you to pop T'sF at 60 energy. And while not too impressive for the latter, you can pop TF first to cap out your energy at 120, and then try and burn it all off with half priced abilities.
  • [Survival Instincts] 1/1: Listed as a mandatory talent since a dead dps is essentially worthless. It's worth mentioning that both this talent and Barkskin are off the GCD.
  • [Endless Carnage] 2/2: Not having to reapply Rake and Savage Roar as often gives you more energy to spend on higher dps abilities.
Tier 6
  • [Rend and Tear] 3/3: Since you'll have (in a best case scenario) both Rip and Rake up at all times, this talent is solid gold for keeping your Shreds in peek performance.
  • [Blood in the Water] 2/2: Essentially turns Ferocious Bite into an Execute under 25%, refreshing Rip for free. It should be noted that even a 1pt FB will refresh Rip while this talent is active.
Tier 7
  • [Berserk] 1/1: Plain and simple DPS cooldown. Time it's use for the start of the fight and every 3min thereafter, avoiding points where excessive movement would be involved. Currently, there is a debate as to whether one should use FB during a Berserk as apposed to simply Shred Spamming and refreshing Rip.


To-do
  • Add description of Feral only abilities and mastery.

DPS algorithm/rotationEdit

Feral DPS relies on a list of priorities, i.e. an Algorithm - although this is commonly referred to as a rotation. The list below is in order of importance, i.e. [Mangle] is more important than [Savage Roar] which is more important than [Rake] which is more important than [Shred]. Keep in mind that the following algorithm is designed to maximize the raid's overall DPS as opposed to your own, and sometimes you will have to switch targets to adds that may die too fast for you to "ramp up" effectively.

  1. With 3 or more targets inside 5 yards in your frontal 180 degree arc - and it doesn't matter which dies first - use Mangle to keep up Savage Roar and use [Swipe] whether it's talented or not. If targets die too quickly or you can't get in a good position to Swipe, just concentrate on Savage Roar and Mangle/Shred, alt. Mangle/Rake if using [Idol of the Crying Moon].
  2. With two targets, pick the one that will last the longest and proceed with single-target DPS:
  3. Keep up [Faerie Fire (Feral)] unless your group also has a boomkin who puts up [Improved Faerie Fire] in the first second or two -- and keeps it up.
  4. Keep Mangle up - many 25p raids will have a Trauma-specced warrior who does this automatically, or a Bear tank. If you're keeping this debuff up for the raid, it's by far the greatest DPS contribution you can make, as it greatly affects the damage from warriors, rogues and some hunters, who all use bleed effects.
  5. Keep Savage Roar up -- you want 100% uptime, though in reality it will drop during Innervates/Rebirth/phase-changes/run-in-run-out mechanics etc.
  6. If you have less than 35 Energy, use [Tiger's Fury] (or [Nature's Grasp] - which can proc [Omen of Clarity]).
  7. If you know threat will not be an issue or you've already taken steps to deal with it (by talking to a paladin about getting [Hand of Salvation] ahead of time - or a warrior's [Vigilance]), use [Berserk] at this point in the initial pull in order to use it as many times as possible in a fight.
  8. If Omen of Clarity procs, use Shred, unless Mangle or Savage Roar is about to run out.
  9. Keep Rake up but don't clip it - if you clip it, it may cost you energy and give you a combo point, but not overwrite or extend the bleed effect. (This has not been confirmed to be a bug or intended behaviour.)
  10. Shred - a Rip-extending Shred may be higher damage-per-energy than Rake - REFERENCE NEEDED
  11. Get 5 Combo points then [Rip] -- unless Rip is already up, in which case pool energy and wait
  12. If you have 5 Combo points and there's 8 seconds or more left on *BOTH* Savage Roar and Rip, then and only then [Ferocious Bite] - ideally you want easy 5 Combo points afterward, e.g. Tiger's Fury coming off cooldown.
  13. Anticipate if Savage Roar and Rip will run out concurrently, and clip Savage Roar to desynchronize the timers with a low-Combo Point Savage Roar immediately. Clip Savage Roar, but don't clip Rip unless you're about to lose melee contact with the boss for an extended period of time.
  14. [Berserk] as early and as often as possible except:
    1. Save it to take advantage of a boss mechanic
    2. Try to stack with cooldowns like [Hysteria] or [Shattering Throw]
    3. Try not to Berserk within 6s after Tiger's Fury except for the first one, nor at low Energy and not at above 85 Energy REFERENCE NEEDED.

Do everything right, with decent to good gear, on a static fight - according to some calculations in SimulationCraft you could end up with 40% downtime, i.e. just pooling energy - a key part of becoming a good feral DPS player is recognizing when this is a good thing, and how to line up GCDs for best effect as timers collide chaotically.

The above DPS algorithm also happens to be one of the most complicated in the game, and according to the World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg Street, a.k.a. Ghostcrawler:

Blizz
Class Q&A Series: Druid 07/14/2009 06:00:29 PM PDT Bornakk
Ghostcrawler: If you want to do the best damage possible, you need to be able to master a complex rotation. This is one of the features that attracts players to the Feral spec. However, it's also pretty forgiving. If you just Shred, you're going to do decent damage. If you Shred and try to keep up Savage Roar, it's going to be better. If you can also manage your Mangles and Rips and Rakes, then you have the potential to do very high damage (assuming you don't have to move around much and can reach the target's back).

View original post

Note: The algorithm is not set in stone. Fight mechanics, Innervate, Rebirth, adds, void zones, standing in fire and even things like gear that necessitates that you keep a stackable buff up - will all play havoc with it.

ImplicationsEdit

FeralCatDPSRotation

Cat DPS extended rotation

Catdps

Simplified Cat DPS Rotation

Ferals require substantial ramp-up time before the damage really gets going, averaging 5-7 seconds in melee range to get Mangle, SR, Rake and Rip up. You want to draw your raid leaders' attention to this if needed, so you don't end up switching targets more than necessary, especially at low energy. Other specs have little to no ramp-up time and much more burst-on-demand, but the situation and raid composition dictate tactics, which means you will have to do the best you can, given what the raid leader needs done. Keep in mind that many other dps players would rather be sticking to one single target as well.

You will not always be able to remember every step in the algorithm, but in the UI section you will find solutions to this headache.

"This relatively high complexity pays off; you have the potential to top the charts on any fight without a gimmick stacked against you."- Astrylian of <Aeon> on US-Suramar[A], Author of Rawr.

No other spec currently in the game needs to be behind its target to do competitive PVE damage. Feral dps players are thus disproportionately concerned with getting and staying behind the boss. Be aware that "behind" the target is defined as anywhere in melee range in the rear 180-degree arc. (IMAGE NEEDED) To the side and just slightly behind the middle is fine, and sometimes it's possible to Shred while technically facing the wrong way inside the target's graphic model. Many bosses and adds rotate quickly and unpredictably, e.g. Lady Deathwhisper, Stormcaller Brundir, Lord Jaraxxus and it may be worth your while to decide whether to continually adjust or to just refresh the Mangle debuff instead.

If you're the only feral dps then the raid may be better off positioning to your disadvantage, but if maximizing your dps becomes an issue, the raid may have to accommodate this unique positioning requirement. Keep in mind that most raid leaders are stressed, don't know everything about every class, rarely have perfect raid comps and face a lot of competing priorities.

With the increased importance of Situational Awareness comes a great need to be able to see personal melee positioning very clearly, while simultaneously being very aware of your health, energy, combo points, target's health, target cast bar, various buffs, debuffs, cooldowns, boss emotes, raid warnings, possible Innervate targets and possible Rebirth targets. A common solution to this is to use UI addons to centralize a lot of this information much more effectively than the stock UI does - for details see the Feral druid resources page.

Stat valuesEdit

Feral DPS is defined as a melee, Agility based, Bleed-damage oriented class. As such, it uses WoW's melee stats to determine what kind of damage your character will do once you hit the button. Since Cataclysm-Logo-Small Cataclysm (Patch 4.0.1 and up), several of the older melee stats such as Armor Pen (ArP), Attack Power (AtP) and Feral Attack Power on gear has been removed to simplify measuring what stats are better for which class. In Feral DPS, players concentrate on the following (in no certain order): Agility, Critical Strike, Haste, Mastery, Hit and Expertise.

Agility
Feral DPS gains 2 attack power per point of agility. This is increased by talents, buffs and automatically by selecting Feral as your primary talent tree in the form of a 25% flat buff to attack power. Your basic bread and butter stat.
Mastery
The newest stat for Cataclysm-Logo-Small Cataclysm. Mastery for Feral DPS increases the amount of damage Bleed effects you apply do while in Cat form by 25.04%, increased by an additional 3.1% per 1% increase in mastery.
Critical Strike
Determines how often your abilities will deal double damage.
Haste
Haste increases two things: how fast your white swings are and how fast you generate energy.
Expertise and Hit rating
These two stats are special in that there comes a point where having any more of one will essentially be worthless (otherwise known as the "Hard Cap"). Hit is exactly what it sounds like, it improves the chance of your attacks/abilities of actually hitting the target. The soft cap for it is defined as the amount of Hit rating required for your yellow damage special attacks to have a 100% of connecting with your target, while the hard cap is the amount required so that all of your white swings will hit without missing. Expertise decreases the chance that your target will Dodge or Parry your attacks. Since a target can dodge, parry and block attacks from the front, you should concentrate being behind the target as much as possible while DPS'ing since expertise does nothing to negate block. Also, the "soft cap" for expertise is considered to be the amount of expertise required to reduce your target's chance of dodging your attacks to 0%, while the hard cap would be the amount needed to negate being parried.
To-do
  • Add exact stat values with corresponding caps (if app.).
  • Find stat value order.

GearEdit

How to decide what gear to use & Gearing up

Since Patch 4.0.1, Blizzard has simplified the manner in which every class selects gear to use. Classes have 1 primary stat (Strength, Agility, Intellect) that they concentrate on above all others, and then several other secondary stats (Spirit, Critical Strike, Haste, etc.) depending on your spec/class. For Feral DPS, you will concentrate on obtaining ONLY LEATHER for your gear slots (i.e. Head, Chest, Legs, etc.) that has Agility as its primary stat. The reason behind this first filter is due in part to the new Specializations each class has, providing a flat 5% bonus to your primary DPS stat, if and only if all of your gear slots are filled with your class' armor type (sans trinkets, rings, neck, weapon and relic).

After making sure you've selected leather agility gear, the next step is to determine what exactly you are gearing for in terms of content. If you are a fresh out of the gate 85 Kitty, chances are you don't quite have the item level required for heroics just yet and should concentrate on obtaining ilvl 333 gear from normal instances, 346 gear from the Justice Point vendor, and a few 359 pieces from Faction rep and Leather Working. Once you've breached the point were you can queue for heroic instances, concentrate on getting exalted with factions that have epic dps leather pieces, such as Dragonmaw (for Horde Kitties) or the Alliance equivalent, while building up JP to fill in non 346/59 slots in your gear. Remember: if you have the 333 version of a piece of gear, the heroic 346 version will have the same stat layout, but with more of each stat. As for relics, use only ones with agility. Extra care should be given to obtaining a strong staff or polearm as all of your abilities are based off of your weapons dps value, and your white swings off of its speed.

Gems

Since Bc icon Burning Crusade, certain gear pieces have 1-2 colored "Sockets", red, blue, yellow, chromatic or meta. When a gem of the corresponding color is placed into a socket and all sockets on a piece of gear are filled as such, an additional socket bonus is activated. Feral concentrates on filling sockets in the following manner:

  • If the socket is red, place a Delicate gem[1] in it as these max out Agility.
  • If there are two sockets and one is red and the other yellow or blue and the socket bonus is agility or mastery, then match the non-red socket with either an agi/mast or agi/hit gem respectively. If the bonus isn't agi or mastery, then socket with another delicate agi red gem.
  • If there is only one socket, follow the rule for two as above.
  • Meta Gem sockets in your head piece should have an [Agile Shadowspirit Diamond]. Failing the availability of the Agile meta or cost issues, the [Fleet Shadowspirit Diamond] is a decent alternative, as well is the Chaotic.


To do

Examples of gear comparisons, stat caps for heroics / raid content hit/expertise, suggested chants/rep items/crafted items, links for feral leather specialization and gems.

EnchantsEdit

ConsumablesEdit

Feral DPS raiders usually come prepared with a [Flask of Endless Rage] for more difficult content, and use the slightly suboptimal [Fish Feast] for most raids.

If you truly wish to min/max your performance you will need to use the food and flask or elixir that Toskk, Rawr or SimulationCraft estimates is most useful for you based on your buffs, debuffs or raid composition.

The two most common non-feast foods are [Blackened Dragonfin] and [Hearty Rhino].

"Pretty simple: eat for whatever your best stat is. Fish Feasts are slightly suboptimal, but they're much better than nothing." - Alaron (http://thefluiddruid.wordpress.com)

ProfessionsEdit

Min/maxed raiders will likely go with Blacksmithing/Jewelcrafting on their feral raiding main, but other professions like Leatherworking, Enchanting and Alchemy also have good bonuses. Alchemy will also cut down on the consumables cost of raiding a fair amount. Even Engineering is nowadays no longer the pvp-only profession it used to be, and offers yet another useful high-mobility speed boost in the form of Nitro Boosts. Mining and Herbalism are generally to be avoided as they do not currently confer worthwhile dps bonuses, though Mining's Toughness bonus is good for tanking if that is your main role. Keep in mind that these and other long-term and costly player choices can change in relative benefit with any given patch.

For Engineering, it is useful to macro Hyperspeed Accelerators to Tiger's Fury and additionally to Berserk, as the on-use hand tinker haste bonus stacks well with the Tiger's Fury buff and with Hysteria and Shattering Throw which ferals generally try to time with Berserk.

Buffs and debuffsEdit

RAID BUFFS

From Alaron's Dps Guide post on his blog The Fluid Druid (http://thefluiddruid.wordpress.com):

While you don't really have any control over this, here's a list of the (major) raid buffs/debuffs which will increase your DPS, with a note over who brings what and a rough estimate of how big a buff it is. I've included our own buffs for comparison. TLDR version: bribe your RL to bring an enhancement shaman and a ret pally.

Keep in mind that these buffs will change in upcoming patches.

SELF-BUFFS
  • [Savage Roar] is the most important buff or debuff a feral needs to keep track of.
  • Buffs from idols and other items are generally not as important and happen as a consequence of normal play, but still of concern to the hardcore feral raider trying to stack as many beneficial buffs as possible - even to the point of sometimes keeping track of item's internal cooldown to line them up with on-use items and skills.
  • Dps cooldown abilities and proccing item buffs tend to all get activated in the first ten-twenty seconds of melee combat, which can stack dangerously high and contributes to feral dps players' sometimes extraordinary threat problems early in a fight relative to many other melee dps specs, especially if the tanks are undergeared, underskilled or not receiving immediate Misdirection or Tricks of the Trade.
  • Making these easily monitored should be a central consideration in any Feral UI design.
DEBUFFS BY YOU
  • [Mangle] is the most important debuff a feral player needs to keep track of as it dramatically increases the damage of Dps Warriors, Rogues and some Hunters. It is equivalent to the Arms Warrior [Trauma] debuff, the presence of which makes the feral dps algorithm much simpler and more effective. Be nice to any Arms Warriors you have in your raid, or they may re-spec to Fury, which means they will now need you to press a button to keep up the debuff they previously effortlessly provided themselves.
  • [Rip] is the another important debuff a feral player needs to keep track of as it does a large amount of damage per energy/combo point spent.
  • [Faerie Fire] is usually provided by a moonkin in many 25p raids, but since this spec is a bit of an oddball historically - and tanks and resto druids are in high demand, you may be required to provide it if a moonkin is missing.
  • [Rake] is a potentially powerful debuff depending on gear and situation, but normally one of the lower-priority concerns on the feral algorithm.
DEBUFFS BY OTHERS

Included in above Raid buffs section.

The Utopia addon will let you monitor in real time the buffs and debuffs you should be concerned with -- and is especially useful if you think someone in the raid isn't keeping a certain debuff up consistently. It can also alert you to gaps in Mangle up-time.

Class synergiesEdit

MANGLE AND FAERIE FIRE

Discussed in previous section.

HYSTERIA

Assuming the player is already doing near-top dps, Cat Druids are arguably the best choice for [Hysteria] -- doing purely physical dps and able to stack [Berserk] and on-use items with it. Other classes' burst dps cooldowns don't stack with Hysteria or a significant portion of their damage is elemental.

From Murna's ElitistJerks Cat DPS Guide for Dummies:

  • Arms Warrior - Does not stack with [Wrecking Crew]. Besides, they don't have strong Cooldowns to blow while Hysteria is up.
  • Death Knights - A significant portion of their damage is magical and not physical. [Dancing Rune Weapon] scales only half with Hysteria, [summon Gargoyle] doesn't at all
  • Enhancement Shamans - A good portion of their damage is magical. [Feral Spirit], their Cooldown, is not affected by Hysteria.
  • Fury Warrior - Although all of their damage is physical, they cannot blow their big Cooldown [Death Wish] with Hysteria, because it doesn't stack.
  • Hunter - A good portion of their damage is magical and their pet wouldn't benefit from Hysteria.
  • Retribution Paladins - A very big portion of their damage is magical.
  • Rogues - A good portion of their damage is magical.

Cats benefit by far the most from Hysteria. As long as you are quite close to the top DPS in your raid, try to convince your Blood-DK or your raidleader, that you should get Hysteria!

Realistically the minor damage differential between you and a Blood DK isn't crucial unless you're attempting content that's at the limit of what your guild can handle, a.k.a. a progression fight. You might very well see more of a dps increase by min/maxing your professions or working on your skill usage, or trying to optimize the raid composition.

A [Potion of Speed] can also be stacked with Hysteria and/or Shattering Throw.

It's also possible to stack weapon-enchant procs and trinket procs with Berserk and/or Hysteria, but that involves keeping track of internal cooldowns.

TRICKS OF THE TRADE

[Tricks of the Trade] is generally reserved for classes/specs that have much more reliable or better threat dumping or Aggro Dumping abilities. It should only be used on Feral Dps when [Hand of Salvation] or similar is immediately available or tank threat is simply not an issue.

INNERVATE

Mana users will love you for this skill. Using it on will shift you out of cat form and initiate a global cooldown, which will lower your effective dps for the fight unless you do this while not in melee range. It is useful to have mana-users that need an Innervate make a macro with a few lines of "/w INNERVATE ME PLEASE" - or similar. Many raiding addons exist that keep track of other people's cooldowns, if your raid is using a variant of these the mana-users should be able to monitor when your Innervate cooldown is up so as not to bother you needlessly. Keep in mind that many specs have their own mana-return cooldowns available, and responding to a call over vent with an immediate Innervate may lead to several Innervates simultaneously on one target - wasting an important raid resource.

Simple macros are available that can announce who you just Innervated, and it's not difficult to set up a macro that immediately and without de-targeting your current target uses a skill on your focus target if you know ahead of time who you will use a skill on, see Feral druid resources for details. There are also addons that fulfill these functions, and can detect when the skill didn't go off as planned so you avoid spamming "Player X has just been Innervated!" to the raid if the ability was on cooldown still and you accidentally pressed it, or the target was out of range.

Knowing who is a good target for Innervate and when is a hallmark of a good feral player and one of the reasons a feral player can rarely get away with not having a full set of raid frames visible at all times on the UI, in contrast to many other dps specs who are rarely concerned with who is alive/dead or out of mana.

Your raid members will have to be coaxed into asking for early Innervates. If you don't use Innervate on a progression fight, you've wasted a significant amount of class synergy as the skill is seldom worth much to you, and always try to Innervate a battle-rezzed mana user, though they will usually pop a potion or cooldown right after.

  • Pro Tip: Keep track on your UI by having Grid set up to put a purple dot on whoever is below 40% mana.
REBIRTH

[Rebirth] has a long and glorious history of chain-rezzing numerous people and saving a fight, or making an already lost battle last longer, or simply causing one of your frenemies a double repair-bill.

Ideally you and your raidleader would keep track of all available Rebirth cooldowns, and always consider rezzing a fellow druid if you have multiple victims to choose from to get a Rebirth chain going, where one druid rezzes the next who rezzes another who rezzes someone who has appropriately bribed the druids.

  • Another reason to keep a full set of raid frames visible on screen.

As the long cooldown on this skill recently was cut in half, it has never been more important to learn how to use this skill quickly, efficiently and with a minimum of fuss in an already clogged vent communication channel.

STACKING COOLDOWNS

[Hysteria] stacks with [Berserk] stacks with [Shattering Throw] stacks with [Potion of Speed] stacks with [Hyperspeed Accelerators] and many on-use trinkets. Learn the different cooldown lengths of all these skills and communicate with your fellow raiders ahead of time on how to best use your skills together. Coordinating these and various tanking/healing cooldowns is one of the hallmarks of successful WOTLK raiding, not unlike how raid composition was a major issue in TBC raiding.

One of the things you should ask the raid prior to each progression fight is:

  • Hey <WARRIOR'S NAME> - are we getting any Shattering Throws and if so, when - and how will you notify us?

With some prompting, most Warriors can be cajoled into putting a /yell somethingsomething macro'd with [Shattering Throw] - enabling you to more easily keep track of their usage of this skill, not unlike what's already common practice with Shaman's Bloodlust/Heroism usage.

[Bloodlust] / [Heroism] generally doesn't affect Feral Dps skill usage very much since Berserk doesn't receive much additional benefit from stacking with them. It does mean slightly higher chance of [Omen of Clarity] procs and does stack with Tiger's Fury or any trinkets that add Attack Power.

Threat managementEdit

Cower, the feral threat reduction skill, only lowers your threat by a flat 2432, which is a silly low number, less than the average white auto-attack. It doesn't scale at all, which means as everyone's gear gets better it just gets WORSE.

You're better off just pulling out to save energy, since in the GCD that you use Cower, you will also auto-attack, immediately negating the threat-reduction.

This is where adds become important -- try to attack some adds whenever you can if you know threat will be an issue.

It's entirely possible for Feral DPS'ers to be top on threat but behind "pure" damage-dealing classes on damage, even given reasonably equivalent gear and skill.

Plan accordingly, recognize the warning signs of a problem early and ask for [Vigilance] or [Hand of Salvation] as early as possible or just back off. Make sure Hunters are using [Misdirection] and the Rogues use [Tricks of the Trade] on the tank. Watch out or the Blood DK might try to get you to pull aggro by giving you Hysteria even when you don't ask for it. A third class-synergy thing is Intervene, which requires a Warrior in Defensive Stance (or with a good macro) who's around 8-25 yards away and not busy tanking and/or moderately to very skilled.

Before a progression hardmode/heroic bossfight when there will be a tanking warrior and you know you may have threat problems, ask the raid:

  • Who's getting Vigilance ?

Fight mechanicsEdit

Icehowl Rocket Boots

Mobility is a Feral's main strength.

All the gear and skill in the world won't help you if you don't know the fight mechanics. Read up on the fight and watch a video or two before the raid (Google, StratFU, TankSpot, BossKillers or use Wow Wiki's own Instances by level page), use Berserk asap unless there's a time in the fight when the boss takes extra damage.

Ferals excel at mobility in WoW - no other class has so many movement options. Leverage this to your advantage by maximizing time in melee range as well as what you do while not directly causing melee damage. Don't try too hard or you'll push the limits too far on waiting for a melee nova to go off, or get tunnel vision trying to get in range to use Rebirth only to have them rez in a slime pool/void zone/fire. Commonly used class-defining skills are Feral Charge - Cat and Dash.

Time away from the boss or out of melee range is time best spent making sure you'll be able to get back in range asap, glancing at your raid frames to see Innervate targets and Rebirth targets -- generally healers or top dps players.

If you know you will have enough time to shift back into Cat Form and regen to full energy, it may be worthwhile to get a free Omen of Clarity proc by using Gift of the Wild while away from melee range.

Predator's swiftnessEdit

The Predator's Swiftness buff from the Predatory Strikes talent now allows us to instantly battlerez someone. Therefore make sure Rebirth is easily accessible somewhere not on your primary Action Bar , as you need to be able to just press the hotkey without having to shift out first.

Cyclone, Entangling Roots and Abolish Poison/Remove Curse/Healing Touch (or Regrowth) and Innervate should all ideally have buttons not on your form-specific Action Bar , though with the massive amount of different skills a feral druid has to keep track of, this is easier said than done without UI addons.

Double Potion, Double TrinketEdit

  • On a progression fight you might use two Potion of Speed per serious attempt -- one right before going into combat and one during any burst dps availability like Hysteria/Shattering Throw or increased-damage boss mechanic.
  • If you find yourself with two very good proc trinkets that both semi-randomly give you a large buff to one stat to the point that the stat is pushed over the hardcap - you may wish to explore other gearing options. The alternative is to remove one of the trinkets and re-equip it (possibly with a macro) right before going into combat. This causes the internal cooldown to activate on the trinket that was just equipped, while the other one is ready to go off, with the result that the two trinket procs become de-synchronized and you get full value from both. This is an advanced technique useful only for a very few.

Analyzing your performanceEdit

See the Combat Log page for a list of 3rd-party programs that serve as central data collections where your raid members can analyze individual and group performance after or even sometimes during the raid.

How to use these different websites and programs is complicated and beyond the scope of this guide, though you should at least learn how to check your Savage Roar and Mangle uptime on any fights which don't require significant time away from melee range.

Anything less than 90-95% on those types of fight means you're probably doing something wrong.

"Another easy thing to check is how often you Berserked on a fight. If the fight lasted 3 minutes and 30 seconds and you only Berserked once, then you probably ****ed up." - Allev of <Serious Casual> on US-Mal'Ganis[H], feral theorycrafter

7 minute fight? Probably should have Berserked three times, first time in the first ten seconds of the fight, second at or before 3:30 mark, then at or before 6:30 and so on.

Some of the combatlog-parsers offer real-time feedback, but usually you need to use an instant combat log-parsing damage meter like Recount or Skada for that - the latter of which also serves as a threat meter.

UIEdit

For commonly-used Feral UI addons, see Feral druid resources.

It is possible to play as feral dps using only the stock UI. It's just very difficult to do so effectively.

Feral DPS players have to keep track of:

  • positioning/situational awareness
  • target facing
  • bossfight event timers
  • player hp
  • energy/combo points
  • target hp
  • buff/debuff timers - at least 2 buffs and 5 debuffs
  • cooldowns
  • Rebirth targets
  • Innervate targets
  • Omen of Clarity

…and that's on top of cooldowns, moving out of void zones, not pulling aggro, attacking the right target, adds, listening to calls over vent, making sure you're behind the boss, running out, running in etc etc. - no wonder that some stressed out feral player created this: http://coldbear.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/catdps.jpg?w=500&h=1312, also known as the JOHN ****ING MADDEN cat dps flowchart.

Watch the UI tutorials made by Daniel Moy at http://www.pvptutorial.com/ and then decide how you'd prefer to deal with this issue. His UI philosophy translates very well to a feral dps pve environment. Other UI tutorials are also available on YouTube or on the addons' hosted websites.

The most important information should ideally be within a short radius of where the player's eyes are usually focused on the screen. Scrolling combat text is a good tool for this, but if you like to keep your number of addons to a minimum you'll find it useful to only display the information you really REALLY want or your screen will just become a cascading waterfall of green text. A popular way to get things more centralized and effective is to use one of many timer addons, a frame addon and an actionbar addon, or simply an addon to move the default Blizzard frames around to a more convenient location. For more information, see the Feral druid resources page.

Any ideal Feral UI would also make it easier to keep track of some important buffs and debuffs from other players: Horn of Winter, Sunder Armor, Totem of Wrath or Heart of the Crusader or Master Poisoner, Blood Frenzy or Savage Combat Poison, Hysteria and Shattering Throw.

Note on Spell Recommendation addons: Due to the nature and complexity of the Feral Dps Algorithm many feral dps'ers like to use a spell recommendation addon like Feral By Night or the newly developed and updated Ovale scripts. These are only ever accurate on static fights, and care must be taken to avoid slavishly following the recommendations since it will lead to standing in fire or ignoring how much target-switching and extremely dynamic fight situations play havoc with the algorithm. For more information, see the Feral druid resources page and ElitistJerks.

MacrosEdit

If you want to be successful at feral dps, you will have to learn how to use Macros.

For commonly used feral macros, see Useful macros for druids.

A "/startattack" line in each non-stealth, direct-damage, melee skill macro means you start auto-attacking even when you don't have enough energy to use the skill you just pressed.

With 10 slots on your primary Cat Action Bar and TWENTY-THREE abilities commonly used in Cat Form you simply have to find a way to double up some skills on the same hotkeys or use an Action Bar Addon, a lot of modifier keys and/or the non-form-specific action bars.

Experiment and search Wow Wiki, the EJ and official forums for macros that suit you.

Count yourself lucky -- at least you don't have to deal with Powershifting anymore!

Hardware and keybindingsEdit

It is possible to play a melee dps spec by using your keyboard to turn and the mouse to click skills. It is NOT possible to do this efficiently. If you're a keyboardturning “clicker” and want to learn how to do things faster & better, play a first-person shooter game for a while on your computer.

Many players find the default "WASD" set up constraining, and re-bind their keys to "ESDF", with S and F for strafing - and just turn with the mouse. Your left hand stays stationary, but you have more keys within reach. There are many variations to this.

It's also possible to play WoW with the stock mouse that came with your computer, but it's inefficient, slow and getting a good mouse can dramatically improve your gameplay for less than $100. Though new computer hardware is released continually, the best solutions for WoW players typically involve extra buttons, a gamepad, and/or keyboard with more/better features than the stock one.

Bind your most used abilities to the mouse buttons available. If you spend $100 to acquire a second monitor you will be able to do research and browse the internet during downtime in the game.

Example keybindings:

Research and developmentEdit

To keep up with new developments and patches you can visit various blogs or websites like ElitistJerks once in a while, especially a little while after a patch once the really knowledgeable people have had time to figure out the new mechanics and priorities using tools like Rawr, Toskk's Dps Gear Calculator and SimulationCraft. You can also stop by the official forums or just read Wow.com.

Some really good feral blogs currently active are Think-Tank, The Fluid Druid and Feral Aggression.

For a list of websites and blogs, see the Feral druid resources page.

Video guidesEdit

Parl2001's Guide - Part 1 Parl2001's Guide - Part 2
Full movie
Full movie download
Guide How To Feral DPS part ONE of two09:51

Guide How To Feral DPS part ONE of two

Guide How To Feral DPS part TWO09:49

Guide How To Feral DPS part TWO

Author's note: For update/errata check http://coldbear.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/things-i-got-wrong

See also Edit

Cbicon

Cat wins. Bear is carried.
Art by Tigrin.net

Calculators and simulators
Resources

External links Edit



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