The world has been shattered and remade while we slept, and it’s time to rock. I’ve got the info you need to prepare you for leveling in Cataclysm. (If you’re looking for a full guide to raiding as a feral, go to my main guide here.)
EDIT: Changed a few points around on these, after reading Reesi’s leveling advice and deciding I liked it better. :)
Pure Cat Spec: (wowhead link)
This spec is designed around questing/leveling (it should be fine for DPS in dungeons, but I definitely wouldn’t try to tank with it). Instead of discussing what I took, I’ll just mention what I left out:
- Primal Madness: Still horrible.
- Pulverize/Natural Reaction Bear talents. Infected Wounds is kept because it’ll significantly reduce the damage you take from trash.
- Blood in the Water: Yes, trash lasts longer, but not so long that you’ll actually have the chance for Rip to tick through it’s full duration twice.
- Furor (1/3): Other options are better.
- Thick Hide: A bear talent, but we’ll take it as we’re leveling for more survivability (those Uldum/Twilight Highlands mobs can HURT).
- Endless Carnage (1/2): The one that hurts the most to leave off, but we’ll be killing many of the earlier mobs in less than 12s anyway. Optionally, add this as you’re leveling instead of Thick Hide.
81-85 talent choices: Master Shapeshifter, Thick Hide 1/3, TH 2/3, TH 3/3, Endless Carnage 2/2. (Optionally, grab EC earlier if stuff is lasting long enough to need it. You’ll be respeccing at 85.)
CatBear Spec: (wowhead link)
This spec is designed to be more survivable; able to tank early Cata dungeons/do a bit of AOE mob grinding with bear Berserk, without gimping your DPS ability too much. It drops Feral Aggression, Nurturing Instincts and a point from Fury Swipes and Endless Carnage to pick up Thick Hide, Natural Reaction, and Pulverize. Glyphs are unchanged.
81-85 talent choices: Master Shapeshifter, 3/3 Fury Swipes, Endless Carnage 1/2, EC 2/2, Feral Aggression 1/2. (You’ll be respeccing at 85.)
- Prime: Mangle, Tiger’s Fury, Berserk/Rip. You won’t be using Shred or Savage Roar frequently, so Mangle/TF takes their places. For the third slot, I’m thinking Berserk for the early zones, then Rip for the later zones once mobs really start bulking up on the HP.
- Major: Faerie Fire, Feral Charge, (your choice). FF/FC are obvious. I don’t see any great third choices, so take your pick; I’d recommend Maul, for “oops pulled too many” situations.
- Minor: Dash, (your choice), (your choice). More Dash is always good, the rest are, well, minor.
The gear reset for this expansion is a bit different from the previous two. Similar to LK, DPS stats on gear don’t grow rapidly. However, the stamina on Cata pieces is significantly higher. Ferals are one of the sturdier classes to begin with, so this doesn’t affect us as much as it would a cloth class, but it’s something to thing about. My recommendations:
- T9 (232) gear or worse: Upgrade immediately.
- T10 (251) : You’ll be okay for VJ/Hyjal; look to start upgrading in Deepholm.
- T10.25/Heroic T10 (264/277): You’ll be okay up to Uldum; you can probably make it to Twilight Highlands without upgrading, but you’ll be very squishy.
Also, don’t forget to do something about your meta, as I noted previously. EDIT: Never mind, metagem change is being reverted, but no timeline as to when. You may want to grab a Thundering Skyflare, just in case. (And if you’re on Vek’nilash-US, buy it from Alabank! TY.)
Unlike LK where bursting quest mobs down was easy (Manglex3, FB, repeat), you’ll need to employ your DoTs a bit more, as well as Ravage. Mob health is through the roof (yes, this is for normal mobs):
- Level 80 (WOTLK): 12k
- Level 80 (Cata): 30k
- Level 81: 37k
- Level 82: 44k
- Level 83: 53k
- Level 84: 70k
- Level 85: 85k
Not only is mob health going up, our combat ratings are dropping drastically. Details are here, but figure that we lose roughly 5% crit per level post-80(mastery is similar, hit/haste aren’t quite as bad off). The combat rating scaling is to such a degree that you can expect to do 20-30% LESS damage at level 85 (in the same gear) than you did at 80.
As such, here’s what a sample rotation might look like:
- Feral Charge in (to proc Stampede)
- Ravage (from Stampede)
- Tiger’s Fury
- FB if the mob is close to death, otherwise put Rip up and go back to Mangling.
Savage Roar probably isn’t worth it, though if you’re fighting many mobs in sequence, you might as well put it up after a fight ends using leftover CP’s. Don’t forget you have Nurturing Instincts and Predatory Strikes, also; you can pop an instant Healing Touch after each fight to bring your health back up, and you’ll need to now that Leader of the Pack’s effectiveness has been halved. Don’t forget about your many “oops” buttons, too; Survival Instincts, Frenzied Regeneration (Bear), Barkskin+Tranquility, Shadowmeld (night elves).
Don’t forget about Berserk! It’s a bit of a waste using it in Cat Form, but it’s great for AOE grinding in Bear. Every 3 minutes, grab up 3/4 mobs then go bear, hit SI, then Thrash/Berserked Mangle them all down.
For tanking, Thrash at 81 will make your rotation much more potent (and AOE tanking much easier), as it hits significantly harder than everything save Mangle (and Maul, but that’s a separate case). Basically, your rotation will be Mangle/Thrash/x/x, repeat, where x is Demo Roar/FFF if needed, Lacerate if it’s not stacked 3x, or Pulverize if Lacerate is fully stacked. Substitute Swipe for Lacerate for AOE situations. Just be careful of CC; if you’re using it, leave out Swipe/Thrash.
That’s it for now; once Cata is unlocked, I’ll test all this and make any fixes necessary. Feel free to share anything or ask questions in the comments!