Oct 092012
 

Thankfully, my wife’s condition is finally starting to improve, so I’m trying to get playing and posting again! Alaron’s currently level 86, and just about to start questing through Krasarang. I ended up taking my monk to 90 first (heresy, I know) just because I was so enthralled with the storyline, but now that I’m there I’m switching back to my favorite elf.

I gotta admit, though, I’m not real fond of leveling with the new form of Feral. I never used SR while leveling during Cataclysm (except for the occasional “boss” with extra HP), and the need for it now to do non-pathetic damage is annoying. Once the rotation is rolling, it’s fine, but you know how ferals aren’t great at target switching? Questing is like target-switching over and over again. :( I’m considering going Guardian, but I’d be interested in hearing what you guys thought about leveling as feral!

 Posted by at 5:46 pm

  92 Responses to “Back to the grind”

  1. I found Guardian dps while levelling was really slow. I levelled with a friend, and he tanked and I went kitty. It was a really great combo and my predator’s swiftness procs meant we never needed to stop to eat/drink :)

  2. Hey,
    Sorry to read all the bad things out your wife.
    Hope all things get back too normal soon.
    Good luck and a good health too both of you.

    Greetz,
    Alcest
    EU – Doomhammer.

  3. I did level as Guardian in Beta, but chose to level as Feral on live. Both offer decent leveling paths but require different approaches to be optimal.

    Guardian’s are great when killing large packs of mobs. Both the high armor and FR healing make you a difficult target to kill. The only time Bears ever really get in danger is if the mobs stun (can’t dodge, can’t heal). It’s rare but it can happen. Guardians aren’t so great on a single target. While still unkillable the killing they do back is pretty slow.

    Ferals are awesome 1 on 1 and can chain pull 1 at a time like we always have in the past. The down side to that is like all things Feral it takes a lot more focus and is a lot more complicated then before. The reason we have to take on only 1 or maybe 2 at a time is we are much squishier then we have ever been and swapping to bear form just doesn’t save you anymore. We do though have some amazing self healing through talents and in form abilities.

    Guardian leveling spec.
    Tier 1: Wild Charge
    While Feline Swiftness sounds great, it really isn’t noticable enough difference running in between pulls. However charging is still fun and now on a much shorter cooldown. You will find now that mobs will tend to run away from you at low health again. I don’t remember that happening much in the last two expansions and charge adds the nice slow.
    Tier 2: Cenarion Ward
    Man this is such and awesome leveling talent. I also use it for tanking dungeons. Because its up every 30 seconds you should have it up for every pack. I just kick it off before the pull and it helps keep me topped off. Great for trash in dungeons when you get that random healer who is still learning.
    Tier 3: Typhoon..
    Cause its fun.
    Tier 4: Incarnation
    This is a great rage generator for healing in a pinch and super awesome for wiping out everything in front of me.
    Tier 5: Any really
    I picked Ursol’s Vortex but found I didn’t use it very often cause I didn’t need to run away. Bash works just as well, but you won’t likely need it either.

    Glyphs:
    Maul.
    None of the other glyphs are very helpful for leveling. The glyphs I would use for raiding like Stampeding Roar, and SI aren’t really useful for leveling.

    Strats:
    Guardians are not as good for the first few zones. If you have any raiding gear (even LFR) you will be splatting everything you see with out much danger to your fuzzy behind. They also took care to spread mob spawns out enough that you don’t have to pull more then one at a time if you don’t want too. This changes once you hit Townlong Stepps and to a lesser degree Kun-Lai Summit. Everything starts hitting harder and there are more of them. Don’t forget to hit CW before every pull here and make use of your Charge, Skull Bash, and Bear Hug to keep your down time as low as possible. It will take a long time to recover if you get below 50% life after a pull so make sure to use FR and SD as needed.

    Feral leveling spec.
    Tier 1: Wild Charge
    Pretty much same as Guardian. While Feline Swiftness sounds great, it really isn’t noticeable enough difference running in between pulls. However charging is still fun and now on a much shorter cooldown.
    Tier 2: Cenarion Ward
    Again nice leveling talent. NS is also a decent alternative, but I found that I would only use it if I got in trouble, which wasn’t as often as I used CW.
    Tier 3: Typhoon..
    Cause its fun.
    Tier 4: SotF.
    You will be crying for energy a lot doing leveling, and the other two talents are either lackluster for leveling (FoN) or just outright suck energy for little return (Incarnation).
    Tier 5. Ursol’s Vortex
    Unlike Guardian I found I had to use this several times to get away when I bit off more then I could chew. Throw this up on the mobs, hit travel form/Stampeding Roar and book it.

    Glyphs:
    Catform
    Savage Roar
    Dash

    Strats:
    Just the opposite of Guardian you will tear though the first few zones with out much difficulty. While annoying SR must become your default finisher when a mob is about to die. If you have 5 combo points resist using FB so you can have a 45 second SR and you can ignore it for a pull or two. Like Guardian be hitting CW before every other pull to keep you from dipping to low. Unlike Guardian you are going to be very squishy. Remember now that every time we do a 5 point finisher we have a free instant, buffed HT (glyph). Use it often as you will need it. When you start getting to the higher level zones mobs start hitting a lot harder, and it is much more challenging to stay alive if you pull more then 2 mobs. If you do focus on one mob to keep your Predatory Swiftness buff up as much as possible. If you feel its a lost cause, blow Vortex behind the mobs and book it out of there. As long as SR is up always open with Rake. It will take a while to get used to not opening with Mangle for the debuff we no longer have. Don’t forget you have Dash and SR, so use them to get away or too new clusters of mobs.

    Hope this helped.
    Above all have fun and best wishes to you and your family.

  4. I never really had any issues while leveling as Feral. Although the savage roar thing was decently annoying.

    Predatory Swiftness + Renewal saved me from dying countless numbers of times.

  5. Leveling as Feral was simple, and I would say it was to a fault. You prowl, activate SR, Ravage, rake, and mangle a few times before hitting SR again while using TF on cool down. And usually just hit HT for a heal before moving to the next mob. If that sounds interesting to you, then you’re good to go for feral.

  6. I can’t tell you about feral, but I can say, since I leveled my druid as a guardian, that I agree with the other commenters: killing things takes forever. Berserk / Incarnation can’t come off cd fast enough. It was a pretty brutal leveling experience, other than the fact that the guardian’s survivability was impressive. However, I’m glad I chose guardian over feral, since I have no desire to play feral anymore, and all that slow bear-dpsing helped me really get acquainted with the active mitigation system… and I did enjoy myself when all was said and done.

    I don’t know what to suggest to you… I’ve really soured on ferals now, with the whole SR thing. It’s a mechanic I just don’t enjoy at all. If you’re up for the slow grind, go guardian! :D Good luck to you, whatever you choose!

  7. I’m glad to hear your wife is getting better. Best wishes.

    Eh, you get used the SR after a while. You can hit it any old time, even while chilling in stealth form before attacking. I found ravage could take down a handy 1/3 – 1/2 of the mob’s life for me, so I usually stealthed, charged + SR while charging, ravage, scratch him a bit then fb.

    The predator’s swiftness in form is awesome, too–just bound a /cast [target=player] Healing Touch macro to a mouse button and I hit it whenever I see it up and I’m not full health.

  8. I leveled as guardian and for the single mobs, it was painfully slow. No matter whether in cat or bear form, the damage was really low. It may be better now, when Savage Defense ramps up faster after hotfix – in fact, I noticed it yesterday while doing dailies.

    On the other hand, the ability to pull pretty much every mob in sight or killing rares without worry is worth the slower killing time, imho.

  9. Leveled as Feral until I got lucky with the Arch spear, then switched to Guardian to get used to seeing/using the Bear buttons for tanking dungeons. I believe I switched right around the time I got the rainy village in Karasarang Wilds, maybe 86.5 or so. Needless to say, the Spear of Xuen helped immensely with damage output while in bear (~50k Mangle crits).

    Now that I’m back on the normal curve with lvl 90 dailies, I’m seeing the same as everyone else: slow to kill anything (been focusing on Klaxxi dailies and their last batches of quests), but never in any real danger of dying with 3-4 mobs on me unless they’ll all casters, I don’t move out of sonic fields and I’m asleep. Still enjoyable if a bit slow, as chain pulling works and having all that defense means you can take the time loot corpses/herb/etc. mid-fight without too much issue.

  10. Leveling as feral since WotLK has felt clunky, largely because it comes down to spamming Mangle and hoping for the best. The inability to Shred is a huge weakness, and despite the new Glyph of Shred (which allows us to Shred while Tiger’s Fury/Berserk is activated), it’s just not enough to make me feel comfortable. I also feel particularly cranky about having to choose between Feline Swiftness and Wild Charge, but for leveling purposes, Wild Charge makes for a much more fluid experience.

    I have some other complaints with regard to Savage Roar (extraordinarily important) and energy regeneration (extraordinarily slow), but it’s just something you have to slog through. I’m also constantly overestimating how many mobs I can kill at once, even with cooldowns activated, so make sure that you always have a method of escape (Typhoon/Stampeding Roar) if you run into a plethora of respawns.

    Realistically, it’s much easier leveling feral with someone else. While soloing, it feels like Ferocious Bite is completely ineffective and that monsters take forever to die. Having experimented with a few other classes at this point, I definitely think that cat leveling is the least effective. (Additionally, I’m running into insane threat issues in dungeons. I’m not 100% sure whether it’s simply terrible tanks or whether something is broken.)

    I also hope your wife continues to improve.

  11. In my opinion the problem lies with the healing buff from Leader of the Pack. It’s tried to crit damage which right now is low both because of low gear levels and low crit chance. I have ilevel 432 gear and my crit chance (non-raid) is only 23% which means that effectively my healing is 1% of each crit. It also produces results which are streaky because of that low crit chance.This can be compared to the regular and predictable absorb that Shadow Priests get from their shield, for example, which is superior for leveling.

    The good news is that once our gear improves so should our self healing and survivability. That might not be until 5.2, though.

  12. Leveled Guardian and while it was a little slow, there was nothing I couldn’t survive even though I wore my Cataclysm gear throughout (I like the transmog look I’ve got going on that character). The developers seem to have spaced out the mobs a pretty good bit, unfortunately, and it was rare that I could gather up more than three to AoE down, and there were several areas where I couldn’t even pull two without one leashing. Still, it was a fairly painless process.

    I’ve got two more druids at 85, but after all the negative feedback about feral that I’ve been hearing from forums like these and friends who’ve leveled feral I might go balance with both of them.

  13. Glad to hear your wife is on the mend! :D

    I’m leveling Feral (only 87) and while I’m not mowing through things at the speed I used to, I’m finding overall survivablity pretty decent compared to pre-MoP. I picked up the glyph that allows for a free SR so I pop a few ticks after I pull with FF and by the time the mob is close enough to start gnawing on I’m ready to rumble. Of course that means almost all my fights come down to Rake/Mangle-spam/Rip, but that’s sort of par for the course. :p

    (And I’ve now got a Predatory Swiftness + Renewal ping! programmed into my Power Auras since I use it so much. *sighs*)

  14. I didn’t find it too particularly hard to pull a bunch of stuff in Feral. There were many times that I pulled up to seven or so mobs at once and just made use of my survival cooldowns (NS+HT, PS+HT, SI+BS). I thought leveling was really fun for the most part, and the quests were phenomenal this time around. I hope your wife continues to get better, and that you get to spend more time with your family as well as the game!

  15. Good news that your wife is getting better.

    I levelled MOP the way I did last at the start of Cata not changing any gear (well neck and one ring near the end). Having always been a cat, I have to say this time it reminded of me how squishy we used to be in TBC (shifting to bear back then didnt help so much either). The difference compared to my level 85 unholy DK alt who was running around herbing/mining with impunity was stark. I spent quite a bit of time in stealth (again like TBC) and had to use all the CDs offence, defence, healing and CC. This was fun and a lot more challenging than any of the dungeons were. What it certainly was not was quick. I have to stay that rooting multiple mobs was an absolute blessing when a pat or extra pack pulled.

  16. I enjoyed leveling as feral. Nothing was too hard and most any time a rare came about I had no problem healing myself through it all. I somewhat enjoy seeing SR back. I have been a feral since the days of Claw and /point /laugh at the druid trying to cat dps! I enjoyed our flexibility and do-it-all mentality in BC, but in Wrath our dps was the most fun ever. I vigorously debated the changes to simplify it so I am quite pleased. I’m 90 now so I have changed some opinions. It’s like it has always been. Much better at max level than while leveling. And yes I’d say I base most of my opinion on dpsing in dungeons so it’s a bit biased. Do whatever you enjoy however and I do keep spending more time with your family!

  17. Glad to hear your wife is on the mend.

    Compared to my play through on the beta, I noticed that the mobs were hitting a lot harder so it made me pay attention to healing. During my Beta play through I went with Cenarion Ward. I found it to be useful but it takes practice to use it before pulling. From 85-87 I used Renewal but when I got to Kun-lai Summit I found that I needed to heal more often. Two mins was too long so I switched to Nature’s Swiftness which I really enjoyed using. BS + NS + HT has good synergy with short cool downs. I also had to start using PS buff more often to cope with the increased damage.

    I was quite used to having SR up from playing the beta and 5.0. But I have found it difficult to keep up in dungeons. I need to fine tune my bad kitty set up to help with that. I also feel squishy. From Jade Forest through to Kun-lai Summit I was able to AOE down packs or 3-4 with ease. In the later zones it was difficult unless Berserk was up so I suck to single target.

    ~Elamari

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