Oct 062014

WoD logoIt’s that time again! My full guide for feral in 6.0 will be out soon; like most, I wait until the last week before expansion release to try to incorporate as much of the last-minute changes as I can. (*cough* and to wait to see who else does work that I can use as…inspiration. Yeah.) That said, for those of you that haven’t gotten deep into numbers or betas, or are just returning to WoW, here’s some things to think about when 6.0.X hits the live servers, likely on Oct 14th. Luckily, things are changing much less than they did when MoP rolled around.

(Latest PTR patch notes, which may be not 100% up to date.)

Universal Changes

Character stats squished. Smaller numbers across the board, don’t freak out. Everything is about 10% of what it used to be, so don’t freak if you’re suddenly doing only 10k DPS instead of 150k.

Agility no longer gives extra Crit and now only gives 1 AP, BUT AP is 400% more powerful and we get 15% crit baseline. TLDR: Nothing to see here, agility is still good.

Hit/Exp gone, Reforging gone, Enchanting/Gemming reduced. This cuts down on some of the gymnastics required when you get a new piece of gear, but also makes it harder to really optimize a character. More when I look at secondary stats.

All leather gear has both Agility and Intellect. Only one primary stat is active at a time, depending on your spec. This means you can share gear between Feral/Guardian and Balance/Resto, though you’ll still need two sets of jewelry and two weapons.

Multistrike and Versatility added. Multistrike gives a chance to proc additional hits/abilities/spells at 30% strength, while Versatility gives a small across-the-board buff; increases damage/healing, reduces damage taken. Again, more when we cover secondary stats.

Snapshotting is mostly gone. For those that don’t know, this was the strategy where you attempted to get as many procs stacked up as possible (potion, trinket, etc.) and get DoTs up while the procs were up. Procs dropped, but the DoTs continued to tick for massive damage. (Especially if you were Feral and the boss was below 25%, letting you roll super-Rip for the rest of the fight.)

They played around with what effects would and would not snapshot, but it’s finally come down to this; innate abilities will snapshot, external procs will not. This means Savage Roar, Tiger’s Fury, and Bloodtalons will continue to affect your DoTs even if you shift out of form, let SR drop, or something to that effect. The potion you used pre-DoT, though, will boost the damage while it’s active, and won’t while it’s not. IMO, this is a good change, but if you were still hanging on to Rune of Re-Origination, this pretty much kills it (of course, you’re going to lose reforging to optimize it as well).

Racials changed a bit. Night Elves (best race): gain 2% passive movement speed, 1% Haste OR Crit, depending on time of day (yeah, weird). Tauren: gain 2% crit/healing done. Troll: Berserking reduced to 15%, no more damage increase against Beasts. Worgen: no change.

No combat gain from Professions. Goodbye, Synapse Springs macros, I won’t miss you. This only applies to direct buffs, like extra stats; there will still be epic gear you can craft as an LW, or super flasks as an Alchemist, etc. Most profession things are no longer exclusive.

Combat rezzes now slowly regenerate based on raid size. 90 divided by the number of members in the raid (so 9 minutes for 10-man, 4.5 minutes for 20-man, 3.6 minutes for 25-man, etc.) Rez charges also are not deducted until the member accepts the rez.

There’s a lot more stuff, but read the full patch notes for that; I’d like to jump into the class changes.

Feral Changes

Combo Points are on the player now, instead of the target. Just let that sink in for a while. 3 adds and a boss? Rake all 3 and Rip the boss, if you feel inclined. I can’t stress enough how great this is. However, this does mean that your multi-target game will need to be on point in WoD for maximum performance, especially with the addition of Lunar Inspiration. If you don’t have a good method of tracking DoTs on multiple targets, it’s a good time to figure that out.

Cat Mangle is gone. Shred no longer requires you to be behind the target. But you’re a good little kitty, so you will stay behind the target to avoid parries.

Rip extensions and refreshment (via FB below 25%, aka Blood in the Water) is gone. Rip is now 24 seconds baseline, however, so the extensions are built in. EDIT: Rips can still be refreshed by FB, I was looking at the non-feral FB tooltip.

Swipe/Thrash can now generate Combo Points via Primal Fury. Another quality-of-life change that makes AoE rotations easier (though tab-raking is likely better).

Ravage/Pounce are gone. Shred from Stealth is basically Ravage, and Rake from Stealth is basically Pounce.

Innervate and Tranquility are gone. HoTW is still here, so you can still hit that and heal everything to save the day, but it won’t be with Tranquility, which is now resto-only.

Weakened Armor debuff is gone. RIP, Faerie Fire.

Barkskin, Might of Ursoc, and Symbiosis are gone; SI nerfed. Yes, this means ferals just took a massive hit to survivability, compared to the last expansion. This is balanced out to a degree with better self-healing (more on that in a bit) but if you enjoyed being the raid soaker, sorry. If you didn’t, congratulations!

Tiger’s Fury and Berserk are no longer coupled. If you accidentally Berserk before hitting TF, you can hit it now without losing TF uptime. Good change.

Glyphs, Perks and Talents

New glyphs. There’s a few more choices out there. Note that several of these are exclusive, meaning you can pick one or the other.

  • Glyph of Savagery or Glyph of Savage Roar. The old glyph of Savagery (0 CP Savage Roars) is gone. Now, we have these two choices; either GoS, which provides a passive always-on Savage Roar at 75% effectiveness, or GoSR, which is a free 5 CP Savage Roar when opening from Stealth. Pretty easy choice; Savagery is one of those “good for learning, bad for optimal DPS” choices. GoSR massively buffs Incarnation, though it was buggy last time I tested, so I’m not sure if that’s intended or not.
  • Glyph of Cat Form or Glyph of the Ninth Life. We now have an alternative to the 20% healing glyph; 10% damage reduction. I think Cat Form is still preferred, but there’s definitely certain situations where you’d want to switch.
  • Lots of choices for the third slot, mostly situational. Ferocious Bite is still a decent generic option; soloers may prefer Dash.

Perks. Perks are granted randomly (ugh) at levels 92, 94, 96, and 98.

  • Enhanced Berserk – Energy increased by 50 while Berserk is active.
  • Enhanced Prowl – Removes the movement speed penalty from Prowl.
  • Enhanced Rejuvenation – You can cast Rejuvenation while in Bear Form or Cat Form.
  • Improved Rake – Your Rake deals 100% additional damage when used while stealthed (or during Incarnation).

Hello, renamed Primal Madness / Glyph of Prowl. You were handy but mostly irrelevant, and the same will remain for WoD. (though GoP was nice for soloing). Enhanced Rejuvenation is a much bigger deal; combined with the new Dream of Cenarius and the “everybody partially damaged all the time” model, the potential exists for some significant healing. Finally, Improved Rake is nice for soloing, but the benefits in a group are fairly minor.

Talent Changes/Additions

  • Tier 1: No changes.
  • Tier 2: Healing amounts tweaked.
  • Tier 3: Typhoon’s range reduced to 15 yds.
  • Tier 4: No changes, save the changes in abilities usable during stealth for Incarnation.
  • Tier 5: No changes.
  • Tier 6: All damage effects removed; now solely effects that contribute to off-healing. HOTW + Wrath spam reduced in damage. DoC now increases HT/Rejuv healing by 20%, and causes those effects to heal you as well when you heal another. NV is now just additional splash healing. (Yes, this is going to be bad for your DPS for the month you’re stuck at level 90.)
  • Tier 7: New Level 100 talents!
    • Lunar Inspiration – Moonfire now usable while in Cat Form, generates 1 CP and deals damage based on AP. A ranged Rake, basically. Will likely be the go-to talent for fights with lots of movement/multiple targets.
    • Bloodtalons –  Healing Touch causes next two melee abilities to deal 30% additional damage. A reborn DoC, works effectively the same way. Likely best for single-target and mass AoE.
    • Claws of ShirvallahAlternate Cat Form that allows the use of all non-damaging Druid spells while shapeshifted, and increases versatility by 5%. Hugely popular talent due to the new form, but not likely to be optimal for raiding. Good choice for those that don’t want to mess with learning LI/BT, good for PvP, good for fights requiring dispels, etc.

Feral Analysis

Here’s the fun part, where I look at numbers and try to guess trends. Please note that all of this stuff can and will change up to release.

Bleeds down, direct damage up. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that Blizzard constantly goes back and forth on how much damage our bleeds vs. our direct damage abilities should do. Too much, and PvPers complain about being “bleed kited.” Too little, and they complain about “too much burst from Berserk.” I think the lesson is “PvPers complain,” but nevertheless: Bleeds are falling off somewhat in WoD. Rake and Rip are still cornerstones of the rotation, but they’ve gone from being ~50% of our damage to about 35%.

The big beneficiary: Ferocious Bite. It hit very weakly in MoP, and didn’t see much use as it was our lowest DPE ability, except for Shred/Mangle. (For comparison’s sake; it hit for about the same as Shred + 1 tick.) It’s been brought back in a big way, though, being changed to have a much higher crit chance + hit harder overall.

Stat weights. As you can imagine, this change has greatly affected how we value secondary stats. Here’s an early look (VERY much still in flux, don’t rage yet). Note that this is for a generic profile (preraid, no set bonuses, SOTF/CoS) as active talents will change things; for example, LI does not scale with Mastery but does with Haste.

  • Weapon DPS: 5.57
  • Agility: 4.94
  • Crit: 1.90
  • Multistrike: 1.67
  • Mastery: 1.48
  • Versatility: 1.45
  • Haste: 1.32

Overall, not terrible, but Haste pieces will likely make you sad. It’s also odd not stacking Mastery after having done so for two expansions.

Level 90 DPS. Not going to be that good. Sorry. If you really need to optimize, change gems over to agility/crit and find an alternative to Rune of Re-Origination, if you’re still using it.

That’s it for now! The full guide will incorporate much of this material, but just what’s here should be enough to get experienced ferals up to speed. Good luck with your drops!

I understand some people are still pushing SoO raiding for a month at 90, so here’s a quick bare-bones addendum to my preparing for 6.0 guide that addresses that. These are VERY abstracted solutions; for more in-depth info, go read Aggixx’ guide on the forums.

Rotation, single-target: Drop Thrash, otherwise stays the same. Open from Stealth to get the free 5cp Savage Roar.

Rotation, multi-target: Don’t bother with Swipe; Thrash + Rake.

Secondary Stats: Agi > Crit or Mult > Vers > Mastery > Haste. (Invert Haste and Mastery if optimizing solely for single-target.) Crit is more than 50% of Agi, so it’s worth gemming for pure crit. Mastery and Haste are toss-ups.

Enchants and Consumables: Currently, many Cata (and a few pre-Cata) items are better than their MoP equivalents due to oddness with now the stat squish affected things. It may get fixed, it may not.

Talents: Force of Nature is significantly better than the other options for single-target, if you can consistently follow optimal treant usage (use all when trinket procs, otherwise use 1 charge only when you get 3). SOTF is better for AoE or if you don’t want to bother with treants.

Glyphs: Savage Roar, Cat Form, your choice.

 Posted by at 9:00 am