Dec 022010
 

I’ve finished my updates to the guide; cleaned up quite a bit, added lvl 85 enchants/gems/consumables, etc. Check it out here, and please leave feedback. I’ve also tweaked the leveling guide, specifically the specs, in a couple places.) I’ve got one more Cataclysm guide coming, on professions, then I’m guided out for a while. :)

(Hint: I’m much more likely to listen to feedback that’s attached to a donation! Okay, not really. But it will get my attention.) /endshamelessbegging :P

 Posted by at 3:17 pm
Nov 292010
 

Cataclysm has six factions (one per zone) that your character will need to build reputation with, in order to fully unlock their rewards. Drawing on my gear list,  I’ll take a look to see which factions offer the best rewards for your time, from a feral DPS perspective (though I’ll note a few tank items). The primary way to gain faction rep is by questing in their associated zone, which should (after completing all quests) raise reputation to at least Honored. Revered and Exalted will require wearing that faction’s tabard in instances (all except Tol Barad factions) or completing daily quests.

Guardians of Hyjal (Mount Hyjal)

I, along with most others, will be starting my Cataclysm leveling in Mount Hyjal. (If you even care about lore “slightly,” you should realize that for a druid, Mount Hyjal’s problem >>> Vashj’ir’s problem.) Reputation-wise, however, there’s not too much on offer here for the 85-minded druid. The Sly Fox Jerkin is a great piece but will be quickly eclipsed by heroic drops; however, for leveling and pre-heroic instances, there isn’t anything better. The rest is mediocre; the Acorn is okay, but better BoE (Jewelcrafting) options exist, and the Wrap is a (albeit very good) bear tanking piece.

The Earthern Ring (Vashj’ir)

Unlike Hyjal, there is no item here for us at Honored, so this zone will take some rep grinding. The Signet ring is excellent and will be a pre-raid BiS piece; other than that, though, there’s not much. The Arcanum, of course, is handy for bears, and the Cape is okay but not special (there are LOTS of blue cloaks to be found).

Therazane (Deepholm)

Sons of Hodir, version 2.0! Yawn. The ring is unremarkable, so quest through the zone to unlock the Lesser Inscription, then just tabard the rest of the rep (or run the dailies, up to you).

Ramkahen (Uldum)

I was prepared to ignore this rep entirely, then I realized our Arcanum comes from here. Bah. I will probably wait on this rep as well and use the Wildhammer arcanum as a fillin (see below)

Wildhammer Clan (Twilight Highlands)

You will want to quest extensively in Twilight Highlands for the quest reward gear (best available pre-instance, in most cases). As such, you’ll have a good bit of rep anyway. The Leggings are okay, but not really worth it (they’re an upgrade over the quest reward piece, but not a large one, and the JP item is superb). As mentioned above, the Wildhammer arcanum is a decent fillin until you grind Ramkahen. Finally, the gloves are EXCELLENT and are pre-raid BiS.

Baradin’s Wardens (Tol Barad)

Well, now. That’s the way to make me do PvP; put a great weapon and a great trinket on the vendor. :) That weapon should be your first priority; as with any melee DPS class, upgrading our weapon increases our damage output considerably, and the trinket is likely pre-raid BiS. Sadly, I believe the only way to rep up with your Tol Barad faction is via daily quests; once you hit 85, if you see that TB is up, stop queuing and get questing! (Remember, there’s only an hour between battles.)

Summary

After review, once I hit 85, I think I’ll be grinding the factions to Exalted in this order. If you disagree, let me know in the comments! Thanks.

  1. Baradin’s Wardens (use your dailies here)
  2. Wildhammer Clan (tabard this first)
  3. Ramkahen (ONLY to Revered, for the Arcanum)
  4. The Earthen Ring
  5. Therazane
  6. Guardians of Hyjal
  7. Ramkahen (Exalted)
 Posted by at 11:46 am
Nov 242010
 

to Blizzard for making such a great game. :)

I’ll be heading out for Thanksgiving early tomorrow morning, so no posts until next week. (I’ll try to reply to comments, but no promises.) Enjoy the weekend! Also, tanking right now is probably a bad idea for your blood pressure; apparently, Swipe should be renamed “ineffectual bat.”

(FWIW, I intended to test feral stuff last night, but I got sidetracked, first in a failed auction house venture, then in a new alt. Rolled a priest for the new Darkshore content…damn, Penance is crazy awesome. I still remember wanding my way through Westfall and quitting in frustration a few years ago.)

 Posted by at 9:28 am  Tagged with:
Nov 232010
 

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.)

Talents:

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.)

Glyphs:

  • 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.

Gear:

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.)

Rotation:

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)
  • Rake
  • Ravage (from Stampede)
  • Manglex2
  • 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!

 Posted by at 3:23 pm
Nov 232010
 

If these are the heroes fighting back the elementals, it’s no wonder we failed. I haven’t had any interesting PUG stories in a while, but last night’s “attempt” was great!

SETTING: Zul’Farrak, Elemental Invasion-style

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

  • Alarros, my little-used DK tank, in roughly T8 level gear
  • Hunterthepunter, the, well, hunter
  • Holylightlol, the holy pally
  • DPS #1 and DPS #2

SCENE: All enter, stage left.

A: Hey all! A bit undergeared, so watch your threat! Is everyone ready? /readycheck.

HTP: (immediately misdirects to HLL and pulls first trash pack)

A: /sigh. (rounds pack up, kills, then kills rest of trash)

A: Okay, everybody ready for the boss? /readycheck

HTP: (immediately pulls boss)

A: /sigh. (taunts, turns boss away from group)

a minute passes

HTP: (dies)

A: what happened?

HTP: lol fell in the pond with the fish and they killed me lol

A: /sigh

more time passes, very low DPS group

HLL: hey, I can heal you better if I’m closer to you! Let’s be friends! (runs over to tank)

A: wait! (GZ breathes, freezing both of us solid; wipe ensues)

All except A: lol tank you suck (HTP/DPS 1/DPS 2 drop group)

A: /sigh (drops group)

BLIZZARD: You have been afflicted with the Dungeon Deserter debuff.

A: /cries

SCENE.


 Posted by at 9:48 am  Tagged with:
Nov 222010
 

So, the slow-motion Cataclysm is finally occurring tomorrow. (If you read wow blogs, you’ve known this was coming for, well, forever, so I don’t feel the need for a spoiler tag. I did have the fleeting thought today, though, that someone, somewhere, is going to have one hell of a wtf? moment.)

Luckily, cats are pretty unscathed. (You know us, always landing well from a fall and all…) Bears took quite a nerf (stamina reduction, Savage Defense reduction) for balance purposes, but the only part of that which will affect cats is the LOTP heal nerf from 8% to 4%. Survival Instincts is now only a 50% damage reduction, but it goes from a 5m CD to a 3m CD, which is probably a net positive. Thorns reverts back to near-uselessness for PvE content, after a month in the sun.

Of slightly more concern is the quiet adjustment in activation requirements for our metagem, the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond (thanks to Feral Instincts for pointing it out). It previously had required 1 gem of each color (easily satisfied by a Nightmare Tear), but now requires more Blue gems then Red gems. Since our best gemming strategy revolves around agility (red) gems, this is bad. You’ve got three options:

  1. “Screw it.” Doing nothing is the most cost-effective strategy, albeit one with a 3% dps loss.
  2. Socket another metagem with easier requirements for now, and wait until 85 to figure it out. My preferred option; unfortunately, there’s not many metagem alternatives out there. Something like the Destructive Skyflare Diamond would be best.  2.5% dps loss with some small unquantifiable survivability increase (or pick one of the PvP metas).
    EDIT: Paona pointed out in the comments that the Thundering Skyflare Diamond would be a better replacement. I agree wholeheartedly, and blame wowhead for not weighting it properly.
  3. Regem entirely to meet the metagem requirements. Not recommended unless you’re still pushing for a progression kill (and with the tank nerfs, your odds of that just went down). My head hurts trying to figure out an optimal strategy, but I figure it’d probably be socketing all Glinting Dreadstones (which count for red + blue) then tacking another blue/green gem on top. Hopefully, you don’t have too much hit already.) Roughly appears to be a 1.5% dps loss.
 Posted by at 4:04 pm
Nov 152010
 

EDIT: To be updated with ZA stuff.

This is the first draft of my heroic/pre-heroic feral DPS gear list for Cataclysm. While it still needs some work (and items are still not locked in), this should give you an idea as to what to shoot for if you’re racing to 85. I’ll be folding this into my feral DPS guide when I revamp it for Cataclysm.

Methodology: I used Mew to compute relative stat values for a level 85 feral druid (values listed at bottom of post). I then created a custom weighting on wowhead with these numbers, and recorded the results below. Due to reforging, item lists are more stratified then they used to be; as such, I’ve divided the item list into tiers roughly corresponding with ilevel. (Short version: don’t worry about getting the top item in a tier, just look to upgrade tiers.) Gearing decisions are somewhat more boring now that we don’t have to worry about hit/exp capping.

Note: Notice that I’ve sorted the slots by importance. A weapon upgrade is VASTLY more important than a bracer upgrade, for example, so I’ve listed those first. I’ve also limited green items to 1 to reduce list size. I will not be including PvP gear in the list; for a rough computation, knock 13 points off the item’s ilvl (to account for the useless resil). Reduce this penalty by half if you have the 2pc PvP bonus (+70 agi), and eliminate it if you have the 4pc PvP bonus (+180 agi). Yes, this means that having the 4pc Bloodthirsty PvP set is BETTER than 4pc heroic gear, and the 4pc Vicious set is better than non-tier raid gear. Not by much, but a good 5% or so. (See WoWHead comparison link here and here)

(If you find this list helpful, donations are appreciated via the PayPal link on the sidebar.)

Weapon

  1. Mobus’s Vile Halberd, Vashj’ir World Boss. (245.38)
  2. Elementium Poleaxe, Blacksmithing BoE. (244.90)
  3. Darkling Staff, H Stonecore. (244.53)
  4. Berto’s Staff, H Blackrock Caverns. (244.07)
  5. Seliza’s Spear, H Lost City. (243.95)
  6. Spear/Spear of Trailing Shadows, Hellscream/Baradin Revered. (243.71)
    ——————————
  7. Wild Hammer, H Grim Batol. (232.61)
  8. Foe Reaper, H Deadmines. (229.10)
    ——————————
  9. Staff of Draconic Pacification/Torth-Slayer’s Staff, Twilight Highlands Q. (217.24)
  10. Staff of Old Woes, TBD. (216.20)
  11. Seliza’s Spear, N Lost City. (216.18)
    ——————————
  12. Sorrow’s End, TBD. (206.01)
  13. Wild Hammer, N Grim Batol. (206.01)
    ——————————
  14. Blacksoul Polearm, Deepholm Q. (189.06)
  15. Obsidium Bladespear, Blacksmithing BoE. (185.84)
  16. Sand Tracker’s Spear, TBD. (185.69)
  17. Darkling Staff, N Stonecore. (185.08)
    ——————————
  18. Orsis Polearm, Uldum Q. (177.14)

As weapons are by far the most important slot, I’ve listed quite a few. Thankfully, there’s quite a few options to choose from, including 6 at the top tier (four 5-man drops, a rep weapon, and a blacksmithing BoE) The Wild Hammer and Foe Reaper (and their normal 5-man versions) are +str weapons; however, due to weapon DPS being so important, they’re still better than lower-tier +agi weapons. If you have cash to burn, the Obsidium Bladespear should hit the AH fairly quickly (it’s a Blacksmithing leveling recipe) and will last you until 85. It will be very expensive, though, as I expect most people leveling Blacksmithing will still shoot for the green recipes. (48 obsidium ore…ouch.)

Head

  1. Agile Bio-Optic Killshades, Engineering-only BoP. (~100)
    ——————————
  2. Mask of Vines, 2200 JP. (81.75)
  3. Helm of Numberless Shadows, H Stonecore. (80.57)
    ——————————
  4. Helm of Secret Knowledge, N Grim Batol. (69.62)
  5. Hood of the Crying Rogue, World Drop. (69.62)
    ——————————
  6. Dunwald Winged Helm/Shocktrooper Hood, Twilight Highlands Q. (74.88)
  7. Chain Reaction Hood, Uldum Q. (68.40)
  8. Bloodied Leather Helm, Leatherworking BoE. (63.18)
  9. Helm of Numberless Shadows[, N Stormcore. (61.92)
  10. Helm of Earthination, Deepholm Q. (56.59)

The engineering helm breaks WoWHead currently, so I’m estimating its’ value (very good). If you’re not an engineer, though, the Mask of Vines is a VERY good use of JP as there’s only one equivalent heroic helm drop (so far). The helms on the last tier are not recommended except as leveling items, as they don’t have metagem sockets (not calculated in the ratings).

Legs

  1. Leggings of the Burrowing Mole, 2200 JP. (89.23)
  2. Beauty’s Chew Toy, H Blackrock Caverns. (88.09)
    ——————————
  3. Leggings of the Impenitent/Swiftflight Leggings, Dragonmaw/Wildheart Honored. (78.86)
    ——————————
  4. Garona’s/Shaw’s Finest Leggings, Twilight Highlands Q. (71.82)
    ——————————
  5. Crushchest/Spear-Impaled Leggings, Twilight Highlands Q. (63.96)
  6. Bloodied Leather Legs, Leatherworking BoE. (63.93)

Another great place to use your JP. If not, questing through Twilight Highlands should push you to Honored to get the reputation legs. (And you need to quest through TH anyway to rep up for your gloves.)

Chest

  1. Morrie’s Waywalker Wrap, World Drop. (99.59)
    ——————————
  2. Assassin’s Chestplate, Leatherworking BoE. (91.08)
  3. Defias Brotherhood Vest, H Deadmines. (89.69)
  4. Vest of Misshapen Hides, H Grim Batol. (89.31)
  5. Hieroglyphic Vest, H Halls of Origination. (88.37)
  6. Tunic of Sinking Envy, 2200 JP. (87.02)
    ——————————
  7. Sly Fox Jerkin, Honored Guardians of Hyjal. (79.31)
  8. Hieroglyphic Vest, N Halls of Origination. (78.87)
  9. Vest of Misshapen Hides, N Grim Batol. (74.32)
    ——————————
  10. Bloodied Leather Chest, Leatherworking BoE. (64.49)
  11. Camp-Cleaner Chestguard/Riverproof Chestguard, Twilight Highlands Q. (63.90)

I’m very underwhelmed by the Assassin’s Chestplate currently. It’s two tiers higher then everything else, but the lack of gem slots hurts it significantly. It may get tweaked…if not, there’s plenty of heroic alternatives. Below the top-tier, the Sly Fox Jerkin should be easy to acquire quickly and should last you until you get a heroic drop. (Edit: Thanks for pointing out Morrie’s! An excellent world drop, good for both bears/and cats, with good sockets.)

Trinkets

Name Ilvl Notes Score
Essence of the Cyclone (H) 372 363 agi; 2178 crit/10s proc 1518.066
Prestor’s Talisman of M. (H) 372 363 agi; 2178 haste/15s proc 1496.286
Fluid Death 359 321 hit; 38 agix10 on atk 1476.252
Tia’s Grace (H) 346 285 mast; 34 agix10 on atk 1383.6
Essence of the Cyclone 359 321 agi; 1926 crit/10s proc 1342.422
Key to the Endless Chamber (H) 346 285 hit; 1710 agi/15s proc 1324.68
Left Eye of Rajh (H) 346 285 exp; 1710 agi/10s proc 1324.68
Prestor’s Talisman of M. 359 321 agi; 1926 haste/15s proc 1323.162
Heart of Rage (H) 372 363 exp; 2178 str/20s proc 1322.772
Crushing Weight (H) 372 363 str; 2178 haste/15s proc 1238.556
Tia’s Grace (N) 333 252 mast; 30 agix10 on atk 1221.48
Heart of Rage 359 321 exp; 1926 str/20s proc 1218.516
Unsolvable Riddle 359 321 mast; 1605 agi/20s on use 1208.565
License to Slay 359 321 hit; 38 strx10 on atk 1206.452
Grace of the Herald (H) (bugged) 346 285 agi; 1710 crit/10s proc 1191.87
Unheeded Warning (est) 359 321 agi; +25% melee/10s proc 1172.63
Left Eye of Rajh (N) 333 252 exp; 1512 agi/10s proc 1171.296
Skardyn’s Grace (H) 346 285 agi; 1425 mast/20s on use 1158.05
DMC: Hurricane (est) 359 321 agi; 5000 dmg proc (ppm?) 1138.63
Crushing Weight 359 321 str; 1926 haste/15s proc 1095.252
Heart of Solace (H) 346 285 haste; 1710 str/20s proc 1090.41
Skardyn’s Grace (N) 333 252 agi; 1260 mast/20s on use 1023.96
Impatience of Youth 359 321 mast; 1605 str/20s on use 1018.64
Figurine – Demon Panther 346 285 hit; 1425 agi/20s on use 1008.045
Key to the Endless Chamber (N) 316 215 hit; 1290 agi/15s proc 999.32
Mark of Khardros (H) 346 285 str; 1425 mas/15s on use 955.7
Schnotzz’s Medallion 325 234 agi; 918 mast/20s proc 936.684
Heart of the Vile 325 234 agi; 924 crit/10s proc 886.428

See my trinket post for analysis + comments. Basically, you want H Tia’s and one of Unsolvable Riddle, H Eye, or H Key.

Hands

  1. Liar’s Handwraps/Stormbolt Gloves, Dragonmaw/Wildhammer Exalted. (72.23)
    ——————————
  2. Sticky Fingers, 1650 JP. (65.57)
  3. Gloves of Haze, H Vortex Pinnacle. (64.96)
    ——————————
  4. Safecracker’s Gloves/Thartuk’s Inimitable Gauntlets, World Drop/Thartuk(Rare Hyjal mob). (51.32)
  5. Blackscale Wraps/Heth’Jatari Battlegloves, Twilight Highlands Q. (47.65)

Plan to do quite a bit of questing in Twilight Highlands/tabard wearing. The JP gloves are okay, but not great, and there’s not much for us in Vortex Pinnacle. The honor gloves are pretty good, as well; stat-wise, they’re not as good as the ilvl 346 items, but the energy cost reduction on Skull Bash is great.

Shoulders

  1. Caridean Epaulettes, H Throne of the Tides. (64.84)
  2. Thieving Spaulders, H Shadowfang Keep. (64.50)
  3. Embrace of the Night, 1650 JP. (63.47)
    ——————————
  4. Clandestine Spaulders, N Lost City Q Reward. (54.25)
    ——————————
  5. Aledrinker Shoulderpads/Cult-Hide Spaulders, Twilight Highlands Q. (46.18)

Not a lot of options for shoulder slots. The Spaulders are a dungeon quest reward, so those are easy to get relatively quickly.

Waist

  1. Belt of Nefarious Whispers, Leatherworking BoE. (69.11)
    ——————————
  2. Sash of Musing, 1650 JP. (64.93)
  3. Red Beam Cord, H Halls of Origination. (64.50)
  4. Quicksand Belt, Ramkahen Revered. (63.53)
  5. Belt of a Thousand Mouths, Akma’hat(Rare Uldum mob). (61.86)
    ——————————
  6. Red Beam Cord, N Halls of Origination. (54.75)
    ——————————
  7. Blade-Dodging Girdle/Machine-Linker Girdle, SW/Org Q. (47.95)

This is the spot to use your gold. Unlike the Assassin’s Chestplate, the heroic belt drops are clearly worse than the Leatherworking BoE. If you’re broke, though, head to Uldum. :)

Neck

  1. Don Rodrigo’s Fabulous Necklace, World Drop.
    ——————————
  2. Brazen Elementium Medallion, Jewelcrafting BoE. (69.16)
  3. Entwined Elementium Choker, Jewelcrafting BoE. (68.02)
  4. Pendant of the Lightless Grotto, H Stonecore. (66.83)
  5. Acorn of the Daughter Tree, Guardians of Hyjal Revered. (66.18)
  6. Amulet of Dull Dreaming, 1250 JP. (66.18)
    ——————————
  7. Barnacle Pendant, H Throne of the Tides BoE. (64.36)
  8. Mouth of the Earth, H Halls of Origination. (63.58)
    ——————————
  9. Pendant of Victorious Fury, Twilight Highlands Q. (58.42)
  10. Nightrend Choker, Guardians of Hyjal Revered. (58.42) (probably bugged)
    ——————————
  11. Pendant of the Lightless Grotto, N Stonecore. (49.83)
  12. Cenotaph Choker, Uldum Q. (48.41)

The jewelcrafting BoE’s are quite nice due to the added socket, though I’ll probably be shooting for the Hyjal neck, which is very easy to acquire. (EDIT: Fully questing through Hyjal should put you at or just short of Revered.) Don Rodrigo’s is an option for those with gold to spend or hellaciously good luck.

Feet

  1. Crafty’s Gaiters, H Lost City. (65.57)
  2. VanCleef’s Boots, H Deadmines. (65.44)
  3. Boots of the Predator, H Shadowfang Keep. (63.47)
    ——————————
  4. Crafty’s Gaiters, N Lost City. (55.71)
  5. Boots of the Hard Way, N Halls of Origination Q Reward. (54.26)
    ——————————
  6. Bloodied Leather Boots, Leatherworking BoE. (50.94)
  7. Flameproof/Heartstone Treads, Twilight Highlands Q. (47.41)

As with the shoulders, not a ton of options. The quest reward boots, as always, are reasonably easy to acquire without grinding and should last you until you can get better.

Rings

  1. Signet of the Elder Council, Earthen Ring Exalted. (53.19)
  2. Gilnean Ring of Ruination, World Drop. (51.62)
  3. ——————————
  4. Elementium Destroyer’s Ring, Jewelcrafting BoE. (49.91)
  5. Ring of Blinding Stars, H Halls of Origination. (47.00)
  6. Band of Blades, Jewelcrafting BoE. (46.65)
  7. Skullcracker Ring, H Blackrock Caverns. (46.64)
  8. Terrath’s Signet of Balance, Therazane Revered. (46.43)
  9. Nautilus Ring, TBD (46.18)
  10. Mirage Ring, H Lost City. (45.37)
  11. Ring of Dun Algaz, H Grim Batol. (45.01)
    ——————————
  12. Ring of Blinding Stars, N Halls of Origination. (41.77)
  13. Mirage Ring, N Grim Batol. (39.95)
    ——————————
  14. Worldbinder Signet, Deepholm Q. (35.80)
  15. Ring of Rebellion/Signet of Bloody Sands, Twilight Highlands Q. (35.61)

Lots of ring options, since you have to fill two slots. Raiders will be grinding Therazane rep anyway (similar to Hodir rep in LK), so you might as well count on picking up that rep ring. There’s lots of heroic options as well. The Signet is nice, but it’s not worth prioritizing Earthen Ring rep for.

Back

  1. Cloak of Thredd, H Deadmines. (46.64)
  2. Twitching Shadows, H Blackrock Caverns. (46.18)
  3. Kaleki Cloak, H Lost City. (46.01)
  4. Cape of the Brotherhood, H Deadmines. (45.97)
  5. Sotftwind Cape, Earthen Ring Revered. (45.97)
  6. Razor-Edged Cloak, Leatherworking BoE. (45.90)
    ——————————
  7. Kaleki Cloak, N Lost City. (40.87)
  8. Cloak of Beasts, Leatherworking BoE. (40.42)
  9. Drape of Neferset Destruction, Uldum Q. (37.76)
  10. Drape of Lost Valuables/Smoot’s Shredded Smock, Twilight Highlands Q. (36.27)

Cloaks! We got cloaks! All colors, shapes, and sizes (including long white ones!). Take your pick!
Seriously, unlike LK where good cloaks were hard to find, there’s plenty on offer here, all roughly equivalent. Cloak’s aren’t that valuable anyway, so I’d wait on this slot and hope one drops when looking for something else.

Wrists

  1. Double Dealing Bracers, H Shadowfang Keep. (46.64)
  2. Poison Fang Bracers. H Halls of Origination. (45.97)
    ——————————
  3. Poison Fang Bracers, N Halls of Origination. (40.87)
    ——————————
  4. Bloodied Leather Bracers, Leatherworking BoE. (36.62)
  5. Buildingblast Bracers/Flarefire Bracers, Twilight Highlands Q. (35.90)

Just like the boot slot, you’re going to have to grind a bit to fill this one. I’ve left the PvP bracers in here simply because there’s so few options, even though it’s hardly any better than the green from TH.

Idol Relic

  1. Relic of Arathor, H Shadowfang Keep.
  2. Sandshift Relic, H Blackrock Caverns.
  3. Silver Inlaid Leaf, Inscription BoE.
    —————
  4. Exhausted Flashgrowth Mote, Twilight Highlands Q.

The Wowhead scoring for relics is also broken…eh. Relics are your weakest item slot, so worry about it last, or just buy the Leaf and be done with it. (A heroic Strength relic is a point or two better than the quest reward, but not enough to roll need for, IMO.)

Conclusion

I’ll be digging into this data some more to look at the best reps/dungeons to target, and I’ll be posting that later. I’ll also put together a part 2 that looks at raid drops/VP items shortly after Cataclysm releases. Have fun with leveling! (I’ll be posting a leveling guide as well, so watch for it!)

Relative Stat Values at 85 (25m raid, T11 gear, numbers in parentheses represent statistics normalized to agi=1):

DPS: 4.11 (1.36)

Agi: 3.03 (1)

Str: 2.32 (0.77)

Mastery: 1.24 (0.41)

AP: 1.10 (0.36)

Crit: 0.96 (0.32)

Haste: 0.91 (0.30)

Hit/Expertise: 0.86 (0.28)

Old Rankings for Posterity:
DPS: 3.88
Agi: 2.57
Str: 2.00
AP: .96
Mastery: .91
Haste: .82
Crit: .75
Exp: .71
Hit: .71


 Posted by at 4:20 pm
Nov 152010
 

Regular posts will resume soon (was doing some family things for Veteran’s Day) but I wanted to quickly thank those of you who have donated. It does take quite a bit of work to compile and write all that information (the cat guide took 20+ hours, easily) and I appreciate the support. As a further measure of thanks, I’ve removed all advertising from the site (not that it was any good, anyway).

And for those of you who wanted to know what I’m using the donation money for? Well, see this cute little guy here?

He’s getting one of these for Christmas.

Enjoy your game time, and I’ll be back later this week. (I’m updating the Cat guide for Cataclysm; I’ll be doing a gear list, as those seem to be in demand.)

 Posted by at 9:41 am  Tagged with:
Nov 142010
 

One of the more interesting spells introduced for WOTLK was the Blood DK buff Hysteria, which buffed physical damage by 20% for 30s. It is no longer ingame (it has been replaced by the Unholy DK spell Unholy Frenzy), but when it was available, it was amazing. Since a feral’s damage is 100% physical, we were typically the best target for the buff from a rDPS perspective (though convincing the blood DK to give it up wasn’t always easy) and it allowed for crazy numbers if you could stack it with Berserk.

Well, RIP Hysteria (Unholy Frenzy’s nice but we’re definitely not a prime candidate for it), but there’s a new buff out there for Cataclysm that ferals should be aware of.

(fake announcer voice)

Introducing the new warlock buff, Dark Intent! This powerful level 83 spell IMMEDIATELY grants you and your selected friend 3% haste…but there’s MORE! When you gets a critical from a DoT or HoT, you immediately increase your friend’s DoT/HoT effectiveness by 3% for 7 SECONDS! This can STACK up to 3 TIMES! Best of all…it works both ways! When your friend gets a DoT/HoT critical, YOUR DoT/HoT effectiveness goes up! EVERYONE WINS!

*cough* Er, right. This one’s a bit more complex than Focus Magic. The optimal buff target for the warlock is based on two factors:

  • Target class’s % of damage/healing that is periodic. All other things being equal, the lock would rather give the buff to a class that does 50% damage via periodic effects vs. one that does 30%. (Of course, if your 30% guy does double the DPS of your 50%’er, then give it to him.)
  • Number of periodic effects target class has, their tick speed, and their crit rate. All other things being equal, the lock would rather give the buff to a class that is more likely to have a DoT/HoT crit at least every 7 sec, to keep the buff up on himself/herself. An elemental shaman, for example, would be a poor choice, since they only have Flame Shock. (If I’m wrong, let me know.)

So, where does that leave us? Well, the first decision is whether the upcoming encounter will demand more healing or more dps. If healing is necessary, a resto druid’s HOT-based healing style is clearly the best choice (and probably the best overall choice). If dps is necessary,  the best receipient of the buff is clearly Shadow Priests. They have 4 DOT’s, and those DOT’s do the large majority of their damage.

“What’s that have to do with us?”, I hear you asking. Well, if there’s no spriest, I think we’re clearly the best 2nd choice for Dark Intent. We only have 2 DoTs (Rip and Rake), but they have very high uptimes, we have a naturally high crit rate due to agility, and we derive almost half of our total damage from them. I’d be interested in hearing arguments about what other dps class would be a good recipient- my intuition would tell me that moonkin (IS/MF, heavy damage), frostfire mages (Pyro, LvB, Glyph of FFB, lots of ticks, but not a large part of their damage) are also good choices. If those aren’t available, perhaps an unholy DK (3 diseases, not a large part of their damage) or a survival hunter (Explosive Shot, Serpent Sting) would work.

Thoughts?

(Oh, and warlocks shouldn’t trade it, as the 9% increase in periodic damage doesn’t stack x2.)

 Posted by at 9:04 am
Nov 092010
 

There was a ton of excellent commentary on my previous post (which I encourage you to check out…Kalon wrote more in my comments in a day than he’s written on his blog in a month). As such, let me try to clarify a bit.

The Hybrid Spec…when would you use it?

I basically see three situations where having a hybrid CatBear spec (as opposed to a CatUtility spec, which I’d generally recommend) would be useful.

  1. The MT dies, and a fillin MT is needed. Typically, a tank death means a wipe in 10-man, and usually in 25-man. Raids don’t carry a “just-in-case” tank, and by the time the MT gets a rez, enough of the raid is dead that it doesn’t matter. (Either that, or it’s one of those bosses that splits his damage between two tanks or has a stacking debuff, which means your second tank is taking a ton of damage and dying quite quickly.)  Having a cat that can go bear can prevent this wholesale carnage by holding aggro on the boss, not dying immediately (by cooldown usage) and giving time for a MT rez and a healer adjustment. Obviously, in this scenario, you won’t be PLANNING on the tank dying, so you’ll be in your cat gear and glyphs. You won’t be an optimal tank, but you’re much better than anyone else. (I have an addon that gives me a distinct audio cue when the tank dies. I’ve trained myself to automatically go bear when I hear that, as I will typically be pretty high on the threat list anyway.)
    Now, opinons vary on the longterm viability of a CatBear emergency tank (say the rez already got used on the healer, so you’re all that’s left from 50%-0%). You’ll have less stamina than a regular tank does, because you won’t have tank trinkets/jewelry. You’ll take a bit more damage, because you won’t have the tanking meta. It’s not all bad, though- your avoidance will be slightly higher than a regular tank, because of your higher agility, and you shouldn’t have any problems with threat because you’re in DPS gear. In my mind, the viability of this is directly related to your raid’s level (norm/heroic), size, and encounter type. In a 25H, for example, simply because the boss outputs so much damage that you’ll likely die before your healers can adjust, and even if they do, you’re very susceptible to burst. In a 10M, surviving this is much more likely. Of course, if it’s a dragon fight that revolves around surviving burst, you’re likely dead anyway. (A lot of this thinking is based around LK health pools. If burst is less of a concern in Cata, then that makes a hybrid build more attractive.)
  2. A fight demands a temporary OT (adds, stacking debuff on MT, etc) and has a tight DPS requirement. These type of fights aren’t very common, but this is the perfect scenario for the CatBear spec. For an example, I remember reading about a world top10 10-strict guild who got their first kill of H Sindragosa by using a cat-specced druid tanking Sindy to let the debuff drop off the MT. (I want to say this was Kae’s guild, but I’m not sure.) I’ve deliberately been avoiding reading too many details about Cataclysm bosses, so I don’t know how many encounters will be similar to that.
  3. 5-man/entry-level-raid pugging. This is somewhat similar to point 1, but if you have a poor tank (or a tank leaves, etc), you can step in for them and tank without any interruption. You being somewhat sub-optimal is made up for the fact that you’re running non-progression content, and there’s a very real risk that the group/raid will disband if people have to wait for you to go respec. Of course, you could dual spec feral for this, which I’m not opposed to at all. I do like playing resto as well, however, and I’m ready to step in if we lose a healer (again, without needing to go run and respec, which can break a PUG).

Other than those situations, I’d prefer the CatUtility spec (or a full Bear spec, depending on the situation) I recommended in my feral DPS guide. As Kalon noted, porting to Moonglade to respec is pretty quick, so it takes hardly any time in an organized run to go optimize. Pretty much, as the content you’re attempting gets more difficult/specialized (N->H, 10->25, T11->T12->T13), the deficiencies of the hybrid build become more prevalent. Of course, this depends on your guild as well. If your tanks tend to die a lot, then you might want to consider it more (or go resto. :))

Personally, I’ll probably do the same thing I did for WOTLK; run a hybrid build for leveling/5-mans/entry-level raiding, then re-evaluate. (I think I re-specced to a full Cat build for the first time somewhere in Ulduar. Of course, I was in a much more casual guild then.) Once Rawr gets updated for Cata and we start to see some more complete gear information, I can actually get some hard numbers about the survivability of a fully specced/geared bear vs. a moonlighting cat.

 Posted by at 9:56 pm