A short note: I’ll be working on the site and forums some over the next week (upgrading to wordpress 3.0, fixing some phpBB stuff, moving guides from the blog to the forums to make them easier to find (though I may change my mind on this and just make them static pages like Keeva did), updating plugins, updating side-bar, etc.) If you see anything broken (or you want me to implement something), please post a comment and let me know. (Also, I apparently like parentheses.)
I’ve previously posted this list, but a few pieces have been added to the loot table, so here it is again with expanded commentary.
|271||Finger||Phys.DPS||Finger||Signet of Twilight|
|271||Trinket||Phys.DPS||Trinket||Sharpened Twilight Scale|
|271||Trinket||Tanking||Trinket||Petrified Twilight Scale|
The big prize from RS-25 for feral DPS is the Sharpened Scale trinket. The massive chunk of ArPen makes it superior to any other trinket in the game, save Heroic DBW, and the ability to have two ArPen trinkets (should you be so lucky) will make reaching the ArPen hardcap much easier. Of course, you’ll be rolling against all melee dps classes (except for enh shammies) and hunters, so good luck. Hopefully it will drop more often than DBW has for us.
The Signet ring is pretty nice as well, but the hit/crit itemization drops it in value some. If you don’t have a 264 ring for your second slot and this drops, take it, but otherwise it’s pretty much a sidegrade from Frostbrood Sapphire/H Saurfang’s Cold-Forged.
The Umbrage Armbands are similar; a sidegrade from Toskk’s, a downgrade from H Toskk’s, but better than anything else.
Finally, neck-wise, the Penumbra Pendant is a strength item, so let your plate DPS have first dibs on it. If you’ve had bad luck on neck drops for some reason, it’s about equal to an ICC-10 neck. (Or you could just buy a Wodin’s, if you have the gold to spare.) For 10-man, Baltharus’s is pretty equivalent to its ilevel; better than a 251, worse than a 264.
For bears, the Petrified Scale tank trinket is very nice as well, but it depends on your personal preference–it’s basically an upgraded Glyph of Indominability, with the same issues. Great mitigation trinket, but no extra HP to swallow burst. I’d still prefer 2 of Organ/Fang/Key for progression, I think. Come Cataclysm, though, when healer HPS will be more limited, the ability of armor trinkets to reduce DTPS will be much more important. I could see this trinket lasting you until 85, easily. From 10-man, the Gloaming Sark is pretty terrible for feral DPS, but it’s an excellent tanking piece if you don’t have the badges for Shadowseeker’s or the cash for Ikfirus. There’s a strength ring, also, but it’s pretty bad.
I thought this post from EJ by Rijndael on the Resto design for Cata was excellent, enough that I’m quoting it in its entirety here.
Blizzard is moving towards healer homogenization. As Ghostcrawler said, they are trying to walk a fine between keeping class identity distinct, and having raids be called because wrong healer classes are online. Right now healers are not homogenized enough — paladins are too good on tanks and not good enough on raid, disc are too good on LK, druids are not good enough on LK, etc.
It seems pretty clear to me that Nature’s Bounty + Efflorescence is broken and will change in some way. What’s interesting though, is what the designer intent is.
I think the designers are intending to nerf Rejuv and boost Regrowth so Rejuv will only be worth casting when you move, and Regrowth will be cast when you stand still. This accomplishes a few things:
(a) Diversifies the spells druids actually will use
(b) Forces druids to stand still more. This may seem bad, but Blizzard has been pretty consistent in making the movement/burst/cooldown tradeoff. In other words, a healing spell always has one of three disadvantages: it either forces you to stand still, or it heals over time, or has a cooldown. In encouraging druids to use a cast time spell, Blizzard is freeing themselves to buff druid burst, which is what we need to be a more well rounded healer. I suspect druids in Cata will be more like priests — good when forced to move but optimal when standing still.
(c) Make druids think about where they cast, rather than spam. This is the intent behind Nature’s Bounty interaction with Regrowth, and I think this idea is sound as long as they “smooth” it, and just give a bonus that scales with lower target hp.
I think this is absolutely true. Right now, Rejuv is our most used spell because its cheap, instant, heals fast (first tick in ~2s with GoRR) and heals hard (3kish per tick for a well-geared tree, pre-ICC buff, which is 10-15% of a DPS’ers health pool), and heals over time. It’s too powerful. I think they’ll make it significantly weaker and buff Regrowth, forcing a choice between the two.
Note: Pretty busy with class this week, so posting will be light unless something juicy comes out.
There’s some interesting new information out there in regards to weapons enchants. It’s been a while since I examined them (and when I did, I just followed what EJ said, anyway), so I decided to crunch the numbers myself and came to some interesting conclusions. Let’s take a look.
(Note: several of the weapon enchants below are PPM procs. If you’re not clear on what that means, the proc chance is the PPM * 100 / number of autoattacks in a minute before haste, which for kitties is 60 due to baseline 1.0 attack speed. This means Mongoose(1 PPM), for example, has a 1.66% proc chance. While this may seem low, it can proc off specials as well, so you generally have over 100 attacks hitting each minute.)
The Old Guard
- Mongoose (proc, 15s duration, 1PPM proc chance, proc of +120 agi, +30 haste rating…NOT 2% haste as everybody thought)
- Berserking (proc, 15s duration, 1PPM proc chance, proc of +400AP, -5% armor)
- Executioner (proc, 15s duration, 1PPM proc chance, proc of +120 ArP)
- Massacre (static +110 AP)
These four have been the general focus of discussion for most of WOTLK. The general consensus in 3.0 was Berserking as your best choice, with Mongoose being a slightly inferior option for players who both tanked and dps’ed, and Massacre slightly worse than either. (Personally, I thought that Mongoose was a better overall DPS enchant.) In 3.1, however, ArPen received a huge buff when they changed the ratings to drastically raise the amount of ArPen you gained per point.. Well-geared ferals suddenly saw huge DPS increases from gemming ArPen with an ArPen trinket, and Executioner became popular. Blizzard eventually reversed course, nerfing the ArPen increase by 50% and putting in a hardcap. (Previously, you could actually stack enough ArPen via gems + trinket procs to cause a target to have negative armor.) Executioner lost popularity, and ferals went back to the other three and continue using one of these today. Unfortunately for Mongoose, someone finally realized that we’ve been quoting the wrong numbers all along; the 2% haste was actually 30 Haste Rating, or slightly more than 1%. This changes the numbers significantly. (See below.)
The New Breed
With the advent of ICC, Scourgebane became popular as a minmax choice. Unfortunately, it’s useless anywhere else and for certain fights in ICC. Black Magic, though, is very interesting. While its intended as a caster enchant, it still procs off Mangles and Shreds, for some reason. I don’t think this is intended behavior, but it makes it very usable for ferals.
I decided to run the numbers twice; once with my gear, once with BIS gear, to see how the numbers change. (Rawr, as usual.)
- Scourgebane +132 DPS
- Berserking +110 DPS
- Executioner +104 DPS
- Massacre +104 DPS
- Mongoose +103 DPS
- Black Magic +97 DPS
- Scourgebane +144 DPS
- Black Magic +123 DPS
- Berserking +116 DPS
- Massacre +112 DPS
- Mongoose +99 DPS
- Executioner: +0 DPS (ArPen capped)
Scourgebane is obviously your best bet, if you purely run ICC. If not, then Berserking is probably your best choice. Mongoose remains a decent option for hybrids, but its not a contender like it once was. (sigh, time to switch enchants.) If you really hate proc effects, for some reason, then Massacre is a good choice as well. The behavior of Black Magic is interesting, but ultimately irrelevant since it does not provide an upgrade over Scourgebane.
Not much today, so here’s a funny flowchart. :) Credits to Ambrosine at I Like Bubbles.
Well, I said I wouldn’t rehash my previous thoughts on the new talents…and I was wrong. :) I’ve seen some good writeups from other feral bloggers, and I’ve changed my mind on a few. I’ve linked the new talents to Wowhead, but they’re not in the database yet- check here for the text.
- Improved Feral Charge: Increases your melee haste by 15/30% after you use Feral Charge (Bear) for 8 seconds, and Ravage will temporarly not require stealth for 3/6 seconds after you use Feral Charge (Cat). Moderately useful for bears, mostly a PvP talent for cats. The extra damage after a charge for bears is very nice to avoid threat pulls; however, GC has previously commented that threat past the few seconds should not be a major issue, so I see this more as a 5-man talent. For cats, this is highly unlikely to be used in a PvE scenario, due to threat. Yes, you could theoretically go Prowl->Feral Charge->Stealthed Ravage->Savage Roar->TF->Unstealthed Ravage for some nice burst, but the mob will then eat your face. Some have speculated on EJ that you could Bear FC and then shift to Cat, keeping the damage buff; I think not only would that be a DPS loss, it’s a misreading of the tooltip.
- Fury Swipes: When you auto-attack while in Cat Form or Bear Form, you have a 4/8/12% chance to gain an extra auto-attack on the same target. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds. Poor for bears; meh for cats. At the moment, this talent is pretty underpowered, especially for bears. Cats have 60 auto-attacks per minute (before haste); this bumps that up to 64-65ish, which boosts our white damage by 6-8% or so, which increases our overall damage by 3-4%ish (much depends on how much more damage (proportionally) will come from our white damage in Cata; now, it’s only about 35%). Bears only get 24 auto-attacks a minute, though, so so you’re only looking at 2-3 extra attacks a minute for the 3 points, and white attacks have never hit that hard anyway. I’d like to see the 6s CD dropped some; I don’t expect it to be removed entirely due to PvP burst complaints (OMG ferals have windfury QQ), but 3s would be a little better.
- Predatory Strikes (redesigned): Increases the critical strike chance of your Ravage by 25/50% at or above 90% health, and your finishing moves have a 10/20% chance per combo point to make your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 seconds become an instant cast spell. PvP talent. See the Imp. FC discussion above.
- Endless Carnage: Increases the duration of your Rake by 3/6 seconds and your Savage Roar and Pulverize by 3/6 seconds. Exceptionally powerful talent for bears and cats. A 66% increase in Rake’s duration is VERY strong. Rake was already one of our strongest abilities by DPE but was hard to consistently keep up with the 9s duration, since it was prioritized behind Rip/Savage Roar/Glyph of Shred shreds. The duration increase to SR is nothing to sneeze at, either, and will make low-cp SR’s less painful. For bears, longer Pulverize duration means that you should be able to keep Pulverize up nearly 100% (depending on rage) which means more threat and (more importantly) more Savage Defense.
- Primal Madness: Tiger’s Fury and Berserk also increases your maximum energy by 6/12 during its duration, and your Enrage and Berserk abilities instantly generates 0/12 Rage. Situational for bears; poor for cats. Unless something changes dramatically, a good feral DPS never energy caps, so bumping our cap up temporarily doesn’t do anything for us and actually encourages bad habits. Bear-wise, more rage is nice, but it’s stuck behind KOTJ, which isn’t really a great bear talent either. I speculate that they plan to permanently drop the armor debuff from Enrage, or at least make it less painful: why would they keep buffing it otherwise?
- Nom Nom Nom: When you Ferocious Bite a target at or below 25% health, you have a 50/100% chance to instantly refresh the duration of your Rip on the target. Very powerful for cats. First, is there anyone that doesn’t like the name? KEEP NNN BLIZZ! Second, this brings a welcome change to the kitty DPS rotation and brings us more in line with other melee DPS classes who have a stronger(“execute”) attack sub-25%. Anything else will have to wait for actual numbers, but it’s good to see FB being rehabilitated. This may finally make Feral Aggression worth taking for cats (but don’t count on it.)
- Pulverize: Requires Dire Bear Form. Deals 100% weapon damage plus additional 786 damage for each of your Lacerate applications on the target, and increases your melee critical strike chance by 2% for each Lacerate application consumed for 10 seconds. Very powerful for bears. This will drastically shake up the bear single-target rotation, which is good. Since FFF’s cooldown will be greatly reduced, I’d imagine its power will be drastically weakened, taking it out of the general bear rotation. I like the Pulverize-Savage Defense synergy.
Overall, I’m very excited with the direction in which Feral is going right now. Bring on Cata already! :)
Well, it’s good to see my source was accurate. :) The official current draft of the talent trees for Druid/Priest/Rogue/Shaman were publicly released yesterday. I’d previously discussed the new talents here and here, so i won’t rehash those; instead, I’ll look at a few potential feral builds. (These talent trees are nowhere near done; I expect Improved Mangle to be buffed/changed, SOTF is “supposed” to go away, and the Imp. FC/Pred. Strikes/Ravage synergy to be reworked. NS+MS could use a look as well. Primal Madness seems very underpowered.)
Cat: 0/53/18, 5 free points
Cat is pretty flexible. In its current incarnation, you have plenty of flex points; the 5 free ones I’ve indicated above, plus a few points that you have to put in to move down the tree. In this build, I’ve picked up all the survivability talents, leaving you to choose from Imp. Mangle/Feral Aggression for more DPS, Infected Wounds for backup debuff support, or bear talents for emergency tanking. At the moment, I’m considering Imp. FC/Pred Strikes to be PvP talents, so not taking those. The 18 points in Resto are pretty mandatory.
Bear: 0/53/21, 2 free points
Bear, in contrast, is much less flexible, due to taking 21 points in Resto. Until we see how heroics play out, I want to keep the 3 points in Feral Instinct to buff Swipe, so any flexibility (to buff Feral Aggresion, for example) will probably have to come from dropping NS+MS in Resto. Depending on how Rage works, OOC may be droppable; Lacerate will be used more (since we’re consuming them via Pulverize) so your 2 free points will either be used for Shredding Attacks or Imp. FC.
Hybrid: 0/60/16, 0 free points
Happily, a hybrid build still looks to be pretty viable, taking the Bear build and sacrificing the free points and NSS+MS to pick up Shredding Attacks/KOTJ/NomNomNom (heh).
I’m sure most of you read wow.com already, but if you don’t, please check out Allison’s latest Shifting Perspectives column on troubleshooting cat DPS. Some excellent advice there (of course, the linkback doesn’t hurt).
Failure to energy pool. If all of your buffs/DoTs are up, it’s tempting to spam Shred as soon as you have the energy required. Don’t. Let that energy accumulate up to about 80 or so before firing off that Shred; this gives you a small reserve for when you DON’T want to wait (Rip down and need CP’s, etc.)
Let me get mathematical on you for a second. In any given boss fight, we have a potential maximum DPS, based on our stats (from gear and buffs), our skill (determining the best ability priority order to follow and then following it perfectly) and luck (crits, procs, etc.) Since luck is uncontrollable, we discuss how to maximize our stats and our skill.
With that in mind, let’s look at Ferocious Bite. Using my current gear (ICC25N level) as a rough measure in Simulationcraft and my current derived optimal rotation, I can pull 11402 DPS given perfect conditions (pre-ICC buff). If I eliminate FB from the rotation, my DPS drops to 11386, a 0.15% reduction. QQ. Even for a BiS feral, who has the gear to fully maximize FB, the DPS drop goes from 14104 to 13992, or a 0.8% reduction. Meh.
Here’s my postulate: For the vast majority of players, attempting to use Ferocious Bite as part of a DPS rotation (not counting target-about-to-die situations) will complicate the rotation more, which will lead to more errors in executing that rotation. This will lead to overall lower DPS.
Feel free to discuss in the comments. :)
Some more serious content coming tomorrow (hopefully) but haven’t seen this publicized anywhere on the major news sites; apparently the Android version of the remote AH app dropped today. It looks SWEET. (of course, my realm’s going down for 24h maintenance right when I get it.)