The Fluid Druid’s Cataclysm Feral DPS Guide

 

Edit: Hey, there’s a 5.0/Mists of Pandaria guide now! Go check that one out!

Hello, and welcome to The Fluid Druid’s feral DPS guide! Want to rip some face, but don’t know how? You’re in the right spot. I’ll cover everything you need to top the DPS charts and win awesome loot. (Which you’ll never see, since you’re always in cat form. Sadly, some sacrifices must be made.)

Notes: This guide is written on the intermediate level, and assumes you are familiar with basic WOW skills and mechanics, such as movement, targeting, and cooldowns, and basic WOW terminology (DPS, aggro, threat, etc.) Much of the content is intended for max-level players who are raiding, but it’s mostly applicable to 5-man content as well.

Now updated to 4.3. Also check out Mihir’s guide at MMO-Champion, which is somewhat more comprehensive.

If you like this guide, donations are appreciated.


Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Talent Tree Analysis
  • Talent Specs
  • Glyphs
  • Stats
  • Gemming/Reforging
  • Enchants/Consumables
  • Resource Management
  • Abilities
  • Rotation
  • Addons
  • FAQ’s
  • Appendix

Introduction

What do we do? Mostly, we kill things, fast and stylishly.  We can go bear or caster for emergency tankage or heals if things go bad. We have a few CC options (somewhat limited), a good group buff, and we bring people back to life! Mostly, we’re awesome. (Oh, and we can turn into birds and fly away if things look bad. Everyone else can have sparkleponies; give me instant Swift Flight Form any day.)

Strengths

  • Speed. With Feral Swiftness, Feral Charge, Dash, and Stampeding Roar, cats are the most mobile role in the game, bar none. As raid encounters continue to get more complex and require more movement, the ability of cats to open and close range quickly becomes essential.
  • Durability. While this advantage is not as pronounced as it used to be, a feral druid can easily talent into Nurturing Instincts, one of the best (and most under-appreciated) +healing talents in the game. With one of the key limiting factors in new raid content being healer mana, anything you can do to reduce the amount of healing you need is essential.
  • Best off-tanking potential. If a tank goes down, a cat druid is quite possibly the best emergency tank in the game. While a fully-specialized cat druid will not have the talents or damage mitigation to stand up for long, the agility used to buff our damage also buffs our avoidance. With a little luck and some cooldowns, a cat druid can go bear and finish most fights.
  • Some off-healing potential. Again, with NI, we can heal a bit, but we won’t have the mana or talents to put out any sustained heals. A NI’ed Tranquility, though, can easily save a tank/raid.

Weaknesses

  • Complicated rotation. The feral druid rotation is commonly cited as the most difficult DPS rotation in the game to learn. While recent fixes has helped in this regard, we’re still not a hunter or mage who can simply press a few buttons in sequence and do well. Personally, I enjoy the complexity of the rotation, but I understand why many may not.
  • Off-role potential makes specialization difficult. This was a large problem back in BC, and may return with the revamped talent trees. Essentially, because druids are the class that changes roles best/easiest, they’re typically the ones which raid leaders will ask to change. You might like this, or you might not. (For cats, it’s not so bad, but bears really get screwed by this. Since bears’ DPS in cat form was so much better than other tanks, bears were generally always forced into the off-tank role.)
  • Slow damage ramp-up. A large portion of our damage comes from our two bleeds, Rip and Rake (which is a large change from WOTLK, when ArPen stacking and Shred spam was king). Unfortunately, those bleeds take some time to put up. On an add-heavy fight, we do well if adds die quickly (due to our mobility) but not so well if they die slowly. On movement-heavy fights, this hurts us as well, though our inherent speed often lets us stay on a target just a split-second longer before disengaging.

Talent Tree Analysis

Here, I’ll quickly run down the talents and their applicability for cats. I’ll only cover the talent with full points invested, unless otherwise noted.

Feral Tree

Tier 1

  • Feral Swiftness (2 points): Increases your movement speed by 30%. Mandatory, IMHO.
  • Furor (3 Points): Gives you 100 energy when you shift into cat form. Meh. Good for hybrid specs (it sucks to shift to Bear and not have any rage to do anything) but not a great talent.
  • Predatory Strikes(2 points): Increases Ravage crit chance by 50% with target above 80%; Nature spells can be instant-cast for free after a 5CP finisher. Great talent for leveling or questing, good for PvP, great for add fights. Generally worth taking before Furor, but somewhat worthless for DPS without Stampede. With Nurturing Instincts, you can throw out some decent insta-Healing Touches with this.

Tier 2

  • Infected Wounds (2 points): 20% attack speed slow (all)/50% movement speed reduction(non-bosses). Bear/PvP talent. Tanks will have this, so you don’t need it except in very specific situations where adds need to be slowed.  Good for a hybrid build.
  • Fury Swipes (3 points): 15% chance of proccing another attack. 3 sec ICD. Boring talent; you’ll take it, since it is a DPS boost, but not a large one. About 1% DPS per point.
  • Primal Fury (2 points): CP generating attacks that crit give 2 CPs. Mandatory.
  • Feral Aggression (2 points): Applies 3 stacks of Faerie Fire with one application. Increases FB damage by 10%. If you’re the only class in your raid that can apply the 12% armor reduction debuff, or for add fights, mandatory. Otherwise, semi-optional. About 0.5% DPS per point.

Tier 3

  • King of the Jungle (3 points): Your Tiger’s Fury also restores 60 energy. Mandatory.
  • Feral Charge (1 point): Allows Feral Charge. Mandatory.
  • Stampede (2 points): Your next Ravage after a Feral Charge (within 10 sec) may be performed while unstealthed and with a 50%/100% energy reduction. Very good talent for fights that involve movement. Mandatory.
  • Thick Hide (3 points): Bear talent. Skip it unless you’re going Hybrid.

Tier 4

  • Leader of the Pack (1 point): 5% crit buff to the raid, plus your crits heal yourself for 4%. Mandatory.
  • Brutal Impact (2 points): Decrease Skull Bash CD to 10s, Increase Pounce stun duration by 1s. Helpful for 5-mans,  not so much for raiding. Talk with your raid leader to see if you’ll be on interrupt duties.
  • Nurturing Instinct (2 points): Increases your healing by 100% of your Agility, and increases healing done to you by 20% in cat form. Mandatory for the +20% healing increase on you, which is HUGE for raids.

Tier 5

  • Primal Madness (2 points plus 3/3 in King of the Jungle): Berserk/TF temporarily increases your energy cap by 10. Horrible talent; only take if you have no other options. Hard to quantify, but I’d say 0.1% DPS increase per point. Beginners, however, may find it useful as it makes employing Tiger’s Fury significantly easier.
  • Survival Instincts (1 point): Allows the use of Survival Instincts. Arguably mandatory. I’d recommend it for a point, but it’s the same logic as NI above.
  • Endless Carnage (2 points): Increases the duration of Rake by 6s and Savage Roar by 8s. Mandatory for raiding.
  • Natural Reaction (2 points): Bear talent. Skip it unless you’re going Hybrid.

Tier 6

  • Blood in the Water (2 points):A Ferocious Bite on a target below 25% health refreshes your Rip. Mandatory.
  • Rend and Tear (3 points): On bleeding targets, increases Shred damage by 20% and FB crit chance by 25%. Mandatory.
  • Pulverize (1 point, plus 3/3 in Rend and Tear): Bear talent. Skip it unless you’re going Hybrid.

Tier 7

  • Berserk (1 point): Learn Berserk. Mandatory.

Resto Tree

Tier 1

  • Heart of the Wild (3 points): Increases Cat Form Attack Power by 10%. Mandatory.
  • Natural Shapeshifter (2 points): Reduces shapeshifting costs. Horrible talent, but you need it to get to the next tier.

Tier 2

  • Master Shapeshifter (1 point): Increases crit chance by 4%. You’re essentially paying 3 points for 4% crit. Bleh, but necessary.
  • Perseverance (3 points, not reachable at 80): Reduces spell damage by 6%. Situationally useful.

Talent Specs

Note: You really can’t mess up talents that much anymore, with the revamp. By all means, pick what you like if you don’t want to follow a guide. Also, wowhead’s glyph listings have been glitchy lately in the talent profiles, so just look below for glyph selection. For a Cataclysm leveling spec, see my leveling guide.

Cat Spec 0/32/6, three points free. (wowhead talent link)

Ferals have a LOT of flexibility in their talent trees, and it shows. The linked spec gets everything you need, and leaves three points for one of the recommended following choices:

  • Primal Madness, for every last scrap of damage.
  • Perseverance, to reduce incoming spell damage by 6%.
  • Infected Wounds, for specific fights in which adds need to be slowed.

CatBear Spec 0/32/6, three points free. (wowhead talent link)

If you desire, you can use your flexibility to create a cat/bear hybrid spec. You lose quite a bit of utility, but it is a very viable spec that will work for 5-man content and possibly raiding. (For more discussion about viability of hybrid specs, see my posts here and here.) Your free points can be used for the recommended following options:

  • Perseverance, to reduce incoming spell damage by 6%.
  • Feral Aggression, for faster stacking of the Armor debuff granted by Feral Faerie Fire and a bit more Cat DPS.
  • Brutal Impact, for more usable interrupts.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs The glyphs of RipBerserk, and Bloodletting are the best options. Substitute the Mangle glyph for Bloodletting for fights where you can’t attack from behind (such as Ultraxion). The Tiger’s Fury glyph is also an acceptable choice with 4pT13 to replace Bloodletting; theorycrafting indicates that it’s slightly better, but I generally think that real-world TF usage is nowhere near the sims, devaluing the glyph’s value somewhat.

Major Glyphs Only one I’ll say is mandatory is Faerie Fire; after that, take your pick.

  • Feral Charge – More charges is always a good thing. Recommended.
  • Rebirth – Not wasting that Rebirth is a REALLY good idea. Recommended.
  • Ferocious Bite – Bit of healing never hurt.
  • Maul – For hybrid specs.

Minor Glyphs Take your pick, though I’d definitely recommend Dash.


Stats

Primary Stats:

  • Weapon DPS. Unlike WOTLK, which featured an ugly hack for ferals (weapons in the hands of a feral granted “feral attack power,” which was used to calculate every stat), weapon DPS is now incorporated in every ability we have. The fastest way to increase your DPS is to, well, get a better weapon with better Weapon DPS. (See the FAQ for the boring details.)
  • Agility. Everything comes from Agility. Agility grants you 2 Attack Power per point (up from 1 in WOTLK) and also increases your crit. (As in WOTLK, the dodge this grants is very helpful for emergency tanking as well.) Agility affects 100% of our damage, and is our best stat by far.

Secondary Stats:

  • Mastery. Mastery increases the power of our bleeds significantly (1% of mastery increases bleed damage by 3.1%). Since the adjustment to bleed damage, mastery is no longer the best choice, but still a competitive one.
  • Hit/Expertise. Hit/Expertise prevents our attacks from missing or being dodged. At level 85, hit AND expertise rating cap for heroics (lvl 87 mobs) is 721/6%; for raids (lvl 88 mobs) hit rating cap is 961/8%; expertise rating cap is 781/6.5%. (Confused? See the FAQ.) For ease of rotation, I recommend capping hit/expertise.
  • Crit Rating. Crit is fun. More crit means more critical strikes, which hit for double the damage of a normal attack. Crit is a key part of our rotation via Primal Fury. Crit benefits all your attacks, and is the preferred reforging option for burst-type fights.
  • Haste Rating. Unfortunately, haste isn’t a very strong stat for us, compared to other classes. Haste has only two benefits for us; it speeds up our melee attacks, and slightly increases our energy regeneration.
  • Attack Power. Most items with +attack power are gone, but a few enchants and things still boost it. 2 AP is worth slightly less than 1 Strength.
  • For specific RSV (relative stat value) numbers, see the Appendix.

Gemming/Reforging

The introduction of Reforging into the game has made optimal character tuning more complex. (Before, you could simply gem your best stat and be done with it; now, not so much.) If you’re not familiar, reforging allows you to convert 40% of any secondary stat on your gear into another secondary stat. There are two approaches to this: Hit/Exp capping or Mastery maximization. With either approach, you’re looking to reforge away from hit/exp, haste, or crit (in that order) to mastery, currently our best secondary stat.

Gemming/Reforging Strategy:

I’m not going to recommend epic gems; the amount you gain for the cost is very very small. If you can afford to use them, feel free.

  1. Gem Agile Shadowspirit Diamond, or Relentless Earthsiege Diamond if you’re cheap, in your meta slot. (Yes, the level 80 gem is the second best option.)
  2. The only socket bonuses worth activating are +20 agility and up, and only if you can get it by changing a single red. For yellow sockets, get the Adept Ember Topaz. For blue sockets, get an Etched Demonseye or a Shifting Demonseye. (Alternatively, if you only have a single yellow or blue socket on your gear and you need to activate a meta, use a Sensei’s Dream Emerald.) Obviously, do what you need to do to activate your meta.
  3. Fill the rest of your sockets with Delicate Inferno Rubies.
  4. Reforge to…whatever you’d like, really, all the secondary stats are very well balanced. My general preference is capped hit/expertise, then mastery.

Enchants/Consumables

All crafting professions have one ability/enchantment that can increase your agi by +80, so dual crafting professions are ideal for DPS maximization. Skinning or Herbalism grant +80 to a secondary stat, which is significantly inferior, and Mining boosts Stamina, which is  99% worthless for DPS.

Resource Management

In any fight, a cat druid has two distinct resources that must be managed: energy and combo points. I’ll discuss each in detail.

Energy Energy is the primary resource for the cat druid. All of our attacks are powered by energy, and increasing our energy generation directly impacts the amount of attacks we can use during a fight. Unlike a warrior’s rage, we start any fight with max energy (100/100) and our energy constantly regenerates, at a rate of 10pts/sec. (0.1pt/sec increase for each 1% of haste.) The cardinal sin of a feral druid is allowing your energy to cap, as this stops your energy regeneration. Conversely, another sin (though not as big) is energy starvation; if you constantly launch attacks on lower-priority abilities as soon as you regenerate enough to do so, you may not have enough for higher-abilities when they’re available. (More on this later.) A good flow for a feral druid is to use high-priority attacks (Rip/Rake/SR) as soon as possible, and save low-priority attacks until energy regenerates to 70-80 or so. If this was all we had to worry about, things would be easy; pick the attack with the highest DPE (damage-per-energy). However, we also have to consider another resource.

Combo Points The cat druid’s toolbox revolves around two types of attacks: combo point generators and combo point users. Combo point generating attacks generate 1 CP, or 2 on a crit (assuming you’ve talented Primal Fury, which you should). Most combo point using attacks reach maximum effectiveness at 5CP’s, so the general flow of combat is to build CP’s using CP generators, then release them via a CP using attack, and repeat.


Abilities

CP Generators

  • Shred (40 energy): Your primary CP generator and filler attack. If you don’t know what to do, Shred. One note: Only use Shred if the +bleed debuff is up (if not, use Mangle to put it up), and remember that it’s only usable from behind an enemy. You may laugh, but for some enemies, it’s very difficult to determine what constitutes “behind” (Yogg-Saron) and some enemies won’t let you behind them (Kologarn). If in doubt, use a cat Feral Charge, which automatically positions you behind the enemy.
  • Mangle (40 energy): Mangle hits for a good amount, and also puts up the +bleed debuff, which boosts the damage of your bleeds (and Shred) by 30%. If you have a bear druid, subtlety rogue, or arms warrior in your raid, they will put the +bleed debuff up as part of their rotation, so you won’t have to Mangle at all. (Unless they die, or something.) No positional requirement, so this is your primary attack when solo. You’ll have to use this as your primary attack on Ultraxion.
  • Rake (40 energy): Your secondary DoT (damage over time) bleed attack. It hits for a small amount on application, then does a good bit of damage every 3s for 15 sec (fully talented). Pretty much, whenever Rake drops, use it again to put it back up, unless Rip or SR is down.

CP Generators (from Stealth)

  • Ravage (60 energy): Useful in PvE because of the Stampede talent, which (when talented) procs off of Feral Charge and gives you a reduced cost/free Ravage that can be used (once) without being stealthed. Ideally, try not to use when close to energy cap; use an energy-consuming move first, then the free Ravage while you’re regenerating. Some advanced players may insist on running out of melee range and charging back in every time Feral Charge comes off cooldown, to get more free Ravages; the usefulness of this is disputed. With 4pT13, you also get a free Ravage every time you use Tiger’s Fury. Make sure you don’t TF after a Charge without using your Ravage first; the buff will simply overwrite.
  • Pounce (50 energy) 3s stun + minor bleed damage, primarily used for PvP.

CP Consumers

  • Rip (30 energy): Your primary DoT bleed attack. It hits very hard, ticks every 2 seconds and lasts quite a long time (up to 22 seconds) with Glyph of Shred. It should not be used with less than 5 CP’s; however, getting to 5 CP’s to use it is your first priority. Will be about 20% of your damage on any given fight.
  • Savage Roar (25 energy): Grants a buff that increases your white damage by 50% (55% glyphed), which lasts longer as you invest more CP’s into it. While it’s most efficient at 5 CP’s, you’ll want to use it whenever it drops to keep it up. It was much more important in WOTLK, when it buffed all damage by 30%; our white damage is (comparatively) much smaller now. Note that any CP’s “left” on a dead enemy can still be used to power Savage Roar…as far as I can tell, they stay on the corpse until it disappears.
  • Ferocious Bite (35 energy + up to 35 energy): Ferocious Bite is your “dump;” it converts a minimum of 35 and maximum of 70 energy into a hard-hitting attack on the target. (The DPE scales exactly, so don’t worry what energy level you use it at.) If there’s plenty of time left on Rip and SR (+10s or so), go ahead and Bite once you get 5cp. When an enemy’s health is below 25%, the Blood in the Water talent will cause your FB to refresh Rip; at this point, you should be solely using FB at this point to keep your current Rip rolling. With 2pT13, this threshold is raised to 60%, which will cause you to bite quite a bit more.
  • Maim (35 energy): Long stun and small bleed; primarily used for PvP.

Other Combat Abilities

  • Tiger’s Fury (free, off GCD, 30s CD): TF is another essential ability; it gives you an immediate 60 energy (talented), and gives you a 15% damage buff for 6sec. Some people argue that holding Rip/Rake back to stack with TF is an overall dps boost, but I haven’t seen any concrete evidence of that. In any event, leaving TF off cooldown is essentially like energy capping, so if it’s available, immediately use Shred/FB to dump energy and hit TF to refill. (It’s off-GCD, which means it can be used independently of your other abilities.)
  • Omen of Clarity (passive ability) : Frequently referred to as OOC, an Omen proc makes your next ability cost 0 energy. You don’t really need to adjust your rotation for Omen at all; just make sure you use your next ability immediately when you get an Omen proc, as a second proc will get wasted if there’s one already up.
  • Faerie Fire Feral (free, 6s CD): For cats, FFF is primarily used to put the -12% armor debuff up on the enemy. Warriors and Rogues can also do this, but they lose DPS to do so; cats can apply FFF from range, which should be your first action upon entering combat.
  • Swipe (45 energy): Our AOE (area-of-effect) attack, hits all enemies in a cone in front of you.
  • Thorns: This previously useless ability has been buffed to be somewhat useful for ferals, now that it scales off AP or SP. It was (temporarily) overpowered in 4.0.1, doing about 2.5x the damage it does now. Still, if you’re in a movement phase of a boss fight and you can’t DPS, or your tank is struggling with AOE threat, this can help. Note that it does shift you out of form.
  • Cower (20 energy): Previously the most useless ability in the game at 80, this has been changed to reduce threat by 10%, making it much more useful. If you see yourself creeping up on the tank’s threat, hit Cower.
  • Wild Mushroom (free, .5s cast time): This currently scales only with SP, so I don’t see this being useful for cats…but I’m listing it here in case someone comes up with something.

Survivability Cooldowns

  • Dash (free): Increases your movement speed by 70% for 15s. More a PvP thing, but it’s saved me countless times.
  • Barkskin (free, off GCD, 1m CD): 20% incoming damage reduction for 12 sec. Know Barkskin. Love Barkskin. Use Barkskin anytime you have raid damage incoming. Make your healers happy.
  • Stampeding Roar (30 energy, 2m CD): Increases all players within 10yards movement speed by 40% for 6s. I’m pretty sure this will be mostly useless, except for one or two fights where it’s overpowered. Therefore, it’s “balanced.”
  • Survival Instincts (5m CD): 60% incoming damage reduction for 12 sec. Supercharged Barkskin. SI + Barkskin together is about as close as you can get to invincibility. Obviously, if there’s a period of huge raid damage, save it for that.)
  • Tranquility (8m CD): More for others than you, Tranquility (especially if you have NI) can bail your healers out (especially in a 5-man heroic). Just get ready to go bear since you’ll generate a lot of threat.

CC/Interrupts

  • Skull Bash (25 energy) : Interrupts enemy casts. Essential in some fights. If you will be asked to interrupt, make sure you pick up the Brutal Impact talent.
  • Soothe: Dispels enemy enrage effects; as with interrupts, essential for some fights. This spell is new for 4.0; I believe this shifts you out of Cat, so it’s best left to the moonkin/trees. (of course, if you don’t have any of those, then…)
  • Entangling Roots/Nature’s Grasp: Roots…roots an enemy, stopping it from moving, while NG auto-roots an enemy that hits you. More of a PvP spell, but Cataclysm instances may require you to use roots to keep an enemy locked down. Hint: Rooted (melee) enemies ignore threat and will attack anything in range, so try not to root one near a healer; rooting ranged enemies is pointless unless you can run out of range or break line-of-sight.
  • Hibernate: Good but limited CC option.
  • Cyclone: More of a PvP spell, but great for stopping (and protecting) a mind-controlled raid member.

Raid Buffs

  • Rebirth (30m CD!): Better known as battle rez or brez, this lets you bring somebody back to life in combat. Essential spell; a timely rebirth on a tank or healer has turned many wipes into kills. Extremely long cooldown, so it’s not as useful as it used to be.
  • Innervate (3m CD): Was once a useful raid buff we could give out; now useless for ferals since it uses our mana pool (previously used target’s mana pool). At level 80, gives the recipient about as much mana as a level 41 potion.
  • Mark of the Wild: 5% buff to all stats, automatically hits everyone in your party/raid. Easy to do, make sure to keep it up.
  • Revive: Well, not technically a “buff,” but it’s a lot better than leaving someone dead.

Rotation

 

(The term “rotation” is a misnomer, but is typically understood to represent the proper order in which to use your abilities to maximize your DPS.) The feral druid rotation is considered one of the hardest in the game; let’s just get that out of the way now. I’ll do my best to present it to you, but understand that it may take some practice to master.

Opening/On Target Switch:

  • Let the tank pull, if needed. If double potting, use a potion immediately before the tank pulls.
  • Use Feral Faerie Fire to put the -armor debuff up.
  • Feral Charge to proc Stampede, close the distance quickly and position yourself behind the target. (Many tanks like to run past the boss while pulling to immediately turn him away from the raid; if your tank does this, don’t charge early or you’ll end up in front.)
  • Mangle to put the +bleed debuff up.
  • Shred to burn some energy so you can use TF. (Use your free Ravage now if you have 4pT13).
  • Tiger’s Fury, then Rake. (Tiger’s Fury is off GCD so you can hit it at the same time as you hit another ability. Try to practice this. You do want to hit it slightly before your initial Rake so that the first Rake gets buffed.)
  • Berserk.
  • Ravage (burn your Stampede buff).
  • Rip (if you don’t have 5 cp, Shred first).
  • Transition to regular priority rotation.

Regular Priority Rotation:

  • Keep -armor debuff (from FFF) up.
  • Keep -bleed debuff (from Mangle) up.
  • Use TF on cooldown (make sure you’re below 40 energy).
  • Use Berserk on cooldown, unless you need to save it for a burn phase. (Don’t use it if TF will come off CD during Berserk; it’s best to use Berserk immediately following TF for stacking purposes but that can cause energy capping, so be careful.) If using a DPS potion, stack it with Berserk.
  • 5CP Ferocious Bite to keep Rip up during Blood in the Water phase (boss sub-25%) If Rip is about to drop, use FB at any CPs to refresh it.
  • 5CP Rip whenever it drops (don’t put Rip up with less than 5, except for situations where you have to move away from the boss).
  • Rake whenever it drops.
  • Savage Roar whenever it drops (best used with 5 CP’s, but put it back up with whatever you have).
  • 5CP Ferocious Bite (if you have 10+ seconds left on SR/Rip). Don’t expect to be able to do this in Cataclysm for a while.
  • Shred to generate CP’s.

Multitarget:

Swipe Swipe Swipe…hard to say more than that. Use when there is 3 or more adds that can be hit by it.


Addons

Obviously, our rotation revolves around energy, combo points, buffs, and debuffs. You need to track this information closely, and the default Blizzard UI is simply not up to the job. I’ve recommended a few addons below (and yes, there’s TONS more, just a few that I know will work).

Buffs/Debuffs/Cooldown Trackers:

NeedtoKnow (my favorite)
ForteXorcist

OmniCC (great supplement to the others)

Unit Frames (energy/CP’s):

Shadowed Unit Frames (using currently)
X-Perl
Pitbull

Druid-specific (implements elements from both):

Droodfocus
Badkitty
HearKitty (audible combo point sounds! Love it!)

Ability Suggesters:

These semi-controversial addons take a list of rules (like the ones displayed above) and suggest the best ability to use next. The most well-known one during WOTLK was FeralByNight (broken now), but I’ve been heavily involved in the development of scripts for Ovale. Slavishly following Ovale’s recommendations is not optimal, but it’s an excellent learning tool/brain focuser. Give the scripts below a try, and see what you think.

Ovale
(EDIT: Ovale script links go out-of-date quickly, just check the forum for the latest).

Out-of-Game Tools:

Mew
Rawr
Simulationcraft

Other Resources:

Mihir’s Cat Guide on mmo-champion
WoW Insider’s Shifting Perspective druid columns
Elitist Jerks Druid Forums
Cataclysm raid buff/debuff list


FAQ’s

(Somewhat based on Kalon’s excellent 4.0.1 Bear FAQ)

Q: TL;DR. Can you sum this guide up in a paragraph?

A: Spec this. (wowhead talent link) Reforge hit/exp/haste/crit to mastery. In combat, keep FFF, Mangle, Rip, and Rake debuffs up, keep Savage Roar up, and spam Shred. Regem to Delicate Inferno Rubies. Come back later and read the whole thing. Donate. :)

Q: Wouldn’t charging in bear form to proc the bear Stampede buff (30% haste/10s) and then shifting to Cat be awesome?

A: Yes, the ursine cannonball is always fun, but it’s not optimal for DPS. It doesn’t work anymore (you lose Stampede when you shift) and the free Ravage was better anyway.

Q: When are strength items (jewelry/trinkets) better then agility items?

A: For an exact answer, use a simulator. For a rough answer, I’d say about three tiers of difference, with tier meaning either 13 ilvl points or a change in quality (rare->epic, for instance). This means that the Tol Barad strength trinket, for example (ilvl 359 epic) would be pretty close to a ilvl 333 blue agility trinket (normal 85 dungeon).

Q: What’s this Mastery thing?

A: At level 80, you can learn Mastery from your trainer. While in cat form, our Mastery, Razor Claws, increases our bleed damage by 25.04%. For each point of Mastery (30 Mastery rating), this increases by 3.1%.

Q: Any other new bonuses?

A: Leather Specialization, which gives us +5% agility for wearing all leather. (Not sure why you’d wear anything else…but we’ll take it.)

Q: WTF where’s my Feral Attack Power on my weapon?

A: Gone. You use the damage range of the weapon now, like everyone else. From EJ: “Both the minimum and maximum damage from the weapon are divided by its attack speed. These values are multiplied by the base swing speed of the form you’re in (1 for cats, 2.5 for bears), and those values are then added to your minimum and maximum damage without a weapon equipped.” In other words, don’t worry about the weapon’s swing speed.

Q: Why are feral druids so awesome?

A: It’s the fur.


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Appendix

Relative Stat Values (generated by Mew, 85 values still fluid): (EDIT: These are vastly out of date; that said, the basic rule of Agility being worth 3x secondary stats and secondary stats being roughly equal is still correct.)

Lvl 85, blues Lvl 80, ICC25
Weapon DPS 3.91 5.13
Agility 2.59 4.07
Strength 2.03 2.68
Attack Power 0.96 1.84
Mastery 0.94 3.18
Crit 0.76 2.02
Haste 0.72 1.48
Hit 0.66 1.90
Expertise 0.66 1.90

If you don’t know what this means, each “point” of Agility, or Mastery, or whatever, is worth X DPS. Due to scaling effects from gear and raid buffs, numbers get bigger, but their relative order stays the same. (This is a welcome contrast from WOTLK where ArPen’s value dramatically fluctuated.)

 Posted by at 12:32 pm

  6 Responses to “The Fluid Druid’s Cataclysm Feral DPS Guide”

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  2. […] The Fluid Druid’s Cataclysm Feral DPS Guide This is oriented more toward a cat at 80, but still has a lot of valuable information. […]

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  4. Would 2 piece of t12 and 2 piece of t13 be better then 3 piece of t13.

    Thanks

  5. Under secondary stats you list Mastery as no longer our strongest secondary stat due to changes in bleed damage. Just a couple lines lower in the reforge section you say that mastery IS our best secondary stat. Anyway you can clarify?

    • wintersoul. I think he meant that mastery is the best stat u can reforge to if ur hit/axp capped, as u cant reforge to agi.

      _salamine_

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