Cataclysm Classic Feral Druid DPS PvE Guide

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Welcome to our Cataclysm Classic Feral Druid DPS PvE guide. We have designed this article to help you understand how to deal damage as a Feral Druid in a high-end raid setting. It should be enough for beginners to gain a solid grasp on the fundamentals of the spec, and should also be a reference for players who have specific questions about our mechanics.

Cataclysm Classic Feral Druid DPS PvE Guide

As a DPS it is your job to do as much damage as possible while taking as little as possible and using your utility abilities intelligently. Be ready to use Rebirth, Tranquility, or Innervate if needed, and use CC if called for. You should also be ready to act in a hybrid dps/tanking role, since you can easily grab every important talent and glyph for both tanking and dps and operate at 95% efficiency or more in both roles at the same time.

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Cataclysm Classic Feral Druid DPS PvE Guide: Talents

For choosing Feral as your spec you get Aggression (increases your AP by 25%) and the ability Mangle. We also get a 2 part mastery, one for cats and one for bears. The cat portion of our mastery is called Razor Claws and increases the damage of bleed abilities by 3.1% per point of mastery.

For dps you absolutely want to pick up the following talents:

Other talents that I would recommend are:

Even grabbing all of those still leaves you with points to pick up situational talents such as Brutal Impact, Perseverance, or Stampede. Or you can also pick up Thick Hide and Natural Reaction so you’re ready to be an emergency tank if your main tank dies.

A basic spec might look like this: Talent Calculator. Here are my personal feelings on when and where the various optional talents are useful:

Perseverance – Reducing damage taken is always a good thing, however I generally find other talents more useful. I kind of consider this the default option – if you’re building a perfect talent spec for one specific fight and none of the other optional talents apply to the fight, then this talent is perfect for sinking those last few points.

Stampede/Predatory Strikes – Really nice for add fights. You can also use these talents to run out of melee range and Feral Charge back in for a free Ravage every time your Feral Charge cooldown is up for a nice dps increase. This does add some complexity to your rotation; if you’re unable to use this tactic while also dodging fires or whatever mechanics the encounter throws at you, focus on staying alive first. Dead dps do 0 dps. But if you can handle the added complexity you should.

Feral Aggression – Pretty handy by allowing you to apply 3 stacks of Faerie Fire at once, and more importantly buffs Ferocious Bite. The effect on overall dps is pretty minor but usually worth the points.

Brutal Impact – Necessary if you are on interrupt or stun duty, useless otherwise. No middle ground here.

Nurturing Instinct – Not a strictly necessary talent, but this is probably the last “optional” talent I would consider giving up. Not only does it help you stay alive by increasing heals done on you, but it greatly buffs your Tranquility. If you’ve never used Tranquility during periods of high raid damage, well, you should. Even from a feral, a Tranquility buffed by Nurturing Instinct does a massive amount of healing.

Primal Madness – Very weak, I would almost never consider taking this. If you do want to use this talent you can and should make a macro to cancel the Primal Madness buff when you are at or near 0 energy to get the most out of it.

Thick Hide/Natural Reaction – Obviously necessary if you’re going to be a hybrid dps/tank. But even for a “pure” dps role these are my standard choices. Tank deaths happen, and if you have these talents and pop a couple cooldowns you can easily tank any raid boss long enough for your raid to battle rez the main tank and get him buffed and ready to take back over.

Infected Wounds/Pulverize – Necessary if you’re going for a hybrid dps/tank role, not worth it otherwise. Even for the emergency tank situation described above these talents are too weak to spend the points on unless your strat specifically requires you to tank.

Cataclysm Classic Feral Druid DPS PvE Guide: Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

Before you get 4T13 you should use Glyph of Rip, Glyph of Berserk, and Glyph of Bloodletting. Once you get 4T13 use Glyph of Tiger’s Fury instead of Bloodletting unless you’re using a trinket that benefits greatly from synching up with a 30 second cooldown on Tiger’s Fury. If you can’t use Shred go with Glyph of Mangle instead of Glyph of Tiger’s Fury/Bloodletting. Note that if you are an engineer you should not use Glyph of Tiger’s Fury as it will cause Tiger’s Fury to desync with Synapse Springs.

Major Glyphs

The major glyph that I’d most strongly recommend is Rebirth, as there is a world of difference between resurrecting someone with 20% health and 100%. Glyph of Feral Charge is also useful to increase mobility and allow more usage of the Stampede talent. Glyph of Ferocious Bite isn’t overly strong but is strictly beneficial now and certainly worth the slot. You may also consider Glyph of Maul if you plan on off-tanking.

Minor Glyphs

You can also consider Glyph of Challenging Roar if you plan on off-tanking.

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Cataclysm Classic Feral Druid DPS PvE Guide: Gear

Stats

Weapon DPS
Weapon DPS is calculated by taking the average of the minimum and maximum damage of a weapon and dividing that by it’s swing speed. All weapons with the same ilvl and type (1-hand vs. 2-hand) will have the same dps. This is our strongest stat. Note that unlike most/all other classes we don’t need to consider swing speed since we always have a base 1.0 second swing speed in cat form and weapon damage is normalized to this speed.

Agility
Agility increases your attack power and crit chance. Each point gives you 2 AP and it takes 324.85 agility for 1% crit. It is by far the best stat for dps and should be stacked whenever possible, though usually that only means gems and enchants because you cannot reforge for agility.

Strength
Strength increases attack power, providing 1 AP per strength. It is technically about as strong as the secondary stats, but since it competes directly with agility you almost never want a strength item. The only realistic situation where you’d even consider using a strength item is if you have access to a higher ilvl strength weapon than your current agility weapon, and even in that case you’ll definitely want to check Mew and Rawr to see if it’s actually better overall.

Mastery
It takes 179.28 mastery rating to gain 1 point of mastery. Each point of mastery increases your bleed damage by 3.1%. This affects Rake and Rip, it does not affect Shred.

Crit
You need 179.28 crit rating to gain 1% crit chance. This now affects all damage including bleeds.

Haste
You need 128.05701 haste rating for 1% haste. Haste increases your auto-attack swing speed and energy regeneration.

Hit/Expertise
You need 120.109 hit/expertise rating for 1% hit/expertise. Note that interrupts can no longer miss, so there is never a specific need to cap hit.

Gems

There is 1 real choice for your meta gem: Agile Shadowspirit Diamond. All red slots should be filled with Delicate Queen’s Garnet, or Delicate Inferno Ruby if you can’t find/afford the epic version. Generally you’ll want to skip blue or yellow socket bonuses and use delicates there as well. If a blue or yellow socket bonus is worth getting you should use Glinting Shadow Spinel or Deft Lava Coral. This can occur if the socket bonus is around 13-14 agility per non-red gem.

Reforging and Secondary Stat Considerations

This latest patch has brought all of the secondary stats quite close to each other. To my knowledge gearing setups that focus on haste, mastery, hit/exp cap, and balanced distributions all appear in simulations to be very similar in overall dps. So until further investigations find a more meaningful hierarchy of secondary stats feel free to set these up however you like. Do note that hit and expertise are clear favorites in AoE situations now that Swipe is worth using again.

Set Bonuses

The 2T13 bonus allows you to take advantage of the Blood in the Water talent starting at 60% enemy health rather than 25%. Aside from the obvious of using Ferocious Bite starting at 60%, this also raises the Feral Aggression talent from nearly required to definitely required.

The 4T13 bonus lets Tiger’s Fury activate Stampede. This pushes Glyph of Tiger’s Fury above Glyph of Bloodletting unless you’re an engineer with Synapse Springs or using a trinket that benefits greatly from synching up with a 30 second cooldown on Tiger’s Fury. It also, of course, requires you to Ravage a Stampede activated by Feral Charge before popping Tiger’s Fury, otherwise you’re throwing the bonus away.

Enchants

HeadArcanum of the Ramkahen
ShouldersGreater Inscription of Shattered Crystal
Back: Major Agility (22 agility)
Chest: Peerless Stats (20 to all stats)
Wrists: Agility (50 agility)
Hands: Greater Mastery (65 mastery)
LegsDragonscale Leg Armor
Feet: Major Agility (35 agility)
Weapon: Mighty Agility (130 agility)

Professions

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Cataclysm Classic Feral Druid DPS PvE Guide: Rotation

Depending on how exact you want your rotation to be it can become quite complicated. A simplified version would be

1. Keep up Feral Faerie Fire if there’s no other armor debuff
2. Keep up Mangle
3. Use Tiger’s Fury on cooldown (do not overwrite an existing Stampede if you have 4T13 though)
4. Use Berserk on cooldown
5. Keep up a 5CP Rip (including refreshing with Ferocious Bite below 25% boss health, or 60% health with 2T13)
6. Keep up Rake
7. Keep up Savage Roar
8. Feral Charge -> Ravage if your FC cooldown is up
9. Shred for combo points

Delaying Rip to line up with Tiger’s Fury is not generally thought to be a dps increase, but overwriting Rake with a Tiger’s Fury up is if the previous Rake has few ticks left. Perform your rotation as usual when getting OOC procs. Fitting in Ferocious Bite above 25% is also a dps increase if done right, meaning that you don’t lose too much time on Rip and Savage Roar.

Conclusion

Being a Feral DPS Druid in a high-end raid setting requires dealing as much damage as possible while using your abilities intelligently and being ready to act in a hybrid dps/tanking role. If you found this article helpful during your travels in Azeroth, let us know!

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