Tuesday, November 16, 2010

4.0/Cataclysm Simple Feral Cat Raid Dps Guide

I finally got Love to update his old post on Feral Cat Raid Dps. With all the changes to feral cat dpsing alot of new things have come into the picture for little cats to think about. If you're interested you can check the old post out here!
EDIT: This post was written before Cataclysm and some things might not be entirely correct anymore. This will give you a general idea of how to think about your feral cat in Cataclysm however.

After having promised Zinn to say something about ferals after 4.0.1, and after her reminding me a gazillion times, I finally decided that I had enough practical experience and knowhow to actually say something useful.

First I'll say that I like that ferals are now more accessible, and that if you're a newborn little kitten, this is actually a great time to get into it. Some have cried over ferals losing complexity, but I'd say they need to do their homework instead, as there is now a lot of room for minmaxing and timing, but it's not a must in order to get decent dps out of your furry little feline.

Back in the days only a minority could get even near their theoretical max dps, and a majority was left in the dust, because if your feral rotations fell, they fell like a house of cards.
Nowadays the rotations* are much more stable. Drop SR a few secs? No probs, you probably only lost a few autoswings, and perhaps even an OOC proc, no probs. Clipped Rake a second too early? No problems still, if you reapply your Rake with less than 3 seconds left, those 3 seconds (the last tick) will be added to your new Rake, same goes for Rip. You'll never see any crazy dips in dps if you just pool properly and run a decently tight rotation, without too much time spent away from the boss.

*They're not rotations, but I will call them that, as it's what other (easy /wink) classes call their buttonmashing

Since I'm not an active theorycrafter, and more of a guide-user than a guide-writer, I will only cite a few sources' info, and leave the indepth analysis and the extensive coverage of feraling to them, as they do it a whole lot better, and will also keep it more up to date when the Nerf Bat strikes.
(Consider this a tl;dr guide if you just want to find an introduction and random thoughts to let you find your bearings, but all the credit goes to the writers, links at the bottom).

Hit/Exp? Numbers? AARARGAGH!
Hit Rating: At level 80, in order to negate all misses on a 3 levels higher boss, you need 246 Hit, which will give you 8% Hit.
Expertise Rating: You need 6.5% dodge negation, which is 200 Expertise Rating, after that you won't get any benefits at all if you're behind your target. For some unknown reason Blizz (accidentally?) lowered the Dodge on the 83 bosses to 5.75%, which means that you need 177 Expertise Rating just at this moment. Might be changed at any time, so don't come after me with pitchforks and torches when the boss suddenly dodges one of your attacks and you wipe and everything explodes due to this.

You should note that you don't have to hit and exp cap yourself as a feral to deal competitive damage. In a best case scenario, perhaps, but not in the reality most of us live in.

Gemming, Reforging and all that new scary stuff you're supposed to know about all of a sudden:
There seems to be two routes for cats to go nowadays to deal damage. Either you reforge to Hit/Exp caps, plop Agi gems in your sockets, and go about your business as usual (my results weren't that impressive, but others say their numbers were ok), or you go the new and shining Bleed based way.
The short version of it is that because of us no longer having Arp, our relative stat values are now a bit more fixed, and that's why they are now actually quite useful to us.
Agi is our strongest stat, followed by mastery, and then Crit comes in, as it now benefits all our attacks, including dots.

This means that a good way to get your char back in shape would be to:
Regem all your items to Agility, Reforge all your items Haste (unless Haste is a lot lower than the Crit of that item) into Mastery, and put a Nightmare Tear into your best blue socket. If you have many yellow sockets, and you are not near BiS (as BiS most likely will have you crit capped anyway), you should also consider using Deadly Ametrines (Agi/Crit) in your yellow sockets, as the small difference in stat value can nowadays be outweighed by the bonus.

There are a couple of glyph slots left up to choice now, but the ones that increase your damage the most are these:
Glyph of Rip and Glyph of Shred, clearly stronger than all the others, as both of them increase your best damage skill by a substantial amount. My third glyph of choice is Glyph of Savage Roar. It increases the amount of damage that your Savage Roar increases your autoattacks with by 5%, so from 50% to 55%. Not especially strong considering your melee is only something like 15% of your damage according to Recount. But still a solid buff. The other alternatives for your third Prime would be TF and Berserk, but both of them have drawbacks that make them less useful.
Glyph of Feral Charge. Because flying cats are awesome. Some say that charging and Ravaging is a dpsgain. I say that... meh, /care. A few fractions of a percent isn't what I'm here for.
The two other Major's can be pretty much anything you want, as long as you DO NOT take Ferocious Bite glyph. It is a dpsloss, since the extra energy you save will only in the end be spent on Shreds that have worse DPE.
Glyph of Dash. For mobile fights like for example Professor Putricide, being able to run fast, and better yet, to run fast often, is a substantial damage increase.

And finally, the meat of the show, the rotation, with a bit of discussion. Like I said the last time though; "The idea isn't to keep your "rotations" perfect, since that is impossible, but don't let that get you down - instead try to break the lowest priority rule":


  1. Keep your debuffs up. Faerie Fire can be applied when engaging the boss, and you can refresh it with any of the several unused gcds you will have during its uptime. No problems here. And you must also keep Mangle up. Don't be afraid to clip a couple of seconds if you see that you will need to refresh Rake, Rip or that you will have to move. The duration of Mangle is 60 secs, and its Damage per Energy is actually half-decent now.
  2. Tigers Fury, make sure you're under 40 energy, or better yet, below 30 to give you some breathing room. A trick here is to use the 15% damage buff from TF to give your Rake/Rip some extra kick, and that means that if your Rake or Rip is just about to fall off, delay your TF a second or two. (Some say it's a damage loss in reality, and that only sims show an increase, but still; lots of room for minmaxing here, if that's your cup of tea).
  3. Berserk, this can be saved for burn phases and the like, and should also be delayed if your TF will come off soon, as you can first pop TF and then Berserk to get the 15% extra damage for all those Shreds.
  4. Ferocious Bites when the boss is at or below 25%, since your Blood in the Water talent will now refresh Rip's duration. Strangely enough this does not reset your Shred glyph, so you can't extend this new Rip with Shreds, but will have to Bite to refresh it again.
  5. Shred on clearcast. Personally I often disregard this rule and instead reapply Rake if that's what's needed, because the dps gain is minimal and I'd rather simplify it slightly and pay more attention to my movement and stuff like that.
  6. Rip, 5 combo points. My Rip usually accounts for some 30-33% of my total damage. That's one badass dot if you ask me.
  7. Rake. Some try to time it so that every second Rake gets a TF boost. This can be done since the cd of TF is twice that of a talented Rake. If you plan ahead in your rotations, and follow the rules of TF, this should happen anyway.
  8. Savage Roar. Woot! Talk about falling from grace. Roar is still good dps, but nothing relies on it anymore, so the other rules take precedence. Should still have a pretty high uptime, guessing something like 90-95%. Use at any combo amount, but 5 is best.
  9. Ferocious Bite. The prodigal son returns! Use when you have enough time left on Rip and Roar, and have 5 combopoints. 10 seconds left on both is a good and even number to remember.
  10. Shred to gain combopoints. The old usual guidelines apply: Pool to ~80 energy before doing this, as you want to be ready to refresh other skills when needed.

If you're unsure of what talents to pick, then Blizzard did their job. It was their stated goal to have fewer must-haves, and more utility talents. A fairly standard template could be something like this:

Most of the info comes from:
Covers all aspects of feraling and if you're hungry for more theorycrafting or indepth analysis of skill and talents, you really should give them a read. No, actually, give them a read anyway. They're both great. And if you're even slightly interested in feraling, you should also add http://fluiddruid.net/ to your blog reader, or just bookmark it if you're a bit more oldschool ;)

Have fun fellow cats, and remember the words of the wise Alamo:

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