Friday, July 1, 2011

5x2 Project for Feral Druids

While writing my own suggestion for the 5x2 Project, aimed at healing priests, druids, paladins and shamans, I also managed to convince Love to give it a go for the Feral druid cat. If you want to know more about the project in general I suggest you check out my original post on the matter. As with my suggestion, we've both tried to keep within the limits of the project rather than making a perfectly efficient solution - because of this there might be some added keys or other key choices that would suit you better, but this is the core of it. Any extras can of course be added as they suit your playstyle and needs.

Cat DPS. (With Bear capabilities)
These keybindings will be complicated to learn, but very easy to use. All should be within reach without having to move your hands or stretch your fingers. The goal is for this feral to utilize its skills to their full potential and be as useful as it can be to his raid, and to feel that it is pulling its weight. 5 keys, WASD, space and Shift as a modifier will be used on the keyboard, on the mouse I will assume two fingers to be working fully for use of left, right, middle and scroll backwards and forward. These keys, while used in combinations will give you access to pretty much all skills you could ever need.
It will make use of a couple of macros and a few addons, all to reduce the amount of keys used mid combat.

  • This setup does require some sort of UI addon or some clever usage of mouse over macros. Suggestions for UI addons are Vuhdo, Clique+Grid or Healbot. Here is a good guide to get you started on that. And here is a good post about some Feral Druid specific macros. If you have any questions about a specific macro mentioned in this post, just ask!
  • I've bound E, which means you could probably make use of Q which is about equally accessible. But since it is out of the limits of this project I've not included it for this suggestion.
  • I've combined Tiger's Fury and Berserk into one key. Note that even if you always want to use Tiger's Fury with Berserk, you don't always want to use Berserk with Tiger's Fury. Therefore, if you really want to maximize your dps, you can keep TF clickable on your bars if you know you'll get into a part of the fight you'd want to save your Berserk for, like Bloodlust.
  • All the healing skills will end up on your caster form bar. This guide does not include a suggestion on how to bind those, but you can check out my healing keybinding guide for some inspiration"

I will skip:
Cower: If you don't want to use 30+ keybindings you'll never get all the skills that have some potential value, and this is one such skill. If you want to go all out from the start it could possibly be good, but just give the tank 5 seconds and you wont catch up on threat in any case. You'll reach 99.9% of your max damage without it.
Claw: Old skill that isn't used at all anylonger (as it is replaced by Mangle at level 10).
CC like Hibernate, Nature's Grasp, Soothe and Cyclone: Even in dungeons these are rarely used mid combat (except Nature's Grasp). Since key sacrifices has to be made somewhere, I've chosen these among others.
Enrage: Macro this to be used with one of your most used skills, like Mangle. You can still cast it before combat as the macro will use Enrage when you press Mangle whether you're hitting something or not.
Faerie Fire Feral: Only used on bosses, and then only every 5 minutes. Put it on your bars and click it while you run.
Maim: The good old stun, very rarely used in a raiding or instancing environment, since it was mainly used as an interrupt and we now have Skull Bash to do that.
Pounce: Bad opener for pve dps, therefore rarely used.
Prowl: Only used out of combat and can therefore safely be clicked. If you happen to quest a lot you could bind it to a key which is used less in solo play, like Tranquility.
Remove Corruption: Since this skill needs you to be in caster form to be used, I suggest you bind it on 1-4 on those bars (along with some healing skills)
Stampeding Roar: As Wowpedia puts it: "This ability is widely regarded as Blizzard's idea of a joke because no practical use has been found for it." While this isn't completely true, it's still not useful enough to warrant its own keybinding. The few situations you might need this (spreading after Blackout on V&T, quick positioning as bear tank), you can click it.
Travel Form: Only 10% faster and you lose all extra healing taken from Nurturing Instincts.

Middle mouse-Cat Form
Shift Middle-Bear Form

3-Ferocious Bite
Shift3-Savage Roar
Shift4-Berserk with Tiger's Fury macrod into it

Bear form:
1-Mangle (with Enrage macro)
Shift1-Demoralizing Roar
Shift3-Frenzied Regeneration
Shift4-Challenging Roar

E-Feral Charge
ShiftE-Skull Bash
ShiftScroll Up Once-Barkskin (castsequence)
ShiftScroll Up Twice-Survival Instincts
ShiftScroll Down for Swipe (with Thrash macrod before it in Bear Form)
ShiftScroll Down on friendly target for Tranquility (via Vuhdo or similar addon)
Shift-Left click dead chars portrait to cres (out of combat it will do normal Revive on dead player) (via Vuhdo or similar addon)
Shift-Right click alive chars portrait with mana pool for Innervate (Via vuhdo or healbot)


  1. Also, I agree about the uselessness of claw, cower, and maim.

    Also agreed about many of the listed things that can just as well be clicked. Long cooldowns, long-lasting crowd control, prowl, cower (if you use it), stampeding roar, rebirth, tranquility.

    Good point about travel form.

    Losing the short CCs and soothe is painful if you want to play at the best. When nature's grasp, cyclone, and soothe are helpful, you need to cast them NOW. I guess it's to be expected that some of the cuts are painful; these three I think are painful.

  2. Several things:

    " can keep TF clickable on your bars if you know you'll get into a part of the fight you'd want to save your Berserk for, like Bloodlust."

    Gah! Don't waste Berserk on a bloodlust. Berserk halves the energy requirements of your yellow attacks. During bloodlust: a) your energy is regenerating like crazy and b) you have tons of omen of clarity procs due to super fast white attacks. More energy + free attacks does not take advantage of Berserks energy saving options. Honestly, if you're in a burn phase save berserk for after BL is over and then you can keep up the high DPS longer.

    Current theorycrafting is showing benefits to keeping Beserk and TF desynched, but it's only a minor difference, but just a heads up on that one.

    Faerie Fire Feral - for most bears this should be an integral part of their rotation, since it has a high threat value. Also on target switches, you should be applying it as you run or charge to the next target in kitty.

    Enrage - this seems like a pretty poor setup the way you have it. Far too many runs, I've found myself waiting for enrage to come off cooldown before my next pull. So using it at random times is only going to exasperate the issue. Barkskin OTOH is a good idea to stick in a macro, I put it in shred for kitty and lacerate for bear.

    Where is Pulverize for da bears?

    I've done a lot of work to minimize my own bar setup as well, without artificially restricting myself to 5x2. Good luck with it though. :)

  3. Oh! Insightful comment, lovely :D

    "Gah! Don't waste Berserk on a bloodlust."
    "Current theorycrafting is showing benefits to keeping Beserk and TF desynched"
    With my low low Haste in t11 I've never had the problem of capping out energy even during a berserked BL, and I usually try to line up my TF to come up a specific amount of times that corresponded to Berserks cd. If you study Leafkiller's Ovale script you'll see that it only warns for Berserk even when TF is up, and he stated that it wasn't because TF wasn't supposed to be used at the start of a Berserk, but that you should have macroed them together already. I've been on holidays for two weeks now, so I haven't had a chance to check out t12 yet, where Haste will be valued higher, so I could be out of date with this simplifying tip. But with RSVs being pooh-pooh'd time and time again, I can't imagine stacking Haste being crucial for acceptable dps.

    The reason I've made a few sacrifices in utility, adaptability and dps is to keep the list of bindings to a minimum, and even now I've stretched it thin by macroing stuff together. I've strived to get the most out of a raiding Cat. "The most" being the key words here.

    "Faerie Fire Feral", "Enrage"
    The huge sacrifices in bear threat and utility are made because this is bearing from a cat POV, without the Pulverize talent, and without the tools to effectively MT anything. Possibly a hero-bear who jumps in to taunt, Enrage, soak a few hits with SI and BS and then go cat again. Or to pick up a few adds with Swipes and Thrashes, then have the dpsers blow them up.

    There are probably hundreds of ways these bindings and macros could be tweaked to fit peoples needs, but for my role in the raid and for my style this is what I came up with.