Feb 192011
 

…is, frankly, not good. I’ve been holding this post for a while, waiting for something, anything…but Yawning’s departure for many of the same reasons has spurred me to action. Let’s list, shall we? Rant inc. (Oh, and thanks to all who wished me good luck on the CISSP. I have good feelings…just have to wait now.)

PvE

-Our finishers are too simplistic. During WOTLK, the importance of Savage Roar and the strength of Ferocious Bite worked well as a risk/reward CP dump; it felt like you were making a conscious decision every Rip cycle whether you had enough energy/time to get off the FB and get back up to 5 cp’s to refresh Rip/SR. The mechanic worked well, was pretty forgiving (you could skip FB’s entirely and still have competitive DPS), and offered a way to excel. With the reduction in importance of SR in 4.0, and the buffs to Shred in 4.0.6, all that is gone. Rip is still great, but the options after that are lackluster; Savage Roar is just a buff (which you can put up with any amount of CP’s, no risk/reward choice there) and FB is simply not powerful enough to be worth using, except for Blood in the Water. That doesn’t really add any decision-making; we just swap FB for Rip sub-25%. Rogues have 3 finishers (SnD/Rupture/Envenom(or Evis for combat)) as part of their rotation, and several others for utility. Can we have something like that, please? I’d love to be able to Rip/SR/decide between saving CP’s, FB for a bit more DPS, or pop a Druid version of Recup. Aren’t we the HoT class, anyway? Another interesting idea would be to rework Nurturing Instincts so that the buff to healing spells cast scales with the number of CP’s; so if I sit and try to chaincast heals as Feral, I’m effectively useless, but I can put out an occasional very strong heal. (If LOTP healing has to be nerfed or made Bear-only, do it.)

-For that matter, can we keep our Rip ticking at the same value, even if we shift out? I love losing 10k damage off a Rip tick because I’m rezzing someone. (I assume this behavior is still around, haven’t tested in a while.) Oh yeah, and our 4T11 buff fades when we shift out of form. Awesome.

-For an expansion which was supposed to herald the end of AoE, there’s quite a few boss fights which feature it. Our AoE is extremely weak; enough so to warrant benching on fights which center around add damage (Hi Maloriak!).

-Rip refresh behavior is frustratingly inconsistent. Sometimes I can refresh it; sometimes I can’t. Just treat it like Rake, and let me refresh it when I want, even if I’m refreshing it with less AP. If Atramedes is taking off, I want that Rip up NOW.

-Stampeding Roar is mostly ineffective, in it’s current state. I’d like to see either a range increase, or at least make it a targeted effect (which doesn’t really pass the common sense test, but eh). I’ve had SEVERAL occasions where I want to buff someone’s run speed, but if I’m not right on top of them, why bother?

-Skull Bash is a lot of fun, but has a high cost compared to other classes, and has significant lag. I hate being put on interrupt duty, simply because of the lag thing. (I have combat logs where my client records a successful interrupt, but *surprise* it wasn’t!).

-Primal Madness is still useless. (Yes, you can get a small DPS boost out of it by going to 0 energy and hitting a /cancelaura macro, but that’s ridiculous design.)

-Cower should not be avoidable. (Again, ridiculous design.)

-We still are pretty poor at target switching, since we don’t have a Redirect-type ability.

-For skilled players, our damage is low compared to other classes. (Currently fighting the shamans for last place, if you leave out alternate PvE specs like Arms, BM, sub, frost/arcane.) I don’t mind being at the tail end of the meters…if the tail end is 5-10% below. Right now, we’re at 15-20%.)

-For unskilled players, our damage is low compared to other classes, due to players learning the positional requirements of Shred. We’ve gone ahead and simplified everything else; might as well dump Shred and replace it with Mangle.

So, low AoE damage, low burst damage, low top-end damage, at least we have decent utility, right? Innervate! Battle rez after the shaman pops! Instant-cast roots for adds! (…okay, I’ll stop now.)

PvP

I understand that melee uptime on casters was too high in general (Warriors got similar nerfs to feral druids in terms of mobility). However, I think, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Druid DPS in PvP has always been balanced around having at least a reasonable uptime; if we can’t at least get off a Rip, than we’re functionally useless as a damage class. The damage rebalancing in the patch decreased this uptime requirement somewhat, but it neglected to note one key thing; survivability. We were essentially the “melee glass cannon;” we kept ourselves alive with a combination of relentless pressure (forcing defensive cooldown usage instead of damage cooldowns) and short-range Cyclones. By decreasing our mobility, we lost both of those. If this is the new paradigm, that’s fine, but melee classes either need greater survivability, or ranged classes need damage reductions. I don’t have much more to add; I think the issue has been discussed extensively already.

Communication

While the above stuff is annoying, it’s the communication issue that is the most upsetting. All of these problems have been raised repeatedly on both live and PTR forums, with no response. I’ve seen a lot of discussion about now the new technology enables quicker adjustments (hotfixes) to resolve issues. I’ve seen blue posts on both Warriors and DK’s discussing developer opinion on how the patch affected their classes’ mobility. Equal representation; that’s all we’re asking. Even if the answer is “Sorry, we’ve considered all of these issues and don’t see them as a problem at this time,” it’d be nice to hear SOMETHING.

(okay, /rant. Let me know what you think…I may clean this up a bit and post it in the WoW forums.)

 Posted by at 7:02 pm

  82 Responses to “The state of feral”

  1. Oh, and I’ve canceled my subscription renewal. :P We’ll see what happens over the next 2 weeks.

    • Shit.

    • I understand your frustration. I cancelled my subscription and then renewed but I am playing RIFT beta now and other games. Hope you come back and thanks for everything.

    • Sad to hear that. How will this affect your position as Feral columnist at WoW Insider? I was enjoying us having a dedicated Cat writer again. :(

    • This saddens me a bit, I’ve only recently stumbled upon this blog and have been checking it religiously since then. Almost as much as me topping the meters in my guild as a feral kitty knowing I should be way below those Locks/Hunters/Mages and Rogues…lol

  2. I definitely agree and I dont think I could of said it better myself.
    We currently have a lot more weaknesses then strengths currently.
    Also, a lot of people would argue Hybrids vs Pure dps class when it comes to dps. Maybe you can mention something on that. I still have people in my guild pist off at some hybrids dps >pure.
    I personally loved feral when I played one because its “rotation” wasnt ZZzzz.
    Dunno what to do now about ferals :|

    • I don’t think this “Hybrid vs Pure” is valid anymore. So many other classes have various utilities. Sure, I can pop out of feral and put down a weak heal, but then a “Pure” mage can out crowd control me, a skill far more useful than my weak heal.

      And then with dual specs, it isn’t as though everyone is even more hybrid, if not in the moment, a choice of build before every fight.

      Finally, with the new trees you now heavy spec into one style or another. Although not optimal, it was interesting to pull more restro into your feral build for a real hybrid dps/healer. With dual-spec, that just became less useful though.

      It must be hard for Blizzard to balance everyone, but really, everyone should be pretty close to one another on dps or healing and the usefullness of their utility.

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. It pretty much summarizes my exact feelings.

    I think the biggest problem is that we are being forced from being a true hybrid class in vanilla/tbc to having to choose between damage (caster/melee), tanking or healing. And while it is nice to be able to do a single job well, whenever we spec into something, we lose the ability to do anything else.

    I remember when being feral (TBC) meant being good at either dealing damage or tanking, being fairly good at the other and still able to do fairly significant heals with nurturing instinct.

    Currently, when you spec into cat, you give up a lot of tanking talents. When you spec into bear, you give up a lot of dps talents. While dual-spec somewhat takes care of that, it does not address the thing I miss the most: that as a feral, you cannot heal yourself at all by throwing a few hots on yourself, as was the case in TBC.

    If we are supposed to be purely rogues or warriors, then give us rogue and warrior utilities. Make us unique, rather than giving us the most basic moves needed to tank or dps. Stuff like cloak of shadows, heroic leap, spell reflect, intervene, sweeping blades…

  4. I agree with a lot of what you say, especially the last point. It’s been ridiculous that there has been no comments from Blizzard on feral concerns at all over the last month(s?). The last one I remember was one back during the 4.0.6 when they said they were only testing the shapeshift not breaking roots and it was far from decided that it would go live.
    Guess they forgot about the classs/spec.

    • To add more to my own post:

      I think the joke on the ferals really began early on in the Cataclysm development.
      First off, Stampeding Roar is a joke really. Even if it were remotely useful, as you say the range is pitiful, time is short and effect lame.
      Also, while most specs got some sort of new ability in their talent tree, like restos got efflorences, moonkins got solar beam plus a new resource, priests got chakra and so on, ferals got skull bash (and it wasn’t even added from the tree). Hardly something you could call new.

      Tbh, can’t say I’m too excited about how the resto tree is either atm. Nothing new, just the same old spells, working in a different way. It’s ok, but I really like how they’ve designed the holy priest in terms of complexity.

  5. I agree with lack of communication of changes/intended focus, and the dumbing down of the cat cycle. I’m surprised you are coming to low on PvE damage, tho’ – or maybe the people I raid with are just bad :< – I'm fairly consistently coming top 5 in a 25 man, and constantly have an affliction warlock complaining about how I'm beating him/close to beating him when he's dotting multiple targets and I'm not.

    • I’m rather curious if your using a 372 malevolence while the rest of your raid is still using 359 gear like i was, i was in this exact same situation and on some fights such as chimaeron, i’m still able to compete for top 5 spots but on the majority i’m left behind now that i’m not the only person with a 372 weapon anymore.

    • It isn’t the worst – it just depends…
      http://stateofdps.com/

  6. Oh god, yes! I so agree on everything. You hit the nail on the head perfectly. I actually considered compiling all the problems with Feral Cats as of now into one single text and post it on the official forums.

    Also, while it doesn’t have much to do with our state as of now, I am terribly frustrated by the fact that Blizzard did not implement the promised change regarding sockets on epic crafted gear.

    As you say, the most upsetting part is definitely that they seem to completely ignore any of our inquiries whatsoever.

  7. I’ve been lurking for awhile but I like your post and I want to mention an additional concern. We lost our fear breaker. Honestly I’d rather have our ability to shift and the lost mobility back but having Berserk break fears and make us immune was amazing while it lasted. Yeah I know I can wear a pvp trinket now but something about using the trinket to get out of roots only to be feared doesn’t sit well with me. Druids are in sorry shape right now and they have most certainly gone too far with their adjustments. I also agree that their silence speaks volumes and will only lead to increased frustration.

  8. Please don’t quit…I really don’t wanna have to do Boomkin for another expansion :(

  9. Quoted from Feb 19:
    “-For an expansion which was supposed to herald the end of AoE, there’s quite a few boss fights which feature it. Our AoE is extremely weak; enough so to warrant benching on fights which center around add damage (Hi Maloriak!).”

    Quoted from Feb 9:
    “Unheeded Warning proc + Swipe is ridiculous on trash + adds. I added a timer to track UW’s internal cooldown, and was able to get it to proc right when I started in on Maloriak’s adds. I’ll need to get a log to be sure, but I’m pretty sure I smoked the rest of the raid.”

    ——————————–

    I do for the most part enjoy this blog, but I’ve always felt it has been a roller-coaster of emotions. “She loves me, she loves me not,” kitty-style.

    Your points are well made. You’re correct that Feral needs more options, and the continued balancing of PvE around PvP sucks … I loved bleed damage! With that said, though … Blizzard has been doing this for six years now, and they’ve gotten very, very good at balancing this game (Feral kitty dps included).

    Honestly, when you’re nitpicking at things that, really, aren’t that big of deals (and aren’t game breaking aside from the silly Skull Bush thing) and cancelling your account over them, you’re probably doing the right thing. It’s not the class, it’s you. And that’s not an insult. you’re burnt out, and it’s time to move on. May I suggest RIFT? Open beta as we speak (or I speak. type. you read. Go with it)!

    Best of luck in the future.
    –Muffled
    Malygos, [A]

    • About the AoE:
      Well, yeah, maybe you can net good AoE DPS with that one trinket and if you pay attention to the proc. But that shouldn’t be the case — that you’re so dependent on one piece of gear to be great in this department. Because really, we do suck at AoE.

      I’ll never doubt that Blizzard are good at making and balancing games, heck, they have a lot of experience at it. And I’d say they know better what they’re doing than I could ever hope to, any day. But the way they’re handling things right now is… not optimal. Yeah, maybe our spec is balanced, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun. And sorry, I don’t call “one button spam = win” fun. And no, we’re not exactly competetive in terms of DPS, and to be honest I don’t think we should be while we’re effectively just spamming Shred.
      And the absolute lack of communication when other classes do get a lot of it is the worst part. No I don’t wanna stand in the spotlight or whatever, but I’d like to know -something-. Is this all just a band-aid fix, do they care that so many kitties are frustrated, can we expect more “love” down the road, maybe for 4.1? I’d be perfectly satisfied with a response like: “Kitties are fine for the moment, other classes need our attention more right now. We hear your concerns and will get back to you eventually.” But all we get is silence.

    • I don’t think his comments from Feb 9 and Feb 16 are inconsistent. When you look at HM Maloriak there are two AOE time periods. The first is Vile Swills, which require the ability to do sustained AOE dmg over 2 minutes. The Aberrations in green phase are the other AOE time period, and that simply requires excellent burst AOE over the course of 15 seconds.

      Ferals excel at burst AOE every 3 minutes, and so they do fine on the aberrations, but they are bottom of the barrel on the Vile Swills. I think that’s what Alaron is getting at.

  10. I agree on the finisher simplicity, especially with the latest patch changes. More broadly, it feels like a bad design when the best choice the majority of the time when I’m at 5 combo points is to keep spamming shred. Combo points as a mechanic are most interesting when they are a carefully managed resource. When they are useless enough that wasting them on 5 CP shreds is a DPS gain, it seems like the design is sort of broken.

    Our AOE is also incredibly busted, but aside from Maloriak and trash, I don’t notice too many places where it’s a problem. I can do good enough numbers on Maloriak adds with careful timing of CDs and energy pooling that I don’t feel useless. However, if there is ever a boss like LK, where killing 3 targets quickly is necessary, swipe’s fail DPS will be more of a problem.

    I’ve been playing cat for several years, and while it feels a little bent right now, I don’t think it’s by any means broken. Our DPS can still be competitive, and I’m still not over how nice having a real interrupt is. Yes, its cost is high, and the fact that our DPS doesn’t prioritize hit makes it worse, but it’s better than what we used to have. Our finisher choices were better before the last patch, and I think the failure of that was mostly an unintended side effect of trying to buff our non-bleed damage.

    Basically, I think there is room for improvement, but nothing feels horribly broken to me. And honestly, as a feral DPS, I’m getting used to Blizzard not quite managing us as well as we might wish. I still remember repeatedly buying all new gems in WOTLK, ferocious bite going from totally useless to worthwhile and back again, over and over and over, and any number of other things. I feel like this is another change that will even out sooner or later.

  11. I’m a first time poster but a long time reader, and I just wanted to put it out there that its going to be a sad day for the feral community if and when you quit. I sincerely hope you stick around, I really enjoy reading your posts as they are always helpful and well written.

    Its pretty disheartening to read patch notes and hotfixes that completely ignore the weak state of feral dps. I was glad to have people like you to share the misery with and I’m always happy to read your rants as they touch on most if not all and more of the frustrations I’ve encountered.

    Here is to hoping that word is getting out there that we are fed up. Lets just keep in mind, its always darkest before dawn.

  12. Yeah being 15-20% in damage behind everyone else seems horrifically unfair I’m currently in the process of building a boomkin set just so I can see more fight time on heroic modes.

    Currently my guild is 8/13 I’m only 5/13 due to the face ferals all such lackluster to have in these fights.

  13. Another long time reader, first time commenter here.

    You’ve painted a very accurate description and I wanted to relate my story. I picked up feral late in the game, having been playing WoW off and on since release (and MMOs for 13 yrs). I had a few different ‘mains’ since I began, but around ToC in WOTLK I was playing a Warlock and was burnt out and bored.

    I began reading about how the hardest class in the game to play well was the feral druid, how it appeals to the “John Madden” crowd, etc. I was intrigued; A class that plays differently then most? A class someone can’t pick up for the first time and be as good as 90% of the others that play it? A class that required the player to pay attention to more then just the ground he was standing on while playing “whack-a-mole” with DPS abilities?

    That was the beauty of the feral DPS spec. People that played it were looking for a challenge. You would read forums/blogs and talk to other ferals. It was a very active community of people who strived to maximize every aspect of an unforgiving DPS system. The rotation was hard enough to begin with that you could work at it, play it better, and see your efforts actually make a difference. On paper it sounded tough but doable; in practice, the combo point/energy regen really made for an exciting and challenging way to spend 2-4 hours a night.

    Towards the end of wrath, I was consistently in the top of my raids in DPS, playing one of the harder (arguably the hardest) specs to raid with. Only those damn warriors (…with their shadowmournes and MY leather ArP gear…) would beat me on a melee friendly fight.

    Occasionally I’d pug a Toravon and double if not triple the dps of random ferals, and you know what? Most of the time they’d ask me for tips. Those were the kinds of players attracted to feral dps.

    I say “were” because I don’t think the same people are attracted to ferals. The dumbing down of the spec combined with the ‘spotlight’ we got in pvp drew in a different crowd. Those of us who appreciated the intricacies of this spec have grown bored, and the ferals taking our place haven’t really been adding much to a community losing its key members.

    I still log in although only to raid. While I no longer enjoy the class, I do enjoy the virtual “hanging out” with the 9 other people I raid with. I’m sure if I wanted to switch mains they would be fine with it but why bother? I played feral because it was something different and there just isn’t a “different” option in WoW anymore.

    Best of luck Alaron (both real life and wherever you choose to spend your game time). I have been reading your blog for a long time now and always appreciated the insights, theorycrafting and anecdotes. Hopefully that the devs have an ace up their sleeve for ferals yet..

    Tolmenac

  14. Long time reader, first time commenting. Actually it’s pretty sad that a post like this is the one that made me de-lurk… :/

    Because of a lack of healers I wasn’t able to get much kitty-time up until 1-2 weeks ago and “had” to play my Disc Priest (which I love, but kitty > all, and Disc Priests had their fair share of frustration, confusion and facepalm as well) or sometimes got to tank with my bear face. So when I read about the simplified rotation and the rest, I thought: Oh well, how bad can it be. I had no idea. Apart from the fact that I thought my damage sucked even though I did my best, it was terrifying how -bored- I was (especially on ODS where I only ever put up Rip and Rake once per active golem). Entire raid nights just seemed to consist of ShredShredShredShredShredShred… ugh.

    “-For an expansion which was supposed to herald the end of AoE, there’s quite a few boss fights which feature it.”
    That’s what I keep thinking. They made such a huge point of telling us AoE would be almost dead, but wherever I go, I run into loads of AoE situations. I don’t mind my AoE being weak so much as the fact that Blizzard promised, but didn’t deliver.

    I’m very frustrated with the situation right now, especially with the non-existent communication. It’s the same with Disc Priests, really, which annoys me doubly. If Blizzard overall just wouldn’t respond to anything, I might be able to suck it up and live with it, but they’re actively communicating with other classes about their issues. So… yeah? Thanks for nothing, I guess.

    Although it would be very sad indeed to lose you as an active part of the feral community, I perfectly understand why you canceled your renewal.
    Sad thing that Blizzard did such a… good job at alienating the communities of a few specs like Kitty and Disc in such a way that people seriously contemplate leaving the game. (And to everyone who thinks we’re all just cry-babies: I don’t take comments like “it’s just the whiners quitting”, because that’s clearly not the case.)

    On a side note, I hope you get an awesome result for your test. :)

  15. Very good constructive and fair post. Only thing i would look into is the AoE part as someone mentions that might come off as bias(i don’t think it is at all, but let that be). However, if this does not get taken seriously by a blue i will most likly also follow up with a unsub to wow, it is stupid, watching how they just smash away at our heads with the nerfbat without being willing to go into dialog, as they do with all the remaining classes.
    Btw my wish for pvp would be to remove mastery from ferals in pvp, and give back mobility and then watch it from there.

  16. Agree wholeheartedly Alaron.
    I posted something some time back on the wow forums which said something very similar and ofc nothin came of it. I’ve read countless posts actually which have been fair and well constructed that simply go nowhere. Please go ahead and publish to the wow forum but expect little to come of it.
    I havent cancelled my subs yet but my enthusiasm wanes at this point.
    That Yawning quit then got banned and had is forum posts deleted amazed me.
    With 10 million subscribers, customers seem to have a very small voice now with Blizzard.

  17. Just to add. I think there is some confusion in the community when it comes to the “we are poor at dps” commentary – which is clearly supported by stateofdps and raidbots.

    Fact is, it is possible to compete within your guild on SOME fights but this can be affected by so many factors…you outgear others (it’s easily possible to be full epic as feral with only a few raid bosses cleared), you outperform others, you at all at relatively low gear levels…

    At high (heroic) gear levels and when comparing top feral performers against top performers in other classes (see stateofdps) we simply don’t compete on ANY fight. We don’t shine at movement, aoe, single target tank n spank…nothing.

    This is why my enthusiasm wanes. Yes I can compete in my guild right now on some fights… I’m the best geared, we are all in normal epic/blue gear, I get closer to 100% of potential on wologs than anyone else…but I KNOW as we hit heroic content, and we will, I will slip down the meters through no fault of my own and even if I still get more out of my toon than others. That’s a sad thought.

    Why invest all this time in a toon now for that to happen? If I slack in heroic content it will be too late to swap mains, I’ll be too far behind.

    Add to this the continual dumbing down of the rotation Alaron mentions and …well…sigh, I’m disheartened.

    Finally, I’m now noticing an indirect problem caused by current Feral issues. I have always felt very lucky to have so many great theorycrafters looking at my class. Seems now they are losing interest too and moving on. This is a massive loss :-(

    Do not underestimate the current state of our class. Even IF you are doing well at the moment do not be fooled into thinking it’s sustainable if your guild is likely to progress into the harder content.

    That’s my opinion.

  18. Another avid reader, but first time commenting.

    Here is how I see it. In WOTLK, I would rush home after work to log onto WoW. I loved playing feral. I even loved doing dailies. I enjoyed raiding because for once I felt good at it.

    And then came CATA (which if you really think about it – it all makes sense, our class got destroyed along with bits and pieces of Azeroth). Feral just isn’t fun anymore. It is boring. I barely even logged on last week – I don’t see the point. The class I loved just isn’t exciting any more.

    I only have 6 more months of playing WoW. (I am moving and will not have electricity or internet for a few years. ) I really wanted to enjoy my time in WoW before I left – it just doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen.

    At this point I am paying to log on and talk to my friends.

  19. If you switched cata and wotlk in order, here are the buffs ferals would get:

    -bleeds would be reduced in duration to increase the value of being on the target as well as making the rotation more potent.

    Mastery changed to a scaling reduction of the opponents armor.

    FB changed to use all available energy and do significantly more damage, buffed by bleeds and bleed modifiers.

    Blood in the watermremoved to increase difficulty of rotation.

    Swipe buffed by approx. 300%

    Savage roar increases all damage instead of just autoattack, increasing it’s performance in the rotation and making the time on target more important

    Berserk removes fear.

    Shifting forms removes slows and snares

    Fury swipes removed; it was not useful to have so much of the rotations damage on a noninteractive autoattack. This has been readers as damage to other abilities.

    Instead of some attacks scaling with weapon damage all weapons have a ‘feral ap’ stat, allowing all feral attacks to scale with weapon damage naturally.

    And that’s just off the top of my head. Yes, it’s nice to not be bound so much by arpen. Yes, skull bash is nice. The rest has been nerf after nerf, affecting either overall dps or simply the fun involved.

    Very disappointing.

  20. Not seen anyone present it like that before, don’t know whether to laugh or cry :-p

  21. I’ll try to respond to some of these…

    Tarli: Yeah. The feral forms used to have niches (bear was the high-HP soak tank, cat was either the utility self-healer (BC) or the fiendishly difficult rotation (early LK). This made up for the fact that our abilities were pretty lackluster, compared to their analogues (warriors, rogues). They took out the niches, but our abilities are still lackluster.

    Nich, others: Well, we’re not that progressed a guild, but yeah, I’ve seen something similar. I was top 2 dps easily, but I geared up quickly compared to the rest of the raid. Skill still counts for a lot, but now I have to struggle to stay top5.

    Muffled: Actually, after I wrote that earlier post, I heard that UW doesn’t affect Swipe damage. :) Still need to check on that. The rest of your post is well taken. I don’t think feral is broken, but I dislike the direction.

    Selorys: Exactly.

    Dabeasty: Right. Like Yawning said, a lot of theorycrafters actually enjoy the math more than the game…but the math’s getting simpler and simpler.

  22. It’s amusing that in the same patch that feral druids were made into less effective rogue copies, retribution paladins were buffed into being a true hybrid dps/heal class.

  23. First let me apologise for my bad english.
    I am not a native english speaker and I am having a litte hard time using that language.
    I hope my lack of ability to articulate myself well will not be too disturbing to anyone who might be reading my post.

    One of the great Problems considering feral druids damage in PvE is the scaling and fun-factors, and the importance of the opinion of the mass of players in term of the devs trying to appeal them.
    The “masses” are still in low raid tiers, only Pug or are very slowly progressing. In that case, cat damage looks very high, since scaling does not really kick in. We get our largest upgrade – the weapon slot – on one of the arguable easiest bosses. We get our 5th best Trinket from a heroic boss (it is better than normal boss raid trinkets) and our 4th best trinket from VPs. I don’t think I need to go into every Slot here, a half experienced Feral will know where our gear comes from. The point being, in entry level raid environment, where most of the players still sit in, the cat look extremly powerful.
    While looking at the theorycrafting facts:
    http://simulationcraft.org/
    or an analye of what is really going on:
    http://stateofdps.com/
    it does not seem to hold true to later scaled out game play at all.
    I know one can argue about the value and usefulness of those sites – or all kind of theorycraft for that matter.
    And of course I do notice that PvP plays a large role at balancing decisions too.
    But it kind of comes down to most of the “public” (be it in the offical forums, or via your local trade chat or inGame friends) discussing going into the “I do great damage in my Raid”/”I know a feral that does great damage in the Raids” directions, wich technically does not add anything to a real balance discussion, as it tends to be just a reflection of the personal experience, wich in most cases is – as I mentioned – just a reflection of the feral scaling and game desingn flaws.

    Considering the “fun” part, I don’t think there is much to add, aside from what Alaron and Yawnings did write.
    I completely agree.
    The only thing I may add is the frustrating fact of a complete lack of communication between the feral community and the developers, even though the community has provided large numbers of facts and constructive feedback.
    Just to sum up a list of things that should be looked in (mostly can be found here and on Yawnings good bye post http://druid.wikispaces.com/message/view/ToskksDPSGearMethod/34244832?o=0:
    -Positional requirement of shredd
    -AoE DPS
    -Target switching
    -Specc got too simpel overall / more complexity
    -Lackluster Talents/Abilites (Stampeding Roar, Primal Madness, Cower)
    -Technical limitations and bugs (Scull Bash Bug, “Shapeshift Bug” – aka losing large numbers of damage for doing acts of support/decurse/etc. …)
    -Scaling is rather bad
    -Make Hit/Expertise meaningful stats. It is NOT fun to be the only (?) specc that is forced to ignore their caps for maximum dps.
    -Quality of life issues (4 T11 buff disapearing on shapeshift, Major Glyphs uninteresting, Rip duration display on the interface not correct and Rip refresh behavior is bad)

    Again, sorry for my bad english.
    Sorry for the rant.

  24. I’m not finding this post on the forums anywhere. Did you happen to post it, or simply report this via your subscription cancellation (possibly to avoid the trolls derailing a good thread)?

  25. There are a number of class/specs which seem to frequent the bottom of the dps barrel more regularly than others…arms warrior, frost Mage, bm hunter, subtlety rogue etc…sure, some have had their moments in the sun but they always end up back in the gutter. Are we in that group? I felt quite competitive in Wrath, but perhaps it was just a temporary blip.

    Why are these specs left to wallow yet others are immediately buffed when performing badly? Are they regarded as utility specs, pvp specs? Do they have such low player base attached to them that they can happily be left to suffer?

    I wonder…

    • I think the reason the specs you mentioned frequently do low DPS is that Blizzard doesn’t always feel the need to balance several specs for the same class doing the same role. Maybe it’s the leveling tree, or PvP, or whatever, but the fact remains that every spec you mentioned has another spec in the same class that allows them to do the same role, so I doubt Blizzard views the lack of raid viability of the weaker specs as a huge loss.

      Feral druids, on the other hand, only have Boomkin as an alternative spec for DPS. Not only is this a different role, but it requires totally different gear. Druids that like play melee DPS have no other option besides feral, so treating it as the red-headed step-child spec isn’t a good idea.

      Which I don’t think Blizzard is doing, for what it’s worth.

  26. Hi there. I have followed Alaron, Yawning, and many other cat bloggers and EJ etc for a long time. I appreciate all the thought and work and energy and time that goes into keeping us all updated and for the braindump you do for us! Thanks, Alaron.

    For the past couple weeks I have seen a lot of distress and consternation over the current state of cats, and I have to say, in a 10 person normal difficulty raid environment, I’m not sharing the same despair.
    I want to respond to Alaron’s comment: “For skilled players, our damage is low compared to other classes. (Currently fighting the shamans for last place, if you leave out alternate PvE specs like Arms, BM, sub, frost/arcane.) I don’t mind being at the tail end of the meters…if the tail end is 5-10% below. Right now, we’re at 15-20%.)”

    My overall conclusion, after raiding four days a week in normal 10s, since Cataclysm’s release, is that cats are not imbalanced or below other DPS post 4.0.6.
    Currently, while I’m not thrilled with swipe’s nerfiness and target switching dps loss due to bleed dmg nerfs, and sitting on 5 cps and spamming shred, I am happy with my dps output overall on normal difficulty 10 person raid bosses post 4.0.6. And I’m actually a little relieved to have some mindless shred spam moments. It’s like.. a little vacation mid raid.
    My world of logs records show me as ranking 17th worldwide on Nefarian the week that 4.0.6 released. It also has parses that show that cats are competitive with other dps classes post 4.0.6.
    While, this is for 10s and from my perspective, the data is all there on world of logs, and shows that cats are also competitive in 25s. Just count the specs that are below ferals on Cho’gall for example: survival, enhance, combat, elemental, demonology, frost dk, frost mage, arms, subtlety, beast mastery, and arcane.
    And the ones less than 1000 dps higher than cats? Marksmanship, assassination, unholy, destruction, fury, affliction, and ret.
    I think that data reflects some pretty balanced dps parsing.
    And that means, cats are not in the lower ranks of dps, for skilled players, as compared to other classes. We’re clearly not at the tail end of the meters and definitely not 15-20% below the rest of the dps classes.
    This is good news! Cheer up, catworld! There’s hope for us. I think the key word here that Alaron used is, SKILLED PLAYERS. And we’re talking raid environments with parsed, empirical data, not anecdotal stories and impressions.

    A caveat for those who rely on simulators and theorycraft over in game real raid experience: Real game experience trumps theorycrafting. While simulators and theory helps us experiment and find min/max ideals, in the end we have to roll our sleeves up and get our paws dirty to see what is real in terms of our performance.
    Also, I notice that Mew did get more accurate for real fights, post 4.0.6.
    But, remember, simulators only simulate a Patchwerk type fight, which in Cataclysm is zero fights. Cho’gall is probably the best measure of a cat’s max dps output capability in Cata, but it still isn’t accurately measured and reflected by simulators.
    Even Chimaeron, which tends to be a “bad” fight for cats, had us go from 5th in a loose pack of about 10 specs to 5th in a tight pack of 15 specs.
    So, regarding the claim that cat dps has gone down… I don’t think so. Not in raids. Not overall.
    =^..^=
    Nyt, Lightbringer

    • Did you bother looking at stateofdps.com for the splits? They’re pretty interesting. As is the below raidbots link:

      http://raidbots.com/dpshistory/Twilight_Ascendant_Council/25N/#2ns10

      Quite simply, your experience is not indicative of feral experience across the board.

    • Although stateofdps is not widely touted as the be all end all of the state of dps, and I much prefer world of logs,raidbots, and other methods of analysis for dps, even today’s stateofdps shows cats as performing at or around average on almost all the encounters. Not gimped. Not overpowered.
      No one’s experience is indicative of everyone’s experience. I’m putting my two cents in. And I’m saying.. it’s not all bad.

      • That’s not true at all.

        Taking out some of the silly specs like BM or assassination, ferals rank fairly low for almost every fight (bottom 3rd):

        Magmaw: 15th overall, 5k below leader, 5k below first melee
        Omnotron: 12th overall, 7k below leader, 2k below first melee
        Chim: 6th overall, 2k below leader/melee
        Atramedes: 14th overall, 5k below leader/1.5k below melee
        Mal: 12th overall, 9k below leader/2k below melee
        Nef: 14th overall, 4k below leader/2k below melee
        Halfus: 15th overall, 13k below leader/9k below melee
        Twins: 13th overall, 5k below leader/2k below melee
        Council: 11th overall, 5k below leader/3k below melee
        Cho’gall: 11th overall, 2k below leader/500 below melee
        Conclave: 12th overall, 2k below leader/1k below melee
        Alakir: 10th overall, 2k below leader/2k below melee

        That’s the same pattern you see from raiddps as well, though it’s a bit harder to parse. And yes, the outliers are getting closer but only on Cho’gall do you have a small spread of dps. The rest of the time the s pread is large, as is the difference between the best melee and the feral.

        I’m glad your two cents aren’t bad. But it’s still not indicative of the overall picture Average isn’t 10th – it’s 7th. And ferals don’t even do THAT well.

        Now, most of that is a combination of AoE damage (which is just ass right now) and time on target issues (which really should be a feral strength as a melee but are not). All of these things are very fixable. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist or aren’t a bad state.

      • I’m talking 10 normal and looks like you are talking 25s and maybe heroics?
        Tt’s okay.
        I get we disagree!

        Nope – it’s not quite as emphasized in 10 as it is in 25, it’st still bad. Overall ranking: 14th. Best ranking (on Chim): 9th.

        http://stateofdps.com/index.php?raid=10N&samples=200&spec=dps

        Ultimately this sort of thing would likely be fine provided that the class was not quite as dissatisfying in other ways. But it’s not. The two combine for something…less satisfactory. And don’t get me wrong – other classes are having a big beef here too, and melee as a whole kinda hates every raid encounter here.

        But if I were really competitive, right now I’d ask every single feral to go boomkin. As a DPS spec they’re far more competitive on most of the encounters, bring more utility via innervate and about the only disadvantage is the competition on weapons.

  27. It’s important to not simply look at the front page of stateofdps.com and make over-arching conclusions about relative class power. Fight mechanics influence class balance just as much as spec, buffs, and playstyle do.

    Melee DPS in general is in a very precarious spot through the vast majority of Cataclysm raid encounters, especially when it comes to heroic modes. For fights like Omnitron, Atramedes, and Twilight Council, all melee classes are at an incredible disadvantage due to movement, positioning, and phase transitions. Some melee classes like unholy deathknights can help mitigate these limitations through heavy dots and/or ranged attacks, but ferals currently lack tools that either help speed up ramp time (eg, Outbreak) or increase time on target (eg, Death Coil).

    Using sites like stateofdps.com to draw conclusions about a class or spec as a whole is like trying to drink from a fire hose. It’s too much data with too little context. Sure there are controls in place to remove outliers, but looking at each fight individually, knowing the context of what mechanics are in play, and comparing parses between classes on a level playing field is crucially important.
    Excluding Halfus in the “Adjusted” list is a good start, but look at demonology warlocks for Maloriak. 2nd place is only 89% of 1st place? Data skew ahoy!

    Using controlled fights like Chimaeron and Cho’gall are far more instructive for comparing classes, especially because the inherent handicap of being a melee spec is less severe.
    To that end, look at the distribution of melee DPS on Cho’gall 25:
    http://raidbots.com/dpshistory/Cho'gall/25N/#2ns10
    In January, the spread covers a range of over 4000 DPS, while last week shows a very tight cluster within 600 DPS of each other and cats clearly are hanging in there with the best melee DPS specs, which are arguably better represented.

    The sky is not falling and intelligent raid leaders are looking to sell your spot to dirty rogues…yet.

    • Edit: The sky is not falling and intelligent raid leaders are NOT looking to sell your spot to dirty rogues…yet.

      • No, they’re looking to replace you with a ranged DPS instead.

        It’s a good point that all melee DPS are fairly similar in scope and temprament to each other, and one that should be emphasized. At the same time the class is becoming progressively easier (to the point where it’s a DPS loss to do things like use finishers), the utility is seriously diminished (especially compared to other melee classes), and its quite simply not as interesting as it was before.

        And at the same time, Cho’gall is about as simple a test as can be. The variance between the melee on Magmaw is 5k between the top and the feral. It’s 3k on Maloriak. It’s 2k on Atramedes. It’s 2k on council. While I understand that the best way to compare apples and apples is on a static fight, shouldn’t some dps be able to excel at SOME point? When your best scenario is not quite as good as the best some of the time and 20-25% worse than the best at others, that’s not balance.

        The feral’s old rotation was shred to 5 CP, rip. FB never, rake never. The new rotation is rake/shred to 5 CP, rip and occasionally SR. The whole “john Madden” thing is not there. And more importantly, the really skillful can’t separate from the meh the way they used to.

        And it’s disappointing.

  28. “the new rotation is rake/shred to 5 CP, rip and occasionally SR. The whole “john Madden” thing is not there. And more importantly, the really skillful can’t separate from the meh the way they used to.”

    I add to my rotation feral charge/ravage on cd. Woo!
    Yeah, the rotation is not a crazy John f’ing Madden fiasco, but it still has some John Maddenyness to it! It’s not a complete faceroll.

    A skilled cat strategically places ravages, ekes out as much dps as is possible, watching timers, cds, procs, and predicting when to shred, when to FB (if at all), when to refresh rip before Atramedes takes flight, etc.. Things like that, a skilled cat will do, and a meh cat won’t. That’s the difference. And this will show a large group of cats at the low end of the meters and logs, with the skilled group towards the top.

    Issues of heroic raiding and class imbalance toward ranged aside, the state of skilled feral cat isn’t as bad as is decried, while the state of meh feral is pretty meh.. =^..^=

    • But according to stateofdps.com and raidbot, that’s not true. The standard deviation for ferals is fairly small – it’s inline with the rest of the DPS. Point of fact, the ferals are actually one of the least variable of all the classes – 700 DPS is the standard deviation which means about 80% of all ferals are within 700 DPS of each other. The outliers are fairly small. If you want to play a class where skill really matters in getting every little bit, fire mages and balance druids are 500 DPS MORE difficult (from a stdev point of view) to play.

      To put it another way only enh shamans and assassination rogues are easier to play than ferals.

      So yes, you can make those little changes that make you slightly better. But other classes can do that too – and when they make decisions, their decisions matter more.

      • When I look at the logs for a Nefarian 10 encounter, I see the cat dps range go from 21k to 14k. That’s a pretty big spread among the top 200 cats.

        http://www.worldoflogs.com/rankings/players/Blackwing_Descent/Nefarian/10N/Feral-Cat_Druid/?page=1

        http://www.worldoflogs.com/rankings/players/Blackwing_Descent/Nefarian/10N/dps/

        So that means there are a lot of meh cats out there and the skilled ones are managing to eke out 18-21k.

      • The standard deviation is a great way to see variance among the top performers of each spec, but that’s a different discussion than the ‘skilled vs meh’ John Madden topic earlier. If you’re not a skilled cat, your parse won’t rank top 200 and the meta sites won’t factor in your data.

        There’s also a big difference in class & spec distribution between 25s and 10s. With 25s, you not only have much more competition for a greater number of dps spots, every raid buff is guaranteed to be present and there is a greater chance of having things like Dark Intent and Focus Magic available. Casters have historically been more reliant on having all baseline raid buffs and temporary enhancements in order to top meters while physical DPS buffs are generally brought by a fewer number of specs (including tanks).

        I agree that the ranged vs melee discrepancies need to be addressed and ferals definitely feel the pressure of having to out-play their ranged counterparts on many fights in order to stay competitive, but that is a point in a much larger macro discussion over spec balance philosophy. I also understand the desire for more uncharted areas in the mechanics where the exceptional players can get an extra edge. Nothing was more frustrating than raiding as a BM hunter in TBC and knowing that the dps difference between playing at 90% and 100% efficiency was miniscule.

        While cats aren’t perfectly balanced at the moment, the primary issues stem from a larger problem that affects all melee classes and happens to hit cats especially hard. That said, cats are still extremely competitive and were not NEARLY as bad off as ret, marks, combat, or fury were as recently as two weeks ago. As a 12/12 10m raid leader, I’m still perfectly happy to bring my cat :)

      • To be fair, ferals are probably as dependent on buffs as any ranged; in particular, the strength/agi buff is a huge deal for ferals by comparison to other classes.

        And again, while the variance might not be that high because it’s the best of the best, it also indicates that if you really are great chances are you’d have a better time showcasing that skill with a DPS class that is harder to play – and right now, ferals aren’t it.

        I think ultimately that’s the most dissatisfying part of it. It’s not that ferals are easier to play than other classes or that it’s much harder to gain an edge compared to other specs, it’s that this is a reversion from what it was before. Ferals already had the hard spec, and top ferals really could differentiate between each other. Now between gear stagflation (there’s no godlike trinket any more, for example), ability disinterest and general dumbing down they’ve taken away a lot of it. I mentioned before how many big changes were made to ferals that would be considered buffs if you went from cata to wotlk. It always sucks when you have something and then have it taken away instead of not having it at all.

  29. When I look at the logs for a Nefarian 10 encounter, I see the cat dps range go from 21k to 14k. That’s a pretty big spread among the top 200 cats.

    http://www.worldoflogs.com/rankings/players/Blackwing_Descent/Nefarian/10N/Feral-Cat_Druid/?page=1

    http://www.worldoflogs.com/rankings/players/Blackwing_Descent/Nefarian/10N/dps/

    So that means there are a lot of meh cats out there and the skilled ones are managing to eke out 18-21k.

    No, it doesn’t. The top one is 21k, then there’s a 19k. Then there’s 3 18ks. Then there are 112 people between 15 and 17k. That doesn’t showcase a large amount of skill. That showcases someone messing with logs or having their raid really buff them insanely.

    Please don’t try to cook the numbers; looking at medians and stdevs is way, way better than looking at one specific boss on a specific category (10m) and then saying that because the range is 7k that it’s fine. It’s not. The range is about 2k, with a couple of really, really crazy outliers. Statistically they’re not relevant. If what you said was true you’d have a nice even spread of skill and values. You don’t.

    • The Nefarian logs bring up a good point. I strongly suspect that class representation for ferals is still much lower than most pure DPS specs, so for example, the performance of the 200th highest assassination rogue would rank as the 70th highest feral parse. Wowprogress unfortunately does not show class representation yet, but a larger sample size as more and more ferals actually kill Nefarian will help add clarity to these numbers.

      It’s also interesting that over twice as many guilds have killed Cho’gall as Nefarian andn as we discussed earlier, Cho’gall doesn’t unfairly punish melee with its mechanics.

      Looking at the % and standard deviation for Cho’gall 10m shows a much less bleak view of feral dps as the surrounding specs are largely within 2% of each other.

      I think that if the 4.0.6 bleed changes had only affected PvP or if Ferocious Bite had been buffed along with Shred in order to maintain its relevancy, then the feral special sauce would have kept some of its zing.

      • It’ll help clarity, but one of two things are true:

        1. ferals are represented poorly, in which case the top 200 ferals aren’t necessarily the best players ever – and in that case, ferals require great skill to even come remotely close to other DPS (and apparently that great skill doesn’t have a lot of differentiation)
        2. Ferals are represented about the same as anyone else, in which case the top 200 are about the same as anyone else and this is where they fit.

        The standard deviation on the numbers is what sells me that regardless of representation, ferals are simply at a certain ceiling based on talent.

  30. This is an excellent discussion, and I’ll probably go into more in-depth thoughts about cats’ current place on the meters in a future post.

    One admin note: Posts with 2+ links were getting tossed into moderation (back when I had some spammer issues); I’ve bumped that up to 4+, so feel free to link up to 3 things per comment for instant approval.

    • There has been a lot of discussion about dps rankings and lots of statistics. I am curious though – I wonder how many feral druids actually enjoy our simplified rotation?

      Is it fun to spam the same button? Or does everyone (which includes myself) miss John Maddening?

      • I miss it. I miss it a lot.

      • I’m always drawn to a more demanding playstyle, and as Kalon said, it just sucks to have something you enjoyed taken from you. I miss our more complex ‘rotation’ a lot, we had so much more going on. I miss being able to make a difference with how good I was with staying on top of my priorities instead of just “I can haz high Weapon DPS herpaderp”.

      • I miss the complexity too, right now I’m sitting on top of our 10-man normal runs (guild is only at 3/12)for the most part, but I expect that to change once gear upgrades come along.

        But I could fall asleep spamming shred for 7-8 secs with nothing to spend CP’s on….

      • I switched my main to healing as a priest, and reforged/gemmed all of my druids gear for tanking. I loved our rotation back in Wrath and was able to excel at it. It was sometimes difficult but it made sense to me. What we have now is facerolling.

      • I first was drawn to cat when I tried playing it because, as I told someone else, it just “flows.” It wasn’t cooldown whack-a-mole, but more like playing a musical instrument.

        Shredding at full CP nowadays just feels wrong, even though I know in my head that it’s an increase Going to the instrument analogy, it feels like I’m playing a violin with a broken string but not missing any notes, and I feel like I SHOULD be missing notes not using that fourth string.

        Most of the flow is still there, which is what keeps me playing the spec/class, but it’s jarring when I sit there at 5cp with plenty of time on SR and rip and knowing that if I used them I’d be wasting them.

    • Feral in its current state is boring. I mean seriously we go from one of the hardest “rotations” in terms of actually having to make solid judgment calls on how to use our CP’s to now ignoring 5 cps since shred > 5cp FB.

      Bring back Wrath rotation imo(atleast good ferals were obvious from bad ones). If I wanted to play an assassination rogue in my raids I would be playing my rogue.

  31. Well written. Thanks for taking your time and thanks for your dedication to this site. This is and has always been my go to site.

  32. Much better discussion than you read on the wow forums by the way.

    Perhaps someone could point Blizz in this direction :)

  33. Long time reader and long time commenter.

    First off a lot of these issues were brought up way back last June/July when beta for Cata was starting. Ferals were always told to not worry about it as Blizz would get to them eventually. Even back then that silly speed buff was being mentioned as a pure waste. DPS on the PTR’s were way below live WotLK and this caused concern but too many of us were told not to QQ about it. Then when Cata hit I noticed right away something was wrong.

    Now along comes 4.0.6 and it has gotten even worse. I see many people that try to say things like ferals are OK and look how I made top 200 logs etc. That is not the right comparison. Here in Cata there are two things working against ferals. The first one is how so many of the fights are melee unfriendly. Yes that impacts other melee but how is that supposed to fix things? Yea you live in a garbage heap but so does your neighbor so stop complaining? So melee take a big hit due to poor designs of fights by Blizz. But ferals are then getting hit with even worse melee performance compared to other DPS classes including other melee types.

    The issue here is not that we are 7th, 10th or even last. Those are relative placements and really mean nothing. The issue is that we are 20 to 25% below ranged DPS and 10% or more below other melee classes. These are HUGH differences. And these differences show up in 10 man 25 man normal or heroic fights.

    Way before Blizz started achievements I had multiple 60’s (and 70’s). If one class did better I just switched. Once achievements came out I picked one class (druid) and poured my efforts into him to get the achievements. Now Blizz is saying that it was a waste of time. What I decided was that WOW was no longer fun and a waste of my time. Like many others my subscription (and I had three for my family) expired this month without renewal.

    BTW I have a 5 tab guild bank filled with tons of mats, and around 40K of gold. I wonder if I can sell it?

  34. Agreed on melee-unfriendly fights, but seriously, the game has been melee-unfriendly since inception. One only had to walk 5 minutes into Molten Core and experience the magical Core Hound ability to randomly bite you (with his ass cheeks?) and instant-kill you. Or how about Patchwerk popping a tank like a zit – guess who takes the next Hateful Strike instagib, before the tank can be brezzed? From “don’t stand in bad stuff” that ends up targetting multiple melee, to “spread out” mechanics. to Tail Swipes and Cleaves, even the game’s threat mechanics are tilted against melee (did you know abilities cast at melee range automatically do more threat than at range?). Its been this way from the start.

    My main issue with those DPS ranking websites is that they all take a snapshot at the END of the DPS curve. Parsing the top 200 traces is only giving us a snapshot of the DPS arms race at the BiS gearing level, where everyone is already dressed to the nines and many traces are from farming runs. I wish there was some way to assemble the full curve, from entry-raid iLvl to BiS iLvl, because to me the ‘end of the curve’ is the least interesting part. Did we start fast, then plateau somewhere? Were we always under the curve? And is the relative rarety of ferals leading these sites to sample in results from some undergeared or less than optimal ferals?

    However, since its the part that is being measured, obviously it now has weight by virtue of all the attention on it and the ensuing echo chamber that results.

    • Re: the DPS sites, specifically I think raid leaders would be more interested in what the DPS comparisons look like at a raid’s “normal->heroic mode” transition point, and not at the “heroic farming mode” point that those sites are displaying.

  35. The sites that show dps include catagories of normal and heroic, 10s, and 25s, it’s not all “heroic farming mode”.

    Sure, maybe cats aren’t in the top 200 dps on every fight, but why should they be, I ask?

    The more important question is, is a cat contributing significantly to dps in an encounter in which the boss is successfully killed?

    In my guild, the answer is “yes”.

    Isn’t that what matters?
    That you killed the boss and contributed to dps?

    Not, oh noes I’m not top in the world!

    How about, yay we killed that boss and I’m up there with the rogue and mage and hunter etc in my raid on dps meters so I’m not gimped and I’m not being pulled along, and I am not “replaceable”.

    On Halfus, 10 normal, I did 43k last week, which was far above anyone else in our raid that night. I felt good about it. On Cho’gal I did 18k, and felt equally good. While this may not compare to someone in another raid on another server in a different guild, it’s not directly relevant to MY play experience and MY guild and MY raid killing a boss and having fun in a game.

    Also, when I think of our rotation, having been an end game raiding cat for years, I’m frankly a little relieved to finally have a margin for error, from hitting the wrong button or missing, and for all the little things that each boss encounter requires of us, from having to run out of fires on various encounters, and dancing around shadow crashes on Cho’gal, and target switches on various encounters, and running away from Atramedes when he targets you with sonic breath or avoiding his sound rings, to avoiding deeps breaths and dazzling destructions on twin dragons, to jumping onto pillars and interrupting blast nova on Chromatic Prototypes in the Nefarian encounter, not to mention the invariable need to shift to caster form to Rebirth or Innervate, or even Tranquility during Feud on Chimaeron, for instance.

    If you think about it, for all the complaints that cat rotation is boring, when are you, in Cataclysm raids, simply standing there doing nothing but smashing shred? Rarely, because of the above mentioned encounter mechanics, among which there are many more I’ve left out.

    I personally like that because of the slight adjustment to our rotation and the grace period we have been given, I have a few seconds more to adjust to all of the details of each individual encounter.

    Another thing I’m having fun with, during that time when Rip and Savage Roar and Rake are all ticking happily away and my various procs are on or off cd at the appropriate times, I take a step or two back, feral charge and savage roar as often as possible. This really adds to dps output, and it’s kind of fun.

    =^..^=

    Sure, if you are standing at a target dummy or

    • Sure, maybe cats aren’t in the top 200 dps on every fight, but why should they be, I ask?

      Because people don’t want to be carried.
      Because people want to be able to play with the best players out there and not feel like they’re gimping the raid because they didn’t choose moonkin as their DPS option.
      Because people don’t always play with mediocre people while they’re good.
      Because ultimately, being ‘ok’ isn’t a compelling choice for a niche.

      If your guild values you, that’s awesome. It’s clear that in many guilds that value isn’t there as much. No one likes to be at the bottom – which many ferals out there are. What they like even less is doing things perfectly and still being at the bottom because mechanically they just don’t cut it.

      How about, yay we killed that boss and I’m up there with the rogue and mage and hunter etc in my raid on dps meters so I’m not gimped and I’m not being pulled along, and I am not “replaceable”.

      How about if you wanted to ever leave your guild you’d have a really hard time doing so because you’re automatically not as useful or competitive as another melee type, much less a ranged?

      How about that you’re doing 10-15% less damage per fight than most other melee?

      Ultimately you’re right – if you’re satisfied with being subpar because of mechanical failures, you’re satisfied. Nothing needs to be fixed. Nothing needs to be done. If you’re satisfied being awesome in your guild and knowing how much better everyone else could be but isn’t, great. Good for you.

      But I hope you can understand that not everyone plays with subpar players, and not everyone is thrilled with the notion that no matter how good they are they simply won’t get past a certain point.

      Another way to put it is this: hardcore raids are already benching melee in favor of ranged on many heroic-level fights. If you’re the lowest of the melee in those fights, why bring you?

      And yes, you’re right – if you’re not in the hardest of hardcore, it should’t matter to you. It doesn’t affect you in the slightest. If you’re having a good time and your guild loves you, this doesn’t matter at all to you. In which case, why are you trying to convince those that it does matter to that it shouldn’t?

      • Kal, I hear your scathing criticism of my posts. I’m sorry that so much of what I say smacks “wrong” in your opinion.
        I dont plan on leaving my guild. We are historically and consistently a top guild on our server and decent, worldwide.
        I’m not consistently below any dps in my guild or raids on any fight.
        And, that’s what my experience is.. that I am contributing well to dps on encounters that I am a part of.
        I’m not concerned about beating someone in another guild in another raid.
        I do, however, like to look at logs and dps meters for worldwide rankings to get an idea of how to min/max my own personal dps and for ideals.
        Also, I’m not talking about or to people in paragon or anywhere else.
        I’m talking about MY experience.
        And my experience is I’m having a good time and don’t feel gimped and think it is inaccurate and a skewing of information and factual, actual, empirical experience and data to say across the boards that cats suck to play, are boring, gimped, and not competitive.
        Thanks!
        :)

        • Actually the biggest issue I have with your posts is that you’re assuming that just because you’re doing well that everyone else has no real argument, and why can’t they just be happy doing whatever they’re doing in their guild?

          And my experience is I’m having a good time and don’t feel gimped and think it is inaccurate and a skewing of information and factual, actual, empirical experience and data to say across the boards that cats suck to play, are boring, gimped, and not competitive.

          Okay, can you actually ascribe how this is the case? And can you do it without referencing your personal experience? Just use the data provided (WoL, stateofdps, raiddps) and show how the data does not show the following:

          Ferals are performing across the board worse than most other melee on any fights that have adds, have significant phase transitions, or require a lot of movement. Ferals are 20% lower than the top dps on many fights and 10% lower than the top melee DPS on many others.

          There are no fights that ferals significantly excel at.

          Feral dps rotations have gone down in complexity from WotLK.

          Feral utility has been reduced since WotLK (between Battle res being shared, innervate sucking, motw not as useful, crit buff being shared, imp lotp; the only argument is that feral tranq is more useful now, but compared to a moonkin it’s still not as good)

          The feral rotation does not appear to be significantly harder than other rotations, and based on the median/standard deviation values appears to actually be one of the easiest rotations to do well at.

          As a raid leader, if you had the same person who could play two melee classes interchangeably well, and which had the same or similar ilvl gear, why would you ask them to choose the feral to play over a rogue, DK or warrior?

        • I think, when we are looking at dps rankings, we keep in mind that fewer people raid with cats than other dps specs so they are not well represented, as Merkava and Kal suggested in previous posts. This skews a lot of the numbers.

          But, in my previous posts, I pointed out some links to logs and parses and referenced data and fact, and I’ll do so again, when I say that there are cats that are on the top 200 in encounters and there are cats that are doing dmg on par with other dps.

          Also, it’s really important not to glom 10s, 25s, normals and heroics together. You can’t slam all the data together like that and get a realistic sample of how cats are performing.

          And, noticing that there are cats that are in the top 200 and that there are cats that are among the higher ends of dps (not the top).. yes, noticing that, is not cooking data. Nor is it misreading it, nor is the fact that cats have numbers that are up there some sort of indication that the logs were tampered.

          To use empiracal data regarding cat performance, I site http://www.worldoflogs.com/ (as in previous posts) and will choose these three as samples of cats doing well. I dont choose these samples to skew or cook data, but just to give an example. All the data is there to browse through for anyone who is curious about what cats are doing.

          Chimaeron Normal 10
          TJ ranked 16th worldwide among all dps classes and specs with 23412 dps.
          On this fight, several cats did between 19 and 23k, along with all the other dps, except the top couple.
          The other class that ranked with a 23k rating was a shammy at 12th place.

          Cho’gal Normal 10
          Zheny ranked 80th worldwide with 21299 among all dps.
          On this fight, several cats did between 18 and 21k among other dps classes doing the same, with a few at the highest end.

          Even on Halfus, cats have placed in the worldwide top 200, with Zheny doing 21299 ranking 80th worldwide among all dps. This is indicative of a lot of other cats’ performances and is competitive with other dps specs.

          You can further similar data with 25s and heroics on world of logs.

        • Leila, a single top performance does not explain anything.

          Being 10th best on Chimaeron (a fight where ferals have their highest rankings) only says to me that even when everything is absolutely great ferals are still not able to get to the top.

          Also, it’s really important not to glom 10s, 25s, normals and heroics together. You can’t slam all the data together like that and get a realistic sample of how cats are performing.

          I didn’t.

          I looked at every single combination of 10 man and 25 man and looked at the aggregate per encounter. In each, ferals ranked between 11th and 15th on every fight save Chim.

          And, noticing that there are cats that are in the top 200 and that there are cats that are among the higher ends of dps (not the top).. yes, noticing that, is not cooking data. Nor is it misreading it, nor is the fact that cats have numbers that are up there some sort of indication that the logs were tampered.

          I assume all top numbers on WoL are tampered. That’s why throwing out the absolute top is a better methodology.

          Looking at the #1 feral and comparing it to anything is hugely flawed. You are using one data point to contradict 200 data points. How does this make sense to you? It’s like saying that because a championship woman weightlifter can bench press more than the average man than all women are stronger than all men or that they’re equally strong. Or that because one specific car can go as fast as many jets that all cars are as fast as all jets. Of course that’s ludicrous – but that’s what you’re saying when you point out that one single parse of a feral is proof that they’re fine.

          Let me ask you this – why doesn’t that feral show up in any of the other top lists? Why don’t they show up multiple times on Chim with close to 21k parses each time?

          This is indicative of a lot of other cats’ performances and is competitive with other dps specs.

          No, it’s indicative of one player. When the difference between that player and the next best one is 10%, that’s not indicative of a LOT. It’s indicative of almost none. One parse does not mean all is well. Especially if you don’t consistently see that player doing well elsewhere.

          Finally, both stateofdps.com and raiddps.com use WoL data. The difference is that they don’t cherry pick one parse and say that all is good.

        • Kal, quick reply to point out that I said if you look at the range of dps by all classes on said encounters you will notice there are several cats up there in the ranges.

          I am not singling out the one dps as indicative of what all of the cats or other dps are doing…

          That one dps shows the top range, but there are several cats doing nearly the same or slightly below those numbers.

          The numbers are there on wol.. go check it out!

          The sample set used for state of dps and raid bots is too small to get trending data, anyway..

        • Kal, quick reply to point out that I said if you look at the range of dps by all classes on said encounters you will notice there are several cats up there in the ranges.

          And that doesn’t matter. Having one or two good cats out of many doesn’t really matter. It can be explained by good loot luck or an insane overall luck on the fight or log parsing issues.

          Again, looking at the absolute top DPS gives virtually no useful data. Ever. For any class.

          That one dps shows the top range, but there are several cats doing nearly the same or slightly below those numbers.

          Again, looking at the top 200 overall DPS for all classes doesn’t help at all. And it doesn’t show the top range. It shows the top performance. It shows the maximum value; it does not show the upper end of high values. This is not a range. This is statistically and scientifically as useful as noting that the fastest race car can go as fast as some really fast jets and then using that to conclude that cars and jets go about the same speed.

          The sample set used for state of dps and raid bots is too small to get trending data, anyway..

          First of all, not true. The top 200 samples over 10000 sample points with a good median and stddev is statistically significant. There are thousands of data points per week for each class and spec, and hundreds of thousands overall. Even in a two-week window (what stateofdps uses) there are well over a hundred thousand points per class/spec.

          Second of all, it’s ludicrous to use this argument and then say that looking at the top 200 damage performances outside of class/spec is actually indicative of anything. You’re saying that it’s not useful to look at overall results for all classes because there’s not enough data but you can look at individual parses as a good indicator of trends? Please.

          Leila, answer this hypothetical. Let’s say that you were the top DPS overall on every single encounter out there. Not just top feral, but top DPS – you smoked ‘em by at least 1k. And then the next best cat did, oh, 3k less than you on every single fight – and most of the cats did about that as well, and they were behind most of the other classes.

          Would you say that feral cat DPS was in a good place because of that?

          Because you’re arguing that despite ferals not actually being top dps in most fights and only being actually competitive with top dps in a couple fights (chim and chogall, where there’s hardly any movement or disruption and no adds at all) that ferals are fine, which is actually a much worse argument.

        • Sites like stateofdps actually drop the top 5% and bottom 5% of the logs. The reason is that there are gimmicks used to have a person do dps that is actually beyond what the class would do in a normal raid. Wrath was full of these gimmicks.

          It makes zero sense to say “there was this one guy who did the absolute best” and then conc.ude that there is nothing wrong and everyone can do it.

          You really need to follow more of a mathmatical observation and apply statistical rules before you derive conclusions based on one ot two observations.

          The other good thing about stateofdps is that it takes an average of 2000 logs (minus the 5% top/bottom) for it’s compostite summary. So even if in the world there are a gazillion mages and only 10,000 ferals it won’t matter. The top 200 is the top 200. This type of point is spurious to the actual debate.

          I strongly suggest you actually read the methods used over at stateofdps.com. Comments like yours that say they combine normal and heroic is simply false. Your comments and analysis of the data remind me of the grade school argument that men are smarter then women simply because the highest IQ ever recorded was by a man. You can not extrapolate that men are smarter then women based on who has the highest single IQ, yet you try to extrapolate that ferals are OK for all of us simply because there are one or two in the top 200.

          The fact remains that ferals are 15% behind in DPS for normal raids and uver 20% top dps classes in heroics.

  36. I was in a guild that reformed from WotLK for Cata progression. Early on it was clear that the fights and abilities of feral just weren’t good enough compared to other specs. The RL decided to bench melee (except DK) for Magmaw as one example. Remember these are the same people I raided with in wrath so we all knew each other’s capabilities and all respected each other abilities.

    Being out of some fights then lead me to fall behind in gear as I had fewer opportunities and bad luck in drops. I’m the same person and cat that rocked dps charts so unless I lost half my brain it wasn’t because I didn’t know my class.

    In the end I was told to either respec boomkin, change guilds or only be allowed for some very specific fights. Nothing personal but it was just that way so the guild could progress.

    I went back to an old guild and was at or next to the top in DPS. The difference was these players weren’t as good as the ones in the last guild and it showed.

    A big factor for ferals is the weapon. If you get a nice weapon drop you will be somewhat competitive till the rest of the guild catches up in gear. Don’t get that drop and you fall way behind.

    Like I said, I don’t care if I’m 6th in dps in a 10 man as long as I’m close to the top dps percent wise. Raid leaders wouldn’t really care if the difference was just 5% or so. But 25% is really big. No decent raid leader can ever discount that. You may be a better player then others in the raid but as soon as they get a good mage/lock etc you will be replaced.

    I did the guilds where it took 100 wipes to finally kill a boss. You can’t heal stupid and most of the wipes were due to players just not having raid awareness. But in guilds with really good players you wipe 3, 5 or maybe 10 times to see all phases fo the fight and wham the boss is dead. Next week that boss is on farm.

    For me Blizz took the fun out of feral kitty playing. My job isn’t fun most of the time and that’s why I get paid. I shouldn’t have to pay Blizz for spending time not having fun and that’s why I quit.

    It’s cool that you want to keep playing. that’s your choice and I really support you in it. But that doesn’t mean ferals aren’t broken right now. have fun enjoy the game doing what you want. But please don’t say that feral dps is OK because it really isn’t.

  37. @GoodMongo:

    From State of DPS FAQ:

    How accurate are these numbers?

    World of Warcraft is home to an estimated 12,000,000 subscribers. These logs represent the top 200 of those people. In other words, these are the numbers that the top .000016% of players are putting out. These numbers are not even close to the true average H/DPS across all WoW players. They are a semi-accurate portrayal of what is playing out, spec-to-spec, at the top of the DPS world.

    @Leila – Yes, some of the sites show Normal vs Heroic. If you think about it however, all the top DPS logs from Normal raids are going to involve heroic gear; the closer to BiS the better the log will rank. The point I was trying to make is that it’d be nice to get an accurate glimpse of how everyone’s DPS looks like decked out in Normal-raid gear, because that’s when your typical raid leader is going to start making cuts as they prepare for Heroic modes. Guilds don’t typically cherrypick raiders for Normals but they certainly start doing it for Heroics.

  38. Instead of flaming me, look at the actual data, the empirical data that I’m looking at on world of logs.

    One thing I observed there and in my posts here, and you can too, is that several cats dps’d on par with all the other dps on several encounters, except the top few.
    I stated in previous posts that I am not only looking at the top one or two or four, lucky cats that Kal claim got high numbers due to insane luck or fluky logs, and claiming that’s how all cats are or should be doing.
    I am looking at large populations on encounters. That’s why I said so in my previous post, showing, for instance, the range of dps by cats from 19 – 23k on Chimaeron 10 normal is commensurate with the range of dps by the other dps classes on that encounter.

    Why even post on this thread? Because I am a raiding cat with 12/12 normal, heading into heroic, who has performed well worldwide and I see other cats doing the same (not just a few insanely lucky ones or ones with fluky parses).
    And when I hear/read/see people posting that cats suck I get curious as so why…

    And I post because I care about the state of feral, as the original post by Alaron is named, and I care about discourse and analysis of the state of cats and seek to arrive at the truth about it.

    Also, I did not say to lump normal and heroic, 10 and 25 together, I said the opposite: to make sure to analyze each one separately.
    You can’t compare a cat in normal 10 to a cat in heroic 25 any more than you can a porsche to a f10 fighter.

  39. Leila, what I’m asking is what are you actually trying to demonstrate?

    Because you’re not providing anything actually concrete or useful.

    Example: Chimaeron 10. In the first top 320 DPS 15 are ferals – and two are a duplicate parse. That is basically the best fight a feral has, and they can’t hit the top. The top feral on there (TJ) is 12th and never, ever shows up again. (that to me says ‘luck’). From TJ there are two others above 23k (which is still only top 50) and then a big mix from 100 to 320.

    Is that supposed to show that things are okay? That because you’re on the easiest fight for melee and for ferals and ferals aren’t completely sucking in a few top-parses that things are good? Again, I ask, why are you ignoring the stateofdps ranking, which looks at Chimaeron dps and sees that the top 200 ferals are 9th overall? If you like, you can look at the top 40 for Chim 10 and see ferals are 5th – meaning that if you look at the 40 best ferals in 10 man for chimaeron, they’re doing okay.

    So okay, we’ve found one point of data that vaguely supports your anecdotes. How about another? Well, surely if Chim was helped by doing the top 40 on 10 man, Cho’gall (the other good fight for ferals) would be…oops, it turns out that ferals rank 12th on that one, well below rogues, unholy DKs, ret, and even fury warriors.

    In fact, the only fight that ferals remotely do well at in the top 40 for 10 man is Chimaeron. Everywhere else they’re way back. And ‘do well at’ is 5th overall. Same thing for 25man – they’re 4th overall on normal 25m Chim, and no better than 10th on any other fight (with an average of 15th).

    But surely they’d at least keep that lead in 10m heroics? Nope! In heroics they’re even worse on Chim, dropping to 13th overall. Hell, conclave of wind 10m heroic doesn’t even have a single feral.

    Maybe 10m heroic just sucks for ferals? Okay, we’ll check out 25m heroic. And they shoot up to 6th overall. Again, this is your methodology, Leila – cherry pick only the absolute best rankings and compare. Oddly they do vaguely okay on Al’akir (with 9 rankings, 6th best) and Conclave (9th best) – but after that they’re 12th to 14th.

    So using your methodology, the only fight they’re okay on is Chim. That’s it. So on patchwerk fights with little movement and no real phase switches, ferals can…good. Not great, just good.

  40. @Kal and @Alaron
    I do hope you are posting all this stuff on the Blizz forums.
    Im sure it won’t make a blind bit of difference but still, if there’s any chance.

  41. Please post it on the druid forums. If you don’t, do you mind if I do (while crediting the author, of course) ?

  42. Stampeding Roar/Dash now removes roots. Annoying that the Bear only gets only one root-remover, compared to the Cat’s two, but between the lack of anti-CC CDs, and the lack of anti-CC CDs, oh and did I mention the lack of anti-CC CDs? I’ll take it.

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