Mar 112011
 

Enough time has passed that more and more people are starting to get the taste for heroic content. A question I get often from ferals who actually study the best class in wow is, “Hey, once I get heroic gear, I just reforge mastery and haste instead of mastery and crit right?” Well, the answer to this can be very tricky, and the only way to answer it truthfully is using the Mew program to determine exactly where you are, stat-weight-wise. Mew itself is pretty self-explanatory; as I mentioned before, I’m not a theorycrafter, but I do believe everyone needs to understand on the most basic level how to use this program. Before you can make sure you’re fully ready to tackle the raid content ahead of you, you must have your equipment in the best possible condition. This Mew process the first time will take 10-15 minutes; and less than 5 after that.

First, you can get to Mew through the sidebar of this site, Alaron has made numerous feral tools easily available to us. You’ll notice a few different links on the site you just want the click the hyper linked “here” to take you to the most recent page. You’ll be promoted a window to run the program, of course click run then the real fun starts.  Your screen turns an ugly shade of grey until you go from file to new then it’s really just a boring game of fill in the blanks with the correct answer. Remember all information you place in here is your unbuffed caster form stats, so take off that Motw and let’s see your armor. I suggest doing this next to a reforger.

The first time you set up Mew you just go down the list plugging your character information in. As you can see via the crit chance for all values you are looking for the rating, which means mouse over crit chance as I have done, then enter the rating value indicated there. (You’ll need to mouse over each stat individually and enter each rating value as I have done for crit)

(Please Click the Pic for the zoomed in version)

first

Basically when all is said and done you should end up with something that looks like this:

after

Now comes the part where your going to be happy I told you to do this next to the reforge guy because after you set all this up, then go through to click your trinket procs and raid buffs (it’s important to click the trinket procs and raid buffs you ACTUALLY HAVE in your raid group. Raid buffs make your stat weights different so be sure not to click a buff you wouldn’t actually have.) Then you click the button on the right that says Calculate. Ladies and Gents, that button is going to be your friend. You will then notice two tabs one for dps or as they call it model output, and of course the one we love is relative stat values.

I’ve heard the phrase in heroic gear haste > crit and that’s actually arguable. In 372 Haste is approximate to Crit is a better phrase and that’s what you’ll be trying to achieve in reforging your gear. Basically once you start getting heroic gear and you notice your haste stat value is now higher then your crit, you want to reforge everything to mastery then to haste, until on your personal stat value haste and crit yield roughly the same dps increase. This will take time. Reforge, recalculate, then reforge, then recalculate, then reforge, recalculate the process is rewarding but not much fun.

values

As you can see from my values Haste remains roughly .01 dps above crit; however, this is as close as I could bring the two. It’s important to keep your gear in perfect raid condition. I’m the only feral in my raid group; however, for those in guilds with more then one feral I suggest you guys meet up on vent after raid and take the 10 minutes it takes to get this done. This might not get you a ton of extra DPS, but if you’ve ever wiped on a boss at 0%, then you know how important even little improvements can be.

As I said before, all this should be done after you pick up a few 372 pieces. By a few I literally mean 2 or 3, it’s amazing how quickly haste starts to take over crit in very little heroic gear. As always please comment or email me any questions you have on basic uses of Mew.

Until next time.

-Qbear

 Posted by at 10:00 pm
Mar 102011
 

Recently the Feral community has lost some great people, Yawning and Alaron to be specific. While Yawning has left to find greener pastures, Alaron has real life commitments to handle. He will still be around,  just not as much. Both have expressed concerns with the current state of Feral cats and the future of our class. I applaud them for what they have done for us and wish them good luck in their future endeavors.

That being said, many want to know where we are and what we do now. First, we are right here. We haven’t gone anywhere. We are still a tight community, and on average from what I have seen a higher caliber player. Second we continue to eat face and have a great time doing it. PVE Ketteh players can be broken down into 2 main groups. This doesn’t include everyone but it does handle a majority.

  • Group A picked the cat because the rotation was hard-hard but rewarding. If you were bad at it, you were really bad, but if you were good you could really shine. Great cats stuck out in a crowd and were well known. The complexity of the feral “rotation” was the real boss.
  • Group B picked a cat because it was just cool to shapeshift and eat face. A lot of these players didn’t like the complicated rotation and rejoiced as the “rotation” got easier.

Whatever your reason for picking the class, it was a good one. This is a game, and as long as you have fun, you are doing it right. The Feral PVE rotation has been made much easier. It is forgiving if you mess it up. While this no longer appeals to those that wanted a challenge, there is still some challenge to be found Do your rotation flawlessly and you can still compete on DPS meters.  You still have an innervate (although weak). You still have a CC, you still have a BR and you still have an interrupt. Do other classes do it better? Sure, but not every raid group is going to have the perfect setup. Druids have utility that in almost every case another class can do better. But can the player of that class do it? You still have a chance to shine. You still have a chance to make a difference. BR the tank, pop MotW, shift into cat and eat face. Good job. Did the pally do Kings when the person popped? If not thank goodness you did. Hunter pet broke CC on a dragonkin. Hunter pulled pet off but did anyone reapply CC? Throw a sleep on it, shift to cat, eat face.

Druids are not worthless. They can still be great fun and bring a lot to each fight. Do we have broken mechanics? Yes. Do we have bad mechanics? Yes. Can we still have a good time? YES. All is not lost my friends. Druid cats are still great.

Keep checking back as I conduct a couple interviews with some great PVE cats that we all love and admire. As always be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and use the forums. Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have but the forums on this site are your best bet. This will help to answer one question one time instead of one question multiple times. This site is a posting spot for many great cats. If you are the noob with a noob question and are a little embarrassed then a PM will do fine. I will never ridicule you.

Sylvaneart

Mar 092011
 

Put away those master balls guys, I’m only here to offer my insights and wisdom as our fearless leader shifts focus away from the game, to take care of his military obligations for awhile. I have so much I want to share with you about my experiences going through this game as a feral; however, the real question is…Why should you care what I have to say? Well allow me to make my first post all about myself, in hopes that some personal insight into my past will allow us to get on the same page on what I can bring to the blog, in Alaron’s absence.

A glimpse into the past:

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since November 2006, This means that I did not get to play end game vanilla due to The Burning Crusade releasing late January of the following year. Like Alaron I was in the military, US Army Infantry. I was introduced to the game by friends of mine in the Army. We decided to make toons on Shattered Hand-US and push raid content even though we were stationed in Germany, eight hours ahead of server time. I was the definition of scrub at level 70 to be completely honest the only reason I made a druid in the first place is because everyone in the army called me bear due to my large, door-kicking down size, so when it came time to pick a toon a bear druid seemed what I was best suited for. We did fine for a bunch of late night raiders but I remember strolling through shat, seeing all the toons in full t6 (months ahead of anyone else on our server) and decided I wanted to be that guy.

I left the army after 4 years 8 months of service, once I was stateside and able to raid I was quickly accepted into the 2nd horde guild on the server as a bear tank. This was as blood wing of Ice Crown was released. We managed to land the server first Heroic Halion kill and server third Heroic Lich King. Once Cata was released things in my guild weren’t feeling the same and I moved up again to the server’s rank one guild <Downtime> as a feral cat. Currently we are 10/13 in tier 11 heroic content.

Hopes for the future:

What I am is an observer and a strategist. I spend a vast majority of time watching kill videos from higher guilds, doing my best to know how I can deal with these encounters for my class. I spent just as much time reading information from blizzard and other sources on how our class changes will effect the raid from a purely pve stand point. It is amazing how just knowing boss abilities, one can already come up with a class stratigy on how to handle a fight. I collect this information and put it into practice for raids, one thing I can pride myself on is even when things are going horribly and a wipe is sure to happen, using the numerous amount of feral abilities I’m usually one of the last to die.

What I am not is a theory crafter. Plugging away countless scenarios into a simulator is not what I’m about, but I do follow their work, and have the gift of being able to put their complex work into a simple, easy to read forum. I am also not a PvP’r, when I spoke about the time I spent researching this game from a PvE standpoint, I hope you realized how serious I was. While I find battlegrounds enjoyable, I’ve just never had the thirst for it like I’ve had for PvE. My goal as a guest blogger is threefold: first, to share not only my views on blizzard changes for the class and spec we all know and love; second, to offer insights on how to handle progression through raid content from a cat that’s dealt with it all before; finally, to help the community stay current on changes, as blizzard continues to nerf and buff the best class in the game.

Outro:

Well thank you for taking the time to get to know me, I look forward to learning more from all of you, as we spend more together. I think we should all take a moment to thank Alaron for keeping this site open, even if he won’t be around for awhile. I know I’m grateful for him allowing me to be able to write to all of you, this is my first time writing for an audience and hope you don’t mind watching me grow as a blogger as I hope to read about you all grow more skillfully in Cataclysm raid content.

Qbear

Armory: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/shattered-hand/qbear/advanced

Guild: http://downtime.shatteredhand.us/

 Posted by at 10:00 pm
Mar 082011
 

Greetings, and welcome to you, avid feral follower. With Alaron needing to take some time off for real life, he has asked for some help with his blog. Enter one cool cat with a mission, Sylvaneart. I have been playing this game long enough to realize that:

  • If you have been playing since vanilla, you know that style of play is out of date.
  • If you have been playing since BC, you know what a crushing blow is.
  • If you have been playing since WotLK, you might have cried to lose our good swipe.
  • And if you have been playing since Cata, you could probably care less about the old ways. LOL!

Stupid intro? Maybe. In all honesty, I am a student of the feral class. The math, the lore, and the player. For years I have sat back and collected as much information as I can on the cat. I write regular posts for my guild and server. My mission as stated above is two-fold. First, I aim to convince the world that feral cat is the greatest class there is. Just kidding. I love feral and I want to see you enjoy it too by accomplishing part two. Part two is to bring you the information you need to enjoy the greatest class there is. This is my first foray into being a regular contributor so I hope you enjoy reading and learning all I have to show you.

As a player I started as a hunter. I quickly saw the huntard generalization and decided that wasn’t going to be me. This hunter was my main all the way up until the start of WotLK. When the hunter pet was made a trivial thing I no longer cared for the class. But I had this druid. This great thing in my possession. It was so much better than my hunter in every way but my guild at the time needed my hunter. I basically told my guild I was going feral and it wasn’t up for discussion. Best choice I ever made. My enjoyment of the game has increased so much. My current guild is 1/13 HM. This isn’t impressive to many but I can say I am loving every minute of it. I don’t PVP so my discussions will be of a pure PVE basis only.

So come along for the ride with me. Let me help show you why your class IS relevant. Let me show you why switching into a ferocious cat and ripping face is so fun. As always be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and use the forums. Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have but the forums on this site are your best bet. This will help to answer one question one time instead of one question multiple times. This site is a posting spot for many great cats that are willing to help the noob learn why claw is laughed at and # in a line of code is called a REM to most coders. If you are the noob with a noob question and are a little embarrassed then a PM will do fine. I will never ridicule you.

Sylvaneart

Mar 072011
 

With nothing new on the PvE feral front to report, I’ve gone ahead and ended my subscription to WoW. Last night was my last raid, and obligingly, CD managed to take down Cho’Gall for the first time. :) Happily, I was able to end my raiding time by killing the boss that had only been killed before in the comics, and not the one that had been killed before in-game. (Woot for recycled content!)

I’ll keep posting as long as I’m able (and as long as people want to read my increasingly out-of-date observations), but I’m still looking for guest bloggers/posters. I’ve got two of my forum regulars signed up so far; if you’re interested, send me a PM. I’ll be digging through my emails and PM’s today and tomorrow to try to clear the backlog; apologies to anyone who I haven’t replied to quickly.

Finally, thanks to all the great commenters (and forum posters). So much on the Internet turns to chaos; hopefully, we’ve created a little island of sanity here where people can discuss (and learn) their favorite game without the trolls. Never would have kept going without you. I’ve spent what was left from the donations I received, and some of what I’ve received from WoWI, to renew the hosting for another year. Try not to mess the place up too much while I’m away. :)

Alaron (Chase)

 Posted by at 11:16 pm
Mar 052011
 

Ah, the pleas of the many have been answered! Lo, the doors of Blizzard have parted, and the following comes forth:

“While things may look bleak, my feral sons and daughters, take heart! We have you in our thoughts always. Your many entreaties and lamentations have not fallen on deaf ears. We have listened…now hear the solution that will restore you as an equal competitor against dragons and men!”

A hushed silence decends on the crowd. The narrator waits until all is still, than speaks again…

Prowl has a new icon.”

They have SPOKEN!


Okay, seriously, there were a few changes that I won’t mock:

  • Feral Swiftness now also causes Dash and Stampeding Roar to have a 50/100% chance to instantly remove all movement impairing effects from the affected targets when used.
  • Glyph of Rake is now Glyph of Pounce, which increases the range of Pounce by 3 yards.

I figure this is as close as we’re going to get to getting our root break back, and it’s probably the best stopgap solution. (Any class redesign to be balanced around, say, shapeshifting mana costs, would probably take quite some time.) You’d frequently be using Dash/SR (the newer improved version) as a gap closer after a root anyway, so this works out to some degree. It’s interesting how SR has essentially become “AOE Dash.” I hope that they take a look at the energy cost; it’s high enough that it’s hard to use it as a reactive ability, which I assume is the intent. The Pounce glyph is fairly useless, but I’m HOPING *crosses fingers* that this means they might let Stampede proc Ravage OR Pounce.

Also, this:

  • The root effect from Shattered Barrier now shares diminishing returns with the root from Improved Cone of Cold.

Hey, maybe someone, somewhere, does listen? WHILE YOU”RE LISTENING, CAN YOU TWEAK FB AND CAT SWIPE, PLEASE? THANKS!

(Yes, this post is a little silly. I’m in a good mood; got the email today that I passed my CISSP exam.)

 Posted by at 12:48 am
Mar 012011
 

So, the 4.1 changes so far:

  • Cyclone duration has been reduced to 5 seconds, down from 6.
  • Lifebloom‘s bloom effect has been reduced by 20%. In addition, it now costs 11% of base mana, up from 7%.
  • Stampeding Roar‘s duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40%.
  • Swipe (Bear) cooldown has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 6.
  • (Death Knight) Raise Ally has been redesigned to be a battle resurrection, analogous to Rebirth. It is instant cast, but costs 50 Runic Power to use, and has a 10-minute cooldown. It shares the same global battle resurrection cap with Rebirth and Soulstone.

Let’s recap. For PvE, feral druids needed a slight damage bump, a quicker rotation ramp-up, a tweak to Ferocious Bite, and better AoE. (Fixing the latter problems will likely fix the first.) For PvP, druids needed a survivability/mitigation increase to compensate for the inability to self-break snares. (Among with many other things, but this is the glaring one.)

Instead, we got: 1) a nerf to our primary PvP control mechanism; 2) a nerf to our healing in PvP (Resto druids typically don’t let LB bloom; however, with the ToL change, this may be directed at druids rolling LB in ToL); and 3) a further reason for a 10-man to bench a feral druid for a DK. Meanwhile, the Stampeding Roar buff doesn’t fix the main problem, which is the energy cost (for cats) and range. At least the bear Swipe change is nice, and a good solution to bear AoE issues. On balance, the first round of proposed changes are definitely not persuading me that Blizzard is understanding the issues we’ve been trying to communicate.

Other stuff:

- My guild and I suffered through a 0.2% and a 1% wipe on Cho’gall on Sunday. Bah! Bah I say!

- My column hasn’t disappeared from WoWI – just some technical difficulties with screenshots. Should be up soon.

- I definitely don’t PvP at a high level, but I enjoy reading the discussions of those who do. Definitely give this post by Reygahnci about feral PvP a look, and add his blog to your feedreaders.

 Posted by at 2:13 pm
Feb 252011
 

So, everybody is abuzz with 4.1 info; I’m in a bit of a hurry, so I’ll just remind you to check the usual suspects for the up-to-date info. For those that asked, I was about to post a reworked version of my “state of feral” post on the Damage Dealing forum, when I noticed someone else (basically) had. It may or may not be helpful to comment on that thread, but if ever, now’s the time to do it with the 4.1 PTR coming up.

4.1

  • It’s a bit buried, but it’s there: “we want to do a better job of balancing the AoE power of the different damage-dealing specs.” That’s one of the major weaknesses of feral at the moment, so any love here would be great.
  • “All non-damaging interrupts off the global cooldown will now always hit the target. This includes Pummel, Shield Bash, Kick, Mind Freeze, Rebuke, Skull Bash, Counterspell, Wind Shear, Solar Beam, Silencing Shot, and related player pet abilities.” Assuming this means what I think it does, no more having to stack hit. Yay! (PvP just got more boring, I guess.)
  • All the crafted LW gear lost 20 agility and 20 secondary stats and gained a red socket with a +10 agility socket bonus. That will make those items much more appealing.
  • Hmm, this wouldn’t he too hard to rework for Feral: “Whirlwind now has its cooldown reduced by 6 sec. if it deals damage to 4 or more targets.” Let Swipe cost less energy for 4+ targets, maybe?

Feral blue post

(I know, it’s sad that a blue post about feral deserves it’s own header; they’re rare beasts these days.)

I chose not to post in this thread because it seemed to be mostly about bears (and then devolved into a PvP argument, like usual) but:

  • Hey, ferals do exist! (FWIW, I agree with 1, his argument on 2 sucks, and I disagree with 3.)
  • They’re not changing it (shifting not breaking roots) back. “We’ve been over this issue quite a bit…” “Ferals are now slightly easier to control.”  ”SOME players would rather have…” etc., etc. I think the martyr mindset has set in at Blizz on this change…this is good for THE GAME, so let’s keep pressing it, regardless of criticism.
 Posted by at 12:30 am
Feb 242011
 

So I got a TON of comments on my “state of feral” post (75ish, at last count) and 80% of them are focusing on one thing- where ferals are on the meters. I’d like to clarify a bit.

  • Feral is not “broken.” Obviously, this depends on how you define “broken.” Several commenters have pointed out that “I’m always in the top X for DPS in my guild’s raids” and “I haven’t seen any problems.” Well, yeah. I’m pulling top5 DPS for my decidedly non-hardcore guild as well. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I’m a better player than they are, which makes comparisons like these somewhat less valid. (Protip: If you read blogs about WoW, then you are probably a better player than average.)  Feral DPS can complete all normal-mode content and pull competitive numbers; or, from a PvP perspective, can hit high ratings, so I don’t think they’re “broken.” For 90% of people, that’s all that matters. (90% is roughly the number of raiders that have not completed any heroic raid content to date, according to GuildOx.)
  • Feral is currently weak in PvE, compared to other classes. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, first we need a method to fairly compare class DPS. Happily, the community has created several resources for us to draw information from. The one most commonly used is the World of Logs DPS rankings. While this tool was created purely as an online scoreboard competition, it stores the top 200 results for each spec. This is enough information to allow us to compare spec for spec in similar situations. Several second-order tools, such as State of DPS and Raidbots (Hi Seri!) have been created to parse this information into fancy graphs that we can argue about. :) Now, several valid criticisms have been made about how well this dataset applies to the problem; unfortunately, it’s the best tool we have for comparative purposes, and I don’t think any of the criticisms substantially devalue the comparison. Looking at both parsing sites, we’re very low on the overall numbers. Of course, overall numbers don’t tell the whole story; let’s look at specific fights. (Note that when I compare classes, I assume that top players will switch to the best DPS spec available to their class and gear; so I only count the top DPS spec for every class except shamans and druids, which I count individually.)
    • Pure Single-Target DPS: Very Poor. Looking at Argaloth (I think it’s safe to say that the top 200 are moving to stay behind him at this point), ferals are the lowest class. The difference isn’t that pronounced for single-target, though; assuming MM comes back to the pack a little bit after the recent nerf, I’d say feral is about 5-10% behind the top class. (What about Chimaeron? Well, I’m of the opinion that Chimaeron numbers are untrustworthy. Top DPS’ers will be the first to die in the burn phase, which skews their numbers downward.)
    • Two-Target DPS: Poor. It’s hard to find a fight that has just two targets without other things going on; Valiona/Theralion and Twilight Council are the closest. We are the second lowest spec on VT (just ahead of ele) and third-lowest spec on TAC (just ahead of ele and ret). Admittedly, most melee has troubles with TAC, but we’re significantly behind the ones with decent ranged ability; unholy and enhance.
    • Burst AOE: Poor to Average. Looking at normal-mode Maloriak, we beat out three specs (ele/enh/ret) and are very close to fury. That’s not bad, but that’s the closest to the top we’ve got.
    • Sustained AOE: Very Poor. Heroic-mode Maloriak features an extra phase with nothing but AOE. Ferals come in 11 of 12, just ahead of enhance.
      (If you think I need to look at a certain fight besides these, let me know.)
  • Feral is currently underrepresented in PvP, compared to other classes. Since we don’t have performance data for arena teams, the best we can do is look at the top-rated teams and see how many have ferals on them. Unfortunately, I don’t know of an automated tool that does this (anyone else know?) Looking at AJ numbers for the top 100 3v3 teams, roughly 40 of them have druids. Of those 40, all of them are Resto/X. Most have second resto or boomkin offspecs; maybe 3 or 4 have feral offspecs. None are logged out in feral PvP gear, as far as I can tell.

Feel free to comment. I’m having a very long and difficult week, so I’m not participating as much as I would be normally.

 Posted by at 12:48 am
Feb 202011
 

First, thanks to all of you who responded to my last post. As always, I’m amazed by the number of people who actually read this thing. :)

I was less than clear in my postscript, when I stated that I’d canceled my subscription renewal. A bit of background: Many long-term readers know that I serve in the U.S. military. Well, I’ve been in a year-long set of training courses, that is now coming to an end.

Recently, I was notified that my follow-on assignment had been changed; I was now going to a unit on an accelerated deployment timeline. Essentially, this means that I will be heading overseas (sorry, I can’t give more details than that) for a year in the next 2-3 months, to a place where my connection to the Blizzard servers will be…less than optimal, shall we say. I had planned to re-sub for one more month, but I think it’s important that I communicate my displeasure with the direction that Blizzard is taking feral (or lack of direction, possibly) and unsubscribing is the strongest message available. I have about 2 weeks left on my sub, so we’ll see what changes between now and then.

About the site: While my blogging frequency will probably diminish markedly, I plan to keep paying for the site and the associated hosting costs. The forum and the community here has succeeded in providing a place where new players and veterans can come to get help in a non-elitist environment, and I want to keep that up. (Of course, donations are always welcome. :)) I can’t really say for sure anything more than that, until I get on-ground and see what my workload is going to be like. If anyone is interested in guest blogging, send me an email/PM, and I’ll look into how to set it up.

 Posted by at 10:23 am  Tagged with: