Mar 192011
 

                Welcome back Cats and Kittens!  We have taken time lately discussing different things to help make us better cats.  Mainly these discussions have covered free tools available to you like Mew.    Now let’s talk about a basic tool that everyone paid for already, but may not be using correctly-the WoW UI.  Ask any raider and they will tell you how important your UI is.  You must track cooldowns, DOT timers, procs and more with accuracy.  Most importantly, you must do this efficiently.  Your camera is centered on you.  Your attention will mainly be focused on yourself in relation to the boss.  Things can happen so fast during a boss fight you need to be able to concentrate the information available to you.  But at the same time this information can not take your attention away from the fight.  Many new raiders make the mistake of “overloading” their UI with so much information that it takes away from what you can do.  As smart as you are (or might think you are) the human brain can only take in so much information at a time and efficiently process that information.  So let’s get into it shall we?

  • Focus Area:

        The first thing we should define is your “Focus Area”.  The Focus Area is where your eyes should spend the majority of the fight.  This is represented by the green oval in the illustration below.  This is where your toon is and, by default, where the boss is.  Great raiders take in the whole screen but concentrate their efforts on this green area.  When building your UI this is where the, “I have to know this right now” stuff is placed.  When placing these things, be sure not to cover up anything you need to see.  Out a section from there (represented by orange) is your next area of focus.  Here we will place important information that is easily accessible but doesn’t need to be in my face the whole time.  Finally we have the red area.  Whatever you place here will take your eyes away from the fight and thus away from a potentially game changing occurrence.  Information placed in this area is not typically needed during a fight but is usually what you need to know before the fight starts.

Focus Area

  • DOT Timers:

        The core of a feral’s DPS comes from applying DOTs on the target.  Optimal DPS comes when you refresh these DOTs at the right times and maximize your energy usage.  Therefore, it is vital for us to track DOTs on the boss.  My personal favorite is Class Timer.  Many great ferals use DroodFocus.  They both work fine IMO.  The important thing is to get a visible DOT timer.  As you can see in the picture below it provides nice timers to the debuffs and DOTs I have currently placed on the boss.  The importance of this is to know how long before I need to reapply a DOT.  This needs to be in the green area.

DOT timer

Some argue that all my bars are the same size and will burn down at different speeds.  That is why I configured it so that the 1st thing that will end is always on top.

  • Personal Buffs:

        It is also vital to track your personal buffs, but not all buffs are vital the entire fight.  Things you’re your food buff and MotW do not need to be front and center.  With 1 hour durations they just need to be somewhere you can see them before a fight starts.  The ones that need to be tracked constantly are things like trinket procs, Omen of Clarity, 4pT11 and such. 

        For the stuff that “lasts” a long time I use the standard blizz buffs frame.  Many use an addon to track these things by the second, but I choose not to.  Part of the reason for this is that I looked at this frame for so long in my early days, I can now just glance at it and tell every totem I am getting and such.  This should be in the Red area.

Long Buffs

For MY personal on-use procs I use Class Timer.  This works well for seeing how long Berserk has left or TF and SR.  It is also nice to track your T11 4 piece bonus.

bufftimer

For trinket procs, I use Ovale with Leafkiller’s Script.  It is fast to set up and Leaf did all the work for you.  Thanks, Leaf.

Trinket Timer

It is also important to have a combo point counter near the action.  Your combo points are make or break to your DPS.  You can’t take time to search for your combo points to know if you can Rip or not.  It needs to be right there in your focus in the green area.

Combo Points

  • Boss Timers:

        I don’t care what people say.  You have to run boss timers.  If you feel you don’t need them I can guarantee someone in your raid does and you can help by calling out abilities.  People point out that world-first guilds don’t use them since they aren’t updated yet.  This is true, but are you in a world-first guild?  I am not and 99% of WoW players aren’t either. 

        DBM works great.  You can use Big Wigs instead, but I use DBM.  Now that you have the mod,  it needs to be set up.  Don’t put everything to the side (Red).  But don’t put everything in the middle (Green).  That takes your focus away from the action or covers it up.  My preference is to have the timers start on the side and have them move into the center top at 5 seconds left.  This gets the big bars out of your way for a majority of the time until it is actually time to react.  So the first picture below is the center right side of my screen which is the red area.  I can see these bars if needed and they aren’t covering any action going on.

DBM Small

At 5 seconds remaining the bars will move to the center top of my screen, or the orange area, and get bigger.  This lets me know that NOW is the time for a special and I need to do something or be prepared to react.

DBM Big

  • Raid Frames:

        Raids frames are needed even for DPS.  It is important to see the state of the raid.  This doesn’t need to be in your primary field of view but it does need to be on your screen.  With 4.1 allowing you to click raid frames to do BR it makes them even more important. 

        I use Grid myself.  I can set it up to track whatever I want on my raid members and it is small and clean.  In fights where I would have to tank swap I used to just focus the other tank and watch his debuff counter.  This worked 9 out of 10 times until we started working on Heroic Halfus.  I had to tank a drake while watching the Halfus tank’s debuffs and interrupt Halfus.  I was using a focus macro to interrupt Halfus before, but that would no longer work since I was focusing the Halfus tank.  I adjusted grid to show only the debuff on the tank.  This allowed me to focus Halfus for interrupts while watching the tanks stacks.  In many videos you see on you-tube the raid frames of the filmer are right in the middle of the screen.  These videos are usually shot by a healer and seeing the entire raids health is a focus for them.  The same is not true for us.  Your raid frames will do the job needed sitting up in the red area.

Grid

  • Threat Meter:

        While feral cats might be sinking down the DPS charts we are still freaky high on the threat charts.  You need to know where you are on threat.  Don’t screw up a tank rotation by pulling the boss off and making the tank have to taunt at an inopportune time.  Also, on a fight like Chimaeron, in the final phase he just runs down the list 1-shotting people.  You need to be ready if you are next.  Omen is the best threat meter I have seen.  It has been around for a long time and it simply just works.  This is not really something that needs to be in your focus area.  I keep mine in the red area because you can set a screen flash and audio tone to warn you when your threat is getting too high.

Omen

  • Buttons/hotkeys:

        We, as ferals, can have our hands full at times.  It is important to hotkey your buttons.  You can also use mouse-over macros and such.  I personally use Bartender and the WoW Cataclysm mouse.  This allows me to hit what I want when I want.  Once you set up your hot keys you must practice and memorize them.  You don’t have time to search for an ability in the middle of a fight.  In the picture below, you might notice some odd groupings.  That is simply due to most, if not all, of my stuff being on my mouse, so I don’t really care where it is on the bottom 3 rows.  Since you have hot-keyed your abilities, memorized them and practiced with them it is not advisable to put them in the green area.  Orange will do just fine.

Bartender

  • Optional:

        If you are new to the cat or are still working out your rotation, I highly recommend using Ovale with Leafkiller’s script.  It is a next move indicator that will really help you.  Spend time on a dummy with it and learn why it is suggesting a move.  Don’t just pound out what it says.   If you do decide to use it, it should be in your green area as you will need to keep a close eye on it the entire fight.

Ovale

  • Damage meters:

        I am honestly up in the air on this one.  You need to know what you are doing and Recount will help.  It is nice after a fight to be able to go back and quickly see your rotation in graph form and see what you are doing wrong or right. However, DO NOT stare at this during a fight.  DO NOT worry about where you are on the meter during a fight.  That is a selfish thing to do and it is to the detriment of your raid.  Do not take your focus away from the fight at hand. Keep this in the red area.

Recount

  • Scrolling Text:

        I like to use Parrot because during the times I am tanking I want to see what heals are coming in.  I also like to see what damage I am putting out per ability during testing.  It is also good to see incoming damage. This should be in the orange area.

Scrolling Txt

  • The Final:

        Now we need to put all this together.  Your focus should be the middle of your screen.  That is where your cat is so that is where your eyes need to be.  Highly important information needs to be close to this area but not covering.  The less important info can be spread out from there.  Now, before I show you my UI you need to understand I have some OCD issues with things being symmetrical :)  I included Ovale with Leaf’s script in this shot.

SS

        My main focus is me.  I am always right in the middle of the screen so this is where my eyes are looking.  There I have the most important information that I need to know immediately.  My health, my energy, my Combo Points, my target, my target’s target (tank hopefully), boss’s health, dots, and procs.  Spread out from here is information I would like to have access to on a less frequent basis.  This includes incoming heals, incoming damage, outgoing damage, outgoing heals, final seconds of boss timers and raid warnings.  Just above the boss’s head is where my DBM timers are when an ability gets to 5 seconds.  The rest of the information is spread out along the edges to help not obstruct my view.

        I realize I did not go over every add-on I have.  This is intentional as I am trying to show the basic setup, not show you my cool looking map in the corner.

        Is this the best UI ever?  No, but it gets the job done.  There are a couple things I could strip off to clear space but I have been using this for sometime now and would just feel naked without it.  The important thing is to remember your Focus Area and how to work around and within it.

       As always be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and use the forums.  Are you on Twitter?  I am, follow me @Sylvaneart.  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 182011
 

Greetings to the feral community. I am going to keep my intro to a bear minimum (pun intended). I started playing WoW about 3 weeks after the game was released. My first level 60 was a rogue with about 40 days played. My second level 60 was a feral druid with over 378 days played, otherwise known as “Leafkiller.” Let’s just say I liked playing the druid more. Currently I maintain an Ovale script that is posted in the cat forums of The Fluid Druid and can be found here. My script is based on the work of many ferals over the years dating back to the early move suggesters such as FBN. In keeping with the tradition that was set by nightcrowler, my script has been tuned by using a cat DPS simulator (I use Mew). If you want more background on Mew, read the Mew N’ You post by Qbear.

For better or worse, my posts will generally be focused on answering questions through simulation testing and will be a bit on the dry side. It is in my nature to prefer hard data to opinions. Many times on the forums I see people post answers that lack a numerical foundation and more often then not, the answers are incomplete, wrong or in some cases about something that is trivial and not worth discussing.

A question I see asked a lot is what secondary stats people should reforge to. Before 4.06 the question was pretty easy to answer – mastery was significantly ahead of the rest of the secondary stats and for most people crit was the clear second choice. 4.06 changed that by making our DoTs weaker and Shred/Mangle stronger. Mastery has come down in value while stats such as Hit and Expertise have come up in value. Back in October, when 4.0 first came out, I posted on EJB about dropping hit and expertise from my gearing and seeing a dps increase of over 500 (this was at level 80). The ensuing discussion was pretty lively, and (to me) culminated in a post from tangedyn which he concluded with the following statement:

It’s time we drop the notion that it is necessary to cap hit and exp. The game has changed, and we either adapt or fall back in the damage meters.

With the changes in 4.06 bringing the secondary stats closer in value to one another, I decided to retest exactly how much the dps cost was for reforging to the hit cap. 500 dps at level 80 was (to me at least) pretty substantial. It was 3% of my total damage. With 4.06 I knew the numbers had changed substantially and I wanted to know what the cost was to reforge to the hit cap. There are advantages to being hit capped which include not missing interrupts (changing in 4.01), not missing cowers, and a more stable dps rotation. There have also been many posts where people have claimed better dps on add fights with more hit. I did not try to get both hit and expertise capped as that would have resulted in gemming/enchant changes. One thing that has not changed with 4.06 is that the relative value of agility is still around three times that of any of the secondary stats and the relative value of strength is still more than twice that of the secondary stats and there are not enough secondary stats available to reforge to get both hit and expertise capped.

To test the impact of emphasizing crit, haste or the hit cap, I reforged my current gear the following four ways:

  1. First I emphasized crit rating after mastery.
  2. Then I emphasized haste rating after mastery.
  3. The third setup had haste rating and crit rating almost equal.
  4. For the fourth setup, I got as close to the hit cap as I could (960 hit rating for 7.99% hit) which did result in a slightly lower mastery rating.

I tested this against four combat scenarios as follows:

  1. A 5 minute patchwork style fight (“Patch”)
  2. A 5 minute patchwork style fight with in combat Ravages with no travel time (“Ravage 0″)
  3. A 5 minute patchwork style fight with in combat Ravages with 2 second travel times (“Ravage 2″)
  4. A 7 minute fight that alternates 90 seconds of combat with 30 seconds of downtime which is similar to the air phases on Atramedes (“90/30″)

All tests used the Glyphs of Rip and Shred, and I did full runs with the third glyph being either TF, Berserk, or SR (this is captured as row prefixes in the data below). The testing I did is not intended to comment on the relative merits of the TF, Berserk, and SR glyphs, but was done to make sure that the behavior of a hit capped profile was consistent regardless of which of those three glyphs was used. I will probably post a followup to discuss the relative merits of each of those glyphs. I have included all of the data I measured at the end of this post. I did the testing with my Mew script, which is posted here. The differences between my script and the default one that ships with Mew are pretty minor with my script typically producing slightly higher dps. To emulate the Atramedes air phases I added some code to the top of the script to return a null result after every 90 seconds for 30 seconds. I made the fight length 7 minutes to ensure that the fight ended during a combat phase.

Looking at the data below, the differences in value between haste and crit are low (the largest difference was with the glyph of berserk on the 90/30 fight where emphasizing haste comes out about 50dps ahead of stacking crit). Reforging to the hit cap is a dps loss in most scenarios – but it is not nearly as significant as it was before the 4.06 patch came out. Using it in conjunction with the glyph of TF generally showed about a 60dps loss while using it with the glyph of berserk was closer to a 100dps loss. It would be a mistake to make too many assumptions about the glyph of berserk results as it is particularly sensitive to fight length and mechanics (for example on the 90/30 fight, Mew is showing less than 3 full berserks which means the second berserk is being clipped). What was interesting was that with the the glyph of TF on the 90/30 fight the hitcap setup was on par with the other setups – which lends some credence to the notion that being hitcapped helps with dps on fights with target switching/adds.

The bottom line is that the dps loss for reforging to the hitcap is about .25% of the measured dps. The secondary stats are so close in value now that you you can pretty much choose any combination of crit/haste/exp/hit without significantly impacting your dps. Mastery is still preferred, but even giving up a small amount of mastery to get hit capped is not that significant (I had to give up 91 mastery with my gear).

-Leaf

*Updated the data with agility at 5060 not 5360.

Crit Haste Balanced Hitcap (7.99%)
Weapon DPS 703.5 703.5 703.5 703.5
Str 142 142 142 142
Agi 5060 5060 5060 5060
AP 887 887 887 887
Haste 663 1260 1134 782
Hit 266 266 266 960
Crit 1604 1007 1133 957
Exp 188 188 188 113
Mastery 1882 1882 1882 1791
TF Patch 23562 23588 23580 23529
TF Ravage 0 24797 24813 24807 24759
TF Ravage 2 24154 24142 24152 24048
TF 90/30 20127 20165 20147 20170
Berserk Patch 23492 23527 23514 23418
Berserk Ravage 0 24593 24598 24601 24526
Berserk Ravage 2 23994 24008 23995 23883
Berserk 90/30 19859 19909 19870 19827
SR Patch 23429 23462 23459 23372
SR Ravage 0 24534 24547 24536 24469
SR Ravage 2 23937 23925 23917 23840
SR 90/30 19797 19842 19811 19783
Mar 152011
 

What’s up Cats and Kittens (Sorry just wanted to try that out)

With Syl and myself getting use to our new roles on the site, sadly I’ve let a couple things slip under the radar I’d like to take a moment to address right now. The 4.1 changes announced so far have been dismal for the needed changes in feral 4.1 dps improvements; however, we have seen a few quality of life changes that I’d like to take a moment to discuss with everyone.

  • A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses.

It doesn’t happen often but when it does you really want to /facepalm. A key raider goes down and thinks to themselves this is the perfect time to click the release button. Now your raid leader is screaming at you, “I don’t care if you can’t find them get them up now!” While said raider is yelling, “I died next to the stairs!” Well no more!!! I like to think of this as a situational dps increase, time spent mousing over the entire battle field was time wasted from dps. A change that I can’t complain about.

  • Druids now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Tranquility.

Again another quality of life change. The amount of times I would pop tranq in a pinch to just get half of it pushed back due to heavy aoe raid damage was numerous. This will make feral tranqs that much more clutch in both 10 and 25m raid settings. Again not great news for dps, but good news nonetheless.

As most of you are aware blizzard has started a new blog called the Dev Q&A series. The first Q&A went out and I have to say I was not impressed at all. While their claim is we just answered the questions that we’re voted up the highest, sadly most of the questions they answered were things they’ve addressed in simple blue posts since the new forums have launched. There was only one question asked that recieved an answer from all specs of the druid community, this question was asked by squiggly line, squiggly line, tiny airplane, happy flamingo from Taiwan, he asks:

  • Q: Moonkins lack the “execution” phase spell or talent, is that an intended design and why? –輕體小子 (Taiwan)
    A: While it’s true that a lot of character classes have a special ability they can use at the 20% health mark, we didn’t set out to make sure everyone had one. Balance druids have changed a lot in the last two expansions and went from a pretty simple rotation (spam Wrath or Starfire) to a pretty complex one. We’re not sure at this time they need yet another mechanic to manage, but it’s a potential design direction to explore for the future.

While it made me sad to see that there are Boomkins out there asking for more ways to improve their dps over ours, I can’t help but wonder if he realizes the feral execute is arguably the weakest of all class and specs. If it wasn’t for bite refreshing rip under 25% there’s a good chance that feral kitties would just skip that talent anyway.  I’m just happy that blizzard agreed that Boomkins don’t need another mechanic to manage making us look silly in current content. The next Q&A series is all about pvp so don’t hold your breath anything useful will be addressed there either.

I still hold hope, numerous changes have been anounced to different classes and their aoe abilities, and there’s not to many classes left to adjust other then us. So keep your paws crossed, hopefully we’ll get some patch notes about us very soon. If they’re announced I promise not to take a week to get a discussion going on the site.

Until next time

-Qbear

 Posted by at 10:00 pm
Mar 152011
 

In case you missed it, my column for WoW Insider this week discussed feral tank/DPS hybrids again. Kal and I (along with others) got into a good discussion in the comments, which I’d like to explore more thoroughly, since I believe both sides to the argument have merit. Let’s look at things from a time management perspective:

First, theorize a fight with the following parameters:

  • Length: 8 minutes, given current raid DPS.
  • Tank death at some point in the fight.
  • Brez not possible, to make things easier. (Either someone else died earlier, or the boss kills half the raid before the rez goes off, or whatever.)
  • It takes your guild 5 minutes to rez/run back/drink/rebuff/etc.

So, there’s three scenarios.

1) Raid wipes. 0% chance of successful kill. Time lost = rez time + time elapsed during the wipe. (Let’s say you die  halfway in, so say 5m + 4m = 9m).
2) Herobear fails. Time lost = Scenario 1 time lost + herobear time. (Let’s say you extend each wipe by 2 minutes.)
3) Herobear succeeds. Time lost = 0 minutes.

Given the above, it’s an easy calculation: Herobear needs to succeed only 22% of the time to make it a worthwhile choice.

Obviously, you can tweak the parameters some based on your perceptions, which will affect the calculations. Longer runback times or quicker herobear fails (which tend to be my experience) will decrease the success rate needed to be worthwhile.

Why am I looking at this from a time management perspective? Well, I figure for most guilds, the majority of their time is spent on farm content. Anything that speeds farm content = more gear/more reps on progression content. For top-tier guilds, unless they deliberately choose to use a feral DPS as an temp OT (say as a drake tank on H Halfus), this won’t make much of a difference, as they generally spend less time on farm content, and are good at fast wipes. They also are more likely to be challenging content that has a DPS check as a part of every encounter (vs. normal where many fights simply test execution, like Atramedes or V&T). Oh, and it’s also much less useful in 25man raiding.

I’m rambling, but I think my final point is this: You already have a choice between marginal DPS talents (Primal Madness, Predatory Strikes) and personal survivability talents (Nurturing Instincts, Perseverance). I simply propose that bear talents are a third option; not always desirable, but very useful in the right situations. (It absolutely rocks for heroics.)

 Posted by at 8:03 pm
Mar 142011
 

FIRST:  forget all you know or think you know about T10 raiding and before.  It is obsolete.  The name of the game is World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.  Unless you are in a top world progression guild with many geared alts, chances are you won’t have the optimal raid comp.  When this happens your guild will need people to fill roles that they normally don’t do.  Now, I am not talking about a cat trying to heal (maybe I am?) or casting Wrath.  What I am talking about is many of the unused abilities that people complain about.  Let’s see what we have to work with here.

Raid Buffs

  • Mark of the Wild – Increase the friendly target’s Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Intellect by 5%, and all magical resistances for 1 hour.

Pound for pound this raid wide buff is still the best there is.  A Paladin’s Kings is the same now, and the 2 don’t stack. But what if you don’t have a Pally, or the only 1 is buffing something else?

  • Leader of the Pack – While in Cat Form or Bear Form, the Leader of the Pack increases critical strike chance of all party and raid members within 100 yards by 5%.

Oh yes, LotP.  We love you.  And our raid loves us because of you.

  • Stampeding Roar – The druid roars, increasing all nearby friendly players movement speed within 10 yards by 40% for 6 sec.

OK this doesn’t have a lot of uses right now besides helping people run back from a wipe faster.  But put it on your bar somewhere.  It is great for fire runner on Atramedes.  Body and Soul is considered better since it can be cast at range but if you have no priest (or he isn’t any good) then it’s up to you.  I try not to mention patch 4.1 too much but Stampeding Roar is getting a buff.  The duration and speed increase are increasing to 60% for 8 sec.  If you have talented Feral Swiftness (and I am sure you have) SR now becomes a 10 yard root breaker. /purrrrrr

Boss Debuffs

  • Mangle – Mangle the target for 460% normal weapon damage plus (315*460/100) and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 min.

Ah Mangle.  How we love you.  So many people in your raid will love you for making sure this never falls off.  It does not stack with Arms Warrior’s Trauma, but then an Arms Warrior should not be raiding.

  • Infected wounds – Your Shred, Ravage, Maul, and Mangle attacks cause an Infected Wound in the target.  The Infected Wound reduces the movement speed of the target by 50% and the attack speed by 20%. Lasts 12 sec.

Many will point out that the tanks can do this.  And well they can, but when you get into fights with multiple mobs and such, some tanks don’t apply their debuff.  Is this the tank’s fault? Yes, but sometimes you just have to deal.  You will need to move points around for this and should talk to your tanks to see if they need you to do this.

  • Demoralizing Roar – The Druid Roars, reducing the physical damage caused by all enemies within 10 yards by 10% for 30 sec.

Hey, wait, that is for bears.  Well, don’t laugh but I have had to do this.  If you have a tank with awesome mitigation/survival their threat is usually lacking.  I have gone in on pulls with the tank and put up demo roar at the start of the fight so they don’t have to use a GCD.  Then I go cat and do my thing.  By the time demo falls off, they have a comfortable threat lead and can do it themselves.  This rarely happens.

  • Feral Fairy Fire – Decreases the armor of the target by 4% for 5min. While affected the target cannot stealth or turn invisible.  Stacks up to 3 times.

If you talent Feral Aggression (which I am sure you have) this applies at 3 stacks.  Tanks love this for initial threat.  Every other non caster will love you for it also.

Utility

  • Entangling Roots – Roots the target in place and causes 370 Nature damage over 30 sec.  Damage caused may interrupt the affect.

Not a strong CC but it is a CC that may be needed.

  • Cyclone – Tosses the enemy target into the air, preventing all action but making them invulnerable for up to 6 sec.  Only 1 target can be affected by your Cyclone at a time.

This is a really nice CC to put on Mind-controlled raid members.  It takes them out of the fight without causing any extra damage for your healers to have to deal with.

  • Hibernate – Forces the enemy target to sleep for up to 40 sec. Any damage will awaken the target.  Only one target can be forced to hibernate at a time.  Only works on Beasts and Dragonkin.

This CC has limited uses as far as targets go, but it is VERY powerful.  40 seconds is a lifetime in a fight.

  • Innervate – Causes the target to regenerate mana equal to 20% of the casting Druid’s maximum mana pool over 10 sec.

Many think this is worthless now-not so.  Remember in progression the slightest difference separates a kill and another wipe.  Think of this.  Healer goes down and gets rezzed.  They still have no mana.  Pop MotW + Innervate.  It isn’t much, but some mana is better than no mana.  It might buy you that extra 10-20 seconds you needed.

  • Rebirth – Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 20% health and 20% mana.

Here it is.  Rebirth!  People love us for it.  Most are jealous of us for it, an in-combat resurrection.  If you glyph it (no reason you shouldn’t) your target comes back with 100% health.  In 4.1 DK s will get this.  That’s nice for them but give me the druid that has been doing this for years.  A druid can do it better IMHO.  Example: A mage goes down.  You pop Rebirth (glyphed) + MotW + Innervate.  You now have a mage with full health, the major raid buff, and 20% of his mana plus 20% of mine.  Like I said before, these are the little things that can make or break your attempt.

  • Remove Corruption – Nullifies corrupting effects on the friendly target, removing 1 Curse and 1 Poison effect.

Healer job?  Yes.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t help in fights where there is massive damage going out taking up the healers’ time.  At least get yourself cleaned off.

  • Skull Bash – You charge and skull bash the target, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 4 sec.

This costs too much and is slowed by travel time, so many have said that if your RL puts a feral on interrupts they are bad.  Well ya know what, I interrupt all the time.  I do it because I am reliable.  I do it because I am good at it.  I do it because we don’t have the perfect raid setup and someone has to do it.

  • Soothe – Soothes the target, dispelling all enrage effects.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Healing

  • Tranquility – Heals 5 nearby lowest health party or raid members within 30 yards with tranquility every 2 sec for 8 sec.

With Nurturing Instincts talented, this becomes very powerful.  With its 8min CD you will only use it once per boss.  This is another of the game-changers we have.  This can save a wipe in the final seconds of a Cho’gall kill.  We also have other heals but Tranquility + Nuturing Instincts is the big 1 for your raid.

Virtually NOTHING I have shown you here will help your personal DPS, but raiding isn’t about you alone.  One person’s DPS will not carry a group to glory.  Your #1 job should still be to max your DPS.  But remember, a druid is so much more than a face ripper.  We have utility in many areas.  What really sets us apart is the caliber of player.  From what I have experienced there aren’t a lot of good players in a specific class besides the druids of the world.  Some classes still just mash buttons and do great DPS but those easier classes also have a ton of players that stand in fire or say, “you want me to do what?  I don’t have that on my bar.”  A good RL will recognize your class’s deficiencies but also expect you to get the job done.  This is where we start seeing the great player move to the lead.  It is time to step up and be the leader.  Avoid avoidable damage.  Keep your buffs/debuffs going.  DPS the bosses eyes out.  BR, MotW, Innervate, and ect….  At all times make sure you are doing everything you can to help the raid.  Your raid members will notice and be glad of it.

OH MANGS!  I am on twitter now (@charliesheen is cracking me up).  Follow me @Sylvaneart.  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 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