Hi, I'm Arashikage, and in this thread I'm going to illustrate how feral DPS works, and what its really like, to help new players pick it up if they are considering doing so, or for Ferals that are struggling with their DPS and could use some help with it in order to get better. Feral DPS is a very fun and challenging spec to play, and may be intimidating at first but becomes very enjoyable once you get the hang of it.
Introduction - Why the feral spec to DPS?
The Feral combat tree has two utilities for druids in PvE. Tanking and DPSing. Im going to focus on the DPS part of it since I'm not familiar with dedicated bear tanking. Okay so first up, what does feral bring to a raid - It brings a 5 percent critical strike chance buff through the 'Leader of the Pack' (LotP) talent, and a bleed damage amplification buff - Mangle, which increases the damage done by bleed effects for a duration of 1 minute. These buffs are however mutually exclusive with Rampage from Fury warriors and Trauma from Arms warriors. Another buff that Druids bring to the raid is faerie fire, which is an armor reduction debuff. However, if there is a Balance druid in the raid group, his/her faerie fire is more useful if he has specced into Improved Faerie Fire in the balance tree.
How Feral DPS works
Feral DPS works on a combo point system, similar to a rogue, where combo points are followed by a finishing move, depending on what finishing move is optimal to use at a given point of time in an encounter. Finishing moves are typically more powerful when used with 5 combo points, which is the maximum. I will discuss this when i discuss the basic DPS cycle.
Feral DPS can be divided into these components as follows :-
1. Melee (Auto Attacks)
2. Shred (Melee special attack)
3. Rip (Bleed effect, DoT)
4. Rake (Bleed effect, DoT)
5. Mangle ( Melee special attack, applies Debuff)
These are hits we make with our paw swings, which have a base swing time of 1.0 Seconds. Note that Feral druids do not "Swing" weapons, hence weapon damage range does not factor into the basis on which weapons are selected. As feral druids do not swing a weapon the way a Warrior or a Death Knight or a Paladin would, they are compensated with something known as Feral Attack Power ( FAP - don't over think this pervs ) Starting level 60 onwards, every weapon grants a certain amount of Feral Attack Power, depending on their iLvl. Weapons with the same iLvl will grant the same FAP bonus. The hit cap for white hits is far too high to try and reach, therefore one must aim for the soft cap, which is 8 % (about 262 hit rating @lvl 80). This is the hit cap for melee special attacks.
This is our strongest melee special attack, and its damage is amplified by all effects that increase bleed damage, and from our attack power as well. It requires that you be positioned behind bosses in order to use it. This will be the primary attack used to build up combo points for our DPS cycles.
One of our finishing moves .This is our strongest DoT(Damage Over Time) in terms of total damage dealt during its duration. Rip damage is increased by the Mangle debuff and our attack power. Rip must always be used at 5 combo points only. Using Rip with less than 5 CP in any situation is a HUGE DPS loss. Also do not clip (overwrite) it before the end of its duration. Keep this DoT up all the time.
Rake is a bleed effect that deals some initial damage and a certain amount of damage over time, modified by our attack power. Rake generates 1 Combo Point by default. This bleed has the strongest ticks once we get our 4pc bonus from Tier 10 Lasherweave Battlegear. Must be maintained at all times. Do not clip this DoT.
A melee special attack that deals damage and applies a debuff on the target, increasing damage taken by the target from bleed effects. Debuff does not stack with Trauma. This debuff is very important to maintain, and it can be easily refreshed near the end of its 1 minute duration. If a Bear is tanking the boss, then let him apply the mangle debuff instead.
This is a finishing move that increases all damage dealt by 30% (33 when glyphed) ,duration depending on number of combo points used. Lasts 34 seconds at 5 combo points. Very important to maintain this at all times, since it buffs all our damage abilities.
This is a finishing move that deals damage based on number of combo points, and is burst damage, very similar to Eviscerate for rogues. This is for more advanced ferals, as it can mess up your entire DPS cycle if you do it at the wrong moment. I will discuss this in the priorities list.
The Basic DPS cycle
Feral DPS has an initiation cycle at first, when you buff your damage by getting Savage Roar (SR) up, and applying your debuffs on the target. This is roughly how it should be :-
Faerie Fire Feral -> Mangle -> Rake -> SR
Your next cycle is when you actually begin your DPS :- This is what it should look like
Shred -> Refresh Rake -> Shred till 5 CP -> Rip -> refresh Rake ->Refresh SR
The initial cycle is the same, select a mob with a high HP pool and set up your Savage Roar, from then on, Berserk, and swipe away to glory and watch the numbers on the recount. A word of warning though, do not try this with an inexperienced group, you will simply overaggro and die.
There will be times when depending on the raid environment, you will face a dilemma as to refresh what ability and to let which one expire in order to conserve DPS as much as you can. Here is a list of priorities for Feral druids :-
1. Mangle (Debuff only) Since our damage is based on Bleeds, and shred damage is improved by the Mangle debuff, maintain this debuff at all times.
2. Rip and Rake - Whether to choose to let Rip expire in favour of rake or vice versa, its very situational, but broadly, a guideline to follow is if you have 4pc t10 gear, refresh Rake before rip, it generates combo points and also does a very high amount of damage with the t10 4pc bonus. If you do not have the bonus from t10, prioritize Rip ahead of Rake.
3. When Rip and Rake are refreshed, its time to refresh Savage Roar (SR) Remember that while you can afford to let SR expire for a few seconds, before refreshing it, it is still a very important buff to maintain at all times, however, there's no need to blow 5 CP on it, 2 or 3 is enough.
4. Ferocious Bite - Like I've mentioned before, this is for more advanced ferals who have fairly gotten the hang of maintaining Rip, Rake and SR on targets and have spare CP with long durations left on the bleeds. Slipping this in requires experience and it can easily cause you to lose your DPS if executed wrongly. You need to know when to slip this one in, and that comes with experience (also when Berserk is active)
"Most Feral Druids never really read the full tooltip of Ferocious Bite. It goes something like this.
Finishing move that causes damage per combo point and converts each extra point of energy (upto a maximum of 30 energy) into XX.X additional damage. Damage is increased by your attack power.
So, if you use a Ferocious Bite at, say, 100 energy, you will spend 65 (35 original + 30 additional) energy on that one Bite. Unless you're under Berserk, this will completely ruin your DPS flow. Most of the times, you won't be at 100 Energy, and you'll find yourself at 0 energy the second you hit that Bite. The additional damage it brings is not worth the additional chaos it will bring to your flow. Unfortunately, unlike Cataclysm, there is no glyph to stop a Bite from consuming the extra energy here.
Solution? Bite when you're at 35 energy. Never more. You get to Bite with considerable damage and maintain your standard flow." - Discalceate.
When to use Berserk
Beserk is our only DPS cooldown, and it basically reduces energy costs by half, allowing you to sneak in atleast 2 Ferocious Bites and comfortably maintain the ordinary cycle. The ideal moment to use this is after your initiation cycle, that is when SR is up. However, if there is a phase in the encounter where a boss takes increased damage, you can save it for then. Note that Berserk and Tiger's fury cannot be on you at the same time.
"If there's a Blood DK in the raid, keep bugging him for Hysteria, because Ferals are the ones to benefit from it the most.
Try synchronizing Berserk with Hysteria or any other buff that increases damage done (BQ's bite for example)
Never use Berserk when low on Energy. Just wait till you get ~50-60 and pop it " - Slardar
About Tiger's Fury
Tiger's fury is an ability that grants you Bonus damage for a small duration. However, its real value lies in what it becomes with the "King of the Jungle" talent. Basically, this means a 60 energy return every 30 seconds and this helps you generate CP quickly enough to maintain your DoTs.
Below I've pasted links to 2 specs that can be used for feral DPS
http://www.truewow.org/talent-calculato ... czb:mVpmVz
http://www.truewow.org/talent-calculato ... czb:mVpmVz
The First spec, is a basic spec that provides maximum raid utility - Improved leader of the Pack, Nurturing instinct and Surival Instincts. The Second spec is a maximum damage spec which removes points from the above mentioned abilities and instead puts them into Feral Instincts and Improved Mangle. Feral instincts increases your swipe damage and improved mangle helps you maintain Mangle easier with a lower energy cost.
What Stats to go for?
This is a note on the stats/attributes to prioritize, and in what order
1. Hit Rating - Most important stat for all MDPS classes and specs, Maintain 8 percent only, anything above 8 percent (262 rating) does not add value to your DPS.
2. Expertise - Bosses have a default 6.50 percent chance to dodge attacks made from behind. To negate this effect, we need 26 expertise points, 10 of which we get from the Primal Precision talent, so we need to work only for the remaining 16 points. Try to refrain from gemming Expertise with red gems, use Accurate Ametrines (10 hit 10 Exp) to help maintain both stats, and try to get it from gear as well.
This is a very important stat, because combo point builders that critically hit, generate 2 combo points instead of one, hence when you have a high amount of Crit, it takes you lesser number of strikes to build up combo points. Bosses have a 4.8 percent reduced chance to be critically hit by default. Having a retribution Paladin in the raid reduces this to 1.8 percent. Always keep your crit close to 66 percent, but never gem pure Crit rating. Ferals gain crit rating through Agility and crit rating on gear, which I'm going to talk about further in this guide.
4. Agility V/s Armor Penetration
Many of the new ferals ive seen are confused between these stats. In order to determine what stat you should gem for, Im going to briefly explain the 2 stats and what they grant
Armor Penetration Rating - Because Armor is a stat with diminishing value, the value of Armor Penetration Rating (ArP) does not scale linearly. This is how Armor works - The first 1000 armor provide more damage reduction than the last 1000 armor points. Meaning, the defense granted by armor gets weaker as it increases. Which means, the more ArP you have, the more valuable it becomes. At about 400+ Arp Rating, ArP becomes more valuable than agility, as a gemming choice, and that is when you should try to cap it ( ArP cap - 1400 rating). Depending on what kind of gear you have you can either soft cap ArP or hard cap it. Soft capping ArP means having a certain amount of ArP from your gear and gems, while providing for the remaining rating (Upto 1400) with a Trinket, Grim Toll or Needle Encrusted Scorpion. The idea is, when the trinket procs, you are ArP capped for the duration of the proc.
Agility - Agility is a wonderful stat for ferals, for both tanking and DPS purposes. Agility grants the following to a feral druid :
-> 1 FAP ( 1 Agi = 1 FAP)
-> Critical Strike Rating (77.05 Agi = 1% Crit chance @lvl 80)
Since we have various stat multipliers in the Feral tree, it is far better to gain a damage boost from agility, rather than gemming pure Attack Power (AP) or Pure Crit. Never gem raw Crit or AP on a feral.
Now what does this mean for you? Ill keep it simple. In low gear, that doesn't have too much ArP on it, Gem Agility. And the thing about Agility is, that you can never go wrong with it. You can Gem it to oblivion and you will still see a nice, robust DPS increase.
In gear that has ArP on it (Feral t10 has ArP on all 5 pieces), start gemming ArP to Hard/Soft Cap it ASAP. However, do not compromise on Crit. Like ive said before, do not let your crit fall below 66 percent. The idea here is that assuming 2/3rds of our attacks critically hit, it takes 3 attacks on an average to generate 5CP. If your crit falls, it becomes harder to build up CP. Due to bosses having crit suppression though, you need to have a little extra crit, lets say somewhere near 70 percent unbuffed.
Choosing your Gear
Im not going to tell you exactly what gear to get before T10, because the ultimate goal is to achieve 4pcs T10. However, which pieces you buy from the T10 set will largely influence your DPS, so here's what you should pick
Lasherweave Legguards - This should be the first T10 you buy (Unless you get lucky at VoA). Grants a large amount of Expertise and ArP. This piece is mandatory. Also the first piece you should sanctify.
Why not Lasherweave Handgrips? because they are better itemized for bear tanking. However, if you have 3 of the above mentioned pieces and you get these gloves at VoA by chance, use it to complete your 4pc bonus, as your biggest upgrade for DPS will be your 4th t10 piece. But try to get the missing piece and replace these handgrips ASAP. Scourge Stranglers and its Heroic version are excellent Feral DPS gloves.
Haste is useful to us, but not before ArP and Crit caps are achieved. What haste basically grants apart from a faster melee swing time, is an increased probability of proccing omen of clarity, which is essentially more free attacks while DPSing; However, given the way Omen of Clarity often bugs out and gets stuck, not allowing you to use any ability even if you do have the energy to spend on it, i dont think this is a stat anyone should chase, rather get more crit and make do with what haste comes from BiS gear. But that's just my opinion.
There is only one meta gem for a feral druid, and its Relentless Earthseige Diamond ( 21 Agi , +3% crit damage) The only thing you need to activate this gem is a Nightmare Tear (+10 All stats), which you should place in a piece with a blue socket that provides the best bonus. Good bonuses are +6 or +8 Agility.
In red sockets, Fractured Cardinal Ruby(20 ArP) or Delicate Cardinal Ruby (20 Agi)
In blue sockets, a Nightmare Tear, or Fractured/Delicate Cardinal Ruby if you already Have a Tear equipped.
In yellow sockets with good bonuses (+6 or +8 Agility), there are some choices you have depending on what stats you need at that particular stage.
-> Deadly Ametrine (10 Agi 10 crit)
-> Accurate Ametrine ( 10 Exp 10 hit)
-> Rigid King's Amber (20 Hit)
-> Glinting Ametrine (10 Agi 10 hit)
Head - Arcanum of Torment ( Ebon Blade, Revered)
Shoulder - Greater Inscription of the Axe ( Sons of Hodir, Exalted)/Master's Inscription of the Axe ( Inscription 400)
Chest - Powerful Stats
Wrist - Greater Assault/Expertise/Fur Lining ( Leatherworking 400) + Blacksmithing socket if you are a blacksmith
Hands - Major Agility/Expertise/Precision + Blacksmithing socket if you are a blacksmith.
Waist - Eternal Belt Buckle
Legs - Icescale Leg armor/Nerubian Leg Reinforcements
Feet - Superior Agility/Icewalker
Rings - Assault (Enchanting 400)
Weapon - Berserking/Mongoose/Executioner
Back - Swordguard Embroidery (Tailoring 400)/Major Agility
Glyph of Rip
Glyph of Shred
Glyph of Savage Roar
Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth
Glyph of Dash
Glyph of the Wild
Although a large number of trinkets are very good for feral druids, im going to list some of the important ones : -
Darkmoon Card: Greatness (Agility)- Excellent starter trinket and will be of great use for a long time unless your luck is so good that you win both WFS and DBW with no trouble.
Needle-Encrusted Scorpion - Either one of these is a must have for a feral, especially with low gear. Before you have 1000 Arp, it is highly recommended to use this trinket.
Mirror Of Truth - Easily obtainable, a tiny WFS if you will. Great trinket.
Deathbringer's Will - The heroic version of this trinket is the current BiS for Ferals.
Whispering Fanged Skull - An amazing trinket, crit rating and attack power, this exceeds Death's Verdict hc in what it grants to ferals.
Death's Verdict - This in my opinion is more useful to a plate class than agility based ones, but a fantastic trinket nonetheless. But good luck on getting this, everyone who comes to ToC 25 is either undergeared or lusting for this trinket.
Herkuml War Token - This trinket is decent considering how easy it is to obtain, however, do not buy this before you buy your 4 tier 10 pieces and your idol. Its best used when you have a high amount of Arpen, say 85-90 percent, and you still don't have DBW yet.
Mark Of Supremacy -This is absolute crap unless you need the hit rating. Dont buy this, or even if you do, work on getting rid of it ASAP.
BiS List (Specific to TrueWoW)
Head: Sanctified Lasherweave Headguard
Neck: Sindragosa's Cruel Claw
Shoulder: Sanctified Lasherweave Shoulderpads
Back: Vereesa's Dexterity
Chest: Sanctified Lasherweave Raiment
Wrist: Toskk's Maximized Wristguards
Hands: Aldriana's Gloves of Secrecy
Waist: Astrylian's Sutured Cinch
Legs: Sanctified Lasherweave Legguards
Feet: Frostbitten Fur Boots
Finger 1: Ashen Band of Endless Vengeance
Finger 2: Band of the Bone Colossus
Trinket 1: Deathbringer's Will
Trinket 2: Whispering Fanged Skull
Weapon: Distant Land
Idol: Idol of the Crying Moon
Note that depending on your current gear, some of these items may not be the best choice for you.
Drood Focus - This is an excellent addon for ferals of all skill levels, very user friendly interface and very easy to set up.
This is a link to the Elitist Jerks Feral DPS discussion thread, it has a lot of info that may be intimidating for new players, which is why I've kept it simple in this thread. http://elitistjerks.com/f73/t63774-fera ... iscussion/
My deepest thanks to Discarnate, with whom I've had discussions about feral DPS, he is far more thorough than I am, and if your'e a feral on the horde side, you can look for him for help and advice, he will be happy to oblige, if your'e a feral on the alliance side, you can get in touch with me and ill help you as best as I can
I would also like to thank the TW staff, for maintaining the druid sub forums and giving me an opportunity to write this guide.
I would like to thank my friends, both inside and outside of Divinity, for having faith in my capabilities as a Feral DPS.
Please know that I haven't written this guide to make me seem like an authority on Feral DPS, im simply making an effort to help the ferals who need help. If there's anything you would like me to add to this, please reply to this thread and ill work on it. I hope this guide helps, cheers and thank you for reading it.