This post was inspired by GC’s recent comment on the DD forums:
This is a personal opinion and not a Blizzard design philosophy, but I think cat is one of the most challenging. With a long Feral Faerie Fire it’s a little better.
A lot of druids (I think) agree with this observation.
Lavata thinks part of the reason is that energy doesn’t regen fast enough.
There are a couple things cat has for energy regen purposes: omen of Clarity Procs, the King of the Jungle talent allows Tiger’s Fury to restore 60 energy every 30 seconds, and Kitty Berserk gives you half energy cost for 15 seconds.
Another possible reason is just the number of buffs, debuffs, ability cooldowns, and combo point requirements feral has to keep track of.
Altosis recently did a good write-up for the feral cat talents and such. You should check it out here. Altosis also has a really awesome analysis (with graphic chart) comparing what talents are good for what feral specs.
So, now that you have the talents figured out, how do you do damage as a cat druid? Well, you won’t have a simple rotation, so what you want to do is just manage your buffs, debuffs, and cooldowns. Most of the guide up in Karthis’ “of teeth and claws” guide should still be applicable in 3.1.
You have a priority list instead of a rotation (from Karthis’ guide):
- Savage Roar
- Rip (5 combo points)
You would want to pick up glyphs that increase how long those last, basically:
- Glyph of Mangle – Would you like a nice hot cup of mangle lasting longer? If you really want more time before refreshing mangle, this is an option, but we’ve got other new glyphs that are going to be more useful.
- Glyph of Berserk – New glyph gives you reduced energy costs for longer. PvP glyph maybe or maybe not… I’m not sure it would be useful for raiding much at all, but I’m not 100% sure.
- Glyph of shred – The new version helps increase the duration of rip when you shred (up to 6 seconds).
- Glyph of Rip – Increases duration of rip by 4 seconds. Useful if the shred glyph isn’t available or is too expensive. In theory, you could pick up both, but it’s probably not worth the glyph slot.
- Glyph of Savage Roar – This is going to increase damage done by 3% for Savage roar. It doesn’t increase the duration, but it’s still nice.
So, overall, 3.1 seems to have made feral DPS a bit easier, since some of these abilities can now last longer, in addition to not needing to refresh Faerie Fire very often.
Toskk’s DPS calculator is also updated for 3.1. It’s a nice tool to play around with for cat druids.
In the end, feral kitty DPS is just hard. In any fight requiring movement, your DPS is going to be lower than if you can stand still. If you are new to DPS, you will need to do a lot of practicing to really refine a good strategy for you. Good luck, and remember that practice makes purrfect! Most of what I know about cat druid DPS I learn from reading other people’s analysis of the spec…
EDIT: There was also something I wrote a while back talking about how both cat & moonkin “rotations” stopped being actual rotations and turned into buff/debuff management.