Druid Q&A analyisis Part 2 – Feral Cat & Bear

Okay, so here’s part 2 of my druid Q&A analysis. I hope you already took the time to read through the Q&A. This part focuses on the feral spec (cat & bear form), with some highlights of  things I thought were interesting.

Next up were Feral questions. Here’s some highlights for the Bears & Kitties

  • Now I will say that long term something we’d love to do is get rid of shifting costs altogether. We want to see druids in lots of different forms

While he brought this up in relation to restoration druids, having no shapeshifting cost has interesting implications for feral PvP, but I doubt we’ll actually see this go into effect, since it would allow you to break snares easily without worry of mana.

  • Cat form damage: If you want to do the best damage possible, you need to be able to master a complex rotation. This is one of the features that attracts players to the Feral spec.

I took this quote out because I wanted to focus on something here. Basically, the fact that druids CAN do good damage, and that the 3.2 “nerfs” are minor and pretty negligible tweaking down a little bit. So, being able to master your spec to do well seems like a good trade-off for being complicated. Compared to doing terrible damage until patch 3.0 came out, we should really just be happy that feral cats are worthwhile for raiding right now.

  • They also talked about feral PvP, in terms of having more (or better) interrupts, and this doesn’t seem to be something they are worried about at the moment.
  • Also, in terms of bear tanking: Bears are not inferior tanks in Ulduar and it’s possible their survivability is too high in 3.2.
  • Summary of other feral issues: Savage defense, feral charge, and swipe are fine for now.

Basically, there are a handful of abilities that everyone asks about, and Blizzard doesn’t have to say “well buff this” in every potential issue they acknowledge. Last time I checked, savage defense was still buggy, and bugs have a way of getting fixed over time.

They had a couple questions where they touched on bear itemization:

  • Bear tanking stats: We think it’s interesting that a bear and a warrior tank might look at the same piece of gear and place different values on it. That’s one of the elements that makes looting interesting and rewards players who understand their class.
  • More on tanking itemization: In my experience, most bears end up with “tanking leather” anyway because they want to gem and enchant their bear gear differently. Having one set of gear that you wear as cat or bear isn’t really feasible in Ulduar.

I find it interesting that GC spends a lot of time talking about tanking itemization for bears. However, this is something that the druid community spends a lot of time being worried about. The “gear consolidation” push has done a lot of things to change bear tanking mechanics. However, since they already think feral tanks are strong enough, we’re not really going to effectively bargain for buffs. I think that long-term, things for better or worse will happen in druid tanking itemization, but this doesn’t seem to be on their short-term list of things they want to address in any way we’ll think is positive. So, a lot of the time, no news can be good news in it’s own way.

Another feral note

The feral section really just doesn’t offer much in the way of things to look forward to in the future.  For another answer regarding feral PvP and DPS complexity, there’s another GC post on the Damage Dealing forums where GC tries to respond to people who weren’t happy with the Q&A. Here is something that is actually interesting which he posted in that Damage Dealing thread, which is directly related to feral PvP:

  • I’ll try again. The Feral dps rotation is complex because we like it that way. We understand it’s harder to pull off that rotation in PvP. However, this is somewhat compensated for the fact that Shred is a very high damage ability (perhaps even the highest single button melee attack) even when not propped up with Savage Roar, Rake, Mangle etc, and even when you can’t use Shred, you do have a back-up ability, Mangle, that trades damage for ease-of-use. Honestly, I don’t think any problems Feral has in PvP comes from not doing enough damage. In PvP it nearly always comes down to when you can do that damage and countering specific tactics of the other team. In fact when we compensate classes with limited utility by just piling on more damage, we get into trouble.

I personally think that one of the reasons he’s considering making shapeshifting easier is so that feral can switch back and forth easier between bear, caster, & cat to use a wider range of abilities in PvP to solve some of the utility problem that plagues the non-resto druid PvP. They got feral & balance damage just about right for PvE, but neither of those damage styles translates into good PvP – which is more about how PvP works than about druid damage not being strong enough. That’s why moonkin mostly ask for utility things when they talk about PvP, and being able to do a half decent feral rotation isn’t really that hard for PvE. No one is going to bother to just spam shred or mangle without the other supporting abilities, so GC’s extreme case he talks about in the Q&A is really just trying to say that you don’t have to be 100% perfect on your feral rotation to still be raid viable.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted July 16, 2009 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    “This is one of the features that attracts players to the Feral spec”

    This really puzzled me because I’m not sure if it’s true. Do people really pick feral cat because of the complex rotation? (I thought that was new with Wrath.)

    It didn’t stop them making the affliction lock rotation easier, and that probably was a spec that appealed to people via its complexity.

  2. Maor
    Posted July 16, 2009 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    There are some people on the forums who say the reason they are feral cat is the complex rotation. Personally though, my reasons for a feral cat off spec really have nothing to do with that.

  3. Chipster
    Posted July 16, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I think it could be interesting to see a bit more form-changing in the future. Right now there doesn’t seem like much of a need to, so if they figure out a good reason to have us do that, it could be an interesting development.

    I am still pretty new to the feral game, but no matter which spec I play as, it’s always locked into one form, so it could be fun switching it up a bit

  4. Tympanic
    Posted July 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    As a main-spec cat, I really do enjoy the rotation. When I see the big numbers come out at the end of a boss fight, I love knowing that I really worked for it.

  5. Hanna
    Posted July 17, 2009 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I was getting virus warnings visiting your site for a few days, any idea what it was and if it’s been fixed?

  6. Posted July 17, 2009 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Hanna – We’ve fixed it twice already. We’re in the process of changing hosting services, so my hope is that it’ll be fixed for good “soon”.