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Meow...or how to do dps as a feral kitty druid in Cataclysm
Doing dps as a kitty
Tips for doing high dps as a feral druid. Updated for Cataclysm.
So what sort of gear should you be aiming for?
The release of cataclysm simplified that stat system considerably. Stats are divided into primary stats, such as agility, which don't vary much between items, and secondary stats, which vary on items and can be adjusted by reforging.
- Agility -- Each point of agility gives 2 Attack Power and improves critical strike chance. It's by far the most powerful stat for kitty dps and should be gemmed and enchanted wherever possible.
- Strength -- Each point of strength gives 2 Attack Power, but lacks the contribution to crit that would get from agility. It will almost always be shunned in favor of agility, but may be worth considering if an item has a greater item level.
- Mastery -- Each point of mastery (it needs 179.28 mastery rating to get 1 point) improves your bleed damage by 3.1%. As kitty dps is heavily based on bleed damage, this is the most powerful secondary stat for feral druids. Ideally you want every item to include mastery. If an item has no mastery, you should reforge for it. Never gem mastery at the expense of agility, however.
- Crit -- Improves the chance of landing a critical strike chance (including bleed ticks). It's a reasonably ok stat but haste (or even hit/expertise) may be better in some situations.
- Haste -- Improves the speed at which autoattacks are made.
- Hit/Expertise -- Reduces the chances of blows missing, or being parried or dodged, by mobs. Generally weaker than crit and haste, but may be worthwhile in some situations.
Accumulating set bonuses for tier armor is usually worthwhile. Both the two- and four-set bonuses of the tier 11 set are worth getting.
Weapon wise you generally want the highest dps agility staff or polearm you can get your hands on. At a pinch it might be worthwhile taking a strength-based weapon if it's a higher item level, but be sure to clear this with others who might benefit more.
Fine Tuning Stats
To achieve optimal dps, you'll want to balance out crit, haste, and hit/experitse. This will vary as your gear progresses. The best way to do this is to use the handy application, Rawr, which calculates the best stat and gem choices for your current gear. It will also suggest future upgrades to aim for.
For your first two glyphs you will want Glyph of Rip and Glyph of Shred, as these two give the greatest raw dps increase. The glyphs for Tiger's Fury, Berserk, and Savage Roar are all reasonable choices for the third slot.
There are no must-have major glyphs for feral dps unfortunately. The Glyph of Feral Charge may be helpful in some situations. The Glyph of Rebirth is also extremely handy, as it avoids those situations when someone you combat res dies instantly to aoe.
Again, there are no essential glyphs to feral dps. I'd recommend Unburdened Rebirth, as there are few things more embarrassing than not being able to combat res someone because you don't have reagents.
Talents and Rotations
You have some leeway when choosing your build. The basic cookie-cutter build leaves you with four points to spend on whatever you like. You could spend them on pvp-oriented talents or maybe pick up some tanking talents, so you can step in as an emergency tank.
This is one of the most challenging dps rotations in the game, but it will yield great results when used effectively on boss fights. The biggest challenge is to make good use of your energy and combo points to keep savage roar, mangle and both your bleeds up as much as possible.
This is basically the process:
- Keep the mangle debuff on the target. If someone else is applying mangle (e.g., a feral tank) you can ignore this step.
- Keep the rake bleed active on the target.
- If both the above are already active, use shred to build combo points.
- Your first priority is to get a 5-point rip active on the target. Keep this up as much as possible.
- Keep the savage roar buff active. This is less essential in cataclysm but is still worth using once a rip has been applied.
- If you have at least 10 seconds on both Roar and Rip you may want to chance a 5-combo point Ferocious Bite. With the Blood in the Water talent, Ferocious bite will refresh rip on targets below 25%, so you should be able to forget rip once the target drops below 25% health.
- Tiger's Fury -- gives a 15% boost to physical damage when active and restores 60 energy with talents. Use when available. If possible, use it before applying a rip and/or rake, as the 15% damage bonus will persist for the duration of the bleed(s).
- Beserk -- reduces the energy cost of all moves by 50% by 15 seconds. Use whenever available unless you need to time your burst dps for a particular fight. Note that Tiger's Fury cannot be used while berserk is active, so you may want to use that first if it's off cooldown.