I know I said I was going to level as Bear, but turns out, I lied.
I’ve been focusing my questing efforts playing my Druid, and from the moment I set foot in Pandaria I’ve been running as a Cat.
The single biggest reason is simple curiosity. I haven’t really played as a cat since, like, Burning Crusade.
In fact, I remember in BC doing a blog post just reminding people there was more to Cat DPS while questing than Mangle Mangle Mangle next. Was that my last time talking about Kitty DPS? Might have been.
Amazing how much things change, right?
I’ve been all about being a Bear for so long, I really didn’t even know how cats had been changed. Or what they had for synergy.
I just haven’t been paying attention, but that’s all changed in Mists. I’m being a Kitty and I like it. So many tools!
I’ve been playing the Feral Kitty now, and building my DPS rotation has felt a little like a build-your-own-sandwich buffet.
There are a lot of abilities to choose from, and they all taste good, but space is limited and some of them taste better together than others. And some clash.
Also, you can’t just throw everything together taking as much time as you’d like, because lunch time is short. One thing that irritates me is when you just get cooking on a good rotation, and the damn bad guy dies before you get to use your fun stuff on it. I love boss fights, it gives me time to use everything plus the kitchen sink.
Boss fights let me show that I can do so much more now than “mangle mangle mangle next”.
I know that there are a lot of people out there that have since long mastered the Cat DPS, and know all the ways it works.
Those folks, God bless them, will probably think the things I’m going to describe are so elementary that it’s funny, and it’s entirely true. But everyone has to start somewhere… and at least I do have something like 5 years experience eating faces off.
Past experience on the resume is great, but before I break out the beard and suspenders and talk about those halcyon days of face chewing youth, what faces have I chewed off lately?
I can’t help but notice the system I learned and mastered has been replaced. I’ll miss the Trash-80, but I guess it’s time to look into these fancy new Tablet thingies.
For those of you who, like me, are used to being more Bear than Cat, there are a few things I’ve come across that felt kind of surprising, and I wanted to share them with you.
And if it turns out I’m the last Druid in Pandaria to put this stuff together, well, it’ll give you a healthy laugh, right?
First thing I noticed is the Healing talent tier sounded good but was deceiving.
You’ve got Nature’s Swiftness on there, which hearkens back to the old days of Vanilla WoW, popping out of form for a quick NS+Healing Touch insta-heal then back to Bear bidness. Old school happy memories.
I strongly recommend you don’t take Natures’ Swiftness!
I took Renewal, the instant-cast 30% max health Heal spell instead.
The reason I suggest you avoid Natures Swiftness is that you already have it built into Cat Form.
It’s a passive effect called “Predatory Swiftness”, and what it does is give you a 20% chance per point in a Finishing Move of making your next spell, from a group including Healing Touch, instant cast, cast in all forms, and free. JUST like Nature’s Swiftness does.
So, you get Natures Swiftness already if you’re Feral. Why not take one of the other two choices instead?
Let me give you an example of how I’ve been working the Predatory Swiftness into my current soloing rotation against, say, an 86 elite.
Oh, and just as an FYI, I’ve soloed Urobi the Walker over 8 times now. Not a single leather pant or staff drop. Not one. Nor did I get a bag. Same with Salyin Warscout. Lesson learned, go have fun. Camping random rares is boring, even if they are on a 45 minute to 1 hour respawn timer.
So, sorry, how I’ve been doing rotations while soloing elites as Feral.
I hit Faerie Swarm to apply the Weakened Armor debuff.
I open with Mangle, get in a Rake, and then a few more Mangles to 5 points.
I do that because I have trained myself to hit Mangle first to apply a Bleed debuff before Raking… BUT MANGLE NO LONGER APPLIES BLEEDS, it just does the Infected Wounds that slows targets. I just can’t seem to break myself of that habit. I’m working on it.
Anyway, I run out of energy with this burst at about the same time I hit 5 points on the target, so I pop Savage Roar as my first Finishing Move, getting a 30% DPS boost for the next 48 seconds and then I pop a free Healing Touch for a big self heal.
Next I activate Tiger’s Fury, giving me another 15% DPS boost for 6 seconds, but more importantly I instantly get 60 more energy AND my Shred can be cast even though I’m facing the front of the target, for as long as Tiger’s Fury lasts.
So for 6 seconds after I hit Tiger’s Fury, I spam Shred, then switch back to Mangle, quickly building back to 5 points on the target and hit the Rip Finishing Move for a nice powerful DoT… and hit another instant free Healing Touch.
Now I can pop Berserk, giving myself an increased energy regen for 15 seconds. So, more Mangles, renew Rake, and build up to a Ferocious Bite or Maim, and get another free Healing Touch out of it.
I mean, one fight and I generally have two, maybe three different opportunities to cast a free instant 30k heal. And it doesn’t have to be cast on me, either, if I have a focus target set up like, oh, on my friend I’m questing with, and they’re wearing cloth. Or on the healer to help in AoE moments.
And that’s not even counting Renewal as a self-only instant cast Heal that gives you 30% of your max health RIGHT NOW.
The only times I’m having trouble is when I’m fighting swarms of little things that die so fast I can’t get 5 points built up on ’em, and, well, Bear.
Speaking of AoE, I don’t work Thrash into my rotation. Not unless there are more than one target on me. it does damage and yes, it does add a DoT, and it also reduces the damage the bad guys do by 10%, but on single targets I go for fast DPS and multiple Healing Touches rather than worry about reducing damage by 10%.
I also love being an Herbalist. I’ve been getting Life Spirits everywhere from herbs, I’ve already got over 80 of the damn things, they’re like super-hot pots. I use them all the time.
Tiger’s Fury is on a short enough cooldown that, on long fights, by the time Berserk is over I can hit a second one for another surge of DPS.
One thing that I’ve had to work around is, when Predatory Swiftness activates, the Healing Touch icon does NOT light up like other procced abilities can. I suppose it’s because you’ve got choices to make, it’s not automatically assumed you’re going to use Healing Touch. Predatory Swiftness also makes your Rebirth instant cast IN FORMS.
Since the icon doesn’t light up, I’ve set up my Scrolling Battle Text to give me an announcement in my notification window saying it’s procced.
If you use Power Auras or Weak Auras, it’s probably already enabled, and you see it no problem. I don’t know, I haven’t been using them for a long time now. Maybe I should.
It’s important to have some way of knowing if it really went off, though, because in the heat of battle let me tell you, if you hit a Finishing Move and it didn’t go off because you missed, hitting Healing Touch immediately afterwards and popping into humanoid form? BAD THING.
I’ve still got alot to explore.
I have questions.
I haven’t messed around with training dummies, so I have nagging questions like, is there a better DPS boost in the short term hitting Rip on the first Finisher and getting Savage Roar on the second, or is it better the way I’ve been doing it, getting Savage Roar in early?
And Thrash, IS it a DPS boost to replace one of your early Mangles with a Thrash to get the DoT cooking and reduce incoming damage? The few times I’ve tried, the HUGE energy cost feels like it sucks the guts right out of my rotation.
And Ravage. If you have Incarnation, as I do, besides looking really cool with armor and stuff, it lets you instantly activate Prowl if you want, it lets you use your prowl-only abilities like getting off a Pounce stun, and use Ravage ignoring positioning requirement for the entire 30 seconds.
So, how much more of a DPS boost is getting 30 seconds of Ravages off? Am I supposed to use Incarnation as a PvP ability, Pouncing on opponents to stun them? For straight PvE fights, how does Ravage compare to Shred?
It’s an interesting question, and I look forward to doing some playing around with it.
I don’t PvP, and I’m a Night Elf anyway. When I want to vanish I don’t need Incarnation/Prowl, I just hit my Night Elf racial to vanish while stationary, and that drops aggro and let’s me enter Prowl. I do that all the time.
So, if the DPS boost from Ravage isn’t that high, maybe it might be more valuable in terms of DPS to go with Soul of the Forest, giving me an additional 20 energy every time I pop off one of my 5 point Finishing Moves. 20 extra energy goes straight to the DPS bottom line.
And Pounce, well, stuns are nice but I took Mighty Bash to supplement my Headbonk interrupt, and I like it.
So, yeah it’s a new experience. A lot that’s familiar from the times I did Kitty DPS in Dragon Soul, but other stuff that feels like it’s more streamlined, cut closer to the bone in terms of timing.
What do you think? Are you having fun with it? Are you feeling uber epic powerful like I am, or is it feeling squishy to you?
I can hardly wait to get into Heroics and Scenarios, and try out both Bear tanking AND Feral Cat as my two specs.
Now if only I didn’t need to reforge and re-enchant every damn time I wanted to switch.