Feral Druid – Playing with Claws of Shirvallah

ClawsofShirvallah-femalenightelfcomparison

Let’s talk about this awesome new level 100 Feral Druid talent, Claws of Shirvallah.

I’m going to start with telling you something you probably already know; some classes get different level 100 Talents offered to them depending on what specialization they are.

Non-Beastmaster Hunters, for example, get offered the Lone Wolf Talent which increases damage done by 30% when you don’t have a pet out. That Talent is not offered to Beastmasters, they get Adaptation instead which gives your active pet both DPS and survivability spells.

Not all classes get offered different Talent choices based on spec at level 100. Mages get a few different ones, Warlocks also. Some classes get only one choice that changes, others get two.

Druids? Every Druid spec has it’s own completely different set of three Talent choices at level 100.

Thank you to Blizzard for taking the time to add so many choices. I think we’re all aware of how much work goes into these kinds of options. Every new Talent they add has it’s own ramifications and balancing implications. To create 12 new level 100 Talents just for Druids, so each Druid spec has three relevant ones to choose from… it’s humbling. Really, thank you.

None of what follows is me complaining or bitching about Claws of Shirvallah. The amazing thing is not how well it’s done, but that it was done at all. I’m grateful for what it is exactly as it is. Can I suggest things that might improve the aesthetics? Sure. Is it fair of me to expect more than the awesomeness we already got? Not really, no.

So, all that said, if you haven’t been playing a Feral Druid, there is a lot you might have missed at level 100.

The single biggest thing that still blows my mind are our Talent choices at level 100, all relevant to our kitty interests.

Lunar Inspiration lets you add Moonfire to your kitty repertoire. I haven’t played with that because it doesn’t ignite my imagination, but I can see advantages to adding a ranged attack to Kitty without having to switch forms. Or shall I say, an effective ranged attack. Especially for, oh, such critically important tasks as soloing legacy Battle for Mount Hyjal raids. I’m looking at you, Gargoyles in the backfield munching on Trolls.

Bloodtalons is an intriguing option. Your Healing Touch spell causes your next two melee attacks to deal +30% additional damage.

If you read my earlier Feral Druid post, you might have seen how free Healing Touch casts procced by your normal DPS finishing moves means you will be frequently getting free Healing Touch instants during a fight.

What intrigues me about Bloodtalons is the fact that an instant cast Healing Touch from a finishing move doesn’t have to be cast instantly when you get it. Conceivably, you could save that proc for a few seconds until you build up five more charges, then cast Healing Touch and instantly follow that up with a finishing move to get it at the +30% damage buff. I haven’t played with it on a training dummy yet, but I suspect to make it work reliably I’ll need to make a Healing Touch cast macro that includes a /stopattack afterwards so I can make sure I cast my finishing move directly afterwards and don’t let a melee autoattack use up both +30% charges.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to digress into Bloodtalons, I think that even if you don’t try to micro-manage the +30% buff it will still be a nice DPS boost. Just remember to keep using your Healing Touch procs whenever available, that’s all.

But my real interest is in this third Talent Feral Druids are offered, Claws of Shirvallah.

Let me get the one bad thing out of the way first; there is no female version of the form. As you can see from the side-by-side comparison, my female Night Elf when in cat form with Claws of Shirvallah becomes distinctly NON-female in appearance, especially when compared to the difference between male and female Worgen forms. This makes me a sad kitty.

There are four colors/fur patterns depending on your race right now, and obviously it’s based on the Saberons who as NPCs don’t have females. We do have Celestalon saying they hope to expand on the Claws of Shirvallah form in the future, so let’s leave it at being an optimitic happy kitty, all right?

The other appearance-related issue I don’t like is that the /dance emote doesn’t work, it just causes you to stand up as you can see in the comparison photo. The normal ‘standing around’ appearance is the one with the cat down in the Worgen travel form running stance.

ClawsofShirvallah-normal

Finally, and this is just a super small ‘aw shucks’ thing, but when using Claws of Shirvallah, it replaces your cat form. If you like to use Burning Seeds to become a Druid of the Flame (cindercat!), they do NOT work with Claws of Shirvallah. Burning Seeds replace the cat form appearance, and the Claws of Shirvallah do not register as a cat form to the Burning Seed effect.

So, that is all the sad bits. I can’t find it in me to complain though, because what I’m basically sad about is that Blizzard did not take the time to make this one Talent out of 12 for Druids a complete new character race. I mean, that is what we’re talking about, having different appearances for male and female, having special animations like /dance, etc. When put that way, it would have been awesome if they did it, but it’s pretty great that they did what they did.

Totally unrelated, but I do think that having female forms for all races, NPC or playable alike should be baseline, but I know that has been talked about often enough to walk away from it feeling like I have nothing of valuable to add to that conversation. It’s really hard to walk away from that topic, but it’s been addressed in the community so many times in the past and nothing has changed yet, so bah.

Now for the good stuff. And it’s really good.

The Talent tooltip for Claws of Shirvallah tell you about a 5% Versatility increase in the form. What that translates to is a flat +5% damage and healing boost, and incoming damage is reduced by 2.5%. Not bad, right? With our focus on high burst and long term free self-healing this is a great addition.

ClawsofShirvallah-text

The tooltip also mentions casting non-traditional cat spells. So far the spells that have made an immediate difference to me in PvE is the ability to Remove Corruption and pop Entangling Roots without dropping forms, both very nice.

What the tooltip doesn’t mention but that you can find when mousing over the buff in game is that you also get a +30% movement increase. That movement increase is from Claws of Shirvallah, and doesn’t include the +15% from the Feline Swiftness Talent.

ClawsofShirvallah-mouseovertooltip

No, I’m an idiot, I forgot to test whether the +30% and +15% from the two Talents are additive. I intend to do that later tonight. I will say that you feel damn speedy in Shirvallah form.

In my defense, I was having too much fun soloing Firelands to remember to stop and check speed differences with Talents enabled and disabled.

And yes, you CAN taste the 5% Versatility when soloing at-level mobs.

As a quick anecdotal test, I decided to go solo some of the Ironhide Bulls needed for the level 3 Barn leather traps. They are elites in Nagrand and can be a bit finicky to kill without kiting if you’re undergeared.

My Feral Druid was freshly minted, in less than iLevel 505 gear, and I did NOT bring a bodyguard from the Inn with me.

I did not kite, I did not pop any kind of defensive cooldown like Survival Instincts. All I did was test the effectiveness of standing and burning down using the standard DPS attacks, finishing moves, instant Healing Touch procs and Rejuvenation.

No problem. Burned the Ironhide Bulls down, dropped trap, and then endured the damage incoming while waiting for the trap to trigger. Burst damage in particular is amazing.

My next test was to take the same Druid into Firelands as i said above, to see what it was like to solo through there. I’ve done it as a ranged Hunter and Warlock many times, but not generally as melee DPS.

Firelands was AWESOME! Swipe and Maul on all the packs of adds, the massive speed buff, two temporary speed boosts with Dash and Stampeding Roar, all of it makes for insane trash clearing speeds. And energy regen is pretty good, too, even at low gear levels.

All in all, I’m scared. I hesitate to even begin to invest hope in my Druid again. it’s been so long, and so much pain. I’m afraid to be hurt again. What if I go all in on Feral once again, and they take all these toys away or nerf the heck out of it?

This is everything I ever liked as a Feral Druid, just without the versatile tanking bits, but hey, self-healing! Super fast playstyle and movement, hopping around like a lunatic toying with my prey.

So right now, my review of Claws of Shirvallah would be a cautiously optimistic 4 out of 5 stars. Feels fun as hell to play, looks great if you love super beefy guy cats, lots of good tools in the toolbox, effective in the field in multiple environments, whether legacy raiding or questing in the modern world. Only downsides are the lack of a female version of the form and a fleshed-out range of emotes.

Cautious because I feel like we need to whisper our love of anything in this game for fear we will draw attention to the supreme funcrushing overlords. maybe if I just whisper it?

Psst. hey, you. Feral Druid is 4 fite.

Claws of Shirvallah, in one sentence; unstoppable death on itty, bitty furry paws.

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17 thoughts on “Feral Druid – Playing with Claws of Shirvallah

  1. I saw that, and I’m not 100 yet (I JUST restarted playing after a year and a half off… I forgot how to cat. :P) and it looked nice. I’m very sad that I can’t be a tiger as a worgen.. I love tigers. I’m looking forward to it, even as a snow leopard; I can call myself Tai Lung. 😀

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  2. Bloodtalons is not used up by autoattacks… I typically save the HT until I have 4 cp, pop HT, use it on my last builder, then finisher, bt goes away, lather, rinse, repeat… I should play with claws for a bit though – the added 5% dmg across the board would be easier to manage…

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  3. Yeah, as said above, Bloodtalons only affects action-bar abilities, not autoattacks. It’s a hard talent to weave into your rotation well but when you get used to it being able to stack your various buffs on Rake and Rip and even the occasional Ferocious Bite is insanely dangerous to your poor hapless victim.

    Personally, I’m really pleased with druids this expansion in a way I haven’t been for a while. We’ve always been functional and solid but this expansion it feels like they had someone working on the team who actually got us. The new talents are all compelling and interesting, and give us valid options for hybrid gameplay, we’ve gotten a whole bunch of quality of life fixes. The only thing I’m still bitter about is unified travel form.

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    • The one guy in Blizzard who likes druids must have been in that day. 😛

      What’s wrong with the unified travel form? I love being able to run along, hop into water and swim, then jump out and continue with no break.

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  4. I don’t like how it treats me like an idiot. I don’t like being able to choose a specific form for RP purposes or just for fun. I don’t like how it only seems to work reliable in Draenor zones, and can’t figure out what form I want to be in or even if I’m allowed to be in a given form in other zones. And tangentially related, I don’t like how it seems to have come in with an edict that I can’t have mount-speed-in-travel-form or cheetah-form, but not both. Whoever was behind the wheels on the travel form decisions done messed up, in my opinion.

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      • Or coffee. 🙂

        I dunno, once I got a mount I never used travel form because it was so slow, and once I could fly I never used a mount. About the only time I bust out the elk anymore is to watch it riverdance. I don’t RP in the game, so it doesn’t bother me. I haven’t been anywhere in the game since I started playing again to test it… to me, it seemed convenient for the times I wanted it, escaping from a bunch of eels I didn’t feel like fighting.

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      • I’m the opposite way, I never use a mount in Draenor, I am always in Elk form because I use the Glyph that increases my travel form speed. I made room by dropping the Glyph that lets people ride ME, because yeah, no.

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      • The glyph for mount speed didn’t exist when I last played, or I would have used it. A lot easier to just shift, especially since we can’t fly. (Yet, possibly. I came across a riding trainer but she wouldn’t talk to me) Will have to get that glyph… I have the sandstone drake and the motorcycle if someone needs a ride. But I like the elk, it looks cool.

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      • I apologize; I hate it too, now. I didn’t mind the switch from orca to stag and back, but I don’t like that it took away my flight form button when I put in the glyph of travel.

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  5. Hey Bear,

    Glad to hear you like the level 100 talents! My druid is only 93, but I agree that they all look interesting. I also am loving feral, especially with the glyph of savagery so I don’t have to keep the buff up (why rogues and pallies got their buffs baked in but Druids didn’t is still a question I have yet to see satisfactorily answered).

    One comment; doesn’t cat form give an innate 30% move speed? I seem to remember my kitty having 145% with move speed talent.

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    • Pretty sure it does. I don’t have the speedo mod I used to have, but I’m definitely faster than normally running people in cat form, when I’m the same speed as a worgen.

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  6. I didn’t know Claws had different skins for the races. I was super sad I couldn’t change skin by changing color – and the Tauren golden lion is like 95% of the saberons.. I wanted to be snow leopard so bad (seriously, the first time I came across them in Frostfire, I wanted to be able to race change right then and there – was WAY before I even knew about Claws)

    So, Worgen get snow leopard? Interesting… I hate Worgen casting animation, so I’ve never played one past 10… but I do have a 91 druid I could race change whenever I get around to leveling up my ally toons.

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  7. So just an unrelated comment because you mentioned trapping and the barn. If you drop one trap and wait out the CD and then drop another one in the exact same place, if you proceed to trap the beast within 15 seconds of the second trap then you get two at a time. It’s super handy for the elite ones. Dropping the first one at about 80% works for me but your mileage may vary.

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  8. I levelled as Balance, and hated it most of the time. My guild needed the heals of resto, so I stuck it through. At 100 wanting to finish the quest lines and gather followers, I switched to Feral…wow. It is fun, and going into Claws makes it even better.

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