Friday, February 19, 2010

Cat Druids and DPS

Since I'm considering changing my secondary spec from healing to DPS, I figured I should do some research into Cat DPS and try to formulate a plan to be at least decent at it from the get-go.  What results below is some of my stream of consciousness formed into intelligible words, thoughts, sentences, and yes, even paragraphs.  Please keep in mind that this is from research, not from first-hand experience.

You hear from a lot of people that DPS as a feral Druid is one of the hardest ways to do DPS in the game, at least if you want to put out good numbers for it.  What is it about Cat DPS that makes it so hard?

The key issue is the number of, for lack of a better term, things that you have to juggle.  You have two ability resources to keep track of (Combo Points and Energy), 3 buffs for which you have to keep track of the buff or a cooldown for it (Savage Roar, Tiger's Fury, Berserk), and 3 debuffs that you, again, have to keep track of, or track of the cooldown (Mangle, Rake, and Rip).  Plus you need to find time for your other big hitters (Shred, Ferocious Bite).  FB, SR, and Rip all require both CP's and Energy, Berserk has multiple uses and you don't want to have just used Tiger's Fury, everything needs Energy, and your priority list includes things like "Use X if Y and Z have more than 8 seconds left."

I've heard of addons that give you helpful hints of what order to use your abilities in.  I'll have to look in to that.

To go into a little more detail, here is the "priority list" as gleaned from EJ's Cat DPS Guide.

1. Keep up Savage Roar
2. Keep up Mangle
3. Keep up Rake
4. Use shred for CP regeneration (remember, that points 2 and 3 are more important)
5. When at 5 CP and Rip is not up, use Rip
6. When below 30 Energy, use TF
7. Use Clearcast Proccs for Shred
8. When at 5 CP and Rip and SR are running with 8 seconds (might be longer, depending on your gear) or longer each, use FB
9. When Rip and SR will drop at nearly the same time (with less than 3 seconds difference), try to recognize it early. Then use SR with a small amount of CP to desynchronize both timers.
10. Use Berserk only at high energy, (but not higher than 85) not directly after TF and as often as possible. If you will get Hysteria or some boss mechanics will enhance your damage, save it for these situations.
That's scary, to say the least.  It's hard enough to keep a priority list 5-6 items long (Maul, Swipe, Mangle, Lacerate, FFF, Demo Roar) with all the possibilities in WoW.  Ten, I think, will be nearly impossible.

Should this eventuality come to pass, however, I will make a valiant effort!!  And, of course, report my results to the ravenous masses of my readers!

What's that?  I was getting a little evil-dictator-ish?  You mean I'm not?  And I only have 3 readers?  *sigh* Fine.

I may even do a Cat primer... although if I do it before I switch, it will be purely from research, not from personal experience.


  1. It's not so bad.. The EJ thread makes it sound a lot worse than it really is..

    For beginners, only keep Mangle, Rake, Rip and Savage Roar up, when you're starting to get the hang of that you can start weaving in Ferocious Bite in when you have 8 seconds or more left on *both* Rip and SR.
    When you're advanced you can start caring about when to use TF/zerk et cetera.. Don't worry be happy

  2. Like Meka said, it's not really hard. Focus on agility for easier rotations at the beginning since you won't have the gear for an armor pen stack. Keep SR up then mangle then rake then rip and shred every chance you get. Also, shred every time clearcasting procs, don't waste the proc on something else. Do your best to get 5 point SRs as well.
    I don't even FB and i keep 6k+ dps in 10 mans. Kitties seem to like to think their rotation is super hard, don't be threatened by it.

  3. Actually, because of the capability of bears to fake cat dps I've been semi-maintaining a cat gear set. A lot of pieces are shared w/ my bear set and are therefore gemmed and enchanted wrong, but I've got over 350 arpen as is, if I shift some gear around and buy some new rings/trinkets I think I'll be able to hit the 400 arpen that I've been told is the threshold to start stacking it...

  4. Hey,

    One of the best trinkets for Arp is easily obtainable from the new ICC 5 Mans. Its called Needle Encrusted Scorpion.

    My main is Kitty with Bear as OS. I focus on my main spec and whenever i upgrade gear the bear gets the castoffs it works well. Like you said all you need to do is simply exchange gems and enchants and you are good to go.

    There are plenty of things that you can get cheaply. The triumph rings are good, A great trinket that you already have from bear spec is Darkmoon : Greatness and if not its cheap as chips these days. If you have the money then get the crafted ToC gear, you can get the orbs with spare emblems and the rest of the mats are cheap too. Id say that for less than 1K you can have some great gear. Just make sure that you get hit capped and you will be raking with the best of them!

    /good luck

  5. I've already got the scorpion for my cat spec ;)

    I never did pick up the darkmoon card. I've been using a coren direbrew stam trinket and the glyph of indomitability for 1700+ armor.