I wrote this guide since I read many times people are asking for it, especially season rerollers.
First : who am I?
For those who don't know me : I have been playing Feral since the start of wotlk and started playing seriously in arenas in s9, season I reached my max rating. Since this day, I have always been playing around this mmr, on my druid as well as on other classes.
I'm frequently posting on WoW forums (the french one most often), and am streaming since february.
Pour la version française / for french guide click here.
Edit (22/09/13) : Updated for 5.4 :
- Fixed talents that got changed.
- Added Notes about cyclone and its uses.
- Added details in comp list.
Edit (01/06/14) :
- Added notes on talents and gameplay.
Feral is parented to rogue by its stealth aspect, and it's basic gameplay which contains stealthed attacks & other, normal attacks. Being on top of that an hybrid, the Feral druid benefits from a wide range of damage dealing spells, heals & tanking.
Summary of this guide :
- Gameplay introduction
.1 Gems & Enchants
- Feral druid, its cc arsenal
- Surviving as a feral
- Notes on gameplay
- Arena comps
1. Glossary :
SOtF : Soulf of the forest
Sr : Savage roar
NS : Nature's swiftness
NV : Nature's vigil
Doc : Dream of cenarius
Hotw : Heart of the wild
FB : Ferocious bite
2. Talents :
- First level : Wild charge, mandatory to reach targets, get trap on healers, peel with bear charge,multipurpose talent.
- Second level : Cenarion Ward is the strongest of the 3 since 5.4. It can crit for a lot of healing and you can use twice when hotw is up.
Haven't tried ysera's yet, but healing output seems low : 5% hp for 5sc before battlefatigue (55% healing reduction).
- Third level : Generally typhoon both for the knockdown on maps with different floors and the snare / interrupt on other.
Mass root can also be interesting, but i don't really like it because it requires a target.
On the other hand, improved faerie fire has very little interest as a feral druid.
- Fourth level : Most of the time, I'm playing with Sotf because I find the gameplay with incarnation boring and not interesting, besides playing with sotf eables you to have a better steady dps and more instants, meaning more heals for you and your teammates.
Incarnation : allows you to use any ability that require stealth : Pounce & Ravage, big burst, but limited by energy availability, so you will be able to spam ravage for berserk's length. You're often energy starved after berserk, so save tf for the end of berserk. (So basically use tf at 15 sc of after the beginning of incarnation)
Treants : 3 charges each on a 20 sc cd, treants use their special ability instantly (which is roots as feral, a 8sc magical root; treants also rake on the target since 5.4, so they do more dps against aoe cc teams.), treants also appear directly on the target ; 35y range. Treants rake is impacted by mastery and buffs; overall treants do 10% of my damage in arenas and bg's whatever th length, and the gameplay is less passive than playing incarnation, i use them really often at the moment.(01-06-2014)
- Fifth level : I'm more king on playing with Mighty bash for the cc on the enemy healer or for peels, or even swapping targets (most often healers), especially on some comps like FPS.
Roar can also be interesting if your comp includes many different stuns (meaning shared dr's).
- Sixth level : Hotw : 6% intel / stam / agi ; huge increase in healing (and wrath dps) during the cd length, however the cd is really long. This is the number one choice, you will save your team often thanks to this talent, and it increases your damage passively.
NV is the most polyvalent of the three, bringing at the same time a good burst and a good offhealing, but its wierd 1:30 makes it so that it's often wasted, and you will end up using it only with incarnation, I think it's really good with sotf though, it also scales well with proc trinkets such as the pvp one.
Doc : good to assist heal / increase dps constantly, requires a lot of procs, the mechanic is often a dps loss has it's annoying in pvp to heal for dmg, you will have to sacrifice PS procs for healing, which is as much procs that you won't be using for roots / hibernates.
3. Glyphs :
- The mandatory ones :
Glyph of barkskin :reduces by 25% the chances you'll be critically hit on top of barskin other effect.
Glyph of cat form : increase healing received while in cat form by 20%.
- The variable one :
Glypf of prowling : cancels the movement reduction while prowling.
Glyph of kick : 8 sec kick for a 25 second cooldown.
Glyph of dash : reduces by 60 sec the cd of dash.
Glyph of fae silence : 3sec silence, puts a 20 sec cd on faerie fire, requires bear form (which is not actionable by taunt anymore since 5.2), very situational and the least interesting now. Will also allow you to peel your teammates against enemy casters, especially mages when they're in a cc (deep).
Glyph of savagery : you'll be able to open with a 12 sec SR, meaning you can get early pressure as soon as you get out of stealth. Don't like this one because I find other glyphs more interesting.
- Minor glyphs have little importance in arenas.
4. Gameplay introduction
Feral damage mainly come from bleeds & autoattacks (around 60%).
The dps "cycle", consists in having all the time SR, rip & rake up, shred should be used as a combo point builder, only when you can't reach the back should you use mangle instead.
When opening : most of the time you will use pounce, first because it will allow you to put dots up and force cds quicky : like blink or disengage, secondly ravage is free every 30 sec with the 4p bonus, so when opening with ravage, you'll lose this free attack, so in final energy and so dps.
My opening cycle gives : Pounce - SR - Rake - Shred - Ravage - Shred - Rip, then you'll refresh SR, Maim, and if there is nothing else to do, then FB.
Think of using faerie fire, every time the debuff is off : it's 12% armor reduction, which is a non negligible increase in shred, ravage & autoattacks damage.
It's also primordial to maintain this debuff on all classes with stealth : rogues, ferals but also priests, nothing more upsetting than letting one get away and miss a kill because of spectral guise.
Feral dps is based on priority as mentioned before :
- Maintain Sr Up, it increases all your physical damage done by 40% (has to be applied before dots)
- Get Rip and Rake on your target, deals damage and increases shred damage and FB critical strike chance.
- Build combo points with Shred & Ravage, eventually Mangle if your energy is high and you can't reach your target's back.
Ravage should be used when you're not full on energy since it's free (obviously the 4p ravage).
Slacking at 100 energy is a dps loss, if you can't reach your target's box, just mangle.
- Apply dots when fully buffed whenever possible, this means with most on use or proc trinkets, and of course on use effects such as sr, nv and tiger's fury. Treant rakes are of course impacted by buffs, meaning you want to have buffs up before popping treants.
- If you don't have anything better to use your combos on FB, but most of the time Maim is a better use of those extra combos, especially since FB only does decent damage when it consumes extra energy (up to 50, 25 base energy + 25) and it crits.
- When playing sotf, or when high on energy and not close to a kill, I like to put thrash on the target for more bleed damage, thrash spreading in 2s is similar to ww monk's aoe (rushing jade wind), except you don't need to be melee after application. You can also thrash for the damage reduction debuff on melees, you can in that case apply it in bear form, however scaling between cat and bear is not the same, it's is free of energy though.
5. Stats :
- PvP stats : Resilience & PvP Power, the first reduces damage done by players, the other one increases damage increased by those players, we will prefer resilience since ferals are quite fragile even with Bubble or Dispersion brought by symbiosis; however the increase in healing in 5.2 allows to tank more than before.
- Hit : 3%, expertise it not really valuable as feral since failed attacks are being reimbursed in energy.
- Agility : our main stat, increases all damage & nature spell damage by 100% (heals & wrath damage) and also increases critical strike chances.
- Secondary stats :
Mastery ==> increases bleed damage, our main damage source, so the best stat.
Critical ==> doubles damage & every crit will give 2 combo points instead of one, improves combo generation.
Haste ==> improves energy regeneration, attack speed & by extension the number of ooc procs, which renders the next ability free of any resource. (The least interesting of all stats, since you need a lot to see the difference).
- Reforging priority : Hit > Mastery > Crit > Haste. I recommend using reforgelite (addon) to have the most optimal reforging.
5.1 Gems & Enchants :
- Currently gemming mainly agi and respecting socket bonuses on all my druids.
Why focusing on agi : agi increases all damage done (direct and over time), it also increases critical strike, and Nature spell power, and so healing.
- Meta : 320 agi + 3% damage on crits, the tyrannical meta is a viable choice, damage are about the same and you will gain survivability with the resilience, so choose this with no hesitation if you keep getting trained.
I prefer playing with agile for higher crits.
|Shoulders||200 agi / 100 crit|
|Wrists||180 agi / 500 agi (LW)|
|Legs||285 agi / 165 crit|
|Feets||agi + run speed|
|Rings||160 agi (enchanters only)|
|Weapon||Danse d'acier (Dancing Steel)|
6. The feral druid, its cc arsenal :
We have a large panoply of cc as ferals, quick recap :
- Cyclone : our main cc, disorient of 6/3/1.5 sec; renders immune to all damage and heals. Since 5.4, all cyclone require to be cast, meaning you will need to cast them on a target that's already cc'd by either a root a stun or a hibernate or any cc from one of your mates.
- Root (Sarment) : root of 8/4/2 sec.
- Hibernate : sleep effect of 8/4/2 sec, only working on druids under animal forms, hunter pets & shaman in ghost wolf form.
- Pounce : Stun of 4/2/1 sec, opener, requires stealth or incarnation, 50 energy.
- Maim : 5 sec stun, 50 sec cd, dr with other stuns.
- Disorienting Roar : 3 sec of mass cc, shares dr with scatter shot.
- Vortex : unrecommended in arenas, slows all target in the circle by 50% and grips them back once into it, very efficient at knocking someone in place (especially good in rbg's in particular on kotmogu).
- Typhoon : Bumps in a cone in front of the caster get stealthers out, interrupts unmoving heals, also snares all target hit by hit, also allows you to knock down from one floor to another (dalaran & blade's edge).
7. Feral survival :
Different survival cds :
- Barskin : reduces by 20% the damage suffered, by 25% the critical chances you'll be hit. 1 min cd, lasts 12 sec.
- Instinct de survie: 50 % damage reduction, 3 minutes cd, lasts 12 sec.
- Might of ursoc : increases your total hp by 30% (50ù with the glyph), hps are kept after the end of the cooldown. 3 (5] Minutes cd.
- Heart of the wild : as mentioned earlier it increases all healing done, allowing you to heal yourself or allies, very powerful cd that can allow you to top anyone by using CW / recup / ht (mostly instants through ps procs) and tranquility.
From symbiosis :
8. Notes on gameplay :
The feral is an hybrid class : you should not hesitate to assist heal, especially since 5.2, and the fact that heals again scale on pvp power (note : the scaling is improved again in 5.3).
Nv is a really good survival cd for yourself and the team since it's change in 5.2.
Feral's role is however to get damage out and kill enemies, and control the enemy healers.
To do so, you need to coordinate with your teammate(s) to chain cc and burst at the same time, there is no secret though it will require adptation (even for a short amount of time) when playing with news players. You'll need to practice, 2s help a lot with coordination. If you form a good combo by two, the third will only have to graft himself to you two.
You should remember to not automatically reject the fault on this thid if you play with a friend, it's sometimes hard to have an objective view & recognize his own mistakes.
Communication is key : if you don't talk, playing without a voice system would be more efficient.
Healer should signal the state of his cd's, his mana..., every dps should do the same in order to locate in the span of the game.
Don't peel or back every time except if your healer can't top your team, if the enemy team can push its advantage first, you'll use your cds first and finish to die.
You need to get the offensive pressure, succeeding in getting ccs is essential, on this point : against shaman teams, don't forget to destroy the grounding totem : a faerie fire can destroy it, with a 20 sec cd, missing a cyclone is really crippling.
Check on cast bars of all the enemy team, to kick at the right moment - i particularly like gladius for the big cast bars - the healer will be to kick in priority, but kicking a cc could save a game.
Against a hunter team, don't forget to eat traps by charging on your healer or sprinting on him. (See the macro in the macro section)
Do not hesitate to root either from bear charge or from the the casted spell, even on caster, you could force a mage's blink with a root behind a pillar, mage that could be stun after.
Since you now need to cast all clones, it requires you to be smart to land them, here are some things to keep in mind :
- Use roots to stop healer from losing, either from instant roots via PS or bear charge.
- Root or stun melee dps to avoid peels of any form (stun, kick, charge...)
- Fake cast vs shamans and melees in melee range.
- Keep an eye on enemy buffs to avoid getting reflected or grounded your clone, shaman teams (elem and enh in particular) will often play with the grounding reflect glyph.
- With no cd on clone, don't hesitate to abuse it by cycloning enemy damage dealers to peel or to avoid them getting heals. This will also allow you to temporize while dr fall off. It's particularly useful in 2s, but has its uses in 3s too to block heals; the most visible example being on an enemy with a bop on.
10. Arena comps :
As feral you'll seek to play at the most with either a paladin or a priest for symbiosis purposes.
Not that either one are mandatory, but you will often be targeted as feral, even more without any of those.
Concerning the Feral Disc synergy : since 5.2 cyclone has a 20 sec cd. Druid gets dispersion and priest gets cyclone from symbiosis, compensating the cc loss of the druid.
In 2s :
- As double DD : almost all hybrids, since they all have really good heals since 5.2.
Feral Hunter, really good synergy, infinite cc chain, fd.
- As healer + dps : Feral Disc is most likely the best due to the synergy, a feral will be able to play with any healer (avoiding druid -for obvious reasons-).
As feral disc, you can almost do infinite cc chains with fear, mc, cyclone, stuns, hibernate if it's a shaman or a druid.
In 3s :
- Based on a Paladin or Priest preferably, the best comps as feral for me at the moment are :
Feral Mage Priest, like the Shatterplay (also known as godcomp), unlimited cc chain.
Jungle Cleave | Feral Hunter Healer | Really good cc chain, burst, and synergy, no common dr except for stuns. Played preferably with a priest for ccs on different drs (Fear - MC).
Feral SP Shaman, really good survival, able to kill anything on a switch, requires a good SP, can be played with another healer, preferably monk.
Feral Lock is also a good team, the healer you'll see the most with these two is shaman, but it can also be played with any other healer. With ferals not having treant stuns anymore and getting bubble from symb, playing with a pal would be a good option for example.
I don't like playing cleaves really much, but what follows probably needs mentioning.
Kittycleave (Feral Warrior Healer) is probably the strongest right now, with the damages warrior can bring to the table, you bring cyclone, anything can die if you land one.
Feral Ret X, lot of peels (different kinds of cc's plus sacrifice and aura mastery from ret) and offhealing from both, insane burst and good pressure.
Ebola Cleave (Feral DK Healer), I'd say it's almost on par with kittycleave right now, with how strong melees are right now and the general tankyness of dk's.
Feral Rogue X, I'd advise you not to play this, but it could be pulled off probably.
In short, we can play almost anything, I like the three first comps the most though.
11. Addons :
I'll advise you to play with gladius or sArena which allow you to have better view of cc on the whole enemy team.
Interruptbar / Juked for interrupt cds (Always useful, even if we don't cast much).
Cooldowns or similar in order to show the numeric values of cds on bars.
Outside of this, if you're starting to pvp today, I'll advise you to keep the addon use to a minimum, even if it's my case, because it can be hard to get rid of the habit once you don't have the addon anymore, one way or another.
However, I'll quickly mention my UI :
- Ui : Pitbull
- Bars : Bartender
- Buffs : Elkano buff bars
- Nameplates : Tidy plates
You can find every addon with my configs here.