Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Best Feral DPS Spec in 4.0.1 and Cataclysm

In light of all the positive response to our post on the Best Feral Tanking Spec for 4.0.1, I decided to give our friends on the Feral DPS side of the coin the same treatment.  As with Feral tanking, there is currently one clearly superior spec for cats in Cataclysm.  There is, however, a little wiggle room especially in terms of which talents to pick up before reaching 85.  Find out why I choose these talents and which you should pickup today after the bump:

Tier One Feral

Tier One is filled with great talents and ultimately any good cat will want to pick them all up.  For starters, Predatory Strikes is outstanding and should be maxed out immediately.  Feral Swiftness is also a must have.  Positioning is exceptionally important for any melee dps, but is particularly critical for back attackers like Cat Form Druids.  Faster movement means more time in position and maximized dps.  Furor is a solid investment as well.  It let's you shift out to aid your group with heals, a Rebirth, or some crowd control without severely gimping your damage.

Tier Two Feral

For Tier Two, I again recommend picking up everything.  Fury Swipes and Primal Fury both translate into substantial dps gains and cannot be overlooked.  Similarly, since cats will be using Ferocious Bite a lot more now especially during execute phases, Feral Aggression is a worthwhile use of your points.

I would also recommend putting two points into Infected Wounds.  These points could be flexed to Brutal Impact however, particularly if you have another Feral Druid in your group capable of providing the debuff or if you find yourself frequently using Skull Bash.  Really it is a matter of personal preference, I just find the utility of the movement and attack speed debuffs to outweigh the benefits of more frequent Skull Bashes.

Tier Three Feral

Mobility translates directly into extra dps, so there is no reason to live without Feral Charge, especially with the addition of Stampede.  These three talent points not only make you incredibly mobile, but also allow you to Ravage from out of stealth and multiple times if you can manage to squeeze in more than one Charge during the course of an encounter.  Thick Hide is for tanks and should be skipped.

King of the Jungle makes Tiger's Fury even more potent and is a wise use of your talent points.  It also opens up the path to another valuable talent farther down the tree.  Take this talent and be sure to wait until your Energy is low before you pop Tiger's Fury.

Tier Four Feral

Leader of the Pack is as great as it has always been both in terms of a benefit to your group mates and the incidental healing you receive.  The mana refunds are also helpful should you find yourself frequently shifting out to help your group with spells.  I avoided Brutal Impact, but you could choose to put points here instead of Infected Wounds depending on your play-style.  Though Nurturing Instinct won't increase your personal dps, it is a huge boon to your soon to be mana strapped healers and should not be passed over. It also makes you capable of shifting and spreading out some decent heals should an emergency arise.

Tier Five Feral

Survival Instincts is an awesome defensive cooldown but not necessarily a great use of a point for a cat.  I would skip it, though you could pick it up with an Infected Wounds or Brutal Impact point if you are committed to having and using it.  Similarly, Natural Reaction is just for Feral tanking and does nothing to your cat form, so pass it over.

Endless Carnage is a great talent which goes a long way to smooth out your complicated rotation. It is a good place to park two points.  I would also recommend Primal Madness as it makes your Tigers Fury and King of the Jungle combo even more potent.  Just be sure to try to hit Tigers Fury when you are just under sixty Energy to get the talent's maximum effect.

Tier Six Feral

Blood in the Water (formerly Nom Nom Nom) is a must have talent which finally gives cats an execute phase.  The ability to ignore Rip and use Ferocious Bite instead will really up your damage output during the last 25% of an enemy's health bar.  Rend and Tear is also a damage superstar and cannot be skipped.  The boost to our Shred damage and Ferocious Bite critical strike percentage is almost unbelievable.  Pulverize, however, is a new bear tanking toy and you should avoid it.

Tier Seven Feral

I would hope I don't need to tell you to take Berserk!

Tier One Restoration

A 10% boost to your attack power from Heart of the Wild is well worth the price of admission.  Eventually we will also want Natural Shapeshifter to get at Master Shapeshifter, but for now the mana cost reduction simply isn't a wise use of points.  Once you hit max level however, then you will want to have Natural Shapeshifter and Master Shapeshifter.  While we are stuck at level 80, just stick your points in Heart of the Wild and the Feral tree instead.

Are you excited about the new Feral DPS execute phase?  What is your favorite cat talent?  Are you prepared to shift in and out of cat form to help your groups come Cataclysm?  Let me know in the comments.


  1. Are you prepared to shift in and out of cat form to help your groups come Cataclysm?

    Yep already do. Looks like cata is going to be a bit more like early TBC where even heroics can whip your arse if you aren't prepared to use your class to the fullest and offheal/offtank when things get hairy. I'm looking forward to it!

  2. Could you post a Hybrid Tank/dps spec please? My guild has asked me to OT our raids, but feral is mainly my pvp spec, I think that if i just spec for tanking my pvp fights would be longer, but i would have the ability to outlast opponents, while still being able to tank, please help out with this.