Patch 6.2 Feral Druid Changes

Patch 6.2 arrive tomorrow and with it comes the new raid Hellfire Citadel. Feral’s are also receiving a small single target buff, much like most other patches. Patch notes can be found here, an (old) Shifting Perspectives right up is at Blizzard Watch, and the PTR discussion at the Fluid Druid is still going.

Single Target Buffs
Again we are receiving some single target buffs.This is to keep us competitive in the single target / two target cleave niche. However I think this highlights our poor scaling. We saw similar sized buffs in Patch 6.1 and in mid-cycle patches in past expansions. Savage Roar has something to do with it I’m betting. They can’t really buff it more than what it’s currently at so we see buffs in other areas.

  • Rake now deals 10% more damage.
  • Rip now deals 10% more damage.

In the patch notes there is also a change for Moonfire – now deals 4% less damage – I clarified with Pawkets on Twitter that this does NOT affect Lunar Inspiration.

Moonfire clarification on Twitter. Area of Effect Buffs
This section is slightly misleading because while we did technically get a buff with Thrash, Swipe didn’t get touched. This won’t change the priority or threshold of when to use Swipe (use when there is 5 or more short lived targets) and our AOE will still be abysmal.

  • Thrash now deals 10% more damage.

I’m really disappointed that more wasn’t done for our AOE. Feral’s struggled through Highmaul on fights like Imperator and Tectus that require strong AOE. Blackrock Foundry wasn’t as bad, but my dps was surprised easily on Beastlord – because the adds have a short lifetime and on the Blastfurnace encounter I felt almost useless. Thrashing the packs and focusing down Engineers, Firecaller’s or Security Guards. It wasn’t fun to feel weak when everyone else can simply spam their AOE attacks. Let’s hope that if there is indeed another raid tier after Hellfire Citadel that our AOE gets address in a more worthwhile manner.

That’s it for Feral changes. What do you think of the buffs, were they enough? Do you like the play-style of strong single target damage in exchange for weaker AOE damage? Let me know what you think. You can leave a comment on the post, send me an email at fileunderferal@gmail.com, follow me on twitter @Elamari_ or you can like and / or leave a comment on the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.

~Elamari

Cat Nap #11 – Final Boss Feral Druids in Warlords

Final Boss are doing another episode on Feral Druids. This time Stenhaldi is back along with Pawkets. I’ve come up with a few questions which I’ve sent in, but I’m not sure if they’ll make it on the show. We’ll have to watch and see. They steam their show live at http://www.twitch.tv/FinalBossTV. The show starts at 6am Australian Time or 4pm EST (American time). If you miss the show live you can see it on the Final Boss YouTube Channel or via podcast.
Main Show
After Show
1. What can be done to address Feral’s weak AOE damage? Does the buff to Thrash help at all?

2. Does the buff to Thrash make it worth using in the single target rotation?

3. Has Feral’s bad AOE affected the specs representation in mythic content? I see a lot of hyperbolic comments of people being “forced” to play a different class or switch to boomkin or being sat entirely. Do these claims have any merit?

4. Is Savage Roar set too high at 40%? How does this affect the spec with regards to:

  • How punishing is it for new players and does it make the skill cap too high? Or is that the design intent of the spec? Seems counter intuitive with the Glyph of Savagery.
  • Scaling – We get incremental buffs each patch, could something else be done?
5. Any thoughts on reworking Druid Talents?
  • We have two CC tiers with little impact on game play, some options have extremely rare niche uses.
  • More diversity of the level 90 talents, with Dream of Cenarius being the only real option.
6. Thoughts on Claws of Shivallah? Has it been successful? Does it get much use by PVPers or new players? It’s told to be avoided in all PVE guides. Should it be reworked or removed?
7. Haste historically has been a bad stat for Ferals. Any ideas on how to address this moving forward?

 

Hope you are feeling refreshed after our Cat Nap.

~Elamari

The Fast & the Fur-ious – Guest blog by Cantor, Challenge Modes as Feral in Warlords

So young kitten, you’re interested in the most challenging 5-man content that Warlords of Draenor has to offer? Well, you’ve come to the right place; I’m Cantor, guild leader of Omen on Emerald Dream EU, Mythic raider and 10 year veteran of World of Warcraft, and I’m here to guide you toward your dreams of those shiny, shiny Gold timed medals. I managed to take Cantor, my Feral Druid, through 9/9 Mists of Pandaria Challenge Modes in late 2013, and 8/8 Warlords Challenge Modes in April 2015.

What should I know?

  • Challenge Modes are intense, difficult, timed dungeons that reward a little gear, but mostly bragging rights.
  • Gear is scaled down to item level 630 (heroic dungeon blues). Gem sockets, tertiary stats and set bonuses don’t work in here, and the best way to gear up is just to chain-run heroics until you find pieces with the stat combo that you want; for Feral, this is crit and mastery. Crafting 3 pieces of WoD gear and using the re-roll items until you get the correct item suffix (Of The Peerless) is also a good way to do things.
  • The dungeons are basically the same as in Heroic, but either with mechanics added or the damage ramped up to insane levels.
  • Feral is one of the weakest DPS specs thanks to our abysmal AoE damage; Shadow Priests and Balance Druids also suffer, and Guardian Druids are one of the weaker tanks thanks to their total lack of utility abilities like Anti-Magic Zone, Army of the Dead, Heroic Leap, Roll, Breath of Fire and more; if you want an easy time, go Resto, as they are the strongest healers by a country mile thanks to their run-and-gun healing ability. But hey, we didn’t pick Feral for an easy ride did we?

Why do I care?
First off, what’s in it for you? Well even if you don’t want to compete for the Bronze, Silver or Gold rewards, you can receive a daily loot chest by taking the daily quest offered by Challenger Sunforge (Horde) / Challenger Savina (Alliance). These dailies reward a chest that contains a piece of equipment on-par with current LFR difficulty raid gear (at the time of writing, ilevel 660). It’s not earth-shattering, but it could help you get your hands on an elusive piece with decent stats – the secondaries are randomised, so luck be with you.

If you do decide that you want to go for the timed medals, then the rewards are as follows: for completing all 8 Warlords of Draenor dungeons with a time of Bronze or better, you’ll be able to stroll around with The Indomitable title; for a full run of Silver times or better, you’ll get a sweet Yeti mount, the Challenger’s War Yeti.

Mount and Title for CM's

They see me rollin’.

And if you manage to finish up all 8 dungeons with a Gold time, you’ll get access to an incredible array of weapons that be used for transmog purposes, sold by the same NPC that gives you your daily quests. For a Feral Druid, you’re looking at the two-handed mace Flamegrinder, or the Cloudsong Glaive polearm. If you’re feeling weird, you could also use one of three staves – the Arcana Shard Spire, Cthulu-inspired Dimension-Ripper’s Staff, or the incredible Greatstaff of Infinite Knowledge. All of these weapons have special procs that will fire off at random; for example, Flamegrinder occasionally opens up and belches fire from both sides, while the Dimension-Ripper’s Staff has shadowy void tentacles that will grasp out of the head of the weapon.

BBQ Hammer

Flamegrinder, AKA the Barbecue Hammer.

It’s also worth noting that for every Challenge Mode you complete on Gold, you’ll be able to teleport right to the entrance once every 8 hours – a cooldown that’s reset whenever you finish another dungeon on CM difficulty. I may or may not use this to ‘port to Grimrail Depot mere minutes before my raid to avoid being late.

What do I need?
There are a few very useful items to bring along with you:

  • Draenic Invisibility Potions are cheap, and the only way to hit those Gold times in several Challenge Modes;
  • Flasks and DPS potions, as well as Savage Feasts are all going to give you useful stat boosts; the Agility potions share a cooldown with the Invis pots, and using Invisibility will put your DPS potions on a 10 minute cooldown. With Prowl, you can avoid the need to use an Invis potion in most cases, leaving you free to chain-chug Agility potions on-cooldown;
  • Drums of Fury are great if you don’t have a Lust/Time Warp/Heroic caster;
  • Runescrolls of Fortitude are made by Scribes, and useful if you don’t have a Priest.

General Feral Advice
For addons, don’t leave home without WeakAuras. In the image below, you can see my own WA setup. As a brief explanation, the floating eyes indicate SR isn’t present; the 2 red rectangles are my Bloodtalons stacks; the left-most vertical red line tracks my Predatory Swiftness buff; the Savage Roar tracker is in blue; the empty middle bar is my energy meter, with a combo point display in the middle; the 3 red bars are respectively Rake, Rip and Thrash trackers. Underneath all of that, my TF and Berserk cooldowns are shown (they go small and grey, with a cooldown displayed while they’re unavailable), and finally the potion cooldown is shown at the very bottom. Other addons are Shadowed Unit Frames, Bartender, SexyMap and the wonderful ThreatPlates. I personally also like _Cursor to track your mouse in the melee scrum, and Opie to get quick access to infrequently-used abilities and target markers.

For talents, I ran a setup of:

Delving into that a little bit more, Displacer is a great tool to get you out of harm’s way in the stickiest situations – void zone separating you from the boss? *blink* Knockback? *blink* Caught and about to be eaten by something horrible in Shadowmoon Burial Grounds? *blink blink blink*. An argument can be made for the other 2 talents as well, but generally Swiftness, with Cat Form’s inherent fast movement and the small size of dungeon encounter areas, is going to be less useful than the other options.

Gift is a mindless, always-on heal, which is always useful. Cenarion Ward definitely has it’s uses, but is just one more button to micromanage in an already busy AoE rotation, and consumed a global.

Typhoon is awesome AoE CC that can give your healer/tank some breathing room; not used often as it knocks stuff all over the place, but can be useful for a last-ditch interrupt.

Incarnation remains the most powerful DPS talent on this row; your crit is going to be too low for too many finishing moves, so SotF loses power, and FoN is just far too weak. Incarnation, particularly with the Glyph of Savage Roar, is a massive DPS boost that lets you drop more CPs into Bites and Rips. Use it in AoE scenarios to get an ultra-powerful Rake on everything and watch them melt.

Level 75 talents are a weird one in that all of the options on this CC tier are useful in their own way; Vortex can be helpful if your tank is in a situation where he needs to kite a lot of mobs around, as in UBRS or Iron Docks. Bash is always useful for a single-target stun on a critical mob, like the Summoners in UBRS, but do be careful that you don’t mess with an AoE stun rotation (example: Leg Sweep into Remorseless Winter). I generally used Incapacitating Roar, which gave another AoE interrupt, and a little wiggle room for our tank and healer.

Dream of Cenarius is useful if you macro your Healing Touch to target your tank and are free with your Rejuvs on the rest of your group; otherwise, NV might be more useful to help out your healer (although the healing is very much on the low side compared with the Shaman’s Ancestral Guidance). Heart of the Wild can be useful in oh-shit moments when your tank or healer inconveniently decides to stop living, or if you really need an extra burst of healing; I wouldn’t recommend it though, as taking a DPS out of the game isn’t generally going to be very useful when working toward a Gold timer.

Bloodtalons is great for getting a bit more power out of your finishers – every time you use one, you can build up some more CPs, pop a heal on an injured party member, and get your next two abilities buffed by 30%. A BT Thrash will do significant trash damage, as will BT Rakes, while you want to be rolling BT Rips and Rakes at all times on bosses. You won’t have anywhere near enough energy to run with Lunar Inspiration, so don’t try. Claws is a not-terrible choice if you don’t want to have to worry about putting more buttons into your rotation, and gives you the added bonus of letting you cast Soothe in Cat Form, which is useful on a few pulls in Bloodmaul Slag Mines and UBRS.

Dungeon specifics
I’d love to go into each pull, room by room, dungeon by dungeon, but feel that anyone still reading is likely to be numb by now, so I’ll keep it short and just mention specific pulls to watch out for.

Shadowmoon Burial Grounds
This was the first Challenge Mode that we did in Warlords, and it took us a while to get our heads around it. The timer is quite tight, so make sure you’re popping potions and cooldowns often. Not much AoE trash, so Feral’s multi-target cleave is pretty good. Displacer is good on all of the bosses to avoid danger zones (Bonemaw, Ner’zuhl), reach adds while avoiding void zones (Sadana, Ner’zuhl) or get back to the boss after he runs away (Nhallish). Save your cooldowns on boss 2 for after he sends you into the alternate realm to kill the Possessed Soul, as you’ll get a 40% damage buff on your return.

Auchindoun
Quite easy, but probably the most painful dungeon for melee characters thanks to the vast amounts of AoE damage, disorientates, void zones and charging mobs. That being said, watch out for: Vigilant Kaathar (boss 1) throwing his shield. Charge to your healer or Displacer Beast toward it when the boss starts to cast Consecrated Light. Boss 2 summons adds that can be CCed with Typhoon and Vortex. Boss 3 puts fire EVERYWHERE, so Displacer is useful. Teron’gor summons his Infernal (which can be rooted indefinitely – try the macro below) and deals a huge amount of group damage; have interrupts in place for Drain Life and Chaos Bolt, especially when he’s casting Rain of Fire.

/tar Felborne Abyssal
/cast Entangling Roots

Grimrail Depot
We found this one surprisingly easy, and we managed to get Gold here on our very first serious pull. Interrupt the goblin trash with Incap Roar, Typhoons and Maims to stop them firing off the Iron Stars. For boss 1, make sure to DoT both targets as much as possible, and kill the big Orc first. The pull right after this is deadly for your tank, so make sure you’ve got all of your PS heals hitting him. Most of the train car pulls are also very dangerous, particularly when Gunners, Boomers and Cinder Seers appear in one pull. The Grom’kar Hulks have a self-buff Enrage that we can Soothe off if you don’t have anyone else that can do so. This Enrage stacks, so you might want to wait for 2 stacks before you pop out to Soothe – it depends on what your tank’s happy with.
On boss 2, Nitrogg Thundertower, it’s best to put you on the boss at all times, even when he’s in the gun; the adds die very quickly, and are horrible for Feral to try and deal damage to, so bring your hefty ST abilities to bear. If you can take off 25% of his health in the gun, you’ll remove the need to wait around for another Boomer to spawn after wave 3. This also baits the gun to place all of the Slag Blasts on itself, letting your group move around a bit more freely. On the last boss, Displacer Beast is useful to get out of lightning patches quickly.

Iron Docks
Another relatively easy Challenge Modes, with the hardest bit being the massive pull at the beginning of the instance. I really can’t recommend much here – you’re going to do very low damage unless you pop Berserk, but then you won’t have it to use with Incarnation for the boss, so it’s not something I can advise doing. Sadly, trash is a very weak point for us, and never is it clearer than in this instance. At the least, try to maintain Thrash on everything, Swipe for CPs and drop your Rips into the big Battlemasters and named mobs. Boss 1 is pretty simple tank and spank, while boss 2 is a cleave fight, which Feral is pretty good at; pop your cooldowns and get Rake on all 3 mobs, while trying to keep the goblin and troll at roughly even levels (the goblin lower if possible). When the troll casts the Blood Shield on the goblin, hardswap to the troll and kill her off quickly.
Watch out for Ogre Traps on the ground! Boss 3 is quite standard, but boss 4, Skulloc, will be made easier with a Feral – cleave off of him on to the Orc adds, and use your high movement speed to get back to the boss before he fires off a second Cannon Barrage. Stampeding Roar, even unglyphed, will save lives here if you have any slow-movers in your group.

Oh Shit

Try not to find yourself in this situation.

Bloodmaul Slag Mines
Lots of Enrage effects again to be Soothed off, as well as plenty of casters, so Incap Roar is very useful. On boss 2, use your ability to shift out of the Root he casts to get to him and stop him buffing himself and his adds with Frightening Roar, or use Stampeding Roar to break your whole group out. The trash proved to be much more challenging than the bosses in this instance for my group of Brewmaster Monk, Resto Druid, 2 Hunters and myself, so make sure you’re interrupting and CCing as much as you can.

Upper Blackrock Spire
There is some tricky trash and bosses; the first few rooms are going to be pretty horrible for Feral, and melee in general. Be sure to watch out for the AoE abilities from the Warcasters (looks like a slow, reversed Arcane Explosion) and Worgs. Berserkers and Worgs both have a dispellable Enrage – although there are so many of them it’s rarely worth dispelling it – and Grunts drop a Rallying Banner that is a priority target in the first 4 rooms. Assign specific Rune Conduits to people for boss 1 so no-one is down with the dangerous electric swirls for longer than they need to be. Feral Charge is useful for getting back up on to the boss platform without having to run around the room or through a void zone. Vortex is useful on the trash preceding and after boss 3, as well as the trash waves on the boss itself. Very handy for stopping the Ogres releasing dragons.

Skyreach
Our quick movement speed will be advantageous on bosses 1 (lots of void zones), 2 (moving into position to block beams) and 3 (Quills), although Displacer makes all of this easier again. Lots of dangerous trash here; Soaring Chakram Masters and Whirling Dervishes deal heavy party-wide damage; Heralds of Sunrise have an annoying heal, so save your interrupts; Solar Familiars and Blinding Solar Flares both cast Flashbank, which will disorientate you if you’re facing them when it’s cast. Relatively small trash packs again make Rake-dotting a thing, but make sure you’re maintaining Thrash on 4+ mobs.
The birds mobs between bosses 2 and 3 are prime targets for Typhoon and Ursol’s when they fixate, and the wind gauntlet after boss 3 is made much easier with Stamp Roar. You can also blink through the oxbow section with Displacer Beast. The final boss has adds that are stunnable if for some reason you’re not running Vortex or Roar, as well as a robot add that needs to be interrupted (let your tank worry about boss interrupts).

Everbloom
Everbloom has the tightest timer, coupled with large trash pulls and some awkward jumps, making it a real pain for Ferals. Pop your cooldowns on the first pull as they’ll be up in time for Witherbark’s vulnerability phase. Typhoon will let you keep the water globes away from him for a little bit longer, but generally don’t swap off of the boss to kill them. This is one of the only fights where you won’t be able to open from stealth, as you get destealthed when a water globule hits him to begin the encounter, so save some CPs from the preceding trash pack to get a Roar up. If any plant adds spawn, just ignore them and have your tank pick them up.
On the Protectors encounter, try to gather them all up (you’ll need a blanket silence on Telu to get him to move to Gola) and cleave them down. Gola first, making sure you have interrupts for Rapid Tides and Revitalising Waters, followed by Telu and Dulhu (cleave off of Dulhu as he has much more health). Be careful of Briarskin from Telu, as Feral’s fast attack speed can make this deadly.
For the spider boss (who you do have to kill in Challege Mode, unlike LFD), pool CPs for when the Orc adds are getting consumed by the boss, then drop a big Bite on to them to burst them down – don’t bother dotting them, as they won’t live long enough.
On boss 4, Archmage Sol, you can blink through the fire rings, but don’t interrupt the Parastic Growth until she’s at about 30% health, then drag her far away from all of the fire plants – the fire won’t be able to reach you. For Yalnu, just focus the boss; the adds will be quickly taken apart by the Mage helpers if they’re all free from Entanglements. Use Stampeding Roar when the boss is casting Genesis to allow your group to prevent any plants adds from spawning.

Final Thoughts
Challenge Modes are a fun, exciting way to really challenge yourself as a player. If you don’t have any guildies that are interested, then the Blizzard Group Finder tool is a great resource – just make sure you state what you’re after, so you don’t end up in a group pushing for Gold times on your first run through. I’d always advise any group to do a dry run first so that you can see where the hard sections are and where you might need to save cooldowns.

If you have any questions, I can be reached on Twitter (@shredable) or in-game for European people on my Battletag, Cantor#2912. Please feel free to ask me anything – I love Challenge Modes, and love to help out anyone struggling.

As I said at the beginning I’m guild leader of Omen a Mythic raiding guild on Emerald Dream-EU. We’ve been the leading Horde guild on the server for 10 years, and are currently recruiting a Mage or Moonkin for BRF progression (working on Iron Maidens as of the time of writing). If you feel you’re up for raiding 3 days a week in a very friendly atmosphere, please feel free to apply! Our raiding schedule is Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings, from 20:00-23:00 server time.

Just the tip?

This post is going to be a little different. Rather than focusing specifically on Feral Druids, I want to talk about social norms, expectations and my personal experiences.

The “Event”
A few weeks back asked in trade chat to use an enchanters hut. I was immediately invited to a group by a person, no whispers or anything. I used their enchanters hut and after about 2 minutes when I was finished, I found the player and attempted to trade them a 50 gold tip. This is where things started to go south.

The player cancelled the trade, then began to abuse me through whisper. See the image below for the whisper transcript. I was basically being called cheap for only offering 50 gold, because I would be able to make money of the shards + the service being provided. While this is certainly true in a vacuum there are some issues I’d like to point out in making my case.

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Blackrock Foundry Part 1

My raid team as been steadily progressing through normal Blackrock Foundry and I thought it’s about time to take a look at it from a Feral Druids point of view. One of the advantages of BRF is it’s winged design, allowing for each team to clear bosses in multiple orders. In this post, bosses will be listed in the order we defeated them.

Gruul
This boss is a good single-target dps encounter, perfect for Bloodtalons. There is very little movement and no adds or AOE required. From a DPS perspective, there are only two things you need to worry about. The first is the Cave In ability. This places a void zone on the ground you need to avoid. This is only moderately annoying. It may cause your group to have to move or may block you exit if you get targeted by his next ability Shatter. If you get targeted by this ability, you need to run out of the raid and make sure you are at least 8 yards away from any player. Gruul has quite a large hit box and I’ve found it possible on several occasions to far enough away to avoid Shatter damage, but still be able to dps the boss. This is a good thing to try to increase your dps uptime. However it’s really susceptible to RNG e.g. two people running the same direction, or the tank moves the boss etc… Good introductory fight. Practice your single target rotation.

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Movement Speed in Warlords of Draenor

In this post I’m going to discuss movement speed bonus in Warlords of Draenor, which ones stack, which don’t and how they interact. Rather than me waffling on I think I’ll just quote the developers from the Patch 6.0 patch notes as they explain it far better than I could.

From the Developers
The logic of how various movement speed bonuses stack (or don’t) has generally been inconsistent and poorly explained. Under the old set-up, each movement speed bonus would become more powerful when combined with another, so we would limit what can stack with what, and prevent certain abilities from being used when another one is already in effect. We decided to change the movement speed system to make it more transparent, with rules about stacking that are easier to understand, and with fewer restrictions.

Previously, multiple movement speed modifiers on you were multiplicative, meaning that if you had two different +25% movement speed bonuses, they resulted in a total movement speed of 56% (1.25*1.25 = 1.56).

Movement speed bonuses have been changed to be additive. The previous example with two different +25% movement speed bonuses would result in a total movement speed of +50%. The logic governing which bonuses stack with others has been simplified as well.

  • Movement speed buffs that are temporary or could be applied to other players are considered exclusive, their effects do not stack, and only the highest bonus gets applied (in addition to non-exclusive movement speed buffs).

Source – http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/15682579#movement_speed

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Ask Mr. Robot Combat Infographics

Analysing combat logs to figure out why your raid is dying can be very intimidating and confusing. No longer shall you have to sift through an endless stream of numbers thanks to a new feature Ask Mr Robot have developed called Combat Infographics.

WARNING! – This post is going to be a bit long. I will do my best to break it up into manageable chunks, but it will still be quite long. Please take your time reading and if you have any questions please feel free to email me, tweet me or comment. Thank you.

What this feature does is it takes a combat log you submit and presents data such as DPS, potion usage, avoidable damage and details about specific mechanics of an encounter and displays them with an info graphic. This is a very visually appealing and much easier way to understand what your raid is doing well and what they can improve on. One really great feature is that you can see how well your raid team compares to other raid teams completing the same encounter. Ask Mr. Robot collects data from all the combat logs uploaded to calculate median values. Scored above the median value in a given metric gives your raid team a better score.

I wont be going into how to set up the addon and desktop app, there is a guide and a video on their website. There will be screen shots throughout the post and here is the link to the actual log where you can interact with it.

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