Patch 6.0 Feral Druid Survival Guide

Patch 6.0 is scheduled to be released this Wednesday (for those of us in Australia) which is the pre-expansion patch. This patch introduces all of the class mechanics, ability pruning, new spells and changes associated with the new expansion, as is the case with each pre-expansion patch.

Patch notes for the 6.0 PTR can be found here and WoW Head has some guides on the content of the patch as well as summaries of class changes. In this post I will attempt to cover / highlight the major changes for Feral Druid’s so you are prepared on Wednesday. I wont be covering every single change to every spell so be sure to read the patch notes for yourself. I will list the changes and have a discussion at the end.

There is a great guide over at the Fluid Druid for all of your stat weights, rotation, talents and glyphs for 6.0. I recommend checking it out as our stat priority has changed significantly.

Disclaimer – Please be aware that the patch notes this post is based on are preliminary and not final. Details may change before the patch goes live.

Post Index

GENERAL CLASS CHANGES

* Hit and Expertise have been removed; they’re no longer needed in order to reliably land attacks!
This means that the stats have been removed off gear, there will no longer be hit and expertise gems or enchants as well. These stats will be converted into haste, crit or mastery. All characters will no have 100% hit chance and 0% chance to be dodged. However characters can still be parried when attacking from the front. As far as positioning goes nothing changes, you will still want attack from behind at all times.

* Racial traits have been rebalanced so that all races have similar combat performance.
I previously discussed the proposed new racials in this post. Check it out to see my thoughts on them.

* There are many effects in the game which deal periodic damage over time (DoT) or healing over time (HoT). Historically, these have typically done something called “snapshotting”; they were based on your stats at the time that they were cast, and that was used for calculating their effect for their full lifetime. Ultimately, we’ve decided that snapshotting isn’t a productive mechanic for the game. The vast majority of periodic effects in the game that snapshotted no longer do so. The only exceptions are ones that do damage based on a percentage of a previous ability’s damage…
For Feral Druid’s Savage Roar and Tiger’s Fury STILL snapshot. I think Tiger’s Fury was left in because is an important part of our rotation and it is only a short-term buff. Savage Roar was not snapshotting on the beta for a while, but it has since been reverted to do so.  There is a consensus that this is a good thing for the spec. Bleeds make up a large percentage of our overall damage, Savage Roar also provides a 40% damage bonus currently. If Savage Roar didn’t snapshot and a player allowed it to drop off, more than half of our damage output would be reduced by 40%, including the combo point builders used to get Savage Roar back up. This would be even more devastating with the removal of the current Glyph of Savagery.

* All damage over time effects now benefit from the pandemic mechanic. Pandemic allows 30% of the remaining duration of a damage over time effect to be transferred to a new application. 
Previously in order to get an extra tick out of our bleeds we have had to reapply them with 1 tick remaining. The pandemic mechanic allows us to reapply our bleeds sooner, meaning less chance of them falling off. This also applies to Savage Roar. The table below displays the spell’s base duration, the earliest time to refresh and the maximum duration.

 Spell Name Base Duration Earliest Refresh Maximum Duration
 Savage Roar 42 secs 12 secs remaining 54 secs
Rake 15 secs 4 secs remaining 19 secs
Rip 24 secs 7 secs remaining 31 secs
Thrash 16 secs 4 secs remaining 20 secs


* Strict facing requirements can be frustrating to deal with. In order to ease this frustration, we decided to remove or significantly loosen the facing requirements of all attacks that required the player to be behind their target. Shred no longer requires the Druid to be behind the target.

I am sad to see this go as I really liked the facing requirement. I felt that it added flavour and increased the skill cap of the class. However it was extremely frustrating to be penalised when it came to fights where you could only attack from the front e.g. Tortos, Ultraxion etc… No other class had it as bad as Feral’s did with those types of encounters. With the removal of Mangle this change was pretty much necessary or Rake would be our only single target combo point generator when attacking from the front.

* Combo Points for Feral Druids are now shared across all targets, and are no longer lost when switching targets.
Some would argue that this is the single biggest quality of life change for the spec. Basically combo points become like a Monk’s Chi, a Paladin’s Holy Power and a Shadow Priest’s Shadow Orbs. This will massively help new players, multi-dotting, Savage Roar up-time and target switching. It make take a while getting used to. I suggest evaluating how combo points are displayed in your UI and see if they need to be modified.

* Cat Form now increases movement speed by 30% (up from 25%).
This looks like a buff, but it make be just compensation for movement speeds now stacking additively instead of multiplicatively. Once Warlords of Draenor is released, I would like to write a post about movement speed, determining speeds, clarifying which one stack and comparing to them to Mists of Pandaria. Stay tuned.

* Travel Form now automatically transitions between Aquatic, Land, and Flight forms depending on the Druid’s location.
I’m not in the beta or the PTR, but last I heard this was still buggy – this conditions that determine which form to shapeshift too were not 100% defined. I’m still not convinced of this change. I like to have control over my character, leaving it up to the game to decide which form I should be in just urks me. We will have to wait and see.

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ABILITY PRUNING, CONSOLIDATION & REFINEMENT

* All classes have had several abilities pruned, with a focus on redundant and less-used abilities to cut down on button and keybind bloat. For Druids, we focused thinning out the niche and abilities that were not used often. We made sure to retain abilities for Druids to function in off-spec roles, since that flexibility is a defining characteristic of the class.

  • Removed abilities:
  • Modified abilities:
    • Rake now also stuns the target for 4 seconds if used while stealthed, and is only available to Feral Druids.
    • Rip now has a duration of 24 seconds (up from 16 seconds), but its duration is no longer extended by Shred, and is only available to Feral Druids.
    • Shred no longer requires the Druid to be behind the target and is now available to all specializations. Shred now deals 35% more damage in addition to having double the normal chance to critically strike while stealthed.
    • Ferocious Bite now has double the normal chance to critically strike against bleeding targets (instead of having an additional 25% chance to critically strike).
      Hopefully this means it wont hit like a wet noodle. There were reports on the beta of it doing almost as much damage as a full duration Rip and it had to be nerfed. In any case hopefully we will see an improvement in its output.
    • Primal Fury now also grants a combo point for area attacks that critically strike the Druid’s primary target.
      Basically changed to include Thrash and Swipe.
    • Leader of the Pack no longer restores Mana and is only available to Feral Druids. To compensate for this change, mana regeneration for Feral and Guardian Druids have been increased by 100%.
      The mana costs of other spells (Heart of the Wild, Revive) have been reduced to compensate. We generally don’t use much mana so shouldn’t be to adversely affected.
    • Survival Instincts no longer requires or forces the Druid into Cat or Bear Form and now reduces damage taken by 50% with a 2-minute cooldown (down from 3 minutes), and can have up to 2 charges (up from 1 charge).
      Note – This was 70% but has since been changed.
    • Tiger’s Fury now lasts 8 seconds (up from 6 seconds) and is usable during Berserk.
      This is an important as it will change the way we use our abilities. Previously we have simply macro’d Tiger’s Fury and Berserk together so we have a nearly full energy bar for Berserk. With this change the most optimal way to play is to pool energy just before using Berserk on it’s own, drain your energy, then use Tiger’s Fury to top up. This means that the Beserk macro will need to be modified to reflect this change.
    • Cyclone now shares Diminishing Returns with Fears, and can be canceled by immunity effects (i.e. Divine Shield, Ice Block, etc.), and can be dispelled by Mass Dispel.
      Not really relevant in a PVE context but probably good to know.

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TALENTS

Warlords of Draenor Talent Calculator.

* Renewal has been reduced to heal 22% of maximum health, down from 30%.
This looks like a nerf but
it’s actually a balancing change. With Warlords of Draenor, player health pools have been doubled. This change dramatically increases the effectiveness of percentage based heals, so they have been changed so they have the same relative impact.

* Ysera’s Gift has been reduced to heal 4% of your maximum health every 5 secs, down from 5%.
As with Renewal, Ysera’s Gift gets the same treatment.

* Typhoon‘s range has been reduced to 15 yards, down from 30.
It was fairly strong so not surprising, though I would disagree with the majority. I find it difficult to direct and control. When I want to knock something straight back and goes out on an angle and vice-versa. I am also disappointed with the apparently small knockback range. It feels much less than a Shaman’s Thunderstorm.

* Incarnation: King of the Jungleallows the use of Prowl while in combat and causes Shred and Rake to function as if stealth were active.
This is basically a tooltip change to include Rake and Shred as replacements for Pounce and Ravage respectively.

* Disorienting Roar has been renamed to Incapacitating Roar, incapacitates enemies instead of disorienting them, and its effect now shares Diminishing Returns with other Mesmerize effects.
More of a PVP talent with little impact on PVE play. I’ve never used this talent as Mighty Bash and Ursol’s Vortex have always been a better option.

* The level 90-Talent row for Druid’s was designed to encourage hybrid gameplay. We decided that, while you shouldn’t have to give up a significant amount of your primary role throughput in order to gain the off-role benefit, you also don’t need to gain an actual benefit to your primary role throughput benefit either. We’ve reduced the power of their primary role benefit, making them roughly neutral in their effect on your primary role. 
Basically the level 90 talents provide no main role throughput. Heart of the Wild had it’s 6% stat bonus removed, Dream of Cenarius no longer buffs your next two attacks and Nature’s Vigil no longer increases damage by 12%.

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GLYPHS

We made several improvements to the Glyph system. While leveling, characters unlock Glyph slots at several specific levels. Additionally, we now have the ability to make some glyphs exclusive with each other, or require specific specializations.

I’ve discussed glyphs here but I didn’t cover the exclusive category details, which I will do here. Exclusive category glyphs are in a group that when one is used, it excludes the others in the group from being used at the same time. For example, the Glyph of the Ninth Life reduces all damage taken while in Cat Form and the Glyph of Cat Form remains unchanged increasing all healing received in Cat Form by 20%. Both of these glyphs are available to Feral Druids and obviously having both active at the same time would be overpowered.

With the exclusive category you can only have one active from the group at a time – Ninth Life OR Cat Form. Which one you take is much of a muchness, however there may be encounters in Warlords of Draneor raids that favour one over the other. Remember what you have access to as it may be useful. Exclusive categories include:

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DISCUSSION

I think of the most noticeable things Feral’s will experience is a lack of survivability. Barkskin, Might of Ursoc and Symbiosis have been removed. The effectiveness of healing has also been reduced. This leaves us with a single defensive cooldown in Survival Instincts and it’s not the same as it was. It’s duration has been halved but we have 2 charges per cooldown. The lack of cooldowns reduces our raid utility and ability to mitigate sustained damage over time such as in PVP or while questing/leveling. We do have some increased healing ability but I still predict a buff to our survivability toolkit early in the expansion.

With the removal of reforging and dot snapshotting, the trinket which has ruled us since Patch 5.2, Rune of Re-orginiation is no longer competitive. Without the ability to customise our stats to an extreme detail this trinket loses out big time. It would be wise to pick up a set of trinkets from Seige of Ogrimmar e.g. Assurance of Consquence, Haromm’s Talisman and/or Ticking Ebon Detonator.

If you’re going to be raiding after Patch 6.0 before Warlords check out the guide over at the Fluid Druid for new stat weights. It is highly likely you will need to re-gem and enchant your gear to be optimal after the patch.

For almost the entire expansion, Incarnation has been a sub-par talent. I even wrote a post about why people still tried to use it when the results were so bad compared to Soul of the Forest initially and Force of Nature later on. With the changes in the Patch, this talent could well become the best choice in the tier. There is also some good synergy with the new Glyph of Savage Roar. If you do try it out you can macro it with Berserk (below). Incarnation is still on the global cooldown so you will lose a GCD when it’s activated.

#showtooltip Berserk
/cast Tiger’s Fury
/cast Berserk
/cast Incarnation

And there you have it. Now keep in mind that I have been somewhat selective of what I chose to mention in this post. There are actually loads of changes; changed mana costs of spells, new & changed glyphs, abilities which have restricted access between specs etc… Make sure to read the patch notes when the patch is released.

What do you think about these changes? What do you like? If you were a developer is there anything that you would change? Why? Let me know. Feel free to leave a comment on the post, send me an email at fileunderferal@gmail.com, follow me on twitter @Elamari_ or like and comment on the File Under Feral Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FileUnderFeral.

~Elamari

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10 thoughts on “Patch 6.0 Feral Druid Survival Guide

  1. Excellent post!

    I am so upset about the combo point being moved to the cat mind you…. I’ve been playing the beta, and I have two complaints

    First of all, there is no obvious UI to show the combo points you have, unless you have something targeted. It’s confusing.

    Secondly, I cant store combo points on multiple targets, or corpses for self heals.

    EG, swipe used to be great to apply CP’s on everything around you, single target with regular rotation, but you could always savage roar to pull CP’s off a non targeted mob for a insta cast healing touch.

    The old way also made it easier to get medium strength rips on multiple mobs.

    Over all, I still feel like im playing a cat.. but they need to get a CP indicator somewhere (ideally like holy charges or chi under my nameplate)

    but yea, the CP on the cat now is a terrible terrible loss, lol

    • Thanks for the comment galaispera.

      You raise a good point. I’m surprised that Blizzard hasn’t said anything about it. All of the other classes with secondary resources have it displayed on their character portrait by default. I think the change is for the best overall but it will take some time getting used to.

      Being able to use CP off a dead target was one of the little tricks that separated a good Feral from a great Feral. I will miss it too.

      ~Elamari

      • That’s pretty cool. I’m going to DL that and give it a try and even write a cap nap about it. Great find. I’ll be sure to credit you 😀

      • oh, and an actual response to yours =)

        When I first saw this on patch notes, it made me very excited. Leveling a feral in 5 mans often left me at a disadvantage. Without a doubt, feral is killer in single target rotation, and I find at lower levels, like rogues, we really have to focus on single target to compare in numbers.

        But I find now, leveling toons, it seems that every group you pug with is all fully BOA. Honestly I find more often than not, the tank is running through without stopping, and the DPS being present is inconsequential. Meaning, im lucky to tab->rake as many things as possible and hope to at least appear to be awake. As feral DPS has a little ramp up time to hit that sustainable high DPS number.

        It’s almost as bad (or maybe used to be) as running a fire mage though 5 mans. You never pull off a successful fireball cast until you see a boss. So you what… do that area of effect fire dot spell?

        So I hope this helps ease that. You know at least this way, as your tab rake, you collectively accumulate CP’s so you can get those savage roars up etc. I’m sure it will make all the difference. (and at the moment, im not sure why they havent pruned swipe, its pretty much thrash, tab rake and make sure you’re using CPs before you generate your sixth)

        With a little more intelligence into my response than (terrible terrible loss); my opinion largely comes from an area in the startnig zone in wod. I found this great place where you can pick up a stacking debuf, which seems to cause countless mobs to start spawning and aggro you. normally I’d single target with Thrash on clear procs, and pop the occasional swipe in there for a combo point to be thrown on everything around me. By the time I have 3 cps on an off target, I change target, savage roar, and more often than not get a proc allowing me to self heal (healing touch). It quickly got to the point where everything living had 5 points.

        But over all the mechanics of feral have changed enough to make this area of the zpme difficult feat (at least at level 90) The logic behind my rotation as of 5.4 is based on Dream of Cenarius and Soul of the Forest. Those savage roars add lots to my energy pool (pretty much making savage roar a free cast), and the act of using healing touch buffs my next two damaging moves. All the while, I’m only consuming combo points off one target. Another tab, and boom, many combo points.

        This experiment by the way yielded so much experience it was silly. But sadly I had to retreat before I got bored, simply because the energy regeneration and lack of CP corpses and off targets made it impossible to keep my health up. I should also note that I forgot to set up my bear bars, though with the changes, Im not sure how long I could pull that off without resorting to heart of the wild, and even then.. iffy.

        What really yanks my chain is that other classes could would pull this off flawlessly. I think the easiest would be warrior though, that victory rush is a hidden gem (oddly similar to what I used to pull off with my CPs on corpse rotation)..=)

        I guess I’ll always be able to tell the feral kittens about the glorious days past…

      • Regarding that CP indicator. While I’d still give that one I linked in an honorable mention, as it was an honest stab at directly attacking this problem, it fell short in my more in depth testing.

        While grinding out battlegrounds for prideful gear in the pre patch , I found a couple of times it disappeared. And I couldn’t get it back. I think this might have something to do with CPs degrading over time if not used.

        But. I did lots of research, and I found a more general purpose addon which was used more to tracking class resources and placing it in line of sight. (works for all classes) that was recently upgraded to handle the new CP system. I have been running it for a few days, and have yet to see it crap out.

        http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/nugie-combo-bar

        It doesn’t look as “built in” to the game as the original one I linked, but certainly succeeds in clearly making it apparent how many combo points you have. It’s dramatically reduced the stress I was feeling trying to keep track. I highly recommend you try it out till blizz “fixes” this. =)

      • Yeah I installed it and found it was gone more than it was on screen. Reloading the UI caused it to come back, but it’s not very reliable. I’ll have to look at this other addon your recommending.

    • Thank you for your comment and your readership. If there is anything that I didn’t cover and you would like to know, please let know. Also if you have any topic request let me know. Thanks.

      ~Elamari

  2. Great post. I was glad I stumbled upon it. After some time on live though I’m slightly disappointed with feral energy regen. It feels really-really slow. I mean – yes we have Fury but outside of it a lot of time is spent just waiting for energy especially if you take incarnation as talent.

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