In the newest World of Warcraft patch, if you were playing feral already, it’s still pretty much the same – except easier. The things written here are based on arena, but work in most other scenarios here as well. If you’re an experienced feral already, this guide will probably not help you, but I would like you to read it because more input is always great.
This feral druid PvP guide, written by Natz from Hellfire-EU will surely help you get familiarized with the class in the 9th arena season.
- Acronyms and PvP Terms
- Reasons to Play Feral
- Talents and Glyphs
- Stats and Gems
- Viable Arena Setups
- Feral Playstyle
- Random General Stuff
Before I get started on the actual guide, you should know what certain things actually are in pvp, such as “Crowd Control” next to that, you can also find acronyms that I’ll use later in the guide here. The pvp terms im quickly explaining here are very basic, so for a more experienced pvp’er it’s best to skip these.
CC – Crowd control: This is the term that players use that describes everything that makes you loose (partial) control of your character. For example: Cyclone, Sheep, Entangling roots, Fear and Kidney Shot are all forms of CC’s.
DR – Dimishing Returns: After you CC a player, he will suffer from DR so you cant control him endlessly. DR means that the second CC you land will have a shorter duration then the first one. The first CC will have 100% duration, the second wil have 50% duration, and the third 25%. After this, the player will be immune to that type of crowd control. The effect of DR ends 15 seconds after your CC ends.
For example: You sheep player A and he is sheeped for 10 seconds. 2 seconds after that you sheep him again, and it’s now a 5 second duration.
Or: You sheep player A and he is sheeped for 10 seconds. 25 seconds later (15 seconds after he leaves the sheep) you sheep him again, and he is sheeped for 10 seconds once again.
Next to this, some spells share DR with eachother, even though they’re different spells. Fear and blind have this for example. If you blind a person directly after a fear, the DR effect will cause it to be only 50% of it’s duration. A full list of CC’s that share DR with eachother can be found here: http://www.wowwiki.com/Diminishing_returns.
LoS – Line of sight: If the direct sight of you on another player is blocked by a pillar, or something similar – you are out of LoS and won’t be able to cast on that player, and his casts wont land on you either. LoS is often used to prevent from getting CC’d. If you see a player cast a CC on you, you can quickly step behind a pillar and the cast will not land on you.
Peel/peeling – Peeling using abilities, like maim or cyclone, to control or slow an opponent. This is mostly used to prevent them from doing damage – so your team can recover from damage taken.
GCD – Global cooldown: The GCD is the time it takes for you to be able to use your next ability after using an instant cast. The GCD is 1.5 seconds for everyone exept: Rogues, Ferals in catform and Death knights in unholy presence.
Then some feral acronyms that are often used ingame and on forums:
- FB – Ferocious Bite
- SI – Surviving Instincts
- SR – Savage Roar
- BS – Barkskin
- FR – Frenzied Regeneration
Feral has always provided a unique playstyle, combining the attacks from a rogue with the utility from a frost mage. Ferals are, and have always been, an amazing support class. Now, in Season 9, ferals have also gotten tools so they can play very aggressive, and drop healers on their own.
If this isn’t enough reason, feral druids also have one of the most awesome communities of all specs. If you plan to play a feral, don’t forget that old school ferals don’t play a feral, but ARE a feral. This is mostly because of ferals being dogshit for a very long time. Unfortunately, the spec is good now and was pretty good in Wotlk as well, so this is slowly changing.
There’s not a big difference between professions anymore, but these are the ones you do NOT take.
- Herbalism: Haste isn’t very good for feral, so you don’t want to take this!
- Mining: Stamina is nice, but it’s definitely not great.
- Skinning: Crit is a great secondary stat, but it’s just not good enough with other professions giving agility.
Next to this there is a debate of engineering at the moment. The main use of it seems to be rocket gloves, wich do quite low damage. I personally still really like rocket gloves though, but not for the damage component. You can use the rocket gloves to quickly kill a grounding totem, or maybe get down a spell reflect. This can save you a GCD, and getting a cyclone off 1 GCD sooner can be game breaking.
I think all other professions are a good choice as well at the moment. But Leatherworking seems to give the biggest benefit to ferals at the moment.
Ferals only have a few floater points at the moment, but we all start of with the same basic talent spec:
There’s dozens of small variations possible though. Some people prefer not to take “Primal Madness” and get some extra survivability instead. I’m personally running with the following spec: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#0ZfrMcRdrdrczMcz. If you are facing a lot of wizard cleaves on your battlegroup, and you are dying against them, I would recommend the following spec: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#0ZfrMckdrzrczMcu. In the end it really comes down to what talent you prefer though!
For the glyphs, it’s quite straightforward as well, but there are always options to be made!
- Glyph of Berserk: Increases the duration of Berserk by 5 sec.
- Glyph of Mangle: Increases the damage done by Mangle by 10%.
- Glyph of Rip: Increases the periodic damage of your Rip by 15%.
- Glyph of Savage Roar: Your Savage Roar ability grants an additional 5% bonus damage done.
- Glyph of Shred: Each time you Shred, the duration of your Rip on the target is extended by 2 sec, up to a maximum of 6 sec.
- Glyph of Tiger’s Fury: Reduces the cooldown of your Tiger’s Fury ability by 3 sec.
Again it’s a bit dependent on your personal preferences which ones you take here. Two of them are really standard though. Almost every feral you see will be using Glyph of Berserk and Glyph of Rip. Glyph of rip speaks for itself, extra damage on our top damage ability. Glyph of Berserk is something that you’ll only see in PvP though. In PvE this glyph isn’t considered great, because you run out of energy after 15 seconds uptime on a boss, even with berserk. However, in PvP it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to get the full 15 seconds uptime on your target, meaning you’ll usually have energy left after those 15 seconds, that you can use on cheaper attacks thanks to this glyph. And 5 seconds extra fear immunity isn’t bad either of course!
For the third pick, I would choose between Mangle or Tiger’s Fury. The savage roar and shred glyph are both great as well, but only if you get a lot of uptime on targets, and can do a nice rotation into them, like the PvE’ers do! If you end up mangling a lot in games, use the mangle glyph – otherwise go for Tiger’s Fury.
- Glyph of Entangling Roots: Reduces the cast time of your Entangling Roots by 100%, but increases its cooldown by 5 sec.
- Glyph of Feral Charge: Reduces the cooldown of your Feral Charge (Cat) ability by 2 sec and the cooldown of your Feral Charge (Bear) ability by 1 second.
- Glyph of Thorns: Reduces the cooldown of your Thorns spell by 20 sec.
- Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration: While Frenzied Regeneration is active, healing effects on you are 30% more powerful but causes your Frenzied Regeneration to no longer regenerate HP
- Glyph of Ferocious Bite: Your Ferocious Bite ability no longer converts extra energy into additional damage.
- Glyph of Barkskin: Reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by melee attacks by 25% while Barkskin is active.
One easy pick here; Glyph of Entangling Roots. This glyph is so amazingly overpowered that you always want to use it! Be careful though, the roots still use your instant nature spell proc you gain from combo points.
After that most ferals go for Glyph of Charge – shorter cooldown on such an important ability is great to have. The third glyph is hardest though, Thorns does great damage – but has limited use against most teams. But if you happen to face a feral/rogue/x team it’s really insanely awesome.
Frenzied Regeneration glyph used to be horrible, but after the nerf on the healing it does, it’s something I’ll have to check. The problem with this glyph is that you usually need to use cooldowns because your healer is CC’d, and if he’s CC’d he doesn’t heal, so you don’t gain anything out of it unless you live long enough to receive heals again.
Glyph of Ferocious Bite is something that depends on the situation again. In some situations an opponent is low on HP and you want a big fat ferocious bite to finish him off. In other situations you rather save that energy to build up new combo points with. I’m planning to try it out a bit more, but at the moment it doesn’t seem to great.
And last, Glyph of Barkskin. In my opinion the best pick at the moment, purely because of the damage warriors can put out. When warrior’s get toned down I think I’ll swap it out again, because melee is something ferals can deal with very well!
Really easy! You’ll want to use Dash, Mark of the Wild and Aquatic form. If you’re tanking in the same spec, swap out MotW or Aquatic form for Challenging roar.
Out of all specs, ferals have the biggest need for keybinds. If you’re clicking it becomes even harder to get behind your target, and shred. If you are still clicking, swap to keybinds as soon as you can! I used to click myself as well, and swapping to keybinds really makes a huge difference.
As a feral druid there really are 2 main stats that you want to have: Agility and Resilience. Next to these the other stats relevant for feral pvp are (in order of importance):
- Spell Penetration
Your goal with gearing up is to get pieces with agility on them, strength is good as well – but agility is better (an epic strength ring is usually better then a rare agility ring). Next to this you want to avoid haste and expertise as much as you can. If you happen to get it anyway, that’s what you want to reforge into something else.
There is caps for hit and spell penetration you want to hit, so you don’t miss, or get spells resisted. For hit this is 5% – 600 hit , and you’ll also need 97 spell penetration. Once you have hit these caps, you can completely ignore these stats, because they’re now your worst. As a feral, there is no spell penetration on gear – so to hit the spell penetration cap, you’ll need to use 2x 50 spell penetration gems. Conveniently, these go into blue sockets and can be used to activate socket bonuses.
To get to the hit cap, you’ll want to reforge stats to hit. You can also gem hit – but one point of agility is twice as good as one point of mastery – so if you gem hit you’ll be wasting damage! I generally go with the following setup:
- Red: 40agility or 20agility/20resi
- Yellow: 20agility/20resi, or 40resi
- Blue: 50spellpen, 20agi/20hit or 20resi/20hit if spellpen capped, and 20agi/30stam or 20resi/30stam if hit and spellpen capped.
The metagem is the hardest to choose. The best metagem for us is the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond, but the gem requirements are hard to hit. That’s why I swapped to the Fleet Shadowspirit Diamond, giving 54 mastery and movement speed increase. If you can get the gem requirements for the Relentless metagem – use that one instead. Other options are:
- Effulgent Shadowspirit Diamond (82stamina 2% less spell damage taken)
- Powerful Shadowspirit Diamond (82stamina and 10% les stun duration on you)
- Destructive Shadowspirit Diamond (54 crit and 1% chance to reflect spells)
I’ll be updating this with the most common feral setups, and how they work, so it’s easier for you to find a combo you like. With the season just starting it’s a bit hard for me to see what comps are good right now, so I’ll list the 3 most common feral comps of the past seasons.
This comp used to be played with a priest, but with priests being crap right now you’ll probably want to replace the priest with a paladin or restoshaman. This is my old combo, and I personally think it’s the most fun feral setup by far! This setup gets its kills out of long CC chains on the opponents healer, meaning that you will need good coordination with your teammates, about who CCs what opponent and what time. I expect this combo to do really good this season, with both feral/mage being very strong classes at the moment.
A strong combo that simply does an awful lot of damage. It’s the least CC based combo a feral can play. With the paladin keeping your warrior mobile, and your ability to shift from snares, it can always keep up a high amount of preasure, slowly forcing cooldowns and eventually get a kill.
I’ve always seen this as a “pop all cooldowns in the first minute and hope something dies” kind of combo, even though it also did a good job at outlasting teams back in WotLK. In Cataclysm however, I don’t see how a rogue/feral/healer team is going to outlast players. If you want to play a zergcomp, I would go for this.
Ferals have a priority system. Our bleeds a do a lot more damage if you have Mangle up you’ll want it on a target when you’re hitting it. Shred does more damage on targets that are bleeding. Don’t Shred till Rake or Rip is on the target. Our finishing moves, Rip and Ferocious Bite, are designed to be used on 5 combo points. Using Rip on anything less is a waste. If you need fast damage, a 3 or 4 point Ferocious Bite can be used instead of waiting on Shred energy.
Those are the basics. After that the talents come into play. Tiger’s Fury also increases our damage by 15% for 6 seconds, next to restoring 60 (80) energy. Bleeds applied during this increased damage effect, will profit from it for their entire duration! Meaning, that if it’s possible – you should apply your bleeds during Tigers Fury – allowing you to create more preasure afterwarts. Don’t use Tiger’s Fury for the extra damage though! It’s an energy generator, so use it on 25 or less energy. And, do not use it at all if you think it will be good to have 10 seconds later.
Another important talent is Stampede, giving you a free Ravage after you charge an enemy. There are several uses for this. If you charge someone before you open or when they’re running away, you can use it there for extra combo points. Make sure to use something else first though. If you’re on 100 energy and you use it, you’re wasting the energy that could have been regenerated if you used another global first. I generally hit Rrake first, then Mangle and Ravage after that. You can’t use it much later, because Ravage also gets 50% increased crit chance against players above 80% hp.
Next to all this it is VERY important to not just mindlessly spam abilities. It’s a good idea to keep your energy high for when you can create preasure. And even if you are creating preasure, make sure to save energy so you’re able to kick at all times.
Next to saving energy for kick, there’s another thing you should do if you’re getting used to feral PvP. Our Kick has 13 yard range, and combined with our 145% movement speed, it’s a really good kick. Always keep an eye on the opponents healer position, so you can kick his heals – even if you’re not hitting him but his partner! You should always try to keep the enemies healer partners close to him, so you can kick the heals. If you know you won’t need your kick, you can also use it as a small gap closer.
One of the most important parts of playing aggressive, is your CC. Being a feral druid, your damage has a small ramp up time. The damage starts to come when your bleeds are up. That’s why, generally, you wait with CC’ing their healer until their partner is bleeding. If you CC him before that, you wont do as much damage and the healer will be on DR, making you cause a lot less preasure. If you throw a Cyclone after you get Rip/Rake up, those bleeds are ticking already while you’re cycloning and you regenerate energy even though you’re not in catform. Causing you to hardly loose any damage, exept 3 autoattacks.
And as last point for aggressive play, Savage Roar. Savage Roar gives quite a bit of extra damage, but not enough for you to have in a standard opener anymore. However, if you have spare combo points on a target you’re not hitting anymore – use them for savage roar. If you got combo points on a target and you’re trying to restealth, use Savage Roar just before you restealth. This way you’ll get a fair bit of extra preasure out.
There are 2 categories of defensive play. The first one involves keeping yourself alive, the second one is keeping your partners alive.
As a feral you’ve got a lot of ways to peel for your partners. Your options are:
- Entangling Roots
- Mangle slow
- Feral Charge immobilize
- Cat or bear stun
You can’t use everything in the same situation though. If you’re partner is running away from a melee class, or trying to LoS a caster following him – root or charge is your best bet. But when your partner is stunned by a melee that is already hitting him, rooting won’t do a damn thing! Cyclone is by far the safest peel you can use. Always be prepared for an opponent trinketting though. It’s often a good idea to cast a second cyclone immediately after your first one if your partner is in a lot of trouble. 4/5 times they’ll trinket and get right into another cyclone. After that you got some times to run up there, and use Bash. This should give your partner plenty of time to get away, especially if you give them a quick movement speed increase with stampeding roar.
And, I wasn’t joking about taunt. You can Taunt or Challenging Roar most pets, which will then attack you for the duration. It used to be like that at least, this might have been patched. Will try to find out about that as fast as I can!
Now that your partners are still alive, it’s time to look after yourself. Most of the peels described above will also work to peel of yourself. But, because you’re a feral – it gets a bit easier. The best thing to do to keep yourself alive, is to be close to a pillar at all times. This way you’ll only need a small window to pop behind a pillar on your own, and throw some quick heals to get decent HP again. If you’re far away from a pillar, a nice trick is to charge a hostile player, totem or pet that might be near a pillar, and run around the corner there. Make sure you keep your healer up to date about what’s going on if you’re doing this though!
If you can’t get away, and your healer is CCd it’s often smart to go bear form – especially against melee. You’ll take a bit les damage from your talents and higher armor, and you can use an extra defensive cooldown: FR is best used under 30% hp, because it restores hp up to 30% hp instantly. Keep in mind that trying to save it very long can kill you as well though. If your healer is free to cast, it’s usually better to stay in catform. You’ll take 20% extra healing in catform, and you also get combopoints to use on instant casts. When im getting close to dying, I often just Savage Roar on low combopoints hoping to get a lifesaving instant proc.
I’m using a couple of macros which I find useful myself, mostly are focus target macros. If you use other macros just leave them in a post and I’ll add them.
Uses the right kick for the form you’re in:
#show Skull Bash(Cat Form) /cast [stance:1] Skull Bash(Bear Form); [stance:1] Skull Bash(Bear Form); /cast [stance:3] Skull Bash(Cat Form); [stance:3] Skull Bash(Cat Form);
One click snarebreaker
#showtooltip #show /cast [stance:1] !Dire Bear Form; [stance:4] !Travel form; [stance:3] !Cat Form; [stance:5]
This will shapeshift you out and back in the form you where already in without delay, breaking snares.
#showtooltip /cast [target=focus] [stance:1] Feral Charge - Bear;[stance:3] Feral Charge – Cat
#showtooltip /cast [target=focus] [stance:1] Feral Charge - Bear;[stance:3] Feral Charge – Cat
- /cast [target=focus] Cyclone
- /cast [target=focus] Entangling Roots
- /cast [target=focus] Hibernate (really helpful against resto druids)
- /cast [target=focus] Faerie Fire (Feral) – nice against warlocks to prevent Dispels from his Felhunter on, for example, Fear or Sheep
- /cast [target=name] Remove Curse – change “name” with whoever you want to be able to dispel fast
- /cast [target=name] Innervate – Because hitting the wrong target and innervating myself is just so stupid…
#showtooltip /cast [target=focus] [stance:1] Feral Charge - Bear;[stance:3] Feral Charge – Cat #show Skull Bash(Cat Form) /cast [stance:1, target=focus] Skull Bash(Bear Form); [stance:1] Skull Bash(Bear Form); /cast [stance:3, target=focus] Skull Bash(Cat Form); [stance:3] Skull Bash(Cat Form);
Just writing random general stuff here that didn’t seem right or important enough to write somewhere else.
- Feral charge cat is an insanely fun spell. You can use it to jump up ledges if an enemy is there, and even better is that you can jump down, and charge back up while your enemy is following you. If you do this right, you’ll be on top again and he’ll be below you.
- Practice makes perfect. Hopefully this guide helped a bit as well, but in the end it’s just a wall of text. In game practice is what teaches you the most.
- Don’t forget about your racials. Unless you’re a Worgen that is, your racial is so useless you might as well forget about it!
- Duels – will add some dueling tactics after I’ve dueled more!
- Comp specific tactics I hope some other druids can add, because I myself can only play one comp on my feral due to being on a shitty realm.
If you spot anything that’s wrong, or you think should be added, please say so!