Wednesday, October 29, 2008

[Druid] Cat FAQ for 3.0.2/WotLK

On to the second part of the WotLK prep - the Cat FAQ!


Q: What's the point & purpose of this FAQ?
A: Lots of answers on Cat DPS! Specifically cats DPSing in raids.

Q: You're still wrong! My research is 110% better and healthier for the environment!
A: Oh yeah? Well ppoffffbbbtt on you. Or, ya know, point it out and I'll try and get it into the FAQ.

Q: But what about 5-mans? Or PvP?
A: I don't care so much. Take the info in here with some grains of salt in case you care.

Q: You still smell, and I hate you even more now that you've forsaken your bear roots and gone to the darkside of dps!
A: Yeah, I wonder about that too. At least I didn't go resto...

Q: You don't talk about {my favorite small detail}!
A: That's because
{your favorite small detail} killed my mom. Well, okay. It's because this is something to give short, easy answers without the huge math, debate and whatnot behind it. If you're looking for specific answers on exactly what enchants to get, what gems to get, where to quest for precisely the right gear - that'll come in later posts.

Q: You're just repeating stuff on EJ, Rawr, and Toskk's forums!
A: Largely yes. That's kind of the point - I do the reading so you don't have to.

Rotation changes & ability usage:

face roll mangle for profit
Q: What rotation do I use for max DPS?
A: @70:
Keep mangle up
Keep rake up
Shred to 5 cp
Use RIP if RIP is not up and you have the glyph (otherwise FB if you have less than 35 energy)
Use FB if you have more than 2 seconds left on RIP and less than 40 energy.
A: @80:
This really depends on your spec and what gear you have available to you. You can check out the really complicated version here. I'm assuming a cat-focused spec without 2pT6 and with the appropriate glyphs - in which case it is either 5SR/5Rip/5FB or 5SR/5Rip, where '5' is 'get to 5 CP'. This is dependent on a lot of things and isn't always set in stone, and there are a lot of factors (berserk, tiger's fury, OoC procs) that change this.

Q: I'm lazy. Is there a 'good but not perfect' rotation?
A: 2SR/5Rip is pretty good.

Q: What's this SR thing?
A: Savage Roar is a new finishing move that you get at level 75 that grants you 40% more AP for a duration based on how many combo points you get. Savage Roar is AWESOME. Savage Roar should be up at all times for best sustained DPS.

Q: Ferocious bite? But you're only supposed to use that on trash!
A: It's really good now, especially with feral aggression and rend & tear.

Q: So is it still 'keep the mangle up, shredspam' to get combo points?'
A: Nope! It's now a really complicated rotation. First off, use rake whenever you can.

Q: Rake? I don't even have that on my bars...
A: Yeah, but it got buffed - it's now the best CP generator for energy you have.

Q: after that it's mangle/shred?
A: Mangle is only required if you don't have a warrior applying trauma. So it looks like this:
if (rake is down) rake
else if (trauma is not present and mangle is down) mangle
else shred

Q: When do I use Berserk?
A: Ideally right after Tiger's Fury and after you've done a ferocious bite, and while savage roar is running. The best use is to get 10 shreds in that 15 seconds if possible.

Q: Wait, Tiger's Fury? But that talent sucks - it's not on my bar either!
A: Tiger's Fury doesn't use energy any more, so it's good. Plus it gives energy back with King of the Jungle, so it becomes a must have; it should be used whenever you can use it and wouldn't waste the energy.

Q: Why not use Tiger's Fury during Berserk?
A: Because you can't - it's greyed out when berserk is active.

Q: Okay, so we've got FB, Tiger's Fury, Berserk, Savage Roar, Rake...any other surprises for cats?
A: Not in the rotation, no.

Q: What rotation do I use to kill things leveling up?
A: Things die fast to cat. You can either go with mangle/rake/mangle to 4/5CP then ferocious bite (don't bother with rip unless the thing takes a while to kill) or go pounce-shred-mangle-bite. The first is easier and mindless, the second takes a bit longer sometimes. Definitely use the rake, as the bleed will give you a 50% extra crit chance on your bite.

Or you can just go bear and swipe everything down, which is probably better when facing lots of melee mobs. Between swipe, glyph of maul, and berserk's hitting three things with mangle you can mow down lots of mobs very quickly.

Q: How the heck do I keep track of all these cooldowns and debuffs?
A: Use something like Power Auras or TellMeWhen

Q: My macro for drinking pots in forms doesn't work any more - how do I fix it?
A: Druids can use potions and other consumables in forms now, so there's no need for a shift to caster to drink then shift back macro. And there's really no reason to use that now for cats.

Q: My powershifting macro is broken!
A: Another not a question, but powershifting is nerfed TO THE GROUND. It doesn't work at all. Don't use it, you'll just waste a GCD and mana.


Q: What's the best stat to stack for max DPS?
A: Hit/expertise are equally valuable and best for a cat until you reach the cap. Then strength and agility, then AP/crit. Haste and armor pen are still fairly low by comparison. If you're gemming, gem for hit/expertise until the cap, then strength.

Q: What's the hit cap for cats?
A: 9%, as it was before. Which is 296 hit rating @80 or 142 @70.

Q: What's the expertise cap for cats?
A: 26 expertise skill (-6.5% dodge rating) or 214 rating (without primal precision), 148 with it @80. At 70 it's 64 rating with primal precision or 104 without.

Q: So we've been turned into rogues?
A: Kinda. They still need a TON more hit than we do, but hit is a lot more valuable than it used to be thanks to how complicated the cycles are.

Q: What about mongoose/executioner?
A: Mongoose isn't all that special for a cat thanks to the cat's fast attack speed and the lack of a dual-handed mechanic. It's probably not worth the effort. Executioner has become pretty weak, and with the amount of bleed damage that cats do it's not that good anyway.

Q: Okay...what about other weapon enchants?
A: The jury's still out on Berserking; it should add about 150 AP over time, but it's not clear what the uptime will be. Massacre or Accuracy are both other good options.

Q: What if there's a choice between enchants? How do I choose?
A: It really depends on what your gear is, but in general: Expertise and Hit are worth 1.3 Agility points, strength is 1.05 AEP, crit is worth .85 AP .425ish (though you tend to get double the value out of it), and haste/arpen are worth .7. Use Rawr!

Q: Other enchants in general?
A: As with gear, go with hit/expertise until the cap, then strength, agility, then crit/AP.

Q: What about the 2pT4 bonus?
A: @70: as good as ever.
A: @80: literally useless (it has a 0% proc rate at lvl 80).

Q: You said something about the 2pT6're not talking about mangle, are you?
A: I am! With 2pT6, improved mangle and ferocity you can get 29 energy mangles - and with the buff to mangle's damage this makes mangle the best damage per energy you can get, and greatly increases how fast you can generate CPs. With this you can do things like skip shredding attacks and just manglespam for best damage, only shredding when you get an OoC proc. If you do this, get the T6 bracers and belt; they won't get improved that much through Naxx. Though I expect that this won't be that big a buff for long.

Q: What idol should I use?
A: If there are 10 or more people in your raid that will benefit from it, the Idol of the Raven Goddess is still the best, but just barely. Otherwise go for something that boosts shred or rip.


Q: I can't take all the talents I want!
A: Yeah, they made it so that you can't take all bear and cat talents. If you want to do the best dps you can as a cat, you'll have to make some sacrifices.

Q: You don't have a core cat spec! Damnit, what do I need to take?
A: 0/44/11. There are two filler points in Feral Aggression that can be moved, along with random things like Survival Instincts, but that's basically what you must have.

Q: What can I skip?
A: If you really aren't ever going to bear, you can skip Thick Hide, Natural Reaction and Protector of the Pack.

Q: What about Feral Aggression? Does it still suck?
A: At level 70: Yes, it still sucks.
A: At level 80: it depends on your rotation, but for maximum DPS it is okay but a bit marginal. Really depends on how often you use FB.

Q: What about natural shapeshifter/master shapeshifter?
A: It's not bad, but it's not as good as rend & tear. It still is worth picking up if you have the points, but losing it for more hybrid stuff isn't the end of the world.

Q: Furor?
A: Not that good at all any more. Don't spend more than 4 points in it regardless; because of the GCD the 5th point in furor is worth a total of 5 energy. Better to put a point anywhere else.

Q: Rend & Tear?
A: USE COMPLETE SENTENCES, ALREADY! Rend & Tear is very strong, and would be the first points I'd recommend spending for a serious cat build.

Q: Damnit, just tell me the spec you'd use!
A: Fine. @70: 0/50/11
The points in Infected Wounds are there just for utility's sake; they could easily go into brutal impact + imp mangle. Though keep in mind you need at least two points in something below mangle.
A: @80: 0/55/16

Q: What should I go with for leveling in WotLK?
A: Go with the above 50/11 build or something like it, and put more points into imp mangle, berserk and other goodies.

Other choices:

Q: What Inscriptions?
A: @70: Rip and...uh...there really isn't anything else worth anything. Entangling roots might be okay, as is shred, but neither is good for raiding.
A: @80: Rip, Mangle, and whatever else you'd like.

Q: What professions?
A: See this post - the best are leatherworking, then enchanting/inscription/jewelcrafting, depending on your needs and wants. Note that leatherworking isn't nearly as awesome for cats as it is for bears.

Q: If I'm taking all these cat talents, how do I tank as a bear?
A: Without protector of the pack, thick hide and natural reaction you'll dodge less and take more damage. But your threat should be otherwise fine (better, in fact) and you'll still have most of your ohshit buttons depending on your points spent. You should be fine for offtanking most things. Just make sure to focus on mitigation over threat.

Q: All that math and rude answers got me hot and bothered. And as usual you finished too soon. Where can I find the places that you stole this from you ripped this off from?
A: EJ forums on WotLK Feral druids - the big one.
Combat Ratings at 80, which talks about hit/expertise rating
Beta forums, which kind of suck right now
MMO Champion, which has the latest updates on specs and talents
WotLK wiki, where I got most of the info for professions, enchants, gems, and talent changes
Rawr, the best damn optimizer on the planet.
Unbearably HoT on Demo shouts and on gear at 80
Of Teeth and Claws on Glyphs and cat cycles.
Toskk on DPS as a kitty (and the Druid wiki in general)


doug said...

I'm using RAWR 2.0.3 and I don't think it is using the same emphasis on stats as what was stated in the faq. It looks like it is still focused on agi as a primary stat. Also, I couldn't find where the stat values could be entered. Are you sure you weren't thinking of Toskk's when you mentioned that?

Kalon said...

Hey, Doug -

I tried to future proof this a bit. Rawr.Cat isn't done yet, and it's working off of the old values and old cycles - and there agility reigns supreme. Toskk has made a good argument for Strength over agi, and nightcrowler has made an even better one for hit/expertise over everything else.

If Rawr changes its mind I will too. :)

Phaelia said...


Sorry to contact you this way, but I can't seem to find an e-mail address for you. If you have a moment, please shoot me an e-mail to!

Anonymous said...

Could you talk a little about solo dps cycles? How do the cycles change w/o being able to shred all the time? Do I just substitute mangle in place of shred? Is the new feral charge for cat worth using to get a shred in or is it too cumbersome / energy inefficient?

Are the 2 points in brutal impact for longer pounce stuns and 2 points for shredding attacks still worth it in 3.02? (to get a mangle & shred in) or with improved mangle, does mangle spam work almost as well?

Thanks for the great bear & cat guides!

59 Druid

Copey said...

I was also wondering about solo cat play. I didn't level up as a feral, so I've never really been way concerned about it. But since I'll be leveling up in two weeks again, I'm curious as to the best DPS cycle to kill things fast.

Kalon said...

Anon, Copey - good idea. I'll put in a couple points in there as well. There's two schools of thought - one is just 'mangle to 4-5CP and FB', one is 'charge-pounce-shred-mangle until dead'. I prefer the former as it's faster and you don't really have any down time.

I'm also finding that specced DPS and against melee mobs it's a lot better to just grind 'em all using bear and swipe/maul your way to death. Faster and even less downtime.

Nathanyel said...

> Things die fast to cat. You can either go with pure mangle to 4/5CP then ferocious bite (don't bother with bleeds unless the thing takes a while to kill)

Actually, a good and fast farming rotation (tested on the scourge invasion mobs) is pull with FFF (stealth/ravage/pounce only when you really want to surprise the mob or if it's a caster), Mangle, Rake, maybe another Mangle if you don't have 3 or 4 CPs yet, then Bite. Cause, you know, RnT will grant that Bite +50% crit chance, so we're talking total crit chances above 90% here.

Kalon said...

Ooh, good point Nathanyel. Putting up that first rake if you've got RnT is almost required, and while ripping at 4/5CP is probably not good, raking at 1/2CP will get you most of the rake time + the 50% crit chance.

I'll add that to the FAQ. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

If Strength is a better stat now in 3.02 then what about Potency vs. Greater Agility?

Kalon said...

Hey, Anon -

While strength is better than Agility, it's not that much better than agility - it's about 1.05 points of agility for every point of strength. Because Potency is made for one-hand weapons it simply isn't as good as 35 agility.

Anonymous said...

While I can see at level 80 that hit/expertise will be things i'll be going for, after that I was trying to focus more on Crit/Haste since you'll get the strength and agility from gear and enchants, Should I go for haste rather than armor penetration? I heard OoC scales with haste now?

Kalon said...

Haste is better than armor penetration in general due to the bleeds doing a fair amount of damage in the cat cycle. OoC scales a bit better with haste now; it only procs on white attacks but has a higher proc rate, so it should proc more with more white attacks. In practice though, it's not that valuable relative to the other stats simply because so much of the cat's damage is based on yellow attacks.

Honestly, as long as you can choose strength or agility I would choose strength or agility. There's no real point where they become worse than haste or crit, and there's no reason to balance your stats one way or another instead of max out one value.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way I can contact you? There's a specific post i'd like to show you and i'm not sure if it would be welcome here :)

Kalon said...

Anon, my contact info is on my front page, or you're welcome to post it here. Unless the content is related to gold selling or something similar I won't delete it.

Savi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Savi said...

confirmed by Jimmythenumbers in the next post:

With no cooldown and a 3.5 procs per minute, what this really means is that your melee attacks have a 5.83% (3.5/60) chance of proccing omen of clarity. Capping hit and having expertise makes sure you don't fail to land attacks that might have been hits that proc omen of clarity, and haste means you land more attacks per minute.

PPM isn't a mechanic where its only possible to have it proc 3.5 times a minute, it means it'll do that on average.

If you get to 10% haste and land 66 attacks in a minute instead of 60, you now will have 3.85 procs per minute on average.

so hit/expertise and then haste for me... you can socket/enchant agility, strength or crit as you prefer, since when you haven't got enough energy to use abilities, critting with white attacks wouldn't be so bad.

Kalon said...

Hey, Savi - okay, I see what you're saying.

First off, haste is definitely good for getting more OoC procs, and more OoC procs are always good. OoC as a talent is about a 10-15% DPS upgrade by itself due to more yellow attacks landing and more CP generation.

But let's go with that a bit. If you get 10% haste, you'll get 10% more OoC procs on average. That means 10% haste is worth 10% more white damage (which is about 25-30% of your total damage) and 10% more OoC (which is worth another 15% DPS), so 10% haste is worth about 4% more DPS.

10% haste would be 329 haste rating. That same amount of itemization could be 329 strength or 329 agility, which would be equivalent to either 658 AP (before buffs) or 329 AP and 4% more crit. Both of those would be better for DPS than 10% haste would. Especially strength; with survival of the fittest, blessing of kings and savage roar that 329 strength would scale to 1074 AP.

The big problem with haste is simply that white attacks are not that big of a source of damage for cats. For rogues, haste is great. Now, haste has definitely gotten a boost thanks to OoC's new mechanics, but it still isn't as good as other stats to stack.

Savi said...

As I said i'm not going to socket or enchant for haste, as said it's more of a "nice to have" thing but not something i'm going to stack. And at the moment i'm finding very, very few leather pieces with strength on them, but my personal preference is agility anyway because i just love critting things in the face :P

Anonymous said...

I see that at 70 the 2pT4 bonus is good, but at 80 it is worthless. At what point between 70 and 80 does breaking it for a green/blue upgrade become worth it?


Kalon said...

Hey, Willowbear, thanks for coming by. :)

That's a tough question that's really going to be dictated more by your other gear than anything else, but basically think about it this way: 2pT4 is going to be roughly a 5-8% of your DPS at level 70. This will decrease linearly until you get to level 80. So at level 75, you're going to be looking at a 2-4% DPS boost.

If you can replace your pieces such that you get a 2-4% DPS boost, I'd do it then. Personally I ended up replacing it early not because of optimal DPS, but because I wanted to get used to the rotation and feel without the extra energy regeneration. Kind of weaning myself off, if you will. :) I would certainly start replacing it by level 77, as by then the bonus is going to be so inconsistent that it'll be meaningless.

Anonymous said...

I have to totally disagree with not taking Improved Leader of the Pack.

I used more or less what you have including leaving off the leader of ILotP for my soloing spec and I was wondering what the heck I was doing wrong because I had to heal all the time. I put it back in and I NEVER have to stop and heal. Really! It's that good! Without, it was like every third fight. I can slam through them quicker with it.

Other than that, it looks nice. Like I said, more or less what I use. Interesting blog and points made, thank you. I really like the parts you dug up about rotations, and I appreciate you doing so. I would have otherwise ignored FB which turns out to be really wonderful.

Kalon said...

Anon - thanks for coming by.

I agree - for soloing imp lotp is a godsend. Hugely useful. It's great in PvP, and it's even decent in 5-mans and okay, ish, in 10-mans. But as a raid buff it's really not necessary, and that's what this is aimed at. It does basically nothing in a raid for your dps - and imp mangle does more often than not.

Anonymous said...

Ah, terribly sorry for misunderstanding. I was looking for a solo/5-man spec and didn't realize this was intended for end game raiding. I kinda skimmed over a lotta stuff here. Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding.

I actually took the points out of infected wounds, which I find mostly useless for what I'm doing. I haven't had to chase anything down yet (because they die so fast with those 3k crit Bites), and I don't notice any changes with a slower weapon speed. I realize that would help in raid, though.

Thanks for the compilation, again.


Anonymous said...

I can definitely attest to the 2t4 issue.. I was still keeping up (and staying in the lead in fact) with my 5 man group all the way up to 79. As soon as I hit 80 (still wearing 2t4), I started getting creamed.

Now i know what the problem was, and now i know i need to toss the t4. thanks for the posts.

Palrac said...

Mongoose is an awesome enchant at 80 in raid, I can tell you because I've been shredding face with it for a while. Not only is the agi proc awesome for AP and crit, the haste can give from 1-2 extra OoC procs PER time that mongoose procs, which you should know is a fairly large dps increase in the long run.