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
A: That's because
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:
Q: What rotation do I use for max DPS?
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.
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: Ooookay...so 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
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 bonus...you'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.
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.
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
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)