- Author: Oxykitten
- Date: July 29, 2023
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
As covered in the overview, one of Feral DPS’s greatest weaknesses is their complicated rotation. While this makes for fun and engaging gameplay, it does mean that most ferals will perform less well than other classes. Feral DPS can be competitive when played correctly, so it is important to know and correctly execute the appropriate rotation for both single-target and multi-target DPS, which this page will focus on.
Keep in mind that “rotation” is an out-dated concept as most classes (Ferals in particular) are dynamic, meaning that the abilities you use depend on a number of factors like energy levels or combo point generation. Because of this, the best ability to use at any given moment cannot be pre-determined, and I cannot give a cyclical rotation to describe optimal gameplay. Instead, the use of priority lists is more effective, whereby you follow the first ability which fits your current scenario.
The optimal rotations described in this guide were discovered and developed through the use of simulation tools and hard work from Nerdegghead and others on the Druid Classic Discord.
Single Target Rotation
- <40 energy = Tiger’s Fury
- Tiger’s Fury on ≥15s cooldown = Berserk
- ≥1 combo point + Savage Roar not active = Savage Roar
- Clearcasting up = Shred
- <80 energy + Berserk not active: Faeriefireferal
- 5 combo points + Rip not active on target = Rip
- Rake not active on target = Rake
- Mangle not active on target = Mangle
- ≥40 energy = Shred or pool energy for any of the above steps (i.e. if a buff/debuff is about to fall off)
The above list functions as a priority order for which abilities you should use at any given moment. You do not start a fight with Tiger’s Fury, but if at any point in an encounter you have less than 40 energy and Tiger’s Fury is off cooldown, that is your best action in that moment. While this list may seem complicated to those of us who are not simulation tools able to run a 9-item priority order in milliseconds to dictate our actions, the underlying concepts are relatively straightforward:
- Maintain important buffs and debuffs: Savage Roar can be applied with 1 combo point; Rip should always be applied with 5 combo points; Rake does not require combo points but is a less powerful debuff; Mangle is less urgent still, and is also applied by Arms Warriors in the form of Trauma if (for whatever reason) you have one in your raid. Note that bleeds should always be allowed to expire before being reapplied, as refreshing your bleeds forfeits the remaining damage ticks which results in a significant DPS loss.
- Build combo points when buffs/debuffs are active, or in order to activate them. When Rake is already on the target, use Shred instead. Note that you should not waste energy on shred if you need that energy for a more important action, i.e. if a buff/debuff is about to expire and can be refreshed with that energy.
- Use your cooldowns appropriately: Tiger’s Fury when low on energy, and Berserk when high on energy and Tiger’s Fury is on cooldown. Note that these conditions are always met immediately after using Tiger’s Fury, so using Berserk after Tiger’s Fury is an easy way to organise one’s cooldowns.
- Use Faeriefireferal on cooldown to get more clearcasting procs.
Area of Effect Rotation
- Use a Sapper if you have engineering
- <40 energy + Tiger’s Fury off cooldown = Tiger’s Fury
- Berserk off cooldown + Tiger’s Fury on ≥15s cooldown = Berserk
- ≥1 combo point + Savage Roar not active = Savage Roar
- Clearcasting not active, faeriefireferal off cooldown = Faeriefireferal
- 0 combo points + encounter will last longer than 5 Swipe casts = Rake
- ≥40 energy OR Clearcasting active = Swipe / pool energy
On AoE packs (3 or more targets), the Feral rotation is far simpler; cooldowns remain the same, and you effectively just spam Swipe. However, Swipe does not generate any combo points, so if the encounter lasts long enough, using Rake to generate a combo point with which you can cast Savage Roar (to boost your subsequent swipe damage) will increase your overall DPS.
Overview of Abilities
- Rake generates 1 combo point and places a bleed effect on the target that deals damage over time. Over the duration of its effect, it deals more damage than Shred and therefore Rake is your preferred combo point builder. However, it should only be used when rake is not already active on your target, as refreshing the debuff will forfeit the remaining bleed ticks and lead to a DPS loss.
- Mangle (Cat) enhances all the bleed effects on the target by 30% and does direct damage. If you do not have another Feral or an Arms Warrior in your raid to apply Trauma, you should keep Mangle up on your target.
- Shred deals instant damage and generates 1 combo point. It can only be used from behind your target. Additionally, when paired with GlyphofShred it will extend the duration of Rip on your target. Although Shred is your lowest priority ability, it will be your bread and butter combo point builder once your relevant buffs and debuffs are all active.
- Rip is a finishing move that should only be used with 5 combo points on your target. It is a powerful ability and should be prioritised in your rotation. However, note that you should always let the Rip debuff expire before reapplying it, as refreshing the debuff will forfeit any remaining bleed ticks and lead to a DPS loss.
- Ferocious Bite is a finishing move that requires combo points in order to be activated. This ability deals significantly less damage than Rip, so should only be used if all buffs and debuffs are active and you are guaranteed to replenish your combo points after using Ferocious Bite and before any of them expire. This is unlikely to ever be relevant in early phases. In later phases, a high critical strike chance from improved gear gives you better chances of regenerating combo point and could make Ferocious Bite part of the rotation; that remains to be seen.
- Savage Roar is a finishing move that requires combo points in order to be activated – it enhances your overall damage by 30%. Savage Roar will provide the same percentage no matter how many combo points you use. If it is not active, you should activate it with even just 1 combo point, as it will boost your damage and can be later refreshed. Unlike your bleeds, refreshing Savage Roar before it expires does not really have any negative repercussions (aside from the fact that you will need to refresh it sooner). This means that, if your Savage Roar and Rip are likely to expire at the same time, you should refresh Savage Roar early and then build enough combo points to reapply Rip as soon as it expires.
- Berserk is a powerful cooldown that empowers you for 15 seconds, reducing the cost of your abilities by 50%. You should use this energy while at high energy to get the most out of the cooldown. Note that you cannot use Tiger’s Fury while Berserk is active, so you should try to use Berserk when Tiger’s Fury has more than 15 seconds left of its cooldown remaining; this way, you will not delay the use of Tiger’s Fury. As Berserk should be used at high energy and while Tiger’s Fury is on cooldown, it is a good idea to use berserk immediately after using Tiger’s Fury, since your energy will have just been replenished and Tiger’s Fury will be on cooldown. In addition, you should try to align Berserk with other effects that increase your damage, like Savage Roarr, trinket cooldowns, and Unholy Frenzy.
- Tiger’s Fury is an ability that increases your damage by 80 for a short duration. More importantly, when talented into King of the Jungle, Tiger’s Fury replenishes your energy and becomes a core part of the Feral DPS rotation. It should be used whenever you have less than 40 energy and it is off cooldown in order to maximise its benefit.
- Faeriefireferal is a ranged spell, usable in form, which reduces your target’s armor. More importantly from a rotation point of view, when paired with the new Glyph of Omen of Clarity, this spell triggers a Clearcasting state which makes your next offensive ability cost no energy.
- Feral Charge – Cat allows you to quickly reposition yourself behind the target and is especially useful when having to deal with a mechanic that forces you far away from your target.
- Swipe (Cat) is your only Area of Effect ability in Cat Form. This ability can damage all the targets that you are currently facing.