- Author: Oxykitten
- Date: December 4, 2021
- Expansion: WoW Classic
Welcome to the home page of our Feral Druid DPS guide for WoW Classic: Season of Mastery! This guide aims to explore every facet of Feral DPS gameplay in detail, with separate guides for each topic. All of these guides are accessible through the navigation above, and together will help anyone play Feral druids to their fullest potential! In all of my guides, “Feral DPS” and “Cat” will be used interchangeably.
This page includes:
- Role and viability of Feral DPS
- Brief rotation and gameplay overview
- Profession choices
Role of a Feral DPS in Season of Mastery
Druids are often referred to as the ‘Jack of all trades’ of Classic WoW. Druids can heal, tank, and DPS. However, relative to other classes they do not excel at any one role, and thus they are also known as ‘master of none.’ This applies to Feral DPS as well; although cats performed a lot better than expected in Classic, they have several key weaknesses that I will go more into later on. Still, Feral DPS is a viable class to play in and out of raids, though it is weaker than several other classes. Additionally, Feral DPS and Feral tanks utilise the same talents; being a hybrid tank/DPS player allows Ferals to make up for their weaker DPS contribution with the utility of tanking as and when needed.
Pros and Cons of Feral DPS
Pros of Feral DPS
- Fun and engaging to play:
Feral DPS has one of the most complicated and fast-paced rotations in Classic. This makes them tricky to learn, but a lot of fun to master. In a game where many classes have one-button rotations, the engaging playstyle of a Feral DPS is truly unique.
- Respectable single-target DPS:
When played correctly, Ferals are capable of doing solid damage on a single target. In the early phases of WoW Classic, Ferals were the third best single-target DPS class, behind Warriors and Rogues. However, several changes in SoM benefit other classes and will make Feral relatively weak.
- Hybrid tank/dps specialisation:
Since Feral Combat is a single talent tree, a Druid can easily pick up all the most relevant tanking and DPS talents, allowing them to tank and DPS at virtually full potential in both roles. This means that on encounters requiring multiple tanks, a Feral DPS can go into Bear Form and tank any mob or boss without issue. Furthermore, a Feral can even gear in a way that allows them to do both roles in a single encounter; for example, they can tank an add, then go back to Cat Form and continue DPSing once it dies.
Cons of Feral DPS
- Low overall DPS:
Although Ferals can deal decent single-target DPS, they have two key weaknesses that make other classes pull ahead. Firstly, Ferals have no multi-target abilities. For example, Warriors have Cleave, and Rogues have Blade Flurry. This allows them to do dramatically more damage than Ferals on any encounter that has multiple targets. In Season of Mastery, many previously single-target bosses now have adds, meaning that the majority of trash and boss encounters are multi-target and therefore make Feral considerably worse than they were in Classic. Additionally, Ferals have an extremely mana-intensive rotation. In SoM, bosses have far more health than they did in Classic, meaning longer fights where Ferals are unlikely to have enough mana to sustain their DPS. This is far worse for Horde Ferals, as they do not have access to Judgement of Wisdom, but it remains an issue for both factions.
- A lot of effort to be competitive:
To reach their maximum DPS potential, Feral DPS players need to use Manual Crowd Pummeler. This weapon, when activated, increases a cat’s damage by about 10%. However, it only has 3 charges, with each use lasting 30 seconds, and it drops off of a level 30 boss in Gnomeregan with an estimated 33% drop chance. This means that for every 90 seconds, a Feral needs to use up a Pummeler.
In practice, druids will often farm 15 or more of these every week to use in raids, which on average takes 45 Gnomeregan runs. This translates to a little over 2 hours in Gnomeregan, but since we can only enter 5 instances per hour, this is spread out over 9 hours a week. You can see below what a typical Feral’s bank looks like! Luckily, while 10% damage is very strong, this is not completely game changing for DPS, unlike its effect on Feral tanks; it is not uncommon for cats not to use Pummelers unless really pushing for maximum damage.
On top of Pummeler farming, since Ferals have such a mana intensive rotation, they use Dark Runes or Demonic Runes (and Major Mana Potions) on cooldown. Farming enough of these for one raid can take up even more time than farming Pummelers!
Feral DPS Rotation and Gameplay
The Feral DPS rotation is complex, and therefore I have written a full, separate guide going into great detail on it: click here for the full thing. To summarise it, the Feral DPS rotation involves using Shred or a finishing move (Rip or Ferocious Bite) to use all your energy, and then powershifting (instantly exiting and re-entering Cat Form to generate 60 Energy with Wolfshead Helm and Furor) for more energy to continue casting. The rotation can be executed following this priority order:
- ≥30 energy, 5 combo points, Rip debuff is not on the target: Rip*
- 35-62 energy, ≥4 combo points:Ferocious Bite
- ≥48 energy: Shred
- 40-47 energy, >1 second away from energy tick: Claw**
- ≤20 energy away from next ability and ≤1 second away from tick: Wait for energy
- ≤20 energy away from next ability and >1 second away from tick: Powershift
- >20 energy away from next ability: Powershift
*This step is optional; using only Ferocious Bite instead of Rip is approximately equal DPS to using both.
**This step is niche and optional; using claw at the right time is a small DPS gain, but difficult to execute and is not needed often. Using claw at the wrong time, however, is a significant DPS loss.
However, it’s not really possible to understand and properly execute the rotation with just this information. It takes a sense of the rhythm behind it, and a lot of practice. I recommend reading my full guide, and then going out there and getting used to it.
Aside from the complex and engaging DPS rotation, Feral gameplay depends on your role within a raid. Many Feral DPS players will think of themselves purely as a DPS, rather than a tank, but in truth, Feral is a single, hybrid role that includes both tanking and DPSing. Not taking advantage of your toolkit and versatility is an unfortunate mistake that is far too common. In fact, the only reason I separate these guides into tank and DPS is because they’d be far too long otherwise! If you plan to play a Feral Druid well, you should be looking for a spot in a raid where you will make use of your versatility to DPS or tank as needed on each encounter, and make sure to read up on how to play a Feral tank.
In terms of maximising your character’s performance, there are very few professions that provide any value. Do note that it is not mandatory to go for these professions (depending on the expectations of your guild).
- Engineering: Engineering is by far the most impactful profession for Ferals, or indeed for any class in the game. The use of Goblin Sapper Charges allows for a source of AoE DPS on multi-target scenarios, a particularly weak point for Druids. When used by most or all players in a raid, they also allow for a massive burst of AoE damage which can help on a lot of encounters. Additionally, Gnomish Engineering allows you to craft and use Gnomish Battle Chicken, which when used correctly gives you and your party 5% melee haste for 5 minutes; this is the best trinket in the game. Finally, engineering unlocks a number of trinkets and other useful tools that make it exceptionally strong in PvP, as well as a lot of fun to play around with.
- Blacksmithing: The only other profession that gives long-term value. Blacksmithing allows you to craft and use Glimmering Mithril Insignia, which makes you immune to fear effects for 30 seconds. Because Druids have no innate ability to break fears, this trinket can be very impactful for any fight with fears, such as Onyxia, Magmadar, Nefarian, or Gluth. Blacksmithing also allows you to craft and apply your own Iron Counterweights, which can be quite convenient when applying them to many Pummelers. This can be done in a trade window with another blacksmith, but must be done one at a time and can be quite time-consuming.
- Enchanting: Enchanting allows you to craft Smoking Heart of the Mountain, which is a Best in Slot trinket for Feral tanks in Phase 1. However, you do not need to keep enchanting in order to equip the trinket, meaning you can level it to 265/300, craft it, and then drop it for another profession.
Overall the best professions for a Feral tank to keep are Engineering and Blacksmithing. Engineering is very impactful; Blacksmithing is much less so, but is the only other profession that provides any value to your character. Therefore, I recommend engineering as a must-have profession, with the other profession slot being personal preference.
I hope this guide has shown you that, despite the stigma around Ferals, they are indeed a viable class — especially if making good use of their tank/DPS versatility. It cannot be denied that many other classes contribute more to a raid group than Ferals do. However, if you are willing to put in the effort (through consumables and gear planning), performing well as a Feral in Classic is a rewarding and fun experience.
Thank you for taking the time to read our Feral DPS guide for Season of Mastery. I hope it was helpful, and if you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment below, or find me as Oxy on the Druid Classic discord.
A lot of stuff in this is just flat out wrong
What math are you using to where you can measure the dps increase from pummler and it only being 10%. RNG is something you cannot measure and the biggest dps increase from pummler comes from the extra clearcasting procs that you would receive.
You do not use claw period the damage is just inferior to shred in every which way. As such you only powershift if you have <22 energy because you would then be able to shred on your next energy tick. Ferocious Bite also scales far better from your gear than rip does
Hi, thanks for the comment!
While 10% is a rough estimate, the maths behind it are using the simulation tool available on the druid discord. This can and does measure RNG by simulating an encounter thousands of times and measuring the average DPS difference when changing stats. This tool models the DPS rotation and takes into account crits, misses, dodges, even OoC proc rates with different equipped weapon speeds. The exact DPS increase will depend on your other buffs and gear, which is why I give a rough estimate. If you want to find out exactly how much of a DPS increase using a pummeler is for your character, your most accurate answer will always be from running the simulations yourself.
You’re right: there is no comparison between claw and shred, and shred is better in every way. However, the decision to use claw when between 40-47 energy and over 1 second away from energy tick is not “do I use claw or do I use shred,” it’s “do I use claw or do I do nothing for over 1 second.” While claw is very weak, it is indeed better than nothing, and being over 1 second away from the energy tick means you can claw and then still cast another ability (powershift, generally) before the next energy tick (as a consequence of the global cooldown in cat form being 1 second long). As I mention in the guide, I wouldn’t worry too much about this as it is complicated, and doesn’t increase your DPS by very much, but there definitely is a use for it. You can also powershift more aggressively than you suggest, as if you are more than one second away from your energy tick you lose very little by powershifting and then casting shred, whereas waiting for a tick that will take a long time to come is generally a DPS loss. In fact, most of the decision tree does not make too much difference to your overall DPS, what is most important is that you cast an ability as often as you can.
As for Ferocious Bite vs Rip, they are similar in damage output in Phases 1 and 2. Rip is not affected by critical strike chance or boss armour, so Ferocious Bite gets better as you get more crit later in the game. You can definitely ignore rip altogether and do just fine, especially if you spec into Feral Aggression, but for the moment Bite is not always strictly better than Rip. Again here, using the simulation tool to figure out which finisher is best for your character will be the best answer.