Feral Druids and You: The Pros and Cons of the Spec.
We find our hero using his avatar of a character he never plays doing his best Link, a la Majora’s Mask, impression.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing the shit out of my alts, that have been untouched for some time since I’ve been raiding on my Warrior and Rogue. I’ve respecced and geared my Shaman Enhancement, as I’ve previously written about, and I’ve also specced and geared my Druid, Wtsheals, Feral DPS.
Feral DPS is, without a doubt, the hardest spec I’ve had to DPS as. It combines watching DoTs, buffs, and combo points into a spec that is capable of topping meters on any given fight, provided no gimmick is stacked against them and you are at a similar gear level as everyone else. For anyone looking for a huge challenge, try Feral.
Feral DPS revolves around very crucial buffs and debuffs applied by the Druid. All of them work together very nicely, and all must be present in order for the Druid to achieve his/her optimal DPS. These buffs/debuffs include Savage Roar, Mangle/Trauma, Faerie Fire, Rake, Rip, and various survival cooldowns (dead kitties do 0 DPS!). This is all on top of watching for void zones, novas, OOM players who want an Innvervate, ice blocks, Omen of Clarity procs, brez targets, and DPS cooldowns.
One might think that Feral players are simply not worth bringing to a raid; if there are so many variables, there is no way anyone can perform to their maximum, and would in fact be outperformed by most other DPS classes with much simpler rotations. And they would be half right; there is a near 100% chance that a debuff/buff will fall off and not be reapplied immediately (Savage Roar, Rip and Mangle are the main culprits). However, to say that all Feral players will be outperformed is silly; a competent Feral player can do some incredible DPS. In addition, Ferals also bring (Improved) Leader of the Pack, Faerie Fire, Improved Mark of the Wild, Mangle, and an off-off tank, should an attempt go awry at the last minute and its worth salvaging. And yes, Survival of the Fittest is a key Feral DPS talent.
However, the Feral spec has a variety of problems that I haven’t even outlined yet, such as high ramp-up time due to having to apply buffs/debuffs at the beginning of the fight before damage really starts rolling in, having to be behind the target in order to use our key combo point generating ability, a very high skill requirement, having to have a Traumabot/another kitty/a bear tank in the raid in order to drop Mangle from our rotation, which in turn saves energy for Shreds, and Rake being a huge pain in the ass right now. Thats not to say Feral DPS is low; it is, in fact, very high. It is just dependent on a few too many factors, and a great deal of skill.
So, as outlined, the Feral spec has its limitations, as well as its benefits. If you’re looking for a challenge, the main attractor of players to the Feral spec, then give it a shot; I did, and I’m having a blast.