The Feral DPS Rotation: Is it really that hard?

I’ve seen countless dps threads asking which class has the hardest rotation.  I’ve recently seen an influx in comments saying feral druids have the most difficult rotation.  I find this ironic for various reasons.   The feral rotation is not a rotation.  It is a checklist or a list of questions depending on how you look at keeping up the buffs and debuffs.   This is how I look at my dps while dpsing a boss.

  • How much time is left on my  Savage Roar?  If only 1-3 seconds I must reapply immediately.
  • How much time is left on my last Rip?  If only 4-5 seconds get up a 5 point combo and reapply it.
  • Is the trauma spec’ed warrior in my raid still up and dpsing?  If not apply Mangle as my next combo point and keep track of it.
  • How much time is left on Rake?  Reapply as soon as it falls off unless one of the above priorties is not met.
  • After checking all of the above do I have time for a Ferocious Bite or do I need to wait to reapply SR or Rip?
  • What is the cooldown on my Tiger’s Fury looking like?
  • Is Heroism up?  If so am I using Berserk?  If Heroism has been cast I must hit Berserk now!
  • What’s the cooldown on my Berserk?

This list of questions is always running through my head while I dps.  Have I ever executed my dps rotation to perfection?  Yes, I have a few times, but that’s mainly on bosses such as Thaddius and XT-002 Deconstructor.  Taking a look at how I normally begin a fight easily shows how much I can throw my timing off.

Begin the fight Prowled and immediately Ravage the boss.

Use those combo points for a quick Savage Roar.

Build up five combo points using Shred and Rake and use them to Rip.

Use Tiger’s Fury to regain lost energy and build up three or four combo points to refresh Savage Roar.

Build up five more combo points using Shred and Rake.

Decision time!  Ask the question of how much time is on Rip.  If there looks to be enough Ferocious Bite.

Back to the questions.  How much time on Rip and Savage Roar?

Timing is what makes this “rotation” so hard.  One minor mishap and your dps slips from amazing to just good.  Simple positioning can mess a rotation up as well.  If I did not enjoy the thrill of having to keep such a list of questions running through my head I surely would’ve switched to an easier dps class or said I will only tank.  Where is the fun in druid tanking when compared to feral dps?  The difficulty of keeping track of mobs and your surroundings pales in comparison to the difficulty of keeping this rotation to as close to perfect as possible.  Too many factors can make a small crack into a giant, gaping hole.  A feral must be on top of their position, the boss’s position, being self-buffed at all times, having a DoT ticking on the boss at all times, and others.  Add all of this to a fight such as Hodir or Heigan the Unclean and you can easily get yourself killed or see your dps drop tremendously.  Feral dps requires time to master.  I remember at first with Thaddius I had a hard time concentrating on my dps because of the constant polarity shifts, but I soon learned to fully rely on my Big Wigs addon to tell me my current polarity and just concentrate on dpsing.  My dps shot up for the 7k to competing with the 9k dpsers.

Having been a feral since the start of my druid before TBC came out I have seen some of the changes in ferals.  This “rotation” is by far one of the best, but has it not always existed?  In TBC end game it was more simplified.  You kept up FFF and Mangle debuffs.  You always kept the Rip DoT on the bosses and used Shred for combo points.   It was arguably one of the simplest dps rotations at the time.  With Wrath has come the additions of Savage Roar, Rake, Tiger’s Fury, and Berserk.  For some this is too much to keep track of and do well.  For others such as myself the challenge is thoroughly enjoyed and we pray Blizzard never nerfs our rotation as they did to Affliction warlocks.

Is the feral rotation the hardest?  I’d have to say yes.  Do I want it to change? No!  I love it and woudn’t trade it for going back to barely having to do anything.


~ by aleanathem on April 30, 2009.

4 Responses to “The Feral DPS Rotation: Is it really that hard?”

  1. To anyone reading this I have changed my beginning to just use FFF and start my normal rotation. Using Ravage has proven to be unreliable.

  2. As a druid since 2005 (with one hiatus period during TBC) I have to say that the changes to the class have been huge and it has moved us from being a raid pariah welcomed only for healing and innervate (original formula innervate) to being able to perform in four different roles. From those troubled eearly days to our current somewhat enviable position, I have loved playing a druid and particularly playing feral (there are some awesome hybrid levelling builds available to ferals).

    My problem is that my love of feral has turned into a LOT of frustration that is verging on anguish. My gear is still a work in progress (2 pieces of T7.5, 1 piece of T7, the rest 5 man or crafted purps, Naxx staff, badge trinkets and rings) but I cannot consistantly crack mid-3k dps raid buffed. Heavily positional fights routinely drag me down to around 2800.

    Continued progress on my gear will help, no doubt, but I’m seriously starting to wonder if I’m ever going to settle in to the new rotation, if the pathetic output will improve, or if I just fail and should respec into Boom?

    I’m currently using BadKitty to track timers. Any other suggestions?

    • Dull_Claws,
      I used to use BadKity. I’ve switched to NeedToKnow. Tried the FeralByNight addon for a bit, but it just made my dps lag a bit. In your gear you should be expecting 3500-4000 dps. Gear still plays a large factor in our dps so expect gradual improvement as you obtain better gear.
      I’d ask you if playing your feral is still fun. Or do you dread logging onto it? If you aren’t having fun I’d say find another class or spec you enjoy. Feral has become one of the hardest dps classes in game and that is not fun to everyone. I wish you the best of luck no matter what you do.

  3. Can anyone send me a DIRECT rotation of cat form Feral DPS… I’ve been looking for a website with a direct roation like… for example… A warlock roation (made up) Immolate-Corruption-shadow bolt-chaos bolt- rince and repaet if anyone could e-mail me a direct rotaion of feral DPS at that would be grat because I’m really lost with it currecntly i just keep rip up and any other bleed dots and mangle to increase it and ferocis bite (when I can) and my DPS isn’t great also i need to get more gared Thank you all that helped (:

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