Wednesday, April 30, 2008

[ Unveiling Druids ] :: Feral Druid Talents

This is one of the guides I've been working on for a while, and have finally (more or less) finished it. I'd go into more detail, but the laptop is on its last breath, and is going to need charging before it will work for me again, so I will hold back from being too long and elaborate, and present to you the Feral Talent Guide.

[ Tier 1 ]
Ferocity ****
Ranks: 5
Reduces the cost of your Maul, Swipe, Claw, Rake, and Mangle abilities by 1 Rage or Energy per rank.
A very nice talent for whatever you decide to do in this tree. Who wouldn’t want a cheaper attack so that they could use the rage for more attacks?

Feral Aggresion **
Ranks: 5
Increases the Attack Power reduction of your Demoralizing Roar by 8% per rank and increases the damage of your Ferocious Bite attack by 3% per rank. [ Up to 40% / 18% ]
I rather like this, and I use Ferocious Bite enough that I like putting just one point in here for an extra kick, but most would spend their points in Ferocity.

[Tier 2 -- require 5 points in Feral]
Feral Instinct *****
Ranks: 3
Increases the threat caused in Bear and Dire Bear forms by 5% per rank and reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while prowling. [15%]
Any feral druid with any ambition at all to play will take this talent. The threat increase makes this talent impossible to skip – unless one gets very, very lucky, they are more than likely going to be asked to tank due to the viability of the feral build. Extra threat is a no-brainer. Get it. (The stealth bonus is pretty much that. A bonus).

Brutal Impact **
Ranks: 2
Increases the stun duration of your Bash and Pounce abilities by 0.5 seconds per rank.
I’ve found this talent, while helpful, not necessary in a solid build. Sure, and extra second is enough for an extra shred after your ravage, and enough time to cast healing touch (which is a rather inefficient spell for the mana cost), or an extra HoT, but really necessary? No. I find myself skipping it.

Thick Hide *****
Ranks: 3
Increases your Armor rating from items by 3% per rank (4% for rank 1). [4/7/10]
Again, rather like Feral Instinct. For bear tanks, since we lack the parry and block that warriors and paladins have, we rely on our high health and armor. What better talent is there than this one to help us reach the 75% armor cap? One would have to be a fool to skip it.

[Tier 3 -- require 10 points in Feral]
Feral Swiftness *****
Ranks: 2
Increases your movement speed by 15% per rank while outdoors in Cat form and increases your chance to dodge while in cat, bear, and dire bear form by 2% per rank. [30/4]
A talent I wouldn’t skip for anything. The extra movement speed makes leveling easier (for those of us who have had travel form/mounts for a long time, think about the alts that don’t have speed increases what-so-ever, and running anywhere would take forever, not to mention painful). This talent helps us keep our sanity from levels 20-30… Not to mention that the extra dodge attached to this talent is something that you don’t want to pass up. We bears like dodge. All tanks do, really.

Feral Charge *****
Instant Cast, 5 Rage, 15 second cooldown, 8-25 yard range
Causes you to charge an enemy, immobilizing and interrupting any spell being cast for 4 seconds.
If you’ve ever tanked, or watched others tank, you will know that running up to a mob to try to get the most aggro before anyone is slow. A big, lumbering bear butt (and I’m not talking about BBB here) plodding its way up to the mob. Why suffer that, when for one talent point, you can charge them? Feral charge is a druid’s only interrupt as well, which makes it a favorite for both PvP and PvE (builds have been tailored around getting Feral Charge. Don’t skip it).

Sharpened Claws *****
Ranks: 3
[Prerequisite for Primal Fury]
Increases your critical strike chance while in Bear or Cat form by 2% per rank. [2/4/6]
Critical strike = you hit for more = more rage/threat (bear), quicker build of combo points (as you cannot skip Primal Fury, the must have talent that this ability builds up) (cat). Skipping it would be ridiculous.

[Tier 4 -- require 15 points in Feral]
Shredding Attacks ****
Ranks: 2
Reduces the Energy cost of your Shred ability by 9 per rank and the rage cost of Lacerate by 1 per rank. [18/2]
Shred should be the bread-and-butter attack of all feral druids (in a group/raid situation, especially, when one doesn’t have to use combo points in order to keep the mob facing away). Reducing its cost means you get to pull more of them off, meaning more damage. Lacerate is a threat building attack that adds a bleed onto the target (a skill gained at 66). It generates high threat. Less rage per cost means you can do it more, building more threat. I can see putting this talent off until the later levels, but I would still take it for the energy reduction on Shred.

Predatory Strikes **
[Prerequisite for Heart of the Wild]
Ranks: 3
Increases your attack power in Bear, Dire Bear, and Cat forms by 50% of your level per rank. [50/100/150]
Not the best talent ever. Actually, a rather terrible one, but we can’t complain about extra attack power. Why this talent is one that serious ferals won’t miss for the world is because of what it serves as the prerequisite of: Heart of the Wild, one of the best talents in the tree.

Primal Fury *****
Ranks: 2
Requires: 3 points in Sharpened Claws
Gives you a 50% chance per rank to gain an additional 5 Rage anytime you get a critical strike while in Bear form or Dire Bear form and critical strikes from Cat form abilities that add combo points have a 50% chance per rank to add an additional combo point. [ 100% ]
For bear tanks, damage is one of our best ways to get and keep aggro; crits are rather nice for that (especially as bear tanks like agility, and agility helps with crits). Getting rage for critting? Can't pass it up. This used to be two separate talents, but it now encompasses the cat aspect of it too: an extra combo point per crit. More combo points allow one to do their finishing moves earlier, getting more DPS off.

[Tier 5 -- require 20 points in Feral]
Savage Fury ****
Ranks: 2
Increases the damage caused by your Claw, Rake, and Mangle (Cat) abilities by [10/20]%.
For a damage build, you wouldn’t want to skip this. However, with so many good talents out there, you may have to make a sacrifice to skip it in order to improve at something else. I personally compromise and put one point in here.
[Edit: Oops! Outdated info here. Still the same comment, but at least I've got the right talent. Thanks to SuraBear for the note.]

Faerie Fire (Feral) *****
Ranks: 1
[Rank 1]Instant cast, 30 yard range, 6 second cooldown
Decrease the armor of the target by 175 for 40 seconds. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible.
FFF. A very nice spell. Not only is it the only ranged ability that our forms get, but it also reduces armor on our target, and adds a bit of aggro. Not to mention that it is free. Many bears uses it to pull, especially if one has a decently large aggro bar.

Nurturing Instinct **
Ranks: 2
Your healing spells are increased by an amount equal to 25% per rank of your Strength.
Decreased in amount, but increased in usefulness by making this an always-active passive talent, Nuturing Instinct will do well for hybrid feral/resto druids, especially those whose gear supports it. I don't think this is a particularly good talent for full feral builds, though -- you will rarely be popping up to heal. Most of the time, if one is healing under a feral build, they are doing full healing for a fight or two to help their healers on a hard pull.

[Tier 6 -- requires 25 points in Feral]
Heart of the Wild *****
Ranks: 5
Requires: 3 points in Predatory Strikes
Increases your Intellect by 4% per rank. In addition while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form your Stamina is increased by 4% per rank, and while in Cat Form your Strength is increased by 4% per rank. [20%]
Best ability in the tree for whatever flavor druid you are. Of course, the other flavors will most likely not get this talent because it is so far down, but they will envy you for having it. Why? Having one's intellect increased by 20% (for the highest rank) is pretty. For us ferals though, 20% more health, and 20% more strength for our bear and cat forms (respectively). More health for cushioning, more strength for DPS. Lovely. Just lovely.

Survival of the Fittest *****
Ranks: 3
Increases all attributes by 1% and reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee attacks by 1% [3%/3%]
For bears, this is a must have talent. Even if you won't be tanking a lot, and are more of a cat-focused spec, I would still take it. It is because of this talent that one only needs to reach 415 defense (or some combination of defense and resilience -- BBB and Karthis both go into great detail about this) in order to become uncrittable. Besides. An extra 3% on all attributes is a nice touch as well.

[Tier 7 -- requires 30 points in Feral]
Leader of the Pack *****
Ranks: 1
[prerequisite for Improved Leader of the Pack]
[prerequisite for Mangle]
While in Cat, Bear, or Dire Bear form, the Leader of the Pack increases ranged and melee chance of all party members within 45 yards by 5%.
Extra 5% crit for the WHOLE party. More DPS all around. It makes you the best friend for your melee and hunters. No matter whether you are a feline or a bear, it's a very pretty, pretty talent.

Improved Leader of the Pack ****
Ranks: 2
Requires: 1 point in Leader of the Pack
Your Leader of the Pack ability also causes affected targets to have a 100% chance to heal themselves for 2% [4%] per rank of their total health when they critically hit with a melee or ranged attack. The healing effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
I, personally, like this talent. For soloing, it means that we have to leave our forms a tiny bit less as we're getting a bit more extra healing as we're hitting things, and, in groups, it means that the healers might have to heal a little bit less. Very nice ability.

Primal Tenacity ****
Ranks: 3
Increases your chance to resist Stun and Fear mechanics by 5% per rank. [15%]
Most druids take this talent, along with Predatory instincts. While they don't stack, when looked at individually, it's a nice talent, even if one doesn't PvP. In PvE situations, there are still times when mobs will decide to fear your group (and you), and the chance to resist and keep building aggro on the mob while everyone else is running around, spamming their buttons and wondering why they aren't doing any damage before realizing that they're feared. One can't always trust on having a shaman with Tremor Totem all the time!

[Tier 8 -- requires 35 points in Feral]
Predatory Instincts ****
Ranks: 5
Increases your critical strike damage with melee attacks in forms by 3% and your chance to avoid area effect attacks by 3%
Oooh, more crit strike! Yes! Good, good, good. Chance to avoid AoE effects? Fun stuff. Higher chance to avoid it means that your healer will have to heal you less, and can concentrate on healing on the others (and, in effect, saving mana). It's nice for them, and nice for you, and it decreases the chance of you dying a bit for the times when the healer can't reach you fast enough.

[Tier 9 -- requires 40 points in Feral]
Mangle *****
Requires: 1 point in Leader of the Pack
Mangle the target, inflicting damage and causing the target to take additional damage from bleed effects and Shred for 10 seconds. This ability can be used in Cat Form or Dire Bear Form.
While mangle is only one talent, it comes with two abilities. There is a cat version and a bear version. For the cat version, mangle should be replacing Claw. It has a base cost of 45 Energy and gives 1 combo point. It does slightly less than double Claw's damage under normal conditions, not to mention the fact that it will cause the target to take additional damage from bleed effects (meaning that rogues will love you, and you will do more DPS as well). Mangle (Bear) is an instant-use attack with a base cost of 20 rage. Its damage is about 20% higher than Maul, but it doesn't use your swing. Should be the ability one should be hitting every time it is up due to the high aggro generation that comes from it, along with the DPS it provides. A core ability, and one that really ought not to be passed up if one is serious about being a feral druid.

There. A general coverage of all of the feral talents in the eyes of Lin. Others may consider each talent different, but this is how I prioritize them when asked for advice by the guildies, and in creating my own build. Lin's word does not mean that's just how it is and how it should be, and other ferals may disagree. It's just her words. [ And my disclaimer for anyone who may wish to complain/disagree. ]

1 comment:

SuraBear said...

"[Tier 5 -- require 20 points in Feral]
Savage Fury ****
Ranks: 2
Increases the damage cause by your Claw, Rake, Maul, Swipe, and Mangle abilities by 10% per rank. [10/20]"

Er. . . your information is quite outdated, I'm afraid (even given the date on this post). All bear attacks (Maul, Swipe, and Mangle (Bear) ) were removed from the talent way back in the 2.10 patch. And its easily skipped even in a raiding cat build, since claw and rake should never be used, and Mangle is only used once every 12 seconds at most to keep up the debuff (and never used if you have another feral keeping the debuff up for you).

I still have the talent in my build, but mostly because there really aren't any other talents I want in its place.