Speccing the 3.3.3 Kitty Kat

This post is going to be pretty short and sweet. As you all know two weeks ago, 3.3.3 introduced a new Mangle change:

Mangle: The debuff from this talent now lasts 60 seconds, up from 12 seconds.

Most kitty kats rejoiced at this change since there was essentially no longer a requirement to keep mangle up (or only a need to put it up once every 60s). This helps to simplify the challenging rotation we have while at the same time increasing the dps output possible with less energy being spent on mangle. For those who are lucky enough to have a bear tank or arms warrior (or both like me!) there was no change at all in rotation or dps output.

There is a fundamental spec change that needs to be made for those who are manglebots in their raid. Previously there was a need to spec 3/3 Improved Mangle to reduce the energy cost. Now that Mangle lasts for 60s there is absolutely no reason to spend 3 talent points into an ability that is used once every minute or 3-6 times on an average fight. Instead this frees up 3 points that can be spent elsewhere. First your base spec should be this (0/52/16) leaving 3 points remaining. I don’t think anyone would debate my choice here as this is pretty cookie cutter stuff. The question now is, where to put the last 3 points? I would say you really have 3 potential paths, each of which is viable depending on your raid composition and environment.

Increased DPS: Drop your remaining 3 points into Feral Aggression and bump it from 2/5 to 5/5 increasing Ferocious Bite damage from 6% to 15% (Build)

Personally this is where I drop my points and this is the spec I’ve used for a very long time (even pre 3.3.3). Now I know there are a lot of haters out there that think Ferocious Bite is a useless ability and is not worth the points but I strongly disagree. It has its uses and its utility increases as you get closer and closer to the crit cap. The more and more you crit, the easier and faster you gain combo points, the more excess energy you will have which can be dumped using Ferocious Bite (as long as your dots are rolling). Mind you, its not a lot of extra dps, but if you want to optimize and generate your maximum output this is where you want to invest your points.

Increased Survivability: Drop 2 points into 2/2 Nurturing Instinct to increase healing to you by 20% and the last point into Survival Instincts (Build)

If you have a tendency to lag, have bad fps, have slower reaction times or if your healers are not as quick on the uptake, survivability may outweigh 9% increased damage on an ability that is used sparingly and very select situations. In most raids, surviving is much more important than a few extra dps you can squeeze out and there’s always a chance that a tank will die and you may be called upon to quickly shift into Bear Form and tank. Points invested here will go a long way to keeping you and your raid alive.

Increased Raid Utility: Drop 3 points into 3/3 Infected Wounds, slowing target mobility by 50% and attack speed by 20% (Build)

This is completely dependent on your raid composition but if an attack speed slow debuff isn’t being applied (on a regularly basis) its probably best that you invest your points into Infected Wounds. A few other classes can provide this (DK: Icy Touch, Paladin: Judgement of the Just, Warrior: Thunderclap) so take a look at your raid comp and find out if this debuff is already provided.

Finally, these suggestions are generalized to focus on one of the three categories. There is nothing stopping you from mixing and matching to get a combination of benefits. For example, you could spec 4/5 Feral Aggression and spend 1 point into Survival Instincts. Hopefully you’ve already made the adjustment and removed the 3 points from Imp Mangle but if you haven’t take these points into consideration when you make the switch.

22 Responses to “Speccing the 3.3.3 Kitty Kat”


  1. 1 zelmaru April 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I ended up going for infected wounds – since I don’t run 25’s, and raid comp is never guaranteed. I also figure it might be useful when I’m chasing down adds that the tank is kiting (Deathwhisper).

    But then again, I rarely manage to get ferocious bite into my rotation (maybe that will change with better gear), and while 20% healing is nice… if there’s raidwide damage, chances are that the healer can cover me with minimal healing (probably OVER healing) – and if I’ve pulled agro, I deserve to splat.

  2. 2 Mitch April 8, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I don’t think your base spec is that cookie cutter. I use mangle way more than swipe and to be honest . . . the only time I could even justify to even use swipe would be on Marrowgar (situational because cleave usually destroys them the ice), Deathwhisper (situational because the adds aren’t always on top of each other or susceptible to physical damage), Dreamwalker (for suppressors or rots), or Anub (if you still go back to do heroic). And of course trash. Mangle I use for anything that I need to switch targets on, like Deathwhisper adds, Dreamwalker adds, Putricide oozes, Sindragosa blocks, Lich King adds, etc.

    So I still use imp. Mangle over Feral Instinct.

    • 3 Vallen April 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

      Interesting perspective, I’ve always considered imp swipe to be an essential talent. While trash isn’t really a good reason to spec into it, it does speed trash up and improves the overall speed of the raid. A happy raid is an effective raid! But, if we go boss by boss in ICC lets take a look and see where swipe/mangle are used:

      Lord Marrowgar – Swipe on spikes
      Lady Deathwhisper – Swipe on adds
      Gunship Battle – Swipe on adds
      Deathbringer Saurfang – Single Target

      Festergut – Single Target
      Rotface – Single Target
      Professor Putricide – Multi Target

      Blood Prince Council – Multi Target
      Blood-Queen Lana’thel – Single Target

      Valithria Dreamwalker – Swipe on Adds
      Sindragosa – Single Target

      The Lich King – Swipe on Adds

      Some additional thoughts:

      – On single target fights like saurfang, fester, rot you’ll only need to mangle 3-5 times depending on how long the fight is, saving you 18-30 energy

      – On fights with multiple adds like Dreamwalker, the question becomes how fast are the adds dying and do you have enough time to even get dots up before add dies?

      – On a fight like Arthas, 30% swipe damage on valks is essential. I always save Berserk for swipe spamming on valks.

      – On a fight like Sind, are you energy starved on blocks? We end up having to wait bc blocks will die before the transition

      Let me know what you think.

      • 4 Mitch April 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm

        My only point is I think both are situational and chalked up to personal preference. Some fights have advantages one way or the other; swipe is never used on some and heavily used on a few, most times the gain from imp. mangle is now minimal with the debuff change (especially if you have a drood tank) and sometimes fights with lots of target switching really lets imp. mangle shine.

        You would love to have them both, but the spec pretty much denies you the ability, but I think it’s nice that we at least have a little flavor decision to make.

        When you look at swipe, it probably has the biggest potential to give you more damage. 30% on an aoe attack that can hit for a lot is huge. However, so many classes have incidental aoe a lot of times I don’t even bother with swipe. Like Marrowgar I may throw in some swipes, but typically I’m single targeting the boss or feral charging a hunter out at range if they are spiked. However when tanks want those rots dead on Dreamwalker or the suppressors are heavy on one side and can easily be swiped down it would really show some worth.

        Imp. mangle, like you said, is rarely used in a lot of single target fights, especially when someone else is applying the bleed debuff. So on any given single target fight you could use it from 0-6 times or so saving 0-36 energy. Not much at all, that just ALMOST adds up to one additional shred. I honestly don’t have many logs of myself to look at that would really matter right now, but in our normal Putricide kill last night I mangled 12 times. That is an additional 72 energy, or almost 2 shreds.

        I think it would be nice to go over all fights in detail to see on average which would come out better, but for the moment I’ll just use our logs last night (we have been very lazy lately with logs). I’ll look at Putricide and Valitheria (both on normal 25). And as a side note I mangle a lot more than shred on Valitheria for a greater ability to get combo points and hopefully get some FBs in now and again) so I’ll use mangle damage rather than shred damage in comparison.

        Valitheria I used swipe to hit 49 times at 205,592 damage, mangled 33 times for 256,660 damage, and had an average mangle of (oddly enough) 7,777.

        With imp. swipe I would have (205,592 * .3) = 61,677.6 more damage.

        If I did not have imp. mangle I would have not used mangle as many times. (33 * 6) = 198 energy. (198/34) = 5.8 less mangles. (5.8 * 7777) = 45,106.6 less damage. And not to mention less combo points available, though maybe I would have swiped more.

        On Putricide I used swipe none.

        I used mangle 21 times. My average shred was about 13,486. (21*6) = 126 more energy. (126/42) = 3 more shreds. (13,486*3) = 40,458 more damage.

        In reality it’s difficult to fully quantify the importance of the talents, I think, so in reality it depends on a few things:

        A) The encounter.
        B) Play style.
        C) How well your raid can AoE mobs down.
        D) Personal preference.

        But either way I don’t see it as being a huge swing in either direction because what you might lose in one fight you’ll gain in another. Only the most hardcore min-maxers would choose one over the other for any reason besides personal preference. This ended up being a lot longer than I figured >.> lol. Hopefully it makes sense.

  3. 5 K April 8, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I don’t have the logs to show it, but I have to agree with Mitch. My spec doesn’t use improved swipe – and the only fight swipe sees regular use on is Dreamwalker. Bear in mind, I haven’t done the Lich King fight.

    WOW Popular (http://www.wowpopular.com/Druid/Feral) says the most popular cat spec does not include feral instinct, for what that’s worth.

    I’ve become more and more convinced that any discussion of WoW mechanics should begin with the same warning they put on prescription medication:

    “individual results may vary”

    K

  4. 6 Tinderhoof April 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I think there is one more thing you can look into as someone who has a feral tank/mangle bot in the raid. Improved Leader of the Pack is a great talent, but it doesn’t stack with other ferals. If you have a Feral tank they are going to have ILotP which means you don’t need to use it. Personally I use those two points in Nurturing Instinct to make healing me easier.
    Pro tip: your own hots are boosted by this as well as soon as you shift back into cat form. This makes HM Cindergosa MUCH easier as you can hot yourself and shift back into cat form while you are waiting for your stack to drop off. Your healers will thank you I promise. You can use the same trick between adds in Dreamwalker, and Deathwhisper.

    If you are worried about losing the buff due to tank death… well at that point you pretty much either Brez him right away, or its a wipe anyway.

  5. 7 Jim April 10, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Is leaving out SI for a 3% damage increase on bite is really even a choice when it comes to hard-modes? With the amount of incoming damage it seems silly to not consider it cookie-cutter.

    I agree with the rest of what you said… =)

  6. 8 Moo April 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Hi,

    hmm – I don’t really see much use in iLotp in a raid-environment.
    So… this would be my choice:

    http://www.wowarmory.com/talent-calc.xml?cid=11&tal=0000000000000000000000000000553212132322010053100030310511203503012000000000000000000

    More survivability = more dmg-uptime.

    Cheers,
    Moo

  7. 9 chckenmcbndy April 12, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Situational to MY current progression (7/12 HM’s 25 man working on LD) I’m lovin 2 points in Nurturing Instinct. I do experience moderate lag in 25 mans. I’m pretty much always one of the last to die on our progression attempts. Until we hit an enrage timer I will keep this in my spec.

    I’m also called upon to use Infected wounds on two fights:

    1) Saurfang (HM)- I do a quick target swap and mangle one the adds to put the IW debuff up to buy some time.

    2) Lich King- More of a safety net on the Valks if the rogue on my target gets picked.

    Definitley not max single target dps spec, but, works in MY raid make-up. I would switch to 5/5 Feral Aggression if our current progression called for it.

    Vallen- Thinking back to Ulduar 3/3 for improved swipe wasn’t part of cookie cutter build as most went 5/5 FA. I know I was in the same thinking as you until I realized 3/3 improved swipe didn’t become part of my cookie cutter build until we started working on Anub HM in 25 ToGC. Sometimes I forget and think of the cookie cutter build in terms of the specific encounter my guild is working on.

  8. 10 Vallen April 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Nice discussions so far here’s my input back:

    Mitch: I would say that trying to look at logs and trying to determine how much energy would have been saved from using mangle/swipe is probably not worth the analysis. Every time you engage an encounter the variables will be different and none of us are perfect at maximizing the feral rotation. Sometimes you’re bang on sometimes you aren’t.

    I fully agree with your points of how you choose your talents (something that I stress over and over again) but I would say that you should consider dropping points into swipe as it is an amazing ability for trash. Trash may not necessarily change the outcome of a boss fight but it can change the morale of the raid.

    K: Just because a spec is popular doesn’t necessarily mean its the right choice to make😉 Mitch’s pts above are solid pts to live by as by the time you reach LK you should see a definitive need for swipe for that encounter

    Tinderhoof: Completely agree with you as well. If you have a full time feral bear in your raid you can drop the iLOTP talents as well. However in MY specific situation, we sometimes do not have our bear available to us so it lies with me to make sure I have the talent. Also I find its useful outside of raids when farming so that I don’t have to heal myself as often.

    Jim: Yes it is! In fact, think of it this way, some of the enrage timers are extremely tight and if you aren’t pushing the most dps possible you’re not doing your job. In the same respect, if you have to pop SI to save yourself, your healers aren’t doing their job either. (Naturally depends on how your raid healing is hehe)

    Moo: My problem with your statement is that you’re essentially saying that your survivability is more important than overall raid survivability. Remember iLOTP affects all melee which is a huge bonus as opposed to SI and a few % extra armor for yourself exclusively!

    chkenmcbndy: Absolutely agree with all pts mentioned. I think I had 3/3 swipe pre togc anub but I definitely didn’t feel it was an absolute must have talent. I have always tended to spec for maximum dps (over survivability) but thats partially because I trust my healers to do their job + I have minimal lag so my reflexes are “generally” fast enough to get me out of trouble.

  9. 11 K April 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree that popularity does not make something “right”. I do think popularity makes a spec the “cookie cutter” one.

    Having said that, we just started the Lich King fight. And I’m respeccing for a beter swipe.

    K

  10. 12 Ridley June 3, 2010 at 6:17 am

    I tend to keep two different talent trees and change one with two talents out of imp mangle depending on if I think a fight is being tough on the healers.

    http://www.wowarmory.com/talent-calc.xml?cid=11&tal=0000000000000000000000000000523202032322010053120030313511203503012000000000000000000

    Thats what my Main spec generally is, hardly change this as a lot of ICC fights come in helpful with the imp swipe like mentioned above.

    http://www.wowarmory.com/talent-calc.xml?cid=11&tal=0000000000000000000000000000550202032322010053120030313511203503012000000000000000000

    This is the imp mangle spec I like to use, I find this the best spec for a fight like Putricide. Without the back of the oozes always being obvious until they move and with them being top nuke priority I find that having the imp mangle increases the possible damage I can do to them quickly, and with swipe not being useful in this fight I do not see the need to go for it.

    http://www.wowarmory.com/talent-calc.xml?cid=11&tal=0000000000000000000000000000550202032322012053120030311511203503012000000000000000000

    Is the other spec I try out, helps the healers heal in a difficult fight and not a loss in DPS if we have a feral tank and there is no AoE.

    I dont see how loads of people forget feral aggression, FB hits like a truck with high amounts of ArP, so just increasing the damage of it seems like the ideal choice.

  11. 13 Goodmongo July 23, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I know I’m late to this discussion but I’m nor sure FA is the right choice. Instead use imp mangle and swipe. Here are my thoughts on it. FA is the lowest of out priorities. And it realy only comes into play with high ArP or hard capped. But getting to the hard cap means you have much lower hit and expertise. Crits should still be ok. But since you miss a couple more times the chance to get a FB off decreases. So if you only get 1 or 2 per boss fight are you really gaining anything? I really like imp mangle because as other have said some mobs are hard to get behind or with all the changing you want bleed effects on them as soon as possible.

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I’m Retired!

As of 04/04/2011, I have officially retired from WOW. This blog will remain as a archived resource for those who know that CAT DRUID IS 4 FITE!

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A blog for the ramblings and thoughts of Vallen, a full time raiding cat druid from Auchindoun-US with a passion for raiding & achievements. An avid wow player since 2004.

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