Cataclysm Kitty Kat Reflections

Well fellow Kitties, the big news is here! On Friday Blizzard posted a snippet of what’s in store for us in Cataclysm. I decided to wait a few days before giving some thoughts because as we’ve seen with the previous class updates, Blizard has taken the time to answer questions and give further insight on what they’ve previewed. A lot of additional information has been since released and its time to take a step back and try and understand their bigger picture for kitty kats. Remember, this is a kitty blog so I will not be discussing any of the changes related to bears, chickens or trees. After all, all we care about is FITE!

Summary:

  1. Official Blizzard Druid Preview
  2. MMO-Champion Highlighted Blue Info
  3. MMO-Champion complete Blue Tracker

Preview Highlights:

Stampeding Roar (Level 83): The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown. The goal of this ability is to give both bears and cats a little more situational group utility. 3-minute cooldown. No cost.

We want to add tools to cat form and depth to bear form. If a Feral cat is going to fill a very similar niche to that of a rogue, warrior or Enhancement shaman, it needs a few more tools — primarily a reliable interrupt. Bears need to be pushing a few more buttons just so the contrast between tanking and damage-dealing is not so steep.

We will be buffing the damage of Mangle (cat) significantly so that when cat druids cannot Shred, they are not at such a damage-dealing loss.

We want to make the Feral cat damage rotation slightly more forgiving. We do not want to remove what druids like about their gameplay, but we do want to make it less punishing to miss, say, a Savage Roar or Rake. The changes here will be on par with increasing the duration of Mangle like we did for patch 3.3.3.

We plan on giving Feral cats and bears a Kick/Pummel equivalent — an interrupt that is off the global cooldown and does no damage. We feel like they need this utility to be able to fill the melee role in a dungeon or raid group, and to give them more PvP utility.

Follow-up Highlights:

Lack of new spells for Feral cat and Restoration specs
We didn’t add new rotational spells to Restoration or Feral cat because, good lord, you have enough buttons already. We tried hard with Cataclysm to not add new spells just because. The specs that got new spells were ones we think had big holes in their rotation. You’ll still get new talents and mechanics so I expect there will be a lot to learn when the big game-changing patch rolls around. (Source)

Cat/Bear forms level requirements
It won’t be super low level, but we might switch the levels at which you get cat and bear. (Source)

Feral cat changes
The recent Mangle change is a good example. Other candidates include letting Rake last longer, changing Mangle’s damage such that it’s not such a gigantic dps loss not to Shred, and / or changing the bonus of Savage Roar so that it’s not such a crippling dps loss if it falls off. Using Savage Roar after a target with cps on it has died will help too.

We still want the John Madden crowd to be able to try and maximize their dps. We just want players not playing at that level to not be so far behind (though behind is fine). (Source)

Rarren’s Thoughts:

First off, I try not to put any ideas into my head before previews because I’m generally wrong and I try not to level set myself into thinking of awesome ideas and getting let down. After reading it all (several times) I’ve tried to think about the direction that Blizzard is trying to take with feral dps. I mean sure I could go through each line and say “cool” or “not cool” but whats the bigger picture that they are moving towards. With that, this is what I am taking from the preview:

  1. Greater Utility: If we are supposed to truly embrace the “bring the class, not the player’ philosophy then yes this is the direction that needs to be taken. Trying to interrupt as a kitty kat is brutal, trying to keep dots up while leaving a spare combo point and pooling enough energy to apply the maim (which has a cooldown) is absolutely ludicrous. If anyone thinks this isnt a challenge feel free to try and interrupt on General Vezax and dps at the same time you’ll know what I mean. As for the new ability (Stampeding Roar) its an interesting idea which could be used specific situations. Its something that no other class has that can continue to increase the value of a feral druid in raid compositions. Good ideas on how it could be used in ICC could be running from Marrowgar Bonestorm, Rotface Unstable Ooze Explosion, Blood-Queen Lana’thel Bloodbolt Whirl, Lich King Defile. Those are just a few situations that it could be useful, but the more interesting point for me is that its another complexity into feral dps mechanics that require you to manage your energy and cp’s effectively to maintain your dots while providing this additional buff to the raid.
  2. Buffing Mangle Damage: This is a dangerous idea. A significantly buffed Mangle with a Glyph of Mangle with 10% increased damage has the potentially to cause a complete change of feral dps mechanics. The fear is suddenly the damage output is so high that you can completely ignore Shred (and its challenging positional requirement) and just mangle spam, essentially simplifying feral dps for the same results and creating crazy discussions like trying to use 4pt6 just to up your damage. There are few and far fights that have positional requirements that force you to mangle spam exclusively. The only fight I can think of off the top of my head is Kologarn. So while it may be a nice change to avoid dropping our dps significantly, is it really worth all the trouble for such unique situational fights?
  3. JOHN FUCKING MADDEN: Even with the potentially devastating buffing mangle damage idea, I am taking away from this preview post positive vibes for several reasons. First, they are making the rotation more forgiving but at the same time, adding new utility that will add new challenges, which will keep gameplay challenging but through new challenges. Secondly, they aren’t adding new abilities because they understand how challenging feral dps already is and how delicate it would be to suddenly introduce new talents. This also gives me hope that they will understand how to address point 2.  Finally and most importantly JOHN FUCKING MADDEN, yup they get it, help casuals but keep challenging progression raiders. Right on Blizzard.

15 Responses to “Cataclysm Kitty Kat Reflections”


  1. 1 Russ April 12, 2010 at 2:13 am

    I have this weird attachment to Shred – it’s a unique facet of the kitty, and the positional limitation combined with its mandatory spot in the priority system are part of the challenge that makes kitty DPS rewarding for me.

    I like the idea of a stronger Mangle, but I’m hoping that it will not be brought up to “same as Shred”-levels. Hopefully they’re saying “not as much of a DPS loss” with Glyph of Mangle in mind / included in their thinking. If this is true, then correct positioning looks like it won’t be going away in progression situations.

    Thanks for your analysis. As always, love your posts. I’m excited to see how these things look when Cata goes live.

  2. 2 Frank April 12, 2010 at 5:01 am

    I think the attachment to shred comes from a comfort point of view. As a cat it’s very easy to focus on either AOE or single target dps in any given situations. Just please don’t ask me to interrupt. All shred ever was, was a metronome for timing on dps/trinket/proc cooldowns.

    How it relates to the other class changes I don’t know, I’m just anxious and eager to try this stuff out moving forward.

  3. 3 Nyri April 12, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Mangle damage, with the new glyph, is already very close to shred damage. I fear the upcoming change.
    Interrupt changes are great, because maim is so painful (regarding dps) in PvE – right.
    Feral rotation should remain the most difficult ingame, because thats imho why the current cats like it.
    I rerolled, because I hate the stupid shadow bolt spam, Sunwell warlock where forced to do.

  4. 4 Anonymous April 12, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I wish they would remove the positional requirement of shred, we are the only raiding class/spec that has that limitation. For a few more weeks dps races will still exsist in icc, after a few more 5% nerfs toc will be harder on paper.

    Anyway, I like to do my best on every fight and the limitations of shred effects that, especially on heroic mode, I will list the fights that impact me in icc:

    Marrowgar – the spikes
    Deathwhisper – every time she turns to cast a spell.
    Saurfang – again when he turns to cast
    Rotface – when he casts slime spray
    Sindragosa – Iceblocks, plus depending on ur HM positioning it can be difficult to get in the sweet spot where u can shred and not get tail smashed for the few globals before u have to reset your stacks.

    Ya, I know some of them are trivial, but when every GCD counts and our rotation is as tight as it is, we are the spec that is impacted the most.

    I have a hard time getting excited about stampeding roar, and when palys get it next week, it will be more meh.

    • 5 Nyri April 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm

      I do not get your point. In most cases you can compensate. You have a pool of 100 energy. Use it! At Deathwhisper, Saurfang and Rotface it does not affect feral more than other melee classes. You will shred after they turned. I most time use swipe when Marrowgars spikes pop up. And sure there are situations where i prefer Mangle. Thats makes it interesting. Sure it makes it a also bit more challenging, but thats why I play a kitty.

      But at the end of the day it all does not matter, because they will NEVER EVER remove the positional requirement. Thats what makes Shred different to Mangle.

  5. 6 Kal April 12, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I don’t mind the positional requirement that much; most of the time pooling energy isn’t that big of a deal.

    On a side note – I sent you a mail, Vallen – did you still want to get a hold of me?

  6. 7 Anonymous April 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    @Nyri – Every class but feral can do their rotation regardless of position, if you are in a tight position with bleeds about to drop or savage roar, it can throw off a max dps cycle, because you cant plan for when a Boss will turn…. the other classes push whatever buttons regardless and ALL of their attacks work.

    In the case of bone spikes or frost tombs all the more frustrating becasue you cant even tell were the back is and often the need to do max damage in those situations is great.

    my only point and my opinion being, change shred instead of buffing mangle.

  7. 9 Moo April 13, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Hmm..

    I don’t know. The whole changes, besides the interrupt down’t really thrill me that much.
    What I desperately would have liked even more than an interrupt is a usable threat-reduction mechanism.
    Sure Nelfs have their shadowmelt (won’t Cata remove those race-specific bonuses, too?), but poor taurens are more or less bound to embrace death as a form of definite aggro-reduce.

    Its not that you should not watch your aggro – but in contrast to other classes you sometimes just cannot go full throttle and on some crit-rich occasions you can run into deep trouble.

    Cheers,
    moo

  8. 10 Vallen April 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    My personal feeling is I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of Shred and it’s positional requirement. Its just another aspect that makes the feral dps mechanics challenging and enjoyable

    JOHN FUCKING MADDEN

    Anon: based on your situations that limit shredding capabilities, personally I actually swipe on bone spikes, agree with LDW, agree with saurfang, Rotface sprays you can adjust with him and Sindragosa blocks I tend to pool energy/stack combo pts more than I blow blocks up. I think the amt of dps lost due the abve situations should be minimal.

    Moo: Sucks to be a moo moo cow🙂 Hopefully they fix cower so that it actually does a real threat reduction but until then, long live Shadowmeld!

  9. 11 darksend April 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    @ your comment on kal’s blog!

    I am !!!!! I already have articles written for the next month. Ok I lied, 3 weeks, one of them was already addressed in the class preview.

  10. 12 Anonymous April 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    @Nyri – Feels like we are arguing just to argue here, so my last comment and I am done, don’t want to detract from meaning full conversation:

    In Sindra you STILL have to move to where the back is, and no one else does. Plus there are the frost bombs that may prevent you from being able to attack from the back, both situations make for a DPS loss. Also on Sindra 25 HM busting the blocks in time can be a challenge especially if its 5 dps that get tombed and when you cant do your single best attack I find that frustrating.

    On spikes during the tank and spank phase I swipe like Vallen mentioned. During bone storm, finding the back can be completely random based on which way the toon ran before getting spiked and if a coldflame prevents you from attacking the back, again another dps loss.

  11. 13 Botanis April 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    i hope they throw away that stupid “converts each extra point of energy into additional damage” from ferocious bite

    this would make it much more convenient to throw a fb in here and there …

    much more predictable imo

    • 14 Vallen April 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm

      I don’t let my energy pool (once I have 5 cp), instead I empty my pool before dropping a FB to make sure its a more predictable amount of damage. That and the energy could be better spent on shreds for example.

  12. 15 Lolz June 8, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    They’ll buff mangle and modify the energy requirement for both to keep the DPE lower than bleed-buffed shred. Therefore if you want to maximize your dps you shred for higher DPE, but you can manglespam and still see OK numbers for impossible positioning fights.


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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!

About Me

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.

For any questions or concerns contact me via comments or e-mail

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