Classic Feral Druid Melee DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Feral Druid Melee DPS in both single-target and multiple-target PvE situations in WoW Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.
Feral Druids have a tough time in raids due to the debuff slot limit on enemies. Basically, you and your raid cannot have more than 16 debuffs active on an enemy at any given time. In a raid with 40 people, these debuff slots are quite valuable and should be planned out ahead of time, usually for debuffs like Sunder Armor and other debuffs that make the target take more damage. This means that you cannot use your bleed abilities on raid bosses, even though they would do more damage than your other abilities. Thus, you will never cast Rake and Rip in a raid. Instead, your rotation will focus on three abilities: Shred, Ferocious Bite, and Cat Form.
To understand why Cat Form is considered a rotational ability, we need to understand how Energy works. Unlike modern WoW, Energy in WoW Classic works on a tick based system. Instead of constantly generating Energy, Druids generate Energy in small, discrete bursts at a rate of 20 Energy every 2 seconds. This Energy can only be generated while in Cat Form, but going out of Cat Form does not stop the 2-second timer. This enables Druids to do something called power shifting, where you swap in and out of Cat form during that 2-second window, generating additional Energy from your Furor talent without sacrificing any of the Energy you generate naturally over time. This is the core mechanic of the Feral Druid rotation.
Power shifting is important because it generates Energy for you during a single global by swapping out and back into Cat Form. It is important to note that when you swap out of Cat Form, you lose all current Energy and swapping back in generates Energy through the Furor talent. For this reason, it is critical to only power shift whenever you have 0 Energy. The goal is to wait for your Energy timer to tick, generating you 20 Energy, use an ability like Shred to bring yourself to 0 or close to 0 Energy, and then power shifting during that 2 seconds window before the next Energy tick. This will ensure that little to no Energy is wasted, and is the most difficult part of the Feral Druid rotation.
Tiger's Fury is normally not worth using and you should never use it rotationally. However, if you are already at 100 Energy and about to tick for more Energy, you should use it. This will only ever happen on pull as you are running towards the boss, or if you have to move off the boss due to some sort of fight mechanic, such as being feared.
As stated above, Feral Druids use three abilities rotationally: Shred, Ferocious Bite, and Cat Form. While your rotation usually follows a set pattern, it is incredibly important to relate your ability usage to your current Energy, not a set order. The basic ordering is listed below to start.
- Cat Form - power shift;
- Cat Form - power shift;
- Ferocious Bite;
- Cat Form - power shift.
Let us focus on just the first part to start, Shred twice and power shifting once. To do this optimally, you need to be able to watch your 2-second Energy tick timer, which does require an addon of some sort. Firstly, you should never be at maximum Energy (100). If you are at max Energy, use an ability so that your next Energy tick is not wasted. Usually, you want to sit around 60 Energy going into this ability sequence. Then, right as your Energy ticks, you start casting Shred. You cast it once, wait a second, and right as your Energy ticks a second time, cast it again. These 2 casts of Shred should bring you close to 0 Energy, at which point you will want to immediately power shift, going out and back into Cat Form before that 2-second window is complete. Once you are back into Cat Form, you will have the 40 Energy from Furor plus the Energy from the next tick which should happen immediately after swapping back into Cat Form. From there, you continue with the rotation.
Now that all sounds complex, and it can be. Part of mastering the Feral Druid rotation is pooling your Energy and timing your abilities to make sure that you hit 0 Energy right after an Energy tick when you cast an ability, allowing you to power shift without losing excess Energy. Your success with the Feral rotation can be measured by how much Energy you waste each time you power shift, or if you waste Energy ticks by shifting at a bad time. Below is what the ideal rotation should look like, broken down to include Energy ticks. For this breakdown, make sure to note that with the Improved Shred talent, Shred costs 48 Energy.
- Current Energy: 60, currently waiting on the next tick;
- Energy ticks, current Energy: 80 - cast Shred bringing Energy down to 32;
- Energy ticks again, current Energy: 52 - cast Shred a second time, bringing you to 4 Energy;
- Immediately after the second Shred cast, press Cat Form twice (or once with a macro) to go out and back into Cat Form, resetting your Energy to 40;
- After swapping back into Cat Form, your Energy will tick again soon, bringing your Energy back up to 60. From here you start the rotation over again.
It is worth noting that the cadence of the rotation changes slightly when you acquire Wolfshead Helm, which you will use all the way through WoW Classic. The item causes you to generate an additional 20 Energy when you swap into Cat Form, meaning that you do not have to wait for an extra Energy tick when you swap back into Cat Form after each cycle. You will swap back in, have 60 Energy, tick to 80, and immediately cast Shred, starting the cycle. Wolfshead Helm is an incredibly important piece and should be one of the first things you try to obtain once you hit 60.
The majority of your Ferocious Bite damage is from the initial 35 Energy used to cast it. However, it will also convert all of your remaining Energy into damage, adding it to the damage of the spell. This conversion is incredibly inefficient and should be avoided. In other words, you always try to cast Ferocious Bite at as close to 35 Energy as possible. If your Energy is at 60 or more, it is worth waiting for another tick to cast Shred once more before using Ferocious Bite, even if you are already at 5 combo points. Additionally, you should never use Ferocious Bite if you have a Omen of Clarity proc active. Instead, use shred to consume the proc, shred again if your Energy is too high, and then use Ferocious Bite.
- 15 Jul. 2019: Page added.
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