How To Improve As Feral Druid — Shadowlands 9.0.2
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Feral Druid in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.
Optimizing Your Global Cooldowns
The first and foremost mistake that many Feral players make is not adjusting their rotation to minimize empty Global Cooldowns as much as possible. This is slightly different to other melee specializations, as Feral will naturally have downtime in its gameplay and the goal is to condense these into cycles of pooling and spending. Wasting Global Cooldowns in situations where you want to efficiently spend however will slow down your cycle and by extension the output you have. Making sure you have a plan for the next few seconds of gameplay at all times, so as to most efficiently fill the time, will always be a net benefit.
Energy & Combo Point Management
Having a dual resource system that interacts with each other means that making sure you do not have waste is twice as important. The use of each depends on the other with a strong link between when you will spend one or the other. Due to the steady rate at which Feral gains Energy with a small number of extra burst generation (mostly via Tiger's Fury), you need to plan on using the periods of low Energy to plan your next cycle, pooling Energy and then spending Combo Points on a finisher. This will lead into a quick burst of builder spells, and the cycle begins anew.
Omen of Clarity injects an additional unpredictability to your Energy generation, providing a free cast of one of your builder spells. This should be used to smooth out the build-then-spend gameplay loop, treating it as a free Combo Point generation tool to mix up your cycle when it procs.
Making sure that you have enough Energy available to keep your Bleed effects, such as Rake, active and the dual requirement of both Energy and Combo Points to maintain Rip is the core of optimizing your output so planning around both resources to make sure you can do this efficiently is very important. Do not over-commit to casting excess Shreds or Ferocious Bites if it will get in the way of this.
Tiger's Fury Usage
The crux of using Tiger's Fury efficiently is to make sure you drain your excess Energy in the lead up to it coming off cooldown, allowing it to refund 50 and refuel your pool. This also grants a surge of resource at the most important time — during the damage increase boost it provides for 10 seconds after cast. You also ideally want to refresh both Rake and Rip whenever possible within this window to take advantage of the snapshotting effect. Treat this as a rotational 30-second cycle ability that you need to plan around both during the buff, and as it is about to come off cooldown.
Bleed & DoT Uptime
The most common mistake that many Feral players will make, especially in single-target situations, is not efficiently managing Bleed effects. This goes hand-in-hand with the above sections regarding resource management, and usually the cause of this is not keeping track of when you should be refreshing them. This is a mix of not knowing the Pandemic timers (which is covered in our Rotation page) and not predicting resource requirements and Global Cooldowns needed to maintain them. You should ideally be planning around when you expect them to fall off, rather than reacting to the duration ending. Addons can be very helpful to track this, and we have some options on our dedicated page.
Remember at all times that if you expect to have a long period of downtime due to upcoming mechanics, you should aim to refresh all of your DoT effects before you lose the chance to do so. This means refreshing Rake, Rip, Thrash (where applicable) and Moonfire (if taking Lunar Inspiration). This will in most cases net more damage and allow for your resources to regenerate during your time away from the target.
If you take Bloodtalons it puts a heavy emphasis on cycling your Energy and Combo Point expenditure. To trigger the effect you need to use three different builders within 4 seconds (this includes Shred, Rake, Swipe, Brutal Slash and Thrash). That means you need a healthy Energy pool available to trigger it in a quick burst after spending your Combo Points. You should always make sure that any finisher you cast with this talent taken is buffed by the effect, as any cast without it significantly reduces the value of the pick.
Depending on if you have Tiger's Fury ready, effectively triggering this quick 3 spell burst can require pooling to make sure there are resources available to activate it as it will cost a full Energy bar (not accounting for passive generation or talent choices) to activate. Omen of Clarity procs also make this easier to execute if they come at an opportune time but cannot be relied upon, so you need to assume you need enough resource to manually cast all 3 builders in quick succession.
Knowing How to Sim Yourself
It is extremely difficult to accurately optimize your character without first using Raidbots to sim your own character to identify a static start point. This will allow you to quickly identify the ideal gear choices you have available to equip, and due to the variables of different gear interacting with each other (and the War/Titanforging system causing unpredictability) should be the go-to tool to decide what you use.
On top of this, simming is now very easy with no need to understand SimulationCraft APLs or installation yourself. All you will need is the in-game SimulationCraft AddOn, and the Raidbots website. Below you can find a video on how to sim your own character using the website.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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