How To Improve As Feral Druid — Dragonflight 10.2
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Feral Druid in World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2. 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 many Feral players make is not adjusting their rotation to minimize empty Global Cooldowns as much as possible. This is slightly different for Feral compared to other melee specializations, as it naturally has 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 spend efficiently, 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 to fill the time most efficiently will always be a net benefit.
Energy & Combo Point Management
Having a dual resource system that interacts with each other means that ensuring you do not waste is twice as important. 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 use the periods of low Energy to plan your next cycle, pooling Energy and then spending Combo Points on a finisher. This will lead to 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. These are used as Energy buffers that help recover when you are falling behind, so treat them as free Combo Point generation procs that mix up your cycle and alleviate some Energy starvation.
Making sure that you have enough Energy available to keep Rake active, alongside the dual requirement of both Energy and Combo Points to maintain Rip is the core of optimizing your output. Planning around both resources to ensure you can do this efficiently before either fall off is essential. As such, do not over-commit to casting excess Shreds or Ferocious Bites if it will get in the way of this goal. With the added focus of 50 Energy Bites with Saber Jaws in Patch 10.2, it is also very important to pool to get full value out of this whenever consuming your Combo Points; just pause your cycle briefly to generate a buffer.
As a general rule, Energy waste is something you should avoid but sometimes cannot be avoided, but Combo Point waste is a significant loss and you should aim never to do that.
Worrying about Sabertooth
While the Sabertooth effect is powerful, micro-managing it is often going to lead to mismanagement of resources or over-committing to the effect, instead, treat it as a passive boost to Rip whenever you would naturally Ferocious Bite. This extends even further to AoE, in these situations, you should rely on Primal Wrath to provide the majority of your AoE damage in fall back on Apex Predator's Craving, instead of trying to weave extra full-cost Bites into your rotation.
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 resources at the most important moment — the damage buff that follows the activation. 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.
Ideally, you want to be aware of when it is coming off cooldown and dump resources, using it to refill back up. If enemies are dying and the Predator effect is in play, be aware that you have a much larger Energy pool than it looks like because you can use this freely to keep generating resources. When playing with Raging Fury, in some circumstances, you can also run into the cooldown coming back up with the original buff still active, and in these cases, drain your Energy and recast it as soon as possible.
Using Berserk Correctly
Berserk now grants passive Combo Point generation while active. It also has an overflow mechanic to refresh up to 3 Combo Points generated over the cap, meaning that you have some spare room to generate without wasting any. That means during your windows, you should always be aiming to reach 5 Combo Points without fear of burning any up, but also aware that there will be a slow trickle of passive Combo Points throughout the window. This overflow room also gives more chances to refresh Bloodtalons without wasting resources, so take advantage of the flexibility. Finally, Rip should still be maintained as a priority, and any Sudden Ambush procs should be used to maintain buffed Rakes when possible, as it no longer counts as stealth, but does amplify your Rake damage even further.
Thrash is generally avoided in this window unless you specifically need it to trigger Bloodtalons. Thanks to Berserk: Heart of the Lion, you should realistically have at least a 2-minute cycle (sometimes lower) depending on your talent choices or the situation, so plan around this and avoid wasting uses, as it provides a huge damage increase when active.
Bleed & DoT Uptime
The most common mistake 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. 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. Ideally, you should plan around when you expect them to fall off rather than reacting to the duration ending. Addons can be very helpful in tracking this, and we have some options on our dedicated page.
Remember that if you expect a long downtime period due to upcoming mechanics, you should aim to refresh 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 your resources to regenerate during your time away from the target.
If you take Bloodtalons, it heavily emphasizes 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, Moonfire 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 ensure 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 a reasonable time but cannot be relied upon, so you need to assume you need enough resources to manually cast all 3 builders in quick succession. As it generates 3 charges, it is fairly lenient, allowing you to plan a few cycles ahead and predict when you will need to prioritize generating charges overspending them.
Knowing How to Sim Yourself
It is challenging to optimize your character without first accurately using Raidbots to sim your own character to identify a fixed start point. This will allow you to quickly determine 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 simulating your character using the website.
- 06 Nov. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.2, small adjustment to Energy section.
- 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7, no changes necessary.
- 10 Jul. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.5, small wording adjustments.
- 01 May 2023: Updated for Patch 10.1 with new Berserk changes and Blootalons notes.
- 20 Mar. 2023: Reviewed and updated for Patch 10.0.7.
- 24 Jan. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.0.5.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 1.
- 28 Nov. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight launch.
- 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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