How To Improve As Feral Druid — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Feral Druid in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.
1. 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, since Feral will have some inevitable downtime with certain talent builds, but wasting Global Cooldowns that could be filled due to poor resource management, or lack of foresight on generation, will always hurt your output. 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.
2. 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, as their use depends on the state of the other, interlinking heavily. Due to the steady rate at which Feral gains Energy with a small number of extra burst generation, you need to ideally be planning on using periods of low Energy to spend Combo Points, and vice versa whilst avoiding overcapping either at all times.
Some effects such as Omen of Clarity have the added effect of sometimes injecting additional, unpredictable Energy gains that you should ideally be creating room for, by hovering at a healthy middle ground to give room to react to them.
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 will make or break your output, so try not to over-commit to casting Shred unnecessarily if it will prevent you from doing so.
3. Tiger's Fury Usage
Making sure that you have drained your Energy just before using Tiger's Fury is a crucial component of your energy management, as it will refill half of your bar allowing you to follow it up with extra damaging abilities. This also fuels your resource for the increased damage window this provides for the next 10 seconds, so making sure that you spend as much of your available resource as possible during this on high damage abilities to optimise the gain it provides will net a big boost. Not treating Tiger's Fury as a rotational tool that needs to be set up correctly before activating, and then made use of to its fullest in the short period it is active, is an extremely common error.
4. Bleed & Buff Uptime
The largest and most common mistake that many Feral players starting out will run into, however, is maximising their Bleed and buff effect uptime. This goes hand-in-hand with the aforementioned points, and usually the cause of this is not keeping track of when you need to refresh bleeds, instead reacting to them falling off, resulting in a reduced uptime.
4.1. Damage over Time Effects
Rake is the easiest to maintain, and you should ideally be refreshing this within its pandemic window due to its cost being entirely Energy based. Paying attention to when this is about to expire and locking off a small portion of Energy to make sure you can immediately rectify this is key. Also, making sure that you synchronise this whenever possible with Tiger's Fury, usually every other refresh due to Pandemic timing, is a strong source of additional damage that is not always obvious to new players due to the snapshotting effect.
Rip, on the other hand, has a much longer duration, but a higher requirement and wind-up time to be able to apply it. This means that you should ideally be predicting your Combo Point generation, and will often be sat at max Combo Points waiting for the Pandemic threshold. This wait time will then be used to regenerate a healthy surplus of Energy to begin the generation cycle again. Much like Rake, trying to synchronise these applications with Tiger's Fury is ideal and is generally easier to do with the added duration, only desyncing once or twice over the course of an encounter with perfect management. Lastly, making sure that you apply a fully buffed Rip with Tiger's Fury, and Bloodtalons if taken, as the target drops below 25% is very important and something many players miss. Once this is done, Ferocious Bite usurps Rip in the rotation and will refresh the fully buffed effect, as long as the target remains below this percent with each cast.
If taking Lunar Inspiration, this operates in a very similar way to Rake, in that it is an Energy spender that leaves a DoT effect that must be maintained. When you have both of these to juggle, you should ideally be trying to have a small gap between the refresh requirements to make it less hectic to refresh the entire set of effects, but this is not always possible. This is the easiest effect to keep active due to the range and capitalising upon this if you are ever out of range will help a lot too.
Finally, remember that at all times, if you predict a long period of downtime on a target due to mechanics or being forced out of range, refreshing a full set of builders on a target is almost always going to net you an increase in damage to allow for a full cycle to deal damage whilst you are otherwise indisposed.
4.2. Savage Roar
When using Savage Roar this creates another maintenance buff similar in cost to Rip, however it is a buff on you. Players should be aware that the effect updates dynamically, so you are not strictly required to have it active when you refresh Bleeds, but should make sure instead that you are as close to 100% uptime as possible. This has a longer duration than Rip, but sometimes will line up and it should be remembered that applying Rip will always take precedent because this can be applied quickly after. Always try to predict when this will need refreshing based on your resource state, because downtime can have a significant impact on currently applied effects.
4.3. Predatory Swiftness Use with Bloodtalons
When taking Bloodtalons, often the hardest thing for players to adjust to is the slightly altered way in which you manage your Combo Points. You are strongly encouraged to have a healthy amount of Energy generation allowed before spending, and then quickly generating Combo Points back up to five and consuming the Predatory Swiftness effect to trigger Bloodtalons. You will then use these charges on a finisher (usually Rip or Ferocious Bite), and then either refreshing Rake or a boosted Shred.
Making sure that you are not forced to consume the short duration Predatory Swiftness buff to trigger Bloodtalons before being at max Combo Points is crucial to using Bloodtalons correctly. Also, remember that the Bloodtalons buff lasts for a full 30 seconds, allowing you to apply it and then wait again for some Energy generation without fear of losing it. Conversely, the Predatory Swiftness effect only lasts 12 seconds, so making sure that you consume this before it expires is very important. Remembering that sometimes you can be limited by Energy; therefore, this 12-second window to fill a Combo Point bar can sometimes be tight without Primal Fury, so will require your full focus when learning the talent.
5. 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.
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