Tag Archives: feral druid

Evaluating Feral Druid Tanks with World of Logs

This is another guest post by my guildmate Jaymz.  He wrote about how to evaluate feral kitties a little while ago, and now he’s taking a look at Bears. Rawr. My full guide on evaluating raiders (especially healers) with WoL can be found here.

Here are the things you should be looking for when evaluating Bear tanks.

Debuffs Applied

First things to look at is the player Details Page, under the Buffs Cast tab.

You need to know which buffs/debuffs the Bear is responsible for bringing. I’ll write this as if the Bear must bring all their own debuffs but I’ll do my best to describe those which can be brought by others to possibly maximize your raid.
Also be aware if the Bear is the main tank or the off-tank. If only one tank is needed for a phase of a fight, is it the Bear tanking or did the Bear become a Kitty for some extra DPS? If the Bear becomes a Cat, that will obviously cause some changes to happen in buff and debuff uptimes. I will write this as if the Bear is the main tank.

World of Logs - Feral bear debuffs cast

Faerie Fire
This should be cast early and stacked to three and should have close to 100% uptime (on boss/main target). It can be applied to multiple targets when necessary. It is on the spell hit table and Bears are not going to get spell hit cap for this one ability so some down time is okay, but not a lot. Some Bears will spec to apply all three stacks with one button, some won’t, it really depends on the other players in the raid. For example if there were a Feral Kitty in the raid, it would be beneficial for the Kitty to be the one to apply FF. This way the Bear could spec into another talent and use those GCDs for other (more damaging, higher threat) moves.

Mangle
This should have close to 100% uptime, it is a Bear’s 1# ability in terms of threat, damage, and overall utility. The only reason not to have high uptime is if another person like a Sub Rogue or Arms Warrior is also applying the debuff repeatedly. Feral Kitties shouldn’t interfere with this, since they should simply drop mangle from their rotation if there is a Bear in the raid.

Lacerate
This also should have high uptime, it is stacked to 3 and then spent on Pulverize (more on that later), its ticks allow Berserk to proc (also more on that later). This is a Bears filler ability.

Thrash
While this is an AoE bleed it hits hard enough that it should be used in single target rotation as well. It has a 6 second cooldown and the bleed lasts for 6 seconds so you might expect this to have extremely high uptime. However, there are other higher priority moves and procs that will cause uptime to be much lower. In my experience, somewhere between 40-60% uptime is a good number to look/shoot for. The higher the better, provided all other debuffs are maintained. Also if your Bear goes Cat, Thrash is Bear only, so that will drastically reduce Thrash uptime.

Demoralizing Roar
This should have high uptime but if you have a co-tank they too will bring this debuff in some form (Demo Shout, Vindication, Scarlet Fever). It can be applied from Warlock’s Curse of Weakness and some hunter pets also. Know your raid, Paladin tanks for example apply this without extra button presses, if your co-tank is a Paladin there is little need to use this if you are on the same target, but if you aren’t on the same target or if you are solo tanking, this falls on the Bear to keep it applied.

Infected Wounds
If specced into this, it will automatically apply and should have uptime equal to that spent attacking the target. This buff is brought by many other specs as well and is an excellent place to drop talent points if one of those other specs are in your raid. Frost and Blood DKs, Prot Paladins, and Prot Warriors all bring this debuff, as can DPS Shaman and some hunter pets. Again know your raid and work together to maximize your debuffs and minimize overlap.

Growl
Bear taunt, only matters if there is a mechanic that should be tank swapped for or you have DPS dying by pulling aggro.

If the Bear goes Cat at any point during the fight you might also see a new Mangle here along with other Kitty debuffs, refer to the Kitty evaluation guide for that information and cross-reference with the time your Bear was in Cat form under the Buffs section on this tab. That said, the most important one is Mangle and the two (Bear+Cat) combined should have as close as possible to 100% uptime, while keeping in mind the specifics listed above regarding Mangle.

Any other debuffs (Temporal Displacement, Exhaustion, Fiery Claws -2 T12-, etc.) are not controlled by the Bear.

Buffs Cast

Things like Leader of the Pack, Bear Form, Cat Form, Furor and Master Shapeshifter will usually only show up on World of Logs, if the Druid is changing forms during the encounter and can mostly be ignored, unless the druid is shifting more than they should be.

Feral Bear buffs cast - World of Logs

Savage Defense
While the Bear will not have control over how much uptime this has during the fight, there are things they can do with gear to make this buff stronger. Think of Savage Defense as you would Block for a plate wearing tank. The higher the amount of procs the better. Getting 2 T13 is a huge benefit to the uptime/chance to proc of this buff (provided Pulverize uptime is maintained).

Pulverize
You want extremely high uptime on this, and with 2 T13 you really want extremely high uptime on this, as it roughly doubles the chance to proc SD. However if the Bear spends any time in Cat Form the uptime will drop since it is a Bear-only ability so adjust for that when evaluating.

Berserk
You should see two of these listed for Bears, one is a player activated damage/threat increasing CD (3min CD, 15sec duration). The other is a proc generated by Lacerate’s ticks. The activated CD should be used early and whenever off of cooldown, or during times when the boss is taking extra damage (Zon’ozz, Hagara, Heroism/Bloodlust/Timewarp). The proc from Lacerate’s ticks should be immediately spent on Mangle. You would need to use Expression Editor to verify the latter.

Enrage
One minute cooldown, 10 second duration.  Most Bears will use this just before the pull or just before they taunt on tank swaps. If properly specced, (1/3 into King of the Jungle) it too can/should be used during phases when the boss takes extra damage or else used when off cooldown. If the Bear is in a raid group that allows for them to spec fully 3/3 into King of the Jungle they can do even more damage during this buff.

King of the Jungle
You should see this buff as many times as you see the Enrage buff above.

Barkskin
One minute cooldown, 12 second duration. Barkskin reduces damage taken by 20% – a huge survivability tool for Bears, and should be used often. Sometimes it should be saved for when the boss is doing a larger amount of damage, but regardless should be used as much as possible while keeping in mind mechanics of the encounter.

Survival Instincts
Three minute cooldown, 12 second duration.  This reduces damage taken by 50% – another very strong survivability tool for Bears, should be saved for those times when the boss is going to really blast the tank, or if/when the healer(s) need a breather.

Frenzied Regeneration
Three minute cooldown, 20 second duration.  Increases max health by 30% and if the Bear is below 30% health will bring them up to that. This can also be used (unglyphed) to turn rage into health via a HoT, each point of rage gives .3% of max health. Under normal circumstances most Bears will Glyph this ability so that healing done to them is increased by 30% rather than Rage being converted into Health. Think of this as a last resort button. This ability is the center of the Druid 4T13 bonus and can be used amazingly to help out your raid (both glyphed and unglyphed depending on the situation). Be sure to check with your Bear and discuss if you want that cooldown glyphed or unglyphed and when to use it to its best effect.

Stampede
You should not see this buff in your Bear’s buff list. This is not a talent a Bear should take, unless they have built some kind of hybrid build so that they use one spec for both bear and kitty – but that is not what is being discussed here.

Primal Madness
See Stampede above.

Other buffs you might see here are trinkets, shapeshifting buffs, or weapon procs and are usually not in control of the Bear. If the Bear has on-use trinkets they should treat them like Barkskin and Survival Instincts. Even on-use Agility trinkets are good for Bears as survival cooldowns since Agility provides Dodge. They can also be used like Enrage and Berserk for extra Damage. It really all depends on the trinkets your Bear is using. A good tank will always have an assortment of trinkets at their disposal, knowing which to use for a specific encounter can sometimes make the difference.

The Buffs Gained tab is much like the Buffs Cast tab only with more stuff the Bear doesn’t have control over. This IS a good place to look at the debuffs they received during a fight – stacking tank debuffs for example, that need to be taunted off, or need to be allowed to drop off.

The Damage by Actor tab will help you to know if your Bear was on the correct target for the correct amount of time, as well as let you know if they might have been tanking something they shouldn’t.

Healing by Spell is where you can partially see how effective the procs of Savage Defense are. This will become even more important with that 4T13 to see if you want Frenzied Regeneration glyphed or unglyphed.

Damage by Spell – You can see uptimes for abilities here just like you can on the Buffs Cast tab. You can also check the damage abilities being used. Mangle, Maul, Melee, and Lacerate should always be near the top. Fury swipes is not something you can control and will fluctuate wildly, it’s great to have but don’t look too much into it from an evaluation standpoint. You can also see dodges, parries, and misses on the far right (you’ll probably have to scroll). Then at the bottom you can see the damage taken and its source. Did Bear die? Check the Death log to see how, then here. Check the amount of Dodges, as well as absorbs (especially those from Savage Defense).

And there you have it, the “quickie” way to evaluate your Bear tank.

One last bit of advice concerning Savage Defense, use your expression editor (spell=”Savage Defense”) and check how often it’s being applied, overwritten, etc. The one downside to Savage Defense is that it can overwrite itself, and it can overwrite with a smaller proc (thanks to Vengeance changes). Look to see if it is fading with anything remaining. Many Bears look at the uptime and the absorbs and are either discouraged or encouraged by that number, that is not the proper way to judge SD. It must be looked at in-depth to fully see and understand its benefits. Is SD being used up (fades with 0 remaining), is it being overwritten, or is it fading with full power still left on it? All of these things factor into a Bears evaluation.

Evaluating Feral Druid DPS with World of Logs

Last week I was asking around for some tips on evaluating dps classes with World of Logs and my guildmate Jaymz was kind enough to write a post on Feral Kitties which he said I could post here (thanks!). My full guide on evaluating raiders (especially healers) with WoL can be found here.

Here are the things you should be looking for when evaluating Kitties.

Debuffs Applied

First thing you do is find out what buffs they are responsible for. If there is a Bear in the raid the Kitty would not be responsible for Faerie Fire nor Mangle since the Bear would take care of those. But if there is no Bear, a Kitty should keep up Faerie Fire.

Go to the individual player’s Details page and go to the Buffs Cast tab.

World of Logs - Feral Dps Debuffs

 

 

 

Faerie Fire

This should be 99% uptime or very close to it. The only downside to Faerie Fire is that it is on the spell hit table which requires 17% hit to guarantee no misses, and no good Kitty is going to get 17% spell hit, so there are some instances where the uptime will be slightly less. You can determine if the kitty is missing or simply isn’t applying by checking the Expression Editor (spell=”Faerie Fire”). FF is on a 6 second cooldown so there shouldn’t be too much downtime regardless. A properly specced Kitty will apply all three stacks of Faerie Fire with 1 button press and it will show in the Expression Editor as such. This debuff lasts 5 minutes with one application.

Mangle

This is another debuff that should be up 95% or more of the time, if the Kitty is responsible for keeping it up. Keep in mind Arms Warriors, Sub Rogues, and Feral Bears also apply this debuff so a Kitty won’t need to use Mangle if you have one of these in the raid. This should be re-applied approximately once a minute. There is no benefit to refreshing this debuff early except when you can’t get behind the target. This debuff is extremely important to Kitty and overall raid dps and no bleed should ever be applied without this debuff on the boss.

Rake

You want Rake’s uptime to be 90% or more (great Kitties will keep it up 95% +), provided you have proper uptime on the boss. Rake lasts 15 seconds when properly specced, thus you should see applications every 12-15 secons. Due to how often Rake ticks it is accepted and recommended to refresh it with < 3 seconds remaining on the debuff, or < 7 seconds if you’ve just used Tiger’s Fury (see below). The first application of Rake will be without Tiger’s Fury, but it should be re-applied after using Tiger’s Fury the first time, and then use the rule above.

Rip

The  uptime on Rip should be 90% or more. Rip should be applied with 5 combo points and you want its first application to come after your first Tiger’s Fury so that it is buffed (All this can be checked using the expression editor timeline for the two spells). There are many outside factors that will affect Rip. Unlike most DoTs, Rip can not be re-applied with a less powerful Rip (judged by attack power and/or agility), you will get the error “A more powerful spell is already active” if you try, thus any buff that gives a temporary increase in Agility will cause Kitties to have to let Rip drop off before they can reapply a new one. This will affect the uptime. Rip can be extended by either Shred or Mangle. It starts off as a 16 second debuff but can and should be extended out to 22 seconds with Shred (or Mangle if you can’t Shred the boss). Like Rake, Rip should be refreshed with < 3 seconds remaining on the debuff when no outside buffs prevent you from doing so.

Buffs Cast

World of Logs - Feral Druid dps buffs cast

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savage Roar

Should have at least 90% uptime. There are some fight mechanics that hurt this if there are periods of downtime off the boss or the fight is extremely short. This buff is not as important as the debuffs listed above and thus should be the first to suffer when the Kitty has to change targets or move off the boss for any length of time. You want to apply this buff with 5 combo points when you can but it is not absolutely necessary, if refreshing it early with fewer will help maintain all other buffs and debuffs by all means do so. It’s the buff itself that matters not the length of the application.

Predator’s Swiftness

This buff outside of the Kitty’s control, but should have relatively (based on finishing moves used) good uptime and can be used very effectively if the kitty needs to Rebirth someone (The kitty should build 5 combos, use a finishing move – Rip, Savage Roar, Ferocious Bite – and then Rebirth on the next GCD, thus making the Rebirth an instant cast). This can be used for an emergency Healing Touch if the situation is extremely dire.

Primal Madness

This will proc anytime a Kitty uses Tiger’s Fury or Berserk. The Kitty should use up all of their energy before this buff falls off. If they don’t they are hurting themselves, because the extra energy gained disappears when the buff does.

Tiger’s Fury

Tiger’s Fury has a 30 secon cooldown and should be used on CD, always! Kitties want to do their best to apply and refresh bleeds (Rip and Rake) when this buff is active. They also want to use this just before they cast Berserk. Properly specced (King of the Jungle) a Kitty will regain 60 energy on top of Tiger’s Fury’s natural 15% damage increase. The Berserk buff itself will prevent you from using Tiger’s Fury. This, combined with the energy boost, damage increase, and timing, is why you want to use TF before Berserk. Of course you don’t want to use this when you’re already full on energy because then the 60 energy you would gain is a waste. So target switching or downtime off the boss will have some effect on TF usage. With 4 piece T13 every time TF is used the Kitty will gain the Stampede buff (see below).

Berserk

This buff makes all abilities cost half as much energy and has a 3 minute cooldown. Normally this should be used early and then again when it’s available. However, certain bosses like Zon’ozz and Hagara have phases where they take extra damage and the Kitty should use Berserk at those phases, even if it results in less uses per fight. When possible using Berserk with Heroism is also advised.

Clearcasting

Omen of Clarity procs, which make your next ability free of cost – are not controllable by the Kitty and should be used to Shred on single target or to Swipe when there are 4/5 or more targets. Some Kitties use OoC procs during Berserk and with 5 combo points on Ferocious Bite, this is perfectly acceptable and can be a dps increase as long as it doesn’t affect the uptimes of any other Buffs or Debuffs.

Barkskin

Barkskin has a 1 minute cooldown and should be used when the Kitty is taking heavy damage. Most fights have a phase or mechanic that this is saved for. If there isn’t a specific phase but there is raid-wide damage going out this should be used often.

Stampede

This buff is gained after using Feral Charge (or with 4pc T13 after using Tiger’s Fury). It allows the Kitty to use Ravage without stealth or positional requirements once within the next 8 seconds. This Ravage will also not cost any energy. More about Ravage! in the “Damage by Spell” section.

King of the Jungle

This will proc each time Tiger’s Fury is used in Cat form or Enrage is used in Bear form – divide energy gained by 60 and it should match the usage of Tiger’s Fury.

Other buffs/debuffs you might see on this tab are trinkets, weapon procs, potions, etc. If there are potions or on use trinkets listed they should be used along with other buffs like Tiger’s Fury and Berserk. In general though other things listed on the Buffs Cast tab are not controlled by the Kitty themselves.
Examples: Fiery Claws (2pc T12), Fury of the Beast, Beast Fury, Devour, Matrix Restablized, Leader of the Pack, Lightning Strike, etc.

Damage by Actor

This is where you can see if the Kitty is attacking the proper target. Due to Feral Swiftness and Feral Charge a Kitty should have good uptime on targets if they are switching when appropriate. Due to the ramp up time of Feral DPS, uptime does not translate into high DPS however, especially if the new target dies fairly quickly.

Damage by Spell

World of Logs - Feral Druid kitty damage done
Here you can see the abilities that make up the Kitty’s damage. The order that the abilities will appear will depend heavily on how the player has geared and the encounter itself. Heavy mastery gearing will result in much higher bleed damage (Rip, Rake), while Haste gearing will mean much more damage from Shred and melee. Please note that neither gearing method will always make one ability be the top damage, it will simply increase the numbers those abilities do.

Rip, Rake, and Shred should always be high on this list and things like Mangle (except on fight like Ultraxion where you can’t get behind the boss) and Ferocious Bite should be low.

World of Logs - Feral Druid dps misses

 

 

 

 

 

You can see Dodges (Do), Misses (Mi), and Parries (Pa) on the far right, if they occur. As an in general rule Parries are very bad because that means the Kitty is in front of the boss, so either the Kitty or the tank are in the wrong position. Dodges and misses are less of an issue because unlike most classes Kitty Druids aren’t GCD capped and many don’t actively seek Hit and Expertise caps. However, if the Kitty is having issues with keeping their bleed uptimes high, a quick easy fix outside of practicing the rotation is to get more Expertise and/or Hit.

On a normal boss encounter you shouldn’t see things like Ravage, Maim, Claw, or Pounce listed here unless there are unusual boss mechanics (interrupts for example). The one exception is the Ravage! that is free after using Feral Charge. This Ravage! should match the number of Stampede procs. It should be used after Tiger’s Fury when possible. However, if the Kitty has 4 piece T13, this changes. Tiger’s Fury will proc Stampede so the Ravage! from Feral Charge should be used before Tiger’s Fury, and then the new one should be used within the damage buff increase of Tiger’s Fury (6 sec duration).

There are many more ways to use World of Logs to help improve or evaluate Kitty Druids. You can use the Expression Editor to check bleed clipping and DPS CD stacking, for example. But this is the “quick” (haha) and easy way to evaluate a Kitty at a glance.

In short it’s all about UPTIME, UPTIME, UPTIME!

Everything is a Hunter Weapon

I’m having a disagreement with one of my guildmates at the moment. We’re fast approaching our first 25-man Blood Queen kill and he brought up loot priority on Blood Fall. He believes that feral druids should have priority on this (and all other staves/polearms) and hunters should come second (he’s a feral tank, I’m a MM hunter). The argument is that while a polearm is just a stat stick for a hunter, it provides a much bigger benefit to a feral bear or kitty. To which I reply “evertyhing is a hunter weapon” (no, that’s not really my argument).

Our guild doesn’t use loot priorities, per se. We have simple rules like healers don’t get hit gear over casters (yes, we have had to spell this out for people on occasion), but for the most part we let our points system speak for itself and do not dictate loot.

I think hunters and druids should have equal access to 2H weapons. Although technically it is just a stat stick, it’s still a lot of stats we’re talking about, and potentially a significant dps boost for a hunter.

What do you think? Who should get priority on 2H weapons?

For the record, I’m in no way interested in Blood Fall. Damn Blizzard for putting in two haste polearms before the Lich King (I don’t expect to see that one anytime soon).