Ferals, with two roles smushed into a single specialization, are the strongest hybrid in the game. To make the most of your chosen feral spec, you should learn how to play both cat form and bear form to the best of your ability.
I spend about half my progression raids as cat, half as bear. While I think part of this is due to my guild’s Divine Guardian guilt (“we really like bears, but Divine Guardian is just so overpowered that we’re forced to use two paladin tanks; here, have a dps cookie”), it’s unmistakeable that bears bring the best off tank dps around. Bear and cat specs are nearly identical, and their gear is interchangeable. Holding your own as a bear-cat hybrid will take some extra gold and preparation, but the end result is that you become invaluable to your guild as both a tank and damage dealer.
The newest PTR has been released, and so far things are looking good. First off, here are the patch notes as relating to druids.
Many crowd control abilities no longer cause creatures to attack players when they are cast. The creature will not attack the player when the crowd control wears off, and nearby creatures will not become hostile to the player either. However, if a visible player gets too close to the target creature, the creature will remember and attack the player when the crowd control effect wears off. The intent is to make it easier for dungeon groups to manage crowd control assignments and pulling packs of hostile NPCs. The abilities affected by this change are: Hibernate, Entangling Roots, Wyvern Sting (will still cause hostility when it begins to deal damage), Freezing Trap, Polymorph, Repentance, Shackle Undead, Blind, Hex, Bind Elemental, Banish, Seduction.
I started out my MMOing career with free-to-play games, commonly abbreviated as f2p. Actually, it probably went more like chat rooms -> Neopets -> free MMOs, but I’m not here to talk about internet creepers or angel paintbrushes. I think I started playing MMOs about a year before WoW came out, and then well into the first two years of its existence. The last two years of high school were spent with my face buried in a CRT monitor, burning away six to eight hours a day grinding in these games (high school is a weird time for most people). Thanks to that, I’d like to think I know (or knew) a bit about hardcore f2p MMOs.
Lots of good things are happening for ferals. I already wrote up an in-depth summary for changes to bears. All my guides and tank comparisons have been updated for 4.1 as well. Here’s a nice little list for all types of ferals (bear, kitty, pvp) so that you won’t forget to do some important things now that the patch has dropped.
Even with the upcoming changes to Swipe, I still believe that bears are way too weak at low levels. Their passive and active defenses are frighteningly low, and they have very few tools to do the job until later in the game. In this post I will compare the rate druids learn tanking skills to the rate other tanks learn them, and show exactly where low level druids fall behind.
Do you ever feel bad for the bosses you ruthlessly slaughter each and every week? I started thinking about this while we were waiting to pull Atramedes. This blind dragon has quite a history. In case you haven’t seen his introduction, here’s a youtube video and a transcript:
Today I’m going to look at tanking cooldowns. This is not supposed to be an argument over who has the best cooldowns or who is overpowered or blah blah blah. This is a learning exercise so that everyone can better understand their tanking teams. Remember that cooldowns are not balanced in a vacuum; Blizzard takes everything into account when they balance tanks, not just your damage reduction cooldowns.
Bears are pretty special. They’re so different than the shield tanks that it’s hard to understand just how special. Here’s my list of things other people should know about bears so that they will know how to use them well or help their raid’s bears improve. This list gets more and more detailed and complicated the further you read, so if you feel like you understand “enough”, you don’t need to read the whole thing.