Version with pictures and better formatting:
Disclaimer: If you expect me to tell you how bad druids are in TBC and how shitty feral DPS is, I am sorry, but I will not do that since it’s simply wrong. :P Druids have a lot of different specs and all of them CAN be viable in the right situation. Ferals make awesome offtanks and are the preferred tanks in some fights. Cat gameplay requires a lot of attention, “skill”, knowledge and gear, but can do really good DPS if played properly. If you don’t believe me, just keep reading and try it out yourself.
This guide is meant to be for completely new players as well as veterans who just want to read up on some things. I chose to just write down my thoughts and experiences on various things instead of doing lots of math, which would be ugly to read and boring. If you are looking for formulas and the calculations behind all the things check out the EJ threads linked at the bottom.
If you have any suggestions or critique feel free to tell me.
Thanks for reading and have fun playing Druid! :)
AA = Auto Attack
Agi = Agility
AoE = Area of Effect
AP = Attack Power
AR = Arcane Resistance
BIS = Best in Slot
BoE = Bind on Equip
BoK = Blessing of Kings
BoM = Blessing of Might
BoP = Bind on Pickup
Battle Res / Brez = Rebirth
CD = Cooldown
CP = Combo Point
DPS = Damage per Second / a damage dealer in a group or raid
DoT = Damage over Time
EJ = Elitist Jerks
Exa = Exalted
FF = Faerie Fire
FR = Fire Resistance / Frost Resistance (context)
Fri = Friendly
GCD = Global Cooldown
Hc = Heroic Difficulty
HoT = Heal over Time
Hon = Honored
HP = Health Points
Int = Intelligence
MP5 = Mana per 5 seconds
MOTW = Mark of the Wild
NE = Nightelf
NR = Nature Resistance
PvE = Player vs Environment
PvP = Player vs Player
Rep = Reputation
Res = Resilience / Resistance (context)
Rev = Revered
Spec = Talent Specialization
Spi = Spirit
SR = Shadow Resistance
Stam = Stamina
Str = Strength
Faction / Race
Only Night Elves on Alliance and Taurens on Horde can be Druids.
You should choose whatever you like!
I don’t think any of the races has a clear advantage over the other, both have their pros and cons.
If you just look at endgame PvE relevant abilities Night Elves get +1% dodge and Taurens get +5% more Health. Both are decent passives for tanking. Both get Nature Resistance which can be helpful for Hydross in SSC if you are the NR tank.
All the other Racials are either just Quality of Life abilities or mostly useful in PvP.
Druid is rather easy to level and most importantly it’s fun. :) The easiest spec to level a druid with is Feral. Energy and Rage replenish themselves without drinking and you can use your mana to heal yourself whenever you get low.
Travel Form at level 30 is good and FREE normal Flight Form at 68 is just awesome (you save 1000 gold). Being able to stealth doesn’t hurt either and will make some quests (especially if you’re solo) a lot easier.
You should have a rather easy time finding dungeons while leveling, since you can either play DPS or just hop into Bear Form and tank.
My current talents:
I think a hybrid spec in which you can go either Cat or Bear is the best, because it allows you to be a tank in the fights that need it and do decent DPS otherwise. You don’t really lose anything relevant for either spec by doing it like this.
Most choices should be obvious and I’m gonna say something to all those that are not.
If I had more points I would most likely put them here but with 61 points it just doesn’t make the cut. There are not many situations where you want to use Ferocious Bite and I don’t think it’s worth it just for the increased AP reduction. Most of the time you will have a Warrior tank with you, who can use his Demo shout, which does more than your Roar no matter if you spec into it or not.
Really useful, gives you some mobility and helps on bosses that knock you back or when you have an enemy running towards your healer. Also the spell interrupt can actually be useful in PvE too, you can use it against for example Shade of Aran, Magtheridon trash, TK trash and many enemies in dungeons. It can also be used to avoid fall damage.
I tried out 3/3 Primal Tenacity and no points in Intensity for a while but I could really feel the difference in longer fights as Cat, so I went back to 2/3 here and 1/3 Intensity. There are quite a few stuns and fears even in PvE and it helps with those.
It just feels too good to be the only melee not running from an AOE fear of the boss. :)
Improved Mark of the Wild
In raids you should have a Resto or Balance druid buffing MotW and Furor is one of the most important talents for Feral.
This talent alone enables “Powershifting”, probably the most important aspect of Cat gameplay. More about that later.
Helps “Powershifting” a lot.
The instant rage on Enrage does not hurt and the mana regeneration makes a small but notable difference in longer fights as Cat, so I think one point here is worth it.
Depending on your usual raid/group composition and your personal preference you can swap around some of the talents i mentioned. For example if you always have a retribution paladin in your raids, you might want to drop Intensity, since his Judgement of Wisdom should provide you with more than enough mana. In conclusion I would suggest to just play around with it and try different things until you have found whatever suits your needs best.
Mechanics, Stats and Gameplay
For tanking your most important stats are Defense Rating, Stamina, Agility and Armor. First of all you want to get to 415 Defense Rating resulting in 2.60 % reduced chance to get crit (assuming you have 3/3 Survival of the Fittest, which you absolutely should have), which means you won’t get crit anymore by mobs up to level 73 (that’s the highest monster level you will encounter, Bosses = level 73). You can also replace some of the Defense with Resilience, just make sure you have at least 2.60 % reduced chance to get crit.
Once you are at the Def cap, you really don’t want any more Def. Compared to Warriors or Paladins the only thing that Def over the cap offers you is a slightly higher chance for mobs to miss you, which is definitely not worth it over other stats.
The way you mitigate dmg as a tank is through high armor, a high hp pool and A LOT of dodge. Bears don’t get Block or Parry, which means you pretty much will never be uncrushable (meaning your total mitigation (Miss, Dodge, Parry and Block) is over 100%), but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a great tank. Your high armor and HP will counteract it, at least in earlier raid tiers.
Your threat generation is based of raw AP (Strength) and high amounts of Crit. Crits will also generate you rage (Primal Fury) and heal you (Improved Leader of the Pack). Considering these factors this is how you should prioritize stats on your gear:
During earlier parts of the endgame (like T4 and earlier) Stamina and Armor are the best stats you can get for tanking. The better your gear gets the better Agility becomes, because it’s giving you a lot of Dodge and Crit. Once your health pool becomes big enough you will prioritize Agi more and more. I personally feel comfortable with around 18k-20k HP fully buffed in Bear Form. (Of course your HP will be lower if you just started out with raiding)
The good Bear items will have a lot of armor naturally and they way your Bear Form works will make rings and trinkets with armor very, very good for tanking. For example the rings you get from Violet Eye Rep and Magtheridon’s Head are BIS for a long time. You probably have already heard of “Badge of Tenacity” one of the best Bear items in the expansion, because of its high armor and very good active.
Sadly Bears have unlike Warriors pretty much no good defensive cooldowns, so trinkets with good actives like Badge or the Pocketwatch (from Karazhan) are very good and can help you a lot in hairy situations.
Having some Strength, Hit or Expertise on items will buff your threat output and since your role in fights will often require you to do good threat (for example as Gruul offtank or Voidreaver tank) those stats definitely have value for you too.
Earthwarden (from exalted Cenarion Expedition Rep) is pretty much the signature Bear Weapon and farming the rep for it should be one of your first goals once you hit 70.
Don’t forget the ability to replace Def with Resilience, it can help out with gearing a lot. Timelapse Shard from Exalted Keepers of Time Rep is REALLY GOOD and PvP Bracers make a great tanking item. (If you have Timelapse Shard equipped you only need 400(!) instead of 415 defense)
The best stats for Cat are Agility, Strength and Hit Rating. Compared to other classes Hit isn’t that important, because you get most of your energy back when you miss a yellow attack (80% to be precise). Generally you still want to reach Hit Cap (the point at which more Hit won’t do anything for you), which should be rather easy because a lot of the gear you want has Hit on it, with better gear your problem often will be too much Hit.
Hit Cap for Cat is 142 Hit Rating or 9%.I personally try to be around 8%+ because in raids I will have a draenei (racial Hit aura) in my group almost always and in dungeons there are no mobs higher than level 72 (except one boss in hc BM). If you are a fresh 70 your first goal should be reach Hit Cap to smooth out gameplay.
After that your most important stat by far is Agility. One point of Agility gives you one AP and around 0.04% Crit, almost as much Crit as one point of Crit Rating. One point of Strength gives you two AP and because of Blessing of Kings (+10% all stats) you generally want Strength over pure AP if it’s equal (for example you can choose between +10 Str or +20 AP, you should always choose +10 Strength).
Generally you want “white stats” over “green stats”, meaning preferably you want Agi and Str over AP and Crit Rating.
Expertise is a decent stat for cat as well, but since it’s the same s Hit (you get most of your energy back if one of your attacks get dodged) you shouldn’t go out of your way to get it and sadly pre T6 gear doesn’t have a lot of pieces with expertise on it.
You shouldn’t have to worry about getting Stam since most of the gear you want should have Stam naturally. In my opinion having at least 8k+ HP buffed is a good value to go for.
Your most important abilities while being a Bear are Mangle, Swipe, Lacerate and Maul. To generate the most threat possible you should use Mangle every time the CD is up and should use Lacerate and Swipe depending on the situation. Swipe scales with AP and most of the threat of Lacerate is static. That means Swipe will get better the better your gear gets.
As a fresher 70 Swipe is probably only worth it for 3+ mobs. If you tank 2 mobs you should be spreading Lacerates between them. If you have the rage for it you should always be using Maul on every attack. See the Macros section for an easy way to do that.
Most of your other Bear abilities are useful too.
Faerie Fire is a great ability for pulling mobs and should be kept up on enemies if there’s no one else casting it (Balance Druid).
Growl and Feral Charge are your abilities for when you lose aggro on a mob or have to chase one. Growl only has a 10 second CD, so you shouldn’t be afraid to use it. Feral Charge is great for closing distance and can be used to prevent fall damage if mobs throw you far in the air. It also can be used to interrupt spells, which isn’t that relevant, but can be helpful sometimes. Bash can be used if you lose aggro on something and have Growl on CD. (Most mobs especially in raid are immune to it though.)
You have Enrage to generate a little bit of rage which should be used before pulls. To help with AoE pulls “pre-hotting” yourself should also be done. (Meaning you put Heal over Time spells on yourself before pulling, for example Lifebloom and Rejuvenation.)
You have Demoralizing Roar which is pretty much the same as the Warrior Demo Shout, but weaker. They don’t stack, so when you have a Warrior in your raid there’s no reason to use it (unless you are tanking different targets far away from each other of course).
Finally your “CDs” are Challenging Roar and Frenzied Regeneration. Challenging Roar is just an AoE taunt with a long cooldown and can be used in “OH SHIT moments”. Frenzied Regeneration doesn’t do much and you shouldn’t rely on it to save you, but it is better than nothing and can be used in dangerous situations to help the healers.
Always try to make sure that all mobs you are tanking are attacking you from the front otherwise you won’t be able to dodge. If there are mobs that can knock you back, make sure you have a wall or something behind you.
Try getting used to pre-hotting yourself before pulling especially for larger packs and make sure you have thorns up. Those small things can help a lot in the first seconds of a pull, which are usually the most dangerous.
Get used to switching between targets for spreading Lacerate and Auto Attacks. This will help you a lot with AoE threat and will keep your healer happy/alive. I personally use Omen for single target threat and DiamondThreatMeter just for the AoE threat window.
If your tank target is dead and you are switching to Cat Form for the rest of the fight, make sure to swap your weapon and idol to you dps items. (You can swap weapons and relics while in combat.) Won’t make much of a difference, but in tough fights every little bit can help.
Your most important abilities while being a Cat are Mangle, Shred and Rip. Your general gameplan is to always keep Mangle up (12 second debuff), then use Shred until 5 Combo Points and then use Rip (it doesn’t hurt much to use Rip at 4 CPs, since most of its damage comes from AP scaling, but generally i often have more CPs than i need to keep Rip up permanently, so there’s no reason to not use it at 5, this might be different if your gear isn’t decent yet), if Rip is still up keep using Shred until Rip falls off. Having multiple Feral Druids means only one has to keep Mangle up, if you have a Bear tank Mangle should be always up and Cats shouldn’t have to worry about it.
The only other things you have to worry about in PvE are keeping Faerie Fire up if there are no other druids doing it and focusing on correctly Powershifting, see below.
Cower can be used if you are getting to close in threat, but you should not rely on it, it doesn’t do much and has a 10 second CD.
Ferocious Bite can be useful for solo farming to finish off mobs, that would die to fast for Rip to be worth it. Even on bleed immune mobs you should just keep shredding and not use Ferocious Bite, since Shred does pretty much the same damage and usually costs less energy (because of Bite taking all energy you currently have).
Most other abilities don’t have much use in PvE. Tiger’s Fury, Rake and Maim are pretty much useless since their damage/effect isn’t worth spending the energy/GCD/CPs.
Dash can be helpful if you need the mobility (for example if you’re a platform tank on Al’ar and need to run up fast), but generally doesn’t have much use.
Lastly you have Prowl plus your two stealth openers Ravage and Pounce. Those are pretty much only relevant in solo gameplay and don’t really bring much to a group or raid. If you’re opening a fight in stealth, make sure to not make the life of your tank harder than necessary by stunning something with Pounce when your tank wants to move it.
Never attack a mob from the front unless you 100% know what you are doing. By attacking from the front you 1. Reduce your own DPS by allowing the mob to parry you and 2. Increase the damage on the tank by allowing the mob to parry you. (Parrying an attack gives mobs “bonus haste” basically increasing the speed of his next attack, which can result in a lot of burst damage on the tank.)
Practice Powershifting! WIth the Macros at the bottom it gets a bit easier, but you still should be comfortable without them and know how it works.
Make sure you always can clearly see the debuff timers of your Mangle, Rip and FF. Managing your debuffs is a big part of maximizing your DPS. Also be aware of your Combo Points. (I set up Parrot to give me a big warning and a sound when I’m at 5 CPs.)
Two pieces of Tier 4 (2pT4) is REALLY, REALLY GOOD! It’s so good you shouldn’t even think about replacing it before getting T6 gear. The best slots for T4 pieces are Helm and Shoulders generally, but depending on what gear you have available this can vary.
“Powershifting” is arguably the most important aspect of Cat gameplay. The idea is, that with 5/5 Furor (see talents) you get 40 “free” energy every time you shift into cat. (You lose all of the energy you had left when shifting out of Cat obviously) You don’t have any other ways of generating energy except for natural regeneration and procs from Omen of Clarity or 2pT4, so if you wouldn’t use Powershifting you pretty much would just sit there and autoattack, waiting for energy regeneration.
Instead you shift out of Cat Form (which doesn’t use a GCD since you simply remove the buff from you) and shift right into Cat Form again. There’s a macro to do that for you instantly. By doing that when you’re low on energy you basically use a GCD and some mana to gain energy. More energy means more Shreds, means more damage. You will notice a pretty huge difference in DPS between a Druid who is Powershifting and a Druid who is not doing it.
This is also the reason why some mana or mana regeneration isn’t the worst for Cat, for example Judgement of Wisdom from Paladins can help you out a lot. (You still gain mana while in Cat or Bear Form.)
Your Role in a Group or Raid
One of the biggest advantages of being a Feral Druid is that you are a very good tank AND a good DPS at the same time with the same spec. (You will carry a lot of gear around with you)
Furthermore you bring some awesome utility and buffs for your group/raid. Mark of the Wild is a buff that everyone wants (in a raid you’re usually not the one buffing it, it should be done by a Balance or Resto druid, because of Impr MotW talent), Thorns are helpful for the tanks and Rebirth (Battle Res) is just really good.
You also have Innervate, which is really good on long fights, Hibernate, which is a decent CC and you can remove poisons and curses if there is no one else to do it. (It costs you a lot of mana and 2 GCDs)
Other physical DPS will be happy about Faerie Fire (even more so if you have Balance Druid to do it) and Rogues and Warriors will thank you for Mangle.
Generally you have a support role in raid, so your group should be determined by whoever can benefit the most from your Leader of the Pack aura. Usually this will be the melee group (Enh Shamans, Rogues and Warriors) or the Hunter group (Hunters, Shaman), for example 3 Hunters + 1 Shaman + 1 Feral Druid is one of the strongest DPS groups you can have in a raid in TBC.
Of course if you are tanking and feel like you need extra toughness it’s perfectly fine to be in the tank group (usually has something like a Shaman, Resto Druid, Pala with Devo Aura or a Warrior doing Commanding Shout).
Feel free to pick whatever you like. I’m gonna list all that are directly beneficial in some way. My current professions are Leatherworking and Enchanting.
You can craft some gear for yourself while leveling, you can get Drums, which are awesome, and you can wear the Primalstrike set from Elemental Leatherworking. There will be some cool recipes available in later content (T5 boot recipes and more in T6) as well. For T4 content the Primalstrike set is BIS for Cat DPS.
Leatherworkers also make the Clefthoof Set which is a really great set for starting out as a tank once you hit 70, but you don’t have to be a leatherworker to wear it.
When to break Primalstrike
Simply put you want to break your Primalstrike set as soon as your combined upgrades of chest, wrists and belt give you more values than +40 AP. This will most likely happen once you start getting gear from T5 raids.
The crafted belt “Belt of the Deep Shadows” (recipe drops in T5 raids and requires Nether Vortices) is a big upgrade over the Primalstrike Belt, so this one alone might be enough reason to break the set. Other items which might be a reason to break Primalstrike are “Vambraces of Ending” from High Astromancer Solarian (T5) or “Shadowprowler’s Chestguard” (crafted, recipe from Violet Eye rep, from a later patch).
Enchanting basically gives you +8 all stats through ring enchants, but it also gives you the ability to disenchant items and since feral druid is one of the best classes to solo run level 60 dungeons (I can solo every level 60 dungeon except UBRS and can even do Ramparts solo), it is really nice to be able to disenchants all the BOP items you find. It’s also nice to not have to ask a guildmate / look for an enchanter every time you get an upgrade that needs to be enchanted.
There is also a +2 weapon damage enchant for rings, which DOES work in Cat form, but it only provides a very small raw dps increase over +4 stats and +4 stats also gives you Stam, Int and more Crit, so in my opinion +4 stats is the way to go.
Since we don’t have goggles in our patch yet i never thought about going engineering. Depending if the patch you play on might have goggles available, which will make engineering a pretty good choice. (Goggles are really good.) You also get two +45 Stam trinkets which are especially good on a newer character.
Jewelcrafting gives you access to unique epic jewels and some decent trinkets, which are not bad, but also not that great. Also since gem recipes are really rare, you most likely still will be dependent on other JCs to get all the gems you need. But if you’re playing on a fresh server and are one of the first players to get a specific cut you can make a lot of money with that.
Druids make excellent characters for gathering professions because of Epic Flight Form. Herbalism / Skinning is a very popular combination and can be a decent way to make money or farm mats for your own use.
Farming Reputations is a big part of TBC endgame. You need Revered with Honor Hold/Thrallmar, Cenarion Expedition, Lower City, Keepers of Time and The Sha’tar for their respective heroic dungeons. Furthermore there are a lot of useful items, enchants and recipes available from various factions. Pretty much all the factions have a lot of recipes available for different professions, so depending on yours all the factions might be useful. I will only list factions which offer other things as well.
The Aldor / The Scryers:
Shoulder enchants (normal version at Hon, better version at Exa)
Ashtongue Deathsworn: (not in the game yet on our server)
Class trinkets (at Exa)
Earthwarden! (at Exa)
Cat head enchant (at Rev)
LW: Clefthoof Set (at Fri and Hon) and Bear leg enchants (normal version at Hon, better version at Exa)
Haramad’s Bargain (at Exa)
Honor Hold / Thrallmar:
LW: Cat leg enchants (normal version at Hon, better version at Exa)
Keepers of Time:
Timelapse Shard (at Exa)
Bear head enchant (at Rev)
Shapeshifter’s Signet (at Exa)
Cat head enchant (at Rev)
Netherwing: (not in the game yet on our server)
Ogri’la: (not in the game yet on our server)
Crystalforged Trinket (at Rev)
Shard-bound Bracers (at Exa)
The Scale of the Sands: (not in the game yet on our server)
A’dal’s Command (at Exa)
LW: Drums of Battle (at Hon)
The Violet Eye:
If you are looking for specific items for different slots check out the list linked at the bottom.
As a general advice you should keep all the Idols you get as quest rewards, notably Idol of the Wild, from a group quest in HFP. There are not that many different Idols in the game and few of them are good, for example on our current patch right now my tanking Idol is “Idol of Brutality” from Stratholme. With later patches a lot of good Idols get added to the game, for example the Idol from the Epic Flight Form quest chain or the Idols you can buy from badges.
I’m going to list my current Idols for patch 2.0
“Idol of Brutality”
“Everbloom Idol” for group play
“Idol of the Wild” for solo farming
Notable Idols in later patches are:
“Idol of Terror”
“Idol of the Raven Goddess”
“Idol of the White Stag”
“Glyph of the Defender” +16 Def, +17 Dodge (Keepers of Time: Revered) for Bear
“Glyph of Ferocity” +34 AP, +16 Hit (Cenarion Expedition: Revered) for Cat
“Glyph of the Outcast” +17 Str, + 16 Int (Lower City: Revered) for Cat if you’re hit capped.
If you’re playing on a later patch “Glyph of the Gladiator” (Shattered Sun Offensive: Revered) is definitely something you should consider for Bear.
“Greater Inscription of the Knight” +15 Def, +10 Dodge for Bear
“Greater Inscription of the Blade” +20 AP, +15 Crit for Cat
The scryer enchant is a little bit better for Bear, because you’re not going to have a lot of defense if you go for full T4. (which I recommend doing)
If you are Aldor you obviously pick the Aldor equivalents, but I prefer Scryer because of the extra Def it gives and if you’re going for full T4 (T5) you will be happy about every bit extra Def you can get, since T4 (as well as T5) gear has no Def on it. The Aldor Cat enchant might give a little bit more damage than the Scryer one, but it’s not worth it to lose the Scryer tank enchant for it in my opinion.
Also Scryer Elevator > Aldor Elevator :) and there is a repair guy right outside the scryer inn.
“Enchant Chest - Exceptional Stats” +6 all stats for Bear (There might be situations in which using +15 resilience to chest is worth it, but generally you don’t want to use that and it might also be hard to find on a fresh server since it’s a world drop.)
“Enchant Chest - Exceptional Stats” +6 all stats for Cat
“Enchant Bracer - Fortitude” +12 Stam for Bear
“Enchant Bracer - Brawn” +12 Str for Cat
“Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility” +15 Agi for Bear
“Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility” +15 Agi for Cat
“Nethercleft Leg Armor” +40 Stam, +12 Agi for Bear
“Nethercobra Leg Armor” +50 AP, +12 Crit for Cat
Leg enchants are made by Leatherworkers, there are also “smaller” ones available, which cost less mats and might be useful on equipment you are going to replace quickly.
“Boar’s Speed” +9 Stam, Minor Speed for Bear
“Cat’s Swiftness” +6 Agi, Minor Speed for Cat
You always want one source of minor speed somewhere on your gear. In most fights in dungeons and raids moving around will be an important part of the fight. The little bit extra movement speed helps A LOT, it might make the difference between you dying, cause you couldn’t run out fast enough, or you surviving. The most reliable ways to get Minor Speed are meta gems and boot enchants and you don’t want to give up your meta gem in either tanking or dps gear, so boot enchant is the way to go.
You only will have access to ring enchants if you’re an enchanter!
“Enchant Ring - Stats” +4 all stats for Bear
“Enchant Ring - Stats” +4 all stats for Cat
For Cat the +2 weapon damage enchant will give you a tiny bit more dps (Yes, +weapon damage on your gear except your weapon does work in Cat form), but in my opinion it is better to use +4 all stats for the extra Stam, the extra crit chance and the extra Int.
“Enchant 2H Weapon - Major Agility” +35 Agi for Bear
“Enchant 2H Weapon - Major Agility” +35 Agi for Cat
You will always use a 2h weapon and the only enchants that do anything for druids are the +Agi enchants, so there’s simply no other choice here. (Enchants like Mongoose don’t work when you’re shape shifted, since they are on your weapon and you don’t use your weapon to attack when you are in Bear or Cat form)
There are epic versions for all the gems I am talking about, but those only become available in T6 and are mostly the same, so I am not going into detail about those (yet).
Usually the most valuable gems for Bear are Stam (Solid Star of Elune, +12 Stam) or Agi (Delicate Living Ruby, +8 Agi). The better your gear becomes the better Agi gems get. Before T5 you most likely just want to gem for pure Stam and around the time you will start replacing some gear with pieces from T5 raids you will start replacing some gems with Agi/Stam (Shifting Nightseye, +4 Agi / +6 Stam) or pure Agi gems.
My general guideline is to try to have around 18k-20k HP buffed in Bear Form. If your HP is lower than that you should probably focus on pure Stam.
Gems are also a good way to help out with missing Resilience or Def if you are under Def cap. But you should avoid relying too much on that, since Stam or Agi gems just offer a lot more value.
You can put every gem in every socket no matter of color, but you get some extra stat boni if you put gems matching the socket color in. Socket boni are rarely worth gemming for and you are most of the time better off just ignoring those and gemming for whatever you need. Of course if you have the chance to pick up some socket boni, for example you have to get some yellow gems for extra Def and can fill some socket boni with it, you should do it.
Your meta gem for Bear should be either “Powerful Earthstorm Diamond” or “Tenacious Earthstorm Diamond” depending on your Def needs. With really good gear there will come a point where you want to swap for “Relentless Earthstorm Diamond” for more Agi and more threat.
The best gem for cat by far is pure Agi (Delicate Living Ruby, +8 Agi). If you need extra hit or for your meta gem requirements you can use Agi/Hit (Glinting Noble Topaz +4 Agi/+4 Hit) or if you are Hit capped Str/Crit (Inscribed Noble Topaz +4 Str/+4 Crit). You will also need some blue gems for your meta requirements. For those you should use Agi/Stam (Shifting Nightseye +4 Agi/+4 Stam).
Your meta gem should always be “Relentless Earthstorm Diamond” since it just offers the biggest DPS increase by far.
+20 Agi, + 20 Spi
“Grilled Mudfish” or “Warp Burger”
+30 Stam, + 20 Spi
“Spicy Crawdad” or “Fisherman’s Feast”
In Cat form you always want Agi food, it just gives you the biggest damage increase. In Bear form it depends on your gear. Generally the worse your gear is the more you want Stam food over Agi food. With really good gear Agi becomes more valuable for Bear than Stam, probably around the end of T5 or at the start of T6. I am BIS from T4 and have some T5 pieces and still use Stam food sometimes.
You can choose the appropriate food depending on the fight/dungeon/raid you’re doing. If you feel like having a bit more max HP will give you the edge take the Stam food, if you think more dodge and crit will be better take the Agi food.
When you are spending a considerable amount of time of an encounter in Cat Form (for example after your tank target is dead) Agi food will most likely be the best choice.
Elixirs / Flasks
“Flask of Relentless Assault” and “Flask of FortifiCation” are the only flasks worth thinking about for Cat and Bear respectively. (Honorable mention goes out to “Flask of Chromatic Wonder” which can be a really good flask, especially if you have to swap between DPS and Tank a lot, but this flask only becomes available in a later patch and isn’t on our server yet)
The elixirs those flasks compete with are “Elixir of Major Agility” and “Elixir of Major Fortitude”.
Since you don’t want to flask for every single dungeon you do, your gear should put you at Def cap without the extra 10 Def from the Tank flask, sadly defense over the Def cap isn’t worth much for Bear, so the “Flask of Fortification” is not worth using over those 2 Elixirs, +35 Agi and 20 Crit is a lot more valuable than 250 extra health.
For Cat DPS raw Agi is so good that the “Elixir of Major Agility” offers pretty much the same raw DPS increase as the “Flask of Relentless Assault”, but it will add this DPS in form of AP and Crit instead of just AP and more Crit means more Combo Points (Primal Fury). Also you have the ability to either use “Elixir of Major Fortitude” for all those fights where you will take damage as DPS or “Elixir of Major Mageblood” for some extra mana regeneration for those really long fights with a lot of Powershifting.
All in all I always recommend using Elixirs over Flasks for Bear and Cat. You will have to reuse them after a wipe, but it should still be a lot cheaper than buying flasks (those Mana Thistles are expensive) and for Bear if you want to min/max elixirs are always the superior choice for sure and in my opinion for Cat as well. Also by having those two elixirs up you can easily swap between tanking and DPS without having to reuse flasks.
I personally like having Health Potion / Mana Potion CD up for the case i need it. A well timed Health Potion can keep you alive for a few more seconds and might make the difference between surviving and wiping. (See the Macros section for a macro for drinking potions while in Bear Form)
Mana Potions can be useful, if you have been going all out on Powershifting and need to Battle Res someone.
Other potions you can consider using are Ironshield Potions for extra armor while tanking and Haste Potions for extra DPS while in Cat Form.
Scrolls do NOT stack with player buffs that give exactly the same Stat, meaning the Int, Spi, Stam and Armor scrolls are pretty much useless if you have the appropriate classes in your group/raid (if you don’t have a Pala for Devo Aura in your group, the armor scroll can be useful, if you’re tanking).
The “good” scrolls are Agi and Str. Those buffs stack with all player buffs and even food buffs (cause food most of the time gives +stat and +Spirit, instead of just +stat like the scrolls do).
Scrolls are kind hard to farm for (there’s a vendor with limited supply, they drop quite often from chests and you can get some from fishing), so I don’t bother to use them unless for really hard raid content or progression.
Weight and Sharpening Stones got changed in patch 2.4 so that they work while in Cat or Bear Form. Since all the Weapons you will use aren’t sharp you will use only weightstones and “Adamantite Weightstones” are simply the best ones available. They aren’t that expensive to make, so you should always carry some with you.
Nightmare Seeds are really hard to farm (only can be looted from Nightmare Vines) and they share a CD with Warlock Healthstones (NOT with potions), so i don’t think they are worth it, but i can see some situations in which they might be helpful.
Really hard to farm and expensive as well (only a few spawns in Zangarmarsh and nowhere else, usually highly contested), but if you want to go absolute all out on DPS you can use those. Generally they will do more if used by another DPS class.
This helm is made by leatherworkers, the recipe is available from the Tribal Leatherworking trainer of your faction (Caryssia Moonhunter in Thousand Needles/Feralas for Alliance and Se’Jib in Stranglethorn Vale for Horde)
Theoretically this helm is BIS for the whole expansion. The extra energy it offers is just way more valuable than any stats you can get on a “normal” helm. More energy means more shreds => a lot more damage. You have to waste less GCDs and also less mana on Powershifting and can spend more time just shredding.
In practice it is probably not worth it in most fights, since usually you have to move around quite a lot and can’t just focus on pure DPS. Sadly most boss fights are very melee unfriendly in TBC, but feel free to play around with it. Karazhan has some bosses, on which it might be worth it.
Macros are a very important part of feral gameplay. They will make your life a lot easier and allow you to do things, that would be pretty much impossible or really, really hard to do without them.
Shift Macros for Bear and Cat:
/run local f="Dire Bear Form";f=GetSpellCooldown(f)>0 or not IsUsableSpell(f) or CancelPlayerBuff(f)
/cast !Dire Bear Form
/run local f="Cat Form";f=GetSpellCooldown(f)>0 or not IsUsableSpell(f) or CancelPlayerBuff(f)
/cast !Cat Form
Those macros shift you out of your form and instantly in again. There is no point in time where you will be actually in your caster form. Also the macros won’t do anything while you have a global cooldown up, so you will not end up in caster form on accident. Those are useful for getting rid of snares and the Cat macro can be used for Powershifting, but you probably won’t need it much because of the following macros.
Mangle and Shred Macros with built in Powershifting:
#showtooltip Mangle (Cat)(Rank 3)
/run local f="Cat Form";f=GetSpellCooldown(f)>0 or UnitMana('player')>21 or not IsUsableSpell(f) or CancelPlayerBuff(f)
/cast [form] Mangle (Cat)(Rank 3)
/cast !Cat Form
#showtooltip Shred(Rank 7)
/run local f="Cat Form";f=GetSpellCooldown(f)>0 or UnitMana('player')>21 or not IsUsableSpell(f) or CancelPlayerBuff(f)
/cast [form] Shred(Rank 7)
/cast !Cat Form
Those 2 macros will make your Cat life A LOT easier. They’re basically the Cat Powershift macro from above combined with Mangle and Shred and it additionally checks your current energy before shifting. So if your energy is below a certain threshold (22 in this case, you can replace the number with whatever you’re comfortable (more shifting will obviously use more mana)) and you don’t have a GCD up and can cast Cat Form, it will shift you out and in Cat Form instantly again (remember you are in Cat Form at all points in time using this macro). Otherwise it will attempt to cast Shred or Mangle.
With those macros the game pretty much does most of the Powershifting work for you. I still recommend having the basic Powershifting macro on your bars for example for when you get rooted or want to manually shift for another reason.
Mangle, Swipe and Lacerate Macros:
/cast Mangle (Bear)(Rank 3)
/cast [nomodifier] !Maul
#showtooltip Swipe(Rank 6)
/cast Swipe(Rank 6)
/cast [nomodifier] !Maul
/cast Lacerate(Rank 1)
/cast [nomodifier] !Maul
Those macros are pretty simple, as you can see they will cast either Mangle, Swipe or Lacerate and also cast Maul on your next attack. Of course there might be situations where you are low on range and might not want to cast Maul (you don’t get any rage from “yellow” attacks (except from Primal Fury if you crit), only white (basic) attacks will generate rage).
For those situations is the “[nomodifier]” part of the macro, it means if you hold either ALT, SHIFT or CTRL while pressing the macro you will NOT use Maul on your next attack.
Potion Macro for Bear:
/run local f="Dire Bear Form";f=GetSpellCooldown(f)>0 or not IsUsableSpell(f) or CancelPlayerBuff(f)
/cast !Dire Bear Form
This macro once again combines the basic shift macro for Bear mentioned earlier with some items. More specifically with “Bottled Nethergon Vapor”, “Super Healing Potion”, “Master Healthstone” and “Auchenai Healing Potion”. I use item IDs instead of names to save space, since macros can have a maximum of 255 characters.
Using this macro you will attempt to drink/use the potions/consumables listed IN ORDER, meaning you should put whatever potion you want to use first on top of the list (in my macro I put the Tempest Keep potion at the top to use it over normal healing potions if available). Also I put Healthstone in this macro since it doesn’t share a CD with normal healing potions and if I am so low i have to use a potion, I will most likely also want to use my Healthstone. Like all the other shift macros it will not work while you have a GCD up, so you don’t accidentally end up in caster form while tanking.
Feel free to change or add potions to this macro dependent on what content you are doing (for example there are also potions that only work in SSC like the TK potions).
Here are some macros that are not made specifically for Feral Druids, but some of them might be still helpful. I’m not going into details about those.
#showtooltip Drums of Battle
/p Using Drums of Battle
/use Drums of Battle
/in 25 /p My drums will run out in 5 secs
Remove HOTS from yourself:
/cancelaura Gift of the Naaru
#showtooltip Super Healing Potion
/use Bottled Nethergon Vapor
/use Super Healing Potion
/use Auchenai Healing Potion
/use Master Healthstone
#showtooltip Super Mana Potion
/use Bottled Nethergon Energy
/use Super Mana Potion
/use Auchenai Mana Potion
Drink in Arena:
/use Star's Tears
/use [button:2,nomounted] YOUR GROUND MOUNT HERE
/use [flyable,nomounted] YOUR FLYING MOUNT HERE; [nomounted] YOUR GROUND MOUNT HERE
/cast [button:1] Hibernate(Rank 3)
/cast [target=focus, button:2] Hibernate(Rank 3)
/cast [button:1] Innervate
/cast [target=player, button:2] Innervate
#showtooltip Healing Touch(Rank 13)
/cast Nature's Swiftness
/cast Healing Touch(Rank 13)
Target any Outland Rare spawn:
/tar doomsayer ju
/tar speaker mar
/tar chief engi
/tar coilfang emi
/tar bog lurker
BONUS: Combat Log Fix Macro:
/run local f = CreateFrame("frame",nil, UIParent); f:SetScript("OnUpdate", CombatLogClearEntries);
If you ever encounter any bug resulting in your combat log breaking and as a result addons which are based on Combat Log like Omen, Parrot, Recount, etc. don’t work anymore try this macro.
There aren’t any addons that are required for playing feral, but there are definitely some that are helpful. Make sure you get the 2.4.3 versions (wowace or curse have an option for showing older versions or you can just google for it). I am listing all the addons that you really should have for Feral gameplay in my opinion (of course you should use addons according to your personal preference, none of those are required, but they make your life a lot easier and raiding guilds usually will expect you to have at least a threat addon and DBM).
Any threat addon will be good, but most guilds use one of those.
Any addon that shows you your mana when you are in Bear or Cat (this one is compatible with X-Perl, it doesn’t work perfectly, but good enough).
Any addon that shows you your damage, I like DPSMate more, because it has a lot more features and the DPS values are more accurate (it can be bad for performance, but i didnt have any issues).
Any addon for raid frames.
Any addon to create gear sets and allowing you to easily swap between them.
Any addon that gives you an energy timer for Powershifting in cat.
Deadly Boss Mod (DBM)
If you want to raid, this addon is pretty much mandatory.
List of my Addons
Bayi’s Extended Questlog
Satrina Buff Frames
Deadly Boss Mods
Sources and Helpful Links
EJ Feral Thread:
EJ Macro Thread:
Gear List for Bear and Cat:
Useful Infos for Cat:
Made by Kathelas, playing on the Stonetalon server of VengeanceWoW
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