Feral Talents in Legion

Well, so much for my idea of doing a post a week. I’m trying not to be unhappy about that, but it’s difficult.

A lot has happened lately. The new semester began at work, invasions happened (yay–4 new 100’s! Hell, I even dinged my bank toon) and Legion dropped. Hedwig and I hit 110 together, and we’ve been working our way through world quests and dungeons with our new guild (more on that later). Throughout leveling I poured all of my artifact points into my Claws, so that I could tank for guild groups, but now that I’m hitting more dungeons alone and my Claws take around 10k points to bump, I’ve started investing more points into the Fangs.

I must say, I like the new spell structures. Check out the before and after screenshots:

Look at my bars, how clean and Zen things got! Of course, a new widescreen monitor and 950 video card didn’t hurt either.

The thing that I miss most, though, is losing Mark of the Wild. That was such an iconic spell, which had been with me though every expansion. I loved being out in the world and buffing lowbies, an elegant gesture for a more civilized age on Azeroth. RIP, lil’ purple paw.

I said I was going to look at Feral talents, and I like to think I’m a bear of my word, so here we go. Again, this is just my opinion from playing with the talents on my own. I’ve not really done a ton of research into them, nor charted my artifact path as carefully as I probably should have.

Level 15

Predator definitely looks good for maximizing uptime while out doing world quests alone, but I usually solo things in bear spec; they don’t take that much longer to die, and what I lose in speed I make up for in being able to round up 4 mobs at a time. Lunar Inspiration might be a better choice once I get more haste and energy isn’t as much of an issue, but I don’t need yet another DoT to keep track of, and at 30 energy, it’s a pricey one to boot. I’ve taken Blood Scent, as bleeds are really the cornerstone of the spec; in fact, I think of cats as physical damage warlocks, who Rake, Rip, and Thrash up their prey then stun or kite the mob until it falls apart. Also, it’s hard to say no to a set-and-forget talent that gives me a 10% crit bump just for using any of my most important spells, right?

Level 30

Renewal looks pretty nice for soloing, but I’m still going Wild Charge for the mobility.

Level 45

My earlier assumption about Feral Affinity making me able to do okay on DPS in bear spec was not accurate. It really is a very poor substitute for full-on kitteh. However, I’ve had to suddenly tank in the regulars we’ve been doing, so I think Guardian Affinity will be a good and permanent choice, even if I no longer have to pop out into humanoid form for Rebirth. I just can’t resist tanking. I suppose the reflexes are too ingrained.

Level 60

Mighty Bash all the way. I can single out a caster mob, pop Rake for the stun, crank up to 5 combo points, then Maim, Skull Bash when that expires, and if it’s still alive (which with AOE damage is often unlikely), Mighty Bash. Poor bastard may never get a cast off.

Level 75

Now this is an interesting choice. At first glance it seems like Savage Roar would be the best one, but its uptime has been seriously nerfed, so it’s not as attractive of a choice. And I hate juggling buffs and debuffs. I know that some folks get off on a rotation perfectly executed, on renewing Rip just as it’s about to fall off, but I don’t see cat that way. It’s not about precision strikes; leave that to the rogues. Cat should be all about “Sneaky kitty…sneaky kitty…sneeaaaaky kiiiitteeeeh–RAWR RAKE SHRED THRASH CHEW CRUSH BONE MAKE FLESH INTO CONFETTI HA YOU’RE DEAD ROLL AROUND IN THE BLOOD LIKE CATNIP THEN PROWL…sneaky kitty…sneaky kitty.” Finesse shouldn’t enter into the equation. I’ve gone with Incarnation, which along with Bloodtalons and my post-Warlords stock of Draenic Agility Potions is a great way to quickly ramp up damage in a boss fight.

Level 90

Jagged Wounds looks good for the burst damage, but I’ve gone with Sabertooth, and it’s really streamlined my rotation. Once I get Rip up, then I can just Ferocious Bite my way to the loot, occasionally refreshing Rake and Thrash while jumping out of the bad puddle on the ground like a–well, like a me on a hot tin roof.

Level 100

Bloodtalons used to be the thing, but I have to say Brutal Slash is SOOOOO much fun on trash, or it was right before the gear reset. I could pop it and boom, I’d hit 90k on the meters. This was fun, especially because cats have had historically bad AOE damage. However, I recently moved back to Bloodtalons, so I’m usually bottom of the trash DPS, but I can make up for it on the boss fight, where I’m usually at or near the top of the meter thanks the potions and previous talents. The trick to utilizing Bloodtalons to its fullest is to make the most of Healing Touch proc, and make sure you have enough energy pooled to get off a couple of Shreds or a Shred/Ferocious Bite duo right after. I’ve put Healing Touch Regrowth on a hot key on my game pad, and I use this macro

#showtooltip Regrowth
/cast [nomod,@focus,help,exists][nomod,@target,help,exists][nomod,@player] Regrowth
/cast [@party1,mod:ctrl] Regrowth

to help me put it where it can do the most good. The first thing I do when I land in the dungeon is make the tank my focus, since extra healing on the tank is rarely misplaced.

Now that I think about it, I’m going to experiment with putting on the healer instead. Clothies seem to be taking a lot more AOE damage this expansion, and if my wife doesn’t have to heal herself, she can worry about me more. See, that’s being a considerate husband ☺️

If there isn’t a focus set, the macro will put the Regrowth on me, which isn’t a bad thing when soloing, but kitty is a great chance to show off the support class aspect of druids, so I really like to use the heal on my group whenever possible. Why contribute in only one way when I can do more, right?

That’s all for now. Keep your claws sharp!

Guardian Talents in Legion

Welcome to the new digs! One of the reasons for the change is that my old site wouldn’t allow me to use Wowhead tooltips, which for a supposedly WoW-centric blog just won’t work. Links just aren’t as good as being able to look at the thing I’m discussing.

Patch 7.0.3 is live, and there’s a lot to love. The wardrobe function is awesome, and the Bear and Cat Forms got a nice lil’ polish, but I’ll get into that later. Right now I want to focus on the new talents that have dropped, and I hope to provide a different perspective on them than you might get from other sites and blogs.

I love the opening up of all specs; I want to give lazerchikin a shot at some point, just for the hell of it. Talents are closer now more than ever to what Blizz kept telling us they wanted them to be: something plastic, meant to fulfill the needs of the moment. I think the problem may be us old codgers, the ones who remember talents as being a very serious decision, something you had to pay money to change, and that you had to go all the way back to Stormwind or Org to adjust. We have a good deal of mental re-training to do.

I also think that we’re further away than ever from mandatory talents, although there will always be That Guy or Girl, the one who sees you in a regular dungeon and says,

[Dickholedps]: OMG I can’t believe you took [The Fun Talent]! Don’t you know [The Theorycrafted Talent] is a .000000000001% DPS increase if your in mythic gear with a BiS trinket proc on a single boss in the current endgame raid!?!?!??! Ur such a NOOOOOOOB XD

All data here is presented as experiential and anecdotal, coming as it does from the mind of someone who does not find Excel an even remotely sensual experience. Your mileage may vary, and if Icy Mr. Elitist Spot tells you something different, by all means listen. I’m looking at the talents from the perspective of someone who’s going to do regular dungeons and heroics, not raids. If you want raid-focused analysis and some stats to wank to, Arielle is right down the hall.

Let’s jump on in!

Level 15

While threat really isn’t a tanking issue anymore, part of me still uses good snap threat as a yardstick. I suppose it’s just my BC upbringing, but I hate to see a mob go after that mage who prematurely ejaculates his DPS all over the mobs I just pulled. Pop Barkskin, Wild Charge in, and that’s a ton of damage to epoxy those mobs to me. Bristling Fur looks like a new way to micromanage my rage (yawn), but Blood Frenzy looks like a nice passive rage bump, and a good reason to keep honest on my Thrash uptime, assuming it procs off off the Thrash DoT, and I can see no reason why it wouldn’t. I’ll probably go with Brambles until I hit heroics.

Level 30

Wild Charge is still the best one for me. If I were raiding I might pick Guttural Roars for the increased raid movement speed, but I don’t see myself choosing Displacer Beast for any extended period of time.

Level 45

Yay! the sort-of return of bearcat! The affinities give you an almost-complete toolkit for the other spec, enough that I most likely won’t be able to overtake a fully-specced cat on the meters, but I should be able to keep up. I got to play around with my talents in a couple of Timewalker dungeons this weekend, and I felt a bit squishy, so I think I’ll go Resto Affinity for now.

Level 60

Yawnsville. Mighty Bash, I guess, provided it’s a proper stun that interrupts boss mechanics like other tanks get, but if not, I’ve had some use out of Typhoon when trash pulls go sideways. Pop Typhoon, run like a scaredy-bear, and use Ever-Blooming Frond, which has now been consigned to use only in Draenor. Mass Entanglement seems to be maybe a world PvP talent, as it’s ill-suited to precision CC in a dungeon.

Level 75

I really like using Moonfire in Bear Form, especially after losing Faerie Fire, my only ranged pull. However, I also lost both Cat and Bear Berserk, and not having a rawr button is quite disconcerting, so I think I’ll go with Incarnation here. Galactic Guardian seems pretty cool, but a 10% chance is a bit too low for me, and then I’d have to make sure to pop a Moonfire right after to get all its benefits, and I have enough to worry about as it is.

Level 90

Earthwarden seems like baking the old Tooth and Claw into a talent, which I was never fond of to begin with. No tank ever said, “Damn! That last autoattack flattened me!” It’s always a magic attack or some special that smears tanks, but Ironfur and the new Mark of Ursol should make things much better. However, more damage reduction is an absolute good, so I’m going to see how Earthwarden feels. GoE and SotF aren’t bad options either. I’m currently using SotF, but I’ll try the other two to get a feel for them.

Level 100

Pulverize–the spell that just will not fucking die. It showed up, disappeared, showed up as a talent, vanished, and now it’s back once again. I may be more receptive to it since I’ve played a death knight with pre-patch Blood Tap and am now used to the “build up charges and use them” mechanic. Lunar Beam is fun, especially with Galactic Guardian to create the fabled discobear that Blizzard Watch describes, but it doesn’t move with me, which drops its value a bit. I’m currently running with Rend and Tear, but after a bit of testing I may give Lunar Beam another pass.

Next time I hope to be looking at the Feral talents and even the death knight as well, so stay tuned and please feel free to discuss below.