Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hybrid Feral Spec (3.3.3)

So let's say you're the type of druid that rocks out with your HoTs out. Or maybe you're the type that spends most of your time chargin' yer lazers. But you kinda have that urge to use your second spec seeing what it's like to spend your time with four on the floor. And you want to be able to fill either of the roles your furry brethren can. Maybe not as well as the ones who specialize in either form, but well enough to pull your weight. How would you spec for that?

Here's where I would suggest you start

Restoration - 11 points
Improved Mark of the Wild - 2/2
Maxing out this talent is always a good idea for Ferals. There's a few talents in the next two tiers of the Resto tree that benefit both our forms and are very worth getting. Since you have to spend 5 points in the first tier to get to them, there's no reason not to put 2 here.

Furor - 3/5
These points are here to get you down to the next tier. They shouldn't come into play very much, though. Even as a hybrid Heral, you're probably going to be performing one role or the other at any given time. They're too disparate for you to be in a situation where you're constantly switching forms.

Naturalist - 5/5
DPS increase for your Kitty. Threat increase as a Bear. Since you're not likely to be one of the tanks benefiting from Misdirection or Tricks in this kind of hybrid role, you want the threat increase.

Omen of Clarity - 1/1
Basically amounts to a free attack every time it procs. From the information I can find, this has about a 6% proc chance off your auto-attacks, or 3.5 procs per minute (on average). In either spec, it's very helpful, but especially for boosting your Cat DPS.

Feral - 55 points
Ferocity - 5/5
Almost any talent that reduces the resource cost of your abilities (especially the number of them that this one touches) should be picked up.

Feral Aggression - 0/5
For the "base" build, no points go here. But I'll touch more on this topic later.

Feral Instinct - 0/3
Same as above with Feral Aggression. We'll come back to this.

Savage Fury - 2/2
DPS for your Cat, threat for your Bear. Simple.

Thick Hide - 3/3
Since you plan to be spending at least some time tanking, you'll absolutely need the armor increase.

Feral Swiftness - 2/2
Again, since you'll be spending some time tanking, you'll want the extra dodge. The added Cat speed isn't horrible, either.

Survival Instincts - 1/1
You'll want all your emergency buttons for tanking, and this is one of them. Can be useful in Cat form, too, during heavy raid-damage fights.

Sharpened Claws - 3/3
Crits contribute to your Cat's DPS, your Bear's threat, and your Bear's mitigation (thanks to Savage Defense).

Shredding Attacks - 2/2
This is a resource cost reduction on a couple of the abilities you'll be using most in either form, so it's pretty key.

Predatory Strikes - 3/3
Another entry in the DPS/Threat boost category.

Primal Fury - 2/2
Free rage and free combo points. Good for both specs. Take it.

Primal Precision - 2/2
The biggest part of this talent is the 10 Expertise Rating. That's huge for both DPS and tanks as both are looking to, at minimum, hit the 6.5% Expertise-Dodge cap.

Brutal Impact - 0/2
This is more of a PvP and soloing talent than a PvE one. It would be nice to have a shorter cooldown on Bash sometimes, but it's still not going to help you enough to make wasting points here worth it. Cats should never be Pouncing in a group environment, so you can forget about that right off. :-)

Feral Charge - 1/1
This is pretty much a must-have for Bears, and it's a very, very nice-to-have for Cats. At one point, it's a steal.

Nurturing Instinct - 0/2
This only affects Cats, and in PvE it's not even that great.

Natural Reaction - 3/3
Even though it's only for Bears, the Dodge boost is critical.

Heart of the Wild - 5/5
10% AP increase for Cats, Stam increase for Bears. Get it!

Survival of the Fittest - 3/3
The 6% stat increase is good for both specs, but the 6% reduced crit chance is absolutely, 100% needed for Bears.

Leader of the Pack - 1/1
The crit bonus helps both specs. Plus it passes the bonus to your whole raid. Sweet.

Improved Leader of the Pack - 0/2
Coming back to this one.

Primal Tenacity - 0/3
This is primarily a PvP talent. Not really worth spending points in a raiding build.

Protector of the Pack - 3/3
Even though it does nothing for Cats, this is a pretty critical Bear talent. You'll need to max this out.

Predatory Instincts - 3/3
This is a cat-only talent, but a pretty important one. Your DPS in Kitty is already going to be a little gimped since you're not fully specced for it. The 10% crit bonus and the healing help are both very nice.

Infected Wounds - 0/3
Coming back to this one.

King of the Jungle - 3/3
Another Cat-only talent, but one that's 100% essential to keep your DPS even close to respectable.

Mangle - 1/1
Absolutely required. No questions asked.

Improved Mangle - 0/3
With the 3.3.3 changes to this talent, it's pretty much a wash. Cats don't really need it at all anymore, and it doesn't do much to help bears, either. You can probably leave this empty.

Rend and Tear - 5/5
Extra Damage/Threat. And needed to get Primal Gore, which you'll definitely want.

Primal Gore - 1/1
Bleeds are a huge part of a Cat's DPS and a Bear's threat generation. Allowing these to crit is huge.

Berserk - 1/1
You'll probably use this more in Cat form than Bear. It's a Cat's OMGDPS cooldown. For bears it's not bad, though. It can break or prevent a fear, which is helpful at times. If you need quick threat on 3 targets, it'll also allow you to Mangle spam, which is useful.

Alright, that right there is your base build. They're are the talents that I believe you should take in a hybrid Feral spec no matter what. But wait...add them up. You still have 5 points left over.

These last five points are very situational. You can spend them based on personal preference or on your raid's composition. Here's some suggestions to help you make that decision. They're listed in a rough priority order, but your mileage may vary:

Improved Leader of the Pack (2)
This is a pretty good utility talent that will take some of the strain off of your healers. Not a significant amount, but sometimes every little bit counts. However, only one Feral needs this talent for the raid to benefit, so if it's already covered, you can skip this. (On the flip side, it might be worth it to take this and let them move their talents to further improve their more specialized role.)

Infected Wounds (3)
Pretty much the same as ILotP above. Great for utility, but only needed by one Feral for the benefit.

Feral Aggression (5)
This will pump up your single-target DPS while you're in Cat and the Demoralizing Roar buff will help your survivability when you're tanking. Neither are crucial, but both are helpful.

Feral Instinct (3)
If you're doing a lot of AoE tanking or DPSing down large trash packs, the points here will boost your contribution in those areas. (This is a great talent if you plan on running a lot of heriocs as a Feral.) If you're dealing with single, strong enemies most of the time, you can probably leave this talent alone.

Natural Shapeshifter/Master Shapeshifter (5)
It's a benefit to both Bears and Cats, but not a huge one. And it's costly since 3 of these 5 points are spent on the completely useless Natural Shapeshifter. But if all your utility talents are already covered and you're not really looking for the specific boosts to either your AoE or single-target damage, then this almost becomes a reasonable choice.

Nurturing Instinct (2)
The lowest priority of the open talents. You should really only get this if you're dying all the time as a Cat. And only if all of that "all the time" consists of unavoidable random-target or AoE damage. If it's because you keep pulling aggro, well...this talent won't help you fix that problem.

The link to the Wowhead build at the top of the post also includes my suggested glyph choices. Of course, you could carry a stack of glyphs to switch in and out based on the needs of a given fight (which isn't a bad strategy for anyone trying to min/max, really). But if you're like me and would rather set 'em and forget 'em, the ones attached to that build should serve you pretty well.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'll play around with this build when I make my second druid and see how it works. Got me curious now :)