Friday, July 30, 2010


This started out as a comment on the noob's most recent post about a rogue's playstyle. I ended up typing so much I figured I'd just make it my own post.

Leveling as a Feral Druid is insanely fun. We have so many tricks at our disposal that we're able to overcome just about any obstacle the game can throw at us, even if it takes using the full range of our abilities to do so. For instance, I had a basic equation that served my questing needs all the way through Northrend:
Actual # of players needed to complete quest =
Suggested # of players needed to complete quest - 2
There were a couple exceptions. I think I ran across one three-person quest where I needed a healer. And there was a couple five-person quests that I solo'd.

But it wasn't always this way. While I'm very well acquainted with the skills and abilities of a Feral Druid now, back in the days of Vanilla and BC...not so much.

Remember, with the exception of a Warrior that didn't make it out of Westfall, Saniel was my first toon. Not only was I learning how 2 DRUID, but I was also learning how to WoW in general. It was a lot to take in.

I was kinda disappointed when I found out that I had to go 10 levels before I would be able to actually play the way a Feral is supposed to play. That is, shapeshift. But I sucked it up, spammed mah moonfare and Wrath, and got through.

Then I got Bear form. And while I was excited, I quickly found that it didn't kill things as quickly as my spells did. But I sure could take a hell of a lot more damage. So for the next 10 levels my pattern was to pull from max distance with spells (I learned very quickly the value of pulling from range, rather than rushing up to something) and then shift to bear to finish the job when the mob got close. That worked well.

And then I got Cat form. Instantly, all the neat tricks I'd learned in the last 19 levels went straight out window. My Cat could kill things fast. And Prowl around to get by things I didn't want to fight. And get the drop on unsuspecting enemies. And it was a melee class, which made it more fun (for me) than tossing out spells.

For the next 40-someodd levels, that was that. I was a Cat.

That could sneak past a pat without going splat.

But my skill curve went flat as I refused to...adapt.



Anyway, the point is that I more or less played a furry Rogue from that point on. With the amount of time it took to level and the various breaks I took before I got serious about the game, I almost forgot that I could shift into other forms. It made the game a lot more difficult in places than it needed to be.

It wasn't until BC when I was having trouble in Nagrand not aggroing 4 mobs every time I stepped that I started to remember I played a versatile class. Except "remember" isn't exactly the right word. After my 4th or 5th death in one of the Forge Camps on the west end of the zone, my partner leaned over my shoulder and asked (as if it was the most obvious thing in the world), "Why don't you go Bear?"

I laughed at him. "Bears can't kill things fast enough," I said. "I'll still die." Because, of course, after 40-someodd levels and an expansion pack things would still be the same, right?

But the idea nagged at me. So the next time he left the room I tried it.

Holy cow, he was right! That was a ton easier! Bear against one mob...not so special. Bear against four? Now it shines!

I started doing all kinds of crazy things after that. I would shift between Bear and Cat in the same fight. I would pull with Moonfire again to get a DoT on my enemies before they got to me. I would even heal myself mid-combat. (Seriously...this was a revelation to me. I only used my heal buttons out of combat prior to that.)

I would even intentionally pull more than I thought I could handle just to see if I could manage it.

Wild, right?

I'm half tempted to start leveling another Feral, just to see what it's like now that I understand the game.

And my class.


  1. Soloing feral is how I leveled my druid (who is now a tree/cat but soon returning to cat/bear). I abandoned the druid and came back to it later - and almost peed my pants when I realized just how awesome the new shadowmeld is!

    Anyhoo, I had a little "formula" I used soloing, which is kinda dumb, but it saved my butt more than I care to admit. I would be in cat, killing stuffs, and a 2nd mob would come out. Nooooo. I'd switch to bear, where my DPS sucked, and finish off Mob 1. By then my health was kinda low...

    So I'd use my big fat stun on the remaining mob. Pop up - regrowth, rejuv, and pop into cat form right as the stun was wearing off. I now was close to full health and had some hots still ticking on me to mitigate incoming damage. Easy! Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend self-healing while being hit by something. It is counterproductive.

  2. Shadowmeld is awesome and has saved my butt on numerous occasions. Especially on boss wipes where I'm add tanking and, therefore, have the lowest aggro on the main boss. Pop Shadowmeld after everyone else is dead (or DI'd or Ice Blocked or just Feigning Death) = boss with no one on aggro table = reset. Yay, I get to keep my food and elixir buffs!

    I do have to constantly remind myself that it's a Night Elf, thing, though. Not a Druid thing. :-)

  3. With the advent of Predatory Instincts, healing yourself in combat as a kitty stopped being counter productive. Since I could ALWAYS count on a solid instant cast heal, I started going for five combo points, dropping my DoT on the target, put up a heal or HoT on myself and go back to cat form.

    @Saniel: I totally hear you on the failure to adapt. I totally forgot about bear form until I got to level 78 and started doing Argent Tourney dailies. I finally realised that bear form was awesome for doing those "Kill 10 corpsicles" quests because it let me do the quest in one big pull instead of cautiously doing it as 10 single pulls. oh, and it let me solo Chillmaw :D