I cannot log into the WoW boards at the moment... which is a REAL shame because there are SO many Ferals being wrong right now. So, instead I am forced to put my responses here rather than flaming them on the boards where they would undoubtedly admit their mistakes and praise my judgment...




Ravage is, for lack of a better description, an ability looking for a niche. Currently, no one really uses Ravage for a number of reasons: it does not do much more than a ramped-up Shred; it requires stealth; it costs as much as Pounce, but has essentially zero utility; it does not apply Infected Wounds... etc. Ravage is the ability that Blizz has neglected for a LONG LONG time and they are aiming to get it back into semi-good graces for Cataclysm.

Blizz has added Improved Feral Charge, for instance, which will allow the Feral to use Ravage for 3/6 seconds after performing a Feral Charge (Cat) without necessitating Prowl. That SEEMS nice at face value, but when you dig a little deeper, it just ends up being underwhelming in almost every scenario. Let's say you are in a PvE environment and FCC comes off CD; okay, now you have to break your rotation, stop white-swinging while you make it 10 yards away, FCC back in (which will take 2 seconds minimum no matter HOW close you were), and now you can get 2 Ravages off if you have 100 energy... which you won't unless you use Tiger's Fury. This is just a bit unwieldy; again, it stops your white swings, you have to run out of melee, use energy to get back INTO melee, use a CD to build up some energy, and drop MAXIMUM 2 of these attacks which will leave you energy starved and perhaps even CP-starved (you MIGHT only have 2 cps when the dust settles).

Blizz has also added Ravage to Infected Wounds' tooltip. This is a nice change because while Pounce provides you enough time to actually hit the target with Mangle/Shred and apply Infected Wounds, Ravage always made it a bit more difficult. Now, you can just open with Ravage and they will be snared... opening the door to openers like Ravage->SR->Rake->Mangle->Shred->Maim which would forgo opening control and ramping damage for opening damage and some decent control via Maim. I could even see this becoming a decent opener on teams like Rogue+Feral+Priest where your Rogue is holding the opponent down and you are free to deal damage at your whim, and perhaps change that Maim finisher to a Rip finisher and keeping full damage output going strong.

Shredding Attacks (though WoWHead's talent calculator doesn't seem to have this, wowtal's and my alpha sources' confirmed) will reduce Ravage's cost by 10 energy as WELL as Shred. While this does not bring Ravage down to Shred in terms of energy cost, having a 50 energy Ravage is definitely better than having a 60 energy one.

Yet, when I look at Ravage, I still see an ability without a niche. Feral Charge (Cat) allowing you to use it? I can see that having some use, but mainly I can see that being a hassle in PvE and nigh-ineffective in PvP given that half the time when I Feral Charge (Cat) someone, I'm usually NO WHERE NEAR THEM when I land, which usually takes 3 seconds of travel time in its own right. Additionally, I simply cannot foresee myself in a situation where I will have 100 energy before I Feral Charge unless it is an opener... which means I can use Ravage ANYWAY (with that small difference being that I have to be behind my opponent to use it whereas Pounce is usable from any direction.

All that being said, I simply cannot see Ravage becoming a PvP-talent... yet... perhaps Blizz will continue sprucing it up for Cataclysm and MAYBE we will see enough buffs to make it usable, but we will have to wait and see.


Ferocious Bite


Ferocious Bite is another one of those abilities that is missing its niche. In PvE, FB has come on a rebirth by way of Armor Penetration Rating being so obtainable and easily soft-capped, now; however, in PvP Ferocious Bite is that one ability which gives us pause before using. Mentally, we all have to say the same thing over and over again: "Will this FB kill my target? If not... we will probably lose this match because my damage output will fall through the basement until I ramp up again..."

That being said, NomNomNom is a much needed and refreshing answer to this dilemma. Yet, so many in the forums are already calling this a "terrible PvP ability" and spouting off such non sequiturs as "if you FB right after a HoT ticks and the target gets to 26%, you have just destroyed your damage output." While I do not necessarily know if that will remain true in Cataclysm, it definitely looks familiar to what we have currently... "if you don't kill 'em with FB, your damage sucks for 10-15 seconds."

However, this is not a CHANGE... this is merely point of fact. Currently, if you FB and do not score a kill, more often than not, you feel the same result. What boggles my mind is that Feral PvP buils (particularly the ones I have posted and small variants thereof) have enough points to pick up NNN without sacrificing ANY dps talents "required" for Feral PvP. It is not as if one must forsake taking Rend and Tear to get this talent; you essentially have 9 points to build with off of a skeleton dps build (keep in mind that that one point in Ferocity is just a place-holder... you have to take 1 more point in Feral somewhere... though it doesn't matter where; essentially, you can get all the Feral dps talents for PvP with 51... the rest are just icing).

End of the day... I am going to be putting in NomNomNom to all my Feral PvP builds, mainly because there are ALWAYS situations where I use FB on someone below 25% hp with Rip about to end and it simply does not kill them. In these scenarios, instead of having "blown my wad" and lost the opportunity to score a kill for 15 seconds, I will have refreshed Rip, still have duration on Mangle, and likely still have a decent duration on Rake... which means I can follow that FB with a fully ramped-up Shred and try again.

NNN allows you to keep pressure going in the red-zone.


Bear Form Survivability


I think Bear Form survivability is going to be strong in Cataclysm. Blizzard tried to separate Bear and Cat a bit in Wrath, and I think that they simply showed themselves that Cat Form is either too survivable, or not enough. Currently, we are in the "not enough" bucket where unless we are stunned without an MS effect up (and are NOT about to get GCD'd by a spell-cleave), we are taking entirely too much damage with little-to-no avoidance and simply getting trained 100-0. In Cataclysm, I expect that Cat Form's innate survivability to be slightly lowered by way of having less dodge overall, less damage reduction while stunned, but much stronger survivability when we are forced into our "D-Stance" of Bear Form.

Again, we will have essentially 9 EXTRA talent points off of any skeleton Feral dps build, so we really do have to look at survivability and utility. I will ALWAYS put 2 points into NomNomNom to keep pressure rolling in the red-zone (as I expressed above), which leaves me seven* talent points to spend.

*- In reality, we actually have 8 talent points because of that 1 extra in Ferocity... it can be moved lower in the tree.

So, the first talents I look for are dps talents; am I missing any dps talents that are going to play extremely strong in PvP? Survival of the Fittest no longer provides bonus stats... so there is no reason to take this; 6% less chance to be critically hit by MELEE strikes just is not very strong for 3 talent points. Brutal Impact MIGHT be a place to put more offense... but it is EXTREMELY hard to tell with the change on the Bash end (it is now 10 seconds off the Bash CD instead of 30 seconds off... lower base time, or is Bash just going to be a 50 second CD now?) I think it is too early to make a decision here but I'm leaning away from it. Fury Strikes seems like a nice PvE talent, but I only see limited extra damage in PvP; again it will have to be tested, but I am leaning away from it (although, it is "free" damage in that your up-time is simply increased by 12% of your white-swing damage every 6 seconds... roughly a 2% damage upgrade but also more OoC procs).

That REALLY only leaves Ferocity, which as I stated before is ONLY 5 extra energy every 15 seconds (from Rake) now... which does not really mean much as a 5-pt talent. Okay, I'm going to put 3 points into Protector of the Pack for another strict 12% damage reduction while in Bear Form. This is extremely nice in terms of survivability simply by virtue of one of our mastery talents being this exact buff, as well. All things considered, we may actually be running around with ~22% damage reduction constant in Bear Form with PotP and 51-pt Mastery Bonus, which would be EXTREMELY strong given that that includes magic damage as well as physical damage... and we have not even discussed armor contributions yet (against melees, Bear Form will be strong - Rogues, Warriors, Enh, other Ferals, etc).

This is the build so far. Notice that we still have 5 talent points to spend. Again, we could talk about dps talents like Primal Madness, which seems to act like an energy-based-last-stand (you gain 6/12 energy for a short duration, then it goes away again) when you use TF or Berserk... this SEEMS okay for 2 talent points, but I just am not sure how strong it will be until I practice with it. At this point, PM is DEFINITELY worth looking into. The only other option for DPS talents is really Improved Mangle... which I simply do not see ever WANTING to take again unless something drastic happens and makes Mangle-spamming worth-while. We are getting so many additional bonuses to Shred (Blessing of the Grove, for instance) that I cannot see Mangle ever being considered "decent" damage again... plus the duration of Mangle on the target is still 1-min, and now Hemo will provide this buff as well... I just would not take it as-is.

Okay, five points to spend, and now I start looking at Perseverance. 10% magical damage reduction sounds EXTREMELY nice since it does not specify a form; sitting in Cat Form and taking even less damage from DKs just seems really strong. Additionally, when you put this into the equation with all the other bear form damage reductions, when you go Bear Form, you are going to have a Mastery Bonus (which I'm calling ~10% damage reduction at the moment... we will have to wait and see what it actually is) damage reduction, a 12% damage reduction from PotP, and a 10% damage reduction from Perseverance. It just LOOKS like Bear Form will be the survival button for PvP in Cataclysm (and I am completely leaving Barkskin off the table because it is another 20% damage reduction every minute... that's a TON of magic damage reduction).

This is the build I am looking at for Beta. It has everything you need to deal damage as Cat effectively, you have some strong burst in the red-zone finally, you can easily keep SR and Rake up, as well as Rip, you have great survivability in Bear Form... and all you really give up is a few edge-case talents like 10 seconds off of Bash or 12 "last-stand" energy during TF and Berserk or being able to Ravage for questionably stronger damage after a FCC... which SHOULD be used as a gap-closer, not a dps button.