In case you missed it, GC decided to hot-buff Ferals (along with other sub-performing specs) yesterday. Unfortunately for me, I did not know this until today when I got to work and did not play yesterday.

I WILL, however, play today and see how it feels. It is, as always, hard to tell just how much damage I am able to do because I have to rely on battleground data which can be seemingly random. Also, I will see if I cannot work out the coefficients to get a better understanding of how much of a buff, quantitatively, we received.


I played a bunch of Battlegrounds on Live with Guntir last night, took a bunch of screenshots... and forgot to put them in my Dropbox. DOH! Anyway, the damage buff Ferals got is borderline-overpowered. I felt like a DK before in terms of control elements and survivability; I could peel for Guntir all day and also tank damage when needed. Now, however, I feel like some sort of crazy DK/Warlock hybrid, with the same survivability and control, but also with horribly powerful DoT damage.

I reforged all my crit into Mastery, just to get a feel. I went and watched some of my PvP videos because I wanted to see how my bleeds compared, and I found watching the Affliction+Disc video was the best illustration of what I mean when I say "crazy damage." My Rip was ticking for ~1.8k and critically-ticking for 3.5k and going as high as 4.0k. Keep in mind that we still had talents which made our critical strike damage higher which is why no one will bother me about "1.8 times 2 isn't 4.0." Anyway, with 14.25 Mastery and 45% crit, my Rip is hitting for 3.5-4k (depending on resil) and critting as high as 8k. This is a DoT which ticks every 2 seconds... and it's critting for 8k. Rake is doing near-comparable damage with 3-3.5k ticks and 6-7k crit-ticks. All told, I can drop a FCC-Ravage crit for around 10k at the same time Rip and Rake both critically-tick for a total of around 20k damage in a GCD. I know this is nothing new for Casters, but for a melee, it feels amazing.

In addition to our rather strong damage (though Warriors, Mages, Warlocks, Boomkins, etc are all doing more, so hopefully we continue flying below the radar), our control is nigh-unmatched. Skull Bash is exactly as amazing I said it would be... there is no "lag" with it like Mind Freeze for DKs, and it has some range. There is a guy in the Beta forums who disagrees with me on whether it is actually a "ranged" attack or just a "little bit more than melee" range. Either way, I had this scenario last night:

I had Rip/Rake/Mangle on a Disc Priest at around 20% hp. He was getting heals non-stop from a well-geared Resto Shammy, but I felt I could win this fight. So, I interrupted a big-heal that the Shammy was about to bomb into the priest with Skull Bash (just a focus-macro... it was awesome) then Feral Charge (Cat) back onto the Priest, crit him with Ravage for around 7k (he had lots of resil and inner fire) for five combo points. I then hit the Priest with a 5pt Maim (which actually LASTS 5 seconds against EVERY CLASS AND SPEC now... it's so nice), and used the instant-cast Cyclone on the Shammy RIGHT at the 5-second mark of Skull Bash (which means that he was ABOUT to cast again... but I Cycloned him). The Priest died to Bleed damage and auto-attacks (which hit REALLY hard now), and as soon as the Shammy got out of the Cyclone, I swapped to him... and without a second dedicated healer, he went down after a bit. This scenario right here illustrates just how AMAZING Ferals will be in Cataclysm PvP. We have TONS of control via Skull Bash, Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Maim, Feral Charge (Bear), and Bash, and while some of our abilities require Bear Form... Bear isn't a liability in PvP anymore.

I kept putting in some instances where I would go Bear Form just to see the survivability with Guntir plowing heals into me. Let me just say this... all PvP builds will be taking Natural Reaction for the 12% damage reduction in Bear Form, and I have the Glyph of Frenzied Regen, which turns it from a mediocre 3min cooldown into an AMAZING 3min cd. It makes it not convert Rage->Energy, and instead gives you 30% bonus healing received for the duration. I used this mainly when I was getting trained by 3-4 melees and Guntir needed a minute to top me off again; so good! Bear Form has some marked survivability over Cat Form, BUT Cat Form does not feel squishier because of it... Cat Form basically feels as strong as it did before (maybe a little stronger with regard to survivability, even though we lost 30% damage reduction while stunned)... it's just that Bear Form has REALLY good damage reduction now, and they can't keep you there.

The problem with going Bear Form prior to 4.0 was that you would get into a decent D-stance (Bear Form), but you did not have anything to get OUT of Bear Form. Your damage was low, your survivability was only a LITTLE bit stronger than Cat's, and your utility was non-existent. NOW, however, our survivability in Bear Form is stronger than Cat's hand over fist, our damage ramps up as long as people are attacking us (and keep in mind, if they train you 100%, you'd be better off going Bear Form and LETTING them deal damage to you because eventually you will have two to three times as much attack power as normal and then drop more damage than they do while in Bear Form (I had a DK and a Warrior training me in Bear Form while Guntir just healed me through it and I ended up killing a Disc Priest in Bear Form just because Mangle/Maul was critting for 10k a piece with full Vengeance... we NEED this to fly under the radar and stay in PvP for Bear Form's sake). On top of your survivability and damage, as well as the bait of forcing players to swap off of you when you go Bear BECAUSE of your potential damage, you have great utility as well in Skull Bash, Feral Charge, Demoralizing Roar (-10% physical damage is awesome), Faerie Fire, and Bash.

Yes, all things considered... Feral is in a really strong place right now. We just need a few things to continue flying below the radar of the devs and we will be alright come Cataclysm.

Oh, I cannot really mention Skull Bash + Brutal Impact at the moment, since basically all healers have infinite mana on Live... but I am getting healers to 50% with it whereas Mortal Strike cannot DENT healer's mana pools.