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Shifting Perspectives: Gearing your feral cat for raiding, part 3


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our weekly feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

In this final installment to our feral cat gearing series, let's take a look at augmentation. No, not that kind of augmentation, silly -- the ones that make your character better at laying down the smack, DPS-wise.

A word to the thrifty: A character with no enchants versus a character with full enchants loses about 10% DPS potential. If you don't use consumables, that knocks off another 10%. A 10-20% shortfall is certainly significant but not critical. I wouldn't worry about enchanting gear for tackling solo content or normal-mode dungeons. Once you get into heroic dungeons and raids, though, you're doing your fellow group or raidmates a disservice by not putting forth the best effort possible, and that effort includes fully maximizing your potential.

Read Gearing your feral cat druid for raiding, part 1
Read Gearing your feral cat druid for raiding, part 2

Enchants

As a rough reference to figuring out how good each enchant is, one point of agility translates to 2-3 additional DPS, depending on your gear and buffs. Strength is worth about 75% of that, and all secondary stats are worth about 30%. (Yes, that low.) It seems counterintuitive, but agility is so comparatively strong that you'll want to stack it over a secondary stat unless you can get over three times the amount.

Weapon Mighty Agility (+130 agi) is your best bet, by far. It was recently hotfixed to be available at a lower level of enchanting skill, so the price of it should drop significantly on the auction house, but it'll still cost a few hundred gold. Sadly, there really aren't any good, cost-effective alternatives; the old standbys, such as Mongoose and Berserking, are likely to remain expensive due to limited supply. If you're extremely strapped and still want a bit of a boost, look for the old LK Greater Savagery (+85 attack power).

Head Arcanum of the Ramkahen (+60 agi/+35 haste) is the best choice, but it requires revered Ramkahen rep. If you haven't reached revered with Ramkahen, the PvP Arcanum of Vicious Agility (+60 agi) is a reasonable fillin, for either 1,000 honor or 40 Tol Barad commendations. If you skipped Uldum and went to Twilight Highlands instead, the strength arcanum (+60 str/+35 mastery) is also a reasonable replacement.

Shoulders Hodir 2.0; either the Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal (+50 agi/+25 mastery) with exalted Therazane rep, or the Lesser Inscription of Shattered Crystal (+30 agi/20 mastery) with honored Therazane rep. Take heart; you can tabard this, so a few 5-man dungeons should get you there quickly. Scribes, naturally, will want Swiftsteel Inscription (+130 agi/+25 mastery).

Cloak The old Wrath enchant Major Agility (+22 agi) barely beats out the new Greater Critical Strike (+65 crit) as the best choice. This is good, seeing as the +65 crit enchant requires an eye-popping five Maelstrom Crystals, making it slightly more expensive than your house. Tailors will want the newest Swordguard Embroidery (+1,000 AP proc, ~25%ish uptime) instead.

Chest There's Peerless Stats (+20 all stats), Mighty Stats (+15 all stats), and Powerful Stats (+10 all stats). Choose the level commensurate with the, erm, peerlessness of your bank account.

Bracers The yawn-inducingly named Agility (+50 agi) enchant is the best choice. Introduced in the 4.0.6 patch, it's very expensive, but very worth it compared to the alternative, the good old Greater Assault(+50 AP). Leatherworkers, of course, get the best and cheapest: Draconic Embossment - Agility (+130 agi).

Gloves Apparently, agility classes don't get their own glove enchant? Anyway, our best is Mighty Strength (+50 str), which is horribly expensive. If you're not that mighty, then go with Exceptional Strength(+35 str) which sounds better anyway. There's also the old Wrath Major Agility (+20 agi), which is dirt cheap now and a reasonable substitute. Engineers will want to add Synapse Springs (+480 agi/10s, 1 min CD) as well. Note that unlike all other item enhancements, engineering tinkers are non-exclusive; you can stack them with other enchants.

Legs This one's easy. Dragonscale Leg Armor (+190 AP/+55 crit) for the wealthy, Scorched Leg Armor (+110 AP/+45 crit) for the...not. Leatherworkers get to make a much cheaper version of the Dragonscale for themselves, the Dragonbone Leg Reinforcements.

Boots Happily, unlike most classes, we don't have to worry about putting a runspeed enchant on our boots. This is good, as Assassin's Step is pretty expensive (Sorry, hunter-types). Slap on Major Agility (+35 agi), which is dirt cheap, and you're done.

Belt Buy an Ebonsteel Belt Buckle, which lets you add an additional gem socket to your belt. You will almost certainly want to pop a Delicate Inferno Ruby (+40 agi) in there.

Rings An enchanter exclusive: +40 agility on each ring. Enchant 'em if you got 'em.

Other Since I discussed most of the profession-exclusive bonuses, let's cover the rest quickly. Alchemy gets the Flask of Enhancement, which provides an essentially free +80 agility; you just have to remember to use it. Blacksmiths get to add two extra gem sockets, to bracers and gloves. Jewelcrafters get to use three Delicate Chimera's Eyes, which offer a +27 agi boost. You should see a trend; essentially, every production profession provides a +80 agility buff, or a proc with roughly the same value. Unfortunately, the gathering professions have bonuses which aren't as good, but you get "free" materials!

Consumables

The tasty part of the article. Consumables can provide a significant additional buff to your character. You can probably skip their use for 5-man dungeons, but they're virtually required for serious raiding. One note: If you use a group consumable (feast/cauldron), make sure you're not in Bear Form when you do, or you'll likely get +stamina instead of +agility.

Food Assuming you've leveled your fishing (or your bank account), Skewered Eel (+90 agi) is the way to go. If you're in a guild that loves fishing, you may also have access to Seafood Magnifique Feasts, which are equivalent. Thriftier players can go for the ground-based variant, Tender Baked Turtle (+60 agi); likewise, guilds who prefer cooking to fishing can use Broiled Dragon Feasts, and engineers can make Goblin Barbecues.

Flask/Elixir Unlike previous expansions, when you could use either a flask or an elixir, there's really no contest. Flask of the Winds (+300 agi) by far is the best choice. Yes, it's expensive, but it's the largest (single) enhancement that you can provide. It's stronger than most buffs, even. The benefit works similarly across all classes, so if you're struggling with the cost, consider pooling funds with your raid to provide materials for Cauldrons. These alchemist creations do require an achievement or two to unlock, but they provide the same buff, and are much cheaper than individual flasks (especially after all relevant guild achievements are unlocked.)

Potion While the use of food and flasks is a given for most raiders, many are still coming around to the idea of using DPS potions. It's understandable; a buff that only lasts a few seconds seems much less valuable than a permanent buff. Well, it's time to shatter that assumption. Our DPS potion, Potion of the Tol'Vir (+1,200 agi/25 seconds) provides a much greater benefit than a food buff does and can approach the usefulness of a flask. Why? Stacking. You can choose when you want to have that additional 1,200 agility -- how about during Berserk, when all your energy costs are halved, or during BL/Heroism, when you have an extra 30% haste? On a few special occasions, I've been able to stack Tol'vir + Heroism + Unheeded Warning proc + Berserk, essentially doubling my DPS temporarily. I wouldn't say you need to use a potion for every attempt on a boss, but it's definitely worth it for fights that feature tight enrage timers.

Of course, no discussion of potions would be complete without the famed "double pot trick." Normally, you're limited to 1 potion (of any kind) per fight. However, that restriction only applies to potion "use." If you pop a potion immediately before the tank pulls (and you enter combat), you still receive the potion's benefits, and you'll be free to use another one once the normal potion cooldown is up. Obviously, this is going to substantially increase your raiding costs, but if you're trying to scratch out every shred of DPS you can, this will help.

Read Gearing your feral cat druid for raiding, part 1
Read Gearing your feral cat druid for raiding, part 2

Coming soon

Well, that pretty much wraps up the discussion of gear for feral DPS. I'll probably devote my next column to some of the addons that are a big help to new ferals, but if you have anything you'd like to see, just let me know in the comments!

What race should you choose for your druid? What happened to Tree of Life? How can you get started as a bear or cat in Cataclysm? Shifting Perspectives has the answers!

Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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