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Both Aff locks and Shadow priest manage buffs of different durations/lengths.

However, after reading both your and Karthis information on cat rotations. It is not really as complex, as balancing energy and debuff timers.

I think the other classes that need to pay attention are classes like Balance Druids, Aff locks, Fire Mages, etc... who have a priority on procs vs debuffs. I have one proc ability that is only up for 5 seconds, and if I do not see it proc I miss a GCD.


I agree, Flyv. It's the reason why I leveled my 'alt' druid over my 'main' mage in Wrath. I was sick of spamming one or two buttons in a raid. Cat DPS actually feels like it rewards your attention.


And rogue (combat/sub) don't have just as bad of a dps rotation?

Tricks of the trade (on tank typically#
Shadowstep #sub builds# -> Ambush #weaponswap#
SinisterStrike#ss#/Hemorrage -> backstab #depending on build#
Slice and dice #cnd# at 1-5 combo points #depending on other bebuffs status#
More ss/hemo -> bs
Target disarmable? if so add dismantle on cooldown
No warriors in group = Eviserate at 5 combo points
Rupture at 5 combo points, unless you have to refresh snd
Killing spree or Shadow dance -> Ambush spam
Blade Flurry #combat#
Adrenaline rush #combat# on bloodlust/heroism
All that while still watching to find out if we need to kick/gouge/KS/blind this target #or anotherone) to interrupt a spell cast?

And i'm sure i'm still forgetting something in all of that. Mutilate in comparison i'm finding to be a joke as is pretty much removes maintaining slice and dice which accounts for a big portion of a rogues dps.


Looking at this page and thinking to tanking classes, I'm beginning to think that Blizzard has made DPS classes more difficult to maintain than tanking classes. I admit that I haven't tanked very much in Wrath, but I keep hearing about how Wrath is a complete AoE fest through Naxx 10. Just get the tank to spam their AoE tanking ability and have all of the DPS classes spam their AoE DPS ability. I'm sure that is just for the simpletons who want all of the game handed to them on a silver platter. Blizzard has been accused of making the game too "dumb", but I think that their word of accessible is much more accurate. If you want to spam two buttons and see end game, then go for it. However, if you want a richer experience from your game, then you can have that, too.

The game is becoming what people want to make of it. I haven't played DPS classes, either, only my kitty, but that's the way that I see it.


I cheerfully admit ignorance about how rogues work; I'm hoping my guild rogue buddy will chime in here. Having multiple buffs linked to combo points and energy is the essence of what makes cat DPS complicated; I guess it shouldn't surprise me rogues have something similar going on.

In talking with various people about this post, I think I have a concrete solution for Blizzard. Add combo point mechanics to all classes. It's a fun resource to manage and adds some complexity that makes the game more fun.


As I mentioned when we discussed this in guild: mana management COULD make the DPS dance more interesting for some of the caster classes.... but for now it's still trivialized.

I think 3.1 is set to spice things up.


I'm not sure mana can add the kind of complication I'm looking for. Mana's a big pool that you mostly ignore right until you run out, then you get to do nothing. It's great for limiting a DPS in a fight but doesn't seem to require a lot of management other than that. Sometimes it dictates a specific casting rotation, ie: use your high DPS spell efficiently so as not to clip a DoT. But mostly mana seems to be much more a constraint on healers than DPS, carefully conserving and not overhealing.

Dancing in and out of the five second rule is a bit more interesting, but that's actually being nerfed in 3.1.


My decision tree for cat dps is actually more like 4 trees.

1) Savage Roar
2) Rip
3) Ferocious Bite

1) Mangle
2) Rake
3) Shred

1) Tiger's Fury
2) Berserk

1) Faerie Fire

Tree#2 is used to create combo points and you make the decision every second or two.

Tree#1 is used to maintain our finishers and the decision is made every 10-20 seconds (although, like you said, it requires planning 30 sec ahead of time)

Tree#3 is used to make up ground when you fall behind in Tree#1 or when an AoE opportunity or Bloodlust presents itself

Tree#4 is a set use once every 30-40 seconds. Just have to remember to use it and have a GCD available.

The first 3 trees are intertwined so much that you have to constantly be aware of where you are in relation to each one.


Survival hunter is pretty complex too:

1. Serpent sting up? Hunter's mark up?
2. Fire explosive shot if not on cool-down.
3. Fire steady shot x3 (or aimed shot, if you spec that way).
4. Watch for Lock and Load procs--fire 3 explosive shots, but make sure you don't clip.
5. Watch for Kill command and Kill shot to come up; use if available....
6. Heal your pet/pull your pet out of combat/send your pet into combat...

But I really love the kitty dps rotation--too bad you only get to use it on bosses--regular mobs die way to fast to really get the rotation going.


Survival hunter is the other DPS class I understand well enough to comment with some authority. I don't find it very complicated, it's just a traditional shot rotation. ES, SSx3, repeat. Occasionally refresh Serpent Sting or Hunter's Mark. Lock and Load complicates it a bit, mostly because of the clipping. But you don't have any resources to manage, no energy to time or combo points to build up. Honestly I miss the old Auto Shot clipping problem, that made the timing a bit more fun.


In comparison, here's how my elemental shaman does it.


1. Stick down totems. Usually Wrath, Strength, Mana, Wrath of Air,
2. Refresh Water shield
3. Refresh Flametongue


1. Flameshock (It's Glyphed)
2. Lava Burst
3. Lightning Bolt x3 (or Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning for AoEing trash)
4. Has Flameshock Expired?
5. Are trinkets Available?
6. (Draenei) Do I need to use Heroism Now?
7. Is Elemental Mastery Available?
8. Am I low on Mana? If so Thunderstorm.
9. Has Watershield Expired?

I know it looks quite complex. But the answer to questions 5-9 is almost always no. So it really degenerates into bashing 4 buttons over and over again.


With regard to hunters: The hunter I raid with often (and who often beats me in DPS, as he should) jokes that he just rolls the scroll wheel on the mouse up and down for his dps (was BM before the nerfs, now survival).

I have fun with kitty dps, however Maexxna can DIAF . . . the last two weeks she has tossed me to a wall right when I start my Berserk >:-|


Thank you very much for this post! I was searching for days for someone who could help me to understand feral rotation. I leveled as a balance but it got very boring in raiding. I actually fell a sleep at the end of KZ fight and missed a roll on sp mace :D.
I think resto druid rotation is comparable in complexity with feral rotation after they added cd to wild growth. Second one that comes to my mind is rogue rotation.
Your blog is one of the best I have ever read, keep up the good job! :)


One thing I should've mentioned back then when I first saw this post: On point 4, Rake can crit, thus granting 1-2 CPs like Mangle above ;) Oh, and now that I look at it, every Feral has 5/5 Ferocity, giving a 5 Energy discount on both Mangle and Rake ;)


I had never liked playing DPS, always had played holy priest or warrior tank... but I made the gruesomely slow journey from level 1-20 on my druid and have loved feral DPS since then. The characteristics you describe Flyv is exactly we I like my feral druid, the complexity and attention to debuffs make every fight interesting. It is frustrating when a SR and Rip is about to expire and you have two combo points and 30 energy and TF is still on cooldown, a huge dip in DPS, but means more practice to refine your timing debuff management.

@Darkbane, yes trash mobs I hate the most, Swipe has helped but I am still nearly useless with trash aoe.
But unfortunately, I have found that the hunter class is the most boring to play, never able to play my hunter for more then 15 minutes at a time. Finally, when playing solo, if you don't do something stupid (ie. pull large groups, fight something too high of a level, or pull aggro), there is never a chance for you to die, you have a tank, you can heal your tank to some degree, you are your own party. Warlocks fall close behind with classes I find kind of boring to play.


Considering the fact that I am offtank in my guild (I am fully bear-specced, except for the talent that reduce Shred-energy req by 18) I am always trying to improve my DPS when we are killing a boss that require no off-tank.

Anyway, as the fights go along I experiment a lot I have and found that my Rake does no more than 3-5% of my damage, which has made me think: Isn't it for me better to skip Rake entirely and just use the extra 10 energy on a Shred? Of course I still keep Mangle, Rip and Savage Roar up (never have time to get any Ferocious Bite). I should probably add that I only have 53 hit-rating, which I am desperately trying to improve.

What is your opinion about this, am I making a mistake when I drop Rake to get an extra Shred instead?


The theory nerds I trust all say Rake is worth the energy. I'm surprised Rake is only 3% of your damage. It's more like 10% for me. Be sure you're measuring on a specific boss fight; Rake is useless on trash, so you won't see it very high in a full raid report. But for a boss fight it's good DPS.


"Both Aff locks and Shadow priest manage buffs of different durations/lengths."

Marginally sure however both rots are quite basic, I think interactive is more accurate than complex.

Locks have unlimited resources; just to start with.

Is there a class that does not mamage buffs of diffrent lengths? Even arcane mages do, (which is ultra EZ mode) not to mention arbitrary categorical CD's....etc. Fire mage rots are somewhat interactive but nowhere near cat rots.

"...I have one proc ability that is only up for 5 seconds, and if I do not see it proc I miss a GCD."

You are not unique.


Here's the priority tree for a Shadow Priest:

== Start of fight ==
Vampiric Embrace (usually)
Vampiric Touch
Inner Focus + Mind Blast
Devouring Plague
Mind Flay
Shadow Word: Pain (last so as to take advantage of 5-stack Weaving)

== Prioritization ==
1. Is Shadow Word: Pain about to fall off? Mind Flay immediately.
2. Is Vampiric Touch under 2 seconds left? Re-cast.
3. Re-apply Devouring Plague if off cooldown.
4. Mind Blast if it's off cooldown. (With Inner Focus if off cooldown.)
5. Re-apply Vampiric Embrace if needed. (Its duration has been pushed up to 5 minutes in 3.1.)
6. Mind Flay. (A cast bar that shows latency can help you spam it properly.)

(The accepted wisdom from the SP community is that Shadow Word: Death should not be used, even if you have 4-piece bonus.)

So far, this is pretty simple. But here's what hasn't yet been mentioned at all in this thread: Haste. I admit I have no idea how much this affects (interferes with) a Druid's or Rogue's rotation - mine are still in their 70s. For a caster, it has a significant impact. I'm not just talking about changing gear every few weeks and seeing your Mind Flay drop a little farther behind your Mind Blast CD... I'm talking how Bloodlust suddenly throws you into overdrive. (Couple that with a proc from Embrace of the Spider and things get very intense.)

The Haste challenge for casters doesn't trump the depth of the priority tree described above, I don't think, but it is a separate mechanic (from combo points) that does make things a lot more interesting.




I read this and became unhappy. The original poster got many things wrong, and the people commenting don't get the dps cycle. First, I would like you say you regenerate energy at 10 per second, not 20. Also, you have the gist of that rotation right, but it is missing some large areas, such as correct berserk usage, savage roar usage (it is good to use it at one combo point), rake can generate two combo points, etc.

It isn't complicated because of juggling 5 buffs, but juggling 5 buffs that you have to prepare to reapply. If you have savage roar and rip expiring at the same time, you have some planning to do on how you are going to keep maximum uptime. Comparatively, all these other rotations people are posting are incredibly easy (I hope they are joking, survival hunter...)


no offense but your hunter and/or your hunter friends must not be optimizing their dps if that's all they do, is spam steady shot wait for explosive to come off the cool down. let's see there's serpent sting, black arrow, kill command, rapid fire, to consider in terms of buff cds, then of course explosive shot and the lock and load variable which u can't just spam or you gimp your dps, and also your filler shot whether it's multi shot or aimed shot...then on top of that of course you have to consider your trinket procs like reflection of torment, precision shots, greatness and sync them with pots/rapid fire/heroism etc etc. i love that people still MISTAKENLY use hunters, even if no longer bm hunters as the class to point to for loleasy dps.


i lol at that comment its true but mostly you dont need to refresh them all the time lets take kill command target must be below 20%.

Lock and load got a CD so you dont need to pay so much attention to that.

Trinkets is not in the chart due to the fact most class got some form of cds so they can blow of when trinket proc
Like druid we can in theory wait for a trinket procs but its to big hassle we dont got the luxury for most avrege player.

The fact you can chain stuff with trinkets shows that the survival rotation isent to hard otherwise most people would never do it. Myself a Cat druid cant pull of the rotation flawless i rather dont want to be bothred with trinkets to to many stuff to juggle then.

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