On “Rotations” and Priorities

October 4, 2011

While this blog has sat silent for many, many months, I have still been continuing my Cataclysmic adventures in World of Warcraft. I have been raiding (very successfully!) with my guild <The Darkside> on Khadgar-US, and I am still able to consistently put out DPS that rivals many other classes in my guild. As we don’t have any other Druid Kitties in the guild (although we do have some wonderful Druid Bears) people often ask me how I do what I do, and why. I have finally decided after many years to put together a post including my “rotation”,  how it optimizes my DPS, and what each move does in the most simplistic terms.

I’m going to break it down into a few different parts: The Opener, The Combo Point Builders, and The Finishing Moves.

The Opener

Everyone knows that a pickup linecan really affect the impact you leave on someone. If it is cheesy, you won’t do well. (No one ever really falls for those, “Hey! Are your legs tired because you were running through my dreams all night!” crappola). You don’t want to obsess over it so much you can’t think about anything else, but you do want to put some thought into what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. Your opening move as a Druid Kitty should be no different! Don’t just run in there and blurt out whatever first comes to mind. Let’s stop and think about it, and figure out the best way to head into the situation.

My preference is to FERAL CHARGE, if at all possible, to the boss. This will let us stand back, observe the situation, and like a lioness hunting in the wild, we can see the absolute best instant to strike, leaping in and landing safely behind the boss to start our smack down. This gives the Tank ample time to head in, pick up the boss, and properly position him while we remain at a safe distance, but the swiftness of our Feral Charge means that we won’t be the last to get to the DPSin’. When you’re ready, head on in there.

An extra bonus of being able to Feral Charge in to the boss, is that with the 2/2 Talent STAMPEDE you will be granted a free (as in no energy needed) non-stealthed RAVAGE. Ravage does a nice bunch of damage and is a great way to start off the fight.

Some bosses do not let you use a feral charge to get to them. If this is the case, then prowl on over to the boss, Ravage, and continue as below. If you can’t prowl for some reason or feral charge, you can always skip right to the action as described below.

The Combo Point Builders

These three different attack moves are going to take up the bulk of your time and attention: RAKE, SHRED, and MANGLE. You are already very familiar with these three by now I’m sure. Using each with grant you one, or, when you crit, two combo points thanks to the talent PRIMAL FURY. A brief review of each of these three will help us understand which order to use them in, how often, and why.

RAKE – DoT that does bleed damage over 15 seconds.
SHRED – burst damage and counts as bleed damage.
MANGLE – burst damage that increases bleed damage over 1 minute.

Since both Rake and Shred basically count as bleed damage, and Mangle increases bleed damage, it is common sense to use Mangle first. Mangle lasts for 1 minute, so you want to use it at least once every minute. Next, I use Rake, as it does damage over time it makes sense to get it ticking as soon as possible. Rake lasts for 15 seconds, and does a fair amount of damage, so you want to keep this up at all times. This leaves Shred. Shred does burst damage and a lot of it. Once Mangle and Rake are taken care of, you are going to use Shred to build up your combo points.

Sometimes you can’t get yourself properly positioned behind the boss to use your Shred ability. In this case, I use Mangle to build my combo points and hope I can get some butt kicking shredding (literally) in soon.

The Finishing Moves

Now that you know how to get combo points in the proper order, it is time to spend them. But like any purchase, you have a few options and have to weigh which you would like to get when.

RIP – DoT that does a lot of damage over time. Lasts 16 seconds no matter how many combo points used, but each added combo point increases the amount of damage done.
SAVAGE ROAR – Increases damage done. Each combo point extends the amount of time it lasts for. 3 CPs = 32 seconds. 4 CPs = 37 seconds. 5 CPs = 42 seconds.
FEROCIOUS BITE -Burst damage, where each additional combo point means more damage done. If the boss is under 25%, thanks to BLOOD IN THE WATER, not only will it do burst damage, but it will also refresh your Rip.
MAIM – This will stun a target temporarily, but since this takes combo points it is less useful than SKULL BASH. You will only use this finishing move on very select few fights (like on Ragnaros’s add phases), or in PvP.

Rip is going to be your priority here. It does the majority of your DPS. As it lasts for (at least) 16 seconds (Glyph of Shred will net you an extra 2 seconds, to a maximum total of 6 seconds each time) you want to always be watching this debuff on your target. It is not the end of the world if it drops off, and in certain fights it certainly will, but this is your priority to keep up. Once you safely have Rip up, you can spend your next combo points on Savage Roar. Using a full 5 combo points will grant you the longest amount of time with Savage Roar up, but if you are still getting the hang of playing Druid Kitty, you can safely go with anywhere from 3 to 5 combo points. You should be able to get back around to refreshing Savage Roar once again within 32 seconds. Ferocious Bite will not come into play unless a few other conditions are met: you have just Berserked and have extra energy to burn, someone has just used Heroism/Blood Lust and you have increased speed, OR the boss is below 25% health. To review, your priority is Rip, followed by Savage Roar, and then Ferocious Bite in some instances, ignoring Maim unless necessary for stunning.

The “Rotation”

Now that we understand (hopefully) the priorities, it is time to put the whole shebang together into something resembling a rotation. Ask anyone who has been a Druid Kitty long enough, and we all will laugh at the notion of a simple rotation. This is no A B B A A B B A; there is no rinse and repeat to playing Feral DPS. While this is what I recommend you do, this is based on a best case scenario, built off of my spec and my experiences (and a little number crunching and research). If you are a beginner, this is what you can strive for, but even an expert would be lucky to be in a fight where they can continuously just follow this “rotation” while DPSing. You need to stay on your paws and judge your situation wisely. Not every boss fight works the same way, and you will definitely have to improvise at some point along your way. The more you play, the stronger your skills (and claws!) will become.


Step 1: MANGLE, then RAKE, then SHRED. if you have 5 Combo Points RIP, if you don’t then SHRED until 5 Combo Points then RIP.

Step 2: RAKE if needed, MANGLE if needed, and SHRED to 5 Combo Points (3 or 4 CPs may be acceptable dependant on fight) then SAVAGE ROAR.

Step 3: RAKE if needed, MANGLE if needed, and SHRED to 5 Combo Points then RIP.

Alternate steps 2 and 3 until the boss is AT OR BELOW 25%, then:

Step 4: RAKE if needed, MANGLE if needed, and SHRED to 5 Combo Points then FEROCIOUS BITE (which also refreshes RIP).

Alternate steps 2 and 4 until the boss is DEAD!

Extra Extra!

You have more than just these few moves, young Kitty, and you will want to use them.

Feral Faerie Fire – Is a nice little debuff that lasts for 5 minutes. I throw this in somewhere in the beginning of the fight, usually before my first RIP.

Berserk – as stated above, makes you have ample energy by reducing the cost of all your moves – think of it as a half off sale with a very limited time frame! You want to time this with any burn phase needed and/or with your raid’s popping of Heroism/Blood Lust and/or with using a potion. I usually pop Berserk at the very top of the fight since I often have more than 3 minutes until any of the aforementioned situations occurs. This also will make any meter watchers OOOH and AAAH at your DPS for the time being.

Tiger’s Fury – You don’t need to be a technicolor troll to take advantage of this one, and you will be taking advantage of it every 30 seconds. It lasts for 6 seconds, and increases physical damage done. With the talent Primal Madness 2/2 it will also temporarily increase your current and maximum energy by 20, and more importantly with the talent King of the Jungle 3/3 it will restore 60 energy. So you ideally want to use this at below 60 energy, and then again in 30 seconds when you have less than 60 energy again. I don’t look for the exact amount of energy I have when I use it, I just use it when I am low-ish.

Trinkets – depending on what you have, you will want to figure out best when to work using these. I often overlap their use with that of Heroism and a potion and Berserking just so I can go totally crazy for a few seconds there.

Survival Instincts and Barkskin – You should NOT have to rely on these during any fight. You should hopefully have superb healers and should also know your position and have the raid awareness to keep yourself alive. But on some fights, such as Baleroc, where you are purposefully or unavoidably taking more damage than normal, you will want to use these to help mitigate the damage you take. These are also helpful on any progression fight, or really any fight, so long as you don’t have to rely on them for success. These are not an excuse for standing in fire.

Swipe – Ah, my beloved. When people ask how to Druid Kitty, I often just joke that I Swipe, Swipe, Swipe, and repeat. Swipe is still one of my favorite additions to the game, having remembered a time before its existence and written a great deal on it in the past. During raids, it is really only for AoEing down trash or adds. You don’t really get to use it much on bosses, which is awfully fair if you think about it: otherwise, we would be #1 for ever.

Well, I hope this little guide has helped you! If I have missed something, or you have other input, please leave me a comment below.

Thanks again, and as always, happy raiding! ❤



  1. Awesome, this can really help new fearls. No mention of Tiger’s Fury? Basically use it on CD when under 60 energy outside of using Beserk.

    • I knew I forgot something! D: I’ll edit the post right now, thanks!

  2. I may just have to use this info to finally level my kitty from 80-85. I’ve been putting it off for a good while, simply because I am so out of touch with the toon (haven’t done much but a couple fishing/cooking dailies since Wrath).

    Thanks a bunch for the write-up

    • Hope you get back to playing your kitty soon! 🙂

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