Friday, February 8, 2008

Learning Your Roots: Feral Tree Part 1

So this time around I’m going to focus on the tree that most Druid players consider the fastest way to level from 1 to 70. Within this tree you have the ability to Tank or to do dps with your Bear and Cat forms. Let me be clear in saying that honestly, I feel that even if you want to go Balance or Restoration later on, the best and most fun way to level a Druid, at least until level 40, is to play through the Feral tree. Not only will it give you boosts in speed, strength and additional attacks, but it will also give you the chance to see what a tank has to go through as well as melee dps. You will find yourself having a better affinity for both. While they may not be up to your play style, you will at least spend some time in both pairs of shoes.

A Druid breaks down like this. From levels 1 to 10 you are a caster, period. At level ten you get bear form and you learn to tank. At level 20 you receive cat form, dps machine from then until 40. Once you hit forty you have the opportunity to respec to one of the other trees or you can wait until 70 to do that, most Druids do.

Let it be known that this is considered one of the two main specs for Druids. Laser Chickens are off spec, so that means that I’m odd….but you knew that :P.

Ferocity is a five point talent that reduces the cost of Maul, Swipe, Claw, Rake and Mangle. These are different spells for either a bear or a cat, so you’re getting the benefit of it in both of your main forms when you’re still a young druid. The thing about the two forms is that they take from Warrior and Rogue in that they use Rage and Energy. So you need to keep both up to be able to have the strength to finish a fight and the ability to switch between spells to get it done quickly. This is a talent that will really help you in making sure you don’t run on empty too fast.

Feral Aggression is another five pointer that can boost your Demoralizing Roar and you Ferocious Bite. First thing about it that turns me off to it is that it’s only for bear form, while that might not seem like a big thing, Ferocious Bite isn’t that great of a spell to begin with. While Demoralizing Roar is great, you can’t use it in close quarters because you can agro other mobs within the area and it eats up a chunk of rage to boot. I’ve played with Druids for a while before I got serious about Bosque, one in Horde and like 3 Alliance, I never once bothered to put points in to this talent, hasn’t ever bothered me.

Feral Instinct is a three point talent that is a must have for two reasons. First, it gives you that extra attention since it will give you up to 15% more threat when you’re in that form. However the other reason is the one that called to me the most, it reduces detect ability when you are prowling, so when you go stealth. Let me tell you, there are going to be times when a quest will just call for you to go touch something or read something that you’re going to be GLAD that you have this talent, it will save you the time and effort of fighting through a group of mobs higher level than you to get what you need. This is a MUST HAVE for this tree.

Brutal Impact is a two pointer. It can increase the time for stun time for Bash and Pounce by up to 1 second. I never put points into this one and I had reasoning for it. If you’re in a group, the stun that you have already is enough to keep a mob messed up long enough for your dps to do the serious damage they can inflict and if you’re going solo and doing the pounce, you have enough attacks in your book to take down a mob before they come to and seriously threaten you.

Thick Hide is three points well spent as it increases the Armor from items you have on up to 10%. I don’t need to tell you just how important something like that is especially when you’re leveling and don’t have the money to go run to the nearest AH and buy new gear every level. One of my Druid friends is a tank and he has about 24k armor, this one of the talents that he truly loves.

There are only two classes that get a travel form. Shamans get Ghost Wolf at level 20 and Druids get Travel Form (Cheetah) at level 30. Before those two however, you’re hoofing it. Most Druids find that once they get cat form, that’s the form they can most often be found in. Feral Swiftness is a talent that gives cat form a little extra running speed. For 2 points you get as 30% speed increase while also giving an additional 4% dodge rating to your bear form. It’s a great talent that will see you moving through zones a bit quicker and give you the ability to run for you life when you’re attacked by several mobs, a little faster.

Feral Charge is the first spell that you can learn specifically from this tree and in no other way. Like I stated before, bears are like Warriors. This is a spell that really makes it true as it gives your bear form the ability to charge a mob. This stuns the mob for a second and gives you the chance to rip into them before they even know what hit them. The downfall is that when you’re starting a battle cold you’ll have to use Enrage to really get this started, still very little to have to pay to use this great talent.

Sharpened Claws is a great little three pointer as it gives up to a 6% high chance to get a critical strike when you’re in animal form. It also bleeds into a talent a little ways down the tree. Really though even without it bleeding into something else it’s a great talent as it raises that critical strike which gives you more agro as a bear and keeps the attention of a mob as a cat.

There’s obviously more to the tree but I want to take this a bit at a time as it gives both you, the reader, and myself enough time to digest exactly what it is that each talent can do. Plus and more importantly, it doesn’t bore you to tears. There’s a couple of other things that I might post today but this does it for the first part of the Feral tree.

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