Having covered bear tanking in a previous set of posts, I thought I might this week turn my attention to the other aspect of a feral druid – cat form. Cat form operates under roughly the same principles as a rogue. You gain energy over time, your special attacks use this energy and build combo points. You have a variety of “finishing moves” that use the combo points – the more combo points you have built up on your target (to a max of 5) the more effective the finishing move will be, in general. So let’s get started!
What stats should a cat look for? Well, it depends on what your gear looks like right now. If you are under 2000 Attack Power (AP) in form, then you want to stack AP and strength. As you level, green items “of the Monkey, Tiger, Bear” are good old world stats, while “of the Bandit” and “of the Beast” are good Outlands stats. Strength converts into attack power at a rate of roughly 2.1 AP per strength. Pure AP is also good due to the change to Heart of the Wild mechanics – give yourself a 10% AP bonus if you have Heart of the Wild maxxed at 5 points. And as mentioned in the Bear guide…you should have it maxxed. Past 2000 AP, start stacking agility over strength – it doesn’t have as good a conversion to pure AP, but it will increase your crit chance, which will also up your DPS potential. If you are going to raid, you also want to pay attention to your hit rating once you hit 70 – you should have around 100 +hit to minimize your whiffs.
What are some good items to aim for as a cat druid? It depends on your play style. The Outlands Dungeon Set 0 for druids is “Moonglade” armor, which is unapologetically hybrid gear. It has stats useful for all types of druids, with the downside that while wearing it, you won’t really excel at any one thing. I don’t like it for a feral, especially for a cat. You will make all the rogues cry, but your best bet to maximize your kitty potential as you near and hit 70 is to collect the “Assassination” gear. You won’t be able to use the rogue specific bonuses on it, of course, but it has the proper stats and some nice gem slots too. Here are the pieces, and where you can find them. Bonus: you’ll probably get a nice chunk of rep with all the Outlands factions while collecting this set.
Leggings of Assassination – Murmur, Shadow Labs final boss
Helm of Assassination – Harbinger Skyriss, Arcatraz final boss
Tunic of Assassination – Paltheon the Calculator, Mechanar final boss
Shoulderpads of Assassination – Talon King Ikiss, Sethekk Halls final boss
Handgrips of Assassination – Aeonus, Black Morass final boss
Moving on to jewelry and trinkets, there are many good options. In the trinkets realm, Jewelcrafters can make a Nightseye Panther. A fairly easy quest in Netherstorm results in the Core of Ar’kelos. An early G3 quest in Hellfire Peninsula will net you a Bladefist’s Breath, which will easily last you to 70. Once you start running the level 70 five mans, you will have the opportunity to get two of my favorite trinkets, one of which I am still using! Namely, the Abacus of Violent Odds, again from our Mechanar friend Paltheon – and the Hourglass of the Unraveller from Temporus, the second (and arguably hardest) boss in Black Morass. Jewelry wise, head to Nagraand for your Ogre Slayer’s Band and Netherstorm for a nice Overseer’s Signet. Stick in Netherstorm a bit longer for this quest reward, the Necklace of Glowing Tendrils.
I would be remiss if I neglected your weapon options. At level 65, you should gather four friends and do the Ring of Blood event in Nagraand. Your reward will be a nice pile of cash and a Staff of Beasts, otherwise known as the bat-staff. Once you hit the Netherstorm questlines, you can trade that staff in for a Fleshling Simulation Staff. Green paw staff, pure win! And lest the last trio of the Tempest Keep five mans feel left out, we include Botanica here because it contains what will probably be your best weapon option outside of heroics and Karazhan, to whit, the Dreamer’s Dragonstaff.
To finish this gearhead section, you should traverse the pathways back to Nagraand and pick up one more quest reward, the Nomad’s Woven Cloak. And just so you know, most of these recommendations are based on items I used for a long time, and for what it’s worth, I’m still using my Hourglass. (A: It’s that good B: better DPS trinkets are hard to come by)
Whew, that was a lot of running around! But if you’ve succeeded in getting most of these items, you are ready to tackle bigger things. I hope you installed Itemrack or a similar outfit mod, because you’ll quickly find it’s a necessity to keep both your cat and bear gear on you. Cat form is excellent for solo grinding. You have a good chance of being asked to tank if you are going into an instance though! I find cat form the most enjoyable aspect of my druidic nature, but if your server is like mine, the LFG channel is usually rife with pleas of “Looking for Tank for (whatever)” much moreso than “Looking for DPS!” But as a druid, you have the unique option to be almost anything your group needs you to be, so above all – be prepared!