The Cat Guide
First off lets take a look at Cat Form. Blizzard describes it as
Shape shift into Cat form to increase attack speed and gain the use of various Cat abilities. This form has an innate threat reduction component. The cat is much like the Rogue. You should read the Rogue Basics page for more details on how to play a Rogue. Many Cat abilities are similar to Rogue abilities. Cat form is best for soloing and for party use. If you're a Rogue player, you can appreciate how useful this form can be. Feline Swiftness regains its speed increase when moving from indoors to outdoors. "
I find this pretty ironic since Feline Swiftness works indoors now and was renamed to Feral swiftness (correct me if i'm wrong though.) Anyways there's also a basline formula to how Cat AP is derived. It is
#Attack Power is increased by the formula: (Strength x 2) + Agility + (Character Level x 2) - 20
Now looking at that you may say well Strength is 2 times as effective we should just stack that right? Wrong. If this was pre-3.1 the numbers would agree with you. But since 3.1 both Armor Penatration (known as ArP from hereon) and Agility (Agi from hereon) are significantly better then strength.
Reason behind the numbers - Since 3.1 both Savage Roar (our main uptime buff ability) and rip (out main DoT) have been overhauled. Our Rip can now crit (making Agility more favorable in itself over Strength since Agility gives Crit rating as well). Our Savage Roar is 30% Damage increase instead of 40% attack power (AP derives directly into Strength ergo making Strength more favorable pre 3.1; Since it is a straight damage increase AGI > STR because of the crit.)
Also on topic of druid form to cat form ratios; our weapon gives us Feral AP directly from the weapon's DPS or ilvl. It's 14 feral AP per DPS point - 54 If i remember correctly. This will let you figure out what's best for you as you progress through the game.
So What's better then Agility or Armor Pen?
Well as mentioned before since 3.1 both armor pen and agility are both better then Strength so what should ferals Gem now? The answer is simple. If you can reach 220 Armor Pen unbuffed and have the Shred Idol & grim toll or Runestone gem for armor pen OR if you have idol of mutilation or RIP Idol then wait till about 350 (also must have GT or MRS . It has no DR and only gets better as you get more of it.
Agility is also important. It is a generally stated rule that you should have 50% Crit unbuffed. If not maybe gemming agility would be a better option for you.
Once you reach this threshold Armor pen is the way to go. If you want you can keep stacking agility tho as each point is only a 2 DPS difference or so. With 10 gems that could equal about a 320 DPS loss maximum. Not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.
Another note about ArP
As stated its best to get to the soft cap (566 with MRS 619 with GT) then gem agility, however once you can reach 1050 ArP buffed/gemmed that will be more beneficial to your DPS. You would obviously not need one of the ArP trinkets anymore and many suggest Banner of victory and the improved greatness card are the best in slot once you can finally reach this setup. This setup also has the most theoretical DPS with BiS from CC getting close to 10k
update for 3.2.2 ArP nerf
New Hardcap = 1400 (1399.6 or so actually but for the sake of ease we'll call it 1400)
So the new softcaps for Grim toll and Runestone are...
Grim Toll = 788 soft cap
Runestone = 736 soft cap
The new value needed where straight ArP outwieghs softcap + agility SHOULD be 1190, assuming 85% is still the breaking point.
Remember these are just general guidelines and a lot of it has to do with your general gearing set up, the best thing to do is reasearch and find out what setups best for you.
Stat values post 3.1
Some people, like myself, rather know what % of your DPS each stat is worth. Here is a table taken from http://elitistjerks.com
3.1 values w/ bis gear
Stat points Error dps value Error
Armor Pen 30.3 +/- 0.1 1.80 +/- 0.01
Agility 25.0 +/- 0.1 1.49 +/- 0.01
Feral AP 12.0 +/- 0.1 0.71 +/- 0.01
Strenght 23.8 +/- 0.1 1.41 +/- 0.01
Crit 20.0 +/- 0.1 1.19 +/- 0.01
Hit 22.8 +/- 0.1 1.35 +/- 0.01
Expertise 22.8 +/- 0.1 1.35 +/- 0.01
Haste 19.6 +/- 0.1 1.25 +/- 0.01
AP 10.0 +/- 0.1 0.59 +/- 0.01
This is a up to date 3.1 Table with BiS gear.
Other important numbers to know
Hit Cap - 8% or 263
Expertise Cap - 6.5% or 132 rating w/ primal precision 214 without PP (26 expertise total)
Cat DPS Priority Table
This is a Priority system I derived from lots of testing and beating the target dummy a lot; most people over at EJ agree.
1) If ooc proc use shred or rake if rake is down
1) Keep SR up (with 1+ cp)
2) Keep RIP up with 5 CP
3) Use FB if the conditions are good: Hard to explain but if you think you can get enough points to put up rip and SR w/out expiring then go for it.
4) Keep mangle up
5) keep rake up
6) Use shred to generate CP with energy micromanage to avoid rake/mangle downtime (basically use it if you will have enough energy to refresh rake/mangle when they expire or simply use shred if you have 3+ cp)
7) If you are going to lose SR before you can reapply it -> use your CP to refresh SR (yes SR clipping is good)
8) If you have 5 cp and you are going to waste energy waiting rip to expire (you have more than 95 energy) -> try to reapply rip, otherwise wait for rip to expire.
This is the best way I could explain how I DPS. It looks confusing but once you get the hang of it it's not to difficult. Feral DPS; at least imo; is all about feel. Sometimes you might take a risk doing that FB and hoping you get a OOC proc or two to get you back on track. A lot of times it works out, sometimes it doesnt. You can still manage to always get your priorities back on track even if you make a mistake or two. The main thing is to never lose your cool. Always stay focused and most important: DONT DIE IN THE FIRE. Dead DPS is useless DPS.
Feral DPS have only a few Glyphs to choose from that actually increase their overall DPS
Glyph of Savage Roar - A must have for any fulltime kitty.
Glyph of Shred - Also considered a must have
Glyph of Rip - This one is completely dependent on how good you are at keeping up rip full time. It will make your rotation ALOT smoother.
Glyph of Berserk - Usually used for PvP but is not a terrible PvE choice either in some cases.
Glyph of Dash
Glyph of Thorns
Glyph of the Wild
Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth
Glyph of Challenging Roar (mixed spec mostly)
Helm - Arcane of Torment - http://www.wowhead.com/?item=44149
Shoulder - Greater Inscription of the Axe (SoH exalted) - http://www.wowhead.com/?item=44133
Back - Major Agility - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=60663
Chest - 10 stats (Powerful Stats) - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=60692
Wrist - Greater Assault - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=44575
Hands - 20 agility but a lot say 44 AP is better. It's a negligible difference tbh go with what you have mats wise. - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=44529
Waist - Eternal Belt Buckel - http://www.wowhead.com/?item=41611
Legs - Icescale Leg Armor - http://www.wowhead.com/?item=38374
Feet - Icewalker (12 hit and 12 crit); If hit capped 16 agility may be better for you. - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=60623
Weapon - Berserking is generally considered the best - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=59621 with Mongoose - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=27984 close behind or even BETTER depending on how well you are gear wise (I think once you get close to or over 10k AP raid buffed mongoose > Berserking)
Massacre - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=60691 Is a distant third but is alright i guess.
There are a few feral DPS specs around but generally this is the standard single target DPS spec - http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#0ZEMMcfrz0eR0huAkbAczb
Most 25 man raids have a feral Tank or a Arms warrior so then - http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#0ZEGMcfrz0eR0huVkbAczb - would be considered the main raiding spec (what I used to use back when we had a fulltime arms warrior)
Of course depending on your raid you can change a few things around. If you have a fulltime druid tank OR a Arms warrior you could change 3/3 imp mangle into 3/3 Feral Instinct for the 30% increased Swipe damage. Or if you have another Feral you could take out 2/2 imp LotP and put it into something else. I usually take 3/5 out of the feral aggression and put it into 30% increased swipe for raids. Or if i'm with a arms warrior take the 3 out of imp mangle :P
There's not a whole lot of lee-way on specs because every point is crucial to maximizing DPS.
If you have over 180 armor pen then Hearty Rhino is for you - http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=57436
If you're still in the Agility range then Blackened Dragonfin is for you - http://www.wowhead.com/?item=42999
Flask of Endless Rage is your top used flask.
If you wanted to use Elixirs i'd go with 45 Armor pen http://www.wowhead.com/?item=44330 or 45 Agility http://www.wowhead.com/?item=39666
For guardian the only one that would increase your DPS (slightly at that) is http://www.wowhead.com/?item=20081
Add-ons and Mods
Personally I don't use many add-on's to help me with my rotation. The add-ons I use are as follows
Mikscrollingbattletext - http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-a...ttle-text.aspx
Omen - http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-a...eat-meter.aspx
Those are really the only two I use besides Bag addon's and outfitter.
Some other helpful Add-ons
I've heard good things about both of these cat DPS add-on's to help people maximize their DPS.
Facemauler - http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-a...acemauler.aspx
BadKitty - http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-a.../badkitty.aspx
Feral-by-night - http://elitistjerks.com/f73/t49702-f...mulation_tool/ (Thanks to Rowen.)
I don't use either of these so i'm not exactly sure how they work but I've heard good things from other members of the forums.
Using WoW head you can actually get a list of the BiS Gear by using the stat values (mentioned above) and plugging them into the filtering process on WoWhead.
WoW head gear rankings
Thats Best in Slot obviously; updated for CC.
Pre-Raid Gear for Feral DPS
Courtesy of Solux
EJ, myself Solux for the pre raid kitty gear guide and Rowen for the feral by night add-on
I am hoping this thread can become a place where we could put more information into this post and I will give you credit here. Please keep everything constructive and keep the Off topic conversation to a minimum. Thank you.