Druid Feral Talent Guide

[TIER 1]
Ferocity *****
Ranks: 5
Reduces the cost of your Maul, Swipe, Claw, Rake, and Mangle abilities by 1 Rage or Energy per rank.
A serious no-brainer talent. While the effect Claw and Rake is moderate, the effect of taking Swipe from 20 to 15 rage (a 25% reduction) and especially Maul from 15 to 10 (a 33% reduction) is enormous. If you ever plan to be in bear form at all, whatever your spec, you need this talent.

Feral Aggresion *
Ranks: 5
Increases the Attack Power reduction of your Demoralizing Roar by 8% per rank and increases the damage of your Ferocious Bite attack by 3% per rank.
Feral Aggression isn't a horrible talent, but it's not great and it shares its slot with a terrific tier 1 talent. There's almost no scenario under which I could see putting many points in this versus either Ferocity, or any of the other abilities later in the tree.

[TIER 2 -- require 5 points in Feral]
Feral Instinct **
Ranks: 3
Increases the threat caused in Bear and Dire Bear forms by 5% per rank and reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while prowling.
One of the many talents that came out of the 1.8 Druid review with both bear and cat-side abilities that don't necessarily have anything to do with each other. The stealth bonus, while beloved by rogues, is of limited utility for druids simply because we don't have Sap or the huge premeditation-type preperation abilities. If you don't get to Pounce or Ravage to start a fight... that's fine, it doesn't matter all that much. So, the question is -- how much is the threat bonus worth? Basically, it comes down to how much you're going to tank. If you want to focus on tanking, this is a very strong, core ability. If you don't do it, or even don't focus on it -- it's not necessary. The change of this and Thick Hide to 3 points each makes it a more likely take now, though.

Brutal Impact ***
Ranks: 2
Increases the stun duration of your Bash and Pounce abilities by 0.5 seconds per rank.
I've heard a lot of disagreement over this talent, which I had at 2 stars until this version of the guide. My rationale, which I still think is valid is that you don't need this to Bash/Heal -- the base length of Bash is still long enough to get off Regrowth, maybe followed by a HT ... or if you have Nature's Swiftness this isn't needed. And if you're a Tauren, you have War Stomp, that's also handy.... You see my point. I give this a third star now based on the level 62 ability Maim, which will, in conjunction with this talent, give the druid a limited form of stunlock. Frankly, none of the tier 2 talents are great for low levels, at least if you take this one, you won't have to respec to get it 45 levels later.

Thick Hide ***
Ranks: 3
Increases your Armor rating from items by 3% per rank (4% for rank 1).
While this works in all forms, the notable use is in Bear/Dire Bear form, where it stacks multiplicatively with the natural bonus. That means, in Dire Bear form, to see how much armor you get from an item, instead of multiplying its value by 5.5, multiply it by 6.05. In other words, it's a 55% base armor increase, not a 10% increase. If you plan to tank at all, it's a good investment to go at least this far in the Feral tree. Now also a 3-point talent, so it's hard to recommend skipping this if you're going to tank at all.

[TIER 3 -- require 10 points in Feral]
Feral Swiftness ****
Ranks: 2
Increases your movement speed by 15% per rank while outdoors in Cat form and increases your chance to dodge while in cat, bear, and dire bear form by 2% per rank.
Feline Swiftness has two strong abilities. The first is obvious -- 30% speed increase outdoors can make Cat Form serve as an interim travel/escape form as early as level 20-21, especially combined with Dash. There are a lot of people who suggest taking this talent as soon as possible while leveling for just this reason, and it's a good argument. The second ability now effects both cat AND bear form, so it's a great use of points.

Feral Charge ***
Instant Cast, 5 Rage, 15 second cooldown, 8-25 yard range
Causes you to charge an enemy, immobilizing and interrupting any spell being cast for 4 seconds.

At first look, Feral Charge looks similar to the warrior's Intercept ability, which it is. There's a significant difference -- instead of a stun, you get an interrupt, which has caused Feral Charge to be called "the game's weirdest Counterspell". FC is a good ability for a druid who expects to use bearform to tank in a group at lower levels (especially combined with the Furor talent), or who plans to PvP a fair bit, where it really shines. The Feral Faerie Fire ability reduces this talent's necessity as you climb the feral tree, however, and it's perfectly possible to level up without it. For one talent point, though, it's handy for a dedicated tank build and really needed for PVP if you go furry at all.

Sharpened Claws ****
Ranks: 3
[Prerequisite for Primal Fury]
Increases your critical strike chance while in Bear or Cat form by 2% per rank.
A key and must-have talent for anyone going past this point, whether cat, bear, or neither is preferred.

[TIER 4 -- require 15 points in Feral]
Shredding Attacks ***
Ranks: 2
Reduces the Energy cost of your Shred ability by 9 per rank and the rage cost of Lacerate by 1 per rank.
Shred is the catform equivalent of backstab. If you group or raid most of the time, and if you DPS in that group in catform the great majority of the time, then... it's pretty good, especially with Mangle. If not, there may be more flexible and powerful places to put your points.

Predatory Strikes ***
[Prerequisite for Heart of the Wild]
Ranks: 3
Increases your attack power in Bear, Dire Bear, and Cat forms by 50% of your level per rank.
This is another keystone ability for Feral druids. Partly because it's a decent use of points in its own right (90 attack power at level 60 is nothing to sneeze at), but moreso because of its prerequisite status. If you're not going to Heart of the Wild, it could be left untaken.

Primal Fury *****
Ranks: 2
Requires: 3 points in Sharpened Claws
Gives you a 50% chance per rank to gain an additional 5 Rage anytime you get a critical strike while in Bear form or Dire Bear form and critical strikes from Cat form abilities that add combo points have a 50% chance per rank to add an additional combo point.
Merged with Blood Frenzy, this is one of the best talents any class gets, period. Resto builds may even want to consider going 17 in Feral -- just this far -- to multiply their feral viability immensely.

[TIER 5 -- require 20 points in Feral]
Savage Fury ****
Ranks: 2
Increases the damage cause by your Claw, Rake, Maul, Swipe, and Mangle abilities by 10% per rank.
Obviously good core talent for any build going more than 21 points into Feral.

Faerie Fire (Feral) ****
Ranks: 1
[Rank 1]Instant cast, 30 yard range, 6 second cooldown
Decrease the armor of the target by 175 for 40 seconds. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible.

Feral Faerie Fire is an enormously underrated talent by those who haven't used it. The effect of this is identical to regular Faerie Fire of the same rank, with the attendant utility thereof. The key is considering that it is (1) a ranged ability usable in feral forms, and (2) free. It costs no mana, energy, or rage to use, which means it can be freely bopped whenever it's up, either to spread the armor debuff around, add a little extra threat while tanking, or just reapply. The even more important key is that it allows you to pull while in feral form -- often an excellent thing to start attacking with full energy, or to save a rage bar from a previous fight.

Nurturing Instinct **
Ranks: 2
Your healing spells are increased by an amount equal to 25% per rank of your Strength.
Decreased in amount, but increased in usefulness by making this an always-active passive talent, Nuturing Instinct will do well for hybrid feral/resto druids, especially those whose gear supports it. I don't think this is a particularly good talent for full feral builds, though.

[TIER 6 -- requires 25 points in Feral]
Heart of the Wild *****
Ranks: 5
Requires: 3 points in Predatory Strikes
Increases your Intellect by 4% per rank. In addition while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form your Stamina is increased by 4% per rank, and while in Cat Form your Strength is increased by 4% per rank.
Heart of the Wild may be the single best talent a druid gets. Caster? 20% more mana. Bear? 20% more hit points. Cat? 20% more strength for attacking. Whatever you're doing, you're better at it. It can reasonably said that this talent makes you 20% more druid. It's a very reasonable and compelling reason to consider 30 feral points in a hybrid build even if you're healing on raids most of the time.

Survival of the Fittest ***
Ranks: 3
Increases all attributes by 1% and reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee attacks by 1%
Novice players may look at this talent and be impressed by the wrong part. The attribute bump is almost meaningless, it's so small, but the anti-crit bonus is huge for tanking in tough instances and raids. Should you get it? Well... if you're going to be main tanking, it's highly recommended. But for a general-use feral build that's only occasionally offtanking or doing DPS... probably not.

[TIER 7 -- requires 30 points in Feral]
Leader of the Pack ****
Ranks: 1
[prerequisite for Improved Leader of the Pack]
[prerequisite for Mangle]
While in Cat, Bear, or Dire Bear form, the Leader of the Pack increases ranged and meelee chance of all party members within 45 yards by 5%.
I upgraded LotP on the 2.0 release for two reasons: first, the increase in crit from 3 to 5 percent. Secondly, you no longer get "just" LotP by choosing not to take Nature's Swiftness too, you now also get Mangle. Mangle's a compelling reason to go to 41 points, and in that case, LotP is a strong and obvious 1-point use.

Improved Leader of the Pack **
Ranks: 2
Requires: 1 point in Leader of the Pack
Your Leader of the Pack ability also causes affected targets to have a 100% chance to heal themselves for 2% per rank of their total health when they critically hit with a melee or ranged attack. The healing effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
This is another talent that a lot has been written about, and the max point total was dropped from 3 to 2. In terms of the current pre-expansion game, 4% is a very moderate heal on this timeline and for this talent to be considered better than mediocre, a very favorable situation has to be in place. Long-term, 4% of a bear's HP total could be considerable.

Primal Tenacity **
Ranks: 3
Increases your chance to resist Stun and Fear mechanics by 5% per rank.
A moderate talent. Very useful for PvP, and subpar in the great majority of PvE encounters as 15% just isn't enough to rely on.

[TIER 8 -- requires 35 points in Feral]
Predatory Instincts ***
Ranks: 5
Increases your critical strike damage with melee attacks in forms by 3% and your chance to avoid area effect attacks by 3%
This is a nice, if somewhat subtle talent. Its obvious use is for catform dps. You're going to get more from your crits. Possibly more important from a raid perspective, you're going to dodge a lot of the environmental damage in some boss fights, which is nice because a lot of times you're not getting healed for that, so you'll have to stop DPSing to do it yourself. The other nice thing about this talent is that it doesn't scream "all-or-nothing" so you can toss whatever points you're short of 40 right here to get to Mangle without feeling like you're really missing out.

[TIER 9 -- requires 40 points in Feral]
Mangle *****
Requires: 1 point in Leader of the Pack
Mangle the target, inflicting damage and causing the target to take additional damage from bleed effects and Shred for 10 seconds. This ability can be used in Cat Form or Dire Bear Form.
Mangle is actually two abilities, so let me talk about them seperately. Mangle (Cat) is essentially a replacement for Claw. It has a base cost of 45 Energy and gives 1 combo point. It does slightly less than double Claw's damage under normal conditions. Mangle (Bear) is an instant-use attack with a base cost of 20 rage (15 with Furor). Its damage is about 20% higher than Maul, but it doesn't use your swing. Given the recent nerf to Maul aggro, the damage from Mangle actually makes it a key ability in tanking now as well. This is an excellent, and obviously strong talent that's worth taking -- a keystone reason to make a full feral build.

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