Feral Druid Talent Trees

This is written from a pov of a Feral Druid, which includes thoughts from druids that aren’t myself in the Dreamgrove class discord. Essentially I want to highlight some of the outlier traits, or anything that seems to not quite align with the goals that have been made apparent to us via interviews, or blue posts.

Class Tree

Firstly, I have to give credit where it is due. Overall, the druid class tree is outstanding, and definitely seems to accomplish the goals set forth. It is in a state where I wouldn’t necessarily be upset if it made it live, though there are some improvements that can be made.

“One of the main purposes of the class tree is to give you a place to explore parts of your class that are not focused on your main role’s throughput (such as utility, or abilities that are more closely connected to other specializations), so we limit the pressure to make throughput optimizations in the class tree.”

(from:https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wow/t/the-future-of-warcraft-announcements-talents-and-user-interface/1222720/24)

Primal Fury

Row 7, far left node. Currently a staple passive for Feral Druids in the live edition of the game, and takes a large portion of the credit for Critical Strike being as good as it is. Its understood that throughput options can be in the class tree even below the first three rows (see Sunfire as an example), however this passive seems a bit too strong damage wise, enough so that Feral Druids will feel forced to grab it in all scenarios, despite being almost 3 quarters down the tree. It is also the only trait on the tree that feels this way after row 4, where arguments can be had for something else instead. It is also not something that other specs can attain in the live version of the game, so its hard to give the argument that it is closely connected to other specializations, even if- for example- Restoration Druids would enjoy its benefits when they cat-weave.

Furor

Row 10, far left node. The intent of this node seems to be making switching forms a bit easier to transition into, which is fine and all, however, it doesn’t really do this task justice, let’s explore.

When you shift into a form you haven’t been in for 20 sec, abilities cost no Rage, Energy, Astral Power, or Mana for 4 seconds.

Bear Form: Ironfur, and Frenzied Regeneration. This one is extremely strong; it would be by far the strongest defensive trick in the game outside of immunities. At the time of posting, ironfur stacks infinitely, so long as you have the rage and the time to stack it. In 4 seconds this means you can reasonably get 8 stacks, and theoretically get 9 stacks of ironfur from Furor alone. (doesn’t account for the rage you’re generating in this time to cast more) “Ok, and, what’s the big deal?” This is a very large portion of armor. In fact, on my 253 necro druid, I have mathed out that, with perfect timing (.5s window) I can survive a 32 tyrannical Soul Crusher from Mueh’zala with just bear form, as feral, by combining Furor node + Ursine Vigor node on a 20 second cooldown.

Cat Form: Shred, Swipe, Thrash, Rake, Bite, Rip. This one seems to hit the mark. For 4 seconds you get some free casts, enough time to get rip up before running out of energy for our Resto and Guardian friends. I don’t anticipate Balance Druids will make much use of this though. For feral, this is theoretical energy saves at the start of pulls and some rare occurrences where you don’t need to be in cat for 20 seconds, [i.e. painsmith intermission] however I don’t anticipate it causing many issues, though it will be a bit annoying for those who decide to min-max everything.

Moonkin Form: Currently, Astral Power is only a resource for moonkins, so it tracks that Furor actually does nothing for any of the specs in this form. However, I’ll just assume Starsurge costs Astral Power for all specs now. With this in mind, going into Moonkin form for other specs (and on pull for boomies) allows 3 casts of starsurge, 4 with enough haste. This could be potentially stronger than anticipated from Balance Druids, though I don’t know enough about the spec to say for sure.

No Form: Many healing spells, enough to not bother listing. This one is ‘ok’ however mana isn’t usually the restrictor for non-healers to heal. It’s a decent bonus that allows more extended healing, however most of the power is in Wild Growth. It runs into issues where Heart of the Wild is almost always a better option. And even among times where it’s not, Nature’s Vigil can fill a similar role.

Ironfur and Frenzied Regeneration

Row 1, 2nd from the left + row 4 third from the left respectively. This is just being nitpicky, but I feel that Ironfur is more core to playing Bear than Frenzied Regeneration is, and outside of Furor nonsense, Ironfur isn’t something that ever really gets used by non-bears. Switching the spots of these 2 would be an improvement to the tree, and make going down that direction feel less bad. Especially with having a passive damage reduction from thick hide right below it. And if non-bears did want to use ironfur for whatever reason they still can.

Feral Spec Tree

The feral tree has a lot of neat abilities and traits in it, but the biggest concern really is the placement of them. For now, I’ll ignore the numbers components of things as drastic tuning could be in play that I’m not aware of yet.

First, I need to start off with this: At the time of writing, the 10th row, first from the left talent with the Adaptive Swarm icon is unnamed and what it does at the moment is unknown. Due to this, I can’t comment on this portion of the tree. I assume it was mistakenly excluded.

Another mystery is what rank2 of the talent Improved Prowl is (and by extension, what does rank 1 entail?) Though it wouldn’t have much bearing on choice as it is essential to pick if you want to explore the left side of the tree at all.

Also, what becomes of berserk if you do not select any of the berserk related talents? I’m assuming you just simply do not know the spell berserk.

Lastly, for now, is Brutal Slash now its own separate button, or will it continue to replace swipe? What happens if for whatever reason a feral druid decides to not pick swipe in the class tree?

Infected Wounds (and some symmetry)

This has the reverse issue of Primal Fury listed above, it does not really feel like it belongs in the spec tree, and is in fact a pretty big deterrent from going down this branch of the tree. (Infected Wounds → Fearful Symmetry → Incarnation/Convoke → Improved Incarnation/Convoke). I understand the equivalent talents in the other branches of the tree (Predatory Swiftness/Survival Instincts) aren’t throughput options either and that is certainly justification, but I still feel like something else should take its place. Especially when the talent below it (fearful symmetry) is also not that great, and can be really awkward sometimes with the CP refund talent during berserk. (i.e if you start at 5 combo points, press tiger’s fury + berserk, then press bite you are sitting at 4 cps. If rake were to crit, half of symmetry’s value just vanishes.

Tiger’s Fury

This isn’t necessarily an issue, but I wanted to point out that, at the moment, there are 9 points on the tree relating to Tiger’s Fury. It feels excessive and I hope some of the points can be pruned down a bit in favor of other parts of the kit.

Berserk Related Traits

On live, berserk as a 3 minute cooldown already feels underwhelming, even with the frenzyband legendary power. This is even more true in aoe, as swipe can only generate 2 combo points with a crit. The tier set on live does make berserk feel much better in aoe situations as it contributes heavily to aoe burst. Even with all 3 berserk traits, berserk just feels like a button to press when it is ready, as opposed to a “true cooldown.” Part of this likely stems from the fact that cooldowns in general are much more impactful than they were in the past. Feral druid berserk is simply outdated. The good news is, the berserk traits are fairly easy to avoid, though I can’t imagine avoiding traits in all scenarios is something to desire.

Incarnation

Part of what made incarnation so bad before was that the energy regeneration just wasn’t there to support it, especially considering you lost Soul of the Forest or Savage Roar to pick it. While that part may not be true anymore, if built around elsewhere in the tree, it is still difficult to justify picking it over Convoke in single target; and there are just many better spots in the tree to spend points on in AoE situations. I’m afraid that Incarnation will continue to be a dead talent as it has been for the last few expansions.

Improved Incarnation/Convoke

I’ll refrain from speaking much into this, as it is tuning dependent, but it does seem to be lackluster compared to a large portion of other talents you could choose instead. I am concerned that this talent will also not have a place for feral druids. For instance, improved Convoke is in best case scenario trading a feral spell for feral frenzy once every 2 minutes, which itself is already a talent in the tree on a 45s cooldown. I find this a bit odd.

Scent of Blood

Thrash in its current state is heavily weighted towards its dot effect, especially on lower target counts. It feels extremely bad to press thrash every 6 seconds to make the most use of this talent. It is also extremely easy to avoid, as nothing has Scent of Blood as its prerequisite. I am worried it will continue to be dead throughout dragonflight.

Tree Structure

This may be intended BUT there are a lot of forced talent selections:

1 point: Tiger’s Fury
1 point: Omen of Clarity
1 point: Predator/Sabertooth choice node
1 point: Improved Shred
1 point: Improved Prowl
1 point: Improved Shred/Swipe
3 points: Taste for Blood
3 points: Sudden Ambush
1 point: Primal Wrath
1 point: Brutal Slash
14 points in total

A lot of this is due to related talents for builds being vastly separated from each other, and can only be achieved by going down both sides of the tree. For instance; Bloodtalons + Taste for Blood + Soul of the Forest for a ‘big bite’ build, or Lunar Inspiration + Adaptive Swarm + Savage Roar for a ‘dot’ build. Perhaps the most egregious in the tree, Primal Wrath and Apex talents are split, despite apex being pretty reliant on the Rips that primal wrath can apply as soon as a third target enters the fray, which is very often considering Draught is almost certainly intended to be the single target choice. The tree has a lot of potential with better placement of the talents, especially considering there are a lot of impactful choices, kudos for that.

Last but not least, as it has been wanted by feral druids for a while now, can Rebirth be added to either Feline Adept or Predatory Swiftness, so that we don’t have to spend a gcd to go back into cat form after using Rebirth on a friend.

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You have seem to put a lot of thought into this feedback but how can you possibly come to any conclusions based on a screenshot of a talent tree and a few descriptions of the talents that were posted in a PR share?

I also think they need to look into Brutal Slash’s placement on the tree. Current we have to take it to get Survival Instincts. Brutal Slash should be an outside talent like Li and SR.

It’s not stated if Brutal Slash replaces swipe or not as it does on live. If it does we would have to give up swipe in AoE to take a major defensive Cooldown which would be horrid in M+.

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My guess is that it does not. The new description doesn’t say that it does and while it would be foolish to do so… it is technically possible to talent into Brutal Slash on the Feral tree WITHOUT talenting into Swipe on the Druid tree. With such an edge case being possible I think making it a replacement of Swipe might lead to some odd behavior.

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Agreed. Never should have replaced it at all.

It stands to reason that since they are now two separate talents in two separate trees, we should finally be able to have both.

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But if you give up swipe you’re also giving up Skull Bash which is our only interrupt and a very strong gap closer. Doesn’t seem viable imo.

That’s true. Like I said giving up Swipe would be foolish, but it’s technically possible. So the way the trees are coded needs to be able to handle such a case. And the most likely way I see them doing that is by making the two abilities independent.

Hi, well its very helpful to visualize when a large majority of the stuff are thing we have seen before, and as for what all is achievable in a build, ive done several mock trees based on the rules blizzard has given us so far. It has been stated that they want builds to be intuitive, so in this way its pretty fair to give feedback before even playing with it to see how the hosh posh of buttons work together in what could be spinning plates: bite edition.

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I 100% agree with this. Brutal slash is an active inhibitor to play when it replaces swipe, and its position on the tree makes it effectively a forced selection regardless of what build youre trying to run.

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Well technically in a st raid boss it would be reasonable to not want to press swipe or kick, and invest in healing. Though as I type this swipe is better than shred in single target so the min maxxers wouldnt go for it anyways. Thats not intuitive though

There’s a clickable tree here:

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I agree with all of your post except this:

Every spec has abilities like this in the tree that are largely ‘intended pickups’ because the new talent tree is not only replacing the old talent system, but also how spells are acquired via leveling. You can’t really say Primal Fury is any less significant than Sunfire for Boomkin or Wild Growth for Resto which are in similar positions.

I don’t think the system was ever intended to be all 31 points are 100% optional, but rather maybe 2/3 of all choices.

Therefore I’d say Primal Fury was never intended to be an option for Feral, just like Moonkin form, Ironfur, Wild Growth, Sunfire etc were never intended to be optional for their respective specs (though technically still optional). The optional component of these - is while leveling - and choosing what to get first. You’re looking at it from purely a max level perspective.

Think of it more like the acquired abilities you’d get while leveling up. It’s not really much of a reach to get Primal Fury anyway, given you’d at the very least take Rip, and even the movement speed you can argue is a DPS gain (and defensive).

The random passive increased physical damage or magic damage or 1% stat talents are far more egregious.

Also Primal Fury will be cool for restos and bears. They will lose the energy regen from Feral affinity and will likely need this for catweaving to remain good (which is a very cool part of these specs).

Anyway like I said I agree with the rest of your post.

The Tiger’s Fury talents they should merge the 10/20/30 energy restore into just one node because spending 3 points just to get 30 extra energy every 30 seconds is awful. Then TF will have 7 nodes and be fine, all of the other ones are cool things (Predator, Symmetry, Carnivorous Instincts).

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You know what, thats actually a pretty valid point. I think what trapped me is thinking from a feral perspective in the first place, as opposed to max level. I see a few ranks of movespeed ahead of it and it feels blah, whereas the bonus range just appeals to me a lot more affecting my judgement regarding Sunfire.

Re: combining tiger fury energy

Thats certainly one solution, especially seeing as that was a talent I considered worth skipping over, its not very strong and also doesnt provide any progression down the tree. It can get hard to justify picking very fast.

You would 100% skip that talent entirely, which means TF would only be 20 energy, and that would then nerf Predator.

There’s so many better talents in the tree that provdie energy and only cost a singular point, while also not giving up Sabertooth.

Basically, that talent is not only garbage, but it also unintentionally hurts other options like Predator, because to take Predator you’d either take a 20 energy version, or have to spend 4 points to get it how it is on live.

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In a similar vein, with the amount of energy in the tree, its cousin node that increases max energy is similarly lacking. It just doesnt kill a talent in the process

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I’ve thought more about the Feral as compared to the Guardian tree and I think the largest problem with the Feral tree is that it doesn’t have a coherent identity.

For example, if you look at the Guardian tree you can see several distinct “paths”, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the spec. Going far left you have the “Thrash” path, next to it is the “Moonfire/Healing” path, next is the “Mangle/Maul” path, and the far right is the “Cooldown” path. What makes the tree even more successful is you can pack any two of these “paths” to play with, depending on your needs and/or playstyle.

Feral doesn’t have that, for a few reasons.

  • Predator/Sabretooth isn’t an actual choice. You always take Sabretooth in every scenario. This removes any gameplay around managing Rip uptime.
  • The way the tree is laid out there is no way to advance your choices without investing points into one of two (2) three (3) point talents. None of the other 6 specs with previews have this problem. To make matters worse the talents you have to invest in are not super interesting, which feels twice as punishing. “Required” talents should never be more than 2 points, ever.
  • The way the Feral trees are laid out seems to imply a “DoT” path and a “Direct Damage” path. But, if that were the case why are Savage Roar, Berserk: Frenzy, Draught/Apex, and Circle on the right side when they should realistically be on the left?
  • Similarly, why is Berserk: Stalker on the left when it should be on the right?
  • Why is Infected Wounds a row 7 crossover talent when none of the other 3 Druid trees have something of similar impact (remember it was originally added as a PvP bandaid back in BC to deal with positional requirements and server lag)? The closest Resto has is Cenarion ward, while neither Balance nor Guardian have one at all.

To me right now it feels like I’m fighting the Feral talent tree to get something interesting and fun out of it. This is very different from the Guardian tree where I’m salivating at the different choices available.

What would I change?

  • Nuke Scent of Blood entirely. Replace with Infected Wounds if that absolutely has to stay.
  • Cut both TfB and IH to 2 points only if they have to exist at all, and swap with both CeC and CI respectively.
  • Swap Jungle Stalker and Frenzy.
  • Take a harder look at Legion artifact abilities and legendries for things to augment a “DoT” and “DD” identity. Things like: Open Wounds, Shadow Thrash, Ashmane’s Bite, Wildshaper’s Clutch, and Behemoth Headdress. I’m sure others have suggestions too.

The new Feral tree definitely has potential and is a great starting point. But I think some more work is needed to fully realize what it can be.

Edit: I completely forgot about Grove Invigoration when I wrote this. While Convoke in and of itself is flashy and pretty fun, its effectiveness is currently largely tied to the existence of the entire Niya soulbind. The gap between Niya and Korayn is almost as large as the gap between Kyrian and Night Fae themselves.

Take Grove Invigoration away, and Convoke suddenly becomes a lot less attractive.

Maybe that’s a candidate to keep around higher up in the tree?

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Yeah I agree with some of these suggestions. Its a lot of points we are forced to take before making any decisions. The builds from there just arent intuitive as the goal is set out to be.
And youre absolutely right, there is a large opportunity for blizzard to go with 2 core ideas, a “bleed” build and a “bite build.” that can dominate the left and right sides respectively. Would give the tree more identity and make builds more clear to anyone who wants to. Core talents are already in place to make this happen if they so choose. The tree as it stands is incredibly restrictive at the top, opening more pathways would be enormous.

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Agree with this so much, not only for the reasons you stated, but also the fact Jungle Stalker partially shares an effect with Sudden Ambush, so it makes sense these should be seperated.

Berserk: Frenzy also needs tuning, its straight up way stronger than any other Berserk effect, but its pretty evident they haven’t done any number tuning yet so I’m not too concerned at this stage.

This I can get behind, also I assume by IH you mean SA, in which case, yes SA should exist, its actually a fun effect, especially how giga it makes Rake on overall (as opposed to the somewhat lacklustre bleed it otherwise is). TfB I’d be happy for it to go though. I like the positioning changes suggested.

On a side note, Feral’s getting a small ‘Moonfire’ path could also be cool, e.g. Twin Moons or particularly Orbit Breaker (Boomie talent where full moon can proc, like the Torghast power). Maybe not to the level of Guardian who have an expanded Moonfire build, but I wouldn’t mind a couple of optional extra talents for Lunar Inspiration to further establish some different themes/options, but more as a small subset of the DOT side, like what we have with Swarm.

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I had the same exact question, which is why I’m hesitant on picking it up. But it seems to be a pre-requisite to many other good abilities so it’s pretty much a lock in (at least for me).

Hopefully it’s not shared with Swipe. Otherwise that’ll give us some nutty burst AoE when combined with Berserk: Frenzy and Circle of Life and Death. Something we’ve been missing since forever.

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