Bonus! Wickit examines T7 and T8 armor sets.

Posted by in Cat, Feral

Wickit, of Ysera, was one of the winners of the Guest Yogger contest and offers up his two-copper about set bonuses for feral DPS.

Like everyone else, when I got my first two pieces of tier 7 armor I was thrilled by the +4 seconds it added to Rip uptime. Who didn’t love the idea of two extra free ticks of Rip? Then along came 3.1 and it became even better with Primal Gore. With the average 50% crit chance the bonus basically guaranteed a free Rip crit, but it couldn’t last forever, right?

Patch 3.1 also brought us our Feral Tier 8 set and two new set bonuses. The first of these two bonuses allows our bleeds to proc a Clearcasting state. This is fantastic for Feral DPS. Clearcasting from Omen of Clarity is a huge boon to Shreds, so increasing the chance we have to enter this “state” is great. The four-piece bonus, however, is heavily debated. The second bonus adds eight seconds to Savage Roar, but to get it you have to break your tier 7 bonus.

It’s an interesting dilemma, because it’s essentially doubling the tier 7 two-piece bonus. We aren’t increasing the DPS of Rip anymore and will have to reapply it four seconds sooner, but we’re now able to reapply Savage Roar eight seconds later. The problem is that most of us clip Savage Roar anyway, so just how helpful is this?

For every combo point after one point we spend putting up Savage Roar, we gain five seconds (on top of the initial 14 seconds from one combo point). This means we can equate T8’s four-piece bonus to 1.6 combo points, but let’s call it two for argument’s sake. What is the cost of two combo points? At the high end, a Shred crits for two combo points and costs us 42 energy. At the low end of the spectrum, a Mangle or Rake can crit for two combo points at a cost of 34 energy. Double those values if the ability doesn’t crit. We’re going to use those abilities anyway, but now those combo points can be put towards Rip or a Ferocious Bite.

The set bonus thus has a few benefits for Feral DPS:

  1. Generally, it’s best to get Savage Roar up as soon as possible in a fight. This means that it often applies with one-three combo points depending on your preference and luck with crits. With the four-piece T8 bonus, a one or two combo point Roar will be pretty close to a three or four combo point Roar.
  2. On trash your Roar will last a bit longer while you’re moving from mob to mob or Swipe spamming. This is nice since less time spent refreshing SR means more Shreds/Rakes/Swipes.
  3. I mentioned Ferocious Bite earlier and I meant it. By decreasing the number of combo points needed to keep SR up for a decent period of time, we open the window for weaving more Bites into our rotation.
  4. There are fights out there where an extra long Rip will be wasted. For example, XT-002’s phases might clip your Rip if applied late before a switch to a heart phase or applied too late during the heart phase.
  5. The bonus really lends itself to a Feral DPS who loves Armor Penetration. If you’re stacking ArP, Rip begins to devalue (even if only slightly), but SR increases in value.

However, there are drawbacks:

  1. There are fights where Rip uptime is very nice (i.e. Hodir and Razorscale). Applying a Rip and getting a couple of Shreds in to increase its duration (Glyph of Shred) just before a Flash Freeze or before Razorscale lifts off into the air can really help your DPS while you aren’t touching the boss.
  2. Much like #1, there are fights that might incapacitate you (i.e. Ignis Slag Pot) and an extra four seconds on Rip can help you maintain a close to 100% uptime.
  3. Of course, the most obvious is it’s free damage and statistically at least one free Rip crit.

Personally, I’ve made the move towards Armor Penetration, but currently maintain my tier 7 bonus (head and shoulders). I have been debating if I should pick up the Conqueror’s Helm and Valorous shoulders for tier 8 (I wear Winter’s Icy Embrace for my chest and we haven’t downed Yogg yet for Conqueror’s shoulders). The conclusion I’ve come to for myself is that I will pick up the T8.

With my ArP I want to get in there and start Shredding as soon as possible. I want that extended Savage Roar to help weave in more Ferocious Bites. I maintain a near 100% Rip and Rake uptime, of course, but Shred crits for 13-14,000 and Bite crits for the same or even more with an extra 25% chance to do so (5/5 Rend and Tear). With a focus on ArP you want to maximize SR, and the T7 bonus becomes less important. With a focus on critical strike (AGI) Rip is probably still the way to go with Primal Gore.

You have to take into account the T8 stats, too. The shoulders will really help reach the Expertise soft cap (especially if you choose Footpads of Silence or Flamestalker Boots over the Runed Ironhide Boots) and the pieces have pretty high AGI for Blessing of Kings and talents to increase. I think for a Druid like me I’ll take the 4-piece bonus from T8, but not until I can replace both my T7 pieces at the same time.

No sense in breaking the bonus too early.