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Cat Skill Map

October 8, 2012

Hi everyone,

I haven’t posted in a while, because an expansion dropped and I had to get my bearings.  I’m still leveling up (only at 88 currently), but I think I’ve got bear down pretty well now, and am moving onto my other side of things, feral.  I’m also pretty sure once I start pet-battling I’ll stop doing dungeons, dailies, going outside, eating, and really anything else, so it’s best if I get this out now.

Like my earlier bear post, this is an attempt to draw out the basics of the specialization’s gameplay, without getting too mired down in long-winded explanations or impressive theorycrafting.  There’s a lot of that available already, from some great sources.  What I’m trying to do is give you a quick visual so you can grasp the general design of the spec, and see if it’s for you, or maybe make something obvious that you have overlooked.

In my case, I use skill maps to help me navigate my keybindings and action bars, as it helps spell out what does what.

From a high-level perspective, cats use energy (a naturally refilling resource) to fuel their abilities.  These abilities make combo points onto the target.  With a standard UI, combo points show up as red circles on the outside of the unit frame of your target.  Combo points, and a little more energy, are used to do finishing moves.  If you’ve played a rogue, you know the territory.

I am not including the talent choices on the map – this is mostly because talents are all pretty useful, and choosing one negates the others on that tier.

I still used 11 categories on the map, this time they are:

  1. Combo-point generators – these create combo points on the target
  2. Finishing moves – these use the combo points
  3. Self Buffs – these are basically offensive cooldowns
  4. AoE – area of effect, use this for large groups of mobs
  5. Crowd Control – different skills to incapacitate targets.  Note that stuns are indicated elsewhere.
  6. Defenses – various things to give you a bit more survivability.
  7. Heals – pretty obvious.
  8. Interrupts – used to interrupt spell casting.
  9. Bear – these will transform you into a bear, or require you to be in bear form to use.
  10. Ranged Spells – you’ll use this when the mobs are far away.
  11. Random Utilities – This is the catch-all for the rest of the stuff that you get.  You want a lot of this, but it doesn’t neatly fit into any of the other organizations.

Also, there’s a number of notations on the map.  The poorly-drawn red blob indicates a bleed effect, this is a DoT (damage over time).  A red plus after a skill indicates that it hits harder if the target is bleeding.

Green text denotes “good things”, and sometimes goes with the nearby green arrows.  Purple text is for requirements (you’ve heard a lot about positional requirements, now you can see which skills this affects).  Sometimes you have to be stealthed as well, this is also marked in purple.

Brown/yellow text is information about energy.  You can reduce the cost, or award extra energy for using particular abilities.  Note the Omen of Clarity proc as well, that’s a nice thing to pay attention to, and one I usually mess up in gameplay.

Green dots are “HoT”s (heal over time).  Black X’s are skills that you have, that you’ll probably never map to an action bar.  They’re for boomkin, but we get them as well.  They cost mana, will knock us out of cat form, and hit like wet noodles as a cat.  I ignore those.

I recommend clicking on this to see it in a larger format, there’s some small text.

Pay close attention to what causes bleeds, as a few buttons cause more damage when bleeds are rolling.  You can have more than one bleed on at a time.  This is the first secret to cat DPS – keep all the bleeds up.  The second secret is to hit the short-term cooldowns as often as possible, and do everything you can to keep all your green bonuses (on the map) continuing to go.

I hope this comes in handy for other visual learners out there.  Let me know if you spot any errors, or have any ideas for improvements.



From → Cat, Druid, WoW

  1. I don’t think I’m visual. I looked at the map thing and I kinda get it… but I also kinda don’t. Does that make sense? No of course not, Navi’s a nitwit!

    • Makes sense to me. I have trouble reading the tool tips saying “does more damage when bleeds are active”, but then, not knowing which skills actually cause bleeds requires me to go back through the whole list of skills.

      This doesn’t provide “instant understanding” to me either, I have to stare at it for a while, ponder some stuff, plan out a priority/rotation and see if I’m covering everything.

      You’re no nitwit! Cat dps is pretty complex.

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