Tuesday, September 18, 2007

OMG!! Feral Druids have an AoE Spell?

And you thought all that mana was just for shape shifting!

I think one of the most forgotten abilities that Feral Druids have in their arsenal is their Hurricane Spell. I know I'd forgotten about it. In fact, I'm embarrassed to say that I had been running Kara for over three months before it dawned on me to use it on our AoE pulls. So, tonight when I was watching my husband run one of our guild's 2 Kara groups through, which happened to have one of our newer Feral Druids Off-Tanking, I noticed him frantically swiping in Bear form trying to help out as best he could. I immediately sent him a whisper and suggested that he cast Barkskin and Hurricane on the next AoE pull.

This is one of the best things we can do, as off-tanks, on an AoE pull. Swipe only hits 3 mobs on each application...if they are directionally in front of you and within range and if you have the rage. However, Hurricane affects all the mobs in the target area. Lets take a look:

Hurricane - Creates a violent storm in the target area, causing X Nature damage every 1 sec, and reducing the attack speed of enemies by 25%. Lasts 10 sec. Druid must channel to maintain this spell.

At Rank 4, hurricane will do 206 damage to each enemy in the targeted area each second for 10 seconds. That is a lot more damage on a lot more mobs than what your swipe will cause. My swipe (and I'm going on memory here), typically does around 130 damage to each of the 3 enemies I'm attacking unless I crit, then it can be 200-450 on 1 or more of those mobs. So, lets say I do an average crit of 300 on one mob and base damage of 130 on the other two, total that's 560 damage. However, one tick of the Hurricane spell on those same 3 mobs totals 618 damage. Now, considering that you'll have a lot more enemies in the target zone than 3 (I used 3 to compare to swipe) we can see how this spell is much more effective in burning the enemies down.

Another good aspect of this spell is the attack speed reduction of 25%. I know before I started using this spell, we'd always emote /bye to our mage prior to an AoE pull as, about 30% of the time, he'd die from the agro generated by his AoE spells. So, the 25% attack speed reduction can actually help save his life enabling him to dispense with the mobs more quickly.

There are three drawbacks with the Hurricane spell. One is it's a channeling spell and therefor generates a lot of threat and when you get hit, it can be interrupted wasting that 1,905 mana it costs (usually about a 3rd of a feral druids mana). However, this can be avoided/reduced by casting Barkskin prior to Hurricane.

The second drawback is that it has a one minute cooldown (as well as Barkskin). So, if your tank pulls two AoE groups in a row, you won't be able to use your AoE spell on the second group. This can be easily fixed by asking your MT to alternate AoE pulls with the single patrol pulls, when possible.

The third drawback is that Hurricane is a targeted AoE spell. This means that once you place that big green target, that is where the damage happens. If the enemies run out of that area, they no longer take damage. There are quite a few things to consider here; if the tank does a ranged pull and you target the area the mobs were originally standing, you'll be lucky if one or two stays in the target zone. If you place your target where the tank is, but hang back in the healing and casting area, you'll find that a few of the enemies will break away and come to attack you...which means you just pulled baddies into your squishies...doh! You also have to consider the positioning of the mage as he's the one who will generate the most threat and will have most of the mobs surrounding him and these are the ones that need the attack speed reduction. Since I'm usually in my Bear clothes, I just run up to where the MT is (our mage is usually nearby as well), cast Barkskin followed by hurricane and position my target around us and the mage. That typically takes care of the majority of the mobs.

Once Hurricane has run it's duration, I check to see how many mobs are left and what level of health they have. If I see one or two on the 'out skirts' with a decent amount of health, I go into kitty and burn them down quickly. If I see a couple over near our healers, I go into Bear to ensure I get their attention. Overall, though, once we're all done with the AoE, we rarely have more than 3 baddies left and they certainly don't last long.

In Kara, there are a lot of AoE pulls in the first half of the instance. Most of these are found in the Banquet Hall with Moroes and in the Ballroom. The only time I do not use Hurricane is when we have an AoE pull with more than one elite; for example, the pulls containing the two Philanthropist. On those pulls, you will need to off-tank and, since the non-elite adds are minimal, you and your MT should be able to hold agro on them all.

So, the next time you're in Kara and your raid leader announces a non-elite AoE pull, cast Barkskin followed by Hurricane and position you and your big, green target between your MT and Mage. Then bask in the glory of all that damage text drifting across your screen!


Karthis said...

Good post. It took me about a month of running Kara to snap out of my "I'm a full time tank" mentality. Once I did, however, I relished the ability to do many different things.

I typically haul three sets of gear into Kara, and the clearing to Moroes allows me to use all of them. I put on my caster gear for the barkskin/hurricane trick, switch to my kitty gear to burn the single pulls, and then back to tankie gear when double stewards need tanking (or the MT gets brittle bones).

A note on the group pulls: If you're running with a pally, have the tank pull onto them, where they can throw out some AOE of their own. This has the effect of really holding the enemies in place (high threat), and allowing all of the AOE to nuke them down quickly. Of course, a few guests always hang back.... so mopping up is still required.

Darkriver said...

Part of the problem with the aoe person eating dirt is the fast pace of pulls. For a high survival rate of the aoe'r he needs the lifebloom stack of 3 a earthshield from me. Plus a PWS from a priest if we have one. Grim bit it last night, because all the healers were drinking during the chain pulls and we didn't get set up correctly on some of the pulls. Doesn't bother me though it's not my repair bill(if I was the mage I wouldn't aoe if the healers aren't ready) and we do progress faster sometimes. We should be done with Shade on our first night though, but we did get started late. Plus we had the bad/bugged pull on Moroes. Other wise last night was great. No wipes on the bosses.

Nice blog post though, I like to see some of that hybrid utility shine in raids. I hope you do notice that I dps a lot as a resto shaman:P Not as much on bosses though :)

You better notice if you ever want to see that Firefly :O

Megan said...

Nice tip, it greatly helps me as a Lock when our Feral Druid busts out a Hurricane on Illhoof imp spawns whenever he can while the elite Imp he OT's is not there. Versatility ftw!

Ferocious Bite said...

@ Karthis
Yes, I carry my three sets of gear at all times....actually, I don't think we count as a Druids unless we have at least 3 sets on us. ;)

@ Darkriver
Oops, didn't see Grim die last night...I guess I was too busy watching you dps and heal at the same time. ;p (did I earn my firefly with that?)

@ Megan
Nice tip from you too! Although I do use hurricane on the initial imp pull in that room (before we go in and start on Illhoof) I had not considered using it after Kil'rek went down. I'll have to play around with that...my only concern there is if someone gets in the demon chains while I'm channeling. It's easy enough to switch forms to dps the chains, but I'd have to get over that 'I wasted a spell with a cooldown' feeling. ;)

janine said...

lol i remember the first time i used it and people in my group were asking, "who's doing that!"