RestoCat: The Secret to Catweaving
Note: The catweaving guide is in the process of being updated. It’s still hopefully very good.
If you’ve been around the Resto Druid community for long you may have heard of Catweaving, a DPS focused Resto Druid variant that is particularly powerful in Mythic+ and for raid bosses with tight enrage timers. It’s also a god send if your raid leader insists on running more healers than you need.
- Moonfire. Strong single target damage over time. Buffed by the Persistence trait. Can be cast in Bear Form (see advanced section).
- Sunfire. Strong multi-target damage over time spell. Only one target is hit by the initial damage (with all targets within 5 yards taking the DoT).
- Wrath. Weak single target noodle. We might occasionally use this if melee isn’t safe.
- Heals. Baaaah.
Innervate. Nerfed in 8.1.5 and no longer works on Cat Form abilities.
- Shred. Cat form single target filler ability.
- Swipe. Cat form AoE filler ability. Beats Shred on 2+ targets but loses to Rake until 4+.
- Rake. High single target DoT. Lasts 15 seconds.
- Ferocious Bite. Single target finisher. Less damage than Rip. Costs 25 energy, but deals double damage if you cast at 50 (and you should).
- Rip. High damage single target DoT finisher. Lasts 24 seconds.
- Swipe. Your only AoE spell when Bearweaving (see advanced section).
Stuff you should know
- 100% of your Intellect is converted to Agility at all times. Contrary to Legion, this means that your bleeds deal full damage regardless of your form.
- Make sure you throw up HoTs between pulls. You want to spend as much time DPS’ing as possible.
- You should start every fight with a Rake from Stealth if possible. It deals double damage. Make sure you don’t overwrite this.
- (Advanced) The Auto attack timer does not reset when you switch forms. This means that no auto attack damage is lost when you switch between Bear and Cat Form. Auto attacks will make up a larger percentage of your DPS in BFA compared to Legion.
Catweaving for newbies
(This is -not- the optimal rotation, but when starting out it can be best to keep it simple)
Not too difficult, right? Keep up Sunfire and Moonfire, and then jump into Cat Form for some extra damage until you run out of energy. When you’re out of energy you can pop out to heal, and it takes ~six seconds for energy to recharge so you can get 3-4 healing spells off if you need it while you wait. You’ll see particularly good results on AoE packs where Solar Wrath just can’t keep up. You can drop Moonfire out of your AoE rotation if there are more than five mobs, or if the pack is unlikely to live longer than 10 seconds.
Alright, the beginners rotation does a pretty good job but after you’ve mastered it you might be looking for… more. More depth, more damage, more excuses not to heal. The advanced rotation is heavily based around maximising the value of each global cooldown, while trying to prevent energy from capping out.
Let’s look at the full rotation
- Maintain Moonfire and Sunfire on the target at all times. Moonfire does slightly more damage per cast on one target.
- Maintain Rake at all times. Since it also buffs Shred damage there are very few scenarios where Shred out-damages Rake (even if you have to shift back to caster form after 2-3 cat abilities).
- Cast Shred as your Cat Form filler ability. Once you reach 5 combo points:
- Cast Rip if the mob or boss will live for most of the duration.
- Cast Ferocious Bite if that isn’t the case, or if Rip is already on the target. Pool 50 energy before casting Ferocious Bite.
- Once out of energy, you have two viable options:
- Throw out some HoTs (I guess we should keep our party alive)
- You can go into Bear Form and hit Swipe but with BFA’s limited haste you might find this to be a very minimal DPS increase.
- This is very similar to the single target catweaving rotation, except we have multiple mobs to keep our DoT’s on, and Shred is replaced by Swipe.
- Maintain Sunfire and Moonfire on the targets at all times. Sunfire is a higher priority cast if the targets are within 5 yards of each other.
- Maintain Rake on all targets that will live at least 10 seconds. It deals more Damage per Energy than a 3 target Swipe.
- Cast Swipe as your Cat Form filler ability. You can use Shred instead to nuke down a priority target but it is a DPS loss.
- Your choice of finisher is identical to the single target rotation.
- You can Rip multiple targets, and should do so if they will live longer than 14 seconds.
- Bear Form swipes are much better value on two or more targets but this is still ultimately a tiny DPS increase.
- Maintain Sunfire on all targets.
- Cast Swipe as your filler of choice.
- Swipe is better value than Ferocious Bite with four targets up, and so you can ignore your finishers.
- Rip is higher damage than a 1-6 target swipe however most AoE packs won’t have a mob that lives long enough to bother with it.
- After three swipes you will be out of energy. Swap to Bear Form as above for the AoE swipes. This is a large DPS increase over sitting in Cat Form auto attacking.
- If the mobs are expected to live for longer than 10 seconds then add Moonfire to the rotation.
While the above rotations are solid throughout the fight, we will open the fight slightly differently if we are able to start from Stealth.
- Rake is a significantly higher damage opener than Shred, so long as the mob lives at least six seconds.
- Since this starts you in Cat Form already, it IS worth it to empty your energy bar before you apply Moonfire and Sunfire to the target(s).
- After your energy is empty start on one of the rotations above. Never overwrite your double strength Rake.
- Night Elves can shadowmeld mid-pull to restealth and get a second double strength Rake.
Stats are interesting thing for Catweaving since Crit, Vers and Haste increase our damage by the largest amount BUT Mastery is our strongest Mythic+ healing stat. If you’re looking to maximise DPS you need to minimize the amount of mastery on your gear. If you’re trying to heal at the same time then grab as much mastery as you need to heal each pack successfully while loading the rest of your gear with Crit, Vers and Haste. Take advantage of being able to swap gear in between pulls to throw on a Mastery heavy set if a tough pull is coming up.
Here are some notes on stats:
- Crit, Haste and Vers have an effect on all of our damaging abilities, and it boosts them all equally. Crit is slightly cheaper to get +1% damage but you also get 5% for free.
- Haste reduces our global cooldown and increases our Cat Form energy regen.
- Mastery offers no DPS increase whatsoever.
Resto is one of the few healing specs to have full Simcraft support for optimizing DPS. There are full instructions on how to do so in this document, courtesy of Torty: https://goo.gl/uQPbQ7. Raidbots is the more user friendly of the two simming options. Simming allows you to work out:
- What your best trinket options are, for Single Target and AoE.
- What your stat weights are, so you can optimize your gearset.
- How much DPS you should be doing in your current gear.
Just make sure you’re in Feral Affinity when you copy your Simcraft string or you’ll get weird results.
Trinkets & DPS Azerite Traits
Frequently Asked Questions
Isn’t Balance Affinity stronger?
Balance Affinity pulled similar numbers at the start of the expansion but the Feral spec was buffed several times since and we tend to ride off any changes they get. Consider Balance Affinity if you really need to be ranged instead of melee but it’s is a poor choice most of the time.
Don’t I need Guardian Affinity for high level Mythic+?
While staying alive indeed becomes trickier as you start your ascent through the +20’s, we are equipped with a large array of tools to deal with this already. Use Bear Form (+25% stamina, +armor), Barkskin, Ironbark and your finest dodging skills to survive bursts of damage. Timers can be very tight and adding 3-5k DPS over the dungeon with your Catweaving will often be a key factor in completing the key in time.
What is Bearweaving?
Bearweaving was a Legion playstyle that used a couple of strong legendaries to put out incredible AoE DPS while staying in Bearform. With the removal of legendaries this is no longer viable.