Druid: Feline Swiftness vs Displacer Beast

DisplacerBeast VS FelineSwiftnessThe first tier of druid talents is typically ignored by most PvE folk as a cookie cutter choice.  Its obviously Feline Swiftness, right?  Well, we think that is not always the case.  To many more casual raiders, once they pick their talents, they more or less just keep them like that for the entire tier, not analyzing them on a fight by fight basis.  Although you can get by with that strategy for normal modes, and some heroic encounters, you are just making it harder on yourself.  Every fight you should look at your talents and glyphs, and take a few minutes to think if another talent or glyph would be strong on that particular fight due to mechanics present.  The first tier of Druid talents is unfortunately one of the most overlooked tiers, in terms of changing based on the fight.

So, we decided to make this week’s theorycraft essay on Feline Swiftness vs Displacer Beast.  We divided up the essay based on major thinking points in the theorycraft, hopefully this makes the essay easier to navigate.  As always, please leave a reply below with any comments, questions, or concerns!

Passive vs Active

Far too often casual, or even semi-hardcore, raiders make the choice between two close talents based on if they are passive or active skills.  Usually they go for the passive, so they can just forget about it.  Big mistake.  The “inconvenience factor” of an active skill should not be a legitimate reason to avoid a particular skill, or in this case a talent.  However, considering the fact that an active skill may, or may not, cost a GCD is an important factor.

So, looking at this particular case, we feel that Displacer Beast being an active ability has no effect on it’s usefulness.

Static vs Burst

Another point of consideration in this particular talent choice is that one offers a continuous static buff, while the other provides a short “burst” of usefulness.  Over the course of a fight, the 15% Movement Speed buff from Feline Swiftness can be very useful.  Meanwhile, Displacer Beast is only useful when it is used, as it provides no passive benefit.  However, Displacer Beast offers “bursts of utility” in particular situations.  Considering the argument of Static vs Burst benefits is very important in analyzing talent choices, especially so in this particular scenario.

Fight Factors

Of course, the most important factor to consider when deciding on this tier of talents is a fight’s particular mechanics.  This is actually a rather simple decision.  Does the fight require almost constant movement?  Then the static 15% movement buff is most likely the best choice.  Is the fight almost all stack up/stand-still with limited bursts of movement?  Then the blink from displacer beast is most likely the best choice.  Like I said, simple.

Our Thoughts

When it comes to Displacer Beast and Feline Swiftness, we think that considering this tier of talents during each encounter is very important.  I actually find myself changing this tier of talents more than any other as a Resto Druid.  How do I decide?  Well, basically, I take Feline Swiftness as the “cookie cutter” for all fights when starting progression.  The static 15% buff is a nice and balanced decision.  Then, after a pull or two of progression, I ask myself if there are certain mechanics that can be made easier, or even “cheesed”, with Displacer Beast.  If the answer is yes, I switch.  If the answer if no, I keep Feline Swiftness.  The best way to explain this is to give some examples with the new Throne of Thunder encounters:

  • Jin’rokh the Breaker:  This is a clear Feline Swiftness choice.  There is nothing on this fight that really requires a blink.  The 15% move speed helps to get to puddles, kite orbs, and get to the center for storm quickly.
  • Ji-Kun:  This is actually a very good fight for displacer beast.  Many would argue that the 15% movement speed buff would be good for Down Draft (aka Get Away!).  Well, not really.  From my testing, you need a movement speed buff of more than 40% to have neutral momentum against the wind.  This means, any buffs less than 41% will mean you are still losing ground when moving against the wind.  However, Displacer Beast can provide a nice emergency button if you get close to falling off.  In addition, most groups have everyone stack under the boss for the Quills healing, then ranged must immediately spread so Caw does not wipe the raid.  Blinking out quickly with displacer beast is very good for this.
  • Durumu:  This fight is pretty good for Feline Swiftness.  The 15% movement speed helps you keep up with the light spectrum beam that you are assigned to walk with.
  • Iron Qon:  Once again, a very good fight for Displacer Beast.  Three of the four phases have spear mechanics which put lines on the ground which are bad to cross.  However, other mechanics require you to occasionally cross these lines.  How can we avoid all the negatives of this?  Displacer Beast.  You do not get the negative effects of crossing a line if you blink over it.  In addition, Displacer Beast allows you to nearly instantly blink out of Wind Storm.

Conclusion

We hope that this week’s Thursday Theorycraft (even if it isn’t Thursday this week) was intriguing for some of you, and perhaps offered some insight that you had not previously thought about.  We will be back next week on Thursday with another Theorycraft essay for everyone.  See you then!

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