Druid feral dps is a ponderous thing...
It is a unique combination of 3 debuffs and 1 buff that must be kept constantly up with the burst of 2 bonus abilities that should be used as frequently as possible. Here is my rotation: (Of course this "rotation" is only used on mobs that live longer than a few seconds ---> bosses).
SAVAGE ROAR (2-4 combo points),
TIGER'S FURY + SHRED to 5 Combo points,
Okay, scratch that... It has been shown that starting out with the Mangle is much more dps efficient than the Rake. Rake is actually the lowest priority kitty ability. It should NEVER be clipped and can remain down for numerous seconds for higher priority abilities such as Rip/Savage Roar/and Clearcasting Shreds! So instead the initial sequence should go:
SHRED (to 5 combo points, use Tiger's Fury if needed)
All Clearcastings = SHRED
Note*** In order to alert me of the clearcastings without missing them, I have Power Aura's installed. I LOVE that addon! I also have it alert me when there is a Trauma on the mob or a mangle already up from another druid. It is SO useful... and it can have pages and pages of cool popup alerts for you for anything you want! /love My clearcasting also makes a noise too so I won't miss it if I'm looking at all of the other chaos on my screen in a busy fight like Hodir.
Then refresh Savage roar with 5 combo points and alternate stacks of 5 combo points with Rip. If your crit is high enough to stack up the combo points quickly, you can afford some Ferocious bites in there before both Savage Roar or Rips fall off. Whee :D
After this point, each debuff is then re-applied just before it drops off, and Savage roar and Rip are top priority. Some druids will pop their Berserk right at the beginning because RIP is so important to get up with 5 combo points as rapidly as possible... Of course any good druid dps kitty will have a cooldown timer specifically for each of these important fur ripping abilities..
If it's going to be a long fight, I always pop Beserk early so I can hopefully get it in again after it's cooldown.
The rotation is not the biggest challenge though....
The gear accumulation and gemming is much more challenging to perfect...
Of course this is the point of most games.. get you interested in developing your character to the point of hours and hours of game play to put more months of your money into their Blizzard pockets... But we do get a lot of hours of entertainment out of it...
Regarding gear. Currently I have this combination: 2 pieces of T7.5 for the 2 piece bonus. (Increase in RIP duration). In addition to this, I also have the RIP idol that increases the periodic damage. Because RIP ends up being the largest portion of my total dps, the more I can buff it the better. The rest of my gear is basically Rogue dps gear. First priority - Hit cap 295, (note: 295 cap is only for bears, CAT hit caps out around 263, and is not actually crucial!---> See Toskk's discussion forums). Second priority - Stack as much Agility, attack power, and Armor penetration as possible, Third priority (which has proven to be very crutial) Crit should be at or as close to 50 percent. This key factor is what makes it possible to stack up the combo points as time efficiently as possible.
The idea of stacking armor penetration is still a point of contention among kitty druids. If our bread and butter is the RIP and RAKE periodic damage, and armor penetration will not affect this type of damage, should we forget about it and select attack power and agility instead?
Armor penetration seems to be a staple statistic included in most of the high end leather gear, it is actually more and more effective the higher it gets. It doesn't
Not being a math wiz, or a 17 year old boy with plenty of time on my hands, I honestly don't have the time or motivation to work out each calculation of white/yellow hit vs. periodic damage ticks... I have a tendency to try to maximize each piece of gear I have to it's fullest potential rather than selecting specific stats to try to stack... I like to look at a piece of gear overall when deciding to upgrade. Of course there are things like RAWR for this purpose so that individuals with time restraints like myself can still work things out. Thank you genius computer scientists and hard core gamers!
Unfortunately, I find it very difficult to efficiently maximus my kitty dps while constantly on the move. For example, in Hodir, the best dps will result from 1) maintaining constant dps on the boss - this means the tank must keep the boss within range of safe melee locations 2) being able to have the super Storm Power buff - which is pretty easy for melee considering members are required to bring this buff to the main tank, and melee can then share it, and 3) being able to stand in a light well buff while being behind the boss - This is very dependent on the tank dragging the boss close to these rays of light. Between all of these 3 important dps boosts, and running around to avoid falling ice and staying in one place gathering freezing debuffs... A feral druid will need to have expert fingers to maneuver and maintain a perfect feral dps rotation!
Up until yesterday, my computer was the bane of my dps existance... I was only able to achieve about 3-6 frames per second in 25 man boss fights like Hodir. Today is a new beginning for me. Since upgrading, World of Warcraft has a whole new crisp look to it and flows so smoothly! I now notice tiny sparklies and can see long distances.. Things are no longer a complete mist to me. Of course I had these settings because of my terribly out dated hardware so that I could move without being lost in time with each refreshing frame....
I guess we must keep up with the times as always... and upgrade our out dated equipment to the new and improved technologies. If we don't, we get left behind in the dust... not to mention.. game playing experiences becomes 90 percent frustration and 10 percent enjoyability. My upgrade has shifted the enjoyment factor back in to the 90 percentile again. :D