Sunday, January 31, 2010


Powershifting is a technique that involves instantaneously changing form from one's current form to a different form and back.  For example, you would drop out of your Bear Form and immediately back into Bear Form.

There are two major reasons for powershifting.

First, changing forms breaks roots such as Entangling Roots and Frost Nova.  This is invaluable in a tanking setting as it allows you freedom of movement and the ability to move dangerous mobs away from your rooted teammates.

The second reason for powershifting, especially as a Bear, is that it "procs" or activates the benefit conferred by the talent "Furor" and instantly give you 10 rage if the tank is dry.  This, essentially, turns mana into rage.

I will only discuss powershifting from Bear Form into Bear Form, with Caster Form as the intermediate step.

There are two ways to powershift.  The first method is to manually press the button, either on your keyboard if it is mapped to a key or to a slot on your action bar, wait for your character to change forms back to caster form, and then press the button a second time in order to change back.  The second method is to press a button that activates a powershifting macro, which will instantly transform you from your current form into your current form, without visibly halting at the caster form stage.

I have not tested whether there are actually practical reasons to use the macro, in the form of taking damage while in caster form.  But, my intuition tells me that for that split second while I am in caster form, I am vulnerable in a way that is circumvented by the use of the powershifting macro.

The basic powershifting macro is simple:

/cast !Bear Form

Once you reach sufficient level you will need to switch this to Dire Bear Form, but the general principle is the same.  You put the commands to drop your current form, and to assume Bear Form on the stack.  They are executed in that order, in one action.  The effect of each happen at the same time, and you thus receive 10 rage.

If you are forced to shift form in order to escape a root during a dungeon encounter, this technique helps you prevent the complete loss of all of your rage in the bargain.  It also helps you prime the pump for the first several seconds of an encounter.

I've heard stories of people being roundly mocked during pick-up-group instance encounters for taking five points in Restoration talents so early in their leveling process.  I'll examine whether five points in Furor is worth the tradeoff for Feral talents in my next installation.


  1. Don't forget that powershifting will fail if you are stunned or hibernated. You'll shift out of form, and be stuck.

    With the recent changes to enrage, (instant 20 rage with 10 more over 10 seconds once per minutes) furor can be a bit redundant. It is still excellent for cat.

    If you take furor early, I HIGHLY recommend you respec at 50 to take Mangle. You do not want to wait until 55.

  2. Fully agreed on both points. There's a degree to which constant form flow leaves you at a disadvantage if/when you run out of mana as well, and your mana pool becomes something you need to carefully watch over. Learning to distinguish in reflex-time between roots and stuns is something we need to be careful about. Exciting changes, they're definitely keeping me on my toes in 3.3. Thanks for the comment!