Are druids the better rogues?
Now that I played him for a while in Outlands I have to say it's not only the upgrades that make playing him a lot of fun. Comparing Tumbler with Solfyre is like comparing a Swiss army knife with a dagger.
First of all with 41 points in Feral you can play as damage dealer or tank without swapping gear. And both seems to be very valid if you compare your performance to the specialists. The little difference that might exist is well outweighed by the group buffs and flexibility the druid contributes:
- Someone dies? Combat ress.
- Lots of low hp mobs? Hurricane AoE.
- Group is on low hp? Channel Tranquility and heal each group member for 4k health.
- Caster is oom? Innervate.
- Untanked mobs? Offtank in bearform.
- Dangerous runner? Moonfire spam.
- Every member of my group gets +5% melee crit rate.
- Every melee/range crit from a group member heals him for ~200hp. (more exactly: 4% of their max hp, procs at most once every 6 seconds though)
- A damage shield for tanks. (Thorns)
- Armor, stats and resistances for everyone.
- An armor debuff that is free of cost and castable in forms. (Faerie Fire)
I don't think there is any other class that can handle as many mobs without dying as a druid.
Another feature I like is that there is no downtime. I never drink or eat. I can save all my mana for shifting and healing as I kill things in forms. So when I need health, I heal , shift back and while I fight my mana is regenerating. If it happens that I run out of mana, I got Innervate ready.
Lastly fighting mobs as cat is really close to what a rogue can pull off, but way less boring than SS mashing. Both the stun opener and the Gauge like incapacitating finisher don't only CC the target but deal a considerable amount of damage too. Thx to talents I can reduce the cost of the Backstab equivalent (Shred) to only 42 energy. As Mangle (a worthy 41 talent that replaces Claw in kitty form) applies a debuff that increases Shred damage by no less than 30%, I use Mangle as the basic attack and do a Shred whenever possible. So the attack pattern looks more complex than most patterns I had as a rogue. Usually I open with Pounce (stuns for 4 secs and applies an 18 secs bleed), apply Faerie Fire, Mangle and Shred. Now the stun ends and I do one or two Mangles. At 4-5cp I either use the Eviscerate equivalent to finish the target or Maim (Gauge/Evi combi finisher), regen energy and Shred. In long fights Rip (Rupture equivalent) is usually the best finisher as the target gets 30% increased damage from bleed thanks to the Mangle debuff. (Works for rogues too.)
Now that's a lot of different keys to press already, but the real-boredom killer is Omen of Clarity, a 30 min self buff that gives your melee attacks a chance to proc clear casts, i.e. reduces the cost of the next spell or ability to zero. If you are lucky and it procs while the target is still stunned from the opener, you get to do a Mangle and 2 Shreds in 4 seconds and enough CP's to do a finisher.
Well I could go on a bit about PvP but not in this post. To answer the question of the topic: As Feral druid I don't feel like an inferior damage dealer if I compare myself to rogues. The difference is not in the dps but in what the class contributes besides doing damage. My druid contributes all kinds of buffs and powerful wipe-saving abilities on moderate cooldowns. Rogues contribute better crowd control (KS was very useful in the Ramparts and Blood Furnace and, if improved, Sap is a valid CC too), can disarm traps (there are loads of nasty traps to disarm in Blood Furnace at least) and picking locks (there are locked chests containing about 5g and greens in both Blood Furnace and Ramparts).