So I finally found a group last night that didn't need me to tank or heal, although I have to admit I was a naughty kitty and did some of the former anyway. I'd have to say without fear of death pulling aggro is not really a concern. I am for all intensive purposes still a tank when I DPS, just in slightly suboptimal gear. I was all excited about cower actually doing something and in the end I never used it. I'm sure it will come in handy on bosses like Festergut though.
My first impressions were that Blizzard may have over-tweaked us a wee bit on their damage hotfix. I was missing 3 glyphs and wasn't running any add-ons to keep on top of my bleeds and was still putting a fairly ridiculous amount of damage for a heroic. I have yet to fine tune my gear also, I ended up with a bit of extra hit and a lot of extra crit after the stat conversion.
I really like the more flexible bleed refreshes. I mentioned that I wasn't using any add-ons to track them, but I'm not sure it made a really huge difference since I am pretty used to the cat rhythm at this point and clipping bleeds is no longer an issue. The cat DPS feel hasn't changed a bit. In fact the only change I'm still thinking about is the priority of savage roar vs rip. One was nerfed and the other buffed. I think the rip is more important to keep up now and should be applied first.
The other neat thing is using combo points off dead targets. No longer am I trying to use up 2-3 combo points at the end of a kill, I just keep them for a moment running to the next mob and reapply savage roar which would have normally fallen off by the next pull.
Oh, and don't forget the interrupt! I can't wait for dreamwalker. All in all cats got a couple improvements and stayed more or less untouched compared to other classes/specs. My original fear was that the subtle changes would make those who aren't skilled at playing a feral druid better and at the same time nerf those players who'd mastered the spec. I'm pretty confident that isn't the case now that I've seen it in action.
One last thing, an update on the bear bars situation actually. Using a modifier key to fire off Maul turned out to be a pretty lame idea. While not using maul generally implies tanking only one or two targets, using maul implies many targets which I cycle through often using the tab key. Funny thing, when you use tab with the alt modifier, you leave the game and have to go back in hoping you didn't miss anything exciting. Not sure what I'm going to do about that one, still in a too many abilities with not enough reachable keys to bind them too funk. I swear the new bear abilities were implemented by a keyboard turner. Curse you clickers! Or perhaps they are trying to market their new bazillion button mouse with scare tactics; whatever the case I ain't digging it.