Post by Thror
THE MORE UP-TO-DATE (AND PRETTIER) VERSION OF THIS GUIDE CAN NOW BE FOUND HERE. I WILL ONLY BE UPDATING THAT ONE FROM NOW ON.
Still, feel free to put any bear or guide-related questions and suggestions here, or in the guide's comments section.Table of contents:
(Intro) A brief introduction to Bearing
- (Intro) A brief introduction to Bearing
- (Stats) Stats, and what they do for Us
- (Talents) Cookies, Cutters, and Talents
- (Gearing) What items to look up for?
- (Tier Bonuses) Yay, +200 resilience and +200 resilience.
- (Trinkets) The hitchhikers guide to Trinkets
- (Glyphs) What to demand from your local inscriptionis... um... inscripto... uhhh... Scribe
- (Enchants) Is that a Mongoose?
- (Gems) Oooh, shiny!
- (Reforging) How to make Tanking leather out of DPS leather
- (Professions) Guys, Herbalism is the best, right? ... Right?
- (Consumables) Nom nom nom >:3
- (Threat Generation) HOW DO I FIGHT THINGS
- (Additional Tips) I really do not recommend skipping this part
I will try to make this sound as unbiased as possible. Bears are the best tanks ever.
Hmm. That didn't go quite as planned. Okay, lets try again.
Druids are unique among the tanking classes in a few ways. Firstly, we are the only class that does not wear Plate armor. Instead, we use Leather. Secondly, most of the times, you will see a Druid tank fighting as a Bear. This is pretty much the best place to look when you are choosing what to tank with. Do you like the idea of being a bear? You can not see your gear in bear form, sure, but on the other hand, the Bear forms are rather attractive, and you might just be the kind of person that loves
the idea of tanking as a cuddly ball of fur with a lovably huge ass that mostly likes the taste of fase.
Bears use Rage as their resource system, which you might be familiar with if you ever played a warrior. As a resource system, it gives you plenty of freedom and breathing space, but can be more or less limitting sometimes.Back to top(Stats) Stats, and what they do for UsStamina
- Increases our total amount of health. Also slightly increases the amount of attack power we get through
.Agility - Increases our attack power, and our chance to dodge incoming attacks and to land a critical strike. Agility generally makes us better in everything we do.
Armor - Decreases the amount of physical damage taken. You will usually only find armor on the Leather pieces of armor (+ cloaks) that we wear. The armor on those gets multiplied by our armor modifiers (bear form, talent, meta gem), and provides a considerable chunk of our damage mitigation. There is also the "bonus armor", which you can find on trinkets, rings, necklaces and enchants. This type of armor is not modified by our armor modifiers and therefore is not as powerful as the natural armor, but is still helpful.
Weapon DPS - This is the stat you look at when eyeballing a weapon. Weapon speed or the damage range of a weapon are not important for us. The normalized DPS is. A weapon with higher DPS will always be a threat boost for us. Generalized and simplified, a weapon that is a polearm or a staff (rarely a two handed mace) with agility on it and a higher item level than what we are holding now, will be an upgrade.
Dodge - The best "green stat" for bear tanking. Obviously, increases our chance to dodge attacks.
Mastery - Increases the size of the Savage Defense absorb shield.
Critical Strike - Increases our chance to land critical strikes. We need to crit to get our Savage Defense shield up. Critting is also a big help for rage generation (through talents), and threat generation.
Expertise - Decreases the chance that the boss will Dodge or Parry attacks we throw at him. More about expertise here.
Hit - Decreases the chance that our attacks will Miss. More about hit here.
Haste - Only increases our white swing speed. Overall the worst stat for bears.
Strength - Slightly increases our attack power, and is by all means a useless stat for bears. About as good as Intellect and Spirit.Back to top(Talents) Cookies, Cutters, and Talents
First, let's have a look at what we get from our Feral specialization
To start off, let me show you a really sweet build for feral tanks. Here: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#0ZfMGcoubzrckMcu
- - Our heaviest hitting ability.
- - Pretty self explanatory, isn't it?
- - Basically, the more damage we get, the more damage we do. Having a Vengeance stacked up high helps our mitigation via .
- - /do not care.
- - This makes the absorb shield of our Savage Defense not only grow with our Attack Power, but also with our Mastery stat.
There is a very good chance that this build will satisfy all your needs, and I strongly recommend it. There are some talents that can be switched around if you so please, and there are a lot of talents that are best left untouched. Below, I will list the talents that you are free to experiment with, if you desire.
- Infected Wounds - Infected Wounds give us the ability to put up the basic "tanking debuff". Any tank can put this debuff up, and DPS specced druids should not spec into this, because tanks are expected to have it. In rare cases, you can choose to rely on someone else to put this debuff up, and spec into something else, but I generally do not recommend that. This would be the very last talent I would touch.
- - Feral Aggression slightly increases the threat we do with Feral Faerie Fire, and also makes us able to put up a 12% armor reduction instantly. Remember when I talked about Infected Wounds to be expected from tanks? Well this talent is expected from DPS feral druids. If you regularly raid with Feral DPS who have it, there is simply no need to have it too. If you do not, then this talent gives your raid a bonus to damage for the first 12 seconds the enemy it is put on is in the fight. Why only 12 seconds? That is exactly the difference between having it, and not having it. It takes 12 seconds to put up 3 stacks of Faerie Fire without this talent. Basically, it is not that great when there is just a boss in the fight, because it does not make much of a difference, but it is good when there are adds entering the fight often. You can basically reduce the armor of an add by 12% every 6 seconds. I do not favor this talent very much, but it is a solid choice.
- - On a long timeframe, if you use Enrage every time you can, this talent offers roughly 2,5% of extra threat. The true power of this talent however is in its effectiveness on a short timeframe. What this means is, you usually have the biggest problems with threat right after you pull the boss, when you are establishing aggro. In the first 10 seconds of the fight when you most need it, this talent will boost your threat more than any other talents, and even more than a few of them combined. It is a great help when pulling, and AoE tanking. It doubles in usefulness as a pretty good Cat form talent too, and this aspect should not be overlooked.
- - A Haste bonus, oh joy. This talent is just... not very good. Haste is the weakest stat for us, and the bonus of this talent basically makes us do one extra white swing right after we charge. Given how often can we actually charge during a fight... this just doesn't get much use. Not worth it at all.
- - This talent makes us a viable interrupter for boss abilities. Generally, it is a very solid talent and definitely worth taking. However, if you can 100% rely on your other raid members when it comes to interrupting and never are on interrupt duty yourself, feel free to not take it. I would not recommend skipping it if you mostly run 5-man instances.
- - Ah, longer Pulverize buffs. Some people thought this might not be a very good talent for bears. After all, we can refresh Pulverize much sooner than the buff would actually end even without this talent, so why prolong it even more? It is true, you can refresh it quite often without gimping your threat generation all that much... but. Firstly, if you properly use all the abilities you have to use in your single target rotation and are slightly lucky with Mangle procs, you might find out that you actually can not refresh Pulverize all that often. But there is more to it. Secondly, if you use Pulverize when AoE tanking, this talent is a huge bonus for your AoE threat and DPS. The AoE rotation for Bears is pretty rigid, and simply does not allow us to refresh Pulverize often. This talent enables us to refresh Pulverize less often, and therefore to spam more AoE, buffing our AoE threat by a flipping load. Thirdly, it increases the uptime of rake, which should absolutely not be ignored.
I do not really think anything I did not mention, or anything in the Resto tree, should be touched.
There are two popular variants for the build I have posted above, and here they are:http://www.wowhead.com/talent#0ZfMGdoubzrckMcuhttp://www.wowhead.com/talent#0ZfMGfou0zrckMcu
As you can see, both go for Feral Aggression, and sacrifice different talents to get it. Either snap threat, or interrupting.Back to top(Gearing) What items to look up for?
Or, to be more precise, what items are good for us. How do we find out that we want it. Which wrists are better, and so on. Two lines below lies the simplified legendary stat priority diagram.Mastery Rating > Critical Strike Rating > Expertise Rating > Hit Rating > Haste Rating
These are the green stats we will be seeing on our gear, along with Stamina and Agility. (I should mention that items with Strength simply are not good options for Bear tanks. Get those out of your head.) Basically, the stats on the left side are really good for us, and we want them on our gear, while the ones on the right are kinda meh, and we would prefer to not have them on our gear. It is easy to figure out that the best stat combination an item for us can have is Mastery / Crit. Unfortunately, there is not always such a piece of gear available, so we have to make-do with the inferior stats as well. But Expertise is not quite as bad either. If you would like to know more about Expertise and Hit, check this part
of the guide.Back to top(Tier Bonuses) Yay, +200 resilience and +200 resilience.
Let's have a look at the set bonuses in the Cataclysm tiers so far.
- Tier 11
Item - Druid T11 Feral 2P Bonus - The bonus to Lacerate bleed damage is... somewhat underwhelming. The DoT is not a big part of our threat output, and this set bonus is hardly noticeable.
- Item - Druid T11 Feral 4P Bonus - Depending on the situation, this bonus ranges from OK to very good. When Survival Instincts are up and your healers are not dead, you are pretty much immortal. This bonus extends that state of theoretical immortality by six seconds. There are a few fights where this bonus can extend SI to cover a higher amount of fat damaging abilities, like heroic Maloriak where it gives you JUST enough time to soak two engulfing darknesses.
Overall, a fair amount of Druids ended up with the 2-piece, and then either went for the 4-piece for the situational power and the druidish looks, or went after off-set items with Crit/Mastery. Currently, three pieces of the set are available for Justice Points, and I assume that is where most people would end with this set, before moving on to the next tier.Tier 12
- Item - Druid T12 Feral 2P Bonus - This is a fairly strong DoT. It can really account for a lot of additional threat and damage. It also does amazing things when you use Berserk, and apply the DoT on three targets at once. I would strongly recommend picking this bonus up.
- Item - Druid T12 Feral 4P Bonus - For Firelands, this set bonus is awesome. There are bosses where you can dodge some really major hits, and a good stream of dodges can absolutely break a few fight mechanics that should pose a danger to the raid, namely dodging stacks on Shannox and dodging Decimation Blade on Baleroc (like a BOSS).
4-piece Tier 12 is a solid and recommended choice for end-game content. It is also great that there is only a single item with Haste (the gloves), and those can be replaced by great Crit/Mastery off set gloves
. All the other pieces offer stats that help us.Back to top(Trinkets) The hitchhikers guide to Trinkets
Trinkets deserve a section of their own. There are a whole lot of good trinkets, and their usefulness varies based on encounter. Trinkets are a great way to adjust yourself to particular fights, and I strongly recommend getting more of them.
trinkets, listed roughly from the best to the worst (profession made trinkets not mentioned):
Use these to adjust yourselves for fights with very high spell damage, where you could use a higher health pool.
trinkets, listed roughly from the best to the worst (profession made trinkets not mentioned, but the alchemist stone is pretty good) (and yes, Tia's Grace is really THAT good):
Use these to adjust yourselves for fights with dominant melee damage, or if you would like to buff your damage done.
For more in-depth info about Stamina and Agility, check this section
of the guide.
There are some trinkets that could best be characterized as the "Other
On some ranking lists (like AskMrRobot), these appear ridiculously high. The reason for that is that the only way these sites can estimate a rough value of the absorb is to make a shady conversion into armor, and then rank the armor according to the stat weighs. In fact though, this trinket isn't as awesome as it seems. It is good definitely, but not the most awesome damage mitigation trinket at all. I would recommend using it on fights where you tank a higher amount of minor adds, the Mastery and the absorb could really reduce some damage taken.
Okay, this trinket is just weird. It is definitely the kind of a trinket that was bullied in the trinket school, because it was too different
. The DoT factor that it has is what makes many tanks somewhat uncomfortable with it. My advice? If you care about Stamina, you would not pick this trinket anyway. If you care about damage mitigation, there are tons of better trinkets (this one is ranked very low on the trinket list of AskMrRobot). Heck, there is Ancient Petrified Seed
available at the same reputation level, and that is one sexy trinket I tell you.
A honorable mention
among trinkets also goes to:
Which is, even in the Firelands, pretty much the best trinket for spell damage heavy fights. It can eat tons of damage on fights like Lord Rhyolith, Majordomo Staghelm and Ragnaros. It will hardly ever be swept off the table, unless they come up with a stronger version of the same thing. I would recommend to farm the Baradin Hold reputation as soon as you can to get this into your trinket repertoire.
As a reference for the order I listed the trinkets in, I used the trinket weighs on AskMrRobot.com. The order should be accurate.Back to top(Glyphs) What to demand from your local inscriptionis... um... inscripto... uhhh... ScribePrime glyphs:
There is not much choice here. All of the glyphs buff our threat generation. There are no other glyphs that would affect the bear form. The Lacerate glyph slightly buffs our mitigation too, because it increases the chance that we will get a
proc from Lacerate.Major glyphs:
For raiding and most other situations, Maul and Frenzied Regeneration are pretty much mandatory. They are both awesome glyphs. If you ever get into a situation where the glyph of Maul seems to do more harm than good (like accidentally aggroing a Fragment when you are supposed to tank a Spark on Lord Rhyolith) do get rid of it temporarily, but do not forget to switch it back in later. If you would ever like to solo some elite mob or something, you might prefer your Frenzied Regeneration to actually heal you up, in which case you might prefer to switch the glyph out temporarily. Out of the other glyphs... if you mostly do 5-man instances, Glyph of Thorns might prove useful. I would never enter a raid without Glyph of Rebirth, it is just insanely powerful.Minor glyphs:
I would suggest using these two, and whatever you like for the third glyph.Back to top(Enchants) Wait, Is that a Mongoose?
There are two possible ways of enchanting your gear. I will list them both. For more info about which way to enchant, see here. 1
The agility enchant for the helmet is not better than the stamina one.2
The Agility enchant is a decent enchant that provides threat, avoidance and mitigation. It is overall a very good choice, and I would recommend it for 5-mans and normal modes of raids. Plus, it's cheap. Windwalk
is a second option. It is more expensive, but offers a higher damage reduction against physical hits. If you struggle with survivability in Heroic modes of raids, i would suggest picking it up.Back to top(Gems) Oooh, shiny!
Since we have two possible ways of gemming our gear, I will list them both. For more info about which way to gem, see here.
Back to top(Reforging) How to make Tanking leather out of DPS leather
- In case of Agility, the goal is to use 2 yellow gems to fulfill the meta requirement, and then use +40 agility gems everywhere possible, while using Shifting gems to fulfill any interesting socket bonuses (+20 or more agility/mastery)
- In case of Stamina, the goal is to use 2 yellow gems to fulfill the meta requirement, and then use as many +60 stamina gems as possible. Fulfilling socket bonuses is not generally preferred, but noone is gonna stop you.
Reforging enables us to decrease one of the green stats present on our items, and change it into a stat that we would rather have. In case of Bear tanks, this is exclusively used to transform various stats into Dodge Rating
. The golden rule of reforging for bears is: You want to reforge every item to have Dodge Rating.
Now, which stats to reforge into dodge rating, you might wonder? Let's look at this priority diagram:Dodge Rating > Mastery Rating > Critical Strike Rating > Expertise Rating > Hit Rating > Haste Rating
Simply put, you want to reforge the stat that is furthest on the right side of the diagram
into Dodge Rating.Examples:
If an item has Mastery and Crit, you reforge Crit -> Dodge.
If an item has Hit and Haste, you reforge Haste -> Dodge.Back to top(Professions) Guys, Herbalism is the best, right? ... Right?
Professions offer a lot of unique stat bonuses, and it is definitely worthwhile to level them up to maximize your performance. I will now list professions one by one, along with their unique bonuses. Once again, I am listing both Stamina and Agility bonuses. If you wish to know which ones you should use... you know the drill
- Jewelcrafting - Unique Jewelcrafting gems, Solid Chimera's Eye and Delicate Chimera's Eye, offer a bonus of 123 stamina or 81 agility, respectively. Jewelcrafters also have access to the Figurine - Earthen Guardian trinket, which is a helpful addition into your pre-raiding repertoire of Stamina trinkets.
- Blacksmithing - and offer two extra prismatic sockets. Socketted with stamina gems, you gain 120 stamina, and 80 agility if you use agility gems.
- Leatherworking - Leatherworking offers unique wrist enchants. is a bit special among profession bonuses, for it now offers 155 stamina more than the best non-LW wrist enchant... the agility equivalent, is more in line with exactly 80 agility more than the best agility wrist enchant.
- Alchemy - Mixology offers a 120 stamina bonus when a Stam flask is used, or 80 agility bonus when an Agility flask is used. Alchemists also have access to special trinkets called Alchemist stones (Lifebound Alchemist Stone, Quicksilver Alchemist Stone), but they are not very useful anymore, with the new trinkets, and with the combo of Fluid and Tia's being more available than ever. Pity that you can not use the potion-enhancing nature of the stones to your advantage very often, because the Agility potion is infinitely more worthwhile than a simple health pot.
- Inscription - The special Inscription shoulder enchants, Inscription of the Earth Prince and Swiftsteel Inscription are in line with the other profession bonuses, offering 120 stamina or 80 agility extra over their counterparts from Therazane.
- Enchanting - Offers ring enchants. 2x adds 120 stamina, and 2x adds 80 agility.
- Engineering - The Engineers-only helmet, Agile Bio-Optic Killshades is actually BiS among the 359 helmets. The problem with Engineering helmets is that they are not updated very often, a.k.a. Who the hell cares about 359 helmets. give us 480 agility for 10 seconds every 1 minute. Used on CD, this tinker is roughly equivalent to the 80 agility bonuses.
- Tailoring - Don't do it.
- Mining - The only gathering profession that somewhat boosts tanks, with granting exactly 120 stamina.
- Skinning - Gives some Critical Strike rating through , which is generally a very mediocre bonus.
- Herbalism - Only grants an insignificant Haste buff plus a minor HoT through . Not good.
Most of the crafting professions are a solid choice for tanking, and you have some freedom in choice. Avoiding gathering professions is recommended, if you want to get the most bonuses out of professions.Back to top
Post by Thror
(Consumables) Nom nom nom >:3
I suggest using consumables to adjust yourself to the fight at hand.Flasks
Will eat through your gold reserves faster than flasks if you are progressing, but there are a few fights where using a combo of Elixirs is better than a flask, if you really worry about getting killed.
- Prismatic Elixir (Guardian elixir) is the one that can really make a difference. On a fight with a lot of spell damage, the reduction from this trinket really comes in handy. Nefarian (especially heroic) and Sinestra are good occasions to use one of these instead of a flask.
- Elixir of Deep Earth (Guardian elixir) is a second option, but it does not beat an Agility flask in damage mitigation. Only listing it here because it is somewhat relevant.
- Elixir of the Master (Battle elixir) is the only Battle elixir worth coupling with one of the Guardian elixirs listed above.
- Potion of the Tol'vir is generally the best potion, especially useful for initial threat when you pre-pot it. If your raid wants to start DPSing right off the bat, I suggest pre-potting one of these. They are a major buff in threat generation, and also give you a decent chunk of mitigation.
- Earthen Potion is the second option, can be used as a minor defensive CD when you are getting loads of physical damage and are afraid of getting killed.
:Back to top(Threat Generation) HOW DO I FIGHT THINGSSingle Target
For single target fights, we follow a priority rotation:
- every time possible.
- Incapacitating Roar every time the debuff is not up.
- Lacerate when the enemy has no stacks of Lacerate up.
- Thrash every time possible.
- Lacerate when the enemy has less than 3 stacks of Lacerate up.
- Pulverize when the enemy has 3 stacks of Lacerate up and the Pulverize buff is not up, or when it is about to fall off.
- Lacerate or filler.
- Use Maul independently (and often) to get rid of any excess Rage.
- Keep track of your Berserk procs, which enable you to launch a free Mangle.
- It is best to use your Clearcasting procs from Omen of Clarity for free Mauls.
- For initial aggro on a boss fight, it is good to pre-cast Thorns before the fight starts, drink an Agility potion, and pop Enrage with Berserk right after pull. No DPS should be able to out-aggro you when you open like this, no matter how soon they start.
Our AoE rotation is much simpler. Our prime AoE abilities are Thrash
. Using only these two abilities, you can create a rotation that goes like this:Swipe - Thrash - Swipe - <free GCD>
Use a single target ability to fill out the free GCD. Mangle is the heaviest hitter, and its cooldown fits perfectly into the rotation. The highest TPS for AoE is therefore generated by repeating:Swipe - Thrash - Swipe - Mangle
...until everything dies.
Back to top(Additional Tips) I really do not recommend skipping this part
- Do keep Maul in mind, and keep Mauling all the time while you are going through the AoE rotation.
- You can try to get the Pulverize buff up early in the fight for a massive AoE damage boost. This would probably require a second tank, or patient DPS.
- If you still struggle with AoE aggro, try using Thorns before you pull, and Enrage right on pull, for the first AoE ability.
Back to top(Epilogue) Obligatory Alamo reference and a few words of the author and a few sources that I used to write all thisBARES MOSTLY LIKE THE TASTE OF FASE! :3
- Agility vs. Stamina
Warning, this is a lengthy analysis. If you do not feel like reading it, then go with Agility. If you want to know why, you better sit comfortably.
This is often a point of major confusion for many bears, both newbies and veterans alike. If you ever browsed armories of various bears, or read some guides other people have written, you could notice that some places recommend Agility, and some other recommend Stamina. Which ones are... right? What is the better way? Let's start with a little more in depth description of what Stamina and Agility actually do for us.
Stamina... quite simply, increases our total health. Total health is important in fights where magic damage is thrown around, for no amount of Dodge, or Savage Defense is gonna save you against that. On the other hand, the magic damage in the current content is... not exactly life threatening. There are a few fights that can kinda force a cold blooded tank to raising a single eyebrow because of somewhat higher magical damage taken, but it is never so dangerous that a good healer team would not get you covered.
Stamina can also increase our attack power, and therefore contribute to our mitigation through increased Savage Defense absorbs. Keep in mind though, that Stamina only has this effect when you are capping your Vengeance. This makes Stamina a generally viable source of Attack Power on most of the boss fights that you do not overgear yet (but even if you are capping your Vengeance, it still gives you less attack power than stacking Agility). It gets a lot worse on farm fights, and is outright useless in 5-man instances.
Agility increases our Dodge, Crit, and Attack Power. Crit increases our chance to proc Savage Defense, while Attack Power makes our Savage Defenses stronger. Quite simply, Agility helps us reduce incoming damage in all the ways a Bear tank can decrease incoming damage. It is extremely unique as a tanking stat, because no other tanking class has a stat that would be this universal.
It is logical that a tank with more Agility will always take less damage than a similarly geared tank who favors Stamina.
There are a few ways where you can pick whether to stack Agility, or Stamina. Enchants, Gems, Consumables, Trinkets.
Enchants and Gems are hard to change on the move, and generally call for picking what is best, and sticking to it. Agility is the best choice. By running a full Agility gem setup, you are giving up about 10-15k hp while gaining roughly 2% of dodge, and higher Crit and Savage Defense. Does not sound like Agility is the better choice? That is because we are not looking at the larger picture.
Before we do that though, I should mention consumables and trinkets. These bonuses are very customizable, and you can easilly change them on the fly by getting a few backup flasks, potions, and having a few trinkets up your sleeve. Did you know that you can get up to 27 thousand hp just by using two stam trinkets and a stam flask? That is 27k hp extra, with the snap of my fingers, whenever you feel like it might help.
Now to the large picture. For normal modes of raids, what would you rather have? A tank with 150k hp and 38% dodge, or a tank with 175k hp and 36% dodge?
I am just kidding now. Those are both the same tank, he just switched his trinkets and used a different flask. In a full 359 set of equipment, you actually do have 150k hp when you use an agility flask and two agility trinkets, and 175k when you use stamina flasks and trinkets. 150k hp is sufficient to comfortably tank absolutely anything on Normal mode that the current raids have to offer. 175k hp is sufficient to comfortably start tanking heroics. I am speaking out of personal experience.
A tank that truly stacks stamina in a full 359 set of gear would have about 187k hp. In normal modes, this amount of hp is overkill, and mostly useless. The worst thing about the Stam stacking tanks is that they usually do not even get the idea to keep an Agility flask and trinkets around, and can not cut down from that useless pile of health to increase their mitigation even if they wanted to.
A tank that stacks Agility and wears a full set of 372 gear reaches around 168k hp and 40% dodge... in agility trinkets, and using an agility flask. If he so wishes, by recustomizing his trinkets and the flask, he can pull 195k hp right out of his sleeve. That amount of hp is more than sufficient to tank every boss currently in the game.
A stamina tank hangs around with his, surely impressive, 210k hp, and always taking more damage than the Agility tank.
Conclusion? Stick to Agility in gems and enchants. Do use the power of trinket/flask customization for your advantage and to adjust yourself to individual fights. Agility is all around the winner for whether you are tanking 5-mans, normals, or heroic raids.
- Expertise and Hit
The value of Expertise and Hit as threat stats went sharply down when Blizzard has buffed the threat generation of tanks into the heavens. Practically, even with 0 Hit and Expertise, you will most probably be able to generate decent aggro over the course of the fight, and DPS should not ever catch up to you. The only risky part is establishing the initial aggro right after the pull. To ease up on this, some amount of Expertise is never bad, but I would not recommend outright stacking it. Pursuing any sort of Expertise or Hit caps would have a negative impact on your survivability.
If you mostly tank raids, just stay away from Expertise and Hit. You will most probably do fine even without them. If you only tank 5-man instances where healers usually can manage the damage you take, and where you are being stomped by overgeared DPS, it is reasonable to get some Threat stats on top, in which case, go for Expertise first. Up to 26, it is better than Hit. You can also go for Expertise or Hit when you overgear pretty much every raid boss out there, and are not afraid of getting killed on any of the available fights. If you are in that position, you can pay attention to other important things, like topping the world charts. :)
- The secret third way of gearing
Recently, a crafty group of theorycrafters has been toying around with a gear setup that relies on Agility stacking, and focuses on Mastery/Expertise instead of Dodge. What is this about?
All in all, this setup definitely has lower "survivability" (a.k.a. spongyness) than the Stamina setup, obviously. This setup also does not beat the common Agility setup with a Dodge focus in the means of damage mitigation. However, the differences are slimmer here. It is not behind the common Agi/Dodge setup by a large amount. What is the advantage of this setup, you might ask?
It is the highest possible threat/DPS setup that tries to still gather as much mitigation as possible. An example of a setup with even more threat than this would be a Hit/Expertise setup stacking Expertise even over 26, but that is not recommended anywhere because paying attention to mitigation is still important when tanking. So, what do you actually have to do to have this setup?
Change your gemming and reforging a tiny bit. Instead of Polished Ember Topaz, gem Adept Ember Topaz. Your first priority is to have Mastery on every single item you have. If said item does not have Mastery on it, reforge into it. On items that have Mastery, you reforge into Expertise. An ideal item for this setup would be one with Mastery/Expertise as stats, and that item would not be reforged. However, you only reforge into Expertise up to 26 (the soft cap). Afterwards, priority shifts back to Dodge. A priority diagram for reforging while using this method would be: Mastery Rating > Expertise (up to 26) > Dodge Rating.
If you happen to be a casual tank that mostly does 5-men content and struggles against highly geared DPS, but still does not want to give in all his survivability... or heck if you like to experiment with setups overall, I would suggest using this method. I know of a few Ferals that use this in Firelands, and so far they are succesful. Granted they are not heroic-level tanks, but neither are some Ferals that read this guide, right?
- Tanking cooldowns
Tanking cooldowns, also often called defensive cooldowns or damage reduction cooldowns, and sometimes (incorrectly) "oh shi- buttons" are a major tool in our repertoire, and when you use them to their max potential, they can reduce your damage income by a lot. First of all, and this deserves a line just for itself:
Never macro all your cooldowns into a single button. It is the worst thing you can possibly do.
Why? Because defensive CDs are best when used with a calm mind, periodically, during the course of the entire fight. A really experienced bear tank has a map for fights that allow planning forward, and has cooldowns pre-distributed for the entire fight and tailored perfectly to its duration, while also keeping some minor cooldowns as a backup for the rare case of emergency. This obviously can not be planned for every single fight though, because a lot of them have various random mechanics, and in those fights, the best thing you can do is having a good knowledge of what your cooldowns do and when they are good to use. Here comes some extra info about them:
Barkskin - our baseline go-to defensive ability with a very, very short cooldown, and that is best when pretty much spammed. You will be able to pop this many times during every single boss you will ever encounter. It is generally good to not be savvy with it and just pop it as much as you can, obviously avoiding wasting it for periods when you are not going to receive any damage for a while. For instance, when fighting Atramedes, and you see on your DBM timers that he is about to target a random player and breathe fire at him. Barkskin would be completely wasted if used at that time. There is a lot of situations similar to this one. Also, try to get some use out of its spell damage reduction. When tanking an enemy with an occasional Breath attack, like Nefarian, it is good to pop Barkskin right at the moment he starts breathing fire at you, and have it eat the fire AND some of his melee hits afterwards, than just popping Barkskin randomly when he is wailing at you. Barkskin is also the only defensive cooldown that can be used when you are stunned, which is an awesome perk.
Survival Instincts - our Shield Wall-type cooldown. It is SO powerful. Using this makes you pretty much unkillable in a whole lot of situations, unless your healers really fall asleep. Use when you are expecting a major damage intake from some source. (For instance, when you accidentally hit Challenging Roar somewhere early in the heroic Halfus encounter... whoopsie! Okay, that is not a very good example. Nefarian crackles, Feud phases on heroic Chimaeron, or two adds at once on heroic Cho'gall are better examples.) Try to get used to its 3-minute cooldown. It looks fairly long in theory, but in practice, you should be using this multiple times in a fight. Try to identify the biggest threats that you have to deal with in encounters, and save Instincts for those.
Frenzied Regeneration - is our equivalent of Last Stand. I will assume you have it glyphed in this paragraph, and really, you should. FR is a pretty reliable life-saving ability, and it definitely has the greatest potential to save your life when things go wrong. You know, when you are like, at 10k health, and pop Survival Instincts... even through a 50% damage reduction, you can just lose that 10k health and die. Frenzied Regen instantly adds the "extra health" to your total health, and also gives the healers a buff to get you into safe health levels much faster. It is good that the "adding of health" portion of this ability is not considered a heal, so it still reliably adds the same amount of hp even if you are, for instance, threatened by a healing reducing debuff (Chimaeron phase 2, Maloriak heroic dark phases, Halfus Wyrmbreaker). With a 3-minute cooldown, you can synchronise it with Survival Insctincts to protect yourself with a powerful cooldown every 1,5 minutes.
- DPSing as a Bear
Good news, if you are reading this guide, chances are you are playing the tanking class capable of doing very respectable DPS. This is especially true if you are running a heavy Agility setup.
Why worry about DPS when we are tanks, you say? Worrying about DPS would only be bad if you would sacrifice survivability. When that is not the case, well, then why not? The tank DPS might not look super impressive on the first sight, but do realize that when your raids Mage suddenly starts doing 33k DPS and he has been doing 30k before, and you as a Tank start doing 13k while you have been doing 10k before, you have actually increased the raid damage by a very similar number. Tank DPS has great potential, and can be extremely helpful even in progression. Ever heard of soft enrages?
But how do we increase our DPS, you ask? Well, firstly, by mastering the Bear rotation, of course! Along with it come such tid-bits as pre-potting an Agility potion, and using a second one during the fight (preferably in synergy with Heroism, Berserk and Enrage), and paying great attention to popping Enrage and Berserk every time possible. But thats not all!
The Cat form is also a very important tool in the arsenal of a good Feral tank. Every time there is a tank switch incorporated somewhere in the fight, it is the perfect time for us to pop into Cat form and get the Rake and Rip rolling! Did you know you can have over 60% of Rake uptime on heroic Magmaw as a main tank? Now you do!
Additionally, if you would want to push your DPS even higher, you can use a hybrid glyph setup of Glyph of the Stag, Charred Glyph and Charred Glyph. You are trading of a little bit of threat and a little bit of mitigation for a considerable buff in cat DPS. Definitely worth a try for those dull farm fights, to lighten the mood up a bit.
- Utility abilities
People sometimes talk about Bears having very few utility abilities. But is this true? Well. While we might probably have less raid-wide buffs than, say, Paladins do... our arsenal of skills is by no means not shy of a few interesting gems that can turn the tide of battle in our favor! Let's look at what we have:
Rebirth - Of course, one of our signature abilities. The combat res is a raid saving ability, and our version of it still has the unique perk of resurrecting the target with 100% hp (if glyphed). That is unmatched by any other class, and makes the druids the best candidates for resurrecting fallen comrades. Try to use it every time you think it is necessary. In a vast majority of fights, you can throw a quick combat res even while actually tanking the boss. Who cares that you get a hit that is not mitigated by your armor, when you need the healer up to keep you alive anyway?
Stampeding Roar - I have long struggled to find some place where this ability would be the bomb. Aaaand... I found it! Well, I'll start with the slightly less exciting use for this ability. When you have a boss that is standing somewhere far, and he pulls when you approach him in some range, this can possibly be used to help your raid get into the range of the boss faster. Especially the slow-ass melee DPS and Paladin/DK tank buddies. This usefulness is diminished a LOT in Firelands... because you can simply approach the boss on mounts! Oh well. But, as I mentioned, there is a place where this ability is pretty good, and that is Majordomo Staghelm. Especially on 25m and when toying with a higher amount of Adrenaline stacks in Scorpion form, you will want your raid to spread at some point and with extraordinary speed. Having all raid members on a pile and using this can lead to the entire raid spreading at light speed. It is so useful that it is actually worth to make a CD rotation for this ability if you have multiple ferals in the raid. And it looks spectacular.
- This poor little ability gets forgotten so much, and it does not deserve it at all. Did you know it is usable in Bear form? Can any other tanks root three melee enemies in place and just... walk away from them? Not at all. Natures Grasp can be a life saver in a 5-man instance when you are getting your butt kicked hard by some melee enemies, or when you are kiting something that is rootable and want to keep it off your fur for a short while (it can be quite a relief on Maloriak adds, for example). Keep in mind that rooted enemies that have no tank standing nearby will start bashing the nearest target in their reach though.
Soothe - We can actually dispel Enrage! Well we do have to pop out of Bear form to do so, and... actually, there are not very much occasions where we could do this, but oh well, Warriors do not get to use their ranged silence on every boss fight in the game either, do they. I have found two places where I can use Soothe to my advantage. On the crocolisk boss in the Lost City of Tol'Vir... obviously when he Enrages, but it is wise to wait until he casts the tail flailing ability. You can safely pop out of form, Soothe him, and be back in fur before he finishes casting. The second occasion is the dragon trash mob in Blackwing Descent, before Maloriaks chamber. He slowly enrages himself, and the damage eventually becomes untankable. If your raid members really can not help you by dispelling his enrage either due to lack of knowledge or lack of... knowledge, it is actually good to sacrifice your armor for a while, and get those Enrage stacks of his down. You will sure get some nasty bites, but you will not die (maybe!) !
Tranquility - Tranquility is simply badass. Whenever a boss is casting a lengthy spell (which most of the bosses actually do), you have a chance to pop out of bear form and cast this. It is capable of healing about 120k hp, and it always picks the people that need the health most. Use this as a raid cooldown on tank switch fights to help the healers a little bit when you are not tanking at the moment. (Chimaeron and Cho'gall are good examples of fights where Tranquility can be used.)
- Guess what Druids have and other tanks don't? An actual CC ability. The types of enemies Hibernate covers is not the most common, but once you meet them, there are not as many DPS who can CC those reliably. If you are a starting Feral Tank and some of the dragonkin or beasts (the felines are particularly nasty) are causing you trouble, do not hesitate to put them to a short nap.
Entangling Roots - What? Another control ability that we can merrily use when we decide that we just do not really want that melee guy to hit us for whooping 30 seconds? Sure, why not! Entangling Roots might not be a full blown CC, and do not stop the target from using various abilities, but they sure can make the lives of your enemies harder if used wisely. There are two good ways to use Roots. First is, obviously, rooting a melee. He will simply stand there and try to cast some spells maybe, but the biggest part of his damage is simply reduced to absolute zero. Second way, you can even use Entangling Roots to disable a caster! When you root a caster, and pull the rest of the pack behind a corner, the caster will just stand on the other side of the corner for a while and cast no spells at all.
So, I hope you enjoyed reading my guide, and also hope that it helped you. I am sure I have about eleventy bajillion grammar, punctuation and other types of errors up in there, for which i really apologize. English is not my native language, and i am trying my best.
I am aware that there already are a few Feral Tanking guides on these forums, but even if we look past the fact that they are mostly not even finished, they still contain information that does not fulfill my demands of quality. Trying to give feedback to someone who never updates a guide was a drag.
As long as I am alive and playing WoW, this guide will be updated constantly.
I would like to thank Astrylian of Elitist Jerks and Reesi of theincbear.com, who are my major sources of information. Following are the links to some of their marvelous creations:Astrylian:Theorycrafting guide on Elitist JerksReesi:Ah! Bears! Cataclysm tanking guide on the US Battle-Net forums.The fantastic Inconspicuous Bear blog. By druids, for druids :3Back to top