Friday, January 14, 2011

[4.2] Feral Druid Tanking: A Level 85 Guide

Faceblocking. What does it mean to you? For me it's my job, a job that I enjoy - a labor of love. Ever since the day my baby druid hit level cap, he was a tank. He was always my well geared and skillfully played alt. Because I spent the last two expansions on all my other toons besides my druid I decided (with the release of Cataclysm) to bite the bullet and take the plunge. Faceblocking to me is now a main spec deal.

Akin to my colleague and raidmate Gordrin's comprehensive post on paladin tanking, I finally decided to sit down and write this guide for the new-new feral tanking. I can say that not a whole lot has changed from my original posts on abilities and talents / glyphs during patch 401 and at level 80. However now that I've had a chance to actually tank some raids and getting a feel for how the mechanics will work, I think I'm sufficiently informed for the level 85 version. Hold on to your furry asses and click for the jump!

Druids are one of, if not THE most, versatile classes in this game. We are the only class that can fulfill all 4 roles with the correct specialization. While choosing a druid may seem like an obvious choice, with this selection comes the dreaded hybrid tax!!!! Well, sort of. The theory behind the hybrid tax is simple, because we have such powerful versatility we cannot perform certain specialized roles (ie healing, dpsing, tanking) as well as classes that are not hybrids. While this was a good theory on paper, it is hardly the modus operandi.

Druiding requires one to specialize talents, gear, glyphs, stats, and play style to one specific role - in doing so you drastically reduce your ability to perform in the other roles. For instance, a feral tank can switch to cat form and deal damage (far more than a prot warrior could) but said damage is far less than a feral cat specialized for dealing damage. A balance druid can shift out and throw "off" heals, but is far less efficient than a druid specialize into restoration.

For the intensive purposes of this post I will be focusing on the feral tanking (aka bear tanking) aspect of being a druid. My druid has been main spec tank since the day he hit the level cap, although I have played around with all the druid roles with my secondary spec from time to time.

Bear tanks are all around excellent tanks. We are notorious for our large health pools and huge armor ratings to help us mitigate incoming damage. With recent changes to talents and abilities, some of our weaknesses (no interrupt, weak against spell damage) have become a thing of the past. Bear tanking is exciting, fun, and if done with skill you can become a tremendous asset to your raid team or guild. Tanking as a whole has gone through some serious changes in Cataclysm, however in my experience I see most of the effect being felt at the 5 man level. Make no mistake, during your journey to become a raiding bear you will have to face these challenges (5 mans are what get you there) and this requires a solid commitment to either embrace the new style of tanking or finding a new role.

Patches and Updates - Patch 4.2 Compliant 
Patch 4.0.6 - 02/08/2011
Patch 4.1 -Official Drop
Patch 4.1 Heroic Dungeon Drops
Patch 4.2 Feral Bear Changes - 06/27/2011

Feral tanks have a plethora of abilities at their disposal to get the job done. While being a hybrid means we have additional abilities we can use (for example if you shift into car form you can use the cat form of mangle) below are some of the more common tanking ones. I decided to break them up into three separate categories to make them easier to understand.

Threat Generation
Swipe - This is our snap aggro for multiple mobs. The damage on swipe is not enough to maintain aggro if the dps are not focusing down a target but it is sufficient to stick mobs to you and avoid a healer from pulling with healing aggro. When tanking more than 3 mobs, this should be in your rotation. Keep in mind this does have a 6 second cooldown 3 second cooldown so be aware of when to use this. For example, when charging into a group of mobs, immediately swipe to gain snap aggro. Swipe is fairly inexpensive rage-wise so make sure to keep this accessible.

Maul - This is our excess rage dump. Basically this means maul should only be used in situations where you have excess rage and could not possibly use it all using conventional methods. The theorycraft suggests maul if > 50% rage. One of the mandatory glyphs allows maul to hit a secondary target for 50% damage. This is a requirement for maximum AOE effectiveness. I would also recommend using your OoC procs for maul as well, at least in the capacity of single target.With the changes to the Blizzard UI, OoC has a nice new spell graphic that announces the proc onscreen. It's never been easier to know when you have a free ability. This ability is unique in the aspect that you'll never have a hard time knowing when to maul. You either have infinite rage or not enough.

Mangle - Mangle is our bread and butter ability. By itself mangle will do a substantial amount of damage and apply a debuff which increases bleed damage from all sources by 30%. This debuff can also be applied by warriors and feral cats, however they will be thankful you are doing this for them. This will also increase the damage (and threat) produced by lacerate, another one of our abilities. Many feral tanks also talent into Infected Wounds, which can also be applied by mangle. This means that in addition to dealing lots o' damage, mangle debuffs the target to move 50% slower, attack 20% slower, and take 30% more damage from bleeds. Shake its hand or kiss its baby.

Thrash - Thrash is an AOE ability on a 6 second cooldown that causes all affected targets bleed over a short duration. So far this ability is fairly good although I'm not as excited about it now as I was at it's introduction. Since the threat buff (from 300% to 500%) this is an excellent tool for AOE tanking. Remember if you are tanking 3 or less mobs berserk + mangle may be a better choice.

Lacerate - This ability does front loaded damage and places a bleed on our target. This can be helpful by allowing some threat to continue while moving away from the boss or if the boss becomes separated from you. Lacerate deals more damage per application and will stack up to 3. This ability is also fairly inexpensive to use as well. Cataclysm has added some fun elements to lacerate, mainly with its symbiosis with berserk. When talented into berserk (which you should be), your lacerate ticks have the chance to reset the cooldown on mangle and proc a free one. If you are offtanking more than one mob you can roll a 3 stack of lacerates on each of them for some serious threat as well as an endless stream of free mangles.

Pulverize - Pulverize is a new ability that was introduced in patch 401. The basic idea is to convert lacerate stacks into a temporary crit buff for the druid. The amount of crit granted is increased by the number of lacerate stacks that are consumed. You are granted 3% crit per lacerate stack, meaning at a full stack you would get 9% crit. Overall pulverize feels unpolished, for a couple of reasons. A] It does very little damage itself. In fact one could argue it does less damage than just leaving the lacerate stack and maybe getting a free mangle. B] The 9% crit buff is not harmful but not hugely helpful. Sure we all know more crit means more savage defense, but I'm not crit starved. Maybe 15% would be worth it but 9% just seems lackluster. Regardless of this you want to make sure Pulverize is up all the time. There are several really great PowerAura codes you can get to monitor this ability.

Feral Faerie Fire - F3 is one of our few ranged abilities but also one of the staples. Many feral druids will find themselves talenting into Feral Aggression, which causes one application of F3 to apply all 3 stacks. F3 will reduce the targets armor by 4% per stack, totally 12% at a full 3 stack It cost NOTHING, is ranged, and allows you to threat more on your target - use this liberally. The only thing it doesn't do it walk your dog.

Berserk - This talent is the keystone of the feral tree for both tanks and dps. First of all, this talent allows our lacerate stacks to proc free mangles. Secondly, when activated berserk allows bears to mangle with no cooldown and to hit up to 3 targets. This creates a very large amount of threat and damage if used correctly. It also upsets the melee dps who will curse you for out damaging them. I will typically use this during a particularly tough AOE pull, so be mindful of when to use this.

Tanking General
Bear Form - This is how the magic happens. Bear form increases your stamina by 10% and your armor (from cloth and leather) by 65%. It also allows you to use those bear abilities listed above. Shifting into bear form is your first step into faceblocking. Welcome to bear-dom.

Growl - This is your single target taunt. This will match your threat output with that of the current highest threat target and keep the mob attacking you for the duration of the taunt. During this time it's important to threat hard and / or have the other players reduce threat. Use this when completing a tank swap or to taunt a mob off another player. It is worth noting this has no effect if the target is already attacking you. Keep this on cooldown for when you need it.

Challenging Roar - This is our multi-taunt. Technically this is not a true taunt, as it only focuses all mobs on you for 6 seconds. It does not raise your threat level on the targets but it does give you an opportunity to threat them up to the acceptable level before the roar wears off. I've also used this before when someone pulls a group and I'm at low rage. I'll roar and instantly get smashed in the face, thus creating rage.

Savage Defense - This is the bear form of block. Our critical attacks have a 50% chance of creating a bubble that absorbs physical damage based on our attack power. The base level of a SD bubble is 35% of your attack power. This figure is then modified by mastery, the more you have the higher percentage your bubble will be. With the introduction of Vengeance, we can absorb even more damage. This ability is very similar to the DK Blood Shield in terms of mechanics. This is also another reason why we should be maintaining the Pulverize buff.

Survival Abilities
Barkskin - This is our one minute cooldown. A good rule of thumb is this; if you are fighting something, use this ability. No, I'm serious. The other day Gordrin asked me "Hey, do you ever not use your one min cd on a trash pull?" My response was "Um, hell no." So basically barkskin will reduce incoming damage by 20% for the entire duration. One of the best things about barkskin is that you can use it while stunned or otherwise incapacitated.

Survival Instincts - This is our 50% reduction cooldown. On a 3 minute cooldown this is an ability you should save for emergency situations or (and this is more ideal) large damage boss abilities. The theory is this; the less damage you take during that time, the more mana your healer can conserve. This is helpful for healing YOU at a later time or helping the raid as a whole stay alive.

Frenzied Regeneration - Also on a 3 minute cooldown, Frenzied Regen will do a couple of life saving things. First of all, this will increase your max health by 30%. If you are below 30% health, it will raise you up that amount. After that it will heal you for 0.3% of your max health per second for 20 seconds. The heal does cost 10 rage per second so use this when you have plenty of rage for max potential. Many bears will glyph the self heal off in favor of increasing incoming healing by 30%. This is highly recommended unless you are in high mobility fight with no healer. As always you can combine FR + SI for an extremely power cooldown.

Demoralizing Roar - Demo Road is one of your more basic tanking debuffs that goes hand in hand with infected wounds. This will reduce the attack power of the effected mobs by 10%! This ability means that you are getting hit a bit softer and in the long run could mean the difference in your healers mana pool. This can also be applied by other classes however if you are tanking a boss there is no reason not to have this debuff up. It also can help grab the attention of mobs during a group pull, but is by no means a snap threat tool. (Special thanks for Morten for reminding me that demo is the bomb!)

Ah yes stats. The magic numbers that make the world (of warcraft) go around. For feral tanks the idea of stats is fairly uniform. Even before the removal of defense, us bearboys had it fairly easy. What I will do is outline current stat weighting and attempt to explain why there is some deviation from that weighting. First things first, the scale itself.

Armor <> Stamina / Agility <> Dodge <> Mastery <> Crit <> Hit / Expertise <>  Haste

So this is the stat weighting as outlined by the good folks at Elitest Jerks. What does this mean? Well basically it starts on the left and works it's way to the right in order of importance. That is it in a nutshell but it does get more complicated than that.  Each stat is assigned a weight, meaning one point of said stat is worth this much. In order to determine what is a potentially an upgrade and what should be passed, you can use these forumlas (mainly via websites like Wowhead or Rawr) to be in the know. For instance, just because an item has 10 more stamina than your current item with mastery, depending on just how much mastery it has (and in turn other stats which effect the overall "weighting") it may not be an upgrade. There are also a couple of thing to note about the current weighting;
  • This scale will change. Nothing is certain except death and taxes.
  • Hit and Expertise are fairly low on the list, considering before they were important. The reason is simple; You have to take into account current TPS  capabilities (with misses, dodges, and parries) and compare them to current threat generation levels by the DPS. Survival stats are more important than TPS stats that allow you to unnecessarily over-threat the target.
  • Dodge over mastery? Yes but only slightly. With changes to Savage Defense mastery is slightly more attractive but has not hedged dodge yet.
  • Stamina and agility are tied? Well yes and no. You'll never have to decided against an item that only has one over the other and they are very close in weight. Stamina beats out agility for me because of one reason: Agility increases dodge which helps against physical damage. You gain AP and crit which helps with SD procs but very minimally. Stamina is effective against ALL forms of damage. Speaking about Effective Health has become a bit taboo recently, but I think it still holds some validity.
  • Why not favor dodge over agility? Agility is affected by Kings / Mark, which is very important. Agility also gives you a small amount of AP and crit, which straight up dodge does not. Considering one is a primary stat and one is a secondary stat most times you won't have to pick between the two.
  • Why is haste bad? It's not bad, it's just not great.
So that is our current weighting. As things change with patches and tiers, I'll make sure to post new information here.

Being that druids are very good at doing many things, the talents trees reflect that. How one chooses a spec can greatly effect the outcome. There are several choices you can make, depending on the situation. I will attempt to outline some possible options that serve many different needs.

Level 85 | Pure Raid Feral Tanking Spec
This is the spec that I use for raid tanking. Like many of my other posts (and due to Blizzard shrinking the trees) I'd like to talk about why I didn't take certain talents. First of all, I left out any cat only talents. These include predatory strikes and blood in the water. Because they do not benefit a bear in any normal application, they are gone. That said, they other omissions I made can be beneficial for bears, if only situationally. For example, king of the jungle increases damage output while enraged. I generally do not enrage during a fight (although I'm not afraid to do so) and spending the 3 points (or should I say NOT spending the 3 points) was a no brainer. Primal madness fits hand in hand with my issues with king of the jungle as well. Now, Nurturing Instinct is a bit harder to peg. It's a great supporting talent, but being able to use Tranquility is a VERY situational aspect. It's not often I'm not tanking at least SOMETHING.

Level 85 | Off Tank w/ DPS Increases
This spec is still considered a tanking spec. It does however offer an increase in DPS talents to offset the lack if survivablity talents. Use this spec if you don't spend much time tanking. For instance, if your guild is running 25 man raids, they generally need 2 tanks - for some rights 3. Use this as your tanking spec, which will allow for you to contribute to the DPS (more so than a pure tank) once your tanking duties are done. Some notable additions are king of the jungle, for better energy management. Some notable omissions are Infected Wounds (which can be applied by some other tanking classes) as well as Feral Aggression.

There has been little to no change in regards to glyphs from the level 80 version for feral tanking. Blizzard may introduce new glyphs (although I don't think there is a need) and if that occurs I will update the information provided. You can read my post on level 80 glyphs here.

  • Glyph of Berserk - Berserk + Mangle is currently a staple among bear tanks and this glyph extends smashface time. It's a simple obvious choice.
  • Glyph of Lacerate - Now that dots can naturally be crits (without talenting), adding more crit to our staple dot is never a bad thing.
  • Glyph of Mangle - Mangle is one of our main threat tools so increasing it's damage is a no brainer.
  • Prime Glyphs - This is a list of all the druid Prime Glyphs

  • Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration - This removes the self heal in favor for 30% increased healing while active. Recommended.
  • Glyph of Rebirth - This allows you to brez your target with 100% health. Considering in situation in which you as a tank may need to rez someone, the healers may not be able to heal them. This a great glyph choice to make. (Special thanks to Kusatteiru for pointing that out!)
  • Glyph of Feral Charge - Reduces the cooldown on feral charge. I guess it's not bad.....
  • Glyph of Maul - This now only hits the secondary target for 50% damage, very similar to the DK Heartstrike. Recommended.
  • Major Glyphs - This is a list of all the druid Major Glyphs.

  • Glyph of Challenging Roar - No change to this glyph, reduces the cooldown on our AOE taunt.
  • Glyph of Dash - No change to this glyph, reduces the cooldown on Dash, helpful for kiting or getting the hell out of an area.
  • Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth - I never like to carry reagents so this is my choice. If you would rather spend reagents over mana you can use Glyph of the Wild instead. It's not really a huge earth shattering deal.
  • Minor Glyphs - This is a list of all the druid Minor Glyphs.

Varied Enhancements
So let's see......You have your basic abilities down. You have your stat priorities down. You have your talent tree selected. You are glyphed out the nines. So you are good to go, right? Wrong bear cub. There are a few more things you can do to hedge your odds of success, depending on how much preparation  you would like to do. This section can help you win.

Some players get real crazy about gemming. I am not one of them. I like to figure out a basic pattern (based on stat weighting) and stick to it. Below I'll outline the gems I currently use and will continue to use. When it comes to set bonuses, I take an interesting approach. First of all, if I'm able to fulfill gem color requirements and meet set bonuses I will take that road. If and only if the current itemization is so broken (I'm looking at you resto shamans in wrath stacking haste EVERYWHERE) will I ignore set bonuses. I mean hell, they are bonuses.

Meta Gem - Austere Shadowspirit Diamond
Blue Gem - Solid Ocean Sapphire
Red Gem - Shifting Demonseye
Yellow Gem - Regal Dream Emerald
Prismatic Gem - Solid Ocean Sapphire

One of the best ways to spot a decent tank from a bad tank (regardless of item level) is to see if they are enchanted . There are so many scrolls on the auction house currently due to people leveling enchanting, it's almost a crime to not have at least something on your 333 and above gear. Special profession enchants aside, this is your list of good tanking enchants.

Arcanum of the Earthen Ring

Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz

Major Agility

Greater Stamina
Peerless Stats
Mighty Stats

Major Stamina

Greater Mastery
Heavy Savage Armor Kit
Major Agility

Charscale Leg Armor
Twilight Leg Armor

Heavy Savage Armor Kit
Earthen Vitality

Mighty Agility

Flask of Steelskin
Flask of the Winds
Elixir of Deep Earth + Elixir of the Master (As suggested by reader Kusatteiru)

Skewered Eel
Crocolisk Au Gratin - If you need expertise
Grilled Dragon - If you need hit

Gear Lists
Now you know much of the basics of druid tanking at level 85. You have done your research and if you're still read this far down - congratulations. Not many other people probably are. To reward your patience (or skimming abilities) I'll throw down a nice pre-raid gear list for you. Follow this guide fairly well and you'll be tanking that guild raid in no time flat. The format is simple, I begin with the best gear for you according to bear stat weighting. While not always the case, this will generally be based on the gear iLvl.

Tsanga's Helm - BoT Trash Drop
Helm of Numberless Shadows - Heroic Stonecore

Jin'do's Verdict - Zul'Gurub
Seliza’s Spear - Heroic Lost City of the Tol’vir
Darkling Staff - Heroic Stonecore
Spear of Trailing Shadows - Exalted w/ Tol Barad faction

Thieving Spaulders - Heroic Shadowfang Keep
Caridean Epaulettes - Heroic Throne of the Tides
Aviana's Grips - Available after !Calling the Ancients (Firelands dailies)
Stormbolt Gloves | Liar's Handwraps - Exalted w/ faction in Twilight Highlands
Stormrider's Grips (T11) - 1650 Justice Points
Gloves of Haze - Heroic Vortex Pinnacle

Stormrider's Raiment (T11) - 2200 Justice Points
Assassin’s Chestplate - Crafted BOE Leatherworking
Shadowtooth Trollskin Breastplate - Zul'Aman
Vest of Misshapen Hides - Heroic Grim Batol

Relic of Golganneth - 700 Justice Points
Relic of Elune's Shadow - Molten Front Dailies (Shadow Warden vendor)
Sandshift Relic - Heroic Blackrock Caverns
Silver Inlaid Leaf - Inscription Crafted

Belt of Nefarious Whispers - Crafted BOE Leatherworking
Quicksand Belt - Revered with Ramkahen
Red Beam Cord - Heroic Halls of Origination

Stormrider's Legguards - 2200 Justice Points
Beauty’s Chew Toy - Heroic Blackrock Caverns

Amani'shi Bracers - Zul'Aman
Double Dealing Bracers - Heroic Shadowfang Keep

Treads of Fleeting Joy -  1650 Justice Points
Crafty’s Gaiters - Heroic Lost City of the Tol’vir

Mantle of Doubt - Elemental Bonds (Thrall quest line)
Dory's Finery - World Drop
Viewless Wings - 1250 Justice Points
Cloak of Thredd - Heroic Deadmines
Razor-Edged Cloak - Crafted BOE Leatherworking

Band of Ghoulish Glee - Headless Horseman (seasonal)
Matoclaw's Band - Molten Front Dailies (available after !Through the Gates of Hell)
Signet of the Elder Council - Exalted with the Earthen Ring
Elementium Destroyer - Crafted BOE Jewelcrafting
Skullcracker Ring - Heroic Blackrock Caverns
Terrath’s Signet of Balance - Revered with Therazane

Left Eye of Rahj - Heroic Halls of Origination
Heart of Thunder - Heroic Vortex Pinnacle
Porcelain Crab - Heroic Throne of the Tides
Leaden Despair - Heroic Stonecore
Bedrock Talisman - 1600 Justice Points

Mouth of the Earth - Heroic Halls of Origination
Acorn of the Daughter Tree - Revered w/ Guardians of Hyjal
Entwined Elementium Choker Crafted BOE Jewelcrafting

Addons \ Resources
Deadly Boss Mods - This is my boss mod of choice. This tells you about certain boss abilities and when they are going to happen. This addon is one that is required for raiding in my guild. There are several alternatives, and it's a matter of flavor. I just happen to like DBM.

Bartender - This is my action bar addon. It allows me to resize and move my action bar to my liking. It is highly customizable and basically anything I can think of it will allow me to do. My bar reacts to which form I'm in (ie, displaying bear abilities while in bear form and not while in caster form) and can be made to fade out/in on mouseover.

Omen - This is a threat meter. It allows me to monitor my threat levels on current targets. There are some nice built in features to Omen now. For instance, when a mage pops mirror images (and disperses their threat) it turns the mages threat bar clear and gives you a count down. After the count is over they are back to generating regular threat so be prepared.

Recount - The main use of this addon is to test how much DPS one is doing. This use however is only one of many. I use this to gauge healing, causes of death, number of interrupts, and friendly fire. Meters are not the end all to know who is doing their job, and doing it well. The power in charts lies completely in the hands of those interpreting them.

TauntMaster - This addon is basic raid frame that allows a tank to click a raid member and taunt whatever might be attacking them. Very useful during trash pulls and while doing a tank swap.

TargetCharms - This addon allows me to quickly mark targets with raid icons and to lay down world markers. Also support for a ready checker. This addon is light weight and effective.

Elitest Jerks
MMO Champion
Ask Mr. Robot

Well there you have it. This is my basic guild to feral tanking at level 85. As we move deeper into the raid content of this expansion I'm sure there will be plenty to add, and I'm excited to bring that to you. If you have any questions feel free to seek me out either on the blog, via email, or in game. Good luck and have fun!


Kay said...

I'm not so sure about why you think Thrash is ever a debateable button to hit. It currently weighs in at about half the threat of a mangle, making it the second best threat ability we have, even on single targets, just ahead of maul.

If you're burning excess rage on boss encounters with maul, you'd be better of using Thrash to dump some of it, or Thrashing on clearcasting procs if you can't afford it. Most single target encounters di afford you the rage to Thrash on cooldown and you probably should.

I would be half tempted to spec into Tiger's Fury just to have enough rage from Enrage to Thrash at the start of a pull and never lose mobs before I can tab mangle/lacerate them, if only I wouldn't have to drop some essential survivability talents to do it. Swipe currently carries less threat than FFF and is entirely underwhelming in every single way.

Thrash may not be exciting, but the bottom line is that you should be hitting it whenever you can if you want to generate maximum possible threat.

MrJack said...

Awesome comprehensive post. There are a few gear pieces I can get that are awesome that I didn't know about.

I did notice this though:
"mastery increases our savage defense which is situationally a good thing to increase. Dodge is dodge, it is good again all types of fights."

i hope you accidentally got this the wrong way around... Dodge is no good in fights with spell casters, because afaik us bears can't dodge spells. Whereas Mastery absorbs all damage. How is that situational? I'm not saying that mastery is better than dodge, I'm just wondering; on which fight is straight damage absorption not useful? ;)

MrJack said...

Oh also: TauntMaster.

Holy Hell in a click button that is Awesome. I've had TidyPlates: THreat Plates which is great for knowing when to taunt... But being able to taunt this easily? It shouldn't be allowed XD

Kusatteiru said...

This is an excellent Feral Druid Tanking lvl85 guide.

I do have some things I would like to point out. Perhaps it is a style issue. Your tanking spec is the same one I am currently using. I'm in the mind putting the one point in endless carnage into nurturing spirit. The reason why is, the fact that I consume my lacerate stacks as fast as I can on my main target. Once the first 3 lacerate stacks go in, I will have the pulverize buff pretty much up all the time unless there is some mechanic that doesnt allow me to hit something with 3 lacerate stacks. The argument for letting lacerate run it's course and consuming it at the last possible moment is the fact that It is more threat. However the argument that I'm lazier wins out. If you /castsequence [reset=9/combat] lacerate,lacertate,lacerate, pulverize and put it on your mousewheel. its still pretty good threat. I don't think that one will lose out on the Berserk proc.

The next thing is major glyphs. For a raiding druid, especially now with the limited amount of in-combat reses possible, the ability to be "clutch" to use the term is very important. Switching out to innervate when you can. battle Rezing someone. If you are MTing those times are limited, but usually there is someone, the OT, or someone with the ability to mitigate damage who can draw aggro for the moment needed to battle rez. For this reason alone, I would put the glyph of rebirth above the FFF glyph. 10 yards is a "i can pull from further out" quality of life issue. The ability to not kill someone due to low health after a rez, might be the difference between a win or a wipe. The glyph was the biggest thing I wanted to comment on.

In terms of Consumables. The flasks I would probably use when learning fights. The persists through death is always good on the old wallet. I think that using the combination of Elixir of Deep Earth (900 Armor for 1 hour guardian) and Elixir of the Master (225 mastery rating battle) will be the better combination to tank with in regards to lessening the amount incoming damage.

Keep up the good work. I hope to be reading more information coming from here :) cheers

Peter said...

Did you intentionally leave out Glove Reinforcements for 240 armor to hands? Also worth noting that Flask of the Winds is a lot more item points worth of buff than Steelskin, just compare a stam gem against an agility gem and you'll see that for X gem slots you can get more stam than agi, yet the flasks give the same amount. Lastly, are you sure swipe gives you more snap threat than thrash? I'm almost certain that thrash does more direct damage and the bleed is just pure gravy threat. Just my two cents.

Morten said...

Why have you not mentioned Demoralizing Roar at all? It's only the #1 most important debuff to keep on the target you're tanking, as it reduces it's damage done by 10%...

Titleist said...

@Kay - You are correct that Trash does a considerable amount of threat. I agree 100%. However at 25 rage (only 5 short of our rage dump) there could be better alternatives to it. I can concede that as my gear improves perhaps the threat per rage ratio will shift but for now I tend to be aware of when I hit that button. I do think that is Blizzards design. Thanks for coming by!

@Kusatteiru - Thanks for the feedback! As for the glyph change, I totally and 100% agree. I guess when I posted my original glyphs I was thinking in terms of just hitting the heroic scene. Great catch. As for the lacerate situation, I agree it's a stylistic approach. I tend to wait on Pulverize (my crit is more than enough) until I proc and free mangle. This way I can minimize the time Lacerate is down (and not granting free mangles). As soon as I get that first one I'll Pulverize on every free mangle, within reason. Good eye and thanks for stopping by!

@Peter - Glove Reinforcements is a viable option for your hand armor, however before I'm willing to put an older expansion enchant before some of the great glove enchants currently available I'll have to do some testing. As for swipe yes, it is our main snap threat tool. It is cheaper and does more initial threat so it should be used as snap. Thrash is a great tool but for 25 rage it does have some situational considerations. Thanks for reading and for the great feedback!

@MrJack - When I say situational I perhaps could have been a bit more clear! lol. Caster only mobs do exist and against them you are correct, mastery is more effective. However take a fight against one or more mobs that deal physical damage. Dodge tables figure in to each mob striking you, where as your SD bubble pops at the slightest attack. Dodge is effective against a boss and against multiple mobs. SD is mainly effective against a slow hitting boss and significantly less effective against a group. Do you like TidyPlates? I was thinking about trying that out, any tips? Thanks for coming by and contributing!

@Morten - DOH! That is what I get for making a large post. I knew I was about to leave something out! Good catch!

Kusatteiru said...

I would highly recommend tidyplates or shNameplates. The only thing that I very much dislike about the nameplates, bliz or addon, is during multi-floor mob fights. You'll see all the healthbars. I have mine set to show only in combat, but for a the trash leading up to the neitherspite like boss in BWC, its annoying.

That said, once you configure it to your liking, I have mine to shrink to half the size when I have aggro. It is very nice. You honestly cant imagine how you use to tank.

As for thrash. I use it to right after swipe usually to pretty much ensure I have aoe aggro for a while. It is my rend+TC, and I use it as such.

What do you think of the elixir suggestions?

charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
charles said...

When im Druid Tanking my rotation goes like this..... Swipe, Demo. roar, Lacerate(x3),thrash, tab lacerate(x3). Just rinse and repeat throwing up a Demo. roar every few rotations, and of course barkskin in between global cd's, with open wounds specced this leaves 3 seconds between aoe's, and tics on all targets. This also puts a total of 30% Damage reduction for the druid w/o savage defense, or barksin (20% attack speed debuff from open wounds, and 10% damage reduction from Demo roar) This with the 12% from natural instincts gives druids the same, if not more than other tank classes. Also if someone in your party is pulling high threat, you have to ask your self if an armor reduction from faerie fire is the best choice for thier target.

Soffe said...

Nice and easy to follow.
Great job, helped me a lot when I decided to take my druid out from the heroic dungeon tanking in to raids!

Danny said...

Hi, very nice guide, Can you pls update your post for new 4.3 patch?

I want to know the best new items available via JP, that costed VP before + new VP loot.

Titleist said...


Per your request I have updated the gear list to include new pre-raid gear for bear tanks. This includes JP gear, daily quest gear, quest gear and faction gear.

I hope this works!

Danny said...

Ty for the update!

Danny said...

Btw how about gear from VP? You can get VP by doing random hc's, so it's pre-raid gear.

Titleist said...

I can add a separate section for "how to spend your VP" and link it within, however I do like to keep a separation.

Danny said...

separated section is just fine.

Danny said...

after looking at the VP loot there are actually 6 items for bears:
- Ring + Neck
- Wrist
- Relic
- 2xT12 (Chest + Hands I think)

ffwd said...

You forget the gloves enchant that seriously outlived it's time: Glove Reinforcements (+240 armor)