Dec 082009
 

Part 0: Introduction
Part 1: Why Play a Bear Tank?
Part 2: Talent Overview, Builds, Leveling
Part 3: Abilities, Rotation, Cooldowns
Part 4: Gear/Glyphs/Enchants/Gems/Consumables
Part 5: Addons and Other Resources

In this final section of my Bear Tank guide, I’ll present a list of additional resources that can help your tanking ability, both in-and-out of game.

Top 5 Tanking Addons

For those that don’t know (how’d you get this far, anyway?), addons are player-made pieces of code that add tools to the game not found in the default WOW interface. They can do many things, and will made your life as a tank MUCH easier. Here’s my top 5. (I’ve noted alternatives to each, in case you don’t like a particular addon for some reason. I’m also not including some addons that are useful but not really applicable to tanking, such as Bartender, Bagnon, Auctioneer, X-Perl, etc.)

  • Omen: Omen measures a target’s current threat levels, and can be configured to warn you when you or other players reach a certain level of threat, relative to the tank.  Omen allows you to be much more proactive with the use of your taunts to save lives. For example, if you see that pesky rogue sitting at 105% threat (remember, enemies change to targets in melee range at 110%, and ranged targets at 130%), a quick taunt will bump your threat equal to his and keep him alive. Without Omen, he likely pulls aggro and gets one-shot before you can react. Other options include integrated threat/dps meters (Recount/Skada).
  • Aloft: The downside to Omen is that it only displays threat on one target at a time, which makes keeping threat in AOE situations challenging. Aloft is an excellent answer to this. It allows for the customization of enemy nameplates, to include colorization based on threat. For example, (and this is configurable) a mob nameplate will appear red when it’s targeting me and I have top threat, turn orange when I lose top threat, and then turn yellow when it targets someone else. During AOE situations, I Swipe away, and change my target to any mobs that turn from red to orange, to taunt them before they can chase after someone else. (Note: this addon is only available on WoWInterface so you won’t be able to get it via Curse Client.) Another option that I’ve heard some good things about is TidyPlates + ThreatPlates.
  • Deadly Boss Mods: Warnings for Boss special abilities- gives you timer bars to see when an ability will happen, and a nice audio warning when it does. It (or something like it, i.e.  BigWigs or Deus Vox) is essentially a requirement for raiding. Keep it updated.
  • VuhDo: VuhDo (pronounced Vudu) is a “raidframe” addon that, simply, shows the health (and mana, if you choose) of everyone in the raid, in a compact form. While primarily targeted at healers (I use it when healing as Resto), this addon still has several uses for a tank. Other options for raidframes include Grid (add Clique for click-casting)  or a raidframe built into your unitframe addon (Pitbull, X-Perl, sUF)
    • Situational Awareness: Hey, wouldn’t it be great to know ASAP when the OT dies (gotta taunt that add!) or the healer assigned to you dies? (time to pop cooldowns!) Vuhdo does this for ya by conveniently greying out the boxes of dead players.
    • Rez/Innervate: Single-click rezzes and innervates. Can’t count the number of times I’ve been on a pug raid where a tank/healer dies and the RL goes “Ala, can you rez the…oh, thanks.” (Admittedly, this is much harder, but not impossible, to do while actually tanking.) I’ve also configured mine to show a (small) display of healer mana, so I can pop an Innervate on the lowest whenever feasible.
    • Raid Composition: I RL PUG raids fairly frequently, and Vuhdo has a feature where it can autosort players by role (tank/melee dps/ranged dps/healer). Nice to have.
  • NeedtoKnow: A fairly simple timer bar addon that monitors specific buffs/debuffs and their duration. It’s nice because it can monitor several buffs/debuffs in the same bar “slot.” If a bar’s missing, I know I need to apply that buff/debuff. (Other options: BadKitty and DroodFocus are pre-configured feral ones, which are nice but I prefer my own config. ClassTimer, TellMeWhen, Event Horizon, and DoTimer are other debuff trackers.) My setup, which works for both bear and kitty:
    • Bar 1: Savage Roar/AP debuff (Vindication/Demo Shout/Demo Roar)
    • Bar 2: Rake/Lacerate
    • Bar 3: Rip/Barkskin
    • Bar 4: Mangle debuff (Trauma/Mangle)
    • Bar 5; Armor debuff (Faerie Fire/Feral Faerie Fire)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Outfitter: Similar to the built-in Equipment Manager, but with additional features. Essential for me, since I’m constantly swapping specs and sets. (I have 3 full sets for bear/cat/resto, a partial set for PvP, a partial set for frost resistance gear, etc.)
  • Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text: Without resorting to the combat log, lets you actually SEE what hits you are dealing out/taking, and what heals you’re recieving. I like having the information in front of me, but I could do without it.
  • Pawn: Pawn is an in-game stat weighting addon. It’s very simple- it takes a set of stat weights that you give it and assigns items a score, based on their stats. This makes questions like “Is that higher ilvl PvP item an upgrade?” fairly easy. Rawr and Toskk’s website (see below) can generate stat weights for import to Pawn.
  • FeralByNight: More of a cat addon then a bear addon, this addon helps with rotations to try to achieve maximum DPS/TPS. It has a bear mode which I don’t trust much, but the cat mode is excellent.
  • Utopia/RaidBuffStatus: More useful as raidleader addons, these help with ensuring buffs are up on everyone pre-pull (RBS) and for tracking  to ensure every class is keeping debuffs on the target (Utopia).

Out-of-Game Resources and Links:

  • WoWHead: Chock full of everything WoW. Think WoW Google. Highly recommended.
  • WoWWiki: Like Wikipedia, WoW style. This and Wowhead should be your first two stops for almost anything. Highly recommended.
  • Curse: The primary repository for most WoW addons. You can download manually, or install the Curse Client for automated downloads/updates. Highly recommended.
  • Rawr: A downloadable program that will, based on your current character’s gear/talents, tell you which items/gems/enchants are upgrades for you, which stats you should prioritize, how much buffs help you, etc. Deisgned for Druids but later expanded to cover most other classes. Highly recommended.
  • Druid Wiki: An exclusive wiki for all things druid. Best known for hosting Toskk’s kitty DPS calculator and bear time-to-live calculator, with gearlists. Excellent Rawr (some say better than) alternative, especially for those at work. :) Highly recommended.
  • Elitist Jerks: By far, the best online forum for theorycraft discussion. Half my posts are stolen from EJ discussions. :) Note: they’re very strict about posting rules, so lurk for a good long time before attempting to post anything. Highly recommended.
  • WowInterface: A secondary addon repository, contains a few addons that Curse doesn’t have. Mostly manual updates, though they’re rolling out an automated tool soon (now?). Recommended.
  • Wow-Heroes: A website that will scan your gear and give you a “gear score,” based on your talents. I use it all the time for checking potential pugs. Recommended.
    WowPopular: A website that lists the most popular talent specs, equipment, enchants, etc, based on data mining. Helpful for finding specs for alts, but it’s better if you know WHY you’re choosing that spec. Recommended.
  • BossKillers: Boss strategies, usually well detailed. Recommended.
  • WoW Official Forums – Generally the occasional nugget of win in a torrent of fail. Not recommended.

Well, that wraps it up for the guide. If you have any comments, additions, or questions, post them in the comments of the respective sections and I’ll reply as soon as I can. Have a beary good day! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) :)

  16 Responses to “The Feral Tanking Guide, Part 5: Addons and Other Resources”

  1. Hi.

    As a long time reader, never ever poster, just wanted to thank you for a brilliant guide, and also the mass of other good post. (Perfect for me as a semi-serious raider)
    You are getting less recognition for what you do than what you deserve!

    Goryus

  2. As a new bear tank I’m really enjoying these guides :)

    I have Omen but Aloft looks fantastic for trash tanking, and I really like the sounds of the way you’ve set it up.

    It would be brilliant for when I’m tanking a pack of mobs and the death knight can’t resist whacking the wrong target, so I could give his mob some extra love.

    Are you able to share how you set it up? I’ve just taken a look at the Aloft page and there’s so many options, I’m a little intimidated.

    • Kassi, I’ll have to look at it when I get a chance. Unfortunately, I do most of my blogging during work downtime, which means it’s hard to just pull up WoW or a WoW website (filtered) to check something. :) You can also try TidyPlates/ThreatPlates; that solution works out-of-the-box and it’s pretty good (been testing it in 5-mans this week), but I find Aloft more intuitive. From what I remember though, easiest thing to do is turn everything on, go run into Violet Hold (the mobs alternately aggroing on the guards/you makes it good for testing) and then start turning off stuff you don’t need. There should be some built-in templates that you can start from.

  3. Thanks for all the info
    had to read it 3 times for it to sink in and still not sure if it all has

  4. Great blog, thanks for posting! Here are some other addons that I find invaluable for bear tanking.

    1. Tauntmaster – this is basically an auto-grid like aloft, but it provides some tank-specific capability. Basically, it shows the party members’ current health (and mana, if you configure it) and turns their grid yellow if they are approaching your threat on a mob, and red if they gain aggro. Then you can left-click on their box to taunt the mob they have aggro on, or right click on the frame to use Challenging Roar. Makes the “crap, the healer has aggro, which mob do I taunt?” panic basically go away. Makes tanking about 200% easier.

    2. Optitaunt – this one has two important functions, one for the tank and one for everyone else. For the tank, it tells them if a taunt missed or was resisted. For everyone else, it notifies party when certain spells are used, such as Barkskin or Survival Instincts. This gives the healer and DPS some knowledge of the state of the fight that is very useful.

    3. Badkitty – okay, this is largely touted as a feral cat addon, but it’s very useful for tanks, too. Hate tanking without it.

    Cheers,
    Harr@Rexxar

  5. I’m a addon buff, but since I’m new to tanking I learned of a couple nice addons! Thanks.

  6. As an alternative to aloft, which I didn’t like, you could try Tidy Plates (thread), which is at least much easier, but perhaps not as flexible. Aloft was a bit too big for my liking.

    (Mh, seems like I can’t include the link to Tidy plates, but you’ll find it easily on curse.)

  7. Jakob,

    Already have TP + TP in the post. :)

  8. Au, you’re of course right. Well at least I’ve left your readers an opinion. :)

  9. Hello and thanks for the great guide. It is still very useful to me!

    I wanted to add that this specific part (5) of the article is not available via the link in the index, which points to a different URL.

  10. [...] 8, 2009 by Alaron This page has moved to my new site! Please visit http://fluiddruid.net/2009/12/the-feral-tanking-guide-part-5/. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Feral Tanking Guide Part 4: …Lock [...]

  11. Spectacular – thank-you,

    –sev

  12. I must give credit where credit is due.

    I did a search to learn how to feral tank after being one of the top feral DPS. I came across your guide and read up. Very well written, and now I have people begging me to tank. Thank you very much for the help =D

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