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Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Observe my Growling Bear style. I block blows...with my FACE.

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Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Postby Alaron » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:02 am

EDIT: Out of date; if there's enough interest, I can update it for Cata.

Author's Note (Jun 24 2010): I've converted my bear guide from blog format to forum format (that was fun) for ease of updating. I still need to go through and update it in a few places; was written for 3.2.

Introduction

So, you're considering playing a bear tank? Excellent choice! In my (admittedly biased) opinion, feral tanks are the strongest all-around tanks in the game, and the easiest tank class to learn to play. Let's run down the bear's strengths as a tank, shall we?

Strengths:

Highest HP and armor of all the tanking classes. While the difference isn't as great as it used to be, bears still have, in general, the largest health pools and the highest armor. (Slightly above DK's, and well ahead of paladins and warriors.) As a tradeoff, you have generally the lowest avoidance of any of the tanking classes, since you cannot block or parry. In encounter terms, this means that you will take average damage consistently, with other classes being much "spikier" in terms of their health. Arguments still rage about which is "better," but in my opinion, druids are the easiest tanks to heal for most encounters.

Easiest gearing of all the tanks. This one isn't even close. All other tanks have to constantly worry about gearing/gemming enough defense (540) to be uncrittable. Bears are automatically uncrittable, via a talent (Survival of the Fittest). Crafted gear is mediocre for other tanks, but very good for new bears and remains situationally useful. There are three plate classes (war/pally/DK) which compete for gear, and only two leather classes, one of which is fairly rare (rogue). A bear can hit 80, grab some inexpensive crafted gear, and jump straight into heroics; a war/pally/DK will have to get carried as a sub-par DPS or run some normal instances. PVP gear is generally suboptimal for the other tanking classes, but is very viable for bears. Now, in some ways, this can be seen as a negative...if you like complexity, you may prefer a different tank class.

Easiest learning curve of all the tanks. Bears are pretty easy to play competently. Trash pack? Spam swipe/maul. Boss? mangle/FF/lacerate/(maul), repeat. Dying? Barkskin/FR/SI.  I don't have much experience with the other tanks, but from my limited knowledge, they're much more fiddly. (Again, this can be seen as a negative.)

Good damage/threat when tanking. We're not the best at single-target threat (see paladins), but we compare well to DK's and warriors, depending on gear. For AOE threat, we do okay, and have the advantage of being the only class with a no-CD, instant AOE, so we can easily grab threat on all adds.

Excellent damage/threat when not tanking. Again, this one isn't even close, as we can shift to cat form and really do some appreciable DPS. DK's do okay, pallies do okay (depending on raid damage), warriors are awful...but none are close to catform DPS.

Good raid utility. While our buffs don't stack quite as well as a pally (I'd rather have 2 pallies than 2 druids, for example), our Innervates and battle rezzes can easily make the difference between a kill and a wipe.

Hybridization means never being bored. Druids are the only class in the game that can play all four roles...tank, healer, melee DPS, and ranged DPS. Unlike other players, who have to roll (and gear) alts to play different roles, you can just switch gear and talents and you're ready to rock.

Great solo class. If you're interested in going back to complete old instance/raid content solo, a bear is probably the second-best option in the game (after blood DK's). Good AOE dmg plus automatic self-healing plus Savage Defense=win.

Weaknesses:

Lack of complexity. As mentioned above, bears are pretty easy to learn, gear, and play. This, combined with the optimal gearing strategy for bears at the moment (stack stamina and rely on healers), can be pretty boring. This is why I recommend learning how to feral DPS/ranged DPS/heal well on an offspec.

Interrupts. Find a warrior/DK. We get a charge interrupt (which is only occasionally useful) and a interrupt on a one-minute cooldown...that's it. Pallies get screwed here as well.

Ranged Mobs. Got two casters? Good luck getting one to move. Hope you can keep threat with a FFF every 6 seconds.

Cooldowns. Our defensive cooldown abilities are weaker, comparatively, then other classes. Yes, they can be used more often, but the relative weakness contributes to the "boring" factor of druid tanking. On a warrior, for example, you can see a damage spike incoming, pop shield wall, and know that saved you. On a druid, you pop what you have, and pray your healers are on the ball.

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Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Postby Alaron » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:19 am

Talent Discussion/Builds/Leveling

In this section, we'll discuss all the relevant feral talents, put them together into some talent builds, and also talk about leveling as feral a little bit. Grab a drink, and let's dive in. (Note: For almost all talents, you either invest full points or no points, so I'll only list the description for the full point investment here. At some point, I'll get around to linking the talents to wowhead.)

Talents

Balance
(Feral druids will never take a talent from the balance tree.)

Feral Combat

Feral Combat, Tier 1:

Ferocity, 5 points. Reduces the cost of your Maul, Swipe, Claw, Rake and Mangle by 5 Rage or Energy.
Get it, no questions. Large DPS/TPS increase.

Feral Aggression, 5 points: Increases the Attack Power reduction of your Demoralizing Roar by 40% and the damage caused by your Ferocious Bite by 15%.
This is a very situational talent. Demo Roar, by itself, is an essential ability for boss tanking, (16% melee damage reduction). The imp. version tacks on another 1% DPS reduction per point. For 25-man progression raiding, that extra 5% reduction in boss damage is very important. However, you'll give up a lot of hybrid DPS utility. IMHO, best picked up only for progression fights where tank survivability is an issue. (Gormok, Vezax, etc).

Feral Combat, Tier 2:

Feral Instinct, 3 points: Increases the damage done by your Swipe ability by 30% and reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while Prowling.
Without this, you will struggle mightily at AOE tanking. Recommended, but skippable on a situational basis.

Savage Fury, 2 points: Increase the damage caused by your Claw, Rake, Mangle (Cat), Mangle (Bear), and Maul abilities by 20%.
Must-take talent for DPS/TPS.

Thick Hide, 3 points: Increases your Armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 10%.
Very good talent for mitigation. The 10% increase stacks multiplicatively with the 400% increase from Dire Bear Form. Required for tanking, though the least-important "required" talent.

Feral Combat, Tier 3:

Feral Swiftness, 2 points: Increases your movement speed by 30% in cat form and increases your chance to dodge while in cat form, bear form and dire bear form by 4%.
2 talent points for 4% dodge? No-brainer, grab it.

Survival Instincts, 1 point: When activated, this ability temporarily grants you 30% of your maximum health for 20 sec while in Bear Form, Cat Form, or Dire Bear Form. After the effect expires, the health is lost.
Your best cooldown ability, will save your bear butt in a pinch, especially when glyphed. Also allows for insane HP numbers to win tank HP pissing contests.  Get it.

Sharpened Claws, 3 points: Increases your critical strike chance while in Bear, Dire Bear or Cat Form by 6%.
Nothing too great here for Bear, but you need it to unlock two essential Tier 4 talents, so take it.

Feral Combat, Tier 4:

Shredding Attacks, 2 points: Reduces the energy cost of your Shred ability by 18 and the rage cost of your Lacerate ability by 2.
A purely DPS talent, but a good one. Recommended for a hybrid build.

Predatory Strikes, 3 points: Increases your melee attack power in Cat, Bear and Dire Bear Forms by 150% of your level and 20% of any attack power on your equipped weapon. This talent now also causes the druid's finishing moves to provide a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make the next Nature spell with a cast time below 10 seconds instant cast.
Some extra AP...the insta-cast nature spells part (new in 3.2.2) will be great for leveling, but not much use for raids. Talent is meh but required, so take it.

Primal Fury, 2 points: Gives you a 100% chance to gain an additional 5 Rage anytime you get a critical strike while in Bear and Dire Bear Form and your critical strikes from Cat Form abilities that add combo points have a 100% chance to add an additional combo point.
Great for rage generation. Take it.

Primal Precision, 2 points: Increases your expertise by 10, and you are refunded 80% of the energy cost of a finishing move if it fails to land.
Expertise is great for boosting your DPS/TPS, and a lot of early leather doesn't have any. Reccommended, though less necessary once you get to the soft expertise cap. This is also an excellent hybrid talent, as you will probably not be hitcapped.

Feral Combat, Tier 5:

Brutal Impact, 2 points: Increases the stun duration of your Bash and Pounce abilities by 1 sec and decreases the cooldown of Bash by 30 sec.
PVP talent. Skip it.

Feral Charge, 1 point: Teaches Feral Charge (Bear) and Feral Charge (Cat).
Very good for tanking/hybrid DPS, as the mobility lets you get to adds faster, and the interrupt can be helpful on some fights. It's skippable for a max survivability build, though.

Nurturing Instinct, 2 points: Increases your healing spells by up to 70% of your Agility and increases healing done to you in Cat Form by 20%.
PVP/semi useful Cat talent. Skip it.

Feral Combat, Tier 6:

Natural Reaction, 3 points: Increases your dodge while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form by 6%, and you regenerate 3 rage every time you dodge while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form.
Essential tank talent. Take it.

Heart of the Wild, 5 points: Increase your Intellect by 20%. In addition, while in Bear or Dire Bear Form your Stamina is increased by 10%, and while in Cat Form your Attack Power is increased by 10%.
More stam=less dead. Take it.

Survival of the Fittest, 3 points: Increases all attributes by 6% and reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee attacks by 6%. Also grants 33% bonus armor in Bear form and Dire Bear Form.
The best tanking talent in the tree, by far. Makes you uncrittable (540 defense? who cares?), huge stat boost, and big armor buff, all in 3 little points. Need I say take it?

Feral Combat, Tier 7:

Leader of the Pack, 1 point: While in Cat, Bear or Dire Bear Form, the Leader of the Pack increases the ranged and melee critical chance of all party members within 45 yards by 5%.
Awesome talent for raidbuffs, take it. Even if there's another feral, you need it for PotP anyway.

Improved Leader of the Pack, 2 points: Your Leader of the Pack ability also causes affected targets to have a 100% chance to heal themselves for 4% of their total health when they critically hit with a melee or ranged attack. The healing effect cannot occur more than once every 6 sec.
This talent is absolutely godly for soloing/leveling. Unfortunately, it doesn't proc off of bleeds, but you'll still see it pop every 7-8 secs or so if you're steadily attacking. In a raid, it's helpful, but it can be skipped.

Primal Tenacity, 3 points: Reduces the duration of fear effects by 30%, reduces all damage taken while stunned by 30% while in Cat Form, and reduces the mana cost of Bear form, Cat form and Dire Bear form by 50%.
PVP talent, skip it.

Feral Combat, Tier 8:

Protector of the Pack, 3 points: Increases your attack power in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by 6%, and the damage you take is reduced while in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by 12%.
Essential tank talent, take it.

Predatory Instincts, 3 points: While in Cat form, increases the damage from your melee critical strikes by 9% and decreases the damage taken from area of effect attacks by 30%.
DPS-only talent, skippable.

Infected Wounds, 3 points: Your Shred, Maul, and Mangle attacks cause an Infected Wound in the target. The Infected Wound reduces the movement speed of the target by 25% and the attack speed by 20%.
Essential debuff for boss tanking. However, of all the tanks, ferals probably spend the most, utility-wise, to pick this up, so it's optimal if another tank can keep this up.

Feral Combat, Tier 9:

King of the Jungle, 3 points: While Enraged in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form, your damage is increased by 15%, and your Tiger's Fury ability also instantly restores 60 energy.
The bear buff is pretty useless. (you generally want to avoid using Enrage while tanking a boss, because of the armor reduction). However, its one of the best talents for kitty DPS. Hybrid specs only.

Mangle, 1 point: Mangle the target, inflicting damage and causing the target to take additional damage from bleed effects for 12 seconds. This ability can be used in Cat Form or Dire Bear Form.
A key part of both the bear and cat DPS rotations. You'd be foolish not to get this.

Improved Mangle, 3 points: Reduces the cooldown of your Mangle (Bear) ability by 1.5 sec., and reduces the energy cost of your Mangle (Cat) ability by 6.
This is a very marginal ability for 3 points. Without delving deeply into the rotation (I'll save that for part 3), it lets you Mangle every third attack, instead of every fourth. While good in theory, it causes GCD clashes with FFF, which is also on a 6s CD. It's a "small" DPS/TPS boost, so I generally wouldn't recommend it.

Feral Combat, Tier 10:

Rend and Tear, 5 points: Increases damage done by your Maul and Shred attacks on bleeding targets by 20%, and increases the critical strike chance of your Ferocious Bite ability on bleeding targets by 50%.
Required for decent tank DPS/TPS.

Primal Gore, 1 point: Grants the periodic damage from your Lacerate and Rip abilities the ability to critically hit.
While this isn't a huge DPS upgrade, Lacerate crits do proc Savage Defense, so it's worth it. Obviously required for hybrid specs.

Feral Combat, Tier 11:

Berserk, 1 point: When activated, this ability causes your Mangle (Bear) ability to hit up to 3 targets and have no cooldown, and reduces the energy cost of all your Cat Form abilities by 50%. Lasts 15 sec. You cannot use Tiger's Fury while Berserk is active. Clears the effect of Fear and makes you immune to Fear for the duration.
Not required, per se, but VERY helpful for burst DPS, and required for hybrid DPS. When tanking H CoS, I regularly am first or second on the overall DPS meters due to effective use of this talent. (And I've never failed to get the drake, either.)

Restoration:
(Not every talent is viable for Ferals...I'll only list the ones that are, and their feral components.)

Restoration, Tier 1:

Improved Mark of the Wild, 2 points: Increases the effects of your Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild spells by 40%, and increases all of your total attributes by 2%.
A buff for all, and a mini-Kings for you. Take it.

Furor, 3 points: Gives you 60% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shapeshift into Bear or Dire Bear Form, and you keep up to 60 of your energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form.
I'm listing the 3pt version here, since this talent is essentially filler to get into Tier 2 (and you'll be investing 2 points in IMOTW). The rage/energy on shifting is nice for changing to/from DPS, but it's not necessary at all.

Restoration, Tier 2

Naturalist, 5 points: Increases the damage you deal with physical attacks in all forms by 10%.
Huge damage buff. Required for all feral builds.

Natural Shapeshifter, 3 points: Reduces the mana cost of all shapeshifting by 30%.
Horrible talent, but required for Master Shapeshifter. Certain builds only.

Restoration, Tier 3

Intensity, 3 points: Allows 50% of your mana regeneration to continue while casting and causes your Enrage ability to instantly generate 10 Rage.
This talent used to be somewhat helpful, but the Enrage buff has made the talent worthless. Skip it.

Omen of Clarity, 1 points: Each of the Druid's damage, healing spells and auto attacks has a chance of causing the caster to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the Mana, Rage or Energy cost of your next damage, healing spell or offensive ability by 100%.
This is, point-for-point, the highest DPS talent for kitty DPS. That said, it's not that great for bears, as rage is typically not a major issue.

Master Shapeshifter, 2 points: Natural Shapeshifter Grants an effect which lasts while the Druid is in the respective shapeshift form. Bear Form - Increases physical damage by 4%. Cat Form - Increases critical strike chance by 4%.
This talent is essentially 5 points (since you have to pick up the totally worthless Natural Shapeshifter to get it), and it's not that great for 5 points. Take it only for a high-DPS build (or if you're lucky enough to have another tank to pick up the attack speed debuff from IW).

Talent Builds at 80

Base + IW (0/53/10), 8 pts to spend
This is your baseline Bear build. At this point, you can choose to go in several different directions. (Infected Wounds may or may not be baseline, depending on your situation, but I include it here to get down the tree.)

Hybrid Tank/Soloing/DPS  (0/60/11)
This is my preferred build. It adds OoC, Shredding Attacks, KOTJ, and ILOTP, to give you excellent DPS and soloing ability. (You're basically a 95% bear and a 90% cat.) This build lacks Predatory Strikes- if you don't care about the soloing ability, feel free to drop ILOTP for 2/3. To max it, you'll have to drop something more valuable, like a point from Feral Instinct (-10% swipe damage), IW (+6% boss attack speed), Feral Charge, or something else. Obviously, if someone else is putting up the attack speed debuff, dropping points from IW is not a big issue.

Max Survival (0/60/10), 1 filler pt
This build adds 5/5 Feral Aggression, to give you the Improved Demoralizing Roar debuff (-5% boss melee DPS) and ILOTP, with a filler point to use where you'd like.

Max DPS/TPS (0/53/16), 2 filler pts, drops IW
This build goes for maximum bear DPS/TPS. It drops IW to pick up Imp. Mangle in the Feral Tree, and picks up OoC and NSS + MS. This leaves you with 2 points to use where you'd like, probably ILOTP. Not recommended if you don't have someone else to apply the boss attack speed debuff given by Infected Wounds.

Leveling

I'm not going to mince words...leveling a feral druid kinda sucks to start. You don't get catform until level 20, and even then, cat form doesn't really come into its own until you get Ferocious Bite/Ravage at 32. Balance, with root + nuke, is boring (kill, drink, kill, drink), but much easier.  That said, this is a feral guide, so you're sticking it out. :) (See [url=http://www.restokin.com/druid-leveling-guide/]Lissanna's druid leveling guide for a TON more info as well.) I'm assuming you're doing the majority of your leveling via questing/BG's, as it's almost impossible to find groups for low-level instances (and bears don't make great tanks until 40 anyway, when they get Dire Bear). Lissanna has some more info on talents in her guide if you do choose to go that route.

1-9:
No feral forms until bear at 10...so pretend to be a caster for a while.

10-19: 5/5 Ferocity, 2/2 Savage Fury, 3/3 Feral Instinct
You get bear at 10, but your only attack is Maul...a stronger autoattack! Yay. If you can make it through the first few levels, you get a glyph slot at 15 (buy Glyph of Maul ASAP; for minors, get one of Dash/Thorns/Aquatic Form) and Swipe (AOE attack) at 16. You should now be pulling two enemies at all times. (Three shouldn't be too bad, as long as you can root it.) Rejoice that you now get travel form at 16, and cry when it becomes obsolete at 20.

20-29: 2/2 Feral Swiftness, 3/3 Sharpened Claws, 2/2 Primal Fury, 3/3 Predatory Strikes (feel free to pick up Survival Instincts instead if you're dying frequently).
Like I mentioned above, cat isn't so hot when you first get it. Claw and Rake (lvl 24) are your only two usable abilities for leveling, as most stuff won't last long enough for a Rip DOT to really be effective. It's your choice whether to play weak cat or slow bear. If you decide to stay cat, swap your Glyph of Maul for a Glyph of Claw. Do get in the habit of going cat in non-mount areas when you need to get somewhere, to save time.

30-39: 1/1 Feral Charge, 2/2 Shredding Attacks, 1/2 Brutal Impact, 1/1 Survival Instincts,  5/5 Heart of the Wild
Well, your talents aren't so hot for these levels, but you finally start getting some usable cat abilities. Ferocious Bite/Ravage/Pounce at 32+36 finally gives you a finisher, a couple good stealth openers, and some options. With a point in Brutal Impact and 2 points in Shredding Attacks, you can get off a Pounce and 2 Shreds before the enemy can retaliate, regen to 35 energy, and FB to finish the enemy off, or Rip if needed. Don't forget about the instant-cast nature spells from Predatory Strikes...toss yourself a heal, or root an enemy, etc.

40-49: 1/1 Leader of the Pack, 2/2 Imp. Leader of the Pack, 3/3 Survival of the Fittest,  3/3 Predatory Instincts, 1 free feral point (your choice)
With Improved Leader of the Pack, things become much easier, due to the constant self-heal. With Dire Bear/Savage Defense, tanking is now quite doable as well, though you'll need a decent healer since you haven't picked up any dodge talents.

50-59: 1/1 Mangle, 3/3 King of the Jungle,  2/2 Imp. MOTW (resto tree), 3/5 Furor, 1/5 Naturalist
You are now OP. Mangle rocks. Toss Claw off your bars...Mangle's your primary attack from here on out (when not shredding). KOTJ makes Tiger's Fury go from useless to awesome, as you just got a whole lot burstier. You can almost forget DoTs now...Pounce/Mangle/Shred/TF/Mangle/FB kills stuff fast. Or, hell, just charge and Rake/Mangle/TF/Mangle/Mangle, wait, FB. Not quite as fast, but much less setup time. Now, you have a choice after KOTJ. You can either go into the Resto tree to pick up Naturalist/OOC, and come back for the rest of Feral, or you can go for Berserk now. I prefer the first option, but it's your decision. Also, new glyph, though there's not much for ferals to choose from at this level (Most of your choices buff Rip, which you'll hardly use while leveling).

60-69: 4/5 Naturalist (max), 1/1 Omen of Clarity, 1 free feral point, 4/5 Rend and Tear
Not much to say here. YOu get Maim at 62, which can be used as a (horrible) interrupt, and Lacerate at 66, a key part of the bear tanking rotation. Enjoy flight form at 60...all those collect X quests just became 10x easier.

70-80: 1/5 Rend and Tear, 1/1 Berserk, 1/1 Primal Gore, 8 free points
The big additions here are Swipe (Cat) at 71, and Savage Roar at 75. For soloing, neither is much use. Get used to Savage Roar, however, as it'll be a major part of a feral DPS rotation.

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Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Postby Alaron » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:37 am

Abilities/Rotation

In this section, we'll look at all your bearish abilities, and then see how to tie those together into a cohesive rotation to accomplish your goal. (I have a single-target, multi-target, and Faction Champions rotation...scroll down for those.) 
Now, my priority list as a tank is pretty simple:
1. Don’t die. Keep all AP/attack speed debuffs up, use pots as needed, don’t stand in fire, etc.
2. Don’t let healers/DPS die; in fights with adds, keep head on a swivel to taunt/FF/charge stuff to get it on me.
3. Maximize my TPS, to not hold back our best DPS’ers.
4. If not actively tanking RIGHT NOW, pop off an Innervate/rebirth/rebuff/cyclone/root/etc. as needed.
5. Learn good kitty DPS to maximize raid DPS when I’m not needed to tank.

The discussion of the abilities below flows from that priority list, which you should always keep in mind.  Before I begin with abilities, however, let’s look closer at rage, our core threat mechanic, and also at the bonuses from our bear form.

Rage
Rage isn't too complicated. All bear abilities require rage. Unlike mana or energy, rage does not regenerate on its own (rather, it degenerates out of combat). There are four main ways to gain rage: hitting the enemy, being hit, dodging, and abilities. Generally, being hit is your primary source of rage generation for single-target fights. For AOE low-damage situations, your Primal Fury talent gives you 5 rage for every crit, so swiping generally will take care of your needs there. Unlike TBC, where “rage starvation” was a major issue, having enough rage for all your abilities is generally not a problem, and your Enrage ability will save you for emergency situations. If you find yourself running into rage issues consistently in heroics…pull more/faster, since you probably outgear the content. :) Don’t forget that Furor can give you 10 rage when shifting into bear, so shift (or powershift…I’ll discuss that in a sec) and pop Enrage before a pull, to start with 40 rage.

Dire Bear Form
Shapeshift into dire bear form, increasing melee attack power by X, armor contribution from items by 370%, and Stamina by 25%. Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects and allows the use of various bear abilities.
Ah, the spell that makes it all possible. Fun facts about bear form:
1. You are now immune to Polymorph, but are now vulnerable to Scare Beast/Hibernate. That's a PVE buff (a few things poly, almost nothing does SB/Hibernate).
2. You can break snares and roots by shapeshifting or powershifting. Powershifting is simply recasting your current form; (/cast !Dire Bear Form) it keeps you in bear, but breaks the root/snare. Useful for Hodir, Faction Champs, and some others. Note that this will empty your rage bar and use a GCD, so in a tight threat situation like Hodir HM, it might be best to just take the damage.

Attacks/Buffs/Debuffs

Maul
A strong attack that increases melee damage by X. Effects which increase Bleed damage also increase Maul damage.
Range: Melee
Average damage (for me): ~3800
Cooldown: No CD; replaces next melee strike. Bear base melee speed is 2.5s, reduced by haste.
Cost: 10 Rage (plus no rage gain from the strike)
Glyph Effect: Your Maul ability now hits one additional target.

Maul is the first bear form ability you get, and remains your core strike for threat generation and damage. It is an "on next melee" attack, which means it will replace your next melee (or white-damage) attack with a 3x as powerful special strike. There's not much to strategize with Maul; use it all the time. This is very different from Warriors, who have Heroic Strike as a rage dump, but prefer to use rage for other abilities, if rage is limited. The easiest way to use Maul (since it's a royal pain to toggle on for every swing) is a simple macro (using Mangle as an example):
#showtooltip Mangle
/cast !Maul
/cast Mangle

(The exclamation point prevents it from being accidentally toggled off if you hit it twice.) I macro Maul to all my abilities, and I've never had a problem with being rage starved, especially with the new Enrage. Generally, Maul will be around 50-60% of your damage done for a single-target fight.
Glyph-wise, the Glyph of Maul is awesome. Berserk + glyphed Maul means you will ROCK DPS/TPS for 2-3 mob pulls. (I regularly top overall DPS meters in H CoS, for example.) Be prepared to switch it out, though, if you’re using CC, or just be careful to put CC’d targets behind you. Crits proc Savage Defense and Imp. LOTP.

Mangle
Mangle the target for X damage and cause the target to take 30% additional damage from bleeds for 12 sec.
Range: Melee
Average damage (for me): ~2400
Cooldown: 6s, can be reduced to 4.5s with 3/3 in Improved Mangle
Cost:15 Rage
Glyph Effect: Increases the duration of Mangle by 6 seconds.

Mangle is your 2nd major attack, learned at level 50. Mangle hits for good damage, and also places a powerful debuff on the enemy that causes bleeds + Maul to hit 30% harder. Mangle is also your 2nd highest priority attack for single or two-target fights, not so much for the damage, as for the debuff boosting your Mauls + cat druid/rogue/warrior dps.  (For 2 targets, simply alternate Mangles on each to keep the debuff up). Berserk temporarily removes Mangle’s CD and allows it to hit 3 targets, which lets you spam Mangle for good damage. Generally, Mangle will be about 15% of your damage done, depending on how much Berserk mangling you do.
Now, as for the Improved Mangle talent, I wouldn’t pick it up. I’ll spare you the math, but a 25% buff to an attack that’s only 15% of your damage done isn’t that great. It works out to about a 2% DPS/TPS boost (when you account for things like FFF GCD clashes, etc); which I don’t feel is worth it for three points. The glyph is also pretty useless for bears, as you should be mangling every 6s (or 4.5s) anyway. Crits proc Savage Defense and Imp. LOTP.

Lacerate
Lacerates the enemy target, dealing X bleed damage and making them bleed for Y damage over 15 sec. Damage increased by attack power. This effect stacks up to 5 times on the same target.
Range: Melee
Average damage (for me): ~150 direct damage, ~1200 DoT damage (every 3 sec)
Cooldown: GCD (1.5s)
Cost: 15 Rage
Glyph Effect: N/A

Lacerate is interesting. The ability itself only does a tiny amount of damage (100-200) Even fully stacked, however, its damage hardly compares to that of Maul or Mangle, so only Lacerate when those abilities are on cooldown, and once Lacerate is stacked 5x, Lacerate only when needed to keep the stack from dropping off. Like Mangle, Lacerate usually does about 15% of your damage. Crits (from the strike) proc Savage Defense and Imp. LOTP; DoT crits proc SD but not ILOTP.  (I think…have to double check, or maybe Kalon will chime in and tell me.)

Faerie Fire (Feral)
Decrease the armor of the target by 5% for 5 min. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible. Deals X damage when used in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form
Range: 30 yds
Average damage (for me): ~1300
Cooldown: 6s
Cost: 0 Rage (free!)
Glyph Effect: N/A

FFF, as it’s generally known, is a key weapon in a bear’s arsenal. It’s ranged, it does a good bit of damage and threat, it costs 0 rage, and it places a helpful debuff on the enemy. Excellent as a pulling attack or a “mini-taunt.” Also good to weave into a rotation once Lacerate is fully stacked. Should do about 5% of your damage if you’re using it on CD.

Swipe
Swipe nearby enemies, inflicting X damage.
Range: 5 yds AOE around player (may possibly be buffed in 3.3)
Average damage(for me): ~750
Cooldown: GCD (1.5s)
Cost: 15 Rage
Glyph Effect: N/A

Swipe is your main AOE attack; it’s fairly boring, but effective. It has no cooldown, so AOE fights generally consist of mindlessly spamming Swipe and refreshing Demo Roar as needed, until stuff dies. It’s one of the very few AOE tanking abilities that can be used while moving, so at least that’s positive, and it’s better than reusing Lacerate on a single-target fight. Crits proc Savage Defense and Imp. LOTP.

Demoralizing Roar
The druid roars, decreasing nearby enemies' melee attack power by X. Lasts 30 sec.
Range: 10 yds AOE around player (may possibly be buffed in 3.3)
Cooldown: GCD (1.5s)
Cost: 10 Rage
Glyph Effect: N/A

Demo Roar is a VERY important debuff against bosses. Attack power works very differently for NPC’s than it does for characters; essentially, Demo Roar means a ~10% reduction in enemy boss melee damage. Except on DPS race fights, your first priority is always always always make sure Demo Roar (or Demo Shout from a warrior, or Vindication from a pally) is up. For hardmode encounters, having the talented improved version (which adds an extra ~5% reduction) is very nice. In general, it's best to let the palas put it up, since they only have to spend 2 talent pts to get the ability and improved version. (boo.)

Berserk
When activated, this ability causes your Mangle (Bear) ability to hit up to 3 targets and have no cooldown, and reduces the energy cost of all your Cat Form abilities by 50%. Lasts 15 sec. You cannot use Tiger's Fury while Berserk is active. Clears the effect of Fear and makes you immune to Fear for the duration.
Cooldown: 3m
Cost: 0 Rage
Glyph Effect: Increases the duration of Berserk by 5s.

Berserk is great for small-group tanking. It really shines in heroics, for example, since heroics only have groups of 3-4, usually, and Berserk hits most/all of those, plus instantly spreads the Mangle debuff for epic Mauling. In a single-target environment, it’s still a DPS/TPS boost- stack your Lacerate, make sure Demo Roar is up, and go. Don’t let Lacerate drop, though; if you pop Berserk immediately after refreshing Lacerate (and Demo Roar, if needed) you’ll only have to trade off one Mangle. The glyph is okay (and fun for heroics if you like showing up DPS’ers on meters) but I prefer the survivability glyphs.

Threat Management

Growl
Taunts the target to attack you.
Range: 30 yds
Cooldown: 8s
Cost: 0 Rage
Glyph Effect: Increases the chance of Growl to work successfully by 8%.

Growl is the bear version of the standard taunt. All taunts work the same way: They set your threat (aggro) equal to the highest person’s threat on that target, and they force the target to attack you for 3s. Simply put, don’t use a taunt if a boss is still attacking you; use it when it goes after someone else. (Or, let them die to teach them to manage their own threat. Depends on how charitable you’re feeling.)
Remember, bosses can go immune to taunt if they’re taunted too often, so if you’re fighting a boss which demands tank swaps, only switch once, not twice. For example, Thorim puts a 10s debuff on a tank (Unbalancing Strike) which demands a tank swap. Don’t taunt back from the OT as soon as your debuff drops; wait until HE gets the debuff, THEN taunt back.
In regards to the Glyph: Growl is the only bear ability that uses spell hit chance, not melee hit chance (so 17% to cap, instead of 8%). Most tanks will not have enough hit (nor should they) to cap Growl normally, so the glyph ensures that swaps go off without a hitch. Very useful for fights requiring swaps, such as Thorim, Iron Council, or Gormok.

Challenging Roar
Forces all nearby enemies to focus attacks on you for 6 sec.
Range: 10 yds AOE around player
Cooldown: 3m (reducible to 2m30s with glyph)
Cost: 15 Rage
Glyph Effect: Reduces the cooldown of Challenging Roar by 30s. (Minor glyph).

This isn’t as useful an ability as it appears at first glance. CR only forces enemies to attack you; it does not affect threat AT ALL. If you’re way behind on threat, this isn’t going to catch you up…and if you’ve just lost threat, most enemies are going for your ranged/healers, so they’ll probably be out of range anyway. I use this rarely. It CAN be used to compensate for a missed taunt/taunt on CD in certain occasions...since Growl has an 8s cooldown, typically this will hold something until Growl comes back up. If you’re OT’ing adds, be careful you don’t accidentally pull the boss off the MT with it, especially when said boss gets pissy if you’re not in melee range. (Hello, Kologarn!)

Survival Cooldowns

Barkskin
The druid's skin becomes as tough as bark. All damage taken is reduced by 20%. While protected, damaging attacks will not cause spellcasting delays. This spell is usable while stunned, frozen, incapacitated, feared or asleep. Usable in all forms. Lasts 12 sec.
Cooldown: 1m (off GCD)
Cost: 0 Rage
Glyph Effect: Reduces the chance you'll be critically hit while Barkskin is active by melee attacks by 25%. (PVP)

Your bread-and-butter damage reduction ability. Not much to say; try to save it for moments that you know you’ll be taking extra damage. It is off the GCD andcan be used almost anytime, even during effects that normally stun/ incapacitate you. (And moments where you’re stunned are generally good moments to use it). The glyph is only for PVP.

Survival Instincts
When activated, this ability temporarily grants you 30% of your maximum health for 20 sec while in Bear Form, Cat Form, or Dire Bear Form. After the effect expires, the health is lost.
Cooldown: 3m
Cost: 0 Rage
Glyph Effect: Increases the percentage of your maximum health received from Survival Instincts to 45%

This ability does two things. First, it increases your maximum health by 30/45%; second, it gives you 30/45% HP, and removes it 20s later. For example: Say my bear has 40k max HP, and is currently at 20k health. If I pop unglyphed SI, his max health becomes 52k, and he gains 12k health, to now have 32k. This is very useful when you’re about to die (it basically works as a huge health potion) and also proactively, to survive an incoming big hit. (Mimiron’s Plasma Blast.) Note that when the CD wears off, you’ll LOSE the amount you gained as your max drops back down. This cannot kill you, but it will leave you at 1 HP, and can kill you if your healers are not prepared. The glyph is very helpful and should be taken.

Frenzied Regeneration
Converts up to 10 Rage per second to health for 10 sec. Each point of Rage is converted into 0.3% of max health.
Cooldown: 3m
Cost: 0 Rage
Glyph Effect: Increases the healing done to you by 20% while Frenzied Regeneration is active.

FR heals you for 30% of your max HP over 10s. The healing done by FR does scale with SI, the glyph, Battlemaster’s trinkets, as well as other +healing effects. The heal itself is only marginally useful for emergency situations (you need health NOW, not over time), but it can be used proactively very well, especially when glyphed, and is absolutely amazing for soloing old content. With both abilities glyphed, Frenzied Regen will heal for 50-55% of your health.

Interrupts

Bash
Stuns the target for 4 sec (talentable to 5s) and interrupts spellcasting for 3 sec
Cooldown: 60s; talentable to 30s
Cost: 10 Rage
Glyph Effect: N/A

Your interrupt/stun, which, sadly, is the weakest of the four classes. The long cooldown prevents it from being relied on for any fights which REQUIRE interrupts (Vezax). Helpful for trash, I suppose, since most DPS won’t bother interrupting on trash.

Feral Charge
Bear - Causes you to charge an enemy, immobilizing and interrupting any spell being cast for 4 sec. This ability can be used in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form.
Range: 8-25 yds
Cooldown: 15s
Cost: 5 Rage
Glyph Effect: N/A

Unlike Bash, this ability is incredibly fun to play around with, and useful as well. Many bosses have knockback, and charging back in prevents the boss from moving too much (a good thing). The spell interrupt is less useful in combat (due to the min range) but if you’re good, you can strafe away and charge back in before the spell fires. The cat version is also useful, since you can charge from stealth, and kitty charges take you to the back of the boss (if you want him instantly turned around) Most importantly, however; you take no damage if you charge out of a fall. You know what that means:

Aerial. Bear. Strike.

I’m serious. Fly over your target, shift to bear mid-air, enrage while you’re falling, and charge them before you hit ground. Insanely fun for PVP. (Otherwise known as a Bearbomb.) Just don’t miss. You can do this in cat, too, but it's not as cool. :)

Other Useful Abilities

Enrage
Generates 20 rage instantly and an additional 10 rage over 10 sec, but reduces base armor by 27% in Bear Form and 16% in Dire Bear Form.
Cooldown: 60s
Cost: 0 Rage
Glyph Effect: N/A

You need rage to do anything, and this gets you started if you’re dry. The armor reduction is fairly minor, so if you need rage for some reason while tanking, don’t hesitate to pop it. Actually, as Kalon pointed out in the comments, the armor reduction means that you'll probably take an extra +15% damage. I should have explained myself better. Don't use Enrage while MT'ing big stuff; use it for OT'ing things that don't hit hard, or when you need to stay 2nd on threat but can't take any damage to boost your rage, etc. Don’t forget that the King of the Jungle talent gives you +15% damage while Enraged, so if you have it, use it with Berserk for a nice DPS/TPS boost.

Innervate
Causes the target to regenerate mana equal to 225% of the casting Druid's base mana pool over 10 sec..
Cooldown: 3m
Glyph Effect: Your Innervate ability now has an additional 20% strength mana regeneration effect on you in addition to the effect on your primary target.

If you’re not actively tanking (boss phase change, for instance), toss a healer an Innervate. They’re keeping you alive, after all.

Rebirth
Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with X health and Y mana
Cooldown: 20m (10m in 3.3)
Glyph Effect: Players resurrected by Rebirth are returned to life with 100% health (major glyph); Your Rebirth spell no longer requires a reagent (minor glyph).

Again, if you’re not actively tanking, toss a healer/tank/DPS a rez. Many wipes are saved by timely Rebirths on key raid members. If you’re slick, you can find times while tanking to toss a Rebirth (you only need 3.5s if you’re fast). Don’t get one-shot out of Bear form, though. If there’s another tank up, have him taunt and hold the boss while you rez. The Glyph is not that great, with the exception of constant AOE damage fights (Anub, Iron Council)

Mark/Gift of the Wild
Increases the friendly target's armor by X, all attributes by Y and all resistances by Z for 30 min.
Cooldown: GCD
Glyph Effect: Decrease the mana cost of your Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild by 50%. (minor glyph)

Your buff spell. Use it. Gift is the raid version that requires a reagent and lasts twice as long; don’t forget reagents unless you like separately buffing 25 people after every wipe.


Cyclone
Hibernate
Entangling Roots
Nature’s Grasp
Travel Form
Abolish Poison/Remove Curse


I’m not discussing these spells individually, since you won’t be using them much (if at all) while tanking; but they come in handy for PVP (or faux-PVP…*cough* FC *cough*). Nature’s Grasp can be cast in-form, so it can be used as an emergency CC for trash or something (root it, step away, brez, come back).

Rotations

The term “rotation” is a bit out-of-date. It’s much better to think of your abilities on a “priority” system, and use the higher priority ones when available.
Single-Target
  1. Demoralizing Roar (if not kept up by another)
  2. Berserk (for DPS races)
  3. (Maul) Keep queued at all times.
  4. Mangle
  5. Feral Faerie Fire (to apply debuff if no moonkin)
  6. Lacerate (If Lacerate not fully stacked)
  7. Berserk (regular)
  8. Faerie Fire
  9. Lacerate (if Lacerate stack is about to drop)
  10. Swipe
Summarized, keep Demo Roar up; Berserk early, if you need high threat immediately, if not, wait for Lacerate to be fully stacked, so it can tick during Berserk; always Maul/Mangle; get the FF debuff up before stacking Lacerate if no moonkin, else stack Lacerate first; then go to normal rotation, which is Mangle-FFF-X-X. X is one of Demo Roar/Berserk/Lacerate if needed to keep stack up/Swipe. If you have Improved Mangle, this becomes Mangle-FFF-X. If you’re just starting out tanking, feel free to ignore Swipe entirely; it’s a small improvement to DPS/TPS, but nothing major.
Multi-Target
  1. Demoralizing Roar
  2. (Maul)
  3. Berserked Mangle
  4. Mangle (for 2 targets only, tab back and forth)
  5. Swipe
Yeah, pretty easy, and you can get away with just spamming Swipe + Glyphed Maul. It’s good to tab around a bit when fighting 3 or more targets so that your Mauls spread around some.

Healer Lockdown (For Faction Champions or PVP funsies)
This is fun as hell and really shows off druid shapeshifting abilities. Start stealthed in cat. By yourself, you can get 26s of 100% lockdown, then 19s of the next 26s, then 16s of the next 26s (repeated.) With a helper, you can achieve 100% lockdown. Use Berserk to break a fear, use a PvP trinket to break other stuff. Note that this doesn’t work as well on the tree druid since he heals primarily via HOT’s (so interrupts are less important), but you can combo cyclones with a warlock’s banish or a ret pally repentance. Remember that they can trinket one on heroic…typically it’s the first CC, which is a one-shot CC here anyway. If you're locking down a melee, it's even easier, since you can incorporate roots as well.
  1. Pounce (3sec stun)
  2. Maim (3sec interrupt, wait for cast)
  3. Cyclonex1 (6sec CC) If you have the instant-nature spell proc, you can wait to interrupt a cast, else time it to land 3s after you Maim. Kill a totem or two.
  4. Cyclonex2 (3sec CC)
  5. Cyclonex3 (1.5 sec CC) Cyclone on 15s DR.
  6. Bear Feral Charge, wait for cast (3sec interrupt)
  7. Bash, wait for cast (3sec interrupt) Go cat, Rake to get a CP
  8. Maim, wait for cast (3sec interrupt)
  9. Wait for Cyclone DR to be up, should be about 5-6s…try to get a poly/repentance/fear.
  10. Start with Cyclone again, repeat. You won’t have Bash available this time, so you’ll need 2 consecutive CC’s from a helper or 1 from 2 others (or your DPS will have to burn through 9s of heals). Don’t forget Warstomp if you’re a tauren.

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Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Postby Alaron » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:04 am

Gear/Glyphs/Enchants/Gems/Consumables

In this section, we'll look at how to kit your bear out in sweet, shiny purples...that you'll never see since you stare at bear butt the whole time. (ahem.) We'll also look at the usual accoutrements- glyphs, enchants, gems, food, potions, what have you. (BAM! There's your word for the day. That's me, bringing literacy to the WoW world since 2008. It needs it. Badly.)

Stats/Theory

Before we begin looking at gear, I want to review the key bear statistics, and briefly cover a few tanking theory debates/tradeoffs.

  • Stamina: Stamina boosts your HP, which keeps you alive. It scales well with buffs.
  • Agility:  Agility gives you dodge, armor, and crit. Also scales well with buffs. 
  • Dodge Rating: Umm, gives you +dodge. :) Superior to Defense Rating.
  • Defense Rating: Gives you +dodge and the enemy +miss, but takes a lot more per point then straight dodge rating. Other tanks need defense much more than we do.
  • Armor: Reduces the damage taken from boss melee attacks and some special abilities.
  • Bonus Armor: Though not specifically broken out in the game as such, bonus armor is extra armor on jewelry/weapons that is not multiplied by your Bear Form talent. (This will be important in a bit.)
  • Hit/Expertise: Reduces your chance to miss (hit) and the enemy's chance to dodge/parry (expertise). Mostly threat statistics, though they play into Savage Defense.
  • Strength/Attack Power/Crit/Haste/Armor Pen: All stuff that make you hit harder/faster. Again, mostly threat statistics, though they also play into Savage Defense.
Now, which of these statistics is the MOST important? Well, that's where the debates come in.

Survival vs. Threat

You have two major roles as a tank.

1. Don't die. (Survival)
2. Generate enough threat to keep the nasty (or nasties) attacking you and not someone else squishy. (Threat)

1 is VASTLY more important than 2...simply because it's much easier to regain top threat (taunt, hunter misdirect, rogue ToTT, DPS'er threat drop, pally HoSalv) then it is to come back to life (druid brez, soulstone). Dying also usually means a few melee DPS are going to die, even if you do get a combat rez. Your DPS will probably argue with you on this point, since poor threat generation on your part makes their job harder; however, they're missing the bigger picture. For most normal-mode encounters, poor threat generation is a minor problem that can be worked around by the DPS. As such, the gear advice I will present will be heavily slanted towards survival. Now, I'm not recommending you ignore threat entirely; however, the amount of threat generation  you need is very dependent on the DPS of your group, so it's very hard to properly weight how important threat stats are.  (Now, once you get to things like hardmodes, threat generation becomes more important, since you're dealing with much tighter timers. That's past the scope of this guide.) Geting back to the point, focusing on survival naturally leads to another debate- what's the best way to survive?

Effective Health vs. Avoidance

Tanks handle damage three ways. They avoid it via dodge (and parry for non-bear tanks), they reduce it via armor and block/Savage Defense, and they soak it via large HP pools.  Now, there's not much you can do for armor, since that's primarily based on the item level of your gear, so the debates come whether to focus on stamina, for better damage soaking, or avoidance, for less damage taken. There's good and bad points to both sides.  Avoidance means you take less damage overall, so your healer's mana isn't strained as much, and also helps your threat/kitty DPS (assuming you gain it via gemming agility). Stamina, however, works on everything (avoidance is useless against magic and most boss special abilities), and makes you easier to heal, from a healer perspective, since it provides a reliable buffer. Bears also gain the most from stamina, vis-a-vis other tank classes, due to our talents.  As it stands now, I generally recommend stacking stamina, since bosses in TOC hit crazy hard. (Obviously, Anub is an exception.) Agility is good too, however, and I use it on the high ilvl pieces that I share with my kitty DPS set.

Stat Weights

Stat weighting is a systematic way to assess the quality of items, where each point of a statistic is given a "score." To compare two items to see which is better, you simply check their scores (An addon named Pawn can do this for you in-game). Now, as with all things, the way you weight the scores is extremely important. I present two sets here- one focusing solely on survival, and one that tries to give a reasonable weight to threat statistics. Again, the threat calculations are very open to adjustment, depending on your situation. Kalon has his own set of weightings, complete with a link to Wowhead to show loot lists, on his site.

Surv/Threat Survival Only
Stamina 100 100
Agility 100 90
Dodge Rating 75 75
Defense Rating 70 70
Armor 40 40
Expertise Rating 30 30
Hit Rating 30 30
Strength 25 10
Haste Rating 20 5
Armor Penetration 20 0
Crit Rating 15 5
Attack Power 15 5
Bonus Armor 5 5


Pre-Instance Raid Gear

Bears have it pretty easy when it comes to gearing up. Since we are automatically crit-immune due to Survival of the Fittest, we don't have to worry about our defense rating, and since we can only dodge, we don't have to worry about balancing our avoidance scores. Also, our set bonuses are largely crap, so just get the highest ilvl leather (not  caster leather) you can. Your AOE threat generation is going to be pretty bad to start with, so if you're trying to do PUG heroics with DPS in full T9, warn them to be careful (and then let them a die a few times, if they don't get it).

Anyway, here's a quick list of starter lvl 80 gear I put together, that can be acquired totally via solo play/AH purchases. This will get you into heroics, and once you accumulate some badges, you can move on to the better stuff. PVP/Wintergrasp gear is also very good, and can be used as a substitute. BBB has a good starter liston his site as well.

Enchants

  • Head: Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector (+20 def, +37 stam)
  • Shoulder: Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle (+15 def, +20 dodge) or Gladiator (+15 resi, +30 stam).
  • Back: Major Agility (+22 agi) or Mighty Armor (+275 armor)
  • Chest: Powerful Stats (+10 all stats) or Heavy Borean Armor Kit (+18 stam)
  • Wrists: Major Stamina (+40 stam)
  • Hands: Major Agility (+20 agi) or Heavy Borean Armor Kit (+18 stam)
  • Legs: Frosthide Leg Armor (+22 agi/+55 stam)
  • Feet: Superior Agility (+16 agi) or Greater Fortitude (+22 stam) or Tuskarr's Vitality (+15 stam +8% runspeed)
  • Weapon: Mongoose (+120 agi proc, roughly +60 agi sustained for single-target) or Blood Draining (+2k HP heal <35% HP, roughly every 60s)

Profession Bonuses

Good:
  • Mining: +60 base stam
  • Enchanting: unique +30 stam enchant on ringsx2 (+60 stam)
  • Jewelcrafting: unique Dragon's Eye gems, +21 stam over Solids (+63 stam)
  • Blacksmithing: two extra sockets (+60 stam)
  • Leatherworking: unique wrist enchant (+62 stam), unique wrist resistance enchants (+70 specific element resistance)
Okay:
  • Alchemy: +50% benefit, roughly, from flasks (+650 HP)
  • Inscription: unique shoulder enchant (+40 dodge)
  • Engineering: unique hand enchant (+885 armor for +20 agi or +18 stam), other cool stuff
Bad:
  • Herbalism: 3600HP/5s free heal on 3minute cooldown
  • Skinning: +40 crit rating
  • Tailoring: +400AP for 15s proc to replace +22agi (bad for tanking)

Glyphs

Not a lot of options when it comes to glyph choice, and most of the glyphs are fairly weak. Pick whichever you like for minors, and as for majors:
  • Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration: FR by itself is fairly weak (3% of max health per second for 10s? That's like 1200 HPS, or a third of what a geared healer can do). The glyph makes FR also increase all healing on you by 20%, which turns it into a reasonably strong cooldown.
  • Glyph of Survival Instincts: SI is a good tank-saving ability by itself (instant extra 30% current/max HP for 20 seconds). This ups that to 45%, which is great. A VERY well-geared bear can crack 100K health with glyphed SI.
  • Glyph of Maul: Maul hits two targets instead of one. This glyph ROCKS for trash.
  • Glyph of Growl: As Altosis pointed out previously, taunts are considered spells, so even with IFF and your melee hit, you'll still have about a 5% chance to miss. If that can wipe your group, grab this glyph. Only for certain bosses.
  • Glyph of Berserk: This can give you a slight threat boost for DPS races. Only for certain bosses.

Gems

Gemming's not too bad, since we don't have to worry about defense. Let's look at three possible situations.
  • All: Your metagem will be the Austere Earthsiege (+2% item armor). Great gem. Make sure it's active...a Nightmare Tear will take care of the requirements.
  • Guild MT: Load up on Stam. You want Solid Majestic Zircons (+30 stam) everywhere. If the socket bonus is decent (+stam or +agi), pop in a Shifting Dreadstone (+10 agi/+15 stam) for a red or a Nightmare Tear (+10 all stats) for a yellow. (Other than the Nightmare Tear, which you can only have one of, there's not a great yellow gem, though the Enduring Eye of Zul(+stam/+def) is decent. I usually prefer straight stam or agi in yellow slots.) You want big health pools to survive big hits. If you're having threat problems, some +expertise gems may help, though I'd be very cautious about trying this route, since this will decrease your survivability.
  • Guild OT: Go for more of a balanced approach, since you won't be tanking every fight, and you'll want the +agi to buff your kitty DPS. If you care for the socket bonus, use Delicate Cardinal Rubies (+20 agi) for reds, Shifting Dreadstones for blues, and NT/take your pick for yellows. If you don't, decide whether you want DPS/threat more (+agi) or health (+stam) and go with Delicates or Solids, depending. Personally, my tank set is gemmed with +stam, except for pieces that are shared with my cat set, which are gemmed +agi.
  • Kitty DPS'er who wants to tank a few Heroics: Go straight +agi. You'll be fine for trash and OT duties. Do use at least one Shifting and one NT for the metagem activation.

Food

Food is easy as well. From best to meh:
  • Blackened Dragonfin: +40 Agility and +40 Stamina. Best choice, use for progression. 
  • Rhinolicious Wormsteak: +40 Expertise Rating and 40 Stamina. Good choice for extra threat.
  • Fish Feast/Any +40 stam food: Not optimal, but perfectly fine for most stuff.
  • Any +30 stam food: Cheap eats.
  • Any +stam food: Super cheap eats. If you're REALLY broke, Argent Crusade vendors sell Steaming Chicken Soup for 32s, which is +25 stam/spirit. Get this, at least. 

Flasks/Elixirs/Potions

You have a bit more choice here. Your character can have either a Battle elixir AND a Guardian elixir, OR a flask, which counts for both. Elixirs are cheap, and best suited for easier content. Flasks are expensive, but they last for an hour (2 with Alchemy) and, more importantly, persist after death, making them ideal for progression.

Flasks:

  • Flask of Stoneblood: +1300 HP. Best choice, period.
  • Flask of Fortification(TBC): +500 HP, +10 def. The cheaper flask option.
  • Lesser Flask of Resistance: +50 resistance to all schools of magic. May be a better option for magic-damage heavy fights. (Anub'arak in TOC)

Battle Elixirs:

  • Guru's Elixir: +20 to all stats. These are incredibly cheap now, so I use these for most anything non-progression.
  • Elixir of Mighty Agility: +45 agility. Nice if you feel you need more avoidance, but I prefer the Guru's if I'm using elixirs.
  • Elixir of Expertise: +45 expertise. Good for supplementing threat.
  • Elixir of Accuracy: +45 hit. Good for supplementing threat.

Guardian Elixirs:

  • Elixir of Protection: +800 armor. A very nice elixir. I rate the  +20 stats or +45 agility/+800 armor combo just slightly under +1300 HP, in terms of survivability.
  • Elixir of Defense: +45 defense. Not very good.
  • Elixir of Mighty Fortitude: +350 health, +20 hp5. Bleh.

Potions/Stones:

  • Indestructible Potion: +3500 armor for 2 minutes. With the double pot trick (pop it right before pull, which lets you use another pot 2 minutes in) you can get 4 minutes of +3500 armor, which is GREAT.
  • Runic Healing Potion: Restores 2700-4500 health. The old standby.
  • Mighty (x) Protection Potion: Absorbs 4200-6000 of (x) element damage. Better then RHP's for magic damage fights, but you should still prefer Indestructibles unless it's a TOTALLY magic-damage fight (ie armor is useless).

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Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Postby Alaron » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:08 am

Addons/Resources

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.

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Re: Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Postby Qbear » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:21 am

This post was necro bumped by a bot attempting to get people to click unsafe links off site. I've taken action against the account. New readers be advised this guide is a bit outdated, even though informational. So please don't start posting corrections.

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Re: Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Postby Tinderhoof » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:54 am

****************This post was necro'd again. Please disregard******************

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Re: Alaron's Feral Tanking Guide

Postby Konungr » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:55 am

You should put that at the top of the thread in RED and BOLD.

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