This post contains information about tanking as a feral druid in a high end raid setting. It should be enough for beginners to gain a solid grasp on the fundamentals of the spec, and should also be a reference for players who have specific questions about our mechanics.
We'll go into more detail later, but if you have specific gearing questions you can use Rawr - Rawr or Tangedyn's spreadsheet - Simple Bear Mitigation Spreadsheet | The Inconspicuous Bear
I will do my best to keep this post up to date, but if you find something that is old or just plain wrong please send me a PM so that I can fix it quickly. Thank you.
As a tank you have two main jobs: Keep the boss from attacking the other players in your raid and take as little damage as possible. At this time holding aggro is pretty simple so most of the suggestions made in this post will focus on reducing your damage intake.
You may also be called on to help the raid in other ways, such as interrupting, using Innervate or Rebirth, or even helping dps during periods of time that you don't have to tank. Look for opportunities to use all of the tools available to you as a feral druid.
= Talents and Glyphs=
For choosing Feral as your spec you get Aggression (increases your AP by 25%), Vengeance (will be discussed later), and the ability Mangle. We also get a 2 part mastery, one for cats and one for bears. The bear portion of our mastery is called Savage Defender and increases the damage absorbed by Savage Defense by 4% per point of mastery.
For tanking you absolutely want to take Feral Swiftness, Infected Wounds, Primal Fury, Feral Charge, Thick Hide, Leader of the Pack, Survival Instincts, Endless Carnage, Natural Reaction, Rend and Tear, Pulverize, Berserk, and Heart of the Wild. A basic spec will look something like this: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft. Here is my personal take on how the optional talents stack up:
Perseverance - Really strong talent, any full time tanking build needs this. Only consider skipping if you are building a hybrid dps/tanking spec and can't spare the points.
Master Shapeshifter - Pretty expensive but generally worth the points.
Fury Swipes - Not strictly necessary to tank, but it's a solid damage increase and there's almost always room for it. Drop something else unless your build is very specifically tailored to a single fight and every point is already taken.
Furor - Pretty weak but you need at least 1 point to advance down the tree and Predatory Strikes has no use at all while tanking, so you may as well fill this out.
King of the Jungle - You can use Enrage on cooldown now so this is free damage. Like Fury Swipes, there's usually something else you can drop in favor of this. And you absolutely need this for a hybrid spec.
Feral Aggression - Convenient for getting a full stack of Faerie Fire up right away, but not a necessity.
Stampede - Very slight threat increase any time you feral charge, you can skip this pretty much every time.
Primal Madness - Pretty weak for the cost considering you need 3 points in KotJ to even get here, but can be worthwhile if you need the damage and have the points to spare.
Brutal Impact - Required if you have to interrupt or stun ever, useless otherwise.
Nurturing Instinct - Will give you a really strong Tranquility if you get the chance to use it, but useless otherwise.
There is only one glyph that affects your survivability as a tank, so there is plenty of room to mix and match.
None of the other prime glyphs affect you in bear form, so for full time tanks these are what you have to work with.
The Frenzied Regen glyph is the only one that affects your survivability and it comes with a drawback. Faerie Fire, Feral Charge, and Maul glyphs are mostly for quality of life.
The one major glyph that I strongly recommend for all feral tanks is actually the Rebirth glyph. Even as a tank it's usually possible to toss a quick Rebirth at some point in a fight, and there is a world of difference between resurrecting someone mid-fight with 20% health and 100% health. This isn't quite as good now that battle rezzes are available to other classes, but Rebirth is still the strongest since you can rez at 100% health so if possible you should still try to use yours.
Glyph of Mark of the Wild
These are the only minor glyphs with any possible in-combat usefulness. Feel free to use other minor glyphs for quality of life purposes.
General information on combat ratings can be found here: http://elitistjerks....l_85_cataclysm/
Arguably the most important stat for tanks, armor consistently reduces your damage taken from physical attacks, which is almost always going to be your highest source of damage taken. With the Thick Hide talent and the Austere meta gem we have a 4.393752 multiplier on armor from leather gear. The amount of armor on gear is directly related to its item level and you can't gem for it, so the only way to "stack" armor is by using an armor trinket.
Stamina is one of your most important tanking stats. With Heart of the Wild we gain 17.1402 health per point of Stamina (17.99721 with Mark of the Wild). Like armor, the amount of stamina on an item is directly tied to its item level. Stamina also increases your Vengeance cap by 1 AP per stamina.
Agility increases your attack power, chance to crit, and chance to dodge. It does not provide armor anymore. Each point of agility provides 2 AP, which is good for both threat and Savage Defense. It takes 324.85 agility for 1% crit and 243.58281085 agility for 1% dodge (see the above link for details on diminishing returns). Agility is one of your primary mitigation stats. Like armor and stamina the amount of agility on gear is tied to item level, but it can also be affected by the presence of gem slots.
Although none of our gear (aside from possibly trinkets) comes with dodge on it, you can reforge your gear for dodge. It takes 176.71899 dodge rating for 1 point of dodge. The mechanics of diminishing returns on dodge can be found in the above link.
It takes 179.28 mastery rating to gain 1 point of mastery. Each point of mastery increases the size of your Savage Defense shield by 4%. Mastery and crit interact in a fairly complicated way when it comes to Savage Defense, so you should use Rawr or the spreadsheet to help you determine which is better for your current gear setup.
You need 179.28 crit rating to gain 1% crit chance. Increasing your crit chance increases your threat and also increases your Savage Defense procs.
You need 120.109 hit/expertise rating for 1% hit/expertise. These are the best secondary stats to increase your threat and have marginal effects on Savage Defense uptime. Mobs do not parry-haste anymore so expertise is no longer a significant defensive stat, however expertise is twice as effective as hit up to 6.5%, since it works on both dodge and parry. As of 4.1 you need neither hit nor expertise to interrupt.
You need 128.05701 haste rating for 1% haste. Haste increases your melee attack speed, which will increase your threat. It also has a marginal effect on Savage Defense uptime. However, in both cases haste is very weak and should generally be avoided in favor of something else.
Your only real meta gem choice for tanking is . In specific cases you may find or useful, but generally speaking Austere will be just fine.
For the rest you'll mostly want agility or stamina. If you're ever in doubt you can default to , but be sure to keep your meta gem activated. Use Rawr or the spreadsheet to help you figure out what you need.
The 2T12 bonus is a pretty sizable threat increase. 4T12 is nice for the additional long-term damage reduction. Neither are strictly necessary but are certainly worthwhile.
Head: Arcanum of the Earthen Ring (90 stamina/35 dodge, revered Earthen Ring) or Arcanum of the Ramkahen (60 agility/35 haste, revered Ramkahen)
Shoulder: Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz (75 stamina/25 dodge, exalted Therazane) or Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal (50 agility/25 mastery, exalted Therazane)
Back: Major Agility (22 agility) or Protection (250 armor)
Chest: Greater Stamina (75 stamina) or Peerless Stats (20 to all stats)
Wrists: Agility (50 agility)
Hands: Glove Reinforcements (240 armor) or Heavy Savage Armor Kit (44 stamina) or Greater Mastery (65 mastery) or Major Agility (20 agility)
Legs: Charscale Leg Armor (145 stamina/55 agility)
Feet: Heavy Savage Armor Kit (44 stamina) or Assassin's Step (25 agility/minor run speed) or Major Agility (35 agility) or Earthen Vitality (30 stamina/minor run speed)
Weapon: Mighty Agility (130 agility) or Windwalk (600 dodge/increased move speed on proc) or Mending (heal on proc)
Leatherworking offers more stamina than any other profession. Jewelcrafting is the next highest, although it's only 3 stamina better than many other professions. Leatherworking, Jewelcrafting, and Blacksmithing all provide very flexible bonuses.
Alchemy: 120 stamina from or 80 agility from . Resistance flasks or armor elixirs are also possibilities. You also gain access to , which is potentially useful for a new tank.
Blacksmithing: 2 extra sockets for up to 120 extra stamina from or 80 agility from . One of the better professions as its bonuses are very flexible.
Enchanting: 120 stamina or 80 agility from ring enchants.
Engineering: Quickflip Deflection Plates - Spell - World of Warcraft boost armor by 1500 for 12 seconds on a 1 minute cooldown or Synapse Springs boost agility by 480 for 10 seconds on a 1 minute cooldown.
Herbalism: Minor heal and 480 haste for 20 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown.
Inscription: 120 stamina or 80 agility from shoulder enchant.
Jewelcrafting: Up to 123 stamina or 81 agility from Chimera's Eye gems. Another flexible profession.
Leatherworking: 155 stamina or 80 agility. Gives more stamina than other professions and can also be useful for the level 80 resistance enchants.
Mining: 120 stamina.
Skinning: 80 crit.
Tailoring: Swordguard Embroidery - Spell - World of Warcraft chance to proc 1000 AP for 15 seconds.
Generally speaking you want to look for the highest item level agility gear you can find. This is because armor, stamina, and for the most part agility directly correlate with item level. Agility jewelery is better than even perfectly itemized strength tanking jewelery. You'll want to reforge haste/hit/expertise to dodge, crit, or mastery if possible. Use Rawr or the spreadsheet to determine which of the three is your best bet.
As a tank you need to be ready to alter your gear between fights if needed (note: trinkets are an excellent way to easily swap around large amounts of armor/stamina/agility). There is no one gearset for tanking that applies equally well to all fights. Again: There is no one gearset that is optimal for tanking for all fights. Test out different gearing strategies and talk to your healers to determine what's best for your raid.
For the basic tanking rotation you want to follow a short set of rules:
1. Keep Demoralizing Roar up
2. Mangle on cooldown
4. Keep up at least 1 stack of Lacerate
5. Keep up the Pulverize buff
6. Faerie Fire
7. Keep up a 3 stack of Lacerate
8. Spend excess rage on Maul
Keeping up Demoralizing Roar is the most important part of your rotation. If you Mangle on cooldown and spam Lacerate in between you'll hold threat over 98% of dps players. On multi-target/AoE situations use Thrash and Swipe on cooldown while spreading Mangles, Lacerates, and Mauls around.
= Raid Utility=
As mentioned above, as druids we offer a lot of potential raid utility even while tanking. Most fights have downtime or tank swaps that allow you to use Rebirth or Innervate if needed, so keep your eyes open for these opportunities. If you have a fairly extended period of time that you aren't tanking you can use Tranquility as well, which is quite powerful now. Ferals are great at interrupting with 2/2 Brutal Impact thanks to the 13 yard range on Skull Bash, so help out on interrupts when needed.
We are also hands down the best at swapping between dpsing and tanking in a single fight. You can pick up every major tanking and dps talent in a single spec, you can use all dps glyphs since our tanking glyphs are very marginal, and agility serves both specs quite well. On any boss that allows a tank to dps for parts of the fight, a feral should take that role. This would be my recommended setup: Talent Calculator - World of Warcraft Spend the final 3 points in some combination of Perseverance, Brutal Impact, and Nurturing Instinct. Agility is best for both so gemming overlaps. Lean towards reforging crit/mastery since those are beneficial to both, but if the fight demands it you may have to reforge some dodge as well.
Every time you are attacked while in bear form you gain 5% of the damage done as attack power, up to a cap. Despite the tooltip your vengeance cap is stamina + 0.1*base_health. Vengeance decays over time so you must keep getting hit to keep it up, and is removed completely if you shift to cat form.
Whitetooth has done an incredible job on the formulas for armor, dodge, resistance, and has base stats information. Instead of repeating it all here just follow this link: http://elitistjerks....l_85_cataclysm/