This thread is a restart of the bear tanking thread. If this is not appropriate, please lock/remove. Where possible Iâ€™ve retained Melthuâ€™s original content.
This post is an update of bear tanking in 5.3. The tools previously used still are valid. In addition there are a number of sites that have come to the fore, such as icy-veins. This post contains information about tanking as a feral druid in a 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.
If you have specific gearing questions you can use Rawr - Rawr or Tangedyn's spreadsheet - http://theincbear.com/math /'>Bear Maths corner| The Inconspicuous Bear or Mr Robot. The Inconspicuous Bear also has collected some interesting maths on rage generation, proc rates and threat generation.
Important note about Rawr:
This comes up constantly so make a note of it right here - Rawr is completely dependent on the settings you use. If your settings are wrong then you will get wrong information. Take care when using Rawr that all of the settings are correct. If you're still confused by the results then post the Rawr profile you used so that others can check that your settings are correct. Failure to do so will result in infractions.
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 guardian druid.
= Talents and Glyphs=
Having chosen Guardian Spec you gain the vengeance effect common across all tank specs. You also gain your tools of trade.
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:
Feline Swiftness - Really strong talent, any full time tanking build needs this. This provides you with the passive movement boost, although this is at the cost of a charge. It comes down to play style.
Natures Swiftness â€“ This allows for an instant resurrection or instant bear form healing touch. This is also enables the use of cc and some other cast time spells.
Tier 3 is optional â€“ Here you have flexibility of either a mass root, slow or knock back. This will be your most switched talent.
Incarnation â€“ Strong DPS talent, provides you with either the ability to maul/mangle spam or thrash/mangle spam depending on the target(s).
Tier 5 â€“ Again optional, either a stun or an aoe disorient.
Heart of the Wild â€“ Passively increases stats (dps and survivability) and actively allows burst off spec role for 45 seconds.
There arenâ€™t many real options as a bear. It really depends on the fight and your groupâ€™s skills and composition.
None of the other prime glyphs affect you in bear form, so for full time tanks these are what you have to work with.
Minor Glyphs are really utility or appearance based now. Only one has any potential for impact on raid play, Glyph of Grace can reduce fall damage where that mechanic is used.
Stat weightings for you at a given point can be worked out using Simcraft or Rawr. Tools such as askmrrobot.com and Reforgelite can do the maths once youâ€™ve worked out your current weightings.
Armor comes as a base stat on gear. You can pot for short term armor gains, but this is less than ideal. Remember the simple rule, the higher the ilevel, the higher the armour.
Agility increases your dodge, attack power and chance to crit. It does not provide armor anymore. Each point of agility provides 2 AP, which is good for threat. Dodge from agility is affected by 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.
Stamina is one of your most important tanking stats. 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 up to the caps of either 30 or 50%. It is important to note that stamina stacking above the effective health requirement of the content and your healer comfort is a wasted stat. Having an effective health level below the requirement of your current content can cause needless wipes. Be flexible.
Although none of our gear (aside from possibly trinkets) comes with dodge on it, you can reforge your gear for dodge. Dodge, through the way savage defence works, has lost its priority as a reforge stat.
Each point of mastery increases the size of your armor. Given that armor only reduces avoidable physical damage, masteryâ€™s importance is greatly reduced.
Increasing your crit chance increases your threat and also increases your rage generation. With the shift in tanking in MoP to active tanking and making decisions on rage usage Critical Strike is now our go to stat. Crit is affected by boss crit suppression and glancing blows on the boss hit table.
Hit and Expertise now have a more interesting impact on bear game play. Rage is now generated through some attacks and white damage crits. Mangle will be your primary way of generating rage, using thrash and faerie fire to create more mangle procs. Missing on these has a large impact on your rage generation.
There are currently two ways of approaching this. Either 7.5 hit and 7.5 expertise and keeping parry on the boss hit table and 7.5 hit and 15 expertise and removing parry from the boss hit table. At tier 15 there is enough hit and expertise on gear to allow either choice to be effectively done.
Haste increases your melee attack speed, which will increase your threat. The higher number of white damage attacks increases rage generation through critical strikes.
Your meta gem choices for tanking are , , or . In specific cases you may find or useful, but generally speaking Austere will be just fine until you get the legendaries.
Depending on your content level, level of comfort of your healers, either the Indomitable or Capacitive are appropriate.
For the rest of the sockets you'll mostly want to pay attention to which secondary stats you require and desirable socket bonuses. Meta gems no longer require activation. A guideline is to use crit for yellow and a combination of crit and the socket colour where a socket bonus is desirable. Avoid using primary stats unless the secondary stat will be wasted. Use Rawr or the spreadsheet to help you figure out exactly what you need.
Set bonuses generally provide an opportunity to vary your play style slightly for good return. In general, aim for 4 piece bonus of the current tier and use your strongest off spec piece in the 5th slot.
Head: No longer in game
Shoulder: Agility enchant except where effective health is an issue.
Back: Critical Strike
Chest: Either stamina or all stats
Hands: Expertise or Haste except where effective health is an issue.
Legs: Agility except where effective health is an issue.
Feet: Either agility/run speed or mastery/run speed or else stamina where effective health is an issue.
Weapon: Dancing Steel (potentially colossus)
In general two crafting professions is a stronger combination than one crafting and one gathering.
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 jewellery is better than even perfectly itemized strength tanking jewellery. You'll want to reforge according to your current stat priority. Use Rawr , the spreadsheet or a reforging tool to determine what is most effective.
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 stats). There is no one gear set for tanking that applies equally well to all fights. Again: There is no one gear set 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. Having head items with different meta gems in them is a way of providing good flexibility.
For the basic tanking rotation you want to follow a short set of rules:
1. Mangle on cooldown
3. Faerie Fire
5. Swipe if AoE
6. Spend excess rage on Maul
Notice I did not put in Savage Defence or Frenzied Regeneration into the standard priority list. This is where you need to engage your brain and make some decisions. Between 40 and 50% of the damage you take on a fight can be dodged. The rest of the damage is generally unavoidable.
If reducing that 40-50% avoidable damage by 45% is what your healers need, then you need to prioritise Savage Defence when you are actively tanking. If the use of frenzied regeneration and reduced white damage through Tooth and Claw is enough to keep your healers happy, then you can make a choice. Either keep dodge up or spend some rage on self-healing.
You cannot keep savage defence up 100% of the time. Keeping the buff for up the 30-50% of the time that you need to allows for other options.
Effective cool down usage is essential in tanking. This applied to both defensive and offensive cool downs. Offensively used cool downs generate rage. Rage equates to choices. Choices are good.
If you truly want to maximise your tanking effectiveness and dps then go to worldoflogs.com and reverse engineer what the bear tanks there are doing. Use http://raidbots.com/comparebot/'>Comparebot to analyse and compare the ranked players and your own kills. Logs cannot be analysed in isolation, and you need to also investigate gearing and raid composition as well.
= 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 Heart of the Wild, Rebirth or Innervate if needed, so keep your eyes open for these opportunities. Tranquillity for stacked AoE damage transitions and phases is a powerful tool. Interrupt as required.
Building a kitty off set is a good way to have a quickly achieved viable off spec (that allows single tanking in the few opportunities for this. Generally speaking the opportunity for bearcatting is gone. It is far better to stay in bear form unless you are using Heart of the Wild.
Every time you are attacked while in bear form you gain 2% of the damage done as attack power, up to a cap. Vengeance decays over time so you must keep getting hit to keep it up, and is removed completely if you shift to cat form. Vengeance is capped at either 30 for 10 toon raiding or 50% for 25 toon raiding.
Note: There have been issues with Bears not gaining an appropriate vengeance stack on taunting previously.