Blog Archives

Repost: Tanking Q’s

Tanking Q’s

via Restokin by Garnaph on 7/13/11


I read in the 2009 version of Lissanna’s post someone asking if a tank version of the questions existed, so I figured I’d create one.

  • What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?

Garnaph, Druid, Feral Bear.

  • What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

Purely 10-mans. I often offspec resto/boomkin. I also run 5 mans to farm VP, but it’s not as much of a concern when it comes to how I play my class.

  • What is your favorite tanking ability for your class and why?

Thrash. Nothing is as satisfying as seeing everything in range having the blood droplets animation. It also hits like a truck.

  • What tanking ability do you use least for your class and why?

Feral Charge. I actually didn’t even have it in my spec for a while, until last night. If I need to get somewhere quickly, I prefer to use stampeding roar, and take some healers and dps with me.

  • What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?

Unchallenged mitigation. We have more armor than any other tanking class at the moment, an 18% passive damage reduction talent, and another 6% spell mitigation (24% total for magic damage). When soft enrage mechanics kick in, you want a bear tanking the boss.
We’re also the only tank who can be taken semi-seriously as a DPS. I often do 2-3 times as much DPS as my 2nd tank.

  • What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?

Lack of HP makes us vulnerable in some fights. Our abilities also don’t scale with HP or damage taken very well (aside from a small benefit to SD from vengeance), so if you take a string of magic hits, you’re in big trouble as a bear.

  • In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?

I generally prefer to add tank. We have some very nice AoE tanking abilities that make holding aggro easy, and in the small windows when you’re not taking, you can battle res, innervate, or tranquility – all of which greatly assist your raid. You can also push out some effective cat dps if there are lengthy periods where you are not needed as a tank.

  • What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?

My tanking wingman is a DK, and we balance each other out well. His abilities compliment my own nicely – where he can’t aoe tank so well, I can. Where I can’t scale with HP (e.g. Bael), he can.

  • What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?

I’ve had some bad experiences with warriors lately. Sad, since I didn’t have a problem with them in Wrath.

  • What is your worst habit as a tank?

Thinking of myself as a DPS. I sometimes let Demo Roar drop so I can get more vengeance, or I’ll charge into a group of adds and thrash them, just to do some DPS. This often puts unnecessary pressure on healers.

I also often pay more attention to raid leading than to my tanking. So I’ll get DPS killed by a breath attack, or not move something to the correct place on time, because I’m paying attention to something else.

  • What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?

When someone goes mad on DPS the instant you pull, before you’ve had a chance to build vengeance. DPS should know better by now.

  • Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks for PvE tanking?

Not completely. Our passive damage mitigation is arguably overpowered at the moment, and our mastery is pretty broken (although the two balance each other out, I guess).
We could really do with us scaling better with HP all around.

  • What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?

I obviously use WoL like most. I also run the mod Fatality, which shows how everyone died mid raid, so I don’t have to find out what wiped us hours later, when logs are uploaded.
I’m very critical of myself over cooldown usage. Even if I didn’t die, correct cooldown usage could have saved a healer some mana, or allowed them to heal someone else, who then wouldn’t have died.
Generally the criteria for spotting fail are :
(1) Did I keep pulverize up as close to 100% as possible?
(2) Did I push competitive DPS?
(3) Did I die to something stupid?

  • What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?

People think that because you don’t wear plate, or use a shield, you’re not a real tank. I guess this stems back to TBC, where we couldn’t get uncrushable, so no one really took bears all that seriously. Recently Blizz has blurred the lines between tanks a fair amount, so a lot of that just isn’t true any more.
A lot of players still think of Bears as an offtank – even though this is a job I usually pick for myself anyway, we are quite capable of taking hits from a boss and surviving as well as any other tank.

  • What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?

The idea of a priority system that is based around both mitigation and DPS is a tough one to get to grips with. You want to push top DPS for threat, while also keeping Demo Roar up, and using your cooldowns appropriately. This can take a fair amount of practice to get right.

  • If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a tank via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. too much damage taken, not enough cooldown usage, etc)?

They’d see me dropping pulverize way more often than I should (I changed my power auras recently to make this much harder to do, however).
They’d also see much less cooldown usage than ideal.

  • Dodge or Mastery, and why?

I’m still stacking dodge on all pieces. I know there’s a growing argument for taking Exp, or going for a full DPS Mastery/Exp/Hit build, but until such time as my DPS would be a factor in my raids overcoming enrage mechanics, it just seems far too risky for me.

  • What tanking class do you feel you understand least?

Warriors. Perhaps it’s because it’s the only class I’ve never tanked with personally, but they just seem really complicated and non-intuitive to me. Taking a look at other classes it’s fairly clear what your rotation should be to maximise mitigation – for a warrior it doesn’t seem to clear to me.

  • What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?

Addons : TidyPlates (with threat addon), Skada (which includes a threat meter).
Macros : I have yells built into all of my tanking cds, so healers know when I start to panic. I also have healing potions and health stones macro’d into my FR macro, so when I hit low health, I pop it and my health almost instantly climbs back up.

  • Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I reforge all to dodge, so I guess this applies to what pieces of gear I choose, as some stats will be be left behind regardless. Primarily I look for Mastery pieces, preferably also with Exp/Hit. I try pickup as much hit as I can, as Demo Roar missing a lot really distracts me from doing my job. I know I’m going to get flamed for not taking Exp instead, but this works well for me. Every time I pickup some hit, I can immediately see Demo Roar hit more, and it makes my life a ton easier.

Posted in Feral Bear tanking, Written By Garnaph

Repost: Feral 4.2 Gear

via Restokin by Garnaph on 7/6/11


As with the caster gear list I posted earlier this week, here’s the list of all relevant feral gear (for both bear and kitty).

I’m not going to comment too much other than some first impressions. I’m posting this mostly as a resource and less as my own point of view as to what’s BiS. I’ve noted which pieces have haste, as bears regard it as their worst stat, and as of 4.2 it’s a much better stat for kitty than it used to be.

Note that this does not include any Heroic items. Instance drops, tier pieces, and the vendor relics have HC versions, which are pretty much upgrades on the existing stats.

Also note that the daily reward items are a lower ilvl than the raid drops (365 vs 378), and as such will likely be replaced very quickly. That said, they’re certainly an upgrade over any 359 you came into 4.2 with, so they’re worth mentioning.

For details as to how the new firelands dailies work, read here.

Rep items are obviously from the Avengers of Hyjal faction.















Posted in Feral Bear tanking, Feral DPS Cat, Written By Garnaph

The ever-growing world of Heirloom Leveling

I wrote a post back in early WotLK about heirlooms for leveling. However, I keep getting more questions about them, and my list was seriously out of date. So, today’s post will talk about the benefit (and drawbacks!) of leveling with heirloom items, and include a more up to date list of feral (cat/bear) and caster (resto/moonkin) heirlooms available to druids.

Benefits of Heirlooms:

Now, the benefit of most heirlooms is that they increase your experience (XP) rate while leveling. If your goal is to level as quickly as possible, then these items definitely do the trick. When you combine heirloom items with the guild perk XP bonuses (and rested XP!), you get increased rates of leveling. Faster leveling means getting your alt to the end-game faster.

You also get increased stat values compared to what most of the greens & blues drop from quests and instances. For melee classes, getting heirloom weapons can really make you feel much more powerful because they have a large impact on your damage at the earliest levels!

Drawbacks of Heirlooms:

The only drawback of using heirloom items is that you may level too fast. By that, I mean that you basically blow through the new Cataclysm content so fast that you miss all the interesting storyline arcs. You may do the first handful of quests in a zone, and then suddenly the quests are all green/gray and it’s time to move to the next zone. Also, you aren’t being challenged if you always out-level and out-gear the mobs you are killing. So, for people who enjoy the process of doing the lower level quests (or for people who like completing all the quests in a zone before moving to the next one), skipping on the heirlooms could be worthwhile to them.

Heirloom Shopping List

Feral (Cat/Bear) PvE heirlooms:

Caster (moonkin/resto) PvE heirlooms:

Other Heirloom Options:

There are also PvP heirlooms you can get from PvP vendors that have resilience on them. So, if you want to PvP level, or don’t mind trading some stats for resilence, these are great options for people who focus primarily on PvP. Cynwise has some PvP heirloom advice here.

Caster druid leveling can also use the cloth ones: Dreadmist Mantle, and Dreadmist Robe. However, I still prefer using leather over cloth if you have the ability to get the leather ones.

Wowpedia has some more advanced info on heirlooms available here.

Also, if you want help with how to enchant your newly acquired heirloom items, you should check out Psynister’s guide.

Happy leveling!

Posted in Druid - General, Feral Bear tanking, Feral DPS Cat, Leveling, Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees

Troll & worgen form color charts

So, part of getting ready for Cataclysm’s arrival is getting ready for all the new druids who will be leveling up over the next few months.

I have some updates planned for my leveling guide that I’ll be unveiling whenever 4.0.3a hits the servers.

I also added a new set of pages to my site (that you can click on the top menu bar), which has all the druid shapeshift graphic forms for the troll & worgen. I did this since I’ve been getting a ton of page views for my previous form pages, so this seems to be a really hot topic. However, the pages that were getting a lot of views didn’t really have the best info that I have available to me, so I thought I owed you all something better.

  • Click here for a link to the Troll druid form page. This page has the cat, bear, moonkin & tree forms for trolls. As a special bonus, I have the cat & bear form colors matched with the male & female troll hair color (to help you choose which troll hair color you want to choose when you create your new character!).
  • Click here for a link to the Worgen druid form page. This page has the cat, bear, moonkin & tree forms for worgen. For the worgen, cat & bear form colors are matched to the human-form hair coloring (not to the worgen-form coloring). So, when you make your worgen druid on patch day, it may help if you choose the Human-form hair color at the character creation screen that matches the  feral forms you want, so that you don’t have to try your luck with getting the barber shop to work in your favor after you hit level 10 (since the barber shop only shows you the worgen form & not what your human hair color looks like as of now). I put the human hair color pairs with the cat & bear forms to help you make those decisions when you start your worgen druid.
Posted in 4.0.3a, Cataclysm, Druid - General, Feral Bear tanking, Feral DPS Cat, Moonkin Balance DPS, Restoration Healing Trees


Featured Blogs