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Posts Tagged ‘feral druid’

So let me set the stage… A few days before that Cataclysm dropped I got my warrior to level 80 (yaah). So I queued for a few runs because I was bored. Most of them were normal mode. Here I am, fresh dinged 80 with no gear to speak up and I got in a couple runs with raiders that were helping an alt get a trinket. One of those runs was a normal PoS run and I think all the DPS were averaging over 5k dps. It was some of the hardest tanking I have done. Why? Because I challenged myself to hold all the agro. Sure those guys could take the hits. I probably could have gone AFK. But nah, I like a challenge. So I tanked it. And while I did not so much ‘hold’ agro, I did juggle it so that most of the critters hit me most of the time. Really I pulled out all the stops, hammered keys, bounced around like crazy, and in the end really impressed myself with what I was able to keep up with.

There is a point to this, and it is not to brag. Right after that I got in a Heroic PoS and, despite again really pulling out all the stops and stretching that little gnome warrior, I just could not get Tyrannous down. At some point you hit a wall of ‘gear’ where the tank can’t take the hits and the healer (who was good but also under geared badly) can’t heal them.

So that is the stage going into Cata. We started leveling our main druid pair first and it went well. I knew bear swipe had been nerfed 20% according to the patch notes. I also knew I was losing my 20% swipe 10 set bonus. Also I knew that healing was nerfed and everything was going to be hard again. All that means I expected it to be somewhat challenging in places, and in places it was.

And then we ran instances. Yep, challenging, very challenge. I marked stuff, our very good DPS friends (like RepGrind) CCed stuff. We usually had good DPS levels. Almost 100% of our runs were with guildies. And it was hard but it went ok. Love the new instances, love the new mechanics, but this post is not really about that. I ran a few runs with another tank in the guild and we did less CC on those. I also ran with one of the other raid leaders and he commented how the other runs he was on they CCed less and stuff. Honestly it really pissed me off. How dare anyone think these Cata runs were easy, they were HARD.

Finally I noticed something…. Some adds were quite simply ignoring my aoe threat. They would run right through it when no one else should have had much threat on them. Hmm.. strange. Maybe I need to get Thrash fired off more often. Maybe move a few abilities around. So I went looking for some macros and stuff. Had to Google around to see how they changed the syntax on a swipe macro…

Then, just as I was almost done tuning my macro I ran into a link to this on wow-head’s swipe entry:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1127127739

[Analogue edit: this thread is an even more detailed "whodunit" sorta rundown for number muncher types: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1118442888]

I checked the numbers they posted against what my meters were saying and it is pretty much right. Bear swipe got somewhere around a 75 to 80 percent nerf.

80% reduction? To swipe? EIGHTY PERCENT??!?!!!

Holy freaking crud no wonder those runs were so dang hard. I have NO AOE threat. How did we even get through those? Why did it take me that long to notice?

Well that last question I could figure out. I had just been on that warrior, for the last few runs before cata. Really compared to those runs it was almost easier. It took me getting my bear to 85 before it really sank in that the runs had been nearly has hard as having the whole party with vastly better gear. I had literally run every other instance in the expansion and was starting the last one (Grim Batol) when I figured this out.

Bears are broken. I hate to say it be they are. Bliz needs to fix this bug ASAP.

Interestingly I had noticed that my ‘how to work your bear in 4.0.1-4.0.3’ post from the other week had been getting a lot of google hits. Now I know why.

For those not yet leveling in Cata who hope Thrash will fix it for you, it will not. It does similar damage levels as swipe, and only adds a tiny little bleed effect. For those of you that are not 85 and were hoping max level would fix the issues for you, it will not.

But hang in there. It IS possible to tank everything here as a bear, you just might need a tiny bit more gear than your pally friends (may they and their three target taunts and their ranged multi target silences and their non-nerfed aoe dps all die horribly in a fire). But you CAN do it. Some of the fights are going to be so hard as to challenge you. Remember to use tab and spread around some other threat besides Swipe. And mark targets for your DPS. If you don’t at least give them a skull to shoot at you will have much much more trouble.

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Like my hunter post this will be short and to the point. This is a ‘get you up and running’ post and not a serious attempt at theory crafting. I have only tanked 2 or 3 runs so far with my bear so I don’t know everything there is to know about it. This intended to be a quick start guide to show the basics of how to play a bear in 4.0.1 (and in 4.0.3)

First off your aoe threat will be crap. No really. It will be rather bad. Swipe on a cooldown is fairly painful. Don’t give up the bear yet though. We have other things going on now. For one thing single target threat is insane. Seriously. I was pulling stuff off other tanks without using taunts, without trying to, and when they had a head start on the threat.

So let’s get to it…

Glyph your maul. Yeah you probably already had that but make sure. You will need it.

Spec

For a spec check out Uncrittable or Big Bear Butt. They both have some that are good. Mine is pretty close to those. Don’t bother checking mine. I just slapped some stuff in there.

Rotation

Well it is more of a priority/rotation. Whatever.

You still want to swipe all you can. If you are going to be doing AOE threat you will need to tab target and maul a lot too. If you are doing single target threat it is the same as before, lots of lacerate.

But wait! There is more!

Whereas before we did heavy single target damage with lots of lacerate… and after the first 5 we were wasting it and filling in with FF and maul instead, now we have a new tool. Pulverize! This thing eats your lacerates so you will not waste their dots. And lacerate only goes to 3 stacks. My rotation so far has been this.

Lacerate-lacerate-lacerate-pulverize *repeat*

Filling in with swipes and mauls as needed for multi target threat. This does a metric ton of single target threat and pretty solid tank dps too. There are probably many ways to improve on it so don’t take this as the final word. It is merely a workable first word.

Keep in mind we still have feral fearie fire and growl for grabbing things at range… BUT WAIT!! There is MORE!

At long last, all your caster mobs are belong to me. We finally have a ranged silence… sort of. In the past bears have had no ability to move ranged casters around. It was line-of-sight or nothing. Now we can. It is not much, but we CAN! It is called

What it does is a short range charge (about 8 yards) with no minimum range. So you can use it on things right in your face. It also is an interrupt and short silence. So you can use it to reposition casters. Bears Rejoice!

AOE threat…

AOE threat in 4.0.1 is not as stupid simple as it was. Between the swipe cooldown and the massive ‘thorns’ nerf your easy-peezy aoe threat tools are gone. Now you have to work at it.

You have charge in fast and get your first swipe off as soon as targets are in range. You might need to follow up with a quick ‘demoralizing roar’ if there are targets your swipe did not hit. Expect someone to pull off you right away. Everyone is still AOE happy and you can be almost certain some mage is opening up with blizzard. If a hunter pulls off let them die. Any hunter that can’t figure out how to use misdirect needs to spend some time in the Bee Pit.

To build up AOE threat you are probably going to need to be target swapping and spreading around your maul and some lacerate. With maul hitting two targets and your lacerating a little on everything in a pack you CAN hold aoe agro. It is just not as easy as it was. You might have to get a lot better with your taunts. If you are rage starved you can spread around some FFF too. That still costs no rage so use it as needed. AOE threat is NOT broke. Bears are not broken. Their AOE threat was just over powered before and now it takes actual skill. You have to be reactive and adaptive. If you have to, beg your dps to follow kill order and start marking things. Your single target threat should be sky-high so if you can just get people to shoot your target your agro issues will vanish.

Personally I am happy about the changes. Bear tanking had become for me nothing but spamming one button (swipe macroed to maul) and charging from pack to pack. It was pretty boring really. Now it is challenging and interesting again. Good luck!

Like I said, this is just a quick start guide. If it is not enough keep ‘googling’ and you will find more detailed and in-depth information.

*** edited***

News FLASH!
 Bear tanking got a lot more nerf than the patch notes claimed.

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