Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Tanking’

(Reason #27 feral druids are OP)

So, Blizzard may have nerfed the ability for all classes to farm for the Hilt from the non-elite Slaves in Pit of Saron…but bears can still farm quite well, and you don’t need uber gear to do it. (Oddly enough, the thought of a bear wearing a straw hat and chewing on a cornstalk just entered my head.)

The Soulguard Watchmen (large skeletons) in Forge of Souls are your ticket to hilt-dom. They only come in packs of two, have a very slow swing speed, and don’t hit overly hard through Savage Defense. Their only “tricks” are a temporary spell-reflect and a 10s on-hit  +10% damage/attack speed stacking buff they can start accumulating at 50% health. This leads to the following pull strats:

  • Safer: Root one on the pull, and start whacking the other. Infected Wounds slows them dramatically, so run away and heal/re-root if you need to (be careful of the reflect). You only want one to be sub-50%, to cut down on the buff accumulation, and if the buff starts getting high (4-5 stacks), just run away for 10s until the buff drops.
  • Faster (need to be reasonably geared): Taking advantage of the Glyph of Maul, just tank and kill them both. Alternate Mangles and Lacerates on the two (or you can just swipe, but that’s boring). Pop Berserk and Barkskin sub-50%; use Survival Instincts/Frenzied Regen as needed. Kite if needed.

Each two-pull should take you 1-2 minutes, depending on strat and gear. (Cat gear works fine…cat spec would be iffy but should be fine with the safer strategy.) Go kitty and stealth to get from pull to pull, just be sure to leave yourself some kite room if you need it. Also, try to avoid the “skull bomb” points, as they can be fatal if you’re running away to heal. Note: Even if you’re not playing an OP class, any tank class can farm the 2 at the start and reset; problem is you can only enter five instances per hour.

There’s 4 two-pulls in the instance, which I can generally clear in about 8-10 minutes. Once you’re done, either stealth back out (slow) or remove your gear and hop off a platform. 🙂 Reset your instance, and repeat as desired. Best guess on Hilt droprate right now is about 0.25% per mob, so 50 runs (5 runs an hour is doable) should be about average for the hilt to drop. (New wowhead data shows the droprate at 0.1%…so figure on a lot more runs.)YMMV. Good luck! 🙂

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

This page has moved to my new site! Please visit http://fluiddruid.net/2009/12/the-feral-tanking-guide-part-5/.

Read Full Post »

This page has moved to my new site! Please visit http://fluiddruid.net/2009/09/the-feral-tanking-guide-part-4/.

Read Full Post »

This page has moved to my new site! Please visit http://fluiddruid.net/2009/10/the-feral-tanking-guide-part-3/.

Read Full Post »

Bears, whither art thou?

Allison Robert, wow.com’s excellent druid columnist, recently posted an excellent article asking “what has happened to all the feral tanks?” She gives a list of complaints, which I reprint below:

Complaint #1: Bears just aren’t as visually compelling as other tanks.
Complaint #2: Gear consolidation had a more demoralizing effect on druids than other tanks.
Complaint #3: The need to use DPS leather has resulted in an uncomfortable opportunity cost associated with gearing bear tanks.
Complaint #4: Early Wrath weaknesses in 5-mans left a bad impression on players, and this bled through to raid content.
Complaint #5: Bear gameplay is boring. Too much of the bear’s effectiveness is baked into talents rather than being determined by player skill.
Complaint #6: Gear consolidation often results in druids looking insanely stupid in caster form.
Complaint #7: If the raid needs more tanks, it’s easier and faster to gear up a plate class than a druid.
Complaint #8: A druid who’s dual-specced into healing or DPS has more difficulty returning to tanking than other classes.

I think she has some great points, but I also have some criticisms of her article. The way I see it, these complaints can be summarized into five areas: effectiveness, aesthetics, fun, gear, and opportunity costs. I’ll cover each in a little more detail, in what I consider increasing order of importance.

Effectiveness
Bears were not as capable a tank as other classes in early Wrath.

This was certainly true, back when our AoE was a cone attack and before Savage Defense was implemented. We had an HP/armor advantage over other tanks, but it was small; we had no block ability, which led to us taking a good bit of damage from trash; and holding threat was hard. However, those problems have been fixed for quite some time now, so I don’t think that’s still affecting class/role decisions.

Aesthetics
Bears don’t usually get to see gear upgrades because we’re always stuck in form, and our gear looks like crap anyway, being a hybrid of rogue leather and tanking jewelry.

This point is very real; but it really depends on how much concern you have for your appearance. Me, I’ve always been a numbers guy. I get more of a thrill out of seeing 500 more HP, or 200 more DPS, than I do by seeing a new boot upgrade. Plus, I LIKE looking like a bear when raiding; it’s very visually distinctive. I typically have to mark our other tanks with raidmarks for identification purposes, but everyone always understands me on Vent when I say “run to the bear to get cleansed,” etc. It would be very nice to have something on the form that changed as your gear evolved, though. One of the comments recommended having tattoos, or scars, or some other kide of visual representation, and I wholly support that idea. Also, our animations could use some reworks; the forms look great, but the attacks are underwhelming. Overall, while looks are nice, I don’t think post people care too much about looks, if the gear/abilities are good.

Fun
Bears are boring tanks compared to the other classes.

As with aesthetics, this is more a matter of personal opinion and grass-is-greener syndrome than anything else. I still have plenty of fun when tanking. (Psst. Try changing some stuff up if you’re bored. Glyph Berserk and try to top DPS meters. Do a couple NINJABARE pulls. It’s okay. Really.) I think people have a valid argument that ferals have a smaller toolbox than the other tanks do; we have some warrior abilities, but our druid abilities are limited, mainly because of the form restriction mechanic. If Pallies can bubble others while tanking, why can’t I brez or innervate someone? Hell, let me use ALL my druid baseline abilities in feral form, and we’ll have all kinds of tools to use. (moonfire for pulling, hurricane for AOE tanking, Roots/Cyclone for adds, etc.) Kalon mentioned this in his latest post.

Gear
Bears are much harder to gear than plate tanks, due to stat consolidation and poor itemization.

This is a VERY common complaint…common enough that I decided to run the numbers and check. Let’s look at TOC 25 (normal). There are 10 leather drops (of which 5 are caster) and 16 plate drops, of which 5 are tank plate, 4 are caster, and 7 are DPS plate. There’s an equal number of tank plate and melee leather items. While this seems balanced in theory, it’s actually not. Let’s assume a 25m raid with 3 tanks, 6 healers, and 16 DPS (typical comp).

  • Plate tank items: Desired only by three specs, of which you only have 3 (maybe 2, if druid is tanking). Let’s say a bear tanks half of the time, so your roll odds (or people you have to compete with on DKP) are 1 in 2.5, or 40%.
  • Leather melee DPS items: Desired by the rogue, hunter, enhancement shammy, kitty druid, and bear druid. There are 16 DPS slots in the raid. Some quick mental math tells me, assuming random dps class distribution, that roughly 1 in 4 DPS slots goes to one of the above 4 DPS classes; so your chance of winning an item is 1 in 5. This is slightly mitigated by hunters/enh shammies having mail items to pick from as well, so we’ll call it a 1 in 4.5 chance, or 22%.

So, it is almost twice as hard for a bear to get upgrades as a plate tank, unless your guild runs with tank priority for loot drops. Yuck. Combine this with Opportunity Cost (see below) and I think you have the main reason that feral tanks are disappearing.

Opportunity Cost
The raid stands to lose the least by a feral tank switching roles.

I can’t back this up with numbers, but in general, Druids and Paladins are the most flexible tanks, since they can both dualspec dps or heals. Combine this with the fact that spellpower leather and caster plate is very easy to get off-spec, and that heals are much harder to find than dps, and guess who gets to be the one to switch to benefit the raid? Great! Thanks for switching! BTW, for many guilds, you now can’t roll on tank plate/leather, so you get dropped even farther behind the gear curve, and before you know it, you’re a fulltime healer. Druids take this much harder because they’re much more likely to have a resto off-spec. (According to armorydatamine, roughly 60% of ferals are also specced resto, while slightly under 40% of protadins are also specced holy.)

Is this fixable? Sure, but Cataclysm’s going to shake things up anyway (heh), so we’ll have to see how it goes. Until then…learn to be fluid. 😛

Read Full Post »

Druid set bonus analysis

So, I woke up this morning, saw that the T10 set bonuses had been released (including a VERY puzzling Resto bonus), and hit my usual blogs expecting some informed discussion.

Guess what? Apparently, nobody cares about the bonuses, and what they mean for upcoming fights, etc., etc., they’d rather complain about how hideous the T10 Resto Druid helm looks. Confession time: I have honestly no idea what most of my armor pieces look like…I’ve had my helm turned off ever since I got the gimp mask (better known as the Titan-Forged Leather Helm from WG). Anyway, now that we know what really motivates our beloved resto druid bloggers, let’s take a look at the druid set bonii.

Bear 2P Bonus – Your Swipe (Bear) and Lacerate abilities deal 20% additional damage.

This is a decent bonus. The extra damage on Swipe is nice for AOE tanking, obviously, and since every tank class got an AOE ability buffed with the 2p, I’d imagine that we’ll have a good bit of that in Icecrown. (Not to mention that our AOE range on Swipe was increased.) Lacerate only accounts for about 10% of our damage, so it’s not as good a bonus as it is for, say, the prot warriors, who got their 20% buff on Shockwave and Shield Slam.

Bear 4P Bonus – Your Enrage ability no longer decreases your armor and instead decreases all damage taken by 12%.

This is a VERY nice bonus. (of course, all the tanks got something like this for their 4p). 12% mitigation every 10s works out to an extra 2% mitigation overall; of course, with something like this, you may very well end up chaining it with Barkskin for a 32% mitigation effect every minute. Can’t wait to see the boss that these cooldowns were built for.

Cat 2P Bonus – The cost of your Rip ability is reduced by 10 energy.

This is pretty bad. Let’s do some quick mental math. With the Glyphs of Rip and Shred, a Rip lasts 22 seconds (12s + 4s for Rip glyph + 3*2s for Shred glyph) Assuming you can keep 100% Rip uptime, the set bonus saves you 10 energy every 22s, or roughly 27 energy per minute. That’s about half of one Shred…so you get an extra Shred every minute and a half or so. That puts it around 80 extra dps, assuming an average Shred hits for 7k damage.
However, you’re not going to be able to keep a 100% Rip uptime. It’ll certainly be boss dependent, but I’d probably cut calculated dps values for the set bonus by a third to a half for single-target fights, depending on movement/phases/etc. Add fights are a more interesting case, though, since you’ll be able to Rip a second earlier then usual. For comparison’s sake, I’d say the 2pT9 bonus is worth double this.

Cat 4P Bonus – The periodic damage done by your Rake ability can now be a critical strike.

This sounds great! The theorycrafters are going to have to give the final word on this one, but our crit rates are going to be through the roof, so a 6-7% DPS increase seems about right. We’ll have to see what the stats look like on the Tier gear to know whether this signals the death of ArPen stacking…the crit from agi now benefits an additional ability, but the agi cap’s getting mighty close, as I predicted in my ArPen FAQ.

Restoration 2P Bonus – The healing granted by your Wild Growth spell reduces 0% less over time.

As I mentioned in the comments to my previous post, this is pretty good, but not game-changing. If I remember my WG numbers right, it hits for about 800 to start, then 760, 720, etc., ending at 560. 4760 total per target. If they remove the cost reduction, that’ll jump to 800*7=5600. That’s a very nice increase, about 17%. Unfortunately, due to the mechanics of the spell, the last few ticks (which gain the most from the set bonus) usually get overhealed. Lisanna thinks (and I agree) that the 0% is a placeholder, and that they’ll eventually settle on a partial cost reduction, but not total. 50% sounds about right to me.

Restoration 4P Bonus – Each time your Rejuvenation spell heals a target, it has a 2% chance to jump to a new target at full duration.

Wow. Ok, let’s break this down. There’s several big unknowns here:
1. Does it “jump” (ala PoM) or copy? If it “jumps,” (i.e. Rejuv falls off current target, starts fresh on second target) then I’d call the set bonus harmful, not beneficial. I can’t believe Blizz would do that, so let’s call it a copy (i.e. every Rejuv tick has a 2% chance to create a Rejuv on another player)
2. How is the target picked? Smart targeting makes this more useful; random targeting, not so much. Will it jump to a target that already has Rejuv? If so, will it just refresh the HOT or add a full duration of time? Does it have a range limitation? I’ll assume random targeting/refreshing/all players in range.
3. Is the new HOT affected by Nature’s Splendor (does it get the 3 extra seconds?). Is it Swiftmendable? Let’s say yes/yes.

Basically, it boils down to this. In 3.2, you could roll Rejuv on 15 targets (while keeping WG on CD.) Now, you can keep it up on 12. Each Rejuv has a 10% total to proc another Rejuv, so we’ll end up with slightly over 13 targets having it, if the heal is smart. If not, we’re looking at 12.5, since half those Rejuvs will be wasted on people who already have it. Someone explain to me how this is a good set bonus, as currently written?

Balance 2P Bonus – When you gain Clearcasting from your Omen of Clarity talent, you deal 15% additional Nature and Arcane damage for 6 seconds.

I’m not as familiar with Moonkin as I am with other specs, so I can’t do any math on this, but it sounds fairly weak. OOC generally procs about 2x/min or so for moonkin, so you’re looking at 12 seconds of buff time per minute, for a theoretical 3% damage bonus. Unfortunately, you’re going to lose some of that due to spells not perfectly matching the buff duration. I also have no idea how it stacks with Eclipse or other stuff, which would make it better.

Balance 4P Bonus – Your critical strikes from Starfire and Wrath cause the target languish for an additional 5% of your spell’s damage over 4 seconds.

That’s it? A 5% damage boost, but only on crits, and only on SF and Wrath, drops it to like 2% (assuming the DOT’s don’t overwrite, which would REALLY suck). That’s horrible (considering the Feral DPS 4p)

Read Full Post »

Druid roundup

Work, ugh. Quick roundup of good druid posts from other sites since I don’t have the time to do my own:

Bears: Kalon at Thinktank has updated his gear guide to include Ony and PVP gears. Basically: Top-tier PVP gear (Relentless) is close to BIS, just behind 25-man heroic gear. PVP gear = more survivability; PVE gear = more threat. An invaluable resource as always.

Cats: Not much new here; so I’ll take the opportunity to tout FeralByNight again. FBN is a DPS rotation tool that continually analyzes several factors (your buffs and their time remaining, # of CP’s, energy, boss HP, positioning) to give you the “best-choice” solution for maximum DPS. It’s not perfect, and you won’t get your max DPS until you learn when to go against its reccomendations, but it’s perfect for learning feral priorities.

Moonkin: Graylo and others have talked about WiseEclipse, the addon that can increase your dps considerably by maximizing your Eclipse uptimes. Read Graylo’s post at Gray Matter for more details.

Trees: Some discussion about the nerf to Rejuvenation in 3.3 at Restokin. Blizzard seems to be gently but firmly pushing us into the “support healer” role by nerfing our ability to heal burst raid damage. I might expand this into a full post later, if I get a chance.

Bear guide to continue soon(TM).

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »