So, last night, the first full night after Patch 3.0.2, I took my nice new Bear Tanking Talent spec for a drive.

Yes, it has Berserk. Yes, I decided to try it out without Omen of Clarity. Just FYI.

The location for this test run?

Heroic Magister’s Terrace.

Why?

Because I’ve never done it on Heroic and gotten past the Priestess PvP fight before.

Well, okay, so we only ever went in there on Heroic once, and ran out of time for the evening before getting the Priestess down. It’s not like we have tried for months with epic fail. Too busy playing a ton of alts and doing Kara, really.

Still, it counts as not having been done by me before. So by gosh and by golly, Heroic MgT! Who’s up for it?

Turns out Cassie was up for it with her new Combat Swords spec (as suggested by Chase, the Rogue columnist for WoW Insider), Graimerin with his Paladin and a fresh new Healing spec, Elystia and her Mage, and Doodlebug on his Über-Warlock Doozie and a Destro spec.

Cassie and I updated our addons, mostly Omen, Recount, Cartographer, and Fubar and all it’s little joys. We hurriedly arranged our buttons and checked for new spells at the trainer.

I gladly blew 24 gold to get my new Revive out-of-combat ressurect spell, and the new Nature’s Grasp that we get without having to invest in the Balance tree.

I then equipped the Major Glyph of Maul that Ishvi made me, and bought a Major Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration off the AH for 8 gold.

Let me show you how I set up my button bar for the run.

bearbuttonbar3-0-2.jpg

Okay, I move with the mouse, and use the numbers to activate attacks. So, with a new layout, there was some hesitation on my part when doing it that way.

On that button bar, the way I lay things out is with an eye for ‘opening moves’ on the far left of the bottom bar. Then, as I go from openers to common abilities, I move from left to center. I linger in the center, going back on forth on frequent abilities. The less repetitious an ability becomes from there, the farther to the right it goes.

So you can see on the bottom, I have Feral Charge and Enrage, my two main opening moves, on the far left. Then I put Frenzied Regeneration conveniently right next to Demoralizing Roar, then Feral Faerie Fire, then the 4 core attack abilities, Mangle, Lacerate, Maul and Swipe. Then I finish it with Growl, Bash and Challenging Roar.

Before 3.0.2 my attacks were laid out in order of GCD and threat priority, but I am still measuring the new speed of Mangle, the effects of Maul, and how much I like Swipe. These may change a bit.

On the top button bar, I start with my favored land mount (it always goes there on all my toons), followed by the core abilities that are now shared by all forms, with an eye towards optimizing my Bear bar synergy.

I have Tiger’s Fury positioned in kind of the ‘red-headed stepchild’ position, because I never used it in Kitty but it’s supposed to be buffed now so I plan on testing it out. I then have Survival Instincts directly above Frenzied Regeneration, for the synergy between them.

Frenzied Regeneration now heals over time based on your max health at the time it is cast, healing .3% of max health per point of Rage, at the rate of 10 Rage per second for 10 seconds. So, 3% of max health per second for 10 seconds. Survival Instincts boosts your max health temporarily by 30%. So I pop Survival Instincts to bring my health in Bear from 18,000 to 23,400… and then pop Frenzied Regeneration which heals over time based on a max health of 23,400, or 702 health per second, 7020 health total. They go together like Rum and Coke. If I were to just pop Frenzied Regen without SI, it would heal for 540 per second, instead. Hey, a difference of 1620 health is a Potion all by itself when things are tight!

After Survival Instincts, I have the core abilities that I wanted handy, right over my Mangle through Swipe set; Berserk, Barkskin, Lifeblood (the Heal Over Time you get with 375 Herbalism), Super Healing Potions, Charged Crystal Foci, Healthstones, Tanking Trinkets, and of course then we drift out towards the edges again with Entangling Roots and Nature’s Grasp.

Everyone’s got their own style of doing things, and I sure don’t want to come across like I think this is the best. Not hardly. People use tons of different mods to arrange buttons, and all sorts of different play techniques. Lost of folks put everything on hotkeys and would never dream of clicking a button.

This is just my way of doing things that I’ve used for a long time, and I like it.

Anyway, we strolled on into Heroic Magister’s, and I was excited to see how it would go.

Boy, did I stink it up in there for the first couple pulls.

The first thing I noticed?

My Rage seems to decay a LOT faster than it used to. I mean, eyeblink and it’s gone.

Used to be, I’d shift, pop Enrage, say to go ahead and Sheep pull, and have no problems picking up whatever came running. I was so used to never having a problem, I damn well forgot just how much Threat a Sheep pull causes a Mage.

Well, at least three seperate times last night Elystia died simply because I said to pull, and I didn’t have enough Rage to blow out a candle by the time her cast time was done and the group came running.

Once I actually got something fighting me, the Rage came fast and easy, but the first few seconds of a pull require timing and care.

The next thing, of course, is that Swipe is lovely. But so is being able to use Pots, Healthstones, and Crystal Focus whenever we feel like it, or when the Healer is a little busy keeping a squishie alive.

Not to mention being able to pop Survival Instincts and Frenzied Regeneration if the Healer is busy.

And popping Barkskin whenever under attack by more than one mob.

The next thing I noticed was that our Threat generation is quite lovely. I have definitely seen a big spike in Threat output. I was almost… not 100%, but almost, able to keep every Mana Worm on me for the entire AoE fight (the ones you pull right before the second boss), even with Elystia blasting them all out with her AoE. Towards the very end, usually two or three would fly past me to her before they all died, but for the most part Swipe kept the Worms VERY busy, and off the Mage.

Another thing of note, I found that even though Lifeblood is a nice, no Mana cost HoT that we can use in Bear form, I almost never used it. Since it does take a spot on the Global Cooldown, even though I had it I almost never popped it, because Mangle now has such a fast cooldown when fully talented that you just don’t want to waste a Mangle. But I did use it a couple times.

Basically, what I found was, if I wanted a shot of Health, and I was willing to blow the GCD, I was more willing to slam a Healing Potion than trigger a HoT. That may change when tanking easier fights, or longer fights, but on the four-pulls of short frantic duration I frequently was more concerned with insta-Health and throwing the Threat far and wide than on casting HoTs.

Like I said, I made more than my share of mistakes while getting used to having a LOT more toys to play with, and seeing what I liked using where… but one thing that was a hard lesson to internalize, was that Growl has a 20 yard range now.

At least three times, we’d be beating hell out of a group, and the Sheep would finally break, or the Sap would break, and I’d be busy with two mobs and Swiping around, and the mob would run for Graimerin, and I would spin around, and guess what? Feral Charge.

Damnit.

The second time I caight myself doing it, it got annoying. I’m too used to Feral Charge to nail someone in the backfield. I keep forgetting I can just turn around, Growl to get him off the Healer and onto me, and stay right there in place to finish the kill priority before Charging off to pick him up.

It’s far more efficient to stand in place and continue to beat heck out of your opponents, than to go charging off, dragging them all into melee range of the Healer, making the melee DPS chase after you all, and send everyone into Chaos just to pull Threat off.

Duh. TWICE!

No, much better to see the bad guy break and go running, and simply stand in place and pivot if necessary, throw down a long range Growl, and go back to beating the heck out of your primary kill targets. If things take too long, and the mob loses interest in you again, THEN decide if you want to Charge or wait for another Taunt. Geez.

Another thing? Berserk is AMAZING… but it DOES have drawbacks.

First, I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep hammering it home; before you trigger Berserk in Bear form, make damn sure Mangle is OFF cooldown.

When triggered properly, you can spam 10 Mangles one right after the other, BAM BAM BAMx10, right smack in the face of the bad guy. But if you trigger Berserk when Mangle is still on cooldown, from what I’ve seen it looks like it immediately removes the Haste buff you get from being specced fully into Improved Mangle, and you have to wait out the entire remaining old slow cooldown before you can finally start spamming the Berserk Mangles.

I haven’t timed it, but I was watching it close, and that seems to be what is happening. I’ll definitely be testing that out more.

The other drawback to Berserk, is that sometimes you DON’T want your attacks to hit more than your one main target.

We were fighting Kael’thas, and I was tanking him and beating hell out of him, and I decided to pop Berserk and Mangle the unholy heck out of him to fry his little Blood Elf brain before our first floater session with the globes.

And just as I begin to unleash the chain Manglex10 of DOOM, the Phoenix spawns RIGHT ON TOP OF Kael’thas.

Guess what? Birdie took the same ten Mangles… and the casters were never able to kite his butt off me. We lived through that, but Cassie was obviously in melee range and died.

The ‘My attacks hit far and wide” issue wasn’t limited to Berserk. Other times, I intentionally found myself in tight quarters with a Sheep nearby, and I did not dare use Maul, because I have that Glyph equipped that let’s it hit two targets… and I was afraid to break Sheep. Another couple times, I was sure the Sheep was far enough away so I could safely pop Swipe, and broke it anyway. I dearly need to test the exact range limits of Swipe when turned to the side.

Anyway, we blasted through Heroic Magister’s Terrace, we beat everthing up, we struggled a LOT with figuring out the Princess fight, wiping three times, until Cassie sapped the Warlord, Doozie banished the engineer, Elystia Sheeped the Eeherial, and then we all unloaded on the Monk, destroyed him, and then took down the Priestess, and one after another annihilated the last three as they broke CC.

On that fight, the abilities we have simply SHONE, as it was so delightful to be able to pop Survival Instincts, Barkskin, Healing Pots, Healthstones, Nature’s Grasp, and Berserk in Cat form to just survive solo LONG past when I’d normally be picking myself off the floor.

My biggest, most hugest mistake of all, though?

I forgot, as we were doing it, that my Entangling Roots work indoors now. I forgot! We are sitting there discussing CC methods on the damn pull, and I COULD HAVE ENTANGLED ONE!!!!!!111!

Moron. /sigh.

My conclusion?

We can take the concentration we used to devote to keeping track of aggro levels on different mobs and multiple targeting, and apply that concentration towards a ton of wonderful abilities that are designed to keep us alive.

IF I can remember I have the damn things.

Next, I think I’d like to tank a Heroic Shattered Halls.

I’m definitely going to do Magister’s again on Heroic. SOON. It was a lot of fun.

Oh, and since I am in all Badge gear and Kara epics… I think you can rest assured, our armor number reduction has not changed our fundamental capability of effectively tanking a Heroic MgT.

And since most everyone seems to be geared way better than me these days, you ought to be quite, quite excited.

I cannot wait to see what Druids will get up to next. I’m already hearing stories of Whelp pulls in Onyxia’s Lair, and others pulling the eggs on purpose in UBRS looking to get the Leeroy Jenkins achievement, and similar delightful happenings.

Ah, it’s a beautiful day to be a Bear.

Oh, and grats to Cassie on getting the Shard of Contempt! Woohoo!

EDIT! Whoops!

Sorry folks, the screenshot of my UI was posted wrong, and I’ve been swampeda t work so I wasn’t able to even know, let alone fix it. My bad!

kael-down.jpg

Edit again: the unit frame mod I use is X-Perl, I like it a lot, a great all in one mod that you can customize quite well.

The bar I use for quickmarks is called… well… QuickMark. :)

25 Responses to “Tanking tragedy and triumph in 3.0.2”
  1. honorshammer says:

    Most all of the damage in hMgT is magic damage which Bear absorb very well. You probably wouldn’t feel much from an armor reduction.

    Good luck in Heroic Shattered Halls. I’m more than happy to share the fun Paladins have had with that place with my Warrior and Druid brothers.

  2. Grandorr says:

    Thanks 3B, that is EXACTLY what I needed to see. WOOT

    This opens an entirely new way of playing. I like it alot. Beats the heck out of the limitited addition. :)

  3. Kikidas says:

    I’ve tanked H.MrT and H.SH .. as well as Slabs! plenty of times before with my bear (doing the timed run in H.SH is fun fun fun. :) ) so I can’t wait to see just how much better my aoe threat generation is going to be. :)

    I do tend to run with unusual groups, sometimes with almost no CC – or definately no CC! so I’ve learned how to aoe tank with the old skills. Hopefully I won’t have a problem with the new skillsets. I’m probably going to do the charge thing a few times too.

    And I didn’t think about the Survival Instict + Frenzied Regeneration trick! And thank you for the mangle-beserk comment.

  4. Laisom says:

    I did kara last night on my feral druid.

    Solo tanked it as usual, and everything was running great.. I too forgot all about entangle roots, and the buff that entangles when we are struck in combat.

    The most surprising thing to me was when fraerie fire was doing damage?! I liked it of course, made nightbane very easy.

    And the most fun part of the entire instance was during the pulls right before curator, our destruction warlock realized that his “death bolt” or whatever the 51 point talent is, can 1 hit the big guys right before curator, because it goes through shields.. He was so excited at this revalation that he ran into curators and started one shotting all of the big adds.. Only to pull curator and the 3 other groups that were left.

    Let’s just say that swipe saved the day. I was able to hold agro on everything, and healers kept me up, we downed curator and killed all the adds.. Simply amazing!

    I am loving the way they made druids during this patch..

    One other thing I noticed… I was with a very geared group with dps that (pre patch) do around 1k-1.3k dps on average.. And I, as a bear was #2 on dps the entire run.. Over our hunter, mage, lock, and 2 rogues.. The only person that was higher than me was our RET PALA? Amazing.

    Thank you bliz for giving the druids so many fun things to mess around with!

  5. Aranrya says:

    My main question, thus far, is “Does Frenzied Regeneration still ignore +healing?” I don’t see why they would change the mechanic, but from what I’ve heard, if you have the glyph, the +20% healing received actually works with the Frenzied Regen skill. Meaning after popping Survival Instincts, you’re healing for about 9K over 10 seconds. It’s just unreal. Is anyone else able to confirm both these for me: 1) Does FR still ignore +healing? 2) Does the Glyph of FR actually affect FR?

  6. ARA says:

    Thanks for the great writeup of your run. Its been so much fun. Yes, great trick on survival instinct + frenzied regen. I also noticed if you pop lifeblood right before frenzied regen, the glyph will increase the power of that healing effect too.

    Tanked a couple more heroics last night; of interest, the 2nd boss in blood furnace was a breeze. Just swiped + beserked the adds coming out of each cage – it was really easy to hold aggro on all 3 or 4 of them. Again, we breezed through both heroics fast & furious. I havent marked a single CC target in about 6 heroics now. No wonder pallies used to be the preferred tank for heroics.

    I’ve also noticed the mangle CD seems to go at its untalented slowest if you go beserk with a CD still in process. That’s werid – I wonder if Blizz will fix it, doesnt seem fair.

    Dont miss OoC at all for tanking – I’ve never been raged starved. I have noticed the health is often lower at the end of a pull – but that’s more than compensated by having a full rage bar all the time. That may be because we’re not using CC also. It hasnt slowed us down tho, and there’s been no bear deaths due to lack of armor.

    I havent gotten over the thrill of AOE grinding the mobs on top of black temple. Its such a blast, and it helps feed my mage’s addiction to netherweave :)

  7. Laisom says:

    I now have to remember to keep barskin up, and the new ideas about the frenzied Regen while @30% hp was very helpful thanks BBB

  8. Nocturneus says:

    I respecced to Bear last night and when I got all the Feral talents I wanted, I wound up with only 3 points for Furor. LOL

    I have to admit that when I first saw my 10K drop in my armor, I was like “WTF???”. I decided to take a solo Heroic test drive. Guess what, I went in to Heroic Slabs and on the first Mob pull, I never went below 16K health. Granted, I couldn’t kill him either because the mobs got a serious boost in their heals (like Ret Pallies), but he could barely dent me. I called in a friend and had him kill that mob. I then pulled a group, tanked them all, and killed 3 of the 4 solo. Barkskin in Bear is a godsend. My friend then helped kll the last mob. The next group I pulled I tanked solely with Swipe and Maul (No Mangle or Lacerate). He then loaded them up with Seed of Corruption, and when the pop-corn started popping, I did not lose aggro on a single mob. Yippeeeeeee! I was happier than a pig in shit.

    Another amazing discovery was that I did more damage in Cat form specced for Bear than I did when I was specced for Cat. WTF?

    Last revelation was that I did more damage in my Tier (2 pc of T4, 2 pc of T5, 1 pc of T6 gear than I did in my PvP gear (almost full Vengeful). So, specced as Bear and geared in Raid gear, I am at my best in Cat form. ROFLMAO.

    Until I hit 80, I am forever Bear specced. Though I am still doing the math, I lost 2% of dodge somewhere and I don’t know where. If I find it, I will let you know.

    Oh, and I agree with BBB. OoC is certainly shades of the past and in my opinion, is now useless. (Though it may be great for Boomkin, since it now procs on spell casts too.)

  9. Gwyd says:

    So have you settled on a basic rotation yet?

    Also – I’d love to see the screen shot of your UI more closely – clicking the picture just takes me back to this page.

    RAWR!

  10. bigbearbutt says:

    I fixed the screenshot, sorry Gwyd.

    Of course, looking at that screenshot, I now realize how embarrasing it is… every single consumable is empty, because I’ve been running on my Hunter and Priest for so long.

    I need to go herb and restock everything. :)

  11. Voteferpedro says:

    Oh. Don’t forget us druids also have another cc that I have used on the princess fight, cyclone. It’s geautiful for handling the target that is gonna be #2 on the kill order because of the debuff it puts on the target.

    Also in the princess fight life is much easier if u down her first as she mass dispells and can remove hard work and debuffs and some cc from her comrades.

  12. Nibuca says:

    Please check again. I do not believe Lifeblood triggers GCD. On my warlock I have setup the following macro:

    /cast lifeblood
    /cast life tap

    It just works. No GCD.

    Nibuca
    http://chicanery.fibergeek.com/

  13. Panda says:

    Hey bear,
    I did some testing on the mangle-beserk issue after reading this, i got curious :P so sue me.
    From what I was seeing, it does seem to remove the buff from improved mangle.
    Anyway thanks for the great read, keep it up
    Panda

  14. Mookoo says:

    I love the thought that HMgT is now not that painful for a bear anymore. It was a real pain to grind the shard there.

    @Leeeroy: I can only advise everyone to do that achievement for two reasons. On the one side it is a quick fun to do and the second thing is it holds up the honour to one of the funniest wow-vids there are. I did it together with a Ret-Pallie (unbelievable dps with t4/badge gear he would do 1800dps (!)) and a Demon-Specced WL.

    @Nocturneus: OOC is not outdated for ferals, it has definitely a use for kitties. I played around with some numbers in Toskks Model and found that with Ooc I have a plus around 150dps in catform. You can’t ignore that for one lousy talent point.

    @Frenzied/Lifeblood/SI: I see another macro coming up, more or less another “oh shit”-Button.

    Cheers,
    Moo

  15. ARA says:

    new trick: moongoose on your staff! Its awesome, and it procs all the time, especially if you’re AOE tanking a lot. It also looks a hell of a lot cooler. I dont know any druids who’ve theorycrafted these enchants, but it really doesnt matter, now that the game is so easy.

    We’re still burning through heroics, and we got 2 new bosses in BT tonite in snooze-mode – and will probably finish the place at the weekend. Its been so much fun: free loot, and just a great chance to mess around with friends, enjoying content & gear that will be obsolete very shortly.

  16. Stef says:

    Thanks for the article !

    I have a (probably silly) question : does Growl have a 360° effect, and you don’t even have to turn in the direction of the foe, or is it like moonfire and other spells, where you have to face it ?

    And by the way, has the FFF threat been modified yet ? I read they would add an internal threat bonus, with an AP modifier, in order to have people stop using balance spells to pull. Or maybe is it only in LK ?..

    Thanks in advance (and sorry for the English),
    Stef

  17. Tigerfeet says:

    You wanted Jenkins stories? Here’s your Jenkins story :D http://secretagentcat.wordpress.com/2008/10/17/something-smells-like-tiger-feet/

    It was SO satisfying to stomp over all those eggs… all of them… EVERY LAST ONE and to laugh as I swiped them into oblivion.

  18. Sweets says:

    I loved reading your heroic story. Im a druid tank in T5/Badge and I was soooo excited to see whats possible with the new talents. And thanks for reminding me, you forgot about natures grasp – i forgot about barkskin being used in bear form.

    In my build I actually opted for the master shapeshifter and the extra 4% dmg and did not go with beserk atm. I have a completely different way of handling mob pulls but i liked to see how you handled it. For me, I throw on NG and then I charge in. Swipe/Mangle. Thats pretty much it. When tanking 5+ at a time I try to throw in a stun if I can to stop some incoming dmg and also demo roar. I usually target the casters first because those guys are the threat to my healers/dps if they peel off of me, but with NG I dont have to worry so much about the melee running. :D

    Also, I use Omen, and before the patch I was floating between 900 – 1200 threat per second (assuming I could keep a full rage bar). Now I’m almost always over 2000 tps.

    I’m currently looking into gear/enchant changing. With the armor nerfs I find myself looking at the “rogue” gear more than the druid gear. I can pass on the INT for some extra armor and agi. I’m trying to recall off the top of my head, but the rogue badge Helm (Mask of the Deceiver) is a way better option than the druid one, IMHO. Same armor, more agi more stam and hit rating/ap. The str and the int stats just dont do it for me… but if you think otherwise id love to hear your opinion on it.

    @ARA – thanks for the mongoose tip. im going to look into that right away.

  19. Agerath says:

    I, for one, have been enjoying the new patch immensely.
    We had a guild run to ZA yesterday, having struggled previously at Nal’orakk due to bad tanks.
    A little bit of gearing up and help from the new changes, and….

    We cleared it two hours.

    Good times…

  20. Ancasta says:

    Another great article! Thanks.

    All your posts and tips have really helped out my tanking and general Druiding experiences. And darn enjoyable to read :)

    Looking at your screenshot, I was wondering what mod/addon you are using for your Party info. I like the way it showed everyone Target and the clean lines of the display.

  21. Sarai says:

    My guild did Kara right after the patch too, & we did a full clear, first ever as a guild. :D
    Finished it in I think about 3 hours, wasn’t really paying attention to the time.
    My NE boomkin was having a blast AOE’ing everything in sight. No cooldown on hurricane rocks.

  22. Earendil says:

    What mods are you using to change the party icons from the defaults? And I assume the lucky charms bar is another mod that speeds marking? Which mod is that?

    BTW, you can move the stoopid minimap bolt icon thing (that lets you configure Ace mods) by *very* carefully approaching it from the top until you are just hovering over it and not the tracking icon under it, then right-clicking and moving it.

  23. Gwyd says:

    The unit frame mod is Pitbull.

    @BBB – What is the mod for marking mobs?

  24. Mike says:

    I have to say it struck me as odd that you have rage problems at the start of the pull. I’ve got 45% dodge and with the new talent (can’t remember the name, too lazy to look it up) that generates rage when you dodge, i find myself with a full bar of rage when i normaly just struggled before the patch. As a general feeling, it seems i have less rage problems than before.

    About the maul glyph: It’s good but with a twist: if you AOE tank and just breeze through instances, you can get it cause the damage is still better than swipe. If you need to crowd control some pulls, maybe it’s not such a good ideea to use the glyph. It really worked against me at Malacrass where we sheeped the Ogre and i kept pounding him because he was too close to malacrass. Mage had to sheep through the entire fight, cause we were in a pug and i didn’t get a chance to tell him to stop it.

    Anyway, the way they nerfed everything is just silly: my guild had problems killing Malacrass before but this weekend i managed to complete Zul’Aman in 1.5 hours with 3 kara geared guildies and 6 no-so-bright outsiders.

    Good thing Wrath comes, otherwise this would get borring really fast.

  25. oyy says:

    the reason you are having issues with rage on your initial pull is due to the fact you have no points in intensity, so your loosing out on 10 rage when you pop enrage(3/3 intensity), at first i had the same issue and ended up respeccing out of frustration

  26.  

World of Warcraft™ and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with Blizzard Entertainment®