One of the most common emails I get is a request for help on basic threat generation strategies. I also get some terrible tales of the perception of Bear tanks as, well, sucking in threat generation.
We’ll see if the recent reduction in threat generation of Paladins and such has any long term impact on that perception, but the fact remains that I get a lot of folks that are concerned that they may not be doing the best they can to put out threat, or aren’t doing it the ‘right’ way.
Obviously, gear comes into question with these issues, and it’s hard to know what kind of situation people are in. Does the person worried about threat generation have enough Hit Rating and Expertise on their gear to make sure the hits are getting home when needed? Are they using Agility and Stamina AND Hit Rating and Expertise, as well as Crit and Attack Power, keeping a sensible balance between avoidance/mitigation and threat generation?
We don’t know. But what we CAN do is try and answer the question that is asked… what kind of advice can I give on threat generation for Bear tanks?
The email below is just one to represent the awesomeness that are you, my readers.
First off I want to say thank you for writing a great blog. It has been a great help with getting me started with bear tanking. Which is a great change of pace from playing my hunter. Though I am running into an issue.
The issue I am having is maintaining threat in a group pull. My group is really good about letting me build a nice start but, as soon as they let the damage fly I start loosing agro. So what is the best way for me to keep ahead of them on threat besides them throttling down some. I use swip/maul and demoralizing roar on rotation. So any advice would be great.
I will also provide a link to my underwere so to speak if you have any questions about gear/spec.
And please keep on writing.
Direye, thank you for your email!
I might have answered some of your questions about how to generate threat in a previous post, but for the life of me I don’t know which ones might help, or where I would have gone over it in detail, so here are a few things to keep in mind.
1) Feral Faerie Fire costs no rage, and does a large amount of threat. You should compare it’s TPS as shown on Omen (addon) with other ‘one target’ abilities you have, such as Mangle or Lacerate. Depending on your gear, you may find that it’s every bit as good as a damage causing attack when used to maintain threat, and better than some.
2) On single targets, do not use Swipe. Instead, use a rotation that uses Mangle when it’s off cooldown, Feral Faerie Fire, and activate Maul EVERY time Maul is available. Maul is your single highest threat and damage generator. The downside to Maul is that it replaces one of your normal attacks, so it’s not an ‘instant on’ when you activate it. You activate Maul, and on your very NEXT normal attack action based on bear wing speed, you will Maul instead of the regular auto-attack. Since you generate Rage from normal auto-attacks based on damage done, but you do NOT receive Rage from damage done by a Maul (hey Blizzard, change that for me please) then Mauls are a tasty treat that may be too expensive to use in easymode sessions when the mobs aren’t hitting you for enough to generate Rage from damage received. Like, when farming BRD. Lacerate is good, and should be used when Mangle is on cooldown. The Glyph of Maul will help give you a free second Maul on another target when in a group, so even in a group fight, especially in a group fight, keep Maul going.
- Feral Faerie Fire.
- Maul on, Mangle.
- Lacerate x3, keep Maul on, replace Lacerate with FFF or Mangle when off cooldown.
- Repeat as needed.
3) With groups, you should have a primary kill target marked with a skull so most focused DPS is headed for that target. People with single target attacks will then have guidance on who to attack, and that of course is the mob you are applying Mangle and FFF and Lacerate and Maul on. The rest of the group you are keeping in line with Swipe as a AoE threat attack, and one other mob is getting the second Maul from your Glyph.
For single targets, then, an easy attack scheme is to pull with FFF, hit with Mangle initially when in range, activate Maul, Lacerate while Mangle is on cooldown, keep activating Maul when available, replace a Lacerate with FFF when it’s off cooldown, and replace a Lacerate with Mangle when it’s off cooldown.
For multiple mobs in a group, a typical attack scheme is to mark your primary threat target with a Skull, pull the group with FFF (or charge the entire group with Feral Charge if there are casters mixed in, so you can keep the entire group within range of your Swipe), open with a Swipe when in range to counteract initial healer group threat, Mangle, Maul, Swipe, Lacerate, Swipe, and in effect so long as you have more than two targets, use Swipe whenever it’s off cooldown but mix in your normal attacks on your primary threat target as normal. If your initial pull or Feral Charge left you with some mobs, like casters or the Faction Champion Hunter out of range, drag you butt over to them so your 360 degree Swipe radius will pick them up. Maybe target them and hit them with a FFF or Mangle before moving back to skull.
When you switch to a new main threat target, pop a Skull over his head to help the rest of the group know who to focus on next.
In groups, some folks will use AoE attacks like Volley or Blizzard, but others like Rogues and Ret Paladins will be all over one at a time. Giving them a Skull to help them focus on the target you’re dumping most of your threat on helps a lot.
For help in fast Skull marking in mid-fight, you can assign Skull to a keybinding directly from the Keybinding menu. Simply go to the Main Menu, choose the Keybinds option, and scroll through the list until you find markings like Skull, X and Moon. I have Skull on F1 and X on F2, and I rarely if ever use anything else. For those times when I will be using crowd control, I have Quickmarks (addon) available. With the keybinds, though, it’s easy to simply target and attack as normal, and tap a quick F1 to apply a Skull mark.
This is, seriously, a fast and dirty and completely strategy-free rundown on threat generation. The art, as with anything, is in how you handle various situations such as split groups. The mobs aren’t always in nice neat packs that come when you call. But this should get you started on testing your threat.
My suggestion to you is, armed with the above advice, go to a level 83 target dummy in a capital city, make sure you have Omen (addon) installed and open enough to display your TPS (threat per second), and then start actually USING these abilities. You’ll likely have to Enrage immediately before your cycle, and you might want to bring a Rage potion or three with so you have enough Rage to go for a bit, but watching your TPS as you go, and have the leisure time to make some changes to what you’re doing, will help get you accustomed to what works and doesn’t work.
I hope this helps!