For the brand new Bear tank, a few fun facts about bear tanking to help you understand why you do what you do, and how things generally work.
We’ll assume you visited my previous post about Specs, and are specced with the key Bear Tanking Talents.
This is in a nutshell how Bear tank abilities work;
- Mangle makes your Lacerate (Bleed) do more damage, Lacerate (Rend and Tear Talent) makes your Maul do more damage.
- Mangle and Maul both can apply Infected Wounds in a target, slowing them down (Infected Wounds Talent).
- Swipe is instant cast, and costs Rage. (It is affected by the global cooldown).
- Swipe affects a 360 degree radius around the Bear.
- Swipe can affect targets that are slightly outside your normal melee range at the moment. Keyword: Slightly.
- The target of Swipe does not have to be physically in range for Swipe to activate; Swipe will still normally affect targets that are within your range.
- Bears cannot Dodge targets behind them.
- Bears can cast Swipe while moving.
- Every time you successfully achieve a Critical Strike, you activate a personal damage shield/bubble. It lasts for one hit, regardless of how much the damage of the hit would be, and absorbs an amount based on your Attack Power.
- Every time you successfully Dodge or achieve a Critical Strike, you get a small amount of Rage back.
- You also get Rage from dealing damage, and from TAKING damage.
- Growl is a Taunt that forces a targeted enemy to focus on you. It causes NO threat. All it does is raise your threat to be the highest your target sees. If your target has only seen you, it does nothing. If someone else has passed your threat on the target, it RAISES yuor threat level for that target to match.
- Growl can miss.
- Survival Instincts raises your maximum Health when activated. Frenzied Regeneration heals based on your max Health at the time it is activated. Casting Frenzied Regeneration immediately after Survival Instincts gives you bigger FR self heals.
- Barkskin allows you to reduce all damage you take by 20% and can be used to survive attacks that would otherwise kill you. The Tier 9 4 piece bonus reduces the cooldown, further encouraging you to use it often.
- Demoralizing Roar is an AoE ability that reduces a mob’s attack power (by 575 with talents), reducing the damage you take.
- Feral Faerie Fire is free to cast in bear form, causes damage and a large amount of threat, and is a great rotation “filler” if you’re waiting on a global cool down.
- Maul does not consume a global cooldown, can be added to other abilities in macro form so that it is always queued when you use Mangle or Swipe, for example, and when Glyph of Maul is used it strikes two targets. It does a very large amount of threat. Using Maul replaces a normal Rage generating attack, so using it when at low to zero Rage at the beginning of a pull can be dangerous without activating Enrage first.
- Challenging Roar is not a true taunt like Growl – mobs will be forced to attack you for a short time, but it will not raise your threat level with them to be the highest. At the end of the effect, their threat list will be restored. While active, use high threat generating abilities to re-establish aggro on mobs.
- Enrage generates Rage, but the armor reduction applies to final armor value, not ‘base’ armor before multipliers. With a balanced group, this should simply mean that you take slightly more damage while Enrage is active, and this causes even more Rage to build up. Warning healers that you will be temporarily more squishy can be helpful.
- Lacerate is a bleed that Bears can use and stack to 5. Not only is it good threat but when talented with Primal Gore it can crit and activate Savage defense, this is very useful when stunned as you can still mitigate some damage if Barkskin is on cooldown.
- Demoralizing Roar is great to use right after a charge – not only does it reduce the damage you will be taking from mobs, but it also has more range than swipe which reduces the likelihood of a mob being missed by swipe and going after the healer.
- Berserk is highly useful and has multiple applications. If you are facing mobs or a boss that frequently fears, popping Berserk after the pull can allow you to spam Mangle along with Maul repeatedly without interruption by Fear, allowing you to keep the boss in one place and establish a lot of initial threat. Additionally, as Berserk allows your Mangle to hit three adjacent melee targets in front of you, you can pop it to establish high initial threat on three targets when feeling stretched thin by solid DPS using AoE.
- Ignore what the people who don’t know Bear Tanks tell you… Bear Tanks fully Talented in Survival of the Fittest do NOT need Defense Rating at all. It is a useful stat, but is NOT required to become uncrittable. Blizzard likes it so much that they are giving every OTHER tank class a Survival of the Fittest type Talent in Cataclysm.
- Damage absorbed by bubbles, such as those cast by a Disc Priest, still gives the Bear that it is cast on Rage comparable to the damage that would have gotten through. Don’t ask your Priest friends to hold the bubble.
This list is purely for a short form “bullet points to be aware of” kind of list. Comments are welcome for one sentence tips to add to this list. Simply mention your tip in the comments, and I’ll add it to the list. Thanks!
I hope folks will offer tips on how these things can be used in day to day life.
I’ll kick it off, by mentioning that you can target a distant enemy spellcaster that will not come to you, and while he is targeted and outside your melee range, you can use Swipe to cause threat on near targets and Feral Faerie Fire to build threat on the distant target. Select your close Skull kill target, Maul and Mangle and such, then select the distant target and Grow if necessary, Feral Faerie Fire for threat. Assuming your group not doing massive AoE, the only aggro you have to stay ahead of on distant targets is healing aggro. If they ARE doing massive AoE and hitting the distant target… kill close spellcasters first, then kite the melee enemies over to the distant so he IS within range.