Alternative title: Patience my butt, I want to tank something!
I see a lot of questions from folks wanting just a little advice or guidance on tanking with a Bear in lower levels.
These requests don’t fall on deaf ears, the simple fact is that it’s been impossible for me to really know what to tell you.
It’s been years… really, many years, since I leveled a Druid.
Yes, I leveled Feral, but I mainly focused on Kitty DPS, in a time when speccing a cross between Feral and Restoration gave you reasonable soloing Kitty DPS, Bear survivability against around 3 mobs, and Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Touch was in almost every Feral build for a quick Bash/shift for Insta Heal and back to Bear combo.
I’m saying a long, long time ago, when Onyxia 40 mans and Molton Core were still the hot tickets, hehe. Should I mention my lawn, the luxurious nature of it’s grass, and the desirability of youths to remove themselves from it’s environs now?
This was back when you may have thought you could do anything, but when you got into raids, the only Druid specific loot had healing stats on it. Yep, the role according to Blizzard’s itemization for a Druid in raids was Healing, there were no Tree forms, and the only raiding Tier gear that dropped for druids had healing stats. Period.
Okay, sorry, as much as I like reminiscing about the good old days with you, and love hearing your stories about the good old days as well (No, really, I really look forward to your long comments, they are like mini-posts I get to read all day), that’s not the point.
The point is, it is nearly unbelievable how much the Druid class has changed since I leveled Feral.
The class has changed dramatically, the Feral spec has gone from being a joke to being highly respected, the gear choices have gone from non-existant to sweet Heirloom stuff, and the tanking opportunities have blossomed for at-level content with cross-server LFD in Azeroth.
There’s just no way I could do more than study, extrapolate from other people’s data, and guess, really. No first hand knowledge to share.
Well, hell, that ain’t gonna cut it.
So what I’ve been doing is playing a new Druid.
No, seriously, I deleted my old Druid alt and created a brand new Tauren Druid, specifically as a laboratory for tanky leveling purposes.
I don’t advise you to wait for my posts about it, as the alternative post title says, you don’t want to be patient and wait for some schmuck to tell you what to do, you want to get out there and have fun now.
But I’m intending to spend most of my time on this alt tanking in random LFD, in level appropriate content. And I’ll post about my results, bookmark it on the sidebar, and provide a venue for your comments and additional suggestions.
I am, at the time of posting this a level 16 Tauren Druid with the full range of Heirloom items.
For sake of reference, the best Heirloom items for you if you intend to actually Bear Tank your way up from 20+ and are twinking are:
- Repurposed Lava Dredger (with Enchant 2H Weapon – Agility which requires friendly with Timbermaw to learn)
- Exceptional Stormshroud Shoulders (Yes, the PvP shoulders are better for a dedicated Bear tank when leveling)
- Stained Shadowcraft Tunic (with Enchant Chest – Greater Stats)
- 2x Swift Hand of Justice trinkets
There is also an excellent Ring, the Dread Pirate Ring, that is an Heirloom with solid Bear tanking stats. It comes as a quest reward for winning the new Kal’uak Fishing Derby, and I’m listing it after the above stuff because I ain’t got it. And, now that I’ve let the people on my server know about it (those that didn’t already), chances are good I never will, lol.
Now, I know that this list doesn’t help a damn bit if this is your first character. None of those items are available to you without a level 80, and the wherewithal to spend some Emblems on alts. But I’ll be doing my best to take that into account as I level.
My professions are Skinning, and Leatherworking. Dual gatherer Mining and Herbalism would be more useful to tanking low levels, but you can craft some good gear with Leatherworking, and I’ve never done LW before, so what the heck.
If you aren’t using Heirloom items, then I think if you look closely at seeking out items with high armor values, as much Stamina as you can get, followd closely by Agility, and afterwards Strength, then you should be doing very well early on.
Level 16 Bears have the following tools at their disposal;
- Growl (ranged Taunt)
- Maul (Single target high damage/threat, and you have a single Major Glyph slot available that you can use for Glyph of Maul)
- Swipe (Bear) (AoE threat)
- Demoralyzing Roar (enemy damage reduction)
- Bash (single target stun)
- Enrage (instantly generate 20 Rage, plus another 10 Rage over 10 seconds. Drops Armor value in Bear form at early levels a LOT)
Aside from Swipe, there aren’t any instant cast attacks like Lacerate or Mangle available at this level to establish single target threat. But these tools are still a very decent repertoire with which to start your Bear tanking travels.
This is going to be pretty interesting, but I’m fairly excited to see what comes of it.