I had a very nice email earlier today, and after the crazy day I had, it was the perfect capper.

I was gonna talk about my crazy nutso kooky day, but what the hell… this question is about Bears, and the guy really hit the right chord with me, so I guess you folks that hate anything that isn’t about Druids on the blog win out.

This time.

Don’t push it. :)

Here is part of the email, from Stratus on the Darkspear server;

Hello Big Bear – 
 
Anyway – have a question for you.  Myself and another geared bear tank were discussing gemming.  I essentially stam stacked my gems.  Had some expertise in there because mine was so low, but would otherwise go +30 stamina gems – no matter what the color called for.  Anyway, he basically stated I was a moron.  I laughed of course (but inside I was like, damn, maybe I am a moron – lol). He went on to say by me stam gemming I am gaining health at the expense of damage mitigation.  True, I replied, but I am counting on my gear to do that.  I look at gemming for health power mainly.
 
I could not find any specific BBB blogs on this although you mention in one of your side articles about a blog on that – but I could not find.
 
Any words of wisdom or articles you could shove my way to look and ponder with regards to high level tank gemming?

Looking forward to your response whenever that may be.
 
Stratus, Darkspear

Thanks for the really nice email, Stratus. The whole thing was very nice, and I hope you’ll forgive me for just excerpting the parts relevant to your question.

The question about choosing between Stamina and Agility is a great one, because it touches on the part of the game where judgment intercedes against ‘set in stone’ guides.

The short form answer to your question is, no, you are not a moron, because clearly you have given thought to your Bear and grasp the basics of mitigation (and I assume you’re lumping avoidance in with it) and health pools, but yes, you could be doing a little better in your gemming selection criteria.

Lemme ‘splain.

As a Bear tank, when choosing between Stamina or Agility gems, you are making a choice between either a higher health cushion to eat the damage and last longer before healing is needed, or increased avoidance to do the “sidestep bear butt boogie” and avoid the damage entirely.

There is a fine line between having just enough health, and an overabundance of health as compared to Dodge.

Let’s start with increasing health. We’ll slip some Dodge tank in afterwards.

What your intent is with increasing health, is to have enough health to ensure that your healers are never drastically rushed in trying to get in that desperate last second heal to keep you from taking a dirt nap. When you increase your health pool, it appears that the more health you have, the more reaction time you are giving to the healer to respond to your incoming damage.

Healers these days are frequently responsible for healing the main tank, and also a bunch of other people too. If your health is consistently too low, the healer has to focus on healing you to the exclusion of everyone else just to keep that next blow you take from being your last.

Some of those other players may take damage, especially in fights like Ick and the ramp before the tunnel run immediately after in Pit of Saron, and die from lack of healing if the healer has to be all over you.

The more health you have, the safer the healer will feel in letting you get your face beat in while he or she is busy popping some much needed heals on the rest of the party. Right? That seems reasonable, amiright?

From hearing me talk, you might think that there is no better thing than having a huge health pool. After all, I’m implying that the more you’ve got, the more time the healer has to react, right?

Well, that is true, IF you have balanced your health with avoidance.

For the long time theorycrafters out there, please realize that I’m not speaking about armor caps and mitigation, or Defense or Dodge Rating, or comfortable Critical Strike levels for Savage Defense. We’re talking the basics of Stam vs Agi.  It’s okay, trust me, I know you got this already. :)

Back to health balanced with avoidance.

You have been a dutiful bear tank, you have gotten new gear upgrades through drops and Emblems while following my lists, and along the way you have stacked Stamina like a madman. Er, bear.

You pop into Heroic Pit of Saron, and you are surprised to find that you feel very squishy. You have lots of health, that’s true, tons and tons and gobs and oodles of health.

Problem is, when the big hits come in, you go down like a… umm… wow, okay, for the adults, pretend there was a Navy shore leave joke there, and a good one at that. For everyone else, let’s say you go down like a stone dropped in a still pond. A pond with aerated water.

You have the big health numbers, but you’re taking massive damage, and that health pool is disappearing fast.

Now, if your healer is from a pug, or is generally unfamiliar with you, they might have seen your high health and assumed you were well balanced in gear. With that thought in mind, they might have given you scant attention, and focused more on keeping the party alive.

Suddenly, your health plummets, they abandon the party in a panic to spam mana-intensive big, fat, fast heals on you, and by the time they started you were already below half and dropping fast.

You’ve got a massive health pool. The healer is used to getting you topped back off to full and then going back to the party.

Low and behold, you’re NOT getting back to full, because you keep taking damage. The healer is trying to fill an infinite well with a thimble, the party members are yelping and trying to find the Potion or *gasp* Bandage buttons, while the DPS are frantically fending for themselves the damage going outbound slows down, and the fight takes even longer.

The healer quietly has a nervous breakdown while wondering what *they* are doing wrong.

I think you get the overdramatized point.

This is where Agility, and the avoidance it brings, comes into play.

As your Dodge (and Dodge Rating, Defense Rating, Armor, all the avoidance and mitigation stats) increases, the rate of speed of incoming damage slows down.

Mitigation is already reducing damage taken, and your Dodge is causing some attacks to be avoided entirely. As you increase Agility, the better your Dodge score becomes, and the more attacks that just go whizzing by your cute furry ear.

Agility also improves your Critical Strike Rating, and as your Crits become more frequent, your Savage Defense passive ability procs more often. Savage Defense, of course, causes the next incoming physical attack that does damage to be lessened by 25% of your attack power. It can proc as fast as you can crit, and your Swipe has the potential to cause an individual Crit from every single mob hit. That’s a lot of chain crits when swarmed, and that’s a whole lot of mitigation.

That is why stacking Stamina gems to a lower health level than you might think, and balancing the rest with Agility, can be such a powerful combination for your runs.

The healer may be taken aback by your seemingly low comparative health. Say, 40,000 health. A mere pittance, you think.

And then, as the fight begins, the effects of your 50%+ Dodge come into play.

Attacks will still strike you, but the frequency of successful attacks is reduced, you take damage at a slower pace, and the healer has a lot more time to react to the damage you HAVE taken. Time that can better be spent ignoring your invulnerable silly bear butt and paying attention to those DPS that forget to hustle their tushies out of the green fire. Again.

That is the point to balancing Agility and Stamina. Having the health to survive the big single blows and rapid damage spikes, and the avoidance and mitigation to slow the rate of incoming damage overall way the hell down.

So, how much should you take of both? What are the limits?

It depends purely on your understanding of how health and Dodge affect your role in your groups, and then basing your decision on the content you are trying to prepare to run. 

I could link you to my character on the armory, Windshadow, assuming she is logged out in Bear gear (I have no Cat gear, I either tank or heal. No middle ground.) and let you see the choices I have made based on 5 person Heroic/no raiding gamestyles. But it’s not important, what is important is where I’m at just from non-raid stuffs, and how effective it can be.

In current gear, my health totally unbuffed is 36,587 and my Dodge unbuffed at rest is 43.39%.

That Dodge seems low, doesn’t it?

But wait, there is more than is immediately apparent that I’ve factored into my gear plan!

First, I have The Black Heart, for a frequently procced increased physical damage mitigation buff. You’d be surprised what an extra 7k armor can do against physical damage.

For increased Dodge aside from gems and enchants, I have factored in Darkmoon Card: Greatness (Agility), the Mongoose weapon enchant and the Idol of the Corrupter.

So, unbuffed base of 43.39%.

  • Add 1.66% when Lightning/Mongoose procs (and it procs a LOT on group swipes).
  • Add 3.89% when Darkmoon Card: Greatness procs.
  • Add 2.02% when the Idol procs.

When all three buffs are up, which does happen quite often, I’m running around with 50.96% Dodge. Unbuffed.

Mongoose is damn near always up, and at least one of the other two is usually with it.

Add in Mark of the Wild, Kings (I carry Drums of Forgotten Kings, of course) and Agility food buffs and it just goes up from there.

That health probably seems a bit low even after you’ve read all this Dodge gunk, but I always carry Runescrolls of Fortitude, so I know that when the Big Bear be tanking, I’ve got a Fort buff guaranteed. :)

The final result?

I cannot play without having any healer at all… but there have been plenty of times when the healer has gone down, and I have lasted a truly ridiculously long time without heals on a boss fight or against multiple mobs, because although my total health pool at start is lower than most tanks, if I am suddenly on my own, I have the option of popping Survival Instincts, Frenzied Regeneration and Lifeblood, and becoming a full-on energizer bunny, with the avoidance and mitigation to slow down the rate of incoming damage to a crawl.

The lesson to be learned as a Bear tank is, if you intelligently balance health and avoidance against the content you are running, throw in a well timed powerful self-heal and a temporarily increased health pool as needed, and use Barksin and Crit like a banshee, you’re going to be a favorite tank for healers… at least, the ones that like to know at least ONE idiot in the run won’t be driving them nuts.

Stratus, I sure hope this helps you gain a bit more insight into the considerations you make when looking at gemming.

At the very least, thank you for a nice, polite, friendly and well written letter. I hope you and your friend have plenty of fun chewing on all the things I intentionally left out. :)

Take care, everyone!

66 Responses to “Gemming question: Stam or Agility?”
  1. Vidyala says:

    This is exactly why I love the resources you have here, BBB. When I flirted briefly with bear tanking I came here and read what you’d written about mitigation/dodge/health and I tried to keep it balanced and remember what you’d asid. You write things in plain English so it’s clear to understand, yet thorough. You can bet that if I ever take up the uh – bear butt… torch? I’ll be back here again referring to your tips. Actually just reading it kind of makes me want to give it another go. Quadruple druid specs can arrive anytime now!
    .-= Vidyala´s last blog ..Score one for Scruffy. =-.

  2. Savvy-Savvage says:

    having high health slows down time for your healer
    having high avoidance puts mana in their pocket

    Which one do you healers seem to need more?

  3. Stormclaw says:

    If your in ICC gear 10/25 and your gearing for raid tanking, go stamina. We have zero blue sockets on any of our Tier and the set bonuses are not worth getting. Stick a +10 stats tear in the highest bonus socket (normally the head) and blues in everything else.

    We get plenty of dodge from our agility that is on the normal gear.

  4. Stormclaw says:

    correction to above: set bonus = socket bonus

  5. Phelps says:

    Going too far in mitigation results in you taking no damage until you finally get gibbed when two hits come in one after the other. Going too far in health means that you become a mana sponge, and your health yo-yos up and down until the healer (quickly) goes OOM and you die as the DPS dies around because there isn’t a spare GCD to give them a heal.

    Look for the two signs (as SS said.) If you are getting gibbed after needing very little healing, you should shift away from mitigation (some). If you are running your healers OOM and no one else is getting any heals, you should put on some more mitigation.

  6. bigbearbutt says:

    I swear, I don’t understand these anymore. Instead of commenting on the post, Savvy has to like make some vague snarky comment to what purpose I don’t know, and then Phelps has to say SS is right, but doesn’t actually correctly mention what SS said. Did Savvy write a blog post I missed somewhere?

    What is it, you don’t actually bother to read my posts? You just read the header and then write your own on that subject? Is that it?

    How about mentioning looking for the two signs that I said… you know, the part where I said that you want to have the health to absorb the big hits in the content you’re doing, and the mitigation and avoidance to slow down the incoming damage?

    Wow, good feelings from Vidyala’s comment, a feeling that maybe I was able to express my thoughts in a way that communicated just what I was trying to say and might help someone in some way, pissed right down the tubes 2 minutes later.

    Here’s the thing, for a month now, a commenter on Lissarra’s blog, The Hunter’s Mark, LM, made a comment that has stayed with me daily ever since I saw it;

    “I appreciate your work, even though I’ll only post when I disagree with you.”

    “I enjoyed BRK, but switched off when he talked about himself. I needed his advice, but I didn’t need to know about him. The same applies here. This may sound harsh, but don’t confuse your audience for hunter info with an audience that cares about you.”

    Ever since I read that, the clear honesty of what he wanted to tell Lassirra, I’ve thought about that. I think about that as I read comments, and notice who is doing the commenting, and when.

    I do see that attitude, it stands out, and frankly it makes me tired. You’ll read the posts, but the only time you’ve got something to say is when you want to make sure I know you disagree? Why, thank you for the positive encouragement. You want a place where someone else does the research for you, that’s why you come, and you just tune out the stuff that’s a waste of your time and een say snarky things about it? Gee, thank you for sharing. I’m glad the things that enthuse me that I talk about on the website I pay for annoy you, waste your time, and you feel it’s necessary to share that with me. Thanks, buddy.

    I notice this, you know. The people that I never hear from, ever, unless the post is about Druids, and then, I only hear from them when they disagree, usually fixating on one small tiny item they want to make sure to correct me on. Nothing about the rest of the post.

    Man, I was really jazzed up and grooving while writing tonight. There are no words to describe what it’s like when that good feeling just drains away.

  7. DeGei says:

    Don’t be discouraged BBB. Sorry I don’t respond to any of your posts. I read them (all of them, even though I don’t even currently play a druid), I just don’t have anything to add (positive or negative, mostly because of the no druid thing). You provide an opinion and information that is helpful to a lot of people. For the faceless masses that pass by your page on a regular basis, thank you.

  8. Druidface says:

    As usual I enjoyed the post. On my druid I always gem Stamina in blue slots , Agility in red, but yellow slots present a bit of a choice. Usually I opt for an orange with AGI/Crit (in yellow gem slots). I’m not ubergeared or anything, about 4500GS in my feral set, and my health barely tops 40k fully buffed.

    My question: With my health is it wrong to gem for crit with the orange gem? I reason that I’m getting AGI, which is good, and crit helps me proc savage defense more often (and helps a little with the threat). I don’t have any of the +10 to everything gems, would I be better off sticking one of those in a yellow slot?

    Thanks much.

  9. Bear Pelt says:

    Hi BBB~

    I’ve never seriously thought that agility was that much a viable stat as much as stamina for bears until very very recently. And oddly enough, I began tanking in pure agility-gemmed and enchanted gears because they were my cat gears (feral DPS being my main spec). For some reason I couldn’t fathom, this 26k HP bear with cat gemmed/enchanted gears tanked for the guild up till 10man General Vezax, and proceeded to take down 10man TotC with such a low health pool. My guild did not have another feral druid for me to seek advice from, so I never did look into getting more stamina as my tanking seemed fine for the time.

    Then I began to get feedback from some other druid tanks that my health pool was atrociously low. It made me feel terrible; all this time I must have been straining my healers so bad just to keep my fuzzy butt up. Ouch. So I decided to re-look at my gears (by then I had a few extra pieces of gear I could dedicate to my tank spec) and gemmed for stamina instead.

    Oh boy, what a move. I tanked for a guild in 5man heroic *Trial of the Champion*I and after the first set of bosses, my disc priest asked me if I had been tanking in the wrong spec. Wha…???? I was as confused as he was. We proceeded to clear the instance, but I had a few close calls with me popping cooldowns (which I almost never had to do unless the healer is dead). The next day, I grabbed my tree guildie to heal me in the same instance, just to get some feedback. She asked the same thing, and complained I was taking far too much damage. I finally told them that I changed some of my gears and gems to stamina. They were shocked that did what other bears were supposed to be doing, yet came up with such different results!

    My healer guildies were crying out for me to switch back to my low-HP and high-mitigation stats, and so I did.

    I recently made the cautious switch to stamina gems and enchants again after acquiring a full tank set, but remain mindful of my dodge and crit rating. The above incident taught me that though bears are supposed to be the true meat shield, some bears can do the boogie a lil.

    I only recently hit 40k HP with my guild’s MT bear at 56k HP, yet I could tank alongside him for ICC25’s Professor Putride at phase 3. He still tells me my health pool is too low, but my RL has made mention many a time that my bear is all about mitigation. The educating really helps takes the pressure off and puts me on par with the other tanks to be seen as an equal.

    So thank you for making this post. Thank you Stratus for sending this in. Cheers to nomming on Spicy Blue Nettlefish for my raid food buff XD

    ~ Bear Pelt

  10. Bear Pelt says:

    Good grief. My typos -_-; Typing at work trying to keep the window out of sight from nosy bosses does that >.>

  11. Rowtan says:

    Think I may have missed something in the comments there ;-) but your posts always make me either laugh (non-bear ones) or inspire me to immediately log in and play with my Bear – both of which are always good things. My bear is one of my alts, and being a bear of little brain, I find it difficult to grasp all the intricacies of all the different classes I play – its nice to have a “go to guy” for help with at least one aspect of my altitus.

    I know how it feels when someone pops that “good feeling” bubble – unfortunately theres not a lot you can do about it, other that know in future to ignore it. Theres a lot out here who appreciate your blogs Bear, and I really don’t understand why anyone would read a blog they didn’t appreciate. Kinda seems like a waste of time *shrugs*

  12. Zobu says:

    Hello :) I do not play a druid (yet) but I do read your blog, as it’s well-written and interesting. What you’re saying in this post can, I guess, be applied to DK tanks to a certain degree, only with Parry added into the mix to confuse things a bit. My DK currently sits at about 32K unbuffed, but has 25.5% dodge and 22.8% parry. I do get kind of envious when I see these DK tanks wandering about with 40k unbuffed, but I do wonder if they’re gemming/enchanting for stamina at the expense of avoidance.

    So yeah, I agree with what you say in principle, even though I have no directly applicable experience of it :)

  13. Nimizar says:

    @BBB: What SS wrote can be taken in one of two ways. I believe Phelps interpreted it as being meant in a helpful way (i.e. ask your healers how they feel when healing you. If they say your they feel you’re in constant danger of dying in a couple of hits even when you’re near full health, you need to shift a bit more emphasis towards stamina. If they say the steady stream of incoming damage is so high that it is challenging their ability to ever get you back to full health, you need to shift a bit more emphasis towards mitigation and avoidance).

    I (and I believe you), took SS’s comment as being meant in a snarky fashion – “high stamina just makes you a mana sponge, healers don’t run OOM, therefore you’re stupid for suggesting agility can ever be better than just stacking more stam”.

    The sad thing is that this is a very incorrect view, as it looks at the issue from the wrong angle. Just as a high health pool allows a tank to survive damage spikes, so it also allows *healing* to be spiky. A healer can readily take the time to move or raid heal or take the time to land their larger, higher HPS heals less often rather than having to worry about the tank dying if they don’t keep up a steady stream of their smaller, less efficient heals. Insufficient mitigation and avoidance, on the other hand, can literally make you unhealable: as soon as the tank’s “Damage Taken Per Second” significantly exceeds their healer’s “Healing Per Second” throughput that tank is going to die – the only question is when.

    A tank’s *first* responsibility is to get that DTPS number down to the point where their healers can deal with it. Only then are they free to worry about stacking stamina to survive the unlucky strings of big hits. The thing that is easy to forget is that the damage taken per second that you need to get down to depends entirely on the healing throughput that your regular healers are capable of, and outside the top raiding guilds, that number is going to vary hugely (maybe not so much for Paladin FoL spam, but tank healing rotations are a bit more varied for other healing specs).

    Try not to let the snark get you down mate – I may not comment much, but this blog has long been one of my first ports of call when looking for druid info. And thanks for the Vuhdo suggestion a while back – while my original intent was just to be a bear tank and kitty DPS, the gear drops I got forced me to try out being a tree as well, and Vuhdo has been working a treat for me there.

  14. steves says:

    Hmm. Grumpy bear:( Seems you’ve figured out the internet is full of self-absorbed asshats with entitlement issues. No news there sadly.

    I find your writing amusing and informative regardless, and in the unlikely event I ever get good enough at bear tanking to disagree with you I think the least I’d manage is to do so politely and with a bit of respect.

    As to people just spouting off without even reading what they’re arguing with…I’ve never understood that, it’s utterly insane, and yet, like the aforementioned asshats, also pretty endemic on the internet.

    Don’t let it get you down anyway, and keep up the excellent posting, some of us think you’re alright.

    P.S.
    Thanks for doing my research for me;)

  15. Sarriss says:

    Hey BBB

    Your blog is interesting as always :-) I too run a bear who tanks mainly as a hc tank, and occasionally tanks in IC10 up to Rot and Fester (tanking is an offspec, kitteh being main). I RAWR my bear gear to find the best combo and what I have found I am doing lately is including various non-set pcs like belt and boots from kitteh gears into my tank gear in order to keep survival points and mitigation points similar. They arent the same, atm survival points are slightly higher as I have some new pieces that I gemmed for a bit more stam, but usually I keep mitigation slightly higher than survival.

    With basic BoK BoM stam Imp MotW and a stoneblood flask I sit at abt 45k HP (our MT bear has 60k but she tanks in T10, I tank in T9) but I have 65% of incoming damage mitigated, with a dodge of 46% before Idol of mutilation, Darkmoon card and Black heart procs. I definitely hear what you are saying regarding the balance, if I can get that far into IC (with a 2H 10man grp) on only T9 (conquest not triumph), mitigation definitely plays a big part.

    Thanks for the informative stuffs, and the funny stuffs, keep it coming :-D

  16. Kaethir says:

    One of the reasons my raid leader refuses to let me tank our progression content (there are others, this is just one) is that he thinks that my health is “waaay too low,” because he’s used to bear tanks that stack stamina exclusively, and thus out-HP other tanks by a decent margin. Since my health is only right about equal to the other tanks, he thinks I’m undergeared.

    It’s frustrating, really.
    .-= Kaethir´s last blog ..Silence =-.

  17. Kaethir says:

    Oh, I didn’t mention that my HP is about equal to the other tanks, all of whom out-gear me GS/iLevel wise by a decent margin.
    .-= Kaethir´s last blog ..Silence =-.

  18. FaceTankingForFunAndProfit says:

    Try not to worry about asshats posting. I guarantee you that for every one of them that posts that there are hundreds of us that love to read your blog BBB!

    From a stam/agi perspective great thoughts put down on this. For any bear tank it really depends as you said on what your role will be and I think what gear you will have access to. If you think that you are going to be taking lots of magic damage then stam is generally better. If you take more physical damage then agi to mitigate some of that is better. It is generally better to have good balance as BBB said but I stack all stam in my set because I need to soak lots of damage in my raid role (4PCt10 set bonus is amazing btw for mitigating damage). Being able to go over 100k health on festergut25 is very helpful especially when you have a pair of paladins pumping heals in to you (no overhealing). I have over 50% dodge before any procs with this (30% with Chill of the Throne) so as I said your gemming may depend on the level of gear that you have access to. For heroics my gear is overkill but I always make sure to keep barkskin (10%) and Enrage(12% with 4T10 bonus) on cooldown to help the healer heal others first. Most groups I get complain about other tanks they have gotten with lower health (they get genuinely excited to see a 60k tank) but I think that has more to do with people being so impatient with newer tanks and the learning process. Tanks need to learn their role just like everyone else and it would be nice if other people were a little more patient.

  19. Rowtan says:

    After reading this post I’ve been in and had another look at my gear (bit of a dodgy mix really!) and it turns out that, yes, I had no idea what I was doing when gemming. I had/have a mix of stamina, haste, crit, hit and agility, probably depending on how I felt on the day I bought the gems. So I’m just in the process of sorting those out.

    I have a question for you though – what do you aim for, for hit? I’ve checked out the hit calculator and it suggested 263 for melee, but 445 for spells (which include things like Growl and Faerie Fire). At the moment it is lurking around the 300 mark, but I’d be tempted to simply cap it at the 263 and keep my fingers crossed for the rest?

  20. Suxxy says:

    First of all: What’d I say??? :(

    Secondly: All my bears carry multiple changes of gear, with my main Horde bear carrying 2 full bags of odds & ends (including kitty gear) which can swap out for different fights. Using outfitter to change various components to tweak stam/agil/hit/crit.
    Full stam gear to OT the fire boss in VoA, just to soak up the dmg seems to work better with my guild healers, whereas Heroic instances (apart from the 3 new ICC ones) I switch to basically kitty set with bear idol and Black Heart – 30k hp in bear, but with enough mitigation to keep healers bored and pumping out enough dmg to make pug dps wonder what they’re doing wrong :)
    Different situations call for different solutions, but know what you’re aiming at, understand why you are making those choices, and keep the balancing act interesting by trying different things.

  21. Anassaria says:

    It’s posts like this one that makes me keep trying to bear tank even though I totally suck at it and give up after a few days, Guess I’d better stick to being a tree. But I do send all my tanky frieds by for the great info.

  22. Morphster of Aggramar says:

    @Rowtan: hahaha “a bit dodgy!” /flicks tear from eye. I just wanted to add my 2 coppers on your hit stat question. As I understand it, hit only affects spells and the only spells you use as a bear are fairie fire and taunt. If your taunts are missing I’d consider the glyph of taunt before I gemmed for hit, and if you’re not progression tanking it’s probably not the end of the world if you have to wait 6 seconds to retaunt anyway. At the end of the day the content you run is the most important question for how to gear. If you’re doing just heroics then all you need is to gem agility and wear a stamina trinket. If you’re doing ICC10 I’ve always leaned towards gemming to 40% avoidance and then I gem stamina for the rest.

  23. Muron says:

    Once you are getting more progressed in ICC, there is no point in gemming anything other than straight stam. Tank healers have almost infinite mana, the only time you might want to gem agi/stam is if you get a decent (stam/agi) bonus.

    Tanking LK in 25 Man you can end up taking 50K swings at several points in the encounter. A tank without 60k+ health is a liability at that point, and stam gemming bears are great for this simply because now with the 5% extra bears can reach 75K.

    If you are doing content that you are over geared for agi is going to give you crit (more bear block, and bear healing), dodge (less swings), armor (less damage per swing). At my bears level of gear (ICC 10 + TotC25) I can go through most heroics with just an s-priest as a healer, agi would make this lower level content even easier.

    If you are doing content that you are under geared for stam is to give you 1 thing, the time for your healers to catch up on big damage swings. In the later encounters though this is all that matters.

  24. Metaphoria says:

    Totally been that healer who has the silent and minor freakout… When my tree was newly geared, or when I was running with my Healadin, I often turned blue from holding my breath.
    .-= Metaphoria´s last blog ..Returning to the Blog =-.

  25. Savvy-Savvage says:

    Ok, now I’m confused. Are you mad at me or Suxxy?

    I’m still pretty sure I was agreeing with you BBB, unless I failed to understand your point.

    My condensed attempt at parroting your point tries to indicate my feeling that content difficulty relative to your and your healer’s gear skew the results of what is very much a balancing act in terms of avoidance/health. The best person, in my mind, to tell you what’s up is your regular healer. If they have to watch you like a hawk because you go from full to dead then it’s health. If they think you take hits well but take them too often for their mana pool, it’s your avoidance. Things hit harder as you go up. Make sure you have the health to pass the 2 shot test and then build avoidance from there to give your healer their mana back. If you pass the two shot test but it still isn’t working, then you have no choice but to go backwards and gear up some more. You now know you can’t gain avoidance without becoming 2 shottable in your current set gear after all.

    Maybe I’m substantively wrong. Maybe that’s not even what the comments are for. Maybe you aren’t talking to me. I don’t think I’m the only one who thought you were. Anybody hungry? I’ve got some elk jambalaya. Party on dudes.

  26. Kayeri says:

    My brief time in bear tanking I did also go for stam, but unless its completely trivial, I always go for socket bonuses… I think they are designed to help us find balance in our stats… stam and avoidance being the things tanks look at, obviously…

    Paladin example…. Sorry, Bear, Kay doesnt tank anymore now.. ::chuckle:: But a very good ret friend once gave me some good-natured crap about not socketing pure strength throughout my paladin’s ret set… So I thought about it…because honestly, he IS very good… and then I sat down and worked the numbers through with and without pure strength, taking socket bonuses into account… The result showed me clearly that I was on the right track… Had I listened to him and socketed all Strength, I would only have TWO more strength than I did currently, and I wouldnt have all that nice stam and crit alongside it… I’m about to sit down and do that with the pally tank set, because I AM low on stam there, so I”m going to see how much benefit it would buy me for what I’d lose…

    My advice, is your socket colors are often trying to tell you something, go with them and pick a balance of things good for your class/spec, you will be better for it.

  27. Thom says:

    I think a lot of it has to do with what you’re trying to tank.

    Heroics, as long as you’re making intelligent choices (i.e. gemming for a useful stat) you shouldn’t have trouble. Intelligent choices, of course, differ depending on the heroic and your gear level.

    Raids I’d tend to stray more towards the “gem for stamina” camp, for the simple reason that you’re usually not giving up THAT much avoidance to get there and the stamina helps you to survive in a worst-case scenario. For example, if 3-inhale Festergut 10 hits you 3x in a row for ~20k + 1 application of Gastric Bloat that’s 65-70k dmg taken over ~3 seconds. (Dmg numbers are based on my warrior who has about 32k armor unbuffed, might be slightly lower on a druid).

    If you’re going for Agility bonuses, I can see using a +15 stam/+10 agility gem. BBB, even if you regemmed your 20 AGI gems to 15 stam/10 agility, you’d gain 60 stamina and lose 40 agility. In most raids, I’d say that was worth it.

    I’ll play around in RAWR a little once I get home – I’m actually really curious at this point to see the HP, avoidance, armor, and crit numbers between gemming for straight agility vs. stam/agility vs. straight stam. If I have time to generate some numbers, I’ll try to post them — it’s much easier for me to theorycraft about Warrior as the stat conversions are more straightforward for me.

    I think the big problem comes when someone comes in and starts berating you for your gearing or gemming choices instead of sitting down and rationally looking at number. There is not a one size fits all solution, though there are benefits to having a high stamina (or high dodge, or high threat) set based on what you’re doing in a given encounter.

  28. Tex says:

    I think sometimes people think you are blogging on Elitist Jerks or something. This is a fantastic post for me because I tank 5 man dungeons and ToC or Onyxia for my guild. I run ICC as a Boomchicken with a regular group of folks that are a lot more raid focused than my guild and it’s been cool. I get some gear when there are no rogues in the group, but really, I’m not in any danger of getting my 4T10 bonus as a bear anytime soon. I started reading this blog for Bear Tanking reasons, but I read it now because I just like the blog. This is WoW, and as was discussed on this very blog a week or two ago, it has more online resources to help out the playerbase than anything else like it. I’ve read the Stamina vs. Agility thing in a lot of places, but usually it’s talking about hp levels and Dodge percentages that have no relevance to me. I am not going to be worrying about a 20% dodge debuff in ICC for quite sometime as a bear. Reading most of the stuff out there about druid tanking is like taking a recipe for Chili that serves 25 and trying to scale it down for my family of 4. It takes way too much time, always tastes a little different and there’s gonna too many jalapenos for my 4 year old in the end. That being said, I want to be good at tanking on the level I am doing it at. I can take a nice “bearwall” of text and have enough information to “eyeball” the right choices for gear and rotations and whatnot without getting bogged down or stressed out about it. This blog is invaluable to me for tanking and a good read no matter what the topic. BBB, you have the mind and insight that the great “theorycrafters” of the online world have, but you put it to practical and realistic use for those of us that play WoW more for fun than progression. I don’t want to use a spreadsheet or try and adjust the settings of rawr to min/max my fuzzy bear butt. That’s not fun for me, but I don’t want to suck either. Little things, like using the black heart for the armor proc as well as the stamina make sense to me, whereas I had mostly dismissed the proc and used it more for the stamina. I replaced it with some other trinks for mitigation purposes where I didn’t need to. You set a scene and describe a situation I can relate to instead of throwing out numbers and square root symbols with greek letters under them that make me want to scream. Don’t get me wrong, my favorite thing right now is trying to get a chance to friggin’ kill Arthas (hopefully from a starfire under lunar eclipse), but most of my guild are happy just running away from him successfully in HoR, and those are the people that I proudly and happily tank for. This is the blog that has helped me do that.

    P.S.- As to tricks I learned from this blog, the whole “pulling from caster form” thing is genius. I know you kind of dismissed it as an old school trick you used to use, but Entangling Roots and/or Cyclone really, really pisses off the mages in HoR. They seem to not like shooting other people as much after they get out, which saves an FFF for that damn hunter. This also lead to our group pulling to the hallway across from the entrance instead of trying to LoS on the sides and getting everyone’s camera views all jacked up. That hall is a lot deeper than the front one and we can treat it more like the gauntlet thing in HoS, where if one runs past me I notice it right away because there is open space between me and the squishy people. It also makes the rogue easier to pick up when he does his shadowstep crap.

  29. bigbearbutt says:

    Yeah, sorry Suxxy, obviously it wasn’t you. And Savvy really got a raw deal because he reaped the whirlwind of my crankiness at a general style/attitude of commenter, whether that was at all what he meant or not.

    Sometimes, if you work fast in posting, other people don’t see the same meaning you thought you put in there. Happens all the time.

  30. bigbearbutt says:

    Bear Pelt, Kamizar, Kayeri, thank you for such on point comments and situations.

    One thing I didn’t mention, something I thought would be brought up or be something to chew over, is the difference having a dedicated tank healer on your ass makes for your decisions.

    If you’ve got your own special healer, then the level of avoidance you really need does go way down. And as I mentioned, you need to look at the size of the incoming damage per hit you’re gonna get. If you’re tanking ICC and the hits after mitigation are still 50k per, then of course you’re gonna focus on health first…

    But you’re also going in with your own health bot. (I can say that, playing a tree as an offspec like I do). You don’t have to worry AS MUCH about giving your healer an opportunity to ignore you to keep the rest of the party alive all by themselves.

    And that’s also why the point is to look not at gearing for the content you are already running, but towards the needs of the content you intend to run.

    If you really don’t need to survive massive hits, then just like hit rating, over a certain point, health is just for epeen points. “Oh look, my tank has 65k health”.

    A tank that’s looking more towards getting the job done doesn’t feel they have to justify their suitability by clawing towards highest health pool on the planet, becuse they know when they’ve got enough.

    Now… in the real world, you’ll offer to main or offtank a VoA pug or Sarth and be told to go home, noob, and come back when you’re health is more like a grown up.

    Thems the way it works, and sometimes knowing the other person is an ignorant lout is cold comfort. :)

  31. Clapus says:

    My Sweetie is quite the healer, she keeps me alive. I’ve done it both ways and by far she prefers the balanced approach. I just wish I had this advice earlier. Trial and error is a great teacher if you know what it’s saying.

  32. Corwyn says:

    Thanks BBB.

    I will note that for bearcats agility is useful to both forms, so that pushes the balance point a bit in that direction.

    If ones personal balance point is such that one needs both agility and stamina gems, the shifting dreadstones are about half the price of pure gems (at least on my auction house).

  33. Thomstel says:

    Couple other people mentioned it, but it’s worth repeating for those who might not be aware:

    There are two worlds out there, the raiders in current content, and everyone who’s not doing that. The answers to a big STA/AGI debate can be wildly different based on that, as well as whether your healer is a friend on Vent or a total random from LFD.

    If you are worrying about maximizing effectiveness of random heroics throughout the week, with maybe a dabble of something to get the Weekly Raid quest completed, you should not blindly follow the teachings of the ElitistJerks Druid forums. Those guys are talking about one part of the game; you’re going to be looking for advice for a different part. Stacking STA is “safest” for several reasons even in the 5-man world (buffer for a slow/laggy healer, avoiding perception of “not-enough-health” from snobs, etc.). If you see consistent feedback from your healers (don’t worry too much about other’s feedback, even other tanks) that you’re eating up all their throughput, then take a peek at swapping in some Cat pieces and/or getting some AGI gems.

    I have been soundly insulted by a healer (before we even started the instance) who thought I was going to be gibbed on the first wave in HoR. It doesn’t feel good, and bummed me right out for a couple days. In response I started getting tank gear/gems/etc. together after I’d bought the cat upgrades I wanted so that won’t happen again. Even gearing up and running instances with sub-par (T7-ish) pieces on, I still run into many differing opinions about my gear/gem choices as well. People being nosy and opinionated is part of the game. (just like real life ;) Do your best to be secure in your bearhood, and show ‘em how to tank with yer face!
    .-= Thomstel´s last blog ..Lost =-.

  34. Seleria says:

    I used to be all over the agi. I used to gem it, enchant it, DROOL over the agi for my druid. But I’ve noticed that… way back in Naxx, I had about 42% dodge. Now, in ICC, I have about 40% dodge. I no longer gem agi, but my avoidance seems to have stayed roughly same.

    I find that tanking after my main being a healer gives me a little bit different perspective than some people. I wholeheartedly agree that it’s not a question of “which stat” it’s “which stat now.” The BALANCE is the key, not the stat. You wouldn’t believe how many tanks there are out there who think they’re the best thing since sliced bread because they have a huge health pool. Yet they have NO avoidance.

    I personally look at tanks that I consider enjoyable to heal… and that’s about the balance point I personally shoot for.

  35. Phaedra says:

    To go along with your post BBB, I would recommend Thatgrimguy’s Bear-tanking sticky in the official WoW Druid forums. There’s a wealth of information in there. And frequent threads about this very issue.

    Ultimately, what you gem comes down to what you are doing. Hard-mode end-game encounters – it’s stamina, simply based on the math of a hard-mode, end-game hit. Anything else? Stamina to content (so, pretty much being able to survive a couple of hits), then…well, almost whatever floats your boat. Agility – sure! Hit/expertise to cap – go for it! Heck, if your kitty gear is good enough, you can tank heroics in that (and it can be soo fun!).

    The take-home message seems to be having enough stamina to survive current content for you and your guild. If your healers are complaining you’re too squishy or going down to fast or can’t hold threat, gem/enchant as needed.

  36. Rayvynn says:

    Having rolled (another!) druid that I plan on dedicating to tanking (as my lovely man has decided to be a tree), this has helped quite a bit. My main druid is a tree, and I’ve been out of the feral scene (since Naxx) for so long that I lost touch with what I needed. As always, thanks for a great post, B3!

  37. PapaRobert says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write your blog. (Tried myself once, couldn’t keep up with it)
    Bit about my druid; Bear tank main spec from Naxx thru Toc. Switched to tree as main spec as we gained a new bear that didn’t have a viable off spec.
    Boomkin is usually my off spec cause its so much fun but I’ll respec every few weeks so I don’t lose practice or gear too badly (wtb triple spec).
    My bear’s GS is sitting around 5200, Boomkin 5350 and tree is 5500.

    Anyway, let me get to the point before everyone runs away. I found RAWR to be a great help. Gave me the opportunity to change all my gems without having to actually spend the gold. I had been gemming agility and finding my health pool to be very low compared to other bears.
    Playing with rawr I found that changing all my gems to Stam increased the total amount of damage taken by 2% but my health pool, unbuffed increased by 5k. Now thats a big difference.
    Lets take one round with the Blood council as an example. Total damage taken during the entire fight for both main tanks is around 1mil. So +2% = 20k more damage taken. 20k extra damage taken seems like a lot until we spread that out over the entire 6 mins. That turns into just over 3k extra damage every minute, but at the same time you have 5k more health all the time.

    With that in mind I’ll go on further. I too have the Black heart and Greatness card as my main trinks.
    BUT and this is a big but (no pun intended), Bears can’t take magic damage.
    Throw as much melee and physical damage at us as you can Blizz we’ll dodge it. Wave your wand at us and we crumble.
    Any Boss that deals magic damage over melee I’ll swap out the great card for a bitter brew or even a monarch crab with stam gems enabling me to take more damage.
    So the balance between agil or stam goes beyond the gems alone and continues into the gear you carry.
    If gear that you already have drops and is going to DE take it for yourself and gem it for the other stat.

    A great tank realizes the when and how of changing their gear for different bosses and your healers will love you for it.

  38. seepck says:

    As you indicate in your post, the content you are facing is the key to which strategy you choose. Rawr seems to tend strongly towards avoidance. Pretty much almost always recommends Agility for me. All this really tells me is that I need to take care to analyze it with a view towards the content I am playing in.

    For a while (till I got more dedicated gear) I stacked agility on my shared pieces and never really went back to regem once I stopped sharing pieces. This gave me a health pool of around 49-54k for ICC 10/25 raids and 50% avoidance (30% after ICC debuff) depending on which trinkets I was using(I carry 8). This worked for a while but occasionally gave the healers heart failure :). Last night playing with the Lich King on ICC 10 forced me to regem(he’s still alive, sigh). Some of the mobs hit for 20-30k per and if I have two up, the healers cannot always save me. 3 gems and a trinket change later gets me to 58k in icc 10 which gives the healers the cushion they need. This was a result of my targetted game (raids) and the healers I play with. Still, I have only changed out 3 gems at this point(and one is wrong but it was all I had on me). I’ll have to see what happens in the 25 man raid to decide if I move that line further over to the stam side.

    So, it’s not just stam stam stam if you raid, it’s work with your healers on where you are and where they are for what your role is.

    Muhan / Malfurion
    .-= seepck´s last blog ..PowerShell – Find iLO on a subnet =-.

  39. Saffron says:

    Interesting. On my bear, lovely Laia of Kargath, I’m an unabashed stam stacker, hovering around 43k unbuffed and 58-59k raid buffed. But, I do have 40% unbuffed dodge. Am I doing something wrong, most wise of bears?

  40. Malphailuron says:

    The love of Effective Health (i.e. how much damage you can take with no mitigation or avoidance apart from armor; the logic there being that avoidance is too dicey) is still in force, and this is painfully obvious in PUGs. I used to gem almost pure agility, and between that and smart cooldown use, I was very hard to take down, even on multi-mob pulls. Now I find myself overgeared for the content my guild does; if I want to take a crack at anything more challenging than the weekly raid, I have to PUG it. And that means I have to walk in with 40k health, or face a boot.

    When the bosses are hitting for 20-30k a swing, yeah, I can see the EH arguments making sense. But as the swings become lower, dodge becomes exponentially better. But you can’t tell the idiots anything.

    Between that and backward ideas of how to tank H-HOR, I’m just about fed up with PUGs.

  41. Mitch says:

    The biggest reason people stacked stamina did not occur in normal raids or in heroics; it happened in heroic ToC. You almost had to stack stam to reach a level of survivable health. Most of the damage there ignored things like armor and were typically not able to be dodged. Like for beasts you had impale and the spew, or for jaraxxus you had his casts that hurt the most, or with faction champs . . . that doesn’t count, or anub with his freezing slash or whatever it was called (though that was an ultimate balancing act because the more health you had the more you were getting leached).

    Now in ICC there is a lot more armor-mitigated, dodged attacks, and predictable damage spikes. This leads to a slight devalue in stamina now than before, imo.

  42. Chiraa says:

    Heck, if your kitty gear is good enough, you can tank heroics in that (and it can be soo fun!).

    I accidently tanked Heroic Gundrak (Fundrak) in my Resto set one day (swapped to my bear spec, but forgot to swap my gear). I actually randomed into the heroic with a shammy healer from my own server. After the instance was done, I dropped group, went to repair and swap back to resto… where I discovered my error. I had to apologize to her for having no avoidance and a nerfed health pool… we did ok, but I have never seen my health pool drop so quickly and so often. Usually for heroics I individually swap in a few kitty pieces for more threat, so I didn’t have a problem keeping mobs on me. It probably helped that the dps was geared enough to kill them quickly >.>

    My resto gear is a mixture of Triumph and Frost emblem gear, as well as a few pieces from ICC10 so it does have some stam on it.
    I guess it just goes to show that a bear has the potential to tank some stuff in pretty much in any gear. 0.0 But that egg on one’s face still doesn’t look good.

  43. Myrinn says:

    @BBB – Thank you for this post! I’ve been playing with the idea of trying to play a tank as something different, since I’ve almost always been in DPS or healer roles before – but I was intimidated as HELL with trying to figure out the mix(es). I do enough detail-oriented stuff during the day at my work – the last thing that I want to do for my FUN (aka, WoW) is try to psycho-analyze where and what and how and… well, you get the idea.

    Basically, you have the knack of clearly and concisely explaining complicated issues – and I for one am grateful for that! Keep on with your work, sir! :)

    @BearPelt – thank you for that informative story.. I’d heard of such things, but not with the clear explanation!

  44. sepeck says:

    One other tool (besides rawr and blogs) I use is http://wow-heroes.com/.

    I use it to check myself and other feral’s on my realm (Realm, filter by tanks / Feral). See what content they are clearing (achievements) and how they are geared. If they seem to have a quirky setup I check a few days later. If it’s still quirky and I see them online, most are receptive to a whisper. In ToC I was stam stam stam, in early ICC I migrated back to agility but as mentioned above, swung a little to far over the line :).

    Every gear piece you get can force a re-balancing of your gear/gems.

    For instancing runs, because I have so much raiding gear, I use the built in gear rack and have a mix of tank/kitty pieces for 5 man groups depending on which level instance. Nexus vs icc5 man gearing. It makes it much easier to have the right gear.

    Muhan / Malfurion
    .-= sepeck´s last blog ..PowerShell – Find iLO on a subnet =-.

  45. Steevee says:

    Bear Pelt: “My healer guildies were crying out for me to switch back to my low-HP and high-mitigation stats, and so I did.”

    Funny… My raid healers told me the exact opposite.

    I used to be proud of my Agility/Dodge, but apparently my healers think it is easier to constantly spam heals on the tank than it is to watch and heal only when necessary. It kind of stinks because there is some intangible that just feels different to me. I can’t put my finger on it but it feels like it has affected my play style somehow, but again, I can’t put my finger on it. I’m still pressing keys to get an animated toon to do things on my screen, but it just somehow feels different than when I was playing as a mitigating machine.

    Anyone else notice that intangible? Maybe I just need to go outside for a while… ;)

  46. Javan says:

    I completely agree with the mix. I’ve probably returned too heavily to pure-stam over stam/agility, but I’m also doing ICC-10 man and trying to progress, so the extra health makes a big difference in fights with unavoidable damage, rather than melee-heavy fights.

    BBB is completely right that it depends on your gear level and the content you’re in. If you’re in almost all tier 9 from badges, but only running heroics, hell, go pure agility and never get hit! I’ve seen 12 attacks miss/dodge before, it’s hilarious. If you’re doing 25-mans, that isn’t going to work, so adjust accordingly.

    Very well written post on a very common question. :) Ignore the asshats, we appreciate the time you take to do this.

  47. bigbearbutt says:

    Absolutely, Steeve, and I think it’ll help you pin it down when you keep it in mind in thie situation;

    Go out to icecrown, and gather up 30 or more mobs. Then go to town on them. Bounce kite them, Swipe dance them, have a blast.

    If you’ve gone heavily into mitigation, then your Leader of the pack self-heal, plus using frenzied etc, will let you have an easy time of it.

    If you go heavier into health, then as a previous commenter mentioned, if your damage taken coming in that ain’t avoided or mitigated outstrips your ability to heal it, then you might get a mite nervous.

    Ain’t nothing wrong with lots of health. Still, you’d think that there are people out there that have their jobs at risk on the issue, the way this gets fought over.

  48. Lizora says:

    @PapaRobert
    I know where you’re coming from about the magic damage. In my bear spec I run Effulgent Skyflare Diamond to help me cut down at least a little of that damage that I would otherwise take. I know that most tanks choose to roll with the 2% armor, but for me, having that straight damage reduction makes me a bit more rounded on mitigating the damage I can.

    My main is a kitty, but I have to run as bear for ICC 10. As such I share gear, and tend to gem agility for shared items, and stam for bear specific gear. This gives me a good mix of stam and agil, and it works out (even though I get crap from ICC 25 pug groups that don’t understand my gem choices). Now my main problem is a general lack of rage when I tank Heroics. Sigh.

  49. Starman says:

    The issue of Agility vs. Stamina is greatly dependent upon what you’re tanking. For my tanking I assess what I’m tanking and where. For instance in the earlier instances, we aren’t fighting against the debuff in ICC. A good mix of dodge and health is important. The deeper you go in raid content, dodge tanking isn’t as effective.

    Yes… dodging 50% is great… if you actually can dodge that much. The problem is that the farther you go in raid content, the deeper and more you are affected by the diminishing returns formulas. Sure… I keep all my old dodge trinkets for when I’m tooling around in the regular 5 mans and the the world at large. Its much more effective there. However in deep raiding, you can’t rely on the RNG…

    The main problem with dodge in ICC (meaning 10 and 25 man) is that you’re gear is getting increasingly more agility, but you’ve already got a 43%+ dodge. With diminishing returns you’re probably closer to 38%, oh and drop 20% off that for the zone wide debuff. That means where you’re used to taking less damage, you’re already going to take 20% more hits. If you get into a bad streak of hits from the RNG with low health and high dodge, you’re screwed. You’ll be dead before the healers can dig you out and there’s no guarantee that you’ll start dodging. Dodge tanks are extremely hard for healers to deal with. They basically can’t get into a rhythm of healing because you either aren’t taking damage or you’re taking too much damage.

    Agility is great for threat generation. It does give us some mitigation, but the deeper in raiding you go for the way they built bear tanks in this expansion, the better stamina is. You make up a ton of the agility from gems in the gear you get in ICC raiding though. ITs pretty laden with the stuff, so I really don’t miss it. Its hard to get out of the dodge tank mentality, but blizzard never intended for us to get 60%+ dodge. That’s why they nerfed the hell out of our dodge in ICC raiding.

  50. Lily says:

    Thank you for the topic, BBB. I know I am one of those who often gets the feeling of “TL:DR” syndrome here. I try to watch out for tanky discussions and occasionally stay for some off-topic amusement. I may not read it all or comment often, but I do find you to be a great writer, so when I have time to stay a bit and read I appreciate your enthusiasm. You’ve done well at illustrating some of the pitfalls for tanking. I just want to take a moment to mull over the topic here and see what responses there might be. First of all, I’m not sure I agree with your sentiment about Savvy’s post. It sounded to me that he was trying to be creative and at the same time offer his own thoughts, I translated his post to mean “when tanking consider your healers and whether they need more time for heals to land, or whether they are OOMing, if they aren’t getting heals off in time, you should work on stamina, but if instead they’re able to keep you up, but running short of mana during the fight, you should work on mitigation.” I’m not sure how you’d think he was being insulting to you – I think a lot of people want to offer their take on gemming options for bears and these things are meant to encourage. I suppose he could have been less cryptic, though. His post was similar to your own suggestion of balancing, but taken from the healer’s point of view.

    Of course here I am, I don’t read a lot of posts, and I disagree with you. Actually, no, I agree 100% with your logic of balancing gear. I do want to offer my 2 cents, for whatever it’s worth. I’m in the position of liking stamina gems, I’m sure I don’t have enough stam, and then I also have Tier gear that is shared between my specs. Using worse gear to gem stamina is not an option, and to make matters worse I don’t have enough expertise to even think about gemming pure stamina on my bear-only gear. I find if I don’t have 50+ expertise I can’t keep threat off people. I do value Agility and the other stats on my gear, so I primarily focus on balancing stats by selecting gear with the MOST stat contribution and maximizing potential by taking every Agility socket bonus (socket bonuses I skip are: crit, and AP, because the returns for these stats are very small). I try to stay above 50 expertise and hit capped, so stamina/hit and stamina/expertise may appear. For yellow sockets, if I am already hit-capped, I gem Haste/Stamina. This provides more Mauls and is a very valuable threat stat for all bears. For Red I gem Expertise, if I am over 60 Expertise, I would gem Agility/Stamina instead. Or Armor Pen/Stamina (ThinkTank turned me on to the idea that armor pen has become a disgusting threat stat for bears in ICC gear). On the balancing issue: I consider of the above stats.. what do I really need more of? In ICC content, my aim will be to average out with other tanks at around 55k HP, 45%-50% dodge, hit cap, 50-60 Expertise, and then either Haste and/or more armor pen to keep up with the threat of crazy 8-10k DPSers out there. If I get to a point where I am over 50% dodge and I’m over 60K HP, and even on massive burst there are never threat issues, I would probably start taking defense. The reason being, at the level of DR there’s a point where the Miss% provided by Defense is better than Agility. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it was 50% dodge pre-ICC debuff.

    I’d also like to ask specifically, regarding Trinkets, I am under the impression that the armor badge trinket provides more survival than Greatness. I’m talking Triumph here, although of course the Stamina trinket is sooo much stamina it is also hard to ignore, if you can spare frost. As you mentioned that you’re using Greatness, what are your thoughts on the Armor trinket?

    Regarding the Meta, I used to have 2 helms handy so I could swap between mitigating magic and mitigating physical. If a fight had a reasonable amount of magic damage, the Effulgent was best. I was also skipping entirely the AGI bonus with the Effulgent, on the logic that magic damage can’t be dodged, so more stamina to absorb the damage was better. For my regular helm, I took the armor and I used a mixed color gem to keep the Agi bonus.

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