Archive for the “Bear Tank Gear” Category

It’s a most wonderful time, for tank gear. Drink beer? TANK GEAR!

I have been having a wonderful time using this patch gear reset to get my Druid built back up while I could still ride the power curve, and be on par with the DPS I see.

By using my other DPS characters and the enjoyable way we can get Valor Points now, (omg, instances that aren’t agonizing slog fests of misery in the name of Valor! Who woulda thunk it?) I was able to get some BOE items from the VP vendor that sent my Druid over the moon in delight.

The drops in the new instances are plentiful in general, although chasing that one particular upgrade can still bring that pain we know so well.

Overall, gearing a Bear tank has been a pleasure.

At least, until tonight.

I did the LFR first wing earlier in the week, and I was fortunate enough to get a Tier token. Ah yes, even better tanking gear! So wonderful!

I went into some random Twilight instances, and had a lot of fun. I even did one as pure random, all by myself for the Satchel reward, and it went smoothly. How interesting, to see firsthand groups of random strangers in the freshest content, and the things they STILL do when running and gunning on the go go go. 

And hold my own easily, rather than struggling.

And then I entered the second wing of LFR. I downed Deathwing on my Druid tonight, and I won the most prized item that we as Bears could ever wish for… Kiril, Fury of the Beasts.

Oh yeah, you know it.

In the last content release, we had the Firelands, and what many of us thought was the ultimate gift for the Feral Druid, Fandrals’ Flamescythe.

Although not documented on the tooltip, using the Flamescythe in kitty form would have the chance to transform you into a flamecat.

How cool is that, yes?

Ah, but cool as that is, it benefits not the dedicated Bear, the big butted ones who toil endlessly for the tanking satisfaction of him or herself.

Check out the tooltip on Kiril, though, if you please.

Your melee and ranged attacks have a chance to trigger Fury of the Beast, granting 95 Agility and 10% increased size every 1 sec.  This effect stacks a maximum of 10 times and lasts 20 sec.

Fury of the Beast. Note there, where it says “stacks a maximum of 10 times”, please. Get it? Got it. Good!

I am here to tell you that the Big Bear Butt exists, and it is a massive posterior indeed.

Oh, and it has enhanced armor. Err, the weapon, not the butt.

Well, the butt has enhanced armor too, but… ah hell, thank you again, Blizzard. Merry Christmas to you too!

A few things to note, here.

First, from the moment the first tick of the effect begins, your 20 secs overall begins. Each additional stack you gain does not extend the overall time. Each stack takes a second to build, so it i a progression, not an explosion. It takes you 10 seconds to gain maximum buttitude, visibly increasing butt size every step of the way, and then you get to enjoy it for ten more seconds at max power.

At which point, after going hard for ten seconds, we experience…. shrinkage.

There IS an internal global cooldown on the effect, which seems to be about 45 seconds after the effect wears off. Maybe it’s 40 seconds, giving you the effect once a minute, but I need to do some testing to see how consistent it is, and where it really lies. 

One thing is certain. As you attack a single target, such as a boss, you can clearly see each second as your butt gets bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER, until you are what I have already come to think of as ‘normal size’.

I call it that, because when I’m in the middle of a scrum, mobs all about, players darting around, I don’t notice the effect begin. I find myself wondering, “Am I big right now or not? I seem quite normal.”

And then, all of a sudden, “Oh shit, little bear!”

When things get going in a crowd, I notice the buff more when I experience that sudden shrinkage, and find myself wishing wistfully for a butt that was big. 

This… this is why you wake up in the morning glad to be a Bear tank. For moments like this.

For all of you that still live the life of the Bear, I pray you take this gift that Blizzard has given for us, accessible to ALL in the current Looking For Raid functionality, I pray you take the chance, hit the raids, stay with it until you win that staff, and enjoy!

Many of us may never expect to see a raid team enter and clear the Firelands, or get the Fandrals Flamescythe drop. You have to raid with your guild, or be part of a raid group that forms and have the time.

But all of us truly have the same opportunity to get this magnificent weapon, and for that I can’t thank Blizzard enough.

Aww, look at that cute little warrior there. Kind of looks taken aback by the size of the butt, eh?

And how about that Dwarven Priest. That there is a whole lotta bear, right there. Look ma, I cain’t be fat, I still fit in tha bubble! Err, all except for that enormous butt.

The butt can’t fit in the bubble. Tank with my face?

Tank with my face, my butt.

….. exactly!

But in conclusion, I would like to say, it has not gone unnoticed that even at this late date…

It’s STILL all Hunter loot.

Comments 7 Comments »

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!

Comments 66 Comments »

Let’s talk Bears, shall we?

Of course we shall. :)

So, referring purely to the Blue post here without any clarifications or updates, let’s look at how what’s been announced may affect us. 

Ever since the announcements were made at Blizzcon about major changes to the stat system, I’ve been eager to hear how this will affect us.

The most interesting change they touched on during the Blizzcon, to me, was their intent to roll out the Bear style of being uncrittable to all other tanks. That has now been confirmed.

Defense changes

Defense will go away, and all tanking classes will have a particular mode that makes them uncrittable;  “Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.”

How does that affect Bears?

First, we can claim to have lead the way to eventual enlightenment for the tanking masses.

We can also claim to be the bringers of joy to friends and sorrow to our enemies, but that doesn’t mean anyone will believe us.

Hopefully, what this really means is that we will cease having ignorant fools tell us we aren’t capable of tanking such-and-so in a random because “You’re not Defense capped”.

Worst case scenario, we’ll continue to be able to mock fools who say this, and other tanks will finally find out what hearing that feels like as their Defense stat goes away. After all, how do you respond to such blatant ignorance? To such a telling statement that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the person uttering this idiocy is completely unschooled in the mechanics of your class, and yet still feels it is somehow their place to not only judge you, but to tell you “You’re doin’ it wrong” and then boot you from group.

Not that I’ve ever seen that in the game myself. Oh, nooooooooo. Not I. Nevah.

Recap; what are our important stats?

Armor, Stamina, Agility, Critical Strike Rating, Hit Rating and Expertise, with a healthy dose of Defense and Haste for flavor.

What will change?

We already addressed Defense going bye-bye. For our Necklaces, Rings and Trinkets we’ll need to watch to see what stats Defense gets converted into. This one item, out of everything in the post, is the one that worries me.

Example? Shard of Pirouetting Happiness. Decent item, no Agility, but the mix of Stamina, Defense Rating and Dodge Rating make it quite tasty. It is representative of how shared tanking items, rings and necklaces, are being itemized to date.

That Defense Rating will soon go away. What will replace it? A universal stat like Stamina or Dodge Rating? Both would be useful to all tanks. It would make sense.

If it’s Parry or Block, we have a net loss. And if it’s Block, so do Death Knights.

The direct quote from the post was “No more Defense on gear. Existing Defense becomes Dodge, Parry, or Block Rating.”

From what I can see, there is no mention whatsoever of giving Bears a Parry or Block. We can expect to continue to tank with our big furry faces. If it turns into Dodge Rating on items all tanks use and share, and Block and Parry for plate items, then excellent, except for the poor Death Knights.

Okay, I know, dead horse, I’ll let it go. I think I’ve made my point. But I hear that train a comin’, it’s coming round the bend, and I ain’t seen the sunrise, since I don’t know when…

Edit: I’ll leave what I originally said about Parry in quotes below, but please look at the comments to see how folks saw I represented mob Parry mechanics wrong, and the comments they made about it.

With Parry, there is a change to this that might affect us in a positive way.

From what I read in their phraseology, they are saying that Parrying an enemy blow will not speed up the next attack.

I interpret that to mean the enemy swing timer will not be reset upon a successful Parry, which results in faster enemy attacks.

What this would mean to me is, on enemies where you sometimes have two tanks side by side to spread Cleave style damage and divide it, if that other tank Parries, it should not mean increased attack speed on you. More steady, predictable incoming damage, fewer chain spikes. I’m just speculating, but it sounds good and is consistent with what their stated intent is. 

As far as Stamina is concerned, they’re also saying that non-tanks and non-plate wearers will be getting more Stamina in comparison to existing tanks. Our flock, whom we grimly shephard through the valley of ass whuppin’s, shall be less squishy in general. Yay!

On the flip side, Bears in particular will once again be seeing a reduction in our Stamina multiplier in Dire Bear form, to compensate for the increase and keep us more in balance with the Plate wearers.

Personally, I’d like to be higher in Health or Dodge than the other tank classes, enough to once again notice. Just to emphasize the difference between tanks, and to compensate a little more for the lack of Block and Parry.

Not a big deal, I just miss that one thing a Bear could claim as their niche, physical damage bosses. 

Armor is mentioned, and I hate to say it, but I expect we will see a multiplier reduction again.

We use Leather that gets affected by a multiplier. So far, they’ve reduced the multiplier several times to rein us in. Our gear has also been adjusted downward, and bonus armor on leather was reduced or removed entirely. If they move Leather up in armor value for Rogues, expect to see the multiplier go down again for us. If the plate wearers get their armor reduced to bring them down closer to the others… again, expect to see our multiplier reduced to keep us in line.

It doesn’t sound like any of the other stats are actually going to change in how we use them, but of course the spread on gear is going to play a big part on how things turn out.

Especially this new stat, Mastery
Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.”
Can anyone tell me what the hell Mastery is going to make better about tanking? If I choose a tanking spec, and have Mastery points, does that mean my Armor multiplier works better? My Stamina goes up? I get shiftier, maybe?

Seriously now. How about this… if I’m a tank, I have hard, firm numbers on my Health, Dodge, Block, etc. I can directly control every one of those with stat proportions that are intended for tanks in the first place.

But I can’t directly increase Threat generated by my attacks without increasing my overall damage output.

How about, for tanks, making Mastery increase Threat Generation by a percentage, to all abilities? To scale it up without being tied so directly to DPS output?

That’s my hope. I can’t wait to see what they decide. 

For Hit Rating and Expertise, the post said they will be much harder to “cap out”. Bear tanks have never had to focus 100% on capping HR or Exp, but if it truly does get reduced a lot, then I foresee a time when raiding Bears will want to re-examine using a Glyph of Growl to increase the likelihood that Taunt will hit exactly when you MUST have it work.

They’re removing Weapon Skills from the game entirely. This won’t affect Bears in any way whatsoever, since Druids in form are always treated as having max weapon skill allowable for their level. As a player of a Paladin that hit 80 and then spent two hours grinding as soon as he got a new weapon using Argent Tournament tokens, before he could bloody well tank with it… and then did it again when he got yet another different style weapon from his first TOC run…THANK GOD.

Now, let’s quote that little section towards the end, their breakdown;

 If you are a melee DPS class, druid tank, or hunter, expect to see:
    * A lot more Stamina. Bear-form Stamina scaling will be lowered as a result.
    * Strength if you wear plate. Agility if you wear mail or leather.
    * Existing Attack Power becomes Agility and Stamina. Armor Penetration becomes Haste or Crit.

First, we already covered Stamina. We’ll be getting tweaked to stay where we are.

Strength if you wear Plate, Agility if you wear leather. Does this mean that Bear form will no longer get any AP/DPS benefit from the Strength stat?

Add that to the one that follows; Existing Attack Power is getting turned into Agility and Stamina.

Attack Power, which right now increases our DPS output only, will now give us both increased Crit, increased Dodge, and more Health.

That actually reinforces my belief that Mastery will be a Threat buff, and also makes me wonder if they are intending on making the Strength/Defense items I’ve been whining about useful for Plate wearers only, and having Bears go to the DPS Agi/Stam items only. Right now, Strength is not wasted, it increases our DPS and therefore our threat. When you factor that into the way Stamina on those items is significantly higher than on the DPS items, our choice has been unhappy, but clear.

Maybe that will change in the future. I’m still worried, because the Stamina really is that low on those other items.We’ll see. Long days yet to come, and I’m sure many will voice their concerns over a balanced distribution of stats for Bears as well as Cat/Rogues.

Last but not least – Reforging.

This is pretty crazy. I have one question that must be answered before we can make any real determination; when you reforge an item, is it permanent?

Adding what they said here with what they said in Blizzcon, the idea of Reforging is not to swap “core” stats one with the other, Like Agility and Stamina for Bears, but instead to let you adjust the “support” stats like Hit Rating, Haste, Expertise, Critical Strike Rating, etc.

There is a clear intention here to make a distinction between core stats and support stats. Once we know for sure what those are, and whether changes made to gear will be permanent, we will be able to make better Wild Ass Guesses.

Still, it’s clear this is about making sure you get the full benefit of what you loot. Have too much of one thing? You can swap it for, if not the FULL point value of something else, at least something useful, which is a damn sight better than nothing. I know that I’m over hit cap right now, but way under the expertise cap. I’d sure love to be able to make that swap… so long as I wouldn’t be permanently losing that, currently, superfluous hit rating. What if I get an upgrade later that puts me under the hit cap? What then?

I can’t wait to see Reforging, I expect it to be like Socketing different gems, and that’s going to be very useful.

Edit: as mentioned in the comments, Blue replies to their thread reference new items, Scrolls of Reforging, that will have a direct application such as Critical Strike => Hit Rating. Thinking aloud, I wonder if this might work similarly to Armor Kits, only useable on some item slots, and when applied, showing as similar to (but not conflicting with) Enchants. If so, then applying a new Scroll of Reforging would simply restore the original stats by wiping away the previous Scroll, and then apply the new Scroll to the baseline. Leaves the door open to limiting the Scrolls to only work on armor items (no weapons, shields, neck, ring or trinkets) if that’s what they choose. Again, time will tell.

All in all, we are getting off pretty darn light. I bet the other tanks are full of anxiety right now, and can you blame them?

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming… What do we do, we swim, swim…

Comments 37 Comments »

To round off the stuff that will help you prepare your Bear tank, there is just one last area to explore – temporary buffs.

Temporary Buffs are things you can bring with you to help get that last little bit of preparation for when you’re tackling the big jobs.

If you’re going into Drak’theron Keep or Utgardt Keep, generally speaking when you’ve got good gear, consumables are entirely optional.

If you’re facing a big challenge… well, we can always use a little boost at times, right?

1) Food

For Bear tanks, the best choice really is Blackened Dragonfin. If you are looking for the best tanking results, then Agility plus Stamina is it. It’s all I ever carry around for tanking food. If you’d like some alternatives, then a combination of Crit and Stam, or Hit Rating and Stam, or Expertise and Stam are all also good. Just, not nearly AS good.

2) Flasks or Potions


Flask of Stoneblood – increases maximum Health by 1300 for one hour. I’m sorry, that’s about the best all around Flask.


If you prefer to go with Elixirs, then there are some to look at;



3) Finally, other forms of self buffs.

There are two relatively new items that can be crafted that can be used by anyone that are of special interest to us.

Inscription: Runescroll of Fortitude - increases Stamina by 165 for all party or raid members for one hour. For when you don’t have a Priest in the party, can be used by anyone, and only takes 1 Snowfall Ink and 5 Resilient Parchment to make a stack of FIVE.

Leatherworking: Drums of Forgotten Kings - Increases total stats for all party or raid members by 8% for 30 minutes. For when you don’t have a Paladin in your group. 8% is a LOT, my friends. It’s crazy. It takes 8 Heavy Borean Leather and 8 Icy Dragonscale to make one, but’s it’s usable by anyone, and has 50 charges. That’s not a typo, it’s FIFTY charges.

Comments 11 Comments »

The purpose of part two of this gear list is to help those folks that are working to be the best they can be prior to raiding. 

From the start of crafted Blues to being ready for Icecrown, this is the list for you. 

Part one of this list, and the introduction, can be found here: Armor for starting Bear tanks.

This list serves as a guide for how I rank the items you can acquire from professions, world drops, quests, regular instances, Heroic instances, emblems of all kinds (including Frost), and PvP.

No raids are included, not even the commonly pugged ones. I rarely if ever am asked to provide a Raiding Bear’s list of upgrades. What people ask for from me is a helpful starting ground for when they want to get cracking as a new Bear, and don’t really know where to look first.

I have made one exception for this list. I have seen many PUG raids form up, specifically to farm the trash in Icecrown Citadel, so as to gain reputation with the Ashen Verdict. Because I really don’t see this as raiding, I’m including the awesome rings you can get as rewards from the faction.

Whether you prefer more Stamina rather than Agility, or vice versa, more Hit Rating, more Expertise, more Crit Rating, etc is really dependant on your current gear overall. There is no gear list that can replace your judgment. What this list can do is help point out where some great upgrades in general can be found when you’re first starting out.

This second list covers all the miscellaneous stuff that ain’t armor. If something on this list has an armor value, that armor value is NOT affected by Bear form armor mutipliers. What you see is, aside from Meta Gem percentages, what you get. 

One other thing to keep in mind… one of the most interesting variables in a loot list is, does it have sockets or not? If you look at some of the items on either list, the position of older iLevel 200 crafteds may be surprising, until you take into account the older items frequently had sockets, and were itemized when the current epic gems were not in the game. Now those sockets are actually worth more than originally intended, and newer items frequently don’t have them. So, these items not only can vary in power depending on what gems you socket, but are also, when fully socketed, more powerful than originally designed. This should help to explain the high position of items such as the Titanium Earthguard Ring. Whenever you see an item with a socket, it is placed in the position where it would be if it had the absolute best quality gem in it. Use a Rare, or something strange like Spellpower, and it would drop further on the list.

While perusing the lists, keep in mind the following;

  • Hit Rating Cap for Bears: 262.3 (263)
  • Expertise Rating Cap for Bears: 443

(Hit Rating and Expertise Caps are not provided as “must reach” goals, but instead are guidelines to help you know when you have enough of each value, and when stacking more is a waste of stat point allocations)

  • Total Dodge is reduced in Icecrown Citadel Raids by 20% from the Chill of the Throne. This does not affect Heroics. Please keep in mind, do not gear or gem specifically for Dodge, or specifically for Health to compensate for this, but use a balanced mix of the two.


Ashen Band of Endless Courage - Exalted with Ashen Verdict faction
Harbingers Bone Band – BoE drop off trash mobs in Icecrown Citadel, 10 and 25 man versions
Ashen Band of Unmatched Courage – Revered with Ashen Verdict faction
Ashen Band of Greater Courage – Honored with Ashen Verdict faction
Clutch of Fortification – 35 Emblems of Triumph
Ashen Band of Courage – Friendly with Ashen Verdict faction
Runed Band of the Kirin Tor – 1250 gold and exchange Etched Band of the Kirin Tor
Dexterous Brightstone Ring – 35 Emblems of Triumph
Runed Ring of the Kirin Tor – 1250 gold and exchange Etched Ring of the Kirin Tor
Mark of the Relentless – Drops from Champion’s Cache in Heroic Trial of the Champion
Band of Stained Souls – Drops from Scourgelord Tyrannus in Heroic Pit of Saron
Keystone Great-Ring – Drops from The Prophet Tharon’ja in Heroic Drak’Tharon Keep
Signet of the Impregnable Fortress – 25 Emblems of Valor
Titanium Earthguard Ring – BoE Crafted, Jewelcrafting
Hemorrhaging Circle – Drops from Gal’darah in Heroic Gundrak
Etched Ring of the Kirin Tor – 1250 gold and exchange Inscribed Ring of the Kirin Tor
Ring of Carnelian and Bone – Drops from Forgemaster Garfrost in Regular Pit of Saron
Etched Band of the Kirin Tor – 1250 gold and exchange Inscribed Band of the Kirin Tor
Relentless Gladiator’s Band of Victory – PvP Reward, 47400 Honor Points
The Lady’s Promise - Drops from the Captain’s Chest in Heroic Halls of Reflection
Inscribed Ring of the Kirin Tor – 1250 gold and exchange Ring of the Kirin Tor
Band of Torture – Drops from Drakos the Interrogator in Heroic Oculus
Nerubian Shield Ring – Drops from Elder Nadox in Heroic Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom
Uruka’s Band of Zeal – Drops from The Black Knight in Regular Trial of the Champion
Titanium Impact Band – BoE Crafted, Jewelcrafting
Ring of Earthen Might – BoE Crafted, Jewelcrafting
Titanium Frostguard Ring – BoE Crafted, Jewelcrafting
Inscribed Band of the Kirin Tor – 1250 gold and exchange Band of the Kirin Tor
Signet of Edward the Odd – BoE World Drop
Bloodshed Band – 35 Emblems of Triumph
Ring of the Kirin Tor – Bought from Harold Winston in Dalaran, 8500 gold
Ring of Invincibility – 25 Emblems of Valor
Ring of Ghoulish Glee – Drops from Headless Horseman, only during the Hallowed Eve World Event
Mobius Band – Drops from Chrono-Lord Epoch in Heroic Culling of Stratholme
Titan-forged Band of Victory – PvP Reward, 15 Wintergrasp Marks of Honor
Band of the Kirin Tor – Bought from Harold Winston in Dalaran, 8500 gold
Purloined Wedding Ring – Drops from Ick in Regular Pit of Saron
Signet of Bridenbrad – Quest reward from Light Within the Darkness
Unsmashable Heavy Band – Drops from Ingvar the Plunderer in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Stained-Glass Shard Ring – BoE trash drop 
Bjarngrim Family Signet – Drops from General Bjarngrim in Regular Halls of Lightning


Wodin’s Lucky Necklace – BoE, Icecrown Citadel trash drop, both 10 and 25 man raids
Shard of the Crystal Forest -19 Emblems of Conquest
Fossilized Ammonite Choker – Drops from The Captains Chest in Heroic Halls of Reflection
Broach of the Wailing Night – 19 Emblems of Conquest
Barbed Ymirheim Choker – Drops from Forgemaster Garfrost in Heroic Pit of Saron
The Warlord’s Depravity – Drops from The Black Knight in Heroic Trial of the Champion
Titanium Earthguard Chain – BoE Crafted, Jewelcrafting
Chained Military Gorget – 25 Emblems of Heroism
Ancient Pendant of Arathor – Drops in Confessor’s Cache in Heroic Trial of the Champion
Amulet of Wills – Drops from Sjonnir The Ironshaper in Regular Halls of Stone
Spiked Battleguard Choker – 19 Emblems of Conquest
Shadowseeker’s Pendant – Drops from Jedoga Shadowseeker in Heroic Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom
Susurrating Shell Necklace – 10 Crusader’s Seals
Choker of Feral Fury – 10 Crusader’s Seals
Necklace of the Chrono-Lord – Drops from Chrono-Lord Epoch in Regular Culling of Stratholme
Painfully Sharp Choker – Drops from Scourgelord Tyrannus in Regular Pit of Saron
Necklace of Arcane Spheres – Drops from Xevozz in Heroic Violet Hold
Pendant of the Nathrezim – Drops from Mal’Ganis in Heroic Culling of Stratholme
Burning Skull Pendant – BoE trash drop in Heroic Gundrak


Corroded Skeleton Key – 60 Emblem of Frost
The Black Heart – Drops from The Black Knight in Regular Trial of the Champion
Glyph of Indomitability – 50 Emblems of Triumph
Darkmoon Card: Greatness – BoE Crafted, Inscription
Essence of Gossamer – Drops from Hadronox in Heroic Azjol-Nerub
Bitter Balebrew Charm – Drops from Coren Direbrew in Brewfest World Event
Bubbling Brightbrew Charm – Drops from Coren Direbrew in Brewfest World Event
Figurine – Monarch Crab – BoP crafted, Jewelcrafting
Figurine – Ruby Hare – BoP crafted, Jewelcrafting
Indestructible Alchemist’s Stone – BoP crafted, Alchemy
Ick’s Rotting Thumb – Drops from Ick in Heroic Pit of Saron
Brawler’s Souvenir – Drops from Coren Direbrew in Brewfest World Event
Seal of the Pantheon – Drops from Loken in Regular Halls of Lightning
Offering of Sacrifice – Drops from Gal’darah in Heroic Gundrak

Main Hand Weapons

Enchant: Mongoose

Relentless Gladiator’s Greatstaff – PvP Arena Reward
Lightborn Spire – Eventual reward for Bear Tanks from The Battered Hilt quest chain
Relentless Gladiator’s Crusher – PvP Arena Reward
Relentless Gladiator’s Halberd – PvP Arena Reward
Orca-Hunter’s Harpoon – Drops from Marwyn in Heroic Halls of Reflection
Marrowstrike – Drops from Confessor’s Cache in Heroic Trial of the Champion
Tower of the Mouldering Corpse – Drops from Devourer of Souls in Regular Forge of Souls
Silvery Sylvan Stave - 25 Crusader Seals
Staff of Feral Furies – 25 Crusader Seals
Staff of Trickery – Drops from Cyanigosa in Heroic Violet Hold
Garfrost’s Two-Ton Hammer – Drops from Forgemaster Garfrost in Regular Pit of Saron
Enraged Feral Staff – Drops from Ingvar the Plunderer in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Stave of Shrouded Mysteries – Rep reward – Revered with the Kirin Tor
Lightning Giant Staff – Drops from Loken in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Titansteel Destroyer – BoE Crafted, Blacksmithing
Mojo Masked Crusher – Drops from The Prophet Tharon’ja in Heroic Drak’Tharon Keep
Saliva Corroded Pike – Drops from Moragg in Heroic Violet Hold
Whale-Stick Harpoon – Rep reward – Revered with The Kalu’ak
Hammer of Grief – Drops from Maiden of Grief in Heroic Halls of Stone
Hewn Sparring Quarterstaff – Drops from General Bjarngrim in Regular Halls of Lightning
Argent Skeleton Crusher – Rep reward – Revered with the Argent Crusade

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