Archive for the “Bear Tank Gear” Category

The purpose 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. 

There are certain realities, this deep into the game.

If you’ve got a level 80 Druid, there is a ton of content available at level 80. If your Druid just hit 80 recently, then most raiding opportunities in the earlier 80 realms are past. The group you’re going to run with is either already all geared up and you need to catch up, or the rest of your friends are just getting started in the casual chase, and you’ll get plenty of chances to run Heroics before needing to be raid ready anyway. Either way, chances are good you’re not going to be gearing up by running weekly raids in Naxxramus, Obsidian Sanctum or Eye of Eternity. Even Ulduar and ToC might be relegated to trips down memory lane before too long.

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), Argent Tournament Crusader Seals 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.

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 first list covers armor. Every item on this list has an Armor Value that is affected by the Bear Form Multiplier. Thus, higher Armor Value matters a great deal for these items.

A few notes on how the gear purchases work.

Emblems of Frost can be used, much like Triumph, to purchase both non-Tier items and items that are part of Tier 10 sets. You will find that the Tier 10 items you can purchase are actually weaker than the ones you can purchase for the exact same amount of Emblems of Frost that aren’t part of any set. One example of this is the Shadow Seeker’s Tunic versus the Lasherweave Raiment.

The reason for this is, the Shadow Seeker’s Tunic is non-upgradeable. It is a fantastic chest piece, but it is a use of 95 Emblems of Frost that, once spent, are what they are. The Lasherweave Raiment, which you purchase from the Druid armor vendor from within the Icecrown Citadel Raid Instance itself, is also 95 Emblems of Frost… but you must purchase it in order to get the higher level Tier 10 upgrades later on. To get a higher Tier 10 item, you MUST exchange the Tier 10 you bought with Emblems of Frost, along with a token from a drop.

In effect, you can consider the Emblem of Frost Tier 10 armor items to represent an investment towards the future. If you will be raiding, and expect to get Token drops, then the Tier 10 items, and their set bonuses, are the better long term purchase. If you are a casual player and may never see a token drop, let alone win the roll for it, the stand alone non-set item represents a beautiful “best in slot”.

Let your own judgment and expectations be your guide.

While perusing the lists, keep in mind the following;

  • Hit Rating Cap for Bears: 262.3
  • Expertise Rating Cap for Bears: 443

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

  • 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.

Helm

Enchant: Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector Rep vendor: Argent Crusade (Revered)
Meta Gem: Austere Earthsiege Diamond

Lasherweave Headguard – 95 Emblems of Frost from the Tier 10 vendor inside Icecrown Citadel Raid instance.
Relentless Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm – PvP Reward
Hood of Lethal Intent  - 75 Emblem of Triumph (Non-set item)
Malfurion’s Headguard of Conquest  - 50 Emblem of Triumph and no token from Tier 9 vendor
Furious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm  - PvP Reward
Frayed Scoundrel’s Cap – Drops from Devourer of Souls in Heroic Forge of Souls
Conqueror’s Nightsong Headguard - Token for turn in costs 58 Emblems of Conquest
Mask of Distant Memory  - Drops from The Black Knight in Heroic Trial of the Champion
Deadly Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm - PvP Reward
Weakness Spectralizers - Engineering crafted BoP 
Titan-Forged Leather Helm of Triumph - 40 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Hateful Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm - PvP Reward
Mask of the Watcher - Drops from Eregos in Heroic Oculus
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm - 45 Emblem of Heroism
Shroud of Darkness - Drops from Zuramat the Obliterator in Heroic Violet Hold
Helm of Cheated Fate - Drops from Drakkari Elemental in Heroic Gundrak
Hood of the Furtive Assassin - Drops from Loken in Halls of Lightning
Headguard of Retaliation - Reward from Quest, “Vengeance Be Mine!” in Utgarde Pinnacle
Battlemap Hide Helm - Drops from Prince Keleseth in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Eviscerator’s Facemask - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78

Shoulders

Enchant:
Master’s Inscription of the Pinnacle (Inscriptionists only)
Greater Inscription of the Gladiator (10,000 Honor Points)
Greater inscription of the Pinnacle (Sons of Hodir – Exalted)

Lasherweave Shoulderpads – 60 Emblems of Frost from the Tier 10 vendor inside Icecrown Citadel Raid instance
Relentless Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - PvP Reward
Duskstalker Shoulderpads - 45 Emblems of Triumph
Malfurion’s Shoulderpads of Conquest - 30 Emblems of Triumph and no token from Tier 9 vendor
Spaulders of Black Betrayal – Drops from Falric in Heroic Halls of Reflection
Furious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - PvP Reward
Valorous Dreamwalker Shoulderpads - Token for turn in costs 60 Emblems of Valor
Deadly Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - PvP Reward
Trollwoven Spaulders - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Bewildering Shoulderpads – Drops from Bronjahm in Normal Forge of Souls
Shoulderpads of the Infamous Knave - Drops from The Black Knight in Regular Trial of the Champion
Hateful Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - PvP Reward
Sprinting Shoulderpads - Drops from Elder Nadox in Heroic Ahn’kahet
Spaulders of the Careless Thief - Drops from Grand Magus Telestra in Heroic Nexus
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - Emblem of Heroism
Eviscerator’s Shoulderpads - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78

Cloak

Enchant: Major Agility (+22 Agility)

Sentinel’s Winter Cloak – 50 Emblems of Frost (base Armor Value affected by multiplier=177)
Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape – 50 Emblems of Frost
Might of the Ocean Serpent - 50 Emblems of Frost
Eerie Runeblade Polisher – Drops from Falric in Normal Halls of Reflection
Platinum Mesh Cloak - 25 Emblem of Valor
Durable Nerubhide Cape - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Accursed Crawling Cape – Drops from Devourer of Souls in Normal Forge of Souls
Shroud of Reverberation - Drops from Volkhan in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak - 25 Emblem of Valor
Ice Striker’s Cloak - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Cloak of the Gushing Wound - Drops from Erekem in Heroic The Violet Hold
Cloak of the Enemy - Drops from Commander (first boss) in Heroic Nexus
Drape of the Undefeated - Drops from The Black Knight in Trial of the Champion (more a DPS cloak)

Chest

Enchant: Super Stats

Shadow Seeker’s Tunic – 95 Emblems of Frost
Lasherweave Raiment – 95 Emblems of Frost from the Tier 10 vendor inside Icecrown Citadel Raid instance
Knightbane Carapace - Leatherworking crafted BoE from a recipe drop in Trials raid
Relentless Gladiator’s Dragonhide Robes - PvP Reward
Malfurion’s Raiments of Conquest - 50 Emblem of Triumph and no token from Tier 9 vendor
Furious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Robes - PvP Reward
Conqueror’s Nightsong Raiments - Token costs 58 Emblems of Conquest
Choking Hauberk – Drops from Marwyn in Heroic Halls of Reflection
Titan-Forged Leather Tunic of Triumph - 40 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Blackened Geist Ribs – The Captains Chest, Normal Halls of Reflection
Polar Vest - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Robes - 45 Emblem of Heroism
Darkheart Chestguard - Rep vendor: Knights of the Ebon Blade (Exalted)
Crystal-Infused Tunic - Drops from Keristrasza in Heroic Nexus
Exotic Leather Tunic - Reward from Quest, “Junk in My Trunk” in Utgarde Pinnacle
Drake Rider’s Tunic - Drops from Skadi the Ruthless in Regular Utgarde Pinnacle
Eviscerator’s Chestguard - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78

Wrist

Enchant: Major Stamina (40 Stamina)

Bracers of Swift Death - Leatherworking crafted BoE from a recipe drop in ToC Raid
Titan-Forged Armwraps of Triumph - 15 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Chewed Leather Wristguards – Drops from Ick in Heroic Pit of Saron
Armbands of the Wary Lookout - Drops from The Black Knight in Heroic Trial of the Champion
Wristwraps of the Cutthroat - 60 Emblem of Valor
Bindings of the Tunneler - Drops from Skarvald the Constructor in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Hateful Gladiator’s Armwraps of Triumph - PvP Reward
Dragonfriend Bracers - Rep vendor: The Wyrmrest Accord (Exalted)
Advanced Tooled-Leather Bands - Drops from Loken in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Drake-Champion’s Bracers - BoE Trash drop from Oculus, buyable on AH
King’s Square Bracers - BoE Trash drop from Culling of Time – Strat, buyable on AH
Eviscerator’s Bindings - Leatherworking crafted, useable at level 78

Hands

Enchant: Major Agility (+20 Agility)

Cat Burglar’s Grips – 60 Emblems of Frost
Lasherweave Handgrips – 60 Emblems of Frost from the Tier 10 vendor inside Icecrown Citadel Raid instance
Malfurion’s Handgrips of Conquest - 30 Emblem of Triumph
Gloves of the Blind Stalker - 28 Emblem of Conquest
Gloves of the Argent Fanatic - Drops from either 2nd boss in Regular Trial of the Champion
Charged-Bolt Grips - Drops from Ionar in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Gloves - 30 Emblem of Heroism
Handwraps of Preserved History - Quest reward from “A Royal Escort” in Culling of Time: Strat
Bile-Cured Gloves - Drops from Meathook in Heroic Culling of Time: Strat
Gilt-Edged Leather Gauntlets - Drops from King Ymiron in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Sidestepping Handguards - Drops from Mage-Lord Urom in Regular Oculus
Seafoam Gauntlets - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78
Eviscerator’s Gauntlets - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78

Waist

Enchants: Don’t forget your Eternal Belt Buckle

Vengeful Noose – 60 Emblems of Frost
Belt of the Twilight Assassin - 28 Emblem of Conquest
Flayer’s Black Belt – Drops from Forgemaster Garfrost in Normal Pit of Saron
Death-warmed Belt - Leatherworking recipe for BoE drops in Ulduar 25
Sharp-Barbed Leather Belt - Drops from Ingvar the Plunderer in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Titan-Forged Belt of Triumph - 15 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Trollwoven Girdle - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Jorach’s Crocolisk Skin Belt - 40 Emblem of Heroism
Polar Cord - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Treasure Seeker’s Belt - BoE trash drop in Azjol-Nerub, buyable from AH

Leggings

Enchant: Frosthide Leg Armor

Lasherweave Legguards – 95 Emblems of Frost from the Tier 10 vendor inside Icecrown Citadel Raid instance
Malfurion’s Legguards of Conquest - 50 Emblem of Triumph and no token from Tier 9 vendor
Titan-Forged Leather Legguards of Triumph - 40 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Leggings of Wavering Shadow - 39 Emblem of Conquest
Valorous Dreamwalker Legguards - Token purchased from vendor costs 75 Emblems of Valor
Mind-Expanding Leggings - Rep vendor: Kirin Tor (Revered)
Gored Hide Legguards - Drops from Gal’darah in Heroic Gundrak
Legguards of Swarming Attacks - Drops from Amanitar in Heroic Ahn’kahet
Leggings of Brazen Trespass - Drops in Eadric’s (loot pinata) Cache in Regular Trial of the Champion
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Legguards - 45 Emblem of Heroism
Ravenous Leggings of the Furbolg - Drops from Gortok Palehoof in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Chain Gang Legguards - World Drop BoE, buyable in AH
Constellation Leggings - Drops in Tribunal Chest in Regular Halls of Stone
Eviscerator’s Legguards - Leatherworking crafted BoE useable at level 78

Feet

Enchant: Superior Agility (+16 Agility)

Footpads of Silence - Leatherworking recipe drops from Ulduar, crafted BoE, expensive
Blighted Leather Footpads – Captain’s Chest, Heroic Halls of Reflection
Treads of Dismal Fortune - Drops from 1st Champion fight, Heroic ToC
Titan-Forged Boots of Triumph - 15 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Polar Boots - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Hateful Gladiator’s Boots of Triumph - PvP Reward
Boots of Captain Ellis - 40 Emblem of Valor
Slag Footguards - Drops from Volkhan in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Gorloc Muddy Footwraps - Drops from Eck in Heroic Gundrak
Treads of Nimble Evasion - 10 Champion’s Seal (Argent Tournament)
Boots of the Whirling Mist - Drops from Sjonnir The Ironshaper in Heroic Halls of Stone
Boots of the Neverending Path - Rep vendor: Argent Crusade (Exalted)
Jormscale Footpads - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at 78
Eviscerator’s Treads - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at 78

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The purpose of this gear list is to help those folks that have been asking me what to look for as a new 80, from start to being prepared for Icecrown 5 person instances in Patch 3.3.

This list is to serve as a guide for how I rank items you can acquire from professions, world drops, quests, regular instances, heroic instances, emblems of all kinds, Argent Tournament Crusader Seals 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 hope that you do seek out fun in 10 or 25 person raids, and have a great time. If and when you do, remember to maintain a balance between Stamina and Agility/Dodge Rating for both Health and Dodge, and when your raid item inevitably isn’t on this list, check to see where your pieces would fall based on comparison to others on this list.

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 first list covers armor. Every item on this list has an Armor Value that is affected by the Bear Form Multiplier. Thus, higher Armor Value matters a great deal for these items.

Helm

Enchant: Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector Rep vendor: Argent Crusade (Revered)
Meta Gem: Austere Earthsiege Diamond

Relentless Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm – PvP Reward
Hood of Lethal Intent  - 75 Emblem of Triumph (Non-set item)
Malfurion’s Headguard of Conquest  - 50 Emblem of Triumph and no token from Tier 9 vendor
Furious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm  - PvP Reward
Conqueror’s Nightsong Headguard - Token for turn in costs 58 Emblems of Conquest
Mask of Distant Memory  - Drops from The Black Knight in Heroic Trial of the Champion
Deadly Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm - PvP Reward
Weakness Spectralizers - Engineering crafted BoP 
Titan-Forged Leather Helm of Triumph - 40 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Hateful Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm - PvP Reward
Mask of the Watcher - Drops from Eregos in Heroic Oculus
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Helm - 45 Emblem of Heroism
Shroud of Darkness - Drops from Zuramat the Obliterator in Heroic Violet Hold
Helm of Cheated Fate - Drops from Drakkari Elemental in Heroic Gundrak
Hood of the Furtive Assassin - Drops from Loken in Halls of Lightning
Headguard of Retaliation - Reward from Quest, “Vengeance Be Mine!” in Utgarde Pinnacle
Battlemap Hide Helm - Drops from Prince Keleseth in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Eviscerator’s Facemask - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78

Shoulders

Enchant:
Master’s Inscription of the Pinnacle (Inscriptionists only)
Greater Inscription of the Gladiator (10,000 Honor Points)
Greater inscription of the Pinnacle (Sons of Hodir – Exalted)

Relentless Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - PvP Reward
Duskstalker Shoulderpads - 45 Emblem of Triumph
Malfurion’s Shoulderpads of Conquest - 30 Emblem of Triumph and no token from Tier 9 vendor
Furious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - PvP Reward
Valorous Dreamwalker Shoulderpads - Token for turn in costs 60 Emblems of Valor
Deadly Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - PvP Reward
Trollwoven Spaulders - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Shoulderpads of the Infamous Knave - Drops from The Black Knight in Regular Trial of the Champion
Hateful Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - PvP Reward
Sprinting Shoulderpads - Drops from Elder Nadox in Heroic Ahn’kahet
Spaulders of the Careless Thief - Drops from Grand Magus Telestra in Heroic Nexus
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders - Emblem of Heroism
Eviscerator’s Shoulderpads - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78

Cloak

Enchant: Major Agility (+22 Agility)

Platinum Mesh Cloak - 25 Emblem of Valor
Durable Nerubhide Cape - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Shroud of Reverberation - Drops from Volkhan in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Hammerhead Sharkskin Cloak - 25 Emblem of Valor
Ice Striker’s Cloak - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Cloak of the Gushing Wound - Drops from Erekem in Heroic The Violet Hold
Cloak of the Enemy - Drops from Commander (first boss) in Heroic Nexus
Drape of the Undefeated - Drops from The Black Knight in Trial of the Champion (more a DPS cloak)

Chest

Enchant: Super Stats

Knightbane Carapace - Leatherworking crafted BoE from a recipe drop in Trials raid
Relentless Gladiator’s Dragonhide Robes - PvP Reward
Malfurion’s Raiments of Conquest - 50 Emblem of Triumph and no token from Tier 9 vendor
Furious Gladiator’s Dragonhide Robes - PvP Reward
Conqueror’s Nightsong Raiments - Token costs 58 Emblems of Conquest
Titan-Forged Leather Tunic of Triumph - 40 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Polar Vest - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Robes - 45 Emblem of Heroism
Darkheart Chestguard - Rep vendor: Knights of the Ebon Blade (Exalted)
Crystal-Infused Tunic - Drops from Keristrasza in Heroic Nexus
Exotic Leather Tunic - Reward from Quest, “Junk in My Trunk” in Utgarde Pinnacle
Drake Rider’s Tunic - Drops from Skadi the Ruthless in Regular Utgarde Pinnacle
Eviscerator’s Chestguard - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78

Wrist

Enchant: Major Stamina (40 Stamina)

Bracers of Swift Death - Leatherworking crafted BoE from a recipe drop in ToC Raid
Titan-Forged Armwraps of Triumph - 15 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Armbands of the Wary Lookout - Drops from The Black Knight in Heroic Trial of the Champion
Wristwraps of the Cutthroat - 60 Emblem of Valor
Bindings of the Tunneler - Drops from Skarvald the Constructor in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Hateful Gladiator’s Armwraps of Triumph - PvP Reward
Dragonfriend Bracers - Rep vendor: The Wyrmrest Accord (Exalted)
Advanced Tooled-Leather Bands - Drops from Loken in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Drake-Champion’s Bracers - BoE Trash drop from Oculus, buyable on AH
King’s Square Bracers - BoE Trash drop from Culling of Time – Strat, buyable on AH
Eviscerator’s Bindings - Leatherworking crafted, useable at level 78

Hands

Enchant: Major Agility (+20 Agility)

Malfurion’s Handgrips of Conquest - 30 Emblem of Triumph
Gloves of the Blind Stalker - 28 Emblem of Conquest
Gloves of the Argent Fanatic - Drops from either 2nd boss in Regular Trial of the Champion
Charged-Bolt Grips - Drops from Ionar in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Gloves - 30 Emblem of Heroism
Handwraps of Preserved History - Quest reward from “A Royal Escort” in Culling of Time: Strat
Bile-Cured Gloves - Drops from Meathook in Heroic Culling of Time: Strat
Gilt-Edged Leather Gauntlets - Drops from King Ymiron in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Sidestepping Handguards - Drops from Mage-Lord Urom in Regular Oculus
Seafoam Gauntlets - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78
Eviscerator’s Gauntlets - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at level 78

Waist

Enchants: Don’t forget your Eternal Belt Buckle

Belt of the Twilight Assassin - 28 Emblem of Conquest
Death-warmed Belt - Leatherworking recipe for BoE drops in Ulduar 25
Sharp-Barbed Leather Belt - Drops from Ingvar the Plunderer in Heroic Utgarde Keep
Titan-Forged Belt of Triumph - 15 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Trollwoven Girdle - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Jorach’s Crocolisk Skin Belt - 40 Emblem of Heroism
Polar Cord - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Treasure Seeker’s Belt - BoE trash drop in Azjol-Nerub, buyable from AH

Leggings

Enchant: Frosthide Leg Armor

Malfurion’s Legguards of Conquest - 50 Emblem of Triumph and no token from Tier 9 vendor
Titan-Forged Leather Legguards of Triumph - 40 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Leggings of Wavering Shadow - 39 Emblem of Conquest
Valorous Dreamwalker Legguards - Token purchased from vendor costs 75 Emblems of Valor
Mind-Expanding Leggings - Rep vendor: Kirin Tor (Revered)
Gored Hide Legguards - Drops from Gal’darah in Heroic Gundrak
Legguards of Swarming Attacks - Drops from Amanitar in Heroic Ahn’kahet
Leggings of Brazen Trespass - Drops in Eadric’s (loot pinata) Cache in Regular Trial of the Champion
Savage Gladiator’s Dragonhide Legguards - 45 Emblem of Heroism
Ravenous Leggings of the Furbolg - Drops from Gortok Palehoof in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle
Chain Gang Legguards - World Drop BoE, buyable in AH
Constellation Leggings - Drops in Tribunal Chest in Regular Halls of Stone
Eviscerator’s Legguards - Leatherworking crafted BoE useable at level 78

Feet

Enchant: Superior Agility (+16 Agility)

Footpads of Silence - Leatherworking recipe drops from Ulduar, crafted BoE, expensive
Treads of Dismal Fortune - Drops from 1st Champion fight, Heroic ToC
Titan-Forged Boots of Triumph - 15 Wintergrasp Mark of Honor
Polar Boots - Leatherworking crafted BoE
Hateful Gladiator’s Boots of Triumph - PvP Reward
Boots of Captain Ellis - 40 Emblem of Valor
Slag Footguards - Drops from Volkhan in Heroic Halls of Lightning
Gorloc Muddy Footwraps - Drops from Eck in Heroic Gundrak
Treads of Nimble Evasion - 10 Champion’s Seal (Argent Tournament)
Boots of the Whirling Mist - Drops from Sjonnir The Ironshaper in Heroic Halls of Stone
Boots of the Neverending Path - Rep vendor: Argent Crusade (Exalted)
Jormscale Footpads - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at 78
Eviscerator’s Treads - Leatherworking crafted BoE, useable at 78

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Thanks once again to the wonderful talents at MMO Champion, I woke up to all of this today.

The critical quote;

For Icecrown Citadel, we are implementing a spell that will affect every enemy creature in the raid. The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid’s main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.

I will share all of the information MMO Champion shared as posted by Ghostcrawler further below so you can see all the details and reasoning. I just wanted to kick the big announcement out first so you can prime your mind. If you’re all caught up on this already, just mosey on down the post for some discussion!

For Icecrown Citadel, we are implementing a spell that will affect every enemy creature in the raid. The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid’s main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.

Why are we doing this?

The high levels of tank avoidance players have obtained is making the incoming damage a tank DOES take more “spiky” than is healthy for raiding. Ideally, tanks would be receiving a relatively constant stream of damage over time. This allows healers to better plan their healing strategy, broaden their spell options, and simply give more time to react. Tanks could use their cooldowns more reactively. Instead, the current situation is that if we make a hard hitting melee boss and a tank doesn’t avoid two successive swings then the tank could very well be dead in that 1-2 second window. The use of reactive defensive abilities instead becomes a methodically planned affair, healers have to spam their largest heals just in case the huge damage spike happens.

We’ve been trying to do a fair amount to mitigate the effect of high tank avoidance on the encounter side of things during this expansion with faster melee swings, additional melee strikes, dual wielding, narrowing the normal variance of melee swing damage, and various other tricks. There’s a limit to what we can do, however. So to give us a bit of breathing room we’ve implemented Chill of the Throne. Going forward past Icecrown Citadel, we have plans to keep tank avoidance from growing so high again.

We’ll have this on the PTR soon so players can see the effects inside Icecrown Raid.

Our original estimations for tank avoidance would have worked fine had we not decided to add extra tiers of gear to reward heroic boss kills halfway through the expansion.

The Cataclysm design will keep tank avoidance at more manageable levels. The loss of defense skill counts for a lot right there. We are also considering giving bosses expertise or other ways of baking in Icewell Radiance — basically the concept that bosses scale with gear rather than just hitting harder and taking more hits.

Player comment: It would still be fine if the itemization team had designed the gear accordingly. In a full 258 setup for warrior tanks, precisely two pieces have anything but a 3 way split of pure avoidance stats on them. There’s 3 different avoidance stats on 3 different diminishing returns, and pumping them all up like that can really make avoidance numbers go way out of whack. Meanwhile, we lose out on things like Expertise, and the preciously rare Hit Rating which is available on *1* piece of 258 tanking gear and end up having to swap gear around to cover those deficiencies.
You are making the common mistake in thinking that our goal for itemization is to give you the best possible gear that we can. Itemizing your character is supposed to be a choice. There will be better pieces and worse pieces. There will be pieces that combine stats your really want with stats you don’t really need. Wearing the best gear for their character (which is not the same as wearing the best gear) is one way players have to demonstrate mastery of the game.

This is also why I always preach to take BiS lists with a grain of salt. Merely reaching for the item declared to be BiS by a spreadsheet or system you might not even understand could lead you to making bad gear choices, often of the variety of passing over the good upgrade because it’s not the best possible upgrade.

Player comment: Also, if you’re going to give mobs expertise, can you please make a spell or some kind of method to determine the level of expertise without us having to do parses?
Yes. We would probably just let you see the numbers directly. I consider it a design flaw that players have to experiment to determine thinks like hit and expertise caps. We’re all for experimentation and theorycrafting, but we don’t think it’s fair to require some players to go out and do a lot of work to generate specific numbers that all players feel like they need to know.

Player comment: Putting so much avoidance on gear isn’t a bad idea because other stats are better. It was a bad idea because it causes tank scaling to fail and makes Radiance necessary.
That logic doesn’t really work. It’s like saying instead of nerfing armor pen, we should have just put less and less on higher level gear.

If we had avoided avoidance on tank gear, then every piece of tank gear would have hit and expertise (and maybe crit, haste and armor pen). Stamina and armor are static amounts, and if they were not, then those pieces immediately become the only pieces players would pay attention to.

Player comment: If you want ICC damage to be steadier, why don’t you just walk over to the item team and say “Hey, we’d like less avoidance, can you cut out half of the avoidance from the ICC gear and replace it with stamina?” Or if you’re worried people will get too much stamina, make it Frost Resistance and put in so much Frost damage you couldn’t hope to survive long with TotGC gear alone.

We just don’t think that works. If you put very unattractive stats on gear then players just go back the previous tier of gear and complain that we don’t know how to itemize. If you put bonus stamina on the tier 10 gear, then that means the next tier of gear better have bonus stamina as well. If it has avoidance instead of that bonus stamina, tanks just shrug and go back to the tier 10 gear.

This is not a tank only problem. Casters won’t upgrade to gear that doesn’t have more spell power on it, because spell power tends to trump everything else for purposes of their dps or healing.

We put a little bonus armor on non-armor items (necks, rings, trinkets and the occasional cloak). We don’t put bonus armor on gloves and chests because that gear would be too good.

It’s an item level problem. If we added another raid tier to Lich King, we couldn’t just keep avoiding avoidance and avoid it for every tier going forward. We just need a system where you avoid a Naxx boss 30% of the time and an Icecrown boss 30% of the time, the same way the Icecrown bosses have e.g. 30% larger health bars and thus take 30% more damage to kill. Otherwise the stats don’t scale and bad thing happen (in this case the boss having to land so much damage to account for the fact that it misses so often).

Reasons behind the change
I’ll address this one more time and then leave it because I think players are more interested in trying to turn this into a huge tanking nerf than understand what’s going on.

We would not have this problem if Icecrown gear had been item level 245 or so, as we originally intended. We added a few extra tiers of gear to support heroic modes. We felt like we had to do that to have different difficulty levels and make raiding more accessible overall. We felt like we had to reward the harder modes with the better gear or nobody would have been very interested.

The proportions of relative stats on your gear are not the problem. They are proportional, give or take a little, at every tier except for stats like hit that cap out. The problem is not the class and item teams being out of sync. In fact, they are the same team.

Diminishing returns
The 20% nerf is applied after diminishing returns. That is why I am saying it won’t affect the relative value of dodge and parry. The Icewell Radiance won’t get you closer to diminishing returns by itself.

The whole point of this change is so bosses can hit less hard but more often, for the same damage over time but with fewer deadly spikes. That should feel better to everyone overall. The reason I am reluctant to say that is because some players are going to go into Icecrown, find it hard, and then expect us to buff their class.

It won’t be Brutallus hard, at least most of the bosses and at least on normal mode. We’re not going to be particularly sympathetic to players who find heroic mode too hard.

Stamina less important?
It arguably makes stam less important (though it will always be important for tanks). Many players are probably telling you right now that only stamina and armor are important because if you ever fail to avoid two boss hits in a row that you’re going to die. Under that environment, avoidance loses a lot of value.

If bosses hit for less in IC (which they will, since they will hit more often) then the value of avoidance for purposes of survival increases.

I still expect many tanks will die in two hits until they get geared up a little. But they will, and then the ability to survive two hits in a row won’t be as big an issue.

Effective Health
I am going to attempt to explain the disconnect the community and the developers have over effective health.

When I first learned to tank, long before I came to Blizzard, I learned that effective health is a measurement of your stamina in relationship to your armor. This is a pretty easy number to generate. It’s reasonable to include say shield block and other simple forms of mitigation into the calculation.

However, you cannot directly translate effective health into best tank. Avoidance matters. If it didn’t, we would have no reason to nerf it in Icecrown. Good tanks don’t depend too much on avoidance, but great tanks understand its value.

Furthermore, your estimations of effective health become less and less accurate the more variables you try to factor in. Most saliently, you can’t easily account for cooldowns. You can’t compare a short duration that reduces damage by 80% to a long duration that reduces damage by 10%. Mathematically they might generate the same effective health number, but in reality they work pretty differently and each has their own benefits in certain situations, which vary depending on boss mechanics. (I’d generally take the first one though.)

We purposely made the cooldowns difficult to compare from class to class. You shouldn’t then be surprised when we take your effective health calculations based on direct comparisons of said cooldowns with a grain of salt.

It’s fine to compare health, armor, avoidance or cooldowns. I would not recommend putting too much faith in one ubernumber that you generate by combining all of them.

Icecrown isn’t Naxxramas
I am pretty sure on day one of 3.3 going live this forum will be filled with tanks who died and respond with “I thought bosses weren’t going to hit hard.”

It’s Icecrown. It’s not going to be Naxx.

Avoidance relative value
If you conclusion is that anything that improves your avoidance is now bad as a result of this change, you should think through it a little more. If you didn’t like avoidance before, nothing changes. If you liked avoidance before, nothing changes. You just have less of it now. The relative value should not change, unless you get to the point where bosses no longer two-shot tanks so much, in which case the relative value of avoidance increases. (Source)

The first thing I want to draw your attention to, is the true shape of the discussion. This is not about nerfs or buffs. This is not about discussing how much or to what extent to change things. This is about combat design philosophy and mechanics.

The base issue is the way tanks in general endure damage in an end game raid encounter.

With the combat design system in place, and the gear itemization designs implemented to date, there are two methods of dealing with incoming damage; enduring but mitigating (lessening) the damage from a blow, or avoiding all damage from a blow entirely.

What we are being told is that mitigation is the design that Blizzard prefers to build around for scaling, because it’s easier to streamline.

Avoidance will still have it’s place, but if the current design to challenge tanks and healers tries to include Dodge as is in the equation for damage sustained over time, then if the random number generator decides to clump Dodges and hits taken rather than spread them out, you take more damage in a short time than planned, Healers get stressed more than intended, and tanks die from a situation that was out of their direct control to manage.

That’s the key. They want the encounters to be challenging, but they don’t want success or failure to depend so much on random, uncontrollable events.

We are being told that they will make things more challenging in the short term by reducing one avoidance stat, Dodge, by 20% for the purposes of this one raid alone, but leave us our full power levels for other content.

This is a novel idea. Ghostcrawler addresses changing stat balancing on items, and how if they changed stats allocation on one Tier people would just fall back on the previous Tier as a reason, but that argument neglects to mention one way they HAVE handled the avoidance issue in the past; a global formula change that affected avoidance at all levels of gear.

In the past Blizzard has changed the base formula used to determine how much Agility or other stats contribute to each classes’ Dodge, and they have also changed the base multiplier used in the Dodge calculation formula per class. 

Doing so would affect all Dodge, all across the board. I think they hesitate to do this because then all current Wrath content would be unbalanced except for Icecrown. Good reason? Yeah, I think so too. It’s still something they may decide to do when Cataclysm comes along, if Defense alone is not enough.

This is not about nerfing stats that are too good, this is about trying to find a way to balance end game raid challenges with a preference for mitigation, when trying to handle avoidance is causing balance issues. 

Now, one of the things I’d like to point out as we continue, is a comment Ghostcrawler made about how, in Cataclysm, part of this will be resolved with the removal of Defense skill.

When the removal of Defense was first mentioned at Blizzcon, I think that I, as well as other people, had thought they meant that the mechanic of Defense and how it works was being removed, but that something else was going to take it’s place. Something such as the Druid Survival of the Fittest talent, for example. This would be a direct case of foreshadowing removal of an avoidance mechanic in favor of a mitigation Talent.

I did not actually take the Blizzcon announcement as meaning that Defense skill is being removed with nothing taking it’s place. That’s kinda how Ghsotcrawler’s comment made it sound.

Obviously, if that’s really what they are thinking, then itemization priorities for other tanks will be hit a lot harder than Feral Druids. Just something else to think about.

What I’d like to point out here, is that the intent of this Chill of the Throne change is to cause tanks in general to take a lot more hits, and to have to rely more on mitigation to handle it.

They’re saying, “Yes, we WANT you to get hit a lot, we want Healers to be healing constantly, and we don’t want a tank to be one shot or two shot if we have encounter design that takes healers out of the equation for one split second at the wrong time.”

I’m sure we’re going to see a ton of commentary on this.

What I really wanted to address is how this affects Feral Druids.

I’ve seen a lot of sudden panic that this is a terrible nerf of Druid tanks, that this will hit Druids harder than other tanks based on our love of Dodge.

I’d like to remind you that this is actually a lot easier for us to deal with than you might think.

Remember, looking forward, we already do not rely on Defense skill for the bulk of our tanking survival. If there is a Defense change in Cataclysm, we are already prepared for it mentally.

As far as a Druid reliance on Dodge.

Our gear, based as it is on Rogue DPS leather, as much simpler tanking stat foundations than other classes.

We have armor value that we pursue for mitigation. We have Survival of the Fittest Talent, as well as other Talents for mitigation.

We do have a ton of Agility alongside our Stamina, and we do not have Parry, Block, or a requirement to have Defense Rating for being uncrittable.

Edited for clarity: What this means for us is that, by regemming and changing enchants from Agility and Dodge Rating to prioritize Stamina then we can increase our buffer that gives healers time to bring us back up, and by pursuing trinkets, rings and weapons that have armor value on them, we can work towards increasing our mitigation. I’m sure everyone is already working towards having the highest armor value on leather gear as it is.

So we CAN quickly modify our style to prioritize increased health and mitigation over Dodge. 

Also don’t forget that compared to other classes, our Dodge is huge. Even if we do reprioritize a bit, we’ll still have a big Dodge after 20% is cut off the top.

Yes, moving from loving Dodge to loving mitigation SUCKS, based on historical yoyo bouncing. We WERE the mitigation masters. It’s what we pursued from our leather gear, based on armor value multipliers for years. Just the knowledge that they nerfed the shit out of our armor multipliers and mitigation, just to announce that we really should focus on mitigation, is annoying as hell.

Yes, we know. You changed our focus for us to be the best we could. You know, that mastering the gear aspect? So we mastered it too well, you nerfed it in response, that’s kind of flattering, really. But to come back now and say that everything is messed up because we moved away from mitigation. Grrr.

Still, you deal with the hand you’re dealt. 

Flexibility. It’s our strength.

Let’s read what’s said, remember the lessons ot the past, anticipate how they may again change their minds when they approach future raid design, but always remember that we are the class of flexibility.

Semper Gumby!

Comments 22 Comments »

In continuing this trend where I answer emails, here is another one on another topic of long discussion, Defense and Survival of the Fittest.
John,

Long time lurker, first time e-mailer.  I loved when you were on the BRK podcast and you were my inspiration to actually roll a Druid.  I am trying to be the best druid I can be, so I am reading everything I can get my hands on.  Main spec is tank, off is resto.  I read something the other day and I had a question.  I decided to throw it your way and see what happens.

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=11228423378&sid=1

From the post:
=============
Defense
Druid tanks do not need Defense gear.

The Survival of the Fittest talent reduces the chance to be crit by 2/4/6%, which means a Druid tank can achieve uncritable by only taking 3/3 SotF.

However, Defense is not totally worthless. Once you reach ~50% Dodge, due to diminishing returns, stacking Defense actually becomes better then stacking more Dodge.

Begin to stack Defense only after you have reached ~50% Dodge.

Note: Like with Crushing Blows, you must be Defense capped at 400 to be crit immune.

=============

I understand that Crushing Blows are different from Crits.  And maybe this is a stupid question, but is Crit Immune and Uncritable the same thing?  I though that with 3/3 SotF talent you were Crit immune period.  You could walk out there with your bare bear backside (pun intended) and be crit immune.  You do need the defense to be crushing blow immune, and I am ok with that.

Love the blog.  I am in the process of Tattooing the Beginning Wrath tanking guide on my arms.  :)

Urak level 65 Driud on Cenarion Circle

Great email, Uruk. Thanks for the kind words!
 
The first part of that is the unstated expectation that your base Defense skill, which levels up as you take some smacks in the face, is at 400. If it is at 400, and you have 3/3 in Survival of the Fittest, then yes, even stark naked, you are uncrittable.
 
Uncrittable, Crit Immune, these are all terms developed by idiots like me that have to make the terminology for these things up as we go along. They all do basically mean the same thing; The boss enemy, that is exactly 3 or less levels higher than me, cannot score a critical strike upon me.
 
The math aspect to this is that Defense skill reduces your chance to be Dodged, Blocked, or Parried, as WELL as reducing the chance that you will be hit with a critical attack.
 
I flat out refuse to go over the combat table in detail again, I did it years ago in a Shifting Perspectives article for WoW Insider/WoW.com, but in effect what kind of attack event that can occur has a place in a combat table. If you get high enough in some categories, such as Parry, it can push other attack possibilities right off the table. If you want to melt your brain like I have, you can find out more on your own at the www.wowwiki.com website.
 
What’s important to the discussion is that the Defense skill you need to push critical strikes off the table changes depending on the level of your attacker, in comparison to yours.
 
Bosses in level 80 raid instances are set at an effective level, for the sake of Defense and what you need to hit them, at level 83. Survival of the Fittest provides exactly enough protection from critical strikes to remove the possiblity that a level 83 raid boss could critically strike a level 80 Bear Druid, when properly specced. Yes, even if naked.
 
What Survival of the Fittest does NOT do is provide any of the other bonuses to Dodge, Parry or Block that Defense skill does.
 
Now, the reason Defense skill is not considered a primary stat for Bear tanks is the same reason they gave us SotF; Bears cannot Parry or Block attacks. Therefore, we were previously (in Burning Crusade) stacking tons of Defense Rating on our gear to become uncrittable just like every other tank class, but we weren’t getting any benefit from the Parry and Block portions of the itemization.
 
Yes, there was a lot of whining about this fact. Including from me.
 
I personally did not resent it all that much… because the perception at the time was that Bear tanks weren’t supposed to be viable in the first place. I was too busy working at pioneering Bear tanking and proving them wrong than in whining about my Defense Rating.
 
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. :)
 
There’s a few things to keep in mind about the SotF. First, the crit rate of enemies 1, 2 or 3 levels above you rises at a normal rate. Starting at 4 levels or more above you, the chance that they can successfully crit you rises dramatically. It just takes off like a rocket. If you are level 76 tanking a level 80 opponent with SotF, expect to still be crit at times. Also expect yourself to miss a lot. SotF, as I said, was aimed at erasing the critical strikes from enemies three or less levels higher than you, the situation that max level Bear tanks would encounter in raids. It doesn’t make you crit immune from everyone as you level.
 
Second, Critical Strikes as mentioned are not the same as Crushing Blows.As far as I was aware, Crushing Blows were removed from the game entirely. They just don’t happen anymore. Maybe I’m wrong on that, I’m at work and can’t access research sites or log in to check records, but that is my understanding. I don’t believe it’s a question of level or gear or Talents, I believe that Crushing Blows themselves were simply removed. Maybe that’s only from level 71 – 80 content, though.
 
Finally, as far as the Defense stacking versus Dodge stacking. As I said, Bear tanks cannot Parry or Block.
 
This next bit requires understanding itemization a little bit. Gear that is item level 200 and blue (rare) quality has a certain number of possible stat points that can be spread amongst armor value and the other stats and abilities. An item that is level 200 and purple (epic) quality has a larger budget of points.
 
Either way, when comparing two items of item level 200 (epic) side by side, for the same equipment slot, they are each supposed to have an equivalent number of potential points that could be allocated to stats.
 
Therefore, when analyzing gear upgrades, if an item is very good, and comparable to another, but the difference between them is that one has Defense Rating, and the other has Dodge Rating, then the Dodge Rating one is considered more valuable to a Bear tank because none of the itemization points were wasted on stat benefits Bears don’t get. Bears get all the potential benefit from Dodge Rating, and only get the Dodge benefit portion of Defense Ratings’ Dodge, Parry, Block and reduced chance of Crit.
 
This is where you see the phrase “that item has wasted stats” for some gear, because if the item didn’t have points allocated to that stat, then maybe something useful on the gear would be higher instead.
 
Oh, and I’m not going to go into the point allocation of gear itemization any deeper. I could, like how points get allocated if there is only one stat on a piece of gear rather than two stats, or three. But I won’t because my head still hurts from having combat tables brought to mind. Hint; if all stats on the gear are useful, then having more than one stat on the gear provides more total benefit, because you get more stat per point allocated if it gets broken up among multiples. No, I don’t know why.You might see an item with 55 Agility, and another that has 35 Agility and 35 Stamina. Oh, and no, 1 Agility does not equal 1 Stamina as far as point allocation goes, Stamina is actually cheaper when allocated than other stats, so you might see a 35 Agility/35 Strength side by side with a 35 Agility/50 Stamina… sigh. Shut up, Bear, you don’t want to start that discussion. Right, shutting up now.
 
The end result is that I think I broke down all of this Dodge versus Defense stuff in greater detail in my sticky on the website sidebar about Level 80 Hit Rating, Expertise and Dodge. I may be wrong, though. If you’ve got more questions (or just want to chat), just respond in the comments.
 
Thanks for the email, Uruk!
I hope I answered your questions in some way!

Comments 18 Comments »

Hello, and welcome to what will hopefully be a helpful little series of mini-guides to tanking on your Feral Druid at the lower levels of content.

The situation is one I should have addressed a long, long time ago.

You make a Druid alt, your friend or loved one creates a squishy clothie alt, and the suggestion gets floated that you play together as you level, and the Druid levels as Feral and does the tanking.

First, welcome to the party! It’s good to have you here!

Playing a Feral Druid may seem daunting, especially if you’ve never played as a tank before, and especially if you’ve never leveled a class that tanked at lower levels.

“What do I do? How does this work? Why are those three mobs beating holy heck out of me?!? Hey, I thought I was a tank, and those suckers HURT!!! What am I doing wrong?”

Relax, and let your worries go. It’s really not that bad. There is a lot that you can choose to learn to help things go easy for you, but the core is fairly simple;

If you are tanking, your goal is to grab ‘em all, hold ‘em all, and still be standing at the end of the fight.

If you are already accomplishing that, then grats… you’re a tank!

See, this is what we mean by Rogue tanks and Boomkin tanks, etc. If you can grab ‘em all, hold ‘em all, and still be standing at the end, you tanked. Rogues have successfully tanked many things, through guile and kill and a smart mix of itemization, Talents, dodge-tanking and picking their targets wisely.

If, while accomplishing those three phases of the mission, you also did some decent damage, then it’s a bonus. But doing high DPS is mst definitely NOT required.  

The first part of this series of mini-guides will give you some guidance on what to look for in terms of gear, and why.

When soloing, the Cat form of a Feral Druid acts most like a Rogue, but without quite as many evil distracting and stunning tricks. For the purposes of this guide, I’m going to talk mostly about gear for the hopeful leveling tank. The gear you will choose will also be adequate to do solo kitty DPS. It just won’t be optimized for that role. I’ll explain the difference in a little while.

First, what do Bear Tank Druids wear?

Bears wear leather armor for preference, always looking for the highest armor value available.

In Bear form, which you can get at level 10, the amount of armor contribution you get from cloth and leather items is multiplied by 180%.

Additionally, Stamina is multiplied by 25%. We’ll go into that after armor.

Bear form lasts until level 40, when you can get Dire Bear form, which boosts that armor contribution up to 370%.

You can increase this contribution even more by taking three Talent points in Thick Hide for +10% armor contribution (available at level 8), and by taking 3/3 of Survival of the Fittest making you immune to critical strikes from enemies 3 or less levels above you, and +33% armor contribution from items (available at level 34).

The easiest answer to the “Why am I so squishy” question is usually, “Are you trying to tank three of four things at once at level 30? Because you’re tanking in the equivalent of Mail armor.”

Warriors and Paladins also get an armor boost at level 40, they go from using nothing but Mail, to being able to equip Plate. Bears are fortunate, we still use the same type of armor, we just get more out of it.

Why is a high armor value important? What does it do for me, anyway?

The short answer is, the higher your armor value, the less actual damage that gets through per hit from physical attacks.

Here’s a simple scenario. You are fighting three mobs, two Orc Warriors and an Orc Warlock. The two Warriors are up in your face, and beating on you, but they’re not doing much damage. Hey, you must be a badass! Then the Warlock starts casting, and your health drops like a big rock in a still pond. Thwump! Down you go.

Armor reduces, lessens, mitigates physical damage. It doesn’t do a blessed thing against magic. Hence, the age old battle cry, “Kill the casters first!”

Well, wait a minute. How the heck do I mitigate that magic damage, then?

Well, there are basically three ways to deal with magic damage.

First, have a ton of Stamina/Health to eat the blasts, and focus on killing the bastard first.

Second, wait until level 49 and be 100% in the Feral Talent tree, so you can be 3/3 in Protector of the Pack, which reduces all damage you take by 12%, including magic.

Or third, look for gear that has Resistance to the particular school of magic damage you’re going to suffer, like Fire Resistance or Frost Resistance. You used to see this a lot for raiding in places with mostly Fire based damage, such as Molten Core. You still see this with some tanks preparing for Sapphiron in Naxxramas. It doesn’t really have much business in the early levels, though.

Until you’re level 49 (assuming you DO go 100% Feral), your best bet is stack as much Stamina as possible, and target the casters first.

So, armor is covered.

Next priority is the Stamina. As I said, the higher your health, the better when tanking. Can’t go wrong choosing good Stamina. Your bear and Dire Bear forms and the Talent Heart of the Wild all multiply your Stamina, so when choosing between a flat Health enchant or a Stamina enchant, the Stamina is better.

After Stamina, the next core Bear stat is Agility. Put down, the pitchforks, I’ll explain.

Agility is a controversial stat when leveling a Feral Druid, because it does different things depending on whether you are in Cat form or Bear form.

In both forms, Agility provides an increased chance that attacks will be critical strikes, and also increases your chance to Dodge an attack.

  • In Cat form, 1 point of Agility gives you 1 Attack Power. Your attacks that get through do more damage.
  • In Bear form, Agility provides no Attack Power bonuses at all.

Strength, on the other hand, provides 2 Attack Power per 1 point of Strength in BOTH forms.

Strength is great for doing damage in both forms, and since the random enchantment on Leather gear that has Strength and Stamina is called “of the Bear”, it’s a reasonable assumption to believe it’s for Bear tanks.

Don’t get me wrong, Strength is great on your gear. But if you have a choice between Stamina/Agility and Stamina/Strength, take the Agility for the increased Dodge.

So, we’ve got Armor value, Stamina, Agility (and Dodge Rating at higher levels), and Strength.

After these, while you’re leveling, you will find Attack Power, Critical Strike, Hit Rating and Expertise very useful.

Once you are able to gain the Talent Primal Fury (available at level 26, technically), Critical Strike and Agility both combine to help your Rage generation, so Critical Strike moves past Attack Power and Hit and Expertise. You’ll be getting Expertise as soon as you take Primal Precision, anyway.

Once you can get 3/3 in Natural Reaction, so your successful Dodges also get you Rage back, you’ll be loving all that Agility and Dodge Rating you’ve been stacking.

that should do it for gear choices, until you get much higher level.

Once Defense Rating and Dodge Rating become pretty common, you’ll have to factor them in to your decisions.

In talking about Defense, there are two skills, Defense and Defense Rating. Defense is Defense. 25 points of Defense equals 1% Miss, Parry, Dodge and Block. It also serves to reduce the chance you can be struck by a critical attack (not so important with Survival of the Fittest for us Bears).

Defense seems pretty valuable, right?

Well, keep in mind Bears to not Block or Parry. We don’t use weapons, and we don’t have shields. So 2 out of 4 benefits of Defense are wasted. Alo, the biggest draw for the stat is reaching the Uncrittable cap, which Bears can ignore due to Survival of the Fittest.

Defense Rating is by far a key stat for Paladins, Warriors and Death Knights (I think, don’t know much about DK tanks, sorry), and really not a Bear stat. If something with it drops, please check for Plate wearing tanks that might want it before rolling on it, hmm?

Still, Miss and Dodge, mmm tasty, right? Why isn’t it a key Bear stat?

Well, hold on just a moment.

Defense Rating is not the same as Defense. It takes varying amounts of Defense Rating to get just one point of Defense. The higher you are in level, the more Defense Rating you need to get just 1 point. And it’s Defense Rating that’s on gear.

At level 80, you need 123 Defense Rating for 1% Dodge and 1% Miss. That’s a lot of Defense Rating.

Now, there is one other stat to think about and compare.

Dodge Rating.

Dodge Rating is more effective for Bear tanks than straight Defense Rating, because it only takes 45.25 Dodge Rating to get 1% Dodge.

No, you’re not getting Miss at the same time, but keep in mind that whole “When I miss I get Rage” thing. Getting 90/5 Dodge Rating gets you 2% Dodge, and that’s mighty fine.

Now, I’m not going to go into Diminishing Returns. I’m just not doing it again. This is supposed to NOT make your brain hurt.

Let’s just say taht, when you start tanking at low levels, the Agility and Crit and Expertise are all very potent. But as you level, it takes more of each stat to get the same effects. And as you really get high in level, and really get tons and tons of stats, the amount of stat you need for the same effect keeps growing.

Has no effect on you in the early game, just a way of making it super hard to ever reach a perfect 100% Dodge, that’s all.

As far as gear goes, just remember;

  • Armor Value (multiplies from leather and cloth only, not trinkets, rings, weapons or necklaces)
  • Stamina
  • Agility (and Dodge Rating later)
  • Strength
  • Critical Strike Chance (after Primal Fury)
  • Hit Rating (until you have enough to reliably hit your targets)
  • Attack Power
  • Expertise (don’t need that much, Primal Precision helps a lot at low levels)

What does this mean for Heirloom items, btw?

Well, it means that of the choices for Feral Druids:

Repurposed Lava Dredger 65 Emblems of Heroism
Two-Hand Mace
361 – 542 Speed 2.90
(156.0 damage per second)
+68 Agility
+103 Stamina
+15 Fire Resistance
Requires level 1 – 80 (80)
Item level 1
Increases attack power by 1417 in Cat, Bear, Dire Bear, and Moonkin forms only.
Equip: Increases your armor penetration rating by 45.
Equip: Increases attack power by 91.

That’s the best item of all of them right there. Agility and Stamina out the wazoo.

After that, believe it or not is the PvP Heirloom Shoulders.The Exceptional Stormshroud Shoulders have Agility, Stamina and Attack Power, while the Emblem shoulders only have Stamina, Hit Rating and Attack Power. Not bad at all, just not optimized. :)

If you have the Emblems, the new 40 Emblem of Heroism (or 60 Champion Seal) Chestpiece is quite nice, because it scales with your level, always providing you with a solid Armor Value for your level, plus good Stamina. My only wish is that they had put Agility on it instead of Attack Power. Ah, well.

See you again soon for pulling mobs and aggro management!

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