Archive for the “Bear Tankatude” Category

Be a bear! Be a bear!
Show them all that you don’t care.
Nap all winter if you want to,
Who would dare disturb your lair?

I could not be who I am if I didn’t tell you about this MOST EXCELLENT Kickstarter project; The Bear Simulator.

Finally, the internet has achieved it’s final form – we can fund what matters most in life.

Some fools thought what is best in life was to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.

Bearshit.

What matters most is funding what we want; a game where we are a real bear.

We have come full circle, you and I.

Our natural enemy started strong with Big Game Hunter, letting them feel like they were somehow superior, but the circle of life demands balance.

And bears. Lots of bears.

To quote the Kickstarter project description,

It’s like a mini Skyrim but you’re a bear.

Even better. It’s already fully funded.

This isn’t vaporware, this isn’t an imaginary dream or a cautionary tale, this is a BIG BEAR DERRIERE wandering all up in your vale. Er, valley.

So go! What the hell are you waiting for? Are you going to let some damn GOAT take all the glory?

Fuck goats!

And if you’re a bear, you can, because who the hell is going to stop a bear from doing whatever it wants?

GO!

GO GET YOUR NAME ON THE BIG BEAR WALL!

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Once upon a time in a magical, far off land there was a bear.

The bear liked to growl and dance, and talk, and eat heaping piles of bacon.

But above all else, the bear liked to bounce.

From dragons and dungeons to instances and invasions, his big brown butt could be seen happily bouncing to the beat of nations.

Times change, talents were added, tweaked, moved and were lost, but the bounce went on.

Damage was mitigated, reduced, dodged and avoided, but the bounce went on.

Finally there came a day when mitigation became active, and something had to give. The bear could either be bouncy or be beat on, but not both at once.

With sadness, the big brown bear realized that if he gave himself over to being the most active, properly defensive bear he should be, he would have nothing left over to bounce with.

The bear felt his world turning quite gray and cold. Bearing on the bounce was what prevented feeling old.

“A bear without bounce, that just will not do! Oh bother,” the bear thought, “bouncing has gotten too hard to do! Perhaps it’s time to leave tanking for the fast-fingered crew.”

The bear settled down and his days turned quite slow, for he had no more oomph and no particular place to go. He rested in his tree and ate bacon all day, and wondered through the hours what new games he should play.

“I loved being a bear and bouncing all day, and swiping my paws in the enemies’ face. I wonder what’s out there, what else I could do to bring the good times bouncing back with a good swipe or two.”

The bear looked around, and read through the lists, of character creation and leveling kits. Monks and Pandaren, Priests and Paladins too, so many options to choose from but none that ring true!

But wait, what am I thinking, the choice is quite clear! It’s a pandaren hunter that can bounce it’s butt near. I’ll grab a big gun and have a funky dance, and when it comes to bouncing just watch that groovy ass!

Off the bear went, and felt his soul on the mend as he hunted Isle mogu with his dinosaur friend. Growls and stomping, leaps and chomping and a fat feast of feathers flew, the feral spirit was returning with a bear bouncing through.

The hunter tried raiding while shaking his fluff, and bouncing around goofily soloing stuff. The Island of Thunder got smacked with a bow and a gun shoved quite rudely where no gun should go.

It just wasn’t the same, some essential something was missed. Did he make the wrong choice in the character class list? The bear felt himself sitting in front of the screen, wondering “Should I keep logging on in, or start shopping on Steam?”

He didn’t know what to do, was his time over in WoW? If there was no more joy, stick a fork in it now.

He finally decided to make no sudden rash moves. “My father procrastinated, I’m going to too! Why act right away to decide what to do? I’ll putter and potter and mutter and ramble, and mess with some alts while I chat and I scramble. In time I’ll find out if the magic’s all gone, or if theres still some fat spark lurking deep in the wand.”

The bear played with his Pally, his Warrior and Priest, but though they were okay none of them bounced like a beast. The paladin felt clunky, the warrior lacked range, and the priest looked all awesome but couldn’t move worth a damn.

Then he tried something new, something he’d always abhored; he rolled a slimy warlock (but at least it wasn’t a Horde).

The Warlock seemed crappy, it had pets without style, everyone summoned the same with random names from a file. If you’re going to have pets, at the very little least you could let us enslave them for a variety of treats!

Why isn’t this Warlock the same as the Hunter I know, but with red and green fire and a staff not a bow? I want it all different, but also the same, because I want it new but still different, yes I’m completely insane.

Why not give it a chance, why not try out the specs, see what demonology is like, I hear it’s a tank with a pet.

I tried all the specs out, and was flabbergasted to see that the more that I played it, the more it was ME!

The warlock could leap and could bounce and could hop, all while spitting red fire and sending pets out to chomp.

Demonology meant you could leap forward quite far, be tough as a tank and chew bad guys like sharks. You grew giant bat wings and great honking horns, and the ground at your feet swirled with purple arcane forms.

Affliction meant you were a poisonous beast, and it was everything I hated in my original priest. I didn’t want to drop DoTs on a bunch of bad guys, and sit watching as they took forever to die.

Then someone suggested I give destruction a try if I wanted to bounce and tear around on the fly. “You get to rain fire and dance all about, lords a leaping and chasing and shooting green dragons up the snout.”

I gave it a try, it all seemed pretty cool, but I’m a bear in my heart and this warlock felt crude. I’m not about evil cackles and eating your soul, a chomp on some bacon’s as far as I’ll go.

I know it’s all fun and I’m having a blast, but do I really want to play some evil asshole in a mask?

Turns out yes I do, I just pretend I’m not evil, the fire is quite nice and doesn’t REALLY burn people. I’m a sleek deadly warlock that destroys all evil in sight, I like long walks on the beach, provided there is a warbringer to fight.

Yes, I know it’s not proper that a bear turns to fire, but the DESTRUCTION LETS ME BOUNCE WHILE I SET THING ALIGHT!

I can fire and torch baddies from morning til noon, and all the while bounce like a big fricken loon.

The pet thing turned out to be fine in the end, there is something reassuring about a dedicated tank friend. When my blueberry is out I know right away that it’s tanking he’s doing, I don’t have to respec a thing. If I want to shoot fire I whip out the imp, and when it’s time to turn freaky I bring out the whip.

The more I wanted to hate it the more my love grew, this Warlock all bouncing and in sweet evil clothes.

Now I spend all my time in the game like I should, bouncing around having fun like a happy bear could.

I may be purple and green and throw red fire about, I have a blueberry for a pet and scare things when I shout, but I can solo warbringers and kill DeGei with a portal and I can bounce all I want while I rain fire upon you.

I know it’s not proper for a bouncing bear butt to say, but in the heart of a warlock I found a reason to stay.

Comments 12 Comments »

This is going to be a very hard post to make.

I’ve been avoiding facing it for a while now, but I owe it myself to stay on target here. I started the blog by talking about Bear Tanking, and when something this drastic happens, it’s time I say so.
 
I’ve lost that Bear Tank feeling.

That’s not just a whimsical pop culture reference, it’s the closest I can come to the truth of what has happened to me.

A core belief of mine is that everyone has their own preferences in playstyle.

It could be as broad as melee versus ranged, or as narrow as instant attacks versus slow cast times, and anything in between. Visual feel, lots of buttons available to always have something to pop, fewer controls and lots of dead time to watch surroundings, everyone wants something unique to them.

There are raw numbers, which determine a baseline potential for a class. And then there is that amazing feeling, when you just “get” something, as if you and the class were meant to be as one that take you beyond numbers (or bring you to where those numbers say you can be).

It’s not just good class design, although that has a lot to do with it. Every class out there will have someone who, when they try it, find a second skin they pull on and become one.

For me, right from the beginning the Bear Tank was The One. The class that, when I pop Bear form, it’s instinctive, natural. Everything made absolute sense and went from being mechanics or buttons to press and instead became an obvious way of life.

Bear Tanking was as natural as bouncing.

What has happened to me is that as the mechanics have changed over the years, the class numbers may have improved in effectiveness or balance, but the class stopped being a perfect fit.

The fur felt a little tight around the wrists. I started feeling lower back pain from the new posture. Whatever you want to call it.

It didn’t happen all at once, but the addition of Active Mitigation has taken it the rest of the way. It’s no longer just a bit of a bad fit, now I just don’t have fun as a Bear tank in a real content group.

I can still Bear Tank, but I feel no joy at the thought. Not anymore.

And I HATE HAVING LOST THAT JOY.

That’s what it’s come down to. I no longer tank naturally or instinctively. It is a struggle for me now, to incorporate Active Mitigation in an intelligent way into all of the other changes, and still maintain spacial awareness of where the party and the mobs are so I can grab and maintain threat.

Perhaps I am simply not capable of playing at that level anymore. Maybe the problem lies entirely within my range of ability.

As a Bear Tank, or as any tank for that matter, when I manuever into the pull, I know where the bad guys are, where all entrances into the area are in case of new adds, I know where the rest of the party is and where they are moving to in relation to everything else, I know how much threat I have applied to whom, and who needs more, who is next on my priority list, and what to anticipate.

I find that, in adding Active Mitigation into the mix as buttons that I need to hit in different priority sequences, which can take some or all of my generated Rage away from my threat generating attacks… I can no longer keep all of it going all the time.

It’s a stupid analogy, but it’s true. There are too many balls in the air for me to juggle, and stuff gets dropped. What do I lose track of the most? Dodging, Frenzied Regenerating, and balancing charges/cooldowns against Rage volume timing.

I could learn it. I could force myself to just get out there as a Bear and solo groups in the Summit and try and try and try. I’m sure that, after a while, it would get better.

But I don’t know that I want to. It’s just not… it’s no longer fun for me to be a Bear. And while I know I could attain the skill level I expect out of myself, that’s not the same as finding that sense of joy, or that magical conenction to the class.

I don’t have that feeling that I once cherished, that sense that I was totally in tune with the environment and could have the time to look around me and see the bad guys and grab them before they ate someone’s face off, and see when someone is pulling and swap targets and taunt it off, and all the other little things that need me to be paying attention to the environment instead of my cooldown timers.

It sucks. I miss it. I really do.

I know that, just as I have lost that Bear Tank feeling, others will have found the changes bring the class more in line with their ideal. There is a balance in these things, and somewhere out there are new Bear Tanks that feel like the class has finally ‘clicked’ with something within and they are rocking the charts and their groups.

I wish them well.

For now, the only class I am playing since the changes that really has that perfect fit for me is Beartrap, my Beastmaster Hunter.

I haven’t wanted to admit it, but Beartrap the Hunter has become my new main.

I leveled my Druid to max first, and I focused on my Druid for everything up to now, but I have to admit it to myself. I don’t want to play my Druid in groups anymore. It feels… wrong.

So, my level 85 (now 87) Hunter is my new main, and not my level 90 Druid.

It’s sad, and in admitting this to myself and to you, I feel like I’m letting everyone down. As if I have a responsibility to be the Bear Booster until the end of time. BBB can’t ever not be in love with Bear Tanking.

I’m still in love with being a Bear Tank. It’s just that the Bear Tanks I am in love with are no longer the Bear Tanks I’ve got.

What I’m hoping is that in time the class will change and evolve in a new and different way, and bring it to a new place that gels with me again.

Never say never.

Until then, I will remain a big bear butt, but that butt will have a Hunter running along behind me, pretending she’s in charge.

I don’t know what else to say, except,

well SHIT.

Comments 42 Comments »

To follow up on a post I made a few days ago, I did some searching to see what sources have been developed so far to guide a Guardian Druid in the changes coming in Patch 5.0.4 and the Mists of Pandaria.

By far, my favorite resource is to be found in the Icy Veins forums.

If you’re looking at what changes are being made and want to mentally prepare yourself, I really encourage you to go check it out. I’ve certainly got it bookmarked!

Icy Veins Guardian Druid Tank Guide

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We’re living in interesting times.

The new expansion for World of Warcraft is just around the corner, and the 5.0.4 patch that will bring us new talent specs is less than two weeks away.

I am… not prepared.

I haven’t made any effort to get prepared, either.

Specifically, prepared to tank as a Guardian Druid Bear RAWR RAWR bash all the things tankity tank tank.

I could have spent my time these last several months doing research, beta testing things out, providing feedback to the devs, all that sort of thing. If I had, I’d be going into this expansion ready and able to take advantage of every gearing and playstyle opportunity that is heading our way.

I chose not to.

I decided, rather than spend my time these last few months as an unpaid beta tester and help influence the direction of the game, I would spend my time having fun in the live game I’m paying for right now.

While others were beta testing, providing valuable feedback and pointed guidance to help improve outr class and future gameplay, and coincidentally preparing themselves with the knowledge they gained, I’ve been busy.

I’ve been running Dragon Soul and Firelands raids with our guild when I can, playing with my family in old instances, and having fun with a bunch of you in Icecrown Citadel.

I’ve been pursuing achievements, leveling alts I’ve never tried before, completing pet and bucket list goals, just living the high life with my wife and son.

Everything comes with a choice… and a price.

That price will soon have to be paid.

The fun I have had along the way has been great, and I regret none of it.

My Mage dinged level 84 last night, and I can proudly say that I leveled as Fire spec every. single. squishy. day. I only bought Dual Spec last night because I wanted to answer the question posed by the immortal Chris Knight, “Hows it feel to be frozen!”

It’s true, ice is nice! But I’m still burning for you, babe.

When the expansion goes live, I am going to return to doing something I haven’t done in a long, long time.

I’m going to return to raiding… on my Druid.

As a tank.

At least, that is the plan right now. I’ve been asked to be one of the tanks for the raid team I’ve been a part of, on my Druid, but whether or not that goes live depends a lot on the team, who levels what first, who wants to do what, that kind of thing. The team I’ve been healing for has two really awesome tanks right now, and as far as I know there hasn’t been a meeting I’ve been a part of to talk about our future plans, so I really don’t know who, if either of them, were planning on playing something else rather than a tank at first.

I’m not trying to vague things up here, I just don’t really know what’s going on. I’m not an officer, a raid leader, or any of that. I am joe player, one each, and I just offered to play whatever part I was asked, asked who I should level first to be ready for the team, and I was asked to level my Druid to tank.

I’m cool with that. It was either my Druid, my Hunter or my Priest, and frankly, I want my Druid leveled to 90 and having fun first. There is so much more I can do with my Druid, for everyone.

Yes, I may even start posting Bear tanking things again here.

God help me, I’ve got a big mouth and I write about whatever I’m doing in the game at the time. Whether or not anyone would care is really irrelevant. It hasn’t stopped me posting anything else, why start now?

Putting aside future raiding and my state of preparedness or not, Imagine with me for a moment what the new expansion will really mean for us as small family or solo players.

I am at heart not a progression raider in the way it used to mean. There is too great a necessity to devote long hours on multiple evenings, time I spend away from computer a lot more than my online status may suggest.

Let’s just say I’ve been surprised to find my character still logged in and afk twenty-four hours after I left to take care of something “just for a minute”.

For those of us who do not raid regularly, or who enjoy playing solo or with just a few family members, level 90 is going to give us a lot of distance from Cataclysm content.

What ICC and Ulduar and Naxxramas are to us now, Bastian of Twilight and Blackwing Descent soon will be. Plus of course the heroic versions of Cataclysm instances.

Right now, a group of three LFR geared players can fairly easily clear most normal Cataclysm dungeons, especially if one of them is a tank.

Once we’re level 90, and geared appropriately from that, all of Cataclysm will open up to us like a pretty flower, and the gate won’t be gear or DPS or HPS, but management of the mechanics.

I’m really looking forward to those days to come.

I’ve found that with the right team, I do love challenging the new content and really pushing forward to do the best I can, but I also love taking a group into close to current content, stuff that WAS the baddest of the bad very recently, and just taking the time to laugh, to joke, to explore and sightsee our way through the content, beating up bad guys as we go.

When Ulduar was current content, I only got in there in raids a few times. When I did get in there, I was focused entirely on performance. I was watching the boss, the trash, and the other players to ensure I was doing my best to help the team win. I wasn’t looking at the graphical design of the architecture.

Likewise every other current raid I have ever done.

It isn’t until content is ‘old tier’ that I’ve able to go in and take my time playing tourist and simply enjoy the artwork, the designs and the amazing attention to detail that has gone into the game.

From something as simple as the floor in Gundrak in front of Moorabi that is so gorgeously detailed with elephants it could be a special collector’s edition china plate, to the room of Algalon in Ulduar that transforms into a stunning galaxy of light and color when the encounter begins, it’s breathtaking… when you are able to take the time to enjoy it.

As much fun as it is to progress in raid content, for me there is more satisfaction to be found in playing tourist, taking the time to stop and smell the rot in Sindragosa’s lair. For a place featuring an All You Can Eat buffet, ew. Dragon bits and bits and bits!

At a time when my thoughts should be turning to catching up with Guardian Druid gear plans, talent specs, ability synergy and active mitigation to tank a progressive raid group, I find myself instead already looking forward to when I can look back, and form cross-server reader raid groups to take down Bastian of Twilight and Firelands, to smile at the dragons and admire the electricity sparking down Onyxias’ side.

I am not prepared… but that’s okay. We gonna have us some fun!

Comments 17 Comments »

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