New Shirt Idea – inspired by Chawa!

So, we were chatting for a second in guild, and someone asked about our impressions of the Troll Druid colors. I think we now have our new controversy of choice. Oh goodies, a new polarizing issue to debate. Some folks don’t like ’em, others do.

For my two cents, can I just say, I’ll take something that makes a bold statement over something that inspires a whole lot of ‘meh’. At least, so long as there are a bunch that like it as WELL as people that don’t.

I still think Worgen Bear Guantlets are butch.

And really… color or no color, where the hell are the FEMALE Druid forms? Huh? Sleek and sinister? Fangs a bit… oh, I dunno… delicate, rather than overcompensatingly prominent? What about jeweled fangs as a facial feature that transfer to forms?

And where are my flying cars! I was promised flying cars by 2010 in Popular Mechanics magazine. Well?

Got that worked out? Good!

As we were chatting, Chawa totally broke out with “Troll Druids can’t stealth”.

Perfect timing.

So that brought to mind a t-shirt with the following scene…

Three Druids of the other three races, standing around in normal form around a vibrant Troll Kitty with light green fur and the bright orange mane. Picture it JUST as if it were three guys holding beers standing around a sports car, looking down at it and debating it’s various merits. Each has a word balloon over his head.

  • First Druid; “I bet those tusks add a good bit o’ DPS”
  • Second Druid; “That nice red color sure does make ‘er look mighty fast”
  • Third Druid; “Gonna need all that speed, ’cause she sure ain’t gonna stealth fer shit”

Cataclysm Troll and Worgen Druid Forms Up!

Thanks to MMO Champion, I finally got to see what we might have to look forward to in terms of Druid forms in Cataclysm.

I’d like to preface this by saying that I do not KNOW that these are final Troll and Worgen Druid form designs. They have been posted in MMO Champion as NPC images, not as final form images. I certainly think that it’s a lot of work to do all these color variations if they didn’t intend going in this direction, though. Make decisions based on these pics at your own risk.

With the NDA lift, MMO Champion updated their Cataclysm NPC Model page, and included on that page are links to collages they created of the various Troll and Worgen Duid forms.

No, I did not see Tree of Life or Moonkin variations there. All I saw were Bear and Cat. Does this mean Tree of Life and Moonkin, if present, are models that continue to be shared amongst all Druids in general terms? Possibly, or maybe it’s still early days. No pictures of a Giant Tree yet, either.

Still, while other folks may have seen these forms before, I certainly hadn’t. I hereby repost the pictures MMO Champion created for your own personal enjoyment. Let me know what you think of those Troll Bears, man, and pass the ganja.

You might like them or not, but I’m lovin’ the Troll colors. They just pop.

I can haz Nom Nom Nom?

Blizzard has released some of the new Cataclysm Talent Trees, in a “we’re still working on it” condition.

Druids are one of the fortunate few to get to see a preliminary glimpse at their tree!

Can I just say as a prelude, I anticipate people rerolling Druid JUST to have a Nom Nom Nom ability?

I know *I* would.

Sadly, there is some idea that Blizzard might not keep the name of the proposed Talent “Nom Nom Nom”. I’m almost tempted to start a petition drive to beg them to keep it. Would making the Talent icon a small picture of a cheeseburger be going too far? I think not.

Reposted from MMO Champion’s website for those without connection to them from work, here is the text version of the Druid Talent Tree. My rambled musing starts after the info.

Balance Tree

Tier 1 (Left to Right)
Starlight Wrath (5 points) – Reduces the cast time of your Wrath and Starfire spells by 0.1/0.2/0.3/0.4/0.5 seconds.
Genesis (5 points) – Increases the damage and healing done by your periodic spell damage, healing effects and Swiftmend by 1/2/3/4/5%.

Tier 2 (Left to Right)
Moonglow (3 points) – Reduces the Mana cost of your Moonfire, Starfire, Starfall, Starsurge, Wrath, Healing Touch, Nourish, Regrowth and Rejuvenation spells by 3/6/9%.
Nature’s Majesty(2 points) – Increases the critical strike chance of your Wrath, Starfire, Starfall, Nourish and Healing Touch spells by 2/4%.
Improved Moonfire (2 points) – Increases the direct damage of your Moonfire spell by 5/10%.

Tier 3 (Left to Right)
Nature’s Grace (3 points) – All non-periodic spell criticals have a 33/66/100% chance to grace you with a Blessing of Nature, increasing your spell casting speed by 20% for 3 seconds.
Solar Beam (1 point) – You summon a beam of solar light over the enemy target’s location, interrupting the enemy target and silencing all enemy targets under the beam within 10 yards while it is active. Solar Beam lasts for 12 seconds.
Celestial Focus (3 points) – Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Starfire, Starsurge, Hibernate and Hurricane by 23/46/70%.
Nature’s Reach (2 points) – Increases the range of your Balance spells and Faerie Fire (Feral) ability by 10/20%, and reduces the threat generated by your Balance spells by 15/30%.

Tier 4 (Left to Right)
Nature’s Splendor (1 point) – Increases the duration of your Moonfire and Rejuvenation spells by 3 seconds, your Regrowth spell by 6 seconds, and your Insect Swarm and Lifebloom spells by 2 seconds.
Lunar Justice (3 points) – When you kill a target that yields experience or honor, a ray of moonlight will shine underneath the fallen enemy instantly restoring 2/4/6% of your base mana to you or the first ally who stands underneath it. Lunar Justice lasts for 15 seconds.

Tier 5 (Left to Right)
Brambles (3 points) – Damage from your Thorns and Entangling Roots increased by 25/50/75% and damage done by your treants increased by 5/10/15%. In addition, damage from your Treants and attacks done to you while you have Barkskin active have a 5/10/15% chance to daze the target for 3 seconds.
Starsurge (1 point) – Requires 1 point in Solar Beam – You fuse the power of the moon and sun, launching a devastating blast of energy at the target. Causes 622 to 691 Spellstorm damage to the target and knocking them down.
Vengeance (5 points) – Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Starfire, Starfall, Moonfire, and Wrath spells by 20/40/60/80/100%.
Dreamstate (3 points) – Regenerate mana equal to 4/7/10% of your intellect every 5 seconds, even while casting.

Tier 6 (Left to Right)
Gale Winds (2 points) – Increases damage done by your Hurricane and Typhoon spells by 15/30%, and increases the range of your Cyclone spells by 2/4 yards.
Lunar Guidance (3 points) – Requires 1 point in Starsurge – Increases the radius of your Solar Beam by 2/4/6 yards, and your Starsurge also instantly generates 5/10/15 Lunar or Solar energy, depending on which is greater.
Balance of Power (2 points) – Increases your chance to hit with spells by 2/4% and increases your spell hit rating by an additional amount equal to 50/100% of your Spirit.

Tier 7 (Left to Right)
Moonkin Form (1 point) – Shapeshift into Moonkin Form. While in this form the armor contribution from items is increased by 120%, and increases the spell critical strike chance of all nearby friendly and raid targets within 100 yards by 5%. The moonkin cannot cast healing or resurrection spells while shapeshifted. The act of shapeshifting frees the caster of Polymorph and movement impairing effects.
Improved Moonkin Form (3 points) – Requires 1 point in Moonkin Form. You also grant 2/3/5% spell haste to all nearby friendly party and raid targets within 100 yards while in Moonkin Form.
Euphoria (2 points) – When you critically hit with Wrath or Starfire, you instantly gain an additional 2/4 Lunar or 4/8 Solar Energy. When you reach a Solar or Lunar eclipse, you instantly are restored 6/12% of your total mana.

Tier 8 (Left to Right)
Owlkin Frenzy (3 points) – Requires 1 point in Moonkin Form – Attacks done to you while in Moonkin form have a 5/10/15% chance to cause you to go into a Frenzy, increasing your damage by 10% and making you immune to pushback while casting Balance spells. Lasts 10 seconds.
Wrath of Cenarius (3 points) – While moving, the direct damage of your Moonfire spell is increased by 5% and its mana cost is reduced by 10% for 3 seconds. This effect can stack up to 3 times and lasts 3 seconds, but is refreshed as long as you are in movement. Your starfire spell gains an additional 8/12% and your Wrath gains an additional 4/6% of your bonus damage effects.

Tier 9 (Left to Right)
Improved Eclipse (3 points) – Increases the amount of Lunar or Solar energy generated from your Starfire and Wrath by 12%, and when critically hit by a melee or ranged attack, you will instantly generate Lunar or Solar Energy. When you critically hit with Starfire, you have a 101% chance of increasing damage done by Wrath by 0%. When you critically hit with Wrath, you have a 61% chance of increasing your critical strike chance with Starfire by 0%. Each effect lasts 15 seconds and each has a separate 30-second cooldown. Both effects cannot occur simultaneously.
Typhoon (1 point) – Requires 1 point in Moonkin Form – You summon a violent Typhoon that does 400 Nature damage when in contact with hostile targets, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 seconds.
Force of Nature (1 point) – Summons 3 treants to attack enemy targets for 30 seconds.

Tier 10 (Left to Right)
Earth and Moon (3 points) – Your Wrath and Starfire spells have a 100% chance to apply the Earth and Moon effect, which increases spell damage taken by 2/5/8% for 12 seconds. Also increases your spell damage by 2/4/6%.
Fungal Growth (2 points) – When your Treants die or your Wild Mushrooms are triggered, you spawn a Fungal Growth at its wake covering the area within 8 yards, slowing all enemy targets by 35/70%. Lasts 10 seconds.

Tier 11 (Left to Right)
Starfall (1 point) – Requires 1 point in Typhoon – You summon a flurry of stars from the sky on all targets within 30 yards of the caster, each dealing 303 to 348 Arcane damage. Maximum 20 stars. Lasts 10 seconds. Shapeshifting into animal form or mounting cancels the effect. Any effect which causes you to lose control of your character will suppress the starfall effect.

Feral Combat Tree

Tier 1 (Left to Right)
Sharpened Claws (2 points) – Increases the damage caused by your Claw, Rake, Mangle (Cat), Mangle (Bear), and Maul abilities by 10/20%.
Ferocity (5 points) – Reduces the cost of your Maul, Swipe, Claw, Rake and Mangle abilities by 1/2/3/4/5 Rage or Energy.
Feral Aggression (5 points) – Increases the attack power reduction of your Demoralizing Roar by 8/16/24/32/40% and the damage caused by your Ferocious Bite by 3/6/9/12/15%.

Tier 2 (Left to Right)
Shredding Attacks (2 points) – Reduces the energy cost of your Shred ability by 5/10 and the rage cost of your Lacerate ability by 1/2.
Feral Instinct (3 points) – Increases the damage done by your Swipe ability by 10/20/30% and reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while Prowling.
Thick Hide (3 points) – Increases your Armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 4/7/10%.

Tier 3 (Left to Right)
Feral Swiftness (2 points) – Increases your movement speed by 15/30% in Cat Form and increases your chance to dodge while in Cat Form, Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by 2/4%.
Predatory Instincts (3 points) – Increases the damage done by your melee critical strikes by 3/7/10%.
Feral Charge (1 point) – Teaches Feral Charge (Bear) and Feral Charge (Cat). Feral Charge (Bear) – Causes you to charge an enemy, immobilizing and interrupting any spell being cast for 4 seconds. This ability can be used in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form. 15-second cooldown. Feral Charge (Cat) – Causes you to leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 seconds. 30-second cooldown.
Improved Feral Charge (2 points) – Increases your melee haste by 15/30% after you use Feral Charge (Bear) for 8 seconds, and Ravage will temporarly not require stealth for 3/6 seconds after you use Feral Charge (Cat).

Tier 4 (Left to Right)
Nurturing Instinct (2 points) – Increases your healing spells by up to 35/70% of your agility, and increases healing done to you by 10/20% while in Cat Form.
Fury Swipes (3 points) – When you auto-attack while in Cat Form or Bear Form, you have a 4/8/12% chance to gain an extra auto-attack on the same target. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
Primal Fury (2 points) – Gives you a 50/100% chance to gain an additional 5 Rage anytime you get a critical strike while in Bear and Dire Bear Form, and your critical strikes from Cat Form abilities that add combo points have a 50/100% chance to add an additional combo point.

Tier 5 (Left to Right)
Brutal Impact (2 points) – Increases the stun duration of your Bash and Pounce abilities by 0.5/1 seconds, and decreases the cooldown of Bash by 5/10 seconds.
Heart of the Wild (5 points) – Increases your intellect by 4/8/12/16/20%. In addition, while in Bear or Dire Bear Form your stamina is increased by 2/4/6/8/10%, and while in Cat Form your attack power is increased by 2/4/6/8/10%.
Survival Instincts (1 point) – When activated, this ability temporarily grants you 30% of your maximum health for 20 seconds while in Bear Form, Cat Form, or Dire Bear Form. After the effect expires, the health is lost.
Predatory Strikes (2 points) – Increases the critical strike chance of your Ravage by 50/25% at or above 90% health, and your finishing moves have a 10/20% chance per combo point to make your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 seconds become an instant cast spell.

Tier 6 (Left to Right)
Natural Reaction (3 points) – Increases your dodge while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form by 2/4%, and you regenerate 1/2 rage every time you dodge while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form.
Endless Carnage (2 points) – Increases the duration of your Rake by 3/6 seconds and your Savage Roar and Pulverize by 3/6 seconds.
Survival of the Fittest (3 points) – Reduces the chance you’ll be critically hit by melee attacks by 2/4/6%, and increases the contribution from cloth and leather items in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by 11/22/33%.

Tier 7 (Left to Right)
King of the Jungle (3 ranks) – While using your Enrage ability in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form, your damage is increased by 5/10/15%, and your Tiger’s Fury ability also instantly restores 20/40/60 energy.
Leader of the Pack (1 point) – Requires 1 point in Heart of the Wild – While in Cat, Bear, or Dire Bear Form, Leader of the Pack increases ranged and melee critical chance of all party and raid members within 100 yards by 5%.
Improved Leader of the Pack (2 points) – Requires 1 point in Leader of the Pack – Your Leader of the Pack ability also causes affected targets to heal themselves for 2/4% of their total health when they critically hit with melee or ranged attacks. The healing effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds. In addition, you gain 4/8% of your maximum mana when you benefit from this heal.
Primal Tenacity (3 points) – Reduces the duration of fear effects by 10/20/30% and reduces all damage taken while stunned by 5/10/15% while in Cat Form.

Tier 8 (Left to Right)
Protector of the Pack (3 points) – Increases your attack power by 2/4/6% and reduces the damage you take by 4/8/12%, while in Bear or Dire Bear Form.
Infected Wounds (2 points) – Your Shred, Maul, Ravage and Mangle attacks cause an Infected Wound in the target. The infected Wound reduces the movement speed of the target by 25/50% and the attack speed by 10/20%. Lasts 12 seconds.

Tier 9 (Left to Right)
Primal Madness (2 points) – Tiger’s Fury and Berserk also increases your maximum energy by 6/12 during its duration, and your Enrage and Berserk abilities instantly generates 0/12 Rage.
Mangle (1 point) – Mangle the target, inflicting damage and causing the target to take additional damage from bleed effects for 1 minute. This ability can be used in Cat Form or Dire Bear form.
Improved Mangle (3 points) – Reduces the cooldown of your Mangle (Bear) ability by 0.5/1.0 seconds and reduces the energy cost of your Mangle (Cat) ability by 2/4.

Tier 10 (Left to Right)
Nom Nom Nom (2 points) – When you Ferocious Bite a target at or below 25% health, you have a 50/100% chance to instantly refresh the duration of your Rip on the target.
Rend and Tear (5 points) – Increases damage done by your Maul and Shred attacks on bleeding targets by 4/8/12/16/20%, and increases the critical strike chance of your Ferocious Bite ability on bleeding targets by 5/10%.
Pulverize (1 point) – Requires 5 points in Rend and Tear – Requires Dire Bear Form – Deals 100% weapon damage plus additional 786 damage for each of your Lacerate applications on the target, and increases your melee critical strike chance by 2% for each Lacerate application consumed for 10seconds.

Tier 11 (Left to Right)
Berserk (1 point) – When activated, this ability causes your Mangle (Bear) ability to hit up to 3 targets and have no cooldown, and reduces the energy cost of all your Cat Form abilities by 50%. Lasts 15 seconds. You cannot use Tiger’s Fury while Berserk is active. Clears the effect of Fear and makes you immune to Fear for the duration.

Restoration Tree

Tier 1 (Left to Right)
Blessing of the Grove (2 points) – Increases the healing done by your Rejuvenation by 2/4%, the direct damage of your Moonfire by 3/6% and the damage done by your Claw and Shred by 2/4%.
Nature’s Focus (3 points) – Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Healing Touch, Wrath, Entangling Roots, Cyclone, Nourish, Regrowth and Tranquility by 23/46/75%.
Furor (5 points) – Gives you a 20/40/60/80/100% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shapeshift into Bear and Dire Bear Form, and you keep up to 20/40/60/80/100 of your energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form. In addition, your total intellect is increased while in Moonkin Form by 2/4/6/8/10%.

Tier 2 (Left to Right)
Perseverance (5 points) – Reduces all spell damage taken by 2/4/6/8/10%.
Subtlety (3 points) – Reduces the threat generated by your Restoration spells by 10/20/30%.
Natural Shapeshifter (3 points) – Reduces the mana cost of all shapeshifting by 10/20/30%.

Tier 3 (Left to Right)
Naturalist (5 points) – Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch and Nourish spells by 0.1/0.2/0.3/0.4/0.5 seconds and increases the damage you deal with physical attacks in all forms by 2/4/6/8/10%.
Omen of Clarity (1 point) – Each of the druid’s damage, healing spells and auto-attacks has a chance of causing the caster to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the mana, rage or energy cost of your next damage spell, healing spell or offensive ability by 100%.
Master Shapeshifter (2 points) – Requires 3 points in Natural Shapeshifter – Grants an effect which lasts while the druid is within the respective shapeshift form. Bear Form – Increases physical damage by 2/4%. Cat Form – Increases critical strike chance by 2/4%. Moonkin Form – Increases spell damage by 2/4%. Tree of Life Form – Increases healing by 2/4%.

Tier 4 (Left to Right)
Improved Rejuvenation (3 points) – Increases the effect of your Rejuvenation and Swiftmend spells by 5/10/15%.
Tranquil Spirit (5 points) – Reduces the mana cost of your Healing Touch, Nourish and Tranquility spells by 2/4/6/8/10%.

Tier 5 (Left to Right)
Nature’s Swiftness (1 point) – Requires 1 point in Naturalist – When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 seconds becomes an instant cast spell.
Improved Tranquility (2 points) – Reduces threat caused by Tranquility by 50/100% and reduces the damage you take while channeling Tranquility by 25/50%.

Tier 6 (Left to Right)
Living Seed (3 points) – When you critically heal your target with Swiftmend, Regrowth, Nourish or Healing Touch spell you have a 33/66/100% chance to plant a Living Seed on the target for 30% of the amount healed. The Living Seed will bloom when the target is next attacked. Lasts 15 seconds.
Nature’s Bounty (5 points) – Requires 3 points in Improved Rejuvenation – Increases the critical effect chance of your Regrowth spell by 10% on targets at or below 25% health, and you have a 20% chance when you critically heal with Healing Touch and Nourish to reduce the remaining cooldown of your Swiftmend spell by 0.5 seconds. Increases the critical effect chance of your Regrowth and Nourish spells by 10/15/20/25%.
Fury of a Stormrage (3 points) – You have a 5/10/15% chance when you cast Nourish or Healing Touch to cause your next Wrath spell to be instant cast and cost no mana. Fury of Stormrage lasts for 8 seconds.

Tier 7 (Left to Right)
Swiftmend (1 point) – Requires 1 point in Nature’s Bounty [NYI] – Consumes a Rejuvenation or Regrowth effect on a friendly target to instantly heal the target for 5306.
Empowered Touch (2 points) – Your Healing Touch heals for 5% more on targets at or below 25% health, and your Nourish spell has a 50% chance to refresh the duration of your Lifebloom on targets. Your Healing Touch spell gains an additional 32%, and your Nourish spell gains an additional 16% of your bonus healing effects.

Tier 8 (Left to Right)
Efflorescence (3 points) – Requires 1 point in Living Seed – When you critically heal with your Regrowth spell you also sprout a bed of healing flora underneath the target, healing all nearby friendly targets within 15 yards who stand on them for 10/20/30% of the amount healed by your Regrowth every 1 seconds for 7 seconds. Increases your total spirit by 10/15/20/25%.
Empowered Rejuvenation (5 points) – The bonus healing effects of your heal-over-time spells and Swiftmend is increased by 4/8/12/16/20%.
Natural Perfection (3 points) – Critical strikes against you give you the Natural Perfection effect, reducing all damage taken by 2/3/4%. Stacks up to 3 times. Lasts 8 seconds.

Tier 9 (Left to Right)
Revitalize (3 points) – When your Regrowth or Lifebloom heal-over-time periodic damage critically hits, you instantly regenerate 1/2/3% of your total mana. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 seconds.
Tree of Life (1 point) – Requires 5 points in Empowered Rejuvenation – Shapeshift into the tree of Life, increasing healing done by 15% and increasing your armor by 240%, but reducing your movement speed by 50%. In addition, some of your spells are temporarly enhanced while shapeshifted. Lasts 45 seconds. 5-minute cooldown. Enhanced spells: Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Entangling Roots, Thorns, Wrath
Improved Tree of Life (3 points) – Requires 1 point in Tree of Life – Reduces the cooldown of your Tree of Life by 30/60/90 seconds, and increases your damage done while in Tree of Life by 5/10/15%.

Tier 10 (Left to Right)
Improved Barkskin (2 points) – Grants 80/160% additional armor contribution from cloth and leather items while in Travel Form or while not shapeshifted. In addition, the damage reduction granted by your Barkskin spell is increased by 5/10%.
Gift of the Earthmother (5 points) – Increases the healing done by your Tranquility on targets at or below 25% health by 4%, increases the healing done by the bloom effect of your Lifebloom by 2%, and your Rejuvenation spell also instantly heals for 3% of the total periodic effect. Increases your total spell haste by 4/6/8/10% and reduces the base cooldown of your Lifebloom spell by 4/6/8/10%.

Tier 11 (Left to Right)
Wild Growth (1 point) – Requires 1 point in Tree of Life – Heals up to 5 friendly party or raid members within 15 yards of the target for 2905 over 6.99 seconds. The amount healed is applied quickly at first, and slows down as the Wild Growth reaches its full duration.

Isn’t that just amazing?

Remember please, that the Talent Tree specifics including the picture is reposted directly from MMO Champion, and you can expect them to have continual upates and additional information as they discover it, so please check there yourself when you’re able. Thank you.

Now, for the, ahem, “value added” part of the blog post, yes?

The first impression is, Feral Bear Druids are going to walk into Cataclysm with very few changes to the core philosophy of the class.

We continue to have Feral as our main tree, with some points in Resto, and none in Balance.

We continue to use Survival of the Fittest, in Tier 6, as our “immune to critical strikes from opponents 3 levels higher than us” ability. By implication, max level raid mobs and bosses will continue to be set at 3 levels higher than us in terms of Hit.

In fact, we continue to have all of the abilities and Talents we’ve grown used to as Bears. Survival Instincts for an “oh shoot” button, Natural Reaction to increase Dodge and return Rage, Primal Fury to return Rage from critical strikes, Leader of the Pack and heals from Improved Leader of the Pack, Protector of the Pack for an overall damage reduction (including magic), Mangle and Berserk.

I think that, considering the changes in store for Plate wearers in terms of diverting attention away from Defense Rating, we can be reassured that we’re building on our foundation rather than ripping it up and starting over.

The first big change of note is the addition of Perseverance in Tier 2 of the Resto tree. This Talent will add an additional 10% spell damage reduction. That’s a pretty huge Bear Tank survival Talent change, and should be cause for some happiness.

Unsurprisingly, when we consider a new level 85 cap with 76 points available to spend, I’m not seeing a “perfect” build that gives me everything I want. Which is what we were told to expect.

What I’m seeing specifically in my build analysis is a solid 16 points in Restoration, with 5/5 Furor, 5/5 Perseverance, 5/5 Naturalist, and 1 in Omen of Clarity.

I originally posted this as 18 points in Resto, and 2/2 Master Shapeshifter. Unfortunately, as Kaethir pointed out (as someone always does within seconds of a post) there was an inaccuracy. Namely, you can’t take Master Shapeshifter without first taking 3/3 Natural Shapeshifter. In really looking at the options available, I can say that I am unwilling to lose 3 points elsewhere so I could take Natural Shapeshifter, just to keep +4% physical damage in Bear form. That’s a 5 point investment for +4% damage. We’ll keep in mind that we’d like to free up 5 points from the Feral tree in a perfect world, shall we?

Don’t hold your breath.

With 16 points in Resto, at level 85 we’re left with 60 points for the Feral tree. 

I’ll describe my initial thinking, including describing all Talents (not just new ones), just because you never know how knowledgeable someone is about what a Talent name actually corresponds to in end effect. I do try to be new tank friendly. 

What I’m looking at in the Feral tree is;

2/2 Sharpened Claws, for increased Maul damage. Maul is a huge part of Threat generation.

5/5 or 4/5 Ferocity for Rage cost reduction on many abilities. If you want a single point for something else, this is a possible choice. Otherwise, go 5/5. 

3/3 Feral Instinct for increased Swipe damage. More Swipe damage = more Swipe threat on AoE targets. Win.

3/3 Thick Hide… mandatory talent for Bears.

0/3 in Shredding Attacks for my build, because Lacerate is only one ability in the rotation, and the Rage savings doesn’t measure up to the value of a point to me. This attitude on my part may change with the new desirability of full Lacerate stacks to an Endless Carnage/Pulverize rotation. But I doubt it.

2/2 Feral Swiftness for the Dodge, another core Bear talent.

3/3 Predatory Instincts, increased melee critical strike chance. This is important as a foundation for the build, not only because crits increase damage based threat across the board, but also because a later talent, Primal Fury, feeds us Rage on a successful critical strike. More crits = more Rage, especially with Swipe on AoE.

1/1 Feral Charge. I use Feral Charge all the time when running from group to group. Heck, I even use it a TON during a single group pull, when caster mobs are spread out like they are in early Forge of Souls and on the ramp of Pit of Saron. The spell interruption is perfect since I use it to go from caster to caster.

2/2 Improved Feral Charge. My initial plans put this as a possible place to shave points. The reason I want to keep it is because 30% melee haste for 8 seconds, in the very first 8 seconds of an initial group pull, is pretty huge in terms of fast threat generation, SO LONG AS YOU HAVE ENOUGH RAGE. I see this dovetailing with Enrage and Primal Madness to form a new standard pull strategy of Enrage and Feral Charge in every time. Assuming, of course, you’re not doing that already.

1/3 or 0/3 Fury Swipes, and I’ll tell you why. It’s based on auto-attack speed, it’s 12% max chance, it triggers only from auto-attacks, and it can’t happen more than once every 6 seconds. For a DPS rotation, yes I’m sure it could be good if used properly, but for Bears, with so many other Talents to choose from, it’s not going to improve our initial Threat generation in the first 6 seconds of a pull by nearly enough to justify three points. Over a long fight, yes it could be very significant, and may be a solid Talent for a main tank boss fight build. BUT, for most situations, Talents that improve initial threat generation and instant damage should take precedence over Talents that add damage at a steady, measured pace over time. So the longer the fight, the more significant Fury Swipes would be. My default is to leave a point in this one so it does trigger occasionally, and see if the 6 second choke on it helps it proc enough to overcome not having a higher chance of occurance.

2/2 Primal Fury is another core Bear talent, returning Rage from successful crits, including crits caused by each mob affected by Swipe.

5/5 Heart of the Wild – we get to keep this? Yay!

1/1 Survival Instincts, again I love this as an effective “oh shit” button, especially when triggered right before Frenzied Regeneration.

3/3 Natural Reaction, a core Bear talent increasing Dodge and returning Rage per successful Dodge.

2/2 Endless Carnage. This is a really interesting one, because for Bears it will increase the duration of Pulverize by 6 seconds. Pulverize is a talent on the Tier 10 range that I’ll go into a lot more later. Just keep in mind… plus 6 second duration of Pulverize.

3/3 Survival of the Fittest, our core Bear talent for being uncrittable by mobs 3 levels higher than ourselves, which are basically raid mobs and bosses. Oh yeah, and more armor for more damage reduction!

3/3 King of the Jungle – this is one of the other abilities I can see losing a point from. We could either lose 1 point in this, Ferocity, or Improved Mangle. Losing 1 point in this drops our boosted damage while Enraged to 10% instead of 15%.

1/1 Leader of the Pack, a great party/raid buff, but that’s not why I like it.

2/2 Improved Leader of the pack, a self heal per crit, and THIS is why I love LotP. It’s nice when in a party or raid, but when soloing, it’s divine, especially on lower level instances. And I’ll be honest… one of my favorite things to do is to run my friends/wife through lower level content. This almost completely removes the need for a healer when running through Ramparts.

3/3 Protector of the Pack, which does boost damage, but more importantly is one of the main ways we reduce magical damage. Our armor does not affect magic damage at all, so this, and the new Perseverance, are our two magic damage reduction abilities. Is it important not to instantly die in an AoE fire? Yes, I think so.

0/2 or 1/2 Infected Wounds, normally none. If you do feel particualrly squishy, especially on new boss fights in Catacylsm, the slower mob attack speed can help. If so, or if you’re annoyed by lots of runners, you can put a point in here from somewhere else. I’d recommend starting with Fury Swipes and Improved Mangle to draw from.

2/2 Primal Madness, I love having that instant Rage from Enrage, and this now also buffs Berserk Rage, so yes, I want to keep 2/2.

1/1 Mangle. Umm, yeah.

3/3 or 2/3 Improved Mangle. This one is the one I really think is the most likely to lose 1 point in my build. In my rotations, with the longer Bleed duration, I think it would be fine. The one wierd thing is, while it says 3 ranks, it shows 0.5/1.0 and 2/4, which indicates only two ranks. So, will we not even have the opportunity to have 3/3? We’ll see.

5/5 Rend and Tear, which not only buffs Maul damage by 20 bloody be damned percent, but ALSO unlocks Pulverize.

1/1 Pulverize. A new Talent, a new ability, and an interesting choice. Dire Bear Form only, so it’s a tanking thing. What does it do? Well, it looks like an instant cast that deals 100% weapon damage, PLUS 786 damage per Lacerate on your target. So, you stack Lacerate to max and then boom. But wait, there’s more! It also EATS those lacerate stacks, and in exchange it increases your melee crit strike chance by 2% per Lacerate. It’s 10 seconds default, plus 6 seconds if you have 2/2 Endless Carnage. There is nothing that says this is increased crit on that target only. So, what we’re saying is, you can stack up Lacerates on one target, blow Pulverize, and increase your max crit chance on all targets affected by everything, including Maul and Swipe, for the next 16 seconds.

Yes, please. Oh, hell yes. Remember that whole “regain Rage on successful crit” thing from Primal Fury? And let’s never forget, your successful crits BUBBLE YOU. Yum yum yum feaking yum.

And finally, 1/1 Berserk. I love Berserk anyway, and now Primal Madness makes it give me Rage, too.

So… interesting, interesting. I’m not seeing any problems here whatsoever. It’s all good, my friends.

Anyway… the future looks so bright, my Bear might have to wear shades!

And please… no whining about not getting more AoE talents, all right? I think 1 16 second buffed crit chance from Pulverize might help enhance the threat of our existing Swipe AoE.

Oh yeah, and as far as no ranged Silence to help pull… well, I LIKE using Feral Charge and ranged Feral Faerie Fire and Growl on distant mobs. It feels like I’m more active on the battlefield. Don’t ask me why.

So… what are your impressions?

A Visual Indication of AoE

To be filed under “Why didn’t I think of that” is a post by Brokentree over at Wayward Initiative, performing a very simple and yet helpful service;

Showing the DPS what each tanks’ most common AoE looks like.

The subtext goes back to a recent post there by another of the multitude of Wayward Initiative bloggers, Pugging as DPS.

The post is brilliant; it gives a visual example of what Tank AoE looks like, so that DPS have some idea what to wait for before they unload on the group.

I’m a sarcastic old Bear, so that’s a post I totally should have thought of first.


Because what it’s saying is, “Hey, you idiots keep pulling aggro off the tank in PUGs, time after time after time, in the first two seconds of each pull, before the Tank has ever even had a chance to reach the bloody mobs. But maybe the problem isn’t that you’re a complete f’ing moron. Maybe the problem is you just don’t know what the AoE effect looks like. So I will teach you. The more you know. GI Joe!”

That’s sarcasm to be proud of.

Look, there’s a foolproof, simple technique that will ensure you do not pull aggro off the mobs on the tank.

It’s called patience.

If you play as DPS, just wait a few seconds for the tank to get it stuck in before you open up. If you still pull aggro, then either tone it down, or wait a few more seconds the next time.

Try, and I know this is a crazy, out there idea, but try to use your skill to adjust your DPS output on single and group targets to take into accuont the current tank’s Threat output.

It may take you a pull or two to figure it out, but just do it. 

Stop with the “gogogo”. Stop with the pulling FOR the tank unless she asks.

Just be patient for a few seconds on each pull.

Mathematical tests have proven* that the potential amount of time you will save by pushing the group and screaming GOGOGO, or by pulling the groups yourself as DPS, does not outweigh the amount of time you lose from wiping and running back in, or by having the tank tell you to shut up or having the tank leave the group in disgust at your behavior or having the healer stop healing you each time you pull something antisocial so you’ll eat a repair bill.

If you are DPS and have a 15 minute queue time, and you want to get each Heroic finished as soon as possible so you can requeue, pushing the speed of a group and destabilizing the run is not going to save you time. 

Neither will screaming “you suck” at the tank if you pull aggro by not waiting, nor will screaming obscenities at the healer if you, as the tank pull half the instance in your 22k health/non-defense capped gear and die.

I will hammer this home until everyone seems to get it;

“Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to release and run back in?”™


If you’re the tank, learn what you can safely pull and hold before taking too much damage too fast. And go slow enough for the healer to keep up.

If you’re the DPS, wait until the tank has had a chance to tag everything before you open up, and hey, brilliant idea here, how about making your primary target the same one the tank currently has targeted? Chances are excellent that’s the one getting the lion’s share of the tanks threat output.

There are even mods/addons that make it easy. X-Perl unitframes let’s you turn on target of target display for Party mode. You can easily, at a glance, see what EVERY person in the party is targeting.

I love comparing, as the tank, what I’m targeting against what the rest of the group has targeted.

“Oh hey, how about that, every time I mark a Skull, the Mage is on something else and pulls aggro on it. Every time. Let’s see how he likes it when I stopped Growling.”

And healers… well, I’m sorry. That’s about all I got for you.

Oh no, wait, I do have one piece of advice.

If you go Engineering, you can get Rocket Boots enchanted on your feet. It really helps keeping up when the tank thinks his leet 22k health means heals are optional on the next sequence of groups. 

*Based on my slowing down every time I get one of those assholes.

So, Druids gonna see some change, huh?

I’m going to start with an assumption;

If you read my blog, you also read MMO Champion,, or the main forums, and are plugged into the “WoW news” scene, such as it is.

If not, that’s okay. I’m sure you’ll get the gist of what’s going on with Druids soon enough.

The proposed Feral changes, such as they were, were pretty good.

Plenty of stuff made me smile in the announcement, not least of which was the announcement of a new AoE threat/damage boosting ability, Thrash.

That’s nice, I think it’ll be fun in execution. However, once again, I refer you to a previous post, wherein I pointed out we have no idea how any change will actually work. The assumption would be that adding a new ability, Thrash, would add to Threat generation. However, in execution, if they dial down Swipe’s Threat/Damage as they add Thrash, balance them out so we need to use both together to equal today’s Swipe… well, see what I mean about not making silly assumptions as to how things will work until we actually get the game changes in our furry little paws? 

What mostly brought a smile to my face was the way the tanking announcements, in general and across the board, all said that the intended goal was to balance damage dealing capabilities across all tank types. To have tools in place so that if any one tank class gets ahead of the pack, they can reign them in, or if one lags behind, they can pull that one up by the bootstraps.

The concern I have is that the term they use is damage, not Threat, when talking about balance. I know that many tanks worry about damage generation comparisons with other tanks, and that there has been a lot of complaining about the high damage output of some tank classes.

I don’t care nearly as much about damage output balance as I do about threat. I really hope that when they are talking about balancing damage amongst the tank classes, they also mean threat output.

The main point to take away from tank announcements is that they are trying to change the underpinnings of the abilities and mechanics so that they have easier tools at hand to balance the classes when they decide it’s needed.

I imagine that’s one of the reasons that the Paladin review is so delayed. Paladins have a very fine tuned, race car style performance when it comes to threat and damage generation. Messing with any of it is going to cause a lot of headaches for all concerned. 

As far as Bears go, with Vengeance, and damage reduction and Thrash and everything, it looks to me that Bears will do about as well as could be expected. Tools are being added to increase the complexity/diversity of the Bear playstyle, increase our group utility (Movement speed buff? Cool!), improve AoE threat generation (hopefully with Thrash) and keep our gear diversity intact.

The only fly in the ointment would be the lack of an announced ranged Silence pull, while in their infinite wisdom they gave Rogues (Rogues?) a Smoke Bomb to force ranged spellcasters to close to melee.

Did I actually expect to get a ranged Silence pull? No, I did not. Bears have so many other tools from Cat using the same gear and (mostly) same spec, PLUS self-Heals, that I figured, from a PvP standpoint, there was just no freaking way we’d get one.

If you don’t like it, play a Pally, right? We’re Bears. Toughen up, sunshine!

I will add that while I like the Smoke Bomb idea for our Ninja leather-wearing brothers and sisters, if you can do that, c’mon guys… hows about giving a Bear a fart cloud? Although, come to think of it, that would be more along the order of a Fear, wouldn’t it?

Hmmm. Actually, a fart cloud that stuns enemies in an AoE would be fun. I bet they can’t do it because you wouldn’t be able to put in diminishing returns for the effect…

Oh well, lesson here is, Bears, make sure your best friend is a Rogue, I guess. Good thing I married one. :)

As far as Cats go, they said that there would be no new earthshaking, wonderful new spells. They like the rotation so much, they don’t want to fiddle with it. However, they WILL extend debuff durations and things, so there is a slightly looser window to get each ability off that depends on a previous debuff being in effect on the target, making the rotation a little more forgiving to a slight blunder.

Restoration Druids aren’t expecting to get any new spells either; Blizzard thinks the ones we have fill all the required niches.

I can feel the desire for new shinies, but I honestly don’t need something new just to have a happy button added to my bar. I look at all the excess buttons on some of my classes, like all the buttons for abilities my Mage alt almost never uses, and figure that I’m good with having a tight group of abilities that all work well together.

I don’t play a Moonkin, personally, but I love the form. I would like to say one thing about their new spell.

Why, oh why, do Druids get to be the ones bringing the magic shrooms? Now there’s nothing for it but that I go grind Sporregar rep to Exalted so I can wear the Magic Mushroom purple tabard, proclaiming my hippy druggie status to the world. 

Okay, so I’m laughing on the inside. Trust a Moonkin to look at the enemy and think, “What you really need, what you really need right now, is to get high. Here, have one of these. Oh my, look at the pretty stars. And the lights! The beautiful, glowing, pretty lights. Oh, wait, those are my spell effects as I blow you the hell up…”

Lets move on to what is shaping up to be the big drama of the teasers; Treeform on cooldown.

If you follow Restoration Druid blogs to any extent, you might have noticed a stirring in the branches, as the winds of discontent blow through the community.

Down and dirty, they’re planning on changing Treeform from being a discrete form that Druids shift into, and make it similar to a long cooldown buff. 

This changes it from being the form you are in while being a Healer fully specced into Restoration, and makes it more a “For 30 seconds you are in the form of a Tree, and healing power/whatever is increased by X amount. 2 minute cooldown.”

Or 5 minute cooldown. Or something.

The point is, it goes from being what it is now, a shapeshifting form exclusive to the deep Restoration tree, and reduces it to just another spell in the rotation. 

Now, Druids are unlikely to get a lot of outside sympathy for being unhappy about this. From the outside looking in, it resembles a simple complaint about a cosmetic change, and Ghostcrawler has already replied, saying that if Druids are so adamant about having a Tree form, they could add a Minor Glyph that would leave the Treeform appearance up all the time, but would leave the new mechanic unchanged.

I’d like to try and present a Druid’s viewpoint that cuts to the core of the matter without silly drama.

World of Warcraft has, as a large part of it’s charm, both a romantic and a mathematic side of the game.

The mathematic is represented by all things analytical; stats and mechanics and DPS curves and damage reduction by armor with diminishing returns, and all of the other things that allow a dedicated theorycrafter an opportunity to min/max their performance.

The romantic is represented by the graphical style, the non-combat pets, the rare and exotic pets Hunters can tame, the varying landscapes and cultures to visit, the tabards to wear, the mounts to ride, the clothing and gear that changes your entire appearance, the view of the tumultous sky over the mana engines of Netherstorm and the peacefulness of fishing the pools while watching the Sun set across the sea in Wetlands.

The game is not just stats and power curves and progression. It is not just preparing for, and engaging in, battle. If it were, it would be Squad Leader with a bare bones graphics interface on a Hex map.

It has those elements, that depth of complexity. But it also has the whimsical, the romantic, the things that bring the game world alive and make it so much more to a player than a set of stats on a cardboard placard or a token on a map.

The way the game is designed, and part of the continued draw of the game for me is the extent to which I can develop an emotional attachment to the characters.

It is, at it’s heart, what differentiates an MMORPG from an RTS; that I have a single character whose story throughout the World of Warcraft has some measure of escapist value for me.

Where the problem here comes in, is that from what Ghostcrawler has said, the developers are approaching this issue with only one concern; stats and effects during raids and combat.

Where the players that have Restoration Druids are coming from, is mainly from the point of view of any player with an emotional investment in the character they play.

To us, our Treeform is an ability that shows our heart is in healing. Much like Moonkin form, it is far enough down the Restoration Talent Tree that you don’t just take it as part of a hybrid spec. You have to be intending to Heal as your main function, you have to really dedicate yourself to being a supporting healer to be a Tree.

I know I’m only speaking for myself on this, but to me, I don’t see the lack of offensive spellcasting abilities in Treeform as a detriment to playing my class; I see it as a mark of honor and distinction, and symbol of my dedication to keeping your ass alive.

I don’t ever find myself railing at the cruel fates that have prevented me from casting DPS spells from Treeform. In the rare occasions that I throw down a Hurricane, mostly during the Shifted phase of the wraith boss in Violet Hold to kill the adds, I accept dropping out of Treeform as the cost of dealing damage, and I return to Treeform as soon as my brief foray into causing pain is over.

I know that Ghostcrawler seems to feel that the Treeform mechanic doesn’t add anything to the game, it doesn’t bring anything special to the Restoration Druid’s table.

It does.

What it brings is Treeform itself. What he just doesn’t seem to grasp is that Treeform, for a Restoration Druid, is a goal in and of itself. Not something to be pity Glyphed, but an outwards symbol of a Druid Healer’s resolve.

I truly hope that the developers that are trying to balance this incredibly complex game for raiding and PvP in cataclysm are reminded that there is a lot more to the game then stats.

At the end of the day, what keeps us all playing this rather than Star Fleet Battles on a MUD is our personal involvement with our characters. Our emotional investment in the class that we play.

Character involvement can be a fragile thing, and I truly hope that, before making such a significant change, the devlopers take a big step back and ask themselves; is what we expect to gain by making this change worth all that we WILL lose in terms of player goodwill?

The Retaking of Ironforge

As far as Gnomeregan is concerned, I’m falling in line with the thought that a staged, phased reclamation a la Isle of Quel’danas is the most likely scenario.

Which, let’s face it, sounds pretty cool. :)

But I keep thinking of Ironforge.

Cataclysm is supposed to bring flight to old world Azeroth.

That means things are being changed to accomodate that, changes to zone edges and such, things that never had to be worried about before, because players could never actually reach there.

I remember one time, at band camp… no, wait, just kidding.

I remember one time, when the game was brand new, hopping up hills at the perimeter around the Hunting Lodge in Loch Modan, and I made it up and onto the top of the ridge on the northern edge… only to find that the terrain became a featureless wireframe of orange flatness.

I ran and ran for a long time, to the north as I recall, wondering where I would end up. After a while, I turned around and headed back to resume what I was doing; leveling my first ever character, Windshadow.

The urge to explore was strong, to see what was over the next rise, maps being rare and hard to find on the internet, and to be honest, I never imagined back then that the desire to explore would ever be frowned on by Blizzard.

It was a huge game world, and it never crossed my mind that I’d get in trouble for wanting to see more of it. Instead, I assumed that if I could get somewhere, I would be rewarded for my ingenuity with something neat. Finding the quest bear way up high in the mountains of Loch Modan NE of the flight master only reinforced that idea. 

It was shortly around this time, looking on the forums for the suggestions of others on places to explore, that I found the official forums ringing to claims of people being banned for finding ways to reach areas that were not meant to be reached… and sharing the techniques.

There but for the grace of WoW go I. That could easily have been me, in my innocence, posting about something neat I’d found and wanting to share it. If I hadn’t seen that others were being banned for doing that, I certainly would have posted my own experiences.

I remember it well, the main claim was that someone on the official forums was banned from the game specifically for figuring out how to reach the little dwarf airport/landing strip with the cool planes way up above the mountains over Ironforge, using a technique of climbing and gliding with the Engineering-crafted Parachute Cloak. I believe the statement from a Blue poster was along the lines of saying that the Airstrip, and other in-game places like that, were meant to be visual points of interest, and not actual locations to ever be visited.

Ah, the mystique of that little Dwarven landing strip. The hours I spent exploring the mountain chain from both Dun Morogh and Wetlands, trying to scout out the hidden path that assuredly must exist to allow me to visit that place. The drive to climb that mountain, to plant my flag, to be able to say, if only to myself, “Vini, vidi, vici” and take a screenshot.

It was the first little blow to my love affair with World of Warcraft, when I read the claims that players could and had been banned for exploring where Blizzard did not want them to go… when there was nothing I had ever heard of, no warning I had ever read to that time, that said “It’s okay to explore, as long as you only try to explore where we think it’s okay for you to explore… and we won’t tell you, you have to guess. But if it seems hard to get there, don’t try.”

Now this isn’t a bashing on Blizzard, although I’m sure it could be taken that way. For all I know, it was all total BS on the part of players, and nobody ever got banned or suspended for exploring, ever. It’s the official forums, you know what it’s like there. Tons of helpful people, hidden amongst the loud crazy idiots.

The point is, since the very first time I flew over the dwarven airstrip when taking the Griffon from Ironforge to Wetlands, I wanted to get up there, to visit that airstrip, to hop in the planes, to run around like a goofball and see if there was a super-secret quest giver there.

When I think about Cataclysm letting us fly in Eastern Kingdoms, I think immediately about visiting that airstrip.

But more than that, I want the airstrip to become a place where flying players can find new quests to perform. I want it to become that dwarven center of aerial adventure about which I’d long dreamed.

So carrying over from my previous post about the fall of Ironforge, I would be hoping to see something in Cataclysm that would indeed cause the Dwarves to flee, to abandon Ironforge, to take up as refugees in the capital of Gnomeregan… and let adventurers have a new raid, the Retaking of Ironforge, where you cannot enter via the massive front gate.

Oh no, not the front gate for you! The mighty climb to the gates of Ironforge would be shattered, the gates themselves sealed shut, and players would have to fly to that landing strip high up in the mountains, there to enter as a group and fight their way down into the mountain itself.

If you think about it, we’ve long seen signs that we’re supposed to believe there is far more to Ironforge than what we’ve already seen in the game. Towers jutting out from the side of mountains high in the sky, clearly meant to be reached from within.

Perhaps flame elementals, perhaps dragonkin, perhaps the deep down dark iron dwarves, striking a blow for revenge.

Perhaps all three… dark iron dwarves in league with the risen dragon forces to strike at Ironforge from within, aided by elementals erupting from the lava around the great forge, sundering the home of the dwarves. 

Of course, I don’t think it would really happen. I think it’d be super cool, but realistically, we’ve got far too many underground dwarf/dragonkin based raids in the game already for Blizzard to be spending design time making another one, no matter how cool the concept.

Blackrock Depths, Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire, Blackwing Lair… from a game raid design standpoint, I doubt they’ll add Ironforge to the mix.


I still think it would be really darn cool, though.

Pertinent questions on early survival

Had a nice writer send in a couple questions that I thought would be worth sharing the answers on, so here we go;

“Stratus” of the Darkspear wrote in saying;

My son convinced me (in wisdom beyond his years) to be a bear tank a couple of months ago.  I thought to myself, “I’m actually going to have to know these encounters now.”  So, now my main spec is level 80 bear tank.  Fun, fun.  But so much to learn.

1) On Ony 10 – I just run thru Ony and drag her to the back and turn around fight – no problem.  Have done this 6 or so times.  On Ony 25 – you cannot do this.  You die after about 2 hits to the back.  Talk about shocked.  A little background – I use my mouse to move my bear.  I did not grow up with laptop games.  I grew up with arcade games – lol.  So – using the keys to move and strafe and all that – really pretty foreign and not comfortable to me.  So – my question is.  Can’t I just run thru Ony and immediately turn around as Ony turns around and then back up that way?? (Using my keyboard here of course)  These are 25 man raids and I hate to be the one to screw it up right off the bat.

2)  Have finally figured out how to tank Halls of Reflection to where I have at least a 50% success rate.  This dungeon is mob dependant.  Can’t control mobs – you won’t complete dungeon period.  Your blog back in 2007 (tanking mobs) once again opened up my eyes.  Wrath, moonfire?? I never saw anybody do that or read about it but that is brilliant.  Anyway – my question here is – do you have plans on updating that blog in the near future??  Would love to read it.  Without the benefit of learning tanking as I leveled up – I am having to learn very quickly.  Players get a little “testy” when level 80 tanks can’t seem to do the job.

Someone mentioned in that blog commments from 2007,  “good tanks are hard to find”…I wanna be that good tank and I am counting on your blog to be a big part of that process.

Have a super day.

To address question 2 first… I’m glad that someone has already noticed I added that ancient post on Bear Tanking Multiple Mobs on the sidebar… and got something out of it.

I have this tendency to never look back at what I’ve written, I move forward. This is why my sidebar is kinda messed up, and why some things never get updated. I’m looking ahead to writing the next post or doing the next thing, not looking back at something already done.

However, in thinking over topics that would be of help to new tanks, or players for that matter, one of the subjects that I keep returning to is aggro and threat. What it is, how you get it, how you hold it, how you lose it.

I recalled writing what I thought, at the time, was a pretty decent overview of how the actual mechanics of threat in a party, broken down for each party member, worked. Healer threat, DPS, tank… all together in one example.

So instead of writing it all from scratch, I went looking… and found it from when I posted it in 2007. I read it, and marveled at how much had changed since it was written, in terms of Bear tanking strategies.

But the core of party threat generation discussion was still pretty good, and I decided, instead of rewriting it, that it would be fun to add it to the sidebar… with a little (2007) next to the name.

A fun look back at the craziness of years gone by… and hopefully, an appreciation for what we’ve got now.  A reminder that the name of the game is not competing to be a better tank than the other classes, but to enjoy being a good tank for our own groups, and an acknowledgement that Blizzard has done a good job of adding to and changing up our skill set since the old days.

Perhaps also, to serve as a reminder to the new generation that, you know… you might not want to bitch too loudly about having difficulty tanking with the tools we’ve got now, because in the old days, Bear tanks had to Swipe uphill… in the snow… both ways.

And it was a colder snow, and a higher hill than the snow and hills you get these days.

I hope that, for those that take the time to read that post, it has thrills, chills, amusement, nostalgia, and maybe for some a tip or two.

Now, about question #1 – initial squishiness.

You posit a situation where your goal is to intercept and develop threat on a boss that WILL follow you when you move, that is located in the middle of a large chamber, that has a knockback attack, and that does a great deal of damage.

There are several points to moving to the far wall behind Onyxia.

In the first ‘pull’, Onyxia is in ground phase 1.  Her abilities consist of a frontal Cleave, a frontal Flame Breath attack, a frontal cone Wing Buffet that does unmitigated physical damage and knocks you back, and a rear Tail Swipe knockback.

When you initially pull Ony, what you are looking to do is, as fast as possible, get her head faced away from the raid. Because everyone, including healers, is charging in behind you, and Ony is big, the most direct route to this is to run through her so that she changes facing, looking away from the raid instantly.

You do not want to Charge when doing this in most cases, because the healers will be hard pressed to have reach on you… they are not moving directly behind you, they are angling to the side, so as not to be within the arc effect of Tail Swipe.

The only rush in moving Ony around is to get her head away from the raid. You do NOT have to run to the back wall. All you have to do is get through the mid point on Ony’s hit box. Once she turns, you can turn around, and waddle backwards until your butt is at the wall. Your being stationary means she will advance and become stationary, and melee DPS can hit her in the flank without worrying about front cone AoE effects or rear Tail Swipes.

If you are waddling backwards towards the wall, and she does Wing Buffet, all that she accomplishes besides damage is to move you to where you want to be faster. :)

In looking at your Armory gear, you’ve got a pretty darn outstanding set of tanking gear. Obviously, the movement impairing trinket and the Expertise gems aren’t contributing directly to tanking survivability, but the sum total of your gear is so good that it really isn’t an issue. No worries at all on that score.

If you move directly to Ony, flip 180° and waddle backwards, that should take care of the insta-gib issue.

Now, to add that extra cushion, there are always a few things you can do.

First, trigger Barkskin when you reach Ony. That will provide a very solid damage reduction. You don’t have the 4 piece Tier bonus on reduced cooldown, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is giving your healers a chance to get stationary so they can use their full repertoire of heals.

Working along with that is triggering Survival Instincts when you reach Ony, so that your max health pumps up for a short time, giving you more of a cushion to eat damage until healers are ready.

You won’t want to trigger Frenzied Regeneration, because the Healers only need a few seconds, and while it’s up you’ll have your Rage bleeding away. In the very first two or three seconds of the pull, you want to be establishing rockstar aggro, not sitting there Rage starved, waiting to be hit or do the hitting to get more back.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of suggestions, but since you state you are successfully tanking Heroic HoR 50% of the time BEFORE today’s nerf, I have to say that this should be more than enough to see you through.

And on the subject of Heroic Halls of Reflection… I was working on a post. Then, today, out of nowhere as far as I was concerned, they nerfed the ghost waves in HoR. I’m gonna have to check my notes, as Riff would say. :)

I’m sure you already know about Line of Sighting them into one of the boss alcoves, and also know that the biggest key to each wave is having your group hide in the corner, and YOUR being ready to pound out instant AoE threat to overcome the inevitable Healer aggro since the healer is glowing like a sun trying to top everyone off while you hide there. And the second biggest is communicating beforehand a simple CC strategy, so that, say, the Hunter knows to toss a ranged Ice Arrow at the most distant mob, and YOU know he’s gonna do it so you don’t work at getting within it’s range to aggro it.

Anyway, thank you for the very nice letter, Stratus, and thank you for the kind words. Take care, and enjoy today’s patch!