Disclaimer – I am horrible… HORRIBLE… at returning emails.
I get hundreds of emails a day. Between the blog and WoW Insider, I’m freaking serious.
BRK never mentions this, so either he is far more organized than I am, or, well… he’s probably just more organised than I am.
I made the mistake of mentioning my email depsair to TJ once. She quickly informed me that she spends hours each night answering every single email, because HER readers matter to her. And she reaffirmed the fact that, yes, I suck.
Note to self: Don’t go crying to TJ for sympathy in future.
But really. I cry inside, but I just can’t answer them all when I’m at work. I do my best to answer the ones that are folks saying Hi, but if there is a question asking for info, it gets read, and then I move on, fully intending to get to it as soon as I can.
And then a month later, with several hundred emails asking for in-depth answers to tanking or druid questions… none of whom I even acknowledged at the time, because “I’ll answer that tonight when I get home”… I give in to despair, crack the seal on a bottle of Captain Morgan and get drunk.
But sometimes… sometimes, I get an email that not only asks a question, but asks one that I can answer super-quickly, and at just the right time at work for me to have the 20 minutes it takes to actually put the answer down in pixel form.
Congratulations Saresa, you managed to hit the window of opportunity, and your email question will actually get answered instead of sitting forgotten for two months.
And if you have emailed me with a serious question, and never heard from me again… I’m sorry. I really am. I read it, I swear I did.
I suck. I know this.
I really do intend to answer your questions when I get home, but… my email’s the black hole, it swallows not only your questions but also my will to live.
Now, on to the question from Saresa!
Saresa of Destructive Reach wrote;
I was talking to a druid friend of mine the other day, and he mentioned Barkskin when we were AoEing. Now, me being the noob druid I am, didn’t even realise that feral druids had that spell.
Anyway, my friend said that it is useful for tanking, but I am not so sure, seeing as it lasts a whole 12 seconds. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on the issue.
Thank you very much for your question, Saresa!
Your friend is right, but possibly not in the way you might be thinking.
What Barkskin primarily does for feral tanks, is allows us to cast a channeled spell against a group of enemies without the possibility of interruption.
Feral druids do not have any threat mitigation abilities, and that applies to our spells, as well. So our spell damage does a little more threat than other spell casters.
To provide you the most common example of Barkskin tanking, I’ll talk about the trash pulls prior to Moroes in Karazhan.
There are mobs of non-elite opponents just prior to Moroes, that are too great in number for a bear tank to swipe or tab-target easily, and that are a mix of physical and ranged casters.
As a druid main tank for these pulls, you can have the rest of your team stand down a bit on the stairs, and then you pop your caster-form head up onto the landing.
Target one of the non-elite crowd, fire off a ranged spell of choice, and then duck back down the stairs out of line of sight, forcing the entire group, ranged casters and physical alike, to come to you as a tight group.
When you back down the stairs, pop your Barkskin, and activate your channeled spell Hurricane to bring up the targeting reticle.
Barksin lasts 12 seconds, Hurricane lasts 10. This gives you 2 seconds after firing off Barkskin to activate Hurricane and center your targeting reticle properly, and still get your full 10 seconds worth of damage ticks on the mobs.
Be warned, sometimes I have found the reticle graphics to bug, leaving you no positive idea where your AOE target is for Hurricane. Just an FYI, keep an eye on where your mouseover icon is when you prepare to activate your spell.
As the group of enemies crests the rise and comes down the stairs to you, you fire off Hurricane, doing a ton of AOE damage to every mob at once, and with Barkskin up they can pound you for 12 seconds without interrupting the spell.
As long as your healers are prepared for you to be in squishy form, and the party casters let you have a second or two for Hurricane to tick some Threat, you should have no problems holding aggro for the life of your Barkskin.
If you practise how you back away and at the last second jink back in towards them a bit as they crest the landing, the ranged casters usually abandon casting for melee, tightening the group up some more, something I do most often when pulling the tables right in front of Moroes…
If you have multiple Druids that are also Barkskin/Hurricaning, and of course the masters of AOE, Mages, it makes potentially hectic free-for-alls of mobs running all over the place chasing healers and spike damage into a tightly orchestrated massacre, leaving a small pile of corpses at your feet.
Saresa, I hope this answers your question, and that you enjoy having this additional technique to pull mobs of enemies.
With multiple healers in a 5 man, this can be nuts, but lots of fun, if your group is in a playful mood.
Say you have an atypical group makeup for a 5 man, with two healers and two druids or a druid and a mage, and a DPS. You can have a lot of fun on your pulls as the tank by Moonfiring a mob, ducking around a corner to force a line-of-sight pull to your face, Barkskin/Hurricane the group while the two healers focus on you, let the other druid start his Barkskin/Hurricane two seconds after yours so his Threat trails yours, and then once your Barkskin runs out shift to cat and claw the faces of the poor dazed bastards that survived.
Hey, remember, we be droods. Improvise, adapt and overcome. And above all else, have fun!