Expertise and the Swing Timer


As feral Tanks, we are designed around the concept of being immune to Critical Strikes, and being able to survive Crushing Blows. (See todays WoW Insider: Shifting Perspectives for more details).

But there is one aspect to “eating Crushing Blows” that can be forgotten, when you are a Druid Tank.

We tend to have very little Hit Rating or Expertise unless we seek it out, because the spotlight is always on Avoidance, Mitigation, and Health.

We seek out Defense Rating and Resilience, Stamina and Agility, and the highest Armor we can find first.

But Hit Rating and Expertise are extremely important. You must never forget them.

Expertise especially.



You already know, if you are behind your opponent, they cannot parry your attack. They can Dodge, and you can Miss, but they cannot Block or Parry.

If you are directly in front of the Mob, he can Parry and Block as much as he’d like.

And if he is a raid boss, he is 3 levels higher than you, with an increased chance to Parry, Dodge and Block.

And there you are, with little to no Hit Rating or Expertise.

He Dodges your attack, it’s okay. It hurts your threat generation some, but you’ll live. He Blocks your attack, it’s okay. Same thing. Hit Rating helps make more of your attacks a success, so the reliability of your Threat generation improves.

But if he Parries… 

If he Parries your attack, congratulations; he just reset his swing timer. Reset is a bit of a misnomer; it’s not set to zero, it’s actually reduced in duration by 40% of his base weapon speed. 

But that reduction is 40% each parry.

Fortunately, it can’t get below 20% of the swing timer per swing, so you can’t get hit with three or four instant cast attacks… in normal circumstances.

But you aren’t just dealing with swing timer resets from your attacks. Parry is passive; it’s always on, and works against ALL attacks coming in from the front.

Too bad that the only person he is actually swinging his weapon at is YOU.

Remember why we tell melee DPS to stand behind the target? It’s because the Mob can’t Parry attacks from behind.

So if that Rogue is standing right next to you, all up in the Mob’s grill, and he gets Parried, make sure to thank him for the next sped up blow you eat.

Every time you or anyone in front if the Mob attacks and is Parried, you are reducing how long it’ll take for his next blow to come crashing in, based on his weapon speed.

And if his weapon speed changes, say due to Haste effects, then here comes da pain.

Prince Malchezaar is a perfect example of this.

In Phase Two during the Prince battle, when Prince is reduced to 60% Health, he begins Parrying, and he adds a new attack called Thrash, where he attacks very frequently in a short span of time. Thrash is bad enough, but when you add the increased chance to be Parried, resetting the swing timer on a hyper fast attack by 40%, it can be brutal.

It’s tough enough to get through Phase Two for most starting tanks, but for a tank that is also susceptible to Crushing Blows… well, get Parried a bunch, take three or four fat shots in a millisecond, and make one or two of them a Crushing Blow, and the start of Phase Two can sound a lot like this…

“Okay, Phase Two everybody, overheals on the….”

“Whoops. He’s dead, Jim.”

“Okay… now, for our next attempt…”

Well, what can you do about it?

Amusingly enough, the first thing you can do is be prepared to slam as much Threat generation down Prince’s throat as possible in Phase One… and in Phase Two, coast. Auto-Attack only. You might even want to stop attacking entirely, depending on where your threat level is in comparison to the rest of the raid.

Remember, as long as your threat is well above everybody else, they won’t pull from you. So if you can, stop attacking, and that will eliminate Parries entirely.

You don’t like that idea?

Heck, I don’t blame you.

The next thing you can do, is try to reduce your chance to be Parried.

In a previous article, I talked about Hit Rating and Expertise for Feral Druids.

Expertise reduces the chance one of your attacks can be Dodged or Parried by 0.25%. It takes 3.9 points of Expertise Rating to equal one full point of Expertise. (Sigh).

Now, Feral Druid gear is pretty light on Expertise, I’ll grant you that. But, there is one nice item that is really very, very nice. It is almost a must-have for the well equipped main Druid tank.

The Shattered Sun Pendant of Resolve is incredible.

Not only does it come with +48 Stamina, 13 Hit Rating and 18 Expertise, but if you are Exalted with Scryer, it has one more ability; once every 45 seconds, for a duration of ten seconds, it increases your Expertise Rating by +100.

It’s way too late in the game to worry about what faction to take now, but if you happen to be Scryer anyway, this is just awesome.

For the Aldor, the effect is +100 Dodge Rating, which is nothing to sneeze at. It’s also very nice.

But when it comes to increased Threat generation, and reduced frequency of Parries, the Scryer effect is just awesome.

16 thoughts on “Expertise and the Swing Timer

  1. I have a hard time understanding why people say “hit rating isn’t important to bear tanks”. Why not? If it’s important to DPS then it should be just as important to bears, if not MORE so. Bears generate threat from our high AP hits, unlike Warriors and Pallys who have Righteous Fury and Sunder as their main threat generation abilities. So from a threat standpoint, reaching the 142 hit cap is desired but even more importantly is not getting instagib’d on bosses like Prince. In 1.5 years of raiding Karazhan, I’ve seen many-a-bear get instagib’d in less than a second by prince being a healer.

    The problem is, as a bear tank I find it hard, if not impossible to get anywhere close to the hit cap or even stack expertise. I have to gem almost exclusively for hit rating (yellow sockets anyway) but I’m still well below the hit cap. Garona’s ring? I wish, have to use Stalwart Defender and Violet Signet. Shard of contempt? Hmm, 44 expertise and some AP or 57 STA non-bear and a free mini-shield-wall? Badge of Tenacity is a permanent member folks.

    If there was a +hit and +expertise gem, you can bet your @ss I’d use them. Paladins don’t have to worry about hit rating, the only thing that uses that is their auto-swing, big deal. Warriors are in the same boat as us. I’ve been tanking heroic bosses just fine but they’re only 72 elites. What have you guys done to get around this and is it as big of a problem as I’m making it? Keep in mind, my bear isn’t quite ready to MT yet, 5k rep from Earthwarden.


  2. The Shard from H MgT is technically not a direct dps trinket like the Mug/Broach, but it increases dps when they can’t parry/dodge. If we are talking dps…going to assume cat…2 of the best combination are Berzerker’s Call+Shard.

    Tuketi. Yes there are very few hit leather gear w/ a lot of armor. One item comes to mind is the crafted Natural Grace boots have high armor and includes hit rating. I wouldnt worry about hit+ to much as a tank though.


  3. I’ve been trying to incorporate hit rating and expertise into my tanking gear… the problem is that it’s generally only on rogue / cat gear… very tough to find tank leather with those stats on it. :/


  4. I saw someone mention the expertise cap, it’s actually pretty high. The cap is an effective cap which usually refers th the 5.6% needed to remove dodge. You actually still have a long way to go to remove the usual 15% parry, which is usually what a boss will have.


  5. Ah, I know now why I wasn’t thinking of that trinket from MgT.

    Cassie emailed me to inform me that it will be HER trinket, and I’d better keep my paws off it.


  6. Thanks for bringing expertise up again BBB. I too have been thinking of playing around with threat stats. I know threat gets more important in late t6, which we’re not at yet – but ya never know… still got 6 weeks left. I dont seem to need the armor & health so much these days, since, as you’ve say, our healers are very well geared too. The shard is a nice trinket; I’ve never used it yet for tanking, and druids do seem to pump out the threat. But I’m interested how the game would change on specific fights with a lot more expertise & hit. Armor is a weird stat tbh once you get to 35k; I just dont think we need that much armor to be effective.

    Nice article on wow insider btw. You’re mcuh too modest, why dont you advertise your articles more explicity ???!!!!


  7. Funny you should mention this topic of expertise as I’ve been ‘thrashing’ (pun intended) on wearing that SSO Resolve neck (vs untamed/maiden’s) specifically for our prince encounters. I’ve been trying to quantify the expertise and dodge proc since I’m aldor vs the known fixed dodge/defense out of my other necks. Any information that helps for Phase II always has my interest 🙂


  8. Felkan, I appreciate the input, but we are not talking about the expansion here.

    Yes, it is true that we have, as of this time, a talent in the expansion/patch that has Expertise. However, we have no facts as of yet as to what will go live on gear at all. I love looking at gear and speculating as much as the next guy, in fact I’m doing that with Engineering craftables right now, but telling people that we won’t even need the Expertise talent in the expansion strikes me as being very premature.

    Now, I wasn’t aware that there was a DPS Expertise trinket in Heroic MgT. I need to go look that bad boy up.


  9. Kirk, I’m going to guess a lot of us won’t be able to down Entropius any time soon =P

    The two I have for expertise that can be useful are the Shattered Sun neck and the dps trinket from heroic MrT.


  10. You’ll find in LK that we have quite a bit of expertise (but very little hit). In fact, we have a talent that gives us 10 expertise (not expertise rating, but 10 expertise). I’m told we should exceed the expertise cap with full Naxx gear on. Which allows us to drop those 2 talent points.


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