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.
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.