How Bears can make a Tree's life harder

Last night, I did healing in a 25 man Obsidian Sanctum pug.

I just responded to a request in trade for DPS and Heals for OS.

What healing have I done previously?

Still just that Heroic Culling of Strat.

My thinking on this is that there are two concerns when you offer to run something;

Am I geared well enough?
Am I skilled well enough?

I had, going into that run, 1800 +Healing. Raid buffed, I was well over 2000. I felt I had the gear to do an OS pug.

As far as skills go… well, as long as I knew what my main healer assignment was going to be, I felt that my existing HoT timers (God I love my Hot Timers)  and understanding my heal timing and values would go a long ways towards letting me pay attention and stay on top of things.

My healing assignment? One of two healers on the main tank, a Feral Druid.

Oh, the irony.

Well, it would be more ironic if the Feral Bear I was healing was tanking for the first time ever in a raid, and normally wrote a rabid Tree Healing blog and had sworn never to tank. But screw it, it’s close enough. 

In the course of this very short (and successful) 25 man OS pug, I noticed a few amusing things. Just a few. Since I write a blog, I of course now share them with you.

The very first thing I noticed?

Bears need to CALM THE HELL DOWN when it comes to bouncing forward ahead of the raid at top speed and pulling a massive group.

I had no idea. Really!

We down the first drake, I grab a snack for some quick mana, and I see the Bear I’m supposed to be healing not even pause after the Drake goes down, he just keeps bouncing at top speed away down the hill to pull the next group of four.

Now, I have long been a fan of being a bouncing Bear. And I also have never had a problem with doing a fast pull.

What I have not quite realized before was that it can be quite easy to move forward to pull a group, and if the Healer is not moving forward fairly quickly in pursuit, you WILL be without heals until they catch up.

Have I ever died from this personally? Or have I ever even pulled when I wasn’t confident the healer was ready and had reasonable mana (by my definition)?

Not really.

But I never really thought about just what a pain in the butt it can be as a Healer to always be playing ‘run like hell’ games to keep up with a Bear that takes your heals for granted.

He pulled that group, was taking all four pounding on him at once, and died before he ever got in range of my heals.

He got battle rezzed and Pushpins took up the tanking slack, but still. NOW I knew to watch his ass for more shenanigans.

The second thing I noticed, was that as a main tank healer Resto Tree, even in the middle of the Sarth fight, once your HoTs are out and ticking… you’ve got a lot of free time as a Tree to pop a few group heal HoTs out there,  just to help out.

Quite a few of the group did die on the Sarth fight about halfway through, and the tank started taking more damage, requiring me to focus more on healing him, but victory was assured.

For the most part, once you’ve got a few HoTs up, you’re in maintaining mode, keeping an eye on everyone and topping up as needed with a Glyphed Swiftmend or Nourish as needed. Wild Growth is also pretty tasty, I like it.

I like the style, it feels very proactive.

But seriously… that whole Bear butt bouncing down the hill was a sight that will stay with me for a while… it was way too easy for me to imagine a similar sight on the screens of every healer I’ve ever had.

“Damn it, slow the (*&% down, tigger!”

“Woo hoo hoo hoooo!”


42 thoughts on “How Bears can make a Tree's life harder

  1. There’s a technique called “leashing your tank” that will prevent them from running ahead and doing something stupid. Stop healing them and act like the situation couldn’t have been avoided when they die. Works every time, though some hard-headed tanks will require a few attempts to get it right. It also leaves room for acting skills >:D


  2. As a druid tank myself I would have to say that this behavior is not limited to druids but exists in all tanks. We routinely had Warrior tanks that would grab multiple packs in Sunwell and a DK tank that would pull entire rooms in Naxx25. It was stressful in bursts peeling stuff off them and making sure nothing got away but it also made for very fast (2-3hr) runs hehe.


  3. It’s not just bear tanks, BBB, its ALL tanks… they bounce ahead happily, dangerously assuming that their healer has their back. If they dont look at that mana bar, they just dont get it. 🙂 I’m fortunate in that I have a lot of regen, even after the nerf, but I still need a drink here and there, too.

    So, Tanks, remember this! Watch your healer’s mana bar before you run off! ::chuckle:: We don’t want you do to die, but a healer with no mana ain’t healing anyone. 🙂


  4. BBB,

    I too have recently ventured into the world of dual-speccing tank and heal. I have not healed since… well its been a while. I was just wondering, as far as mechanics go; is it appropriate to let your lifebloom “bloom” or to save mana and just keep it refreshed and ticking as a HOT? I was wondering if you have any thoughts on this.


  5. I agree, but in my experience when I do this all the DPS start bitching that I’m to slow and start tanking! It’s usually the damn DK’s, but still, the pacing question is always touch-and-go for me in PUG’s…and everyone acts like ‘their pace’ is ‘the pace’. This is one of the reason’s I get stressed when tanking and prefer to DPS even though my kitty is never at the top of the DPS charts….


  6. This is why I love my Nitro Boosts – all my boots have ’em, even for healing… Sure there are other, possibly better enchants – I like the fact that it’s *my* tinker, and that I can catch up when something stupid happens. (Of course more often than not it’s my own fault.) The fact that being a Rocket-Tree amuses me to no end is just a bonus.

    Hm. Now that I think of it, in OS and parts of Ulduar, cheetah form would be an option to catch up, too. And there’s always Dash…


  7. I admit, I am a little guilty of this. However, I do make sure that I have a healer somewhere behind me as I go bouncing off.

    I bet I know why warriors, druids, and DKs are so insistent on running away: rage/runic power. Unlike everyone else in the game, our ability to do stuff ticks away while we’re not doing stuff.


  8. I am a notorious bouncing bear who absolutely loves to charge big groups ahead of my healer. Of course, that healer is my wife, she is incredibly well-geared and fast to react and we’ve played together for well over 10 years in MMO’s. Nevertheless, nothing warms my heart more than listening to her bitch and curse as I go charging off into a big group of elites while she’s drinking.

    Normally, I feral charge, pop my trinkets, roar and hit survival instincts when I’m doing it for fun. I still have a potion, healthstone and frenzied regen at the ready so I’m not really in any danger. But it’s a riot to listen to her curse me out.

    On a more serious note, it’s the tanks responsibility to know where his primary healer is at all times and what their mana level is. My job is not only to tank the mobs, but to charge, bash and taunt mobs off my healer. I’ve even been known to pop out and root, cyclone, innervate and brez while tanking from time to time.

    Tanking is easy. Tanking well is a bitch…unless you’re a paladin.


  9. I always said you don’t really know the game until you’ve done all three roles in a group. Now that trees walk at normal speed it’s easier, but one of the spells I was really surprised to be using a lot in a raid was Dash.


  10. Many tanks chain-pull, in my arrogant opinion the problem lies not in the bouncing as you call it, it lies with healers being caught off-guard or not paying attention. If I heal a new tank I assume he’s going to chain-pull and follow accordingly- I use the addon RangeDisplay so I know how far away from me he is (or how far away my healer is, on the flip side) and see before they need a heal if they bounced, and occasionally I’ve gone cheetah to catch up if I tabbed out at the wrong moment or my tank decided to play games.

    That being said, a chain-pulling tank MUST watch his healers mana, particularly in smaller groups. This is less of a problem in 25-mans, but in heroics and occasionally in 10-mans I’ve been rendered OOM after a long trash fight- I just Innervate, usually, but I imagine other healers probably need drinky time.

    If a healer is aware that their tank likes to ping-pong through groups, and the tank watches his or her healer’s mana before each new group, chain-pulling is almost heart-breakingly beautiful to participate in- from both tanking and healing perspective. Nothing quite like working so closely with your tank that you sliiiiiiiiiiide from trash pull to trash pull- OS done like this is a blast.

    @ Kelwind, I’m a little jealous about the Rocket-Tree. I refuse to give up enchanting/herbalism on my druid, however.


  11. Ahhh, remember the good ole days when tree form had a movement debuff. Charging warriors and bears died often if a tree was looking after them. We just couldn’t keep up. At least these days we have a normal run speed.

    I’ve got no problem healing a tank that wants to chain pull. Just don’t go hog wild.


  12. Heh interestingly, when i’m playing tree Druid, I preffer tanks chain pulling. Well, I prefer chain pulling regardless of my role, actually. When healing, all I ask is the tank watch my mana, and not pull when i’m OOM… Though that’s extremely rare. In fact, I usually get impatient with them pulling to slowly and start HOTting them OOC as a hint (and to cover them should they outpace me on a pull.


  13. Ooo thats me! I’m always bouncing on my bear coz its so cute, and always pulling as fast as possible -but only if I know the people. In a pug, I’ll be very careful, and again, I’ll inspect healers gear so I know what to expect. In my own guild, I know I can last long enough anyway without a heal, so I dont really care if I go too far ahead. 69k health for 28 seconds is enough to get through most emergencies hehe 🙂


  14. Heh that is now a problem for almost every tank, since paladins now want to pull while divine plea is up- they want to keep going to refresh their bars while the healers freak out- good times;)


  15. Ha! I mentioned this to one of our guildies right after the raid. It was a bit annoying to have that bear bounce away and charge right into the mob pack far out of range of heals. I am all for chain pulling and as a former tank understand rage decay but wow… A big thanks to Pushpin who understands this and kept the stress of us poor healers in mind 🙂


  16. While it’s true that lots of classes of tanks do this… I think my favorite recent instance was in fact a bear.

    Bear is in kitty form, ready for pull… dashes toward the boss, pops into bear, ready to play, charges… and any healers are like 5-10 seconds from being in range to heal him from pull reaction time + run speed + lack of charge. We wiped when Hodir didn’t play nice with Mr. Bear.

    In 25’s most healers don’t need to stop to drink often, so it doesn’t have as big of an impact. But if there was something particularly intense, yeah, healers are gonna be drinking.


  17. As already noted, it’s not confined to bear tanks, it’s ALL tanks! I’m not usually desperate for a mana break but occasionally I like to loot the sparkly corpses. If I think I’m going to need a mana break, I’ve got in the habit of giving the tank plenty of notice 🙂


  18. Rotfl, chain pulling is fun as long as the healers can keep up (and yeah, all tanks do it, not only bears), but the best chain pulling I’ve seen was on Grobbulus, no, not the tanks chain pulling the mobs, but our main priest healer pulling, and waiting for the lazy tank (me ….) to pick them up :p


  19. I’m usually a priestyhealer – but I have a semi-geared tanking warrior. I remember reflecting to my healer on a Violet Hold run that “I’ll just stand on the stairs as oppose to on top of the stairs for these drakes, I hate when my tanks do that while I’m still on the floor”. I got a stunned silence on vent in respons and then a laugh and a big thanks from the healer 🙂


  20. Run faster! 😛

    Hey, I play my resto shammy. I’m either joined at the hip to my tanks or I’m poking the tanks going “Come oonnnnn!”

    Different strokes. Hehe. 😉


  21. On a fight like sarth with no drakes up, you’re absolutely right in that you put up a few hots on the tank and have some time to look around.

    It can be very different in harder encounters, in Ulduar the tanks tank a lot more damage and especially the damage can be really spikey, so you need to be really proactive with your nourishes/swiftmends/regrowths/NS/HT to make sure your tank stays up.

    I’ve been healing for about 5 months now, after being only feral before that, so I know where you’re coming from 🙂
    Dual speccing kitty/tree is perfect for me, cause sometimes I want to get up in the enemies face and scratch it (well butt really) and sometimes i don’t really feel like killing anything today, so i tree.


  22. BlueTiger, I know exactly what you mean, when I posted my VH videos one of the things I mentioned was keeping in mind as a tank that the ranged DPS and heals need line of sight to the boss, and in the case of the heals line of sight to the melee BEHIND the boss, and the stairs will occlude that LOS if yo charge and fight at the top.

    So that’s why I usually call out, especially on the portal that appears above the ‘rubble pile’, “Portal, single pull, dragging down to base of rubble pile”, to let the ranged dps and healer know that they don’t have to run their ass all the way up the rubble to get in LOS.

    Oh, and just for fun, we did 10 man OS last night, I was one of the tanks, and I did the woo hoo hoo hoooo bounce pulls just to see… sigh. Nighthawque kept up.

    You’d almost think he was…. paranoid.


  23. That remained me when I was applying to a raiding guild as a Tree back in the day. I was invited to raid in MH ( Kaz’rogal waves ) where I had never been before. I ended up loosing my tank in the waves of mobs first time lol. Admittedly it is always stressful see them charge off in the distance but you learn to make the best use of the time you have available to refuel and .. to use dash ;).


  24. Pfffthahahahaha. That mental image will stay with me for a long, long time. Cripes. “Woo hoo hoo hoooo” indeed!

    I play a healing Disc priest on Thorium Brotherhood (currently obsessing over BoA equipment for my baby shammy when I should maybe buy a belt or replace my +hit badge stuff but HEY) and I love the “OH CRAP where’s the tank GET BACK HERE” rush. I usually manage to catch him (my regular tank’s a Prot pally friend o’ mine) and there is no death, but it’s kinda hilarious to watch the dress-wearing troll dude chase the bulky, plate-wearing little elfdude around an instance – so bizarre. BouncingBear would be the death of me, I’d be laughing too damn hard. >.>

    I’m so paranoid of this on my tanks (70 prot warrior and 75 unholy DK, alas, no bears yet) with healers I don’t know – the ones I do know are also tank mains and/or fans of speedy runs. “Are you ready? Are you sure you’re – STOP THROWING THINGS I’LL PULL OKAY.”


  25. Oh, the irony.

    Thanks for the posting, I laughed out loud and came back to read the comments!

    We all have stories; mine is as a new 80 tree, I got into a For the Alliance run. I’d never been to any of the horde cities so I put myself on “follow” on the raid leader. It worked great. I kept my group of five healed for the most part and kept my leader alive. He even commented on enjoying having his own personal healer.
    He died one time and whispered me “battle rez me, please,” I was running my mouse over the insane area of bodies trying to find him. Later that night I dreamed about /tar Magicman. Why didn’t I think/know how to target someone? Ah well; good times, good times.


  26. And when people ask why my Holy Raid Healing specced priest has Body & Soul (few seconds of 60% movement speed increase on PW:S), I’ll point at this.

    And of course, it enables me to have my own revenge. ‘Dashing off to chain pull Mr. Tank? Why sure! LEMME HELP YOU WITH THAT’ as they Wil. E. Coyote off a cliff edge.


  27. Did VH on my newly minted 80 shadowpriest in healy mode, our tank kept running to the top of those stairs making me run up to keep los. I kept thinking man i wish he had watched your video – lol.


  28. I laughed at this when I read it. I was a tree back in TBC when we had the 20% snare on tree form, and although chain pulling wasn’t as common I can remember frantically waddling my butt (err…roots?) into Netherspite pulls after our Prot. Paladin who would run full tilt at anything, and with little warning. Ah, good times.

    Omg, omg, this Nature’s Swiftness better land…


  29. Long time listener, first time caller!

    This is a great example of how useful it can be as a tank to really know the other side of the fence. Back in kara when I finally got my resto shaman in there, it was a real shock. And if you spend any amount of time over there, you really do get alot out of healing that helps you become a better tank all around. The biggest thing you take away is the eye, the watch back, you know, where you turn your camera around to face the back all of a sudden instead of looking forward. Because you know one mob getting loose or a pack hitting anyone JUST ONCE causes alot of problems for those wooden, dress wearing, fireball flinging folks in the back. All of a sudden you know when it’s safe to be the bouncy bear and move the run along at breakneck pace. You join a pug, and noone says a word the whole time because they are perfectly in their zone, and you know it’s the pace you’re setting.

    Just wanted to post and say I’m a big fan of this blog, and I’ve recently started blogging due to the inspiration from reading this blog and BRK. Hope to one day contribute to the community like you guys have.


  30. I solo a lot of instances, and although fun, makes running level appropriate ones a little challenging. Turns out you can’t pull the whole instance and just get healed through it lol Having both healed and tanked, I prefer tanking, but healing seems in much greater demand. My druid has yet to add tree ability. . .


  31. Actually I’d rather the tank run ahead, once I know that’s what they’re going to do it’s easy, plus even in raids the first few seconds he can go without heals as I drink.

    It’s easier to slow a tank down than to get a slow one to speed up.


  32. I’ve been on both sides of this, I’ve learned not to open up with feral charge as that the extra few yards just might be the difference between a hectic pull and a wipe. When I’m healing I’ll let them know if they’ve got a HoT on them it means I’m ready.

    My favourite runs are heroics where the tank ask me at the start “How much mana do you need before I pull?” then proceeds to chain pull then entire instance with DPS gasping for mana between fights. There are some tanks that feel the best way to manage DPS threat is to make sure they have no mana when you pull. Doesn’t work with Rogues and DKs, unfortunately.


  33. @Siobhann: That’s me all right 🙂

    I’ve never been a fan of chain-pulling, I want to have time to loot on the way too (and even skin preferably). But you don’t have to stand around for ages. Finding the right pace is about timing seconds. Not waiting at all will stress your healer but even waiting a second extra and you will be too slow for many.

    Since I started hobby tanking thanks to dual spec I allways make sure my healer are with me, up on mana and ready, and I’ve still been thanked for speedy runs!
    I usually tell my pugs at the start that I want to know if they have any wishes but unless they say something I will go at my pace, and the only complaint so far was that they had to wait while I was typing it 🙂


  34. I’ve been kinda wanting to try the healing aspect of a druid for a while now. But I, like you, am one of the more Feral focused druids out there. I never really thought about what it looks like from a healers perspective when chain pulling happens, this makes me look back on my tanking days of BC and how annoying I might have been to my healers.


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