Now that we’ve mostly gone over Druids and Paladins, in a very basic way, I wanted to throw the floor open to everyone to share their own experiences in tanking with either, or with both.
Before we do that, let’s address the single biggest point, one I saved for this post.
One of the biggest concerns people have for either of these classes, that they have shared with me at least, is “Yes, but how are they at getting aggro right off the bat?”
I did not previously nail this down, but the Paladin is fantastic at generating initial threat. With the Avenger’s Shield, Ret Aura, Consecration and Hammer of the Righteous popped in the first three seconds, it’s very hard for anyone to overcome that without serious effort or a blatant gear disparity.
For the Druid, most tools have excellent single target threat generation, but the AoE starts slow and builds up over time. With two tools for group threat, Swipe and Maul, and Maul being more of a luck of the draw on which extra target gets hit, it’s certainly slower out of the gate.
The thing to remember, however, is that Druids have spammable threat generators, and can choose which ability to use at any given time, while Paladins have to manage their cooldowns.
It’s similar to how healing works, actually. One class has to work predictive, beginning to cast in advance of when the spell will actually be needed, while the other can pre-emptively spam HoTs and then wait to use an instant cast reactively.
What does that mean? It means that you shouldn’t think that the only difference between how you play a Paladin and how you play a Bear is the names and pictures on the buttons you click while you stand in one place.
While a Paladin can run forward, Avenger’s Shield and then drop Consecration and use that as his “King of the Mountain” spot from which to tank all comers, Druids have huge single target threat generation and no Silence.
This leads to the Bear style being more mobile, taking it to the enemy, and if the Bear wants to climb the threat charts, then choosing who to whack, and in many cases traveling to meet them on their own ground is the order of business.
One commenter, Bear Pelt, mentioned that for Forge of Souls where there is not all that much room for LOSing, they would find themselves running from mob to mob like their tail was on fire, and said that probably was not the best thing, but it had worked out allright so far as long as skull was taken down first and foremost.
In my opinion, that’s just how you SHOULD do it! Use your mobility, the rapid coldown on Feral Charge, the ranged short cooldown on Feral Faerie Fire, the ability to spam Swipe while running as fast as the GCD allows, Bash to interrupt, Maul, etc.
It does mean that you use marked targets. It does mean that you don’t group everyone up as tightly as a Paladin or a Death Knight does. And it does mean that, if the tanking standard people WANT to get used to are stationary tanks, you’re not going to be perceived of as “as good of a tank”.
The classes play out differently. They’re not the same class with different buttons. If you are having problems playing a Bear the stationary “everyone come to me” style, then why not try changing your gameplan up by running around?
In my experience, going off the numbers I’ve generated, on single targets the Bear takes over except when the Paladin is actively using taunt as part of their rotation. On groups, the Paladin is stronger. Much stronger.
Druids shouldn’t take that as a reason to complain or call for a nerf, in my opinion. Instead, I think that Bears should try to develop more opportunities to use that high single target threat output.
For example, as I said in Part 1, there is absolutely no reason for you to ride one mob down to zero hit points before you look elsewhere. If you have a marked target, then unload everything on that one target, watch your Omen threat levels, see where the DPS compares, and as soon as you judge you’ve got a big enough lead… switch to someone else to build massive threat on next.
If you use a nameplate addon such as Tidy Plates (with Threat Plates), then you can still keep your eye on the first target in case the Mage wakes up halfway in and suddenly does 9k DPS with crit bombs, but hey, that’s what Growl is for, ya know?
Swipe will still be great in overcoming most AoE and certanly healer aggro. It’s the people that unload on X instead of Skull that I have seen issues with… and your changing targets once you’ve built up enough threat will help tremendously.
If I’d played my Paladin for a lot longer, I’m sure that similar tips would have been learned by me to help overcome some of the tricky patches on that side of the pond. I’m still working on it and learning.
I have learned that Righteous Defense works easily for me by keybinding it with Vuhdo, and leaving Vuhdo up, so if Vuhdo shows me someone in the group has aggro (which does flash arrows on the Vuhdo nameplates) I can simply mouseover the nameplate and trigger it. Righteous Defense is a great tool… and I love it now that I have figured out a way for me to easily activate it when needed. (It’s the one that pulls aggro from up to three mobs off one targeted party member… and darn it, now I confused myself with the names. I think I got it right.)
Anyway, please, take the opportunity to continue to share your own experiences tanking with each class, what you’ve found that is or is not a problem in different situations, and how you learned to adapt… or what has frustrated you that you haven’t overcome yet.
Oftentimes, the problem you once had and found a solution for is the exact thing someone else is stuggling with, and would dearly love some help.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these three posts… and now, I shall return to leveling my Death Knight, who is 62 and having fun.
Take care, folks, and have a fun weekend!