9. Basic bear gameplay:
If you want to see this in action, I recommend viewing Darksend's video guide on the bear rotation. It's fairly straightforward:
- Before you do anything else, try not to start any pull with 0 rage. Assuming you have 3/5 Furor, you can powershift until you get a proc, and/or Enrage. If you Enrage and you're about to pull a mob with serious melee damage, wait for the armor debuff to drop before pulling.
- Feral Faerie Fire for the pull. Reapply on cooldown. FFF bears the distinction of being a completely free skill with a huge threat modifier, and you should use it as much as possible.
- Get Mangle up. The first Mangle should ideally be timed to coincide with a Maul (which follows your normal swing timer), and both hitting together should give you a nice threat lead as your DPS are starting up.
- If your DPS isn't likely to overtake you at this point, Demoralizing Roar. If they're riding you, focus on getting more threat on the boss now, and Demo Roar with a more comfortable threat lead later.
- Lacerate x 2 or 3 (depending on how long it takes Mangle to come off cooldown, i.e whether you have points in Improved Mangle or not).
- Lacerate x 2 or 3. You should have a full 5-stack of Lacerate ticking on the boss, which you should try not to let drop.
- If Lacerate x 5 is on the boss and FFF and Mangle are both on cooldown, Swipe. Even though it's our go-to AoE threat skill, it's still a great filler ability for single targets.
- Reapply Demoralizing Roar as necessary.
- For this entire series, keep queueing Maul as much as your rage generation allows (so, realistically your "rotation" looks more Mangle/Maul, Demoralizing Roar/Maul, Lacerate/Maul, FFF/Maul, etc.). Maul modifies your auto-attacks, so it's possible to keep it going the length of the fight while using other skills (provided you have the rage for it). If you're not fond of having to spam it manually, Kalon from ThinkTank wrote on article on the different ways to macro it to your rotation that is extremely helpful.
For AoE pulls, under ideal circumstances you would keep to the single-target rotation as much as possible, omitting the full Lacerate stack on one mob in favor of Swipe spam to glue everything in the pull to you. In practice, DPS has an unfortunate tendency to AoE as soon as they possible can. If you spend the majority of your time on one mob, you're likely to get others peeled off you if your DPS is well-geared. As such, your AoE threat "rotation" looks an awful lot like this:
- More Swipe.
- More Maul. Tab-target around the pull to make sure that Maul (it is glyphed, right?) is being applied evenly to everything. If you have Infected Wounds, and you almost certainly should, an easy way to make sure Maul's making its way around the pull is to check for the IW debuff.
- If you have a decent-to-tolerable threat lead on all of the mobs, use global cooldowns to spread FFF, Mangle, and Lacerate around as much as possible. Lacerate is particularly useful as it will increase damage done by Maul.
- If DPS looks like it's going to overtake your threat on a mob, spend a few GCDs on it to get more single-target threat applied.
When you start out tanking, it's generally wise to be honest about it with your DPS, and mark at least a skull on trash pulls.
As a general rule, plan on gemming solely agility and stamina (although, as with just about all the advice we can give concerning bears, Rawr is always going to be your friend here). The only time you should worry about gemming anything other than agility or stamina would be if you were absolutely desperate for hit or expertise, and even then you're almost always better off switching in more threat-oriented pieces than gemming to make up for their absence.
- Meta: Austere Earthsiege Diamond.
- Red sockets: Delicate Cardinal Ruby or Shifting Dreadstone.
- Blue sockets: Shifting Dreadstone or Solid Majestic Zircon.
- Other sockets: There's really nothing great for bears in yellow, orange, or green gems, so you should continue gemming agility/stamina in these sockets.
- Should I gem for the socket bonus?: If it gives you an agility or stamina bonus and it's convenient, go for it. If not, don't bother.
There aren't too many glyphs that bears really care about, and most of the time you won't be using anything other than the following three:
- Glyph of Maul: This should be considered mandatory for 5-man tanking, or any raid situation where you have to hold threat on multiple mobs. Right now, the only fight where you wouldn't necessarily want this is Deathbringer Saurfang (as Maul can accidentally hit and aggro a Blood Beast).
- Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration: This turns Frenzied Regeneration into an even better mini-cooldown.
- Glyph of Survival Instincts: This improves one of the bear's few "Oh s&%t!" buttons. Mandatory.
Minor glyphs that have a direct impact on bear tanking include Glyph of Challenging Roar and Glyph of Thorns. Otherwise, glyph whatever you find most convenient. Common picks include Glyph of Dash and Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth.
12. Endgame enchants:
- Helm: Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector (Argent Crusade quartermaster)
- Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle is the classic choice, but if you're not hurting for avoidance, you can use Greater Inscription of the Axe for some extra threat generation. Both can be found at the Sons of Hodir quartermaster. If you want more health, you can use Greater Inscription of the Gladiator (available for 10,000 honor at each faction's respective Accessories quartermaster).
- Cloak: Enchant Cloak - Major Agility, or the Engineering equivalent.
- Chest: Enchant Chest - Powerful Stats.
- Bracers: Enchant Bracers - Major Stamina, or the Leatherworking equivalent.
- Gloves: Enchant Gloves - Major Agility or Reticulated Armor Webbing for an Engineer.
- Belt: Eternal Belt Buckle.
- Legs: Frosthide Leg Armor.
- Boots: Tuskarr's Vitality is the most popular choice, as the run speed is incredibly useful for a tank. If you're hurting for avoidance, you might prefer Enchant Boots - Superior Agility.
- Weapon: Mongoose.
Every week, Shifting Perspectives treks across Azeroth in pursuit of truth, beauty, and insight concerning the druid class. Sometimes it finds the latter, or something good enough for government work. Whether you're a Bear, Cat, Moonkin, Tree, or stuck in caster form, we've got the skinny on druid changes in patch 3.3, a look at the disappearance of the bear tank, and thoughts on why you should be playing the class (or why not).