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Posts with tag bear-tank

Shifting Perspectives: The joy of panic

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, it can happen to you.

Back during The Burning Crusade, I knew an extremely disgruntled warrior tank (not Matthew Rossi) who was generally mad at the world about everything (again, not Rossi) and considered the universe to be implacably biased against his good self (may I repeat, not Rossi). While summoning raid members to Tempest Keep one evening, we were having a nice chat, by which I mean grousing about the hassle of tanking Al'ar in the age of the missable taunt.

"&%*," he said. "Bears have it so easy. I have to &%($*% macro Shield Block to every $#$(%* ability in my &%()#@ action bar so I don't get ^%$(#( crushed. Not like you. You just sit there and ^%*#%( live through everything."

"I'm sorry," I said, although I wasn't really. I envied warriors for many reasons, but Shield Block spam was not among them, and I was privately glad that despite the bear's many issues, I didn't have to keep hammering one button every few seconds just to stay alive.

(Beta players are already reaching for the Valium. They know where this is going.)

I'm not yet in the Mists of Pandaria beta, but while reading through the news emerging from the servers, I had to spare a thought for my Angry Warrior Tank friend of yesteryear and how &%#(%* pleased he'd be to hear that we now know his #$^@%# pain.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Why PvP gear isn't necessarily a stupid idea

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, Allison is somewhat startled to discover that one of her long-held convictions is not necessarily right.

On the few occasions when I can be convinced to do a gear post for bears, I've generally shied away from including PvP gear. This is actually a complete turnaround from our situation in The Burning Crusade, when Arena gear was an absolute godsend due to the bear's desperation for critical strike reduction. The now-vanished talent Survival of the Fittest (the modern Thick Hide) gave us flat 3% crit reduction, and then we had to scrounge the last 2.6% in the interest of not being stomped into oblivion by a raid boss. Not surprisingly, most players wound up using a few pieces of PvP gear to reach the all-important crit cap, because resilience reduced your chance to be crit in PvE as well.

But ever since that changed, I soured on the use of PvP gear in PvE. Resilience is now completely wasted in PvE content, you can't reforge it, and you'll only ever get one other secondary stat on PvP pieces anyway.

"Pooh, pooh," I said.

"Threat generation," I said.

"Why would you want to gimp yourself with so much useless itemization?" I said.

"Three bags full," I said.

However, I couldn't help but notice that PvP gear was still crammed with all manner of agility goodness, and then there's the minor point that Kalon is pretty much always right. So I decided to try a little experiment to see how much the average player would be gimping himself by using a full set of PvP threads. Pay attention, children, because this is the last time for several minutes that I will be heard to utter the following words:

I was wrong.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Gearing a bear druid in patch 4.2, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we want the damn fire kitty staff.

Hail, bears. This week, we're going to finish off our look at bear gear in the post-4.2 world. Our first installment, covering the helm through boot slots, went up last week. Today, we're going to look at rings, trinkets, weapons, and relics.

As a note on the PVE versus PVP discussion that broke out in the comments last week, I have to admit that I'm still not very fond of PVP gear. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I'm not fond of an overdependence on PVP gear. The more arena and battleground pieces you add to your set, the more that you're likely to encounter threat generation issues.

Even haste (garbage stat that it is) does more for us than resilience, which does precisely nothing in PVE content. So I'm hesitant to endorse widespread use of PVP gear in PVE. If you have the opportunity to use a few suitable pieces, go for it; just check its ilevel to see the gear to which it's roughly comparable. Be aware that its use comes at the cost of stat allocation that could've gone to something useful.

As before, if your bear is completely new to level 85, our first set of bear gear guides may be more immediately useful to you.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Guide to patch 4.2 for bear and tree druids

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we've returned from the Angry Dome.

Well, after pissing off Blizzard for the millionth week in a row, today we're going to turn our attention to slightly less explosive concerns. By the way, "Tank Q&A sucks" is a top search phrase for last week's Shifting. Just thought I'd mention.

As long as we're on the subject of the developer Q&As, I might as well make an uncomfortable segue to observing that Blizzard's now taking queries for the Q&A on healers. Go ask questions! Personally I am very interested in hearing if they're going to update Tree of Life form, or make Innervate a baseline ability rather than the 31-point talent in the restoration tree.

Ha ha! I kid because I love.

On the off chance that patch 4.2 hits today (which it probably won't, but eh), this is a quick and dirty guide to the patch notes that'll concern you if you play a bear or tree druid. If the patch hits next week, we'll keep ourselves occupied making daisy chains or something. Or, if the healer Q&A gets published sooner than expected, I'll write another enraged diatribe for everyone to enjoy.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

New changes to tanking cooldowns coming for Cataclysm

Blue poster Nethaera informed us today about a number changes coming to tanking cooldowns in Cataclysm (specifically, patch 4.0.3a). It seems an imbalance occurs in the current build when tanks stack mastery, leading to astronomical values of block.

For now, specifics are only available for paladin, druid and warrior tanks. The post hints that cooldown changes for druid and death knight tanks will be coming later, once developers can get a better handle on the complexities of the classes' abilities.

When asked for comment and analysis, Fox Van Allen's orc Grunk posited, "Me Grunk! Grunk fear change! Grunk smash!" Sadly, Grunk lacks the mental clarity to process the full meaning of all these forthcoming changes because as a warrior, Grunk does not stack intellect (and takes repeated physical blows to the head). If he did, the changes would be meaningless to him, as he'd have followed his dream and become an architect rather than becoming Orgrimmar's No. 3-ranked skull cleaver.

In lieu of expert testimony from Grunk, we have the full blue post just after the break.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, News items, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Shifting Perspectives: A peek at the beta bear


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we push off from the island of Swipe spam and float toward the ominous continent inhabited by Lacerate spam.

Hail, druids. I've had another week in the beta, and my main's now level 82. While I would love to tell you that all of the bugs we talked about last week have been tracked down and eliminated; that's not the case, so I'm not sure that a big analytical article on abilities that Blizzard's by no means finished with is a great use of our time. But I did tank a very successful Blackrock Caverns run, and Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer) recently wrote something interesting about the future of AoE tanking, so today's post is going to take a quick peek at how bears are developing.

Also, there's a great quest in Mount Hyjal where you throw bears off a tree, which naturally I recorded. It recorded upside down for some reason, so I'll have to figure out how to flip it before it gets posted.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Pulling 101: Deeper into the dungeon


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we continue to get hit in the face.

This week, we're continuing our series on Pulling 101 with a look at what happens during the dungeon itself. I was surprised to discover exactly how much of this advice concerns rage management, but shouldn't have been; any discussion concerning how to pull as a rage tank invariably touches on how to get the most out of an eccentric resource system. A good chunk of this advice will become obsolete as of the Cataclysm content patch, but if you're leveling and gearing a bear through the dungeon finder, there are still an awful lot of 5-mans between yourself and this fall.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Pulling 101: Assessing the group


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them.

For a long time, I've been kicking an article around on the art of the 5-man pull. Knowing how and when to pull is arguably the foundation of a smooth dungeon run, and it's certainly among the first skills that any tank needs to develop. While a not-insignificant portion of one's ability to pull cleanly only arrives courtesy of experience with a wide variety of players, there are a few rules that approach universal status. Moreover, I expect them to be equally useful when I hit the new Cataclysm dungeons and have to figure out how to tank for a group safely in a new environment with new mobs.

The more I wrote on pulling, the more I realized that the subject can be divided into two very distinct categories: what happens before you pull, and what happens while you're pulling. This week's column addresses the former. Everything I am about to tell you in this column is something that you, as an experienced tank, will eventually do in the space of a second without even realizing you're doing it.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The bear's wish list


Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. Today we gnaw on Alex until he's convinced that we tank, and then restrain ourselves from penning a letter with the salutation, "Dear Santa..."

Today, druids, I crave your indulgence for wading into a potentially volatile topic, but I think the time has come to address an issue that's divided the druid community into two embattled camps:

Can beast mastery raid?

I kid. I don't know who beast mastery is, and whether he raids or not is a matter between himself and his God. So, rather than pestering some poor bastard over his existential crisis in ICC, I figured our time might be better spent with some observations on how the druid class has fared in Wrath of the Lich King, and more particularly on the things that haven't worked out so well for us. Before Cataclysm's beta starts, I figure it'll be cool to air a class wishlist and get some feedback. UPDATE: And Blizzard has pre-empted me on this.

To be frank, there's something a bit fool's-errandish about the whole enterprise, because we have no idea what kind of content awaits us in Cataclysm, and today's problems may not even exist there. It's an old saw that generals like to prepare their armies to fight yesterday's war, and I'd be lying if I said there weren't an element of that here. I guess it might be more accurate to describe this article as "Things I wish I'd written two years ago" -- when Wrath's beta was on the horizon -- but one of the irritating things about hindsight is that things actually need to be behind you.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Cataclysm

Shifting Perspectives: Why effective health needs to die, part 1


Every week (usually), Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we brace ourselves for the howling pack of tanks likely to descend upon us, but -- as we have previously observed -- we are used to staying at the top of someone's hate list.

If you've tanked at all over the course of Wrath, you've probably become familiar with the phrase "effective health." It's a concept that's cropped up with increasing frequency on the tanking forums, and not necessarily in a good way. If you knew nothing of the idea beyond how players tend to use it, you'd be forgiven for thinking that "effective health" is the only metric by which all tanks are measured, and proof that Blizzard either can't (or won't) balance the game. There are very real differences between the tanking classes when it comes to average EH, and this has resulted in some angry discussion when the term is thrown around by players who either don't really understand what it means, or don't know that it was meant to be used in context. Consequently, "effective health" as used on the tanking forums has become an endlessly parroted phrase that's not only starting to lose all meaning, but is also guaranteed to derail a thread once it makes its inevitable appearance.

When I say that effective health needs to die, I don't mean that the concept itself is intrinsically wrong. It's not. But the twisted version of it so frequently used to bludgeon players over class differences is getting more ridiculous by the day, and it prevents or distorts more reasonable commentary on things that are much more likely to kill tanks on hard-mode content.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The disappearance of the bear


Every week (usually), Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, confused bears everywhere ask themselves, "Why is no one playing us if we're so awesome?"

I've had an article on this subject percolating for a while. Why people play what they do is a question that endlessly fascinates me, and Nick Yee made a business out of examining the various factors that influenced people's class and role choices in games. Unfortunately, with only fan site numbers to go on, it's sometimes tough to figure out exactly what's happening with demographic shifts ingame. For a while now we've had the sense that, while Feral has lost population since Wrath hit, it's bears in particular who've been hit hardest, and as I've written previously, they've all but vanished from my own server. Because most Armory data sites don't distinguish between bear and cat specs, I never figured out whether all the stories I heard about a shrinking bear population were an accurate gloss on what was going on.

Sometimes, though, Blizzard cuts through the confusion and bluntly states that a class or spec just isn't being played that much. Witness, if you will, the gradual extinction of the bear.

So Xariks on the Tanking forum poses the question; why are bears so underplayed? Any well-designed spec that's a PvE or PvP powerhouse and the frequent target of nerf demands has historically resulted in a huge influx of players (e.g. rogues for most of classic WoW and warlocks in Burning Crusade, among others). In Feral, we have before us a spec that had a 50% share of the druid population in BC and, in the transition to Wrath, received considerable buffs to many of its historic weak spots, the removal of prejudicial encounter mechanics, the addition of another weapon option, and the tanking community's hatred for its highest effective health on average. Yet they've been singled out for especial commentary for being, per Ghostcrawler, an "unpopular spec" in modern raids.

Druids, tanks, and developers all want to know -- what gives?

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Raiding, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: An Ulduar class preview, part 3

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, as other people continue their march through Ulduar, I continue to ask myself if it wouldn't be more cost-effective in the long run just to take my ailing graphics card out behind the woodshed and end its pathetic misery once and for all.

Greetings, fellow Druids. There have been a few changes to Ulduar of late which I haven't yet seen play out on the live realms, but most of the changes concerned are nerfs, which should have little impact on overall raid strategy apart from giving you a bit of extra breathing room. Today we're going to address what you can expect from Auriaya and Mimiron. Mimiron in particular was the subject of some concern from feral tanks on the PTR and, well, the mechanic driving that concern is still a problem, but less of one than you might think.

I was originally going to include Freya in this installment as well, but noticed that her two erstwhile comrades were starting to consume rather a lot of space. Suffice it to say that trying to describe these two fights is awkward at best, so I'm restricting myself to as much Druid-centric information as possible rather than describing every possible means of handling the fights.

Oh well. Batting first for us today is sad spinster Miss Auriaya and her smelly cats, although she's a bit complicated to describe:

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Achievements

Azeroth Idol

In the absence of a ranged weapon or wand, Druids, Shamans, Death Knights, and Paladins all have an interest in filling the little slot directly to the right of their weapons with something good. You won't get the stats from idols, totems, sigils, or librams that pure classes will get from that slot, but with luck you'll significantly improve a core ability or two. However, because these items usually affect only one or two spells or attacks, they tend to be somewhat hit-or-miss in terms of usefulness, and many specs go for a while without having anything particularly good to put there.

Graylo at Gray Matter takes a look at the new idol available to Balance Druids from Ulduar-25, the Kologarn drop Idol of the Crying Wind. After running the math on its stats versus the Balance idols available for badges (Idol of Steadfast Renewal and Idol of the Shooting Star), he reaches the conclusion that this new i-level 226 item is a significant DPS loss compared to its i-level 213 cousins, even if the Druid in question is using Glyph of Insect Swarm and has the 2-piece Tier 7 bonus granting 10% additional damage to Insect Swarm. While I think it's probably a damage increase on very high-mobility fights, Graylo's math is pretty damning. It's hard to argue that a Tier 8 idol providing less than a third of the damage granted by a Naxx piece represents ideal gear scaling.

Bears in Ulduar-25 are looking forward to their first upgrade since the i-level 128 (!) Idol of Terror, but I'm not too sure about other classes. Do you have some hard choices ahead of you, or do you plan on using an older piece?

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

Shifting Perspectives: An Ulduar class preview, part 2


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we watch the Ulduar trailer again and ask ourselves over and over why Jaina Proudmoore couldn't have been a Druid. The obvious answer is that she just wasn't cool enough, but this is the source of much cognitive dissonance at the moment.

I'm going to take a quick moment from the rest of the column and just write, in case any of the people who made it are reading this, that the Ulduar trailer was so stuffed with win that pieces of win are dribbling out of it into little win puddles and spilling over into the Sewer of Awesome. And, as NaitFury on the MMO Champion thread points out, "Those of you who say it is boring should probably go back to watching another Undead Rogue 1-shot people with Linkin Park in the background." Amen!

We're one week into Ulduar (and by "we" I mean "other people," because the game has become virtually unplayable for me post-patch, and having the game crash my computer every 5 minutes is forcing the Sewer of Awesome to run to the Vast Delta of Self-Pity), so let's pick up where we left off and tackle the Deconstructor, the Iron Council, and Kologarn.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: A 3.1 miscellany


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author ferrets around her inbox for several unanswered questions concerning patch 3.1.

Greetings, Druids. For a while now I've been adding to a list of questions I've had for the upcoming 3.1 patch. Some of these are questions I got from other players, some are questions that occurred to me while reading various versions of the 3.1 PTR patch notes, and others are mostly-illegible bits scribbled in the middle of testing Ulduar fights --

dasiewlerjewDIFEEIRKdfklsd? 3349FHDFHDIOJKfkdsfadioer. REIOWEL?


Must've written that one on Kologarn. I believe it is a super-secret, devilishly clever guide to the fight that brilliantly exploits group positioning to produce a clean, one-shot kill on the first attempt, but alas, we will never know. Such are the dangers posed by bad handwriting, people. Study your Palmer Method!

This evening, I will attempt to answer all of the following questions, or to point you in the direction of other bloggers who have. These deal with all three Druid specs, so let's get started!

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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