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Posts with tag druid-tank

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

Ask the Devs Round 9 mitigates your tanking questions

Ask the Devs is back for Round 9, which deals with the most awesome role in WoW ever -- tanking. Of course, coming from a tank, that might be a bit biased -- but deal with it, healers and DPSers. I've got creatures to keep from punching you in your squishy little faces.

Of note this time around is Blizzard's tough time dealing with tanks wanting threat stats (hit and expertise) and the current struggle with making it work. Currently, in cutting-edge content, threat stats are pretty good for initial aggro, but over time, Vengeance does its job admirably and keeps bosses on tanks with relative ease. I think that design decision is hitting the sweet spot, but it begs the question of why even have the threat stats in the first place?

Blizzard also discussed the mastery bonuses for each tank. The devs feel that death knights and druids are doing pretty well, all things considered, and that paladins and warriors have a similar problem in "capping" mastery, but that paladins are more susceptible to problems. There is still the sentiment in the community that Blizzard needs to add its own visual threat meters or some type of aggro status, but there is a reluctance on Blizzard's part to clutter up its own default UI -- understandable, but this may potentially be a part of Blizzard's forthcoming (but not discussed) "how to tank" solution.

Buried in this discussion, however, was a little tidbit about patch 4.3. Blizzard states that the design for the patch 4.2 legendary, Dragonwrath, has wide appeal to a number of staff-wielding ranged DPS classes. However, it then mentions the "patch 4.3 legendary" and its more narrow appeal. Will we be seeing a tanking legendary in the near future, or potentially another healer item? We do know for sure that it will not be as widespread, class-wise, as Dragonwrath, so we can only sit back and assume. What is interesting, though, is that patch 4.3 also looks to be a raid tier and not a patch 4.1-style dungeon content update. Could patch 4.3 be bringing us the War of the Ancients raid that we have been eagerly anticipating, especially with the return of Nozdormu and his crazy time antics? Only time (heh) will tell.

Also, don't expect a new tanking class any time soon. Hit the jump for the full question and answer session.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

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: Applying to raiding guilds as a druid

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we are uncomfortably reminded of how similar the job and guild application processes are.

Appearances to the contrary, the waning days of an expansion are actually a pretty good time to apply to a raiding guild. That's when attendance gets choppy, the pool and the grill issue a siren call from the deck, people go on vacation, or -- having "finished" the expansion -- they just take off, period. If you look at the recruitment forums, you'll see a ton of guilds looking for players right now. If you've ever wanted to raid but haven't gotten the chance, I think there is no better time. The Icecrown zone buff is a fantastic buffer for anyone who's not emerging with a bevy of best in slot from tier 9, and the raid itself is one brilliant lore moment from beginning to end.

However, applying to a raiding guild -- particularly if you haven't done much raiding in the past -- can be on the intimidating side. With that in mind, here's a guide on how best to present yourself if you're applying anywhere as a feral or restoration druid.

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Filed under: Druid, Raiding, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: How to be a good PUG druid




Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, everyone discovers (as I have been saying for years, but who listens to the bear tank with an ass the size of Cincinnati? No one, that's who) that PUG's are not so bad.

Moore returns with a ukulele. I'm going to pull out one of the big guns on the folk scene in the Americas -- Richard Shindell. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a high-quality version of this song available anywhere online, and I highly recommend listening to the versions off Shindell's Sparrow's Point or (more especially) the live album Courier. Yes, it starts off slow, but give it a chance. On A Sea of Fleur-de-Lis is a very odd, albeit poetic, song with esoteric lyrics, although they make a little more sense once you know they were written while Shindell was considering leaving Union Theological Seminary. Otherwise, as with many of Shindell's pieces, BYO subtext.

Beat that, Moore.

Anyway, after reading Archmage Pants' article on the new LFG system for mages and Daniel Whitcomb's guide on the same for death knights, I decided it wasn't fair letting a bunch of smelly DPS have all the fun.

"But some death knights tank," you object.

That's just a widely-disseminated myth, as all those of us on the Retaliation battlegroup know. You have tried the new LFG, right? Allow me to be the Virgil to your Dante in this new, more lucrative version of hell. Concerning tanks, by the way --

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

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

Cataclysm: "Almost all items are going to have to change."

So, wait a minute. If Strength on leather gear is going away in Cataclysm, how are feral druid tanks going to be itemized? Ghostcrawler's got it handled.
We talked about druids in bear form also getting AP from strength. Strength won't appear on leather and no piece should have Str and Agi together, so it's not like they would really double dip. That lets us still have tanking necks, rings and cloaks with strength on them that are attractive to all 4 tanking classes.
Ghostcrawler, you machine, you. First you tell us that all of these stats are just plain goin' away in Cataclysm, and now you give us specifics? Such an industrious crab. But how is this change going to be carried out? Turns out he's got something to say about that, too.

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Filed under: Items, News items, Cataclysm

Shifting Perspectives: Leveling 51-60



Every week, Shifting Perspectives examines issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we haul ourselves to Outland and are shocked to discover that +spellpower sometimes comes on leather.


The above video is the result of an idle question I was asked recently by a friend: "So how much damage would you guys do in caster form meleeing?" I started to answer and then realized I had no idea. The notion of actually hitting something with a weapon is utterly foreign to the class. We have claws and a can of celestial pain for that nonsense if provoked, but still, the question was pretty interesting, particularly because after seeing Prinnygod's comment from last week I started to wonder about all the different ways you could level as a Druid if you deliberately avoided Cat and Moonkin. Sure, you'd be a gibbering wreck at the level cap, but that's beside the point. Blizzard once had a talent called Weapon Balance in the Balance tree that improved our melee damage with weapons by 10% -- they were expecting us to hit things. I wondered how that would have worked out if Druid talent trees had never been overhauled.

So I took my main to the mobs outside the Argent Tournament and smacked stuff while running a stopwatch. What you'll see here is a level 79 Frostbrood Whelp with 12,600 health which took me 34.4 seconds to kill, with two global cooldowns devoted to casting a Rejuvenation and then a Lifebloom. I'm currently on a Feral (Bear) spec and thus wearing gear that does help one's melee damage, mind you, but that still works out to a godawful 366.28 DPS. The moral of our little story can be found at the end of the video. Master of Arms is going to be a real trip.

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

Why am I suddenly so popular?


Right now I have two level 80 tank/DPS hybrid toons in epic gear. Now, when I leveled my Warrior to 80, and for the first few months, it seemed like everyone and his or her mother was a tank. There were Druid tanks everywhere, every Paladin and DK was a tank, and of course there were plenty of Warrior tanks to be had. There were so many tanks, in fact, that I figured that after my months of service to my BC guild, I could take a vacation and be DPS for a while on my Warrior. Sure, it ended up requiring me to learn a whole new set of skills, but I got to be the Titan's Grip DPS Warrior I'd longed to be ever since I saw my wife romper stomp her way through Diablo II.

Fast forward a few months. Ulduar is more or less on farm, the new Argent Tournament raid and five man are in effect, and I've leveled and geared out a DK for both DPS and tanking. Based on my experience as a Warrior I wasn't expecting to have many opportunities to tank. Instead, not only is the DK in crazy demand for tanking, I'm constantly being asked to tank on the Warrior as well! Since I like tanking, it's not a major concern, but what confuses me is, where did all those Warrior, Druid, DK and Paladin tanks from launch go?

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Classes, Alts, Death Knight

World of Warcraft Patch 3.2 Druid Guide


WoW.com has covered patch 3.2 extensively. Everything from the surprising changes to flying mounts, to the latest and greatest loot, and all the changes in between. In our patch 3.2 class guides we take a look at exactly what changes in each class and how the changes will affect your playing.

In case you can't tell, I really loved the series of pictures I got to shoot on the PTR of the new Night Elf cat loping across the frozen wastes of Dragonblight. It is almost impossible to take a bad picture with the new forms, but there's just something about them that inspires you to hit the road looking for the best contexts in which to show them off. I foresee this may prove troublesome in the poorly-lit reaches of certain dungeons, where Druids will be loath to walk for fear that their beauty may only imperfectly grace the monitor. Such is life, my friends.

Where was I? I had to stop there to weep into a sherry. Well, no matter. Patch 3.2 is here, and with it a number of changes for the Druid class, both good and bad.

Read on for a guide to all 4 specs in 3.2 and the changes likely to impact Druids in both PvE and PvP.

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Filed under: Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Guides

Do tanks get the most out of PuGs?


I've been leveling my Restoration Shaman through Northrend, and the closer he gets to the level cap, the more I find myself getting unnerved comparing his group experiences to those of my main, a Druid tank. This past week, for example, I've healed normal 5-mans on my Shaman, then relogged and tanked heroic 5-mans on my Druid (in some cases, the very same content my shammy just did on normal). With very few exceptions, my shammy's had a tough time of it, whereas my main has sailed through her pugs without a care in the world. Initially I chalked this up to having a lot less experience playing a Shaman, but I think it was around the time that my shammy's second Utgarde Keep PuG quit at Ingvar after wiping for 30 minutes* (no joke -- and yes, this was on normal) that I had a small epiphany; maybe the reason I've enjoyed pugs so much is that I've almost always played a character who's largely immune to their faults.

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Filed under: Druid, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Classes

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

Forgetting to hit the "Need" button

Kalon at ThinkTank touches on a subject near and dear to my heart -- missing out on loot upgrades because you forget what you're supposed to want. While on an Ulduar-10 run, he passed on the Kologarn drop Mark of the Unyielding, which is close to being the best-in-slot neck for bear tanks, for one good reason (the other tank raids more than he does at the moment) and one bad one (he couldn't remember just how good the piece really is). Particularly galling, he notes, is that he recently wrote an excellent guide to tanking upgrades in Ulduar in which Mark of the Unyielding was singled out for especial commentary. Ouch.

For myself, I don't think anything quite approaches the sheer agony of having accidentally passed on Idol of Worship from Grand Widow Faerlina just because I wasn't paying attention at the time. I don't do much cat DPS, but losing the best-in-slot idol directly affecting the attack (Rip) that contributes the largest share of feral DPS is...again with the ouch. I still ask myself what was so amazingly enthralling about tanking Maexxna trash that night that I could have zoned out to that degree, and -- naturally! -- the idol never dropped again. While I guess it's possible that there are players out there who are practically perfect in every way and have never missed a drop, I have the sneaking suspicion that most of us still find a reason to kick ourselves.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion

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