This is a guide for Druid Tanks that want to know what's been changed in WotLK including what your gear goals should be, how you should spec, your attack order etc.
Fundamental Changes in WotLK
Armor and Dodge
Druid Armor and Dodge have been significantly reduced with the latest patch. This is an obvious cause for concern. However, if you look at the overall changes made in WotLK, you'll see that many changes were made to compensate for these reductions.
- Boses no longer do Crushing Blows - This greatly reduced the damage that bosses deal.
- Protector of the Pack reduces all damage taken by 12%. This not only helps with physical damage, but now also gives Druids damage reduction vs magic attacks as well.
- Survival of the Fittest now makes us 100% crit immune without the need for any Defense or Resilience which allows us to Gem and Enchant for Agility or Stamina etc.
Also remember, the gear Druids use to tank has changed drastically with WotLK so you'll need to select your gear, gems and enchants accordingly. If you tank in your old tanking gear or don't have some of the new key talents, you'll likely take tremendous extra damage.
These changes put us in line with, not better or worse then, the other tanks. So please give it a try before you consider these overall changes a nerf. So far from my testing, I have found that Druid tanks are both very effective and very competative. Thank you.
Bonus or "green" armor has been removed from WoW. You'll find all of your old tank gear now has far less armor then it used to. As well, The Dire Bear form armor multiplier has been reduced from 400% to 375%. Futher, items equiped in the Neck, Ring, Trinket, Back and Weapon slots do not receive the armor multiplier bonus. These changes were made to prevent Druid tanks from being able to reach the Armor cap and to keep our mitigation in line with the other tank classes.
Feral Tree "bloat"
Blizzard has radically changed the Feral tree to force Druids to focus on Tanking or DPS or have a partial build that is good (but not great) at both. Many call this bloat, but it was intentional on Blizzards part.
Mitigation now has diminishing returns
Dodge, Block and Perry now have diminishing returns. This means that the more +Dodge you stack, the less value each additional point has. In other words, the rating co-efficients become worse as you get more rating.
While still in the game, Crushing Blows can only occur if you are fighting targets that are at least 4 levels higher then you. This means, for basic tanking purposes, Crushing Blows have effectively been removed and you do not need to worry about them unless you are to low level to be tanking the instance, in which case, Crushing Blows are the least of your problems.
Potions in Forms
Druids will now be able to use Potions, Health Stones and other such items while remaining in their current form. This means no more shifting to caster form to drink a potion. Blizzard has also limited everyone to 1 potion per fight.
Enchants in Forms
Proc enchants will now work in all forms making many Enchants very viable for Druids to use.
Blizzard made some very fundamental changes to threat in WotLK.
1. Threat is now built into bear form - your party no longer needs Salvation or other such abilities to reduce their threat. In fact, Salvation has been removed from the game.
2. Threat generation by tanks has been significantly increased - Blizzard wants threat to be a factor in fights, but does not want threat to set the DPS cap as it currently does. So expect it to be easier to hold agro going forward.
Stats & Gear
With WotLK, Blizzard made a lot of big changes to how Druid tanks are expected to gear, gem and enchant for tanking. This is a review of the most important stats for Druid Tanks and how they effect you.
High Armor is very important to Druid damage mitigation. The more armor you have, the less damage you take from every non-magic attack. So having more armor means you will be able to live longer because you will be taking less damage from each attack.
With the changes in WotLK, it will now be near impossible to reach the Armor cap, but Armor is still an excellent stat to stack that does not have deminishing returns. So the more Armor, the better. This is the best stat, point for point, for Druid Tanks.
Note: Trinkets, rings, weapons and cloaks with Armor values will no longer receive the 375% bonus. This is done to give Druid tanks more gear selection for these slots beyond just stacking the highest armor. This means you should not focus on stacking armor in these slots and instead focus on the other tanking stats - Agility and Stamina primarly.
In BC, 14.7 Agility provided 1% Dodge and 1% Crit as well as 2 Armor per 1 point of Agility.
In WotLK, it now takes ~40 Agility to get 1% Dodge/Crit at level 80. Armor gained per point of Agility will not change.
However, despite it's reduced effectiveness, Agility is still an extremely valuable stat for Druid tanks because it provides 3 seperate and very important benefits - Dodge, Crit and Armor. This makes it excellent for survivability and threat and should be picked up whenever possible.
As with every class, the more stamina you have, the longer you can stay alive and the more time your healers have to heal you.
As a Druid tank you benefit far more from +stam over +health because when you go to Bear form you get 1.25 times more health from Stamina then everyone else. This Bear form bonus does not apply to +health.
Because of our natural "Bear" bonus, Stamina is very important for Druid Tanks.
Dodge lets you completely avoid attacks by, well, dodging them. The more dodge you have the less hits you take which greatly increases your survivability.
Dodge can be obtained from Dodge Rating, Agility and Defense. However, it's generally considered best to get your Dodge from Agility gear, gems and enchants.
Dodge Whether through Dodge Rating or Agility, is an excellent stat to stack until you reach ~50% Dodge. However, after that point, diminishing returns reduce it's effectiveness.
Due to the change to Survival of the Fittest talent which now reduces chance to be crit by 2/4/6%, the value of Defense has been greatly reduced because you can achieve uncritable by only taking 3/3 SotF.
However, Defense is not totally worthless. Once you reach ~50% Dodge, due to diminishing returns, stacking Defense actually becomes better then stacking more Dodge.
Begin to stack Defense only after you have reached ~50% Dodge.
Hit & Expertise
Hit & Expertise are very good stats for maintaining high DPS (and thus threat) in a fight as both help you to hit your target more often. However, If you do have a choice between +Hit and +Expertise, you should go for the +Expertise gear which will help reduce the number of times the boss Parry's your attacks.
Strength provides 2 Attack Power per point, making it a very good stat for increased Threat.
+crit provides more crit% per point then Agility and so is a very good stat for increased Threat.
Haste does very little to help Druids in Bear form as it has no effect on your primary threat attack, Mangle or on your primary AOE attack, Swipe. So Haste is best avoided for tanking.
Resilience no longer plays any significant role in Feral Tanking.
Gear, Gems and Enchants
Generally, Druids should gear in this order for Tanking:
Dodge to ~50% then Defense
This is a review of abilities that have been added or significantly changed that directly effect Druid Tanking.
Swipe - Change
Swipe has been changed from effecting only 3 targets to now effecting an unlimited number of targets and it has had it's threat greatly increased. This is a huge change that finally allows Druids to AOE Tank any number of mobs. One very important difference between Swipe and other AOE Tanking abilities is that while most AOE tank abilities effect all mobs around the Tank, Swipe is a forward effect only. The disadvantage is that you must keep all mobs you are tanking in front of you. The advantage of this is that you can use it directionally to ensure that you do not break near by CCed mobs.
Feral Ferie Fire - Change
When in Bear form, FFF does significantly more threat and now does damage as well. This makes it an excellent ability to use when pulling a single target to you for tanking. And because FFF uses no Rage, it is now an excellent ability to help increase your threat on a target even when you are low on Rage. FFF in cat form has not changed.
Barkskin - Change
Barkskin has been changed so that it can now be used in any form without shifting you to caster form. This is a huge benefit to Druid tanks as we now have an emergency button that reduces all damage, physical and magic, by 20% for 12 seconds every minute. This should be a button you are ready to use whenever you are low on health or expect to take a lot of damage.
Survival Instincts - New / Talent
This ability gives you 30% of your max health for 20 seconds and can be used every 5 minutes. Basically this is for when you suddenly take a large amount of damage and need to give your healers a few more seconds to cast their spells. Knowing when to use this ability can mean the difference between a boss kill and a wipe.
Bash - Change
The basic mechanics of Bash have been changed so that it is now considered an "Interupt". This means it will stop spell casting on trash and boss fights just like a Rogue Kick or Warrior Shield Bash do currently. This is an excellent change and makes 2/2 Brutal Impact worth considering. However, the talent only reduces the cooldown and most raids will have a Rogue or Warrior to interupt when needed, so while good, these points are not critical to spend.
Berserk - New / Talent
This ability is basically a huge threat builder - it removes the cooldown of Mangle allowing you, rage permitting, to spam Mangle on 3 seperate targets in front of you for the entire 15 seconds.
Revive - New
This is a new out of combat rez ability that all druids now have. You should immediatly train this ability if you have not done so already.
Roots - Change
Roots have been changed so that they can now be used indoors. This is a huge change that makes Roots a viable CC for all instances and raids. However, be aware that Roots does not prevent mobs (or players) from continuing to cast or do ranged attacks, so be sure to pick your targets carefully when using Roots for CC.
Dash - Change
Dash cooldown has been reduced to 3 minutes from 5 minutes. A very nice change.
Mangle - Change
Mangle DPS has been significantly increased.
Rake - Change
Rake DPS has been significantly increased making it an ability that you should work into your standard DPS rotation.
Natures Grasp can be used in any form without shifting you to caster form. This allows you to root targets that are attacking you while remaining in bear or cat form.
This is a review of the most important tank related talents.
Survival of the Fittest
Each point of the Survival of the Fittest talent (max 3) reduces your chance to be crit by 2%, making it so that Druids are 100% Crit Immune immediately if they have 3/3 in this talent.
This is an absolutely critical talent for Druid Tanks.
Protector of the Pack
Each point of this talent (max 3) reduces all damage, including Magic, by 3% per talent point spent. This means that you will take 12% less damage from all forms of attack. This is our primary magic damage reduction ability.
This is an absolutely critical talent for Druid Tanks.
This talent causes your attacks to apply a stacking wound that reduces the attack speed of your target by 20% including most bosses. When applied, this will greatly reduce the incoming damage taken and is considered a very important tanking talent.
This ability increases your armor by 10%. This is a very good increase and definitely worth the 3 talent points.
Feral Swiftness & Natural Reaction
Together these talents increase your total Dodge by 10% - a very big and very important increase. As well, you gain 3 rage from Natural Reaction every time you dodge an attack - a very nice boost to threat especially when low on rage.
This talent gives Druid tanks an emergency button for when their health begins to get low. For one point, this talent is very much worth it.
This is a review of the most important threat related talents for Druid tanks.
Mangle & Improved Mangle
Mangle is your number one threat attack on a single target as a Druid tank and is an absolutely critical talent. Improved Mangle reduces the cooldown from 6 seconds to 4.5 seconds allowing you to use Mangle more often in your rotation. So while Mangle is critical, Imp Mangle adds marginally to threat generation.
Note on Improved Mangle - If you are going to put any points into this talent, you must go 3/3 because if you only get 1/3 or 2/3 no benefit is gained whatsoever for Druid tanking.
Very important talent for increasing threat. Considered must have for the damage increase it provides for just 2 talent points.
Very important talent for increasing threat. Considered must have for improved chance to hit with attacks, which greatly increases your threat.
Rend & Tear
This talent significantly boosts the damage Maul does on bleeding targets as is definatly worth considering.
This talent gives our AOE Tanking ability a 30% damage increase making it extremely important to have.
Omen of Clarity
This talent is a very significant DPS boost in that it very often gives you free attacks.
Note: OOC only procs off of White damage making it scale very effectively with Haste.
This is a list of other Threat related talents that should be considered for any tanking build:
This is the base of a solid Druid Tanking build.
Note that you have 18 points at level 70 to spend however you want.
This is my current tank build:
I focused on tanking first, then strong threat & DPS abilities second.
Something like this is my planned build for level 80:
This is a review of Feral Druid Glyphs.
Note: To learn a glyph you must be standing next to a Lexicon of Power which are next to the Inscription trainers in the major cities. These are easy enough to find - just ask a guard! This is to prevent people from re-glyphing on a fight by fight basis.
Glyph of Rip
Increases the duration of your Rip ability by 4 sec.
Adds 2 full damage ticks to Rip. This is an absolutely must have Glyph for Feral DPS.
Glyph of Mangle
Increases the duration of Mangle by 6 sec.
It's effects when tanking are minimal but this is helpful for Feral DPS rotations.
Glyph of Maul
Your Maul ability now hits 1 additional target.
Great increase in DPS output when multi-tanking. However, this means you have to be careful when you use Maul as you can break CC if it is to close.
Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration
While Frenzied Regeneration is active, healing effects on you are 20% more powerful.
This can be a very nice boost to your incoming healing and turns Frenzied Regeneration into a poor Druid's emergency button when tanking.
Glyph of Shred
Increases the damage dealt by Shred to stunned and incapacitated targets by 20%.
A nice damage increase but very limited in when it will apply, making it marginal at best.
Glyph of Growl
Increases the chance for your Growl ability to work successfully by 8%.
Having Growl resisted has not tended to be a major issue.
Glyph of Rake
Your Rake ability prevents targets from fleeing.
Basically only good for grinding to keep low health targets from running and agroing others. And even then I doubt it will be of great value.
Glyph of Hurricane
Your Hurricane ability now also slows the movement speed of its victims by 20%.
This Glyph can actually be pretty useful for Feral druids - I often like to pull groups of mobs with Hurricane, this Glyph would slow them down so I could get more ticks, and thus more threat, before they got to me.
Glyph of Entangling Roots
Increases the damage your Entangling Roots victims can take before the Entangling Roots automatically breaks by 20%.
With Natures Grasp now castable in all forms, this can be useful. The problem I see is, you're a melee DPS so your either out of range so the extra damage doesn't matter, or your in range, so the mobs going to be attacking you anyways. Overall, not very good for feral druids.
Glyph of Thorns
Increases the duration of your Thorns ability by 50 min when cast on yourself.
Very nice to be able to keep thorns up through an entire fight.
Glyph of Dash
Reduces the cooldown of your Dash ability by 20%.
Reduces the cooldown of Dash from 3 minutes to 2 Minutes 24 Seconds.
Glyph of Challenging Roar
Reduces the cooldown of your Challenging Roar ability by 30 sec.
Reduces the cooldown of Challenging Roar from 3 minutes to 2 Minutes 30 Seconds.
Glyph of Aquatic Form
Increases your swim speed by 50% while in Aquatic Form.
Being able to generate high threat is critical to doing a good job tanking. If your threat is to low your DPSers (or worse, healers) will pull agro and that generally means a wipe.
Good threat generation is achieved by a combination of good AP and Crit and using the right ability rotation.
The AP and Crit you work on by selecting, gemming and enchanting the right gear before the fight as outlined above, so I won't go into that any further.
Using the right abilities is critical to building threat quickly.
The abilities you will use most consistently are:
Mangle is your big threat generator ability. You must be sure to use it every time the 6 second cooldown ends (4.5 second cooldown with 3/3 Imp Mangle). It is your best opener and constant threat increase. Think of Mangle as four times better then any other threat ability you have and you'll understand why you must use it every time it is up.
Maul applies extra damage to your Auto Attack. This is another very good way to generate Threat. One big advantage of Maul is that it does not use or reset your Global Cooldown like Mangle, Lacerate and Swipe do. This means you can use it even while these other abilities are on the Global Cooldown.
Warning: Maul causes your next Auto Attack to generate no rage! Auto Attack is one of your primary means of generating rage when you arn't taking damage and using Maul when you are low on rage will leave you very short of rage and thus greatly reduce the amount of threat you are able to generate.
Swipe is your "AOE" attack, hitting all targets in front of you at once. If you have 3/3 Feral Instinct, the threat generated by Swipe will be greater then the threat generated by Lacerate. This means this will be your primary Threat ability when not using Mangle. However, you must be careful when using this ability around CCed mobs.
Feral Ferie Fire
FFF causes a large amount of threat, does some damage and best of all, costs zero rage. Because of this, FFF should be used as often as possible whenever you are low on rage.
Lacerate generates very good threat due to a special threat bonus applied when the attack is made. More importantly, Lacerate also applies a bleed effect to your target. This bleed effect stacks up to 5 times and should be kept up at all times.
There are basically three types of fights you'll need to worry about - Those that generate lots of rage, those that make you struggle for rage and those where you will drift from a full rage bar to empty depending on the hits you take etc.
High Rage Fights
Generally this is when you are the MT and the boss does a large amount of damage or when you are tanking multiple mobs at the same time. It is your goal to use every bit of rage you have - you never want that rage bar at 100% because that is rage you should have been using to generate more threat.
Open with Mangle, then Lacerate, then spam Swipe and Maul until Mangle is ready.
Rinse, repeat. Just make sure to keep Lacerate up.
Low Rage Fights
Generally this is when you are the OT or the boss does medium to low damage directly to you. It is your goal to maintain the highest amount of threat you can with what little rage you have.
Open with FFF, then Mangle, then Lacerate then, rage permitting, spam Swipe. Be sure to stop spamming Swipe early to prevent waiting for rage when Mangle becomes ready. After you Mangle you sould be able to re-apply FFF then Lacerate then Swipe once or twice before Mangle.
Continue in this rotation.
Note: On some fights you might not be able to Maul at all if Rage generation is very slow. That's ok, just make sure you maintain Mangle whenever you can, use FFF whenever it is up, Lacerate to keep the bleed effect up and Swipe the rest of the time.
High / Low Fights
On many fights you'll find your rage sometimes spikes to full then drifts down to near empty. For these fights, you want to use your rage in the smartest way possibly by maximizing threat as your rage goes up and down. Really that just means switching between the high and low rage fight orders listed above as your rage goes up and down.
As always, Mangle whenever it is up. When your rage is over 40% to 50%, spam Maul and Swipe. When it dips below 40% to 50%, stop Mauling and use FFF until it goes back up. And always keep the Lacerate bleed up.
Note: You should always keep an eye on the cooldown of Mangle and, about 1 to 2 seconds before it is ready to cast, stop using Swipe, Lacerate and FFF and wait for Mangle to be ready. If you don't stop and just spam buttons, you'll very likely push Mangle back a few seconds or more due to global cooldowns. This definatly does effect your threat generation especially over long fights.
How To - Growl
Growl, like Warrior Taunt, sets your threat equal to the mobs current target and forces the mob to attack you for 3 seconds. Because Growl uses the mobs current target to set your threat when used, Growl should never be used when the mob is already attacking you - it will do almost nothing. Growl is meant to be used as an emergency agro recovery ability, returning agro to you after someone else has pulled it off. Be warned however, most bosses and some trash are immune to Growl.
Note on Growl - Some people advocate using Growl to "stick" agro to you for a few extra seconds. Basically you Growl while the target is already attacking you which has no effect on your threat but does still force the mob to stay attacking you for a few seconds. I feel this is generally a waste because you start the 10 second cooldown on an ability that could be critical to saving a healer etc.
How To - Challenging Roar
Challenging Roar is the area effect version of Growl with one key difference - Challenging Roar does not increase your threat on any targets. Instead it only forces all mobs in the area to attack you for 6 seconds after which they will return to their previous targets if you have not generated enough threat to hold them. If you use this ability, I strongly suggest you pop any "emergency" buttons and trinkets you may have to reduce the chance that you are overwhelmed by the additional damage.
How To - Multi-Tank
Multi-tanking means holding agro on 2 or more mobs. Most often, you will have one primary target to hold agro on and 1 or more secondary targets to hold agro on. The primary target will be DPSed down by your party then you will all move on to the next mob. The most important thing to consider when tanking multiple mobs is that healing spells generate AoE threat - Each time your healer heals you, they generate threat on all mobs around you. Because of this, it is critical that you continue to build threat on all mobs you are tanking.
The best way to build threat is to position all mobs you'll be tanking so they are in front of you and away from any CCed mobs. Then use Mangle when it is up and spam Swipe, using Maul if you have enough rage. This will build decent agro on the primary target while keeping some agro on all secondary targets.
If for any reason a mob breaks from the group and heads toward another party member, you must be ready to click the mob, Growl it so it is again attacking you, and Mangle / Lacerate / Maul it so that you build some quick agro on it. Then return to your primary target and return to Mangle / Swipe.
The advantage to multi-tanking is that you have many mobs hitting you, causing you to generate rage much faster.
The disadvantage to multi-tanking is that you have many mobs hitting you, causing your health to go down much faster. Gear is very important.
In the end, the nature of many fights simply requires that you learn to tank multiple mobs effectively. Multi-tanking is as tricky as it sounds and is the primary factor that separates the excellent tanks from the so-so tanks. Be an excellent tank - learn to multi-tank, it's important.
How To - Kill Order
Basically, Kill Order is the order in which the mobs will be tanked and DPSed. The reason this is important is because if you are tanking one mob and your DPS is attacking others, they will pull agro and get killed and there will be little or nothing you can do to prevent a wipe.
Raid symbols should be used to set the Kill Order, as well as to assign any CC you may be using. Typical kill orders are Skull then X then Star, but feel free to set it however you want - just be sure all party members know it. By following the kill order, you ensure that you are generating the most threat on the same mob that the DPS are attack.
Any DPS that do not follow the kill order should be left to die - your job is to keep agro on the primary target, not whatever target they happen to click on and attack.
Taken from Vindictive from Lightning's blade.