Friday, December 3, 2010

Feral Tanking in 4.0.3 and Me

Before 4.0 Ive always had an idea on how to tank from past experiences in BC.  In BC, at max level I was a resto druid that respecced every once in a while to feral to farm mats and stuff.  It’s funny because at the time I had no idea how to dps as a kitty but I knew how to hold single target aggro in bear form.  I never tanked any 5 mans but I remember tanking some of the high level elites for dailies and high level quest chains.  

In Wrath when I first decided to officially make my secondary spec feral, I put in a lot of time researching how to play correctly and perform the best I could with my toon.  I soon became a pretty decent feral dps after spending much time on the target dummy and I also messed around a little with tanking some lower level instances for guildies.  When 4.0 launched and the new talent trees were implemented, I found it easier to pick a few of the tanking talents while speccing for feral dps primarily. Even though I had a few damage reduction talents for bear form I was still a little hesitant to queue as a tank in the dungeon finder mainly because I wasn't sure about how to handle tanking different situations.  I realize now that this was silly because I already knew that I knew how to handle different tanking situations by just knowing the feral spec and how to apply that knowledge to different encounters.  Mainly it came down to me being afraid of accountability.  What I mean by that is I didn't want to use the excuse that I was tanking with kitty gear in a kitty spec when something went wrong while I was tanking.  If anything I wanted to be recognized as a skilled kitty druid with the capacity to tank effectively if needed.  So for a while I decided to play it safe and just dps.

My first opportunity to officially tank for a group actually came a while before 4.0 was implemented.  It happened while I was in H ToC and the tank mysteriously dc’d after dying to the first boss/s.  I knew that I had pretty decent gear for my toon and the heals for the group was pretty decent as well.  I decided to go ahead and offer to tank as long as the healer didn't object and to my surprise they could have cared less.  Long story short I was a beast of a tank and we 4-manned the instance.  I learned that I would have no trouble keeping aggro while tanking with full dps gear.  Ever since then I could not help but want to offer to tank when ever the opportunity presented itself.  But I still did not queue for the roll in randoms...until 4.0 of course.

It may seem a little pointless to some that I just started doing this not long before Cata actually launches (because I definitely wont’ be to while leveling to 85 or anytime after that....and hopefully no time after that if they scale gear with bosses like they say they plan to) but its a personal feat for me to be able to queue for all roles in the dungeon finder and perform them all pretty well.

I’ve even been able to answer the request of many players wanting insta-queue w/tanks for randoms in trade.  And in doing so I've also made some decent money from those offering to pay :). 

My spec:

I don't have a tanking set so I use the same gear set that I use for feral and you can view that here.  I found that I don’t take a whole lot of damage and most of the time the damage I do take is the result of Berserking proccing.  I also use the same prime glyphs, which are Glyph of Rip, Glyph of Shred, and Glyph of Savage Roar as there really is no need to change them. For Major glyphs, right now I only have Glyph of Maul which helps a little with tanking multiple targets.  

Single target:
My strategy for single target tanking is simple.  I normally pull with Feral Faerie Fire or I might just Feral Charge in.  I then apply my stacks of Lacerate, Mangle when off cd or on a Clearcast proc, and Maul to get rid of some rage.  I generate plenty of threat even when arcane mages unload...and you know how OP they are right now.
Multiple target:
This is a little bit more tricky since Swipe has a 6 sec. cd now.  I start the pull normally by either using Feral Charge or Feral Faerie Fire on a single target then opening up with Lacerate.  I then tab between targets and apply a Lacerate or Mangle and I keep sure to Swipe when ever its off its cd.  For good measure I also throw in a few Mauls to generate more threat across more than one target.  When ever things get out of hand I’ll throw up a Challenging Roar or use Growl to keep mobs off the healer...almost 100% of the time due to dps AoE’ing.   I let dps fend for themselves....hehe (they have to learn sometime and with Cata around the corner now is as good a time as any).

I wouldnt call this the definite method for tanking but it is the accumulation of all my knowledge of druid tanking as it is.  Also keep in mind that this is from the perspective of a kitty tanking with a primarily kitty dps spec and kitty dps gear.  

With tanking I’ve grown accustom to tab targeting...or rather I find I’m doing it way more often than normal.  For instance, when dps’ing trash I find myself tab targeting and applying Rake and Swiping on CC procs.  I love implementing this strategy on my Boomkin as well by applying Moonfire and Insect Swarm on multiple targets to get multiple dots ticking.  This is definitely a welcome alternative to using Hurricane and Starfall on every trash pull.  And thats feral tanking and me

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