Updated for 3.3 (formatting update: Table of Contents now contains links to the appropriate sections)
For the article version of this write-up click here.
Table of Contents:
I. Introduction and Videos
II. Feral Talents
III. Resto Talents
IV. Balance Talents
V. 1-70 Changes
VI. Talent Builds
IX. GearIntroduction and Videos
The Purpose of this guide is to provide an in depth analysis of the different talents and builds of Bear tanks. Recently I have become a full time bear and have hardly dpsed at all since ToC was released, as such check out Geros's WOLTK Cat DPS guide in the DPS forum for much more up-to-date DPS info. I will try to keep the bear info as up-to-date as possible but things change as patches are released. However, if you see any errors I may have made please point them out. If you feel I have omitted anything of importance, bring it up in the thread for discussion.
Also, the patch to wrath guide is still around. Check it out if you are are still in the process of leveling as it provides some useful insight for those going from 70-80.
Welcome to parts 1 and 2 of the Feral Druid Video Guides, which will deal with bear tanking.
Donors looking to download this can find it under Druid Reference: Bear Rotation Guide.
II. Feral Talents
Ferocity: Reduces the cost of your Maul, Swipe, Claw, Rake and Mangle abilities by 1/2/3/4/5 Rage or Energy.
Feral Aggression: Increases the attack power reduction of your Demoralizing Roar by 8/16/24/32/40% and the damage caused by your Ferocious Bite by 3/6/9/12/15%.
Comment: For hard mode and heroic mode raiding it is required that bosses have an improved attack power reduction on them at all times. If your raid does not have a warrior with improved demo shout, you need to max this talent as you will be in charge of this debuff. If you only plan on doing normal mode raids and 5 man heroics, normal demo roar (or even no demo roar at all in the case of 5 mans) is acceptable.
Feral Instinct: Increases the damage done by your Swipe ability by 10/20/30% and reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while Prowling.
Bear form now has the same threat modifier as Defensive stance (207.35), includes feral instinct's old threat base now.
Now affects Swipe (Cat).
Savage Fury: Increases the damage caused by your Claw, Rake, Mangle (Cat), Mangle (Bear), and Maul abilities by 10/20%.
Once again affects bear abilities, tier 2 moved from tier 5.
Thick Hide: Increases your Armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 4/7/10%.
No longer affects rings, trinkets, neck, or weapons. Also no longer affects bonus armor on capes, for example the base armor for every ilvl 213 cape is 154, shadowed sun has 490, that 154 receives the 10% while the extra 336 does not.
Feral Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 15/30% in Cat Form and increases your chance to dodge while in Cat Form, Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by 2/4%.
Active everywhere not just outdoors.
Survival Instincts: When activated, this ability temporarily grants you 30% of your maximum health for 20 sec while in Bear Form, Cat Form, or Dire Bear Form. After the effect expires, the health is lost. 3 minute cooldown.
3.0.8 patch notes: Survival Instincts: The extra health from this ability now persists in all forms, but the ability can only be activated in Cat Form, Bear Form, or Dire Bear Form. This prevents the health gain from occurring multiple times if constantly shapeshifting.
This also fixes the problem i mentioned earlier of dieing instantly upon shifting out of form because you would be taken to 1hp if you were below the amount of health received from the buff.
Updated for 3.1, the cooldown reduced to 3 minutes to bring it in line with the change to Last Stand.
Sharpened Claws: Increases your critical strike chance while in Bear, Dire Bear or Cat Form by 2/4/6%.
Shredding Attacks: Reduces the energy cost of your Shred ability by 9 /18 and the rage cost of your Lacerate ability by 1/2.
More testing needs to be done on lacerate vs swipe single target AP->threat Scaling. In BC swipe quickly outpaced lacerate even on single targets making this talent lackluster for bear. Also, lacerate rank 3 was buffed quite a bit, but it remains to be seen how much threat is from the bleed and how much is on the initial application. It may well be that we just keep a 5 stack and swipe/mangle.
Predatory Strikes :Increases your melee attack power in Cat, Bear, and Dire Bear Forms by 50/100/150% of your level and 7/14/20% of any attack power on your equipped weapon. In addition, your finishing moves have a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make your next nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec. become an instant cast spell.
Update for 3.1 to reflect the removal of Moonkin form.
Update for 3.2.2 to include instant cast nature spells.
Primal Fury (Requires 3 points in Sharpened Claws): Gives you a 50/100% chance to gain an additional 5 Rage anytime you get a critical strike while in Bear and Dire Bear Form and your critical strikes from Cat Form abilities that add combo points have a 50/100% chance to add an additional combo point.
Primal Precision (Requires 3 points in Sharpened Claws): Increases your expertise by 5/10, and you are refunded 40/80% of the energy cost of a finishing move if it fails to land.
This grants 10 expertise not expertise rating.
Brutal Impact: Increases the stun duration of your Bash and Pounce abilities by .5/1 sec and decreases the cooldown of Bash by 15/30 sec.
Bash now interrupts casting on stun immune mobs (ie bosses).
Feral Charge: Teaches Feral Charge (Bear) and Feral Charge (Cat).
Feral Charge (Bear) - Causes you to charge an enemy, immobilizing and interrupting any spell being cast for 4 sec. This ability can be used in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form. 15 second cooldown.
Feral Charge (Cat) - Causes you to leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 sec. 30 second cooldown.
Feral charge (cat) activates a 15 second cooldown on feral charger (bear).
Nurturing Instinct: Increases your healing spells by up to 35/70% of your Agility, and increases healing done to you by 10/20% while in Cat form.
Natural Reaction: Increases your dodge while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form by 2/4/6%, and you regenerate 1/2/3 rage every time you dodge while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form.
Heart of the Wild (Requires 3 points in Predatory Strikes): Increases your Intellect by 4/8/12/16/20%. In addition, while in Bear or Dire Bear Form your Stamina is increased by 2/4/6/8/10% and while in Cat Form your attack power is increased by 2/4/6/8/10%.
Updated for 3.1 to reflect the lowered stam multiplier.
Survival of the Fittest: Increases all attributes by 2/4/6%, reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee attacks by 2/4/6%, and increases your armor contribution from cloth and leather items in bear form and dire bear form by 11/22/33%.
Correct, you do not need defense to be immune to crit from bosses with this talent maxed. Updated for 3.1 to reflect the armor reduction.
Leader of the Pack: While in Cat, Bear or Dire Bear Form, the Leader of the Pack increases ranged and melee critical chance of all party members within 45 yards by 5%.
Improved Leader of the Pack (Requires 1 point in Leader of the Pack): Your Leader of the Pack ability also causes affected targets to heal themselves for 2/4% of their total health when they critically hit with a melee or ranged attack. The healing effect cannot occur more than once every 6 sec. In addition, you gain 4/8% of your maximum mana when you benefit from this heal.
Primal Tenacity: Reduces the duration of Fear effects by 10/20/30%, reduces all damage taken while Stunned in cat form by 10/20/30%.
Update for 3.1 to reflect the damage reduction while stunned only applies in cat form.
Update for 3.2 to reflect the shift of mana reduction to King of the Jungle.
Protector of the Pack (Requires 1 point in Leader of the Pack): Increases your attack power by 2/4/6%, and reduces the damage you take while in Bear or Dire Bear Form by 4/8/12%.
The tooltip is confusing, but the ap only effect bear form.
Group requirement removed.
Predatory Instincts: While in Cat Form, increases your damage from melee critical strikes by 3/7/10% and reduces the damage taken from area of effect attacks by 10/20/30%.
No portion of this talent affects bear form in any way anymore, this talent is 100% cat.
Infected Wounds: Your Shred, Maul, and Mangle attacks cause an Infected Wound in the target. The Infected Wound reduces the movement speed of the target by 16/34/50% and the attack speed by 6/14/20%. Lasts 12 sec.
Updated for 3.2.2, the debuff no longer needs to stack and instantly has full effect.
King of the Jungle: While using your Enrage ability in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form, your damage is increased by 5/10/15%, and your Tiger's Fury ability also instantly restores 20/40/60 energy. In addition the mana cost of bear form, cat form, and dire bear form is reduced by 20/40/60%.
Per point damage (for bear) increase using enrage:
Every 60 seconds .833%
every 61 seconds .819%
every 62 seconds .806%
every 63 seconds .793%
Updated for 3.2 to reflect the mana reduction to shifting.
Mangle (Requires 1 point in Leader of the Pack): Mangle the target, inflicting damage and causing the target to take additional damage from bleed effects for 12 sec. This ability can be used in Cat Form or Dire Bear Form.
Improved Mangle (Requires 1 point in Mangle): Reduces the cooldown of your Mangle (Bear) ability by .5/1/1.5 sec., and reduces the energy cost of your Mangle (Cat) ability by 2/4/6.
Because of the restriction of GCD, getting 1 or 2 points in this talent means you either need to not use any abilities for .5/1 second while off global, or when you get to mangle it will be off cooldown and you still still be on global. For tanking, its all 3 or none. For cat, if you plan on raiding seriously in 25 mans guilds will most likely have a trauma warrior and you will never need to mangle. For sustained dps, you mangle once every rotation so even without a trauma warrior it is lackluster for cat.
Rend and Tear: Increases damage done by your Maul and Shred attacks on bleeding targets by 4/8/12/16/20%, and increases the critical strike chance of your Ferocious Bite ability on bleeding targets by 5/10/15/20/25%.
It does not have to be pounce, lacerate, rip, or rake, any bleed will proc this talent, from any class. Updated for 3.1 to reflect the crit reduction on Ferocious Bite.
Primal Gore (Requires 5 points in Rend and Tear): Grants the periodic damage from your Lacerate and Rip abilities the chance to critically hit.
While tanking this greatly increases the value of a 5 stack of lacerate as the crits proc SD.
Berserk: When activated, this ability causes your Mangle (Bear) ability to hit up to 3 targets and have no cooldown, and reduces the energy cost of all your Cat Form abilities by 50%. Lasts 15 sec. You cannot use Tiger's Fury while Berserk is active. Clears the effect of Fear and makes you immune to Fear for the duration. 3 minute cooldown.
III. Resto Talents
Furor: Gives you 20/40/60/80/100% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shapeshift into Bear and Dire Bear Form, and you keep up to 20/40/60/80/100 of your Energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form, and increases your total Intellect while in Moonkin form by 2/4/6/8/10%.
Improved Mark of the Wild: Increases the effects of your Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild spells by 20/40%, and increases all of your total attributes by 1/2%.
Updated for 3.1 to reflect the addition of increased stats. Now a mandatory talent.
Naturalist: Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch spell by 0.1/0.2/0.3/0.4/0.5 sec and increases the damage you deal with physical attacks in all forms by 2/4/6/8/10%.
On your character screen, for melee damage when you mouse over your damage range you will see x102/x104/x106/x108/x110.
Natural Shapeshifter: Reduces the mana cost of all shapeshifting by 10/20/30%.
Intensity: Allows 17/33/50% of your Mana regeneration to continue while casting and causes your Enrage ability to instantly generate 4/7/10 rage.
Omen of Clarity: Each of the Druid's damage, healing spells and auto attacks has a chance of causing the caster to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the Mana, Rage or Energy cost of your next damage, healing spell or offensive ability by 100%.
No longer procs off specials (maul being on neck swing still procs it).
Master Shapeshifter (Requires 3 points in Natural Shapeshifter): Grants an effect which lasts while the druid is in the respective shapeshifting form:
Bear: Increases Physical Damage by 2/4%.
Cat: Increases Critical Strike Chance by 2/4%.
If taken out of 5 points, as NSS is more or less useless in pve, it balances out to .8% damage increase per point.
IV. Balance Talents
None, they changed the wording of genesis a while back and since that patch IT DOES NOT AFFECT pounce/rip/rake/lacerate.
The following 2 sections will cover changes to all 3 specs as some changes will overlap into feral. For now they are in no coherent order but I will edit them once things settle down.
V. 1-70 Changes
VI. Talent Builds
- Swipe (updated for 3.1)- The Bear Form and Dire Bear Form version of this ability no longer has a targeting requirement and hits targets behind the druid and to the sides.
- Faerie Fire (Feral) (updated for 3.1)- is now a trained base ability (level 18 same as normal faerie fire). When used in bear, it will both do damage and generate extra threat. In bear form it will now do damage equal to 15% of your AP up for 5%. Now lasts 5 minutes in pve up from 40 (still has a pvp duration of 40) - this change also applies to normal Faerie Fire. To keep it in line with the other changes to ArP mechanics it now reduces armor by 5% instead of a flat amount.
- Barkskin - now usable in forms.
- Revive - Druids new out of combat rez.
- Growl - 30 yards to match the warrior and death knight equivalents.
- Challenging roar - down to 3 minutes.
- Maim (updated for 3.1)- This ability is now considered a stun, and shares a diminish category with all other stuns. It no longer has a chance to break from the target taking damage. Duration lowered to 1 second per combo point.
- Frenzied regen - will now heal for 30% of your hp if all 100 rage is consumed.
- Maul - now affected by mangle/trauma.
- Weapon procs (such as mongoose) will now proc in forms.
- Healthstones, Potions, and the like can now be used in forms. You can also mine, herb, and use quest items in form as well.
- Abolish Poison (updated for 3.1): Now ticks every 3 seconds, up from every 2. Now lasts 12 seconds, up from 8.
- Innervate (updated for 3.2): This spell no longer costs mana. This ability has been redesigned to grant 225% of the casting Druid's base mana pool to the target over 10 seconds. Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes.
- Lifebloom (updated for 3.1): Mana cost of all ranks doubled. When Lifebloom blooms or is dispelled, it now refunds half the base mana cost of the spell per application of Lifebloom, and the heal effect is multiplied by the number of applications.
- Pounce (updated for 3.1): No longer affected by diminishing returns with other stuns, however, it now shares a diminishing return with Cheap Shot (Rogue).
- New ability: Savage Defense (added in 3.1): Trainable at level 40 with Dire Bear Form as a prerequisite.
When the druid deals a melee critical strike, it gains a physical damage shield equal to 25% of its attack power. The next hit completely consumes the shield, regardless of how much damage was done. Only active in Bear Form.
- Enrage (updated for 3.2): Now generates 20 initial rage and 10 rage over 10 seconds, for 30 rage. Armor penalty unchanged.
- Rebirth (updated for 3.3): Cooldown reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes, still not usable in arena.
Threat Spec: Use if you do not need to apply improved demo roar or infected wounds.
Improved Demo spec: Changes ferocity for Feral Aggression if your raid does not have a warrior with improved demo shout of a paladin with vindication.
Infected Wounds spec: Changes Improved Mangle for Infected wounds if your raid needs you to apply the attack speed debuff.
Infected Wounds and Improved Demo spec: This spec changes ferocity for Feral Aggression and Improved mangle for Infected wounds. This is the spec you will probably be if you exclusively run 10 mans. In 25 mans it depends on what class your offtank is but this will rarely be useful except on single tank fights.
Infected Wounds, Improved Demo, and Improved Mangle: You trade Omen of Clarity and 2 points in Feral Instinct to pick up improved mangle along with the above spec.
Hybrid spec: There are 3 unspent points to place where you feel best, this is the spec you want to use if you tank/cat main spec and have a healing offspec (as opposed to a full cat or moonkin offspec).
Building up a spec from scratch: Start off with 10 in resto and then start working up the feral tree. The first tier depends on your raids needs but most likely a fury warrior will have improved demo shout in their spec allowing you to get ferocity.
Building up a spec part two: Putting the filler point in feral instinct brings you to the choices between infected wounds and improved mangle, again depending on what your raid needs.
Building up a spec conclusion: Once you decide between improved mangle and infected wounds you will need 1 filler point, I placed it in imp leader of the pack. Getting the 7 points in the last two tiers leaves you 9 points to do with as you please and 2 filler points to move around as you please at the two stop points above.
Glyph of Aquatic Form - Item - World of Warcraft -> could be useful for leveling not so much at 80
Glyph of Challenging Roar - Item - World of Warcraft -> must have
Glyph of Dash - Item - World of Warcraft
Glyph of Thorns - Item - World of Warcraft -> You should have a tree or boomkin buffing you with thorns before pulls negating this
Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth - Item - World of Warcraft
Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration - Item - World of Warcraft -> must have. with the buffs to frenzied regen and this glyph it will finally become something useful again
Glyph of Maul - Item - World of Warcraft (updated for 3.1) -> at 1st I hated this glyph, now I am in love with it. Unfortunately there are a lot of taunt sensitive encounters in ulduar. One niche this may have is on heroic twins if your raid is hitting the enrage timer and are using a strat in which you tank them on top of each other, this will add significant dps.
Glyph of Growl - Item - World of Warcraft (updated for 3.1) -> As mentioned above, this is pretty much a must now for ulduar. In trial you so not want taunts resisting on Gormok.
Glyph of Mangle - Item - World of Warcraft -> really more for cat DPS than tanking, you would need 3-4 misses in a row depending on if you speced into improved mangle before the debuff fell anyway.
Glyph of Barkskin - Item - World of Warcraft (new in 3.1)-> PvP glyph since you are already immune to crits against bosses. I used this for hard mode thorim while undergeared though.
Glyph of Berserk - Item - World of Warcraft (new in 3.1) -> PvP glyph, not as effective as shred, rip and SR for cat pve. Possible burst threat potential for bear but there are actually good bear glyphs now.
Glyph of Survival Instincts - Item - World of Warcraft (new in 3.1) -> My new favorite bear glyph. This + 4pc t8 gives you 28 seconds of 45% increased health.
Growl, SI, Frenzied Regen.
Challenging roar, Unburdened Rebirth, Dash
For those interested, a write-up of all the threat modifiers can be found here. It is updated as of the 3.3 PTR.
There are two different rotations a bear might use. The first you use if you are not speced into improved mangle and is 4 globals long, this is because mangle and FF will both have a 6 second cooldown and thus never overlap. If you are speced into improved mangle then mangle and FF will both come off cooldown at the same time. Additionally every rotation is only 3 globals instead of 4.
Regardless, you want to keep maul queued as much as possible depending on how much rage you have, as it usually makes up between 50 and 70% of a bear's threat.
The Improved Mangle rotation is always Mangle, 2, 3. Where 2 and 3 can be either a demo roar, faerie fire, swipe, or lacerate. Always use mangle every time it comes up, unless demo roar has fallen off. The rules for deciding which ability to use on steps 2 and 3 are as follows:
first > if demo roar or an equivalent is not active on the boss, apply the debuff.
second > if demo roar is on the boss and FF is off cooldown, use it.
third > if demo is up and FF is on cooldown, swipe.
Your first 3 rotations should always be mangle, FF, lacerate, mangle lacerate, lacerate, mangle lacerate lacerate followed by a mangle then a berserk. While berserk make sure to replace 1 mangle with a lacerate to keep your 5stack going.
After that any time you are on step 2 and lacerate has less than 3 seconds, or on step 3 and lacerate has less than 5 seconds remaining on the debuff, refreshing your 5stack has priority over swipe and FF.
The normal rotation simply adds FF into the normal mix and becomes mangle, FF, 3, 4. Where 3 and 4 can now only be demo roar, swipe, or lacerate. Again always mangle and FF when the come up unless demo has fallen and the rules for steps 3 and 4 now become:
first > if demo roar has fallen, apply the debuff.
second > if demo roar is on the target, swipe.
Your first 2 rotations are mangle FF lacerate lacerate, mangle lacerate lacerate lacerate, mangle berserk. Again towards the end of berserk you will need to turn 1 mangle into a lacerate to keep the stack rolling.
After that, the duration remaining on your five stack in order to determine if lacerate will replace a swipe is less than 3 seconds at step 3 and less than 5 seconds at step 4.
1. Stat Priority: What are you looking for in your gear?
Stamina is your primary stat. For every 1 point of stamina you actually gain 1.63 stam with kings in bear.
- Armor for capes and jewelery
- Dodge rating
- Defense rating
- Expertise and hit until cap
- Armor pen
Agility will be your primary source of avoidance. Because we tank in rogue gear we will naturally have enough avoidance without really gemming for it. It also gives a small amount of extra armor as well as crit.
Look for extra armor on necks, capes, and rings. The extra armor has to come from some where as far as item budget, most of the time it comes at the expense of parry rating which we cannot use anyway or threat stats such as hit and expertise. This makes them perfect for druids and soaking massive amounts of physical damage.
Defense and dodge will only appear on necks, capes, rings, and trinkets. For comparison, 5 dodge rating is .13% while 5 defense rating is only .04% dodge and .04% chance to be missed.
Expertise up till 56 skill is your best threat stat, followed by hit till 8%.
After that, because maul makes up so much of our threat, haste becomes the next best stat.
Crit affects lacerate and FF as well as procing savage defense putting it slightly ahead of armor pen.
For Trinkets, they are the most versatile gear slot you have. This more than anything else should be changed based on the encounter. Need more avoidance, use greatness deck, need more threat, use an expertise trinket or grim toll, fighting heroic anub, use the glyph.
For your meta, you want the Austere Earthsiege Diamond. It takes 2 blue and a red to activate.
Never get any socket bonus that requires a yellow gem.
If an item has a single red socket and an agi or stam bonus I will usually fill it with a Shifting Dreadstone.
Likewise if an item has a blue socket and a red socket and an agi or stam socket bonus, I will also fill the red with a Shifting Dreadstone while using a Solid Majestic Zircon in the blue to pick that bonus up as well.
Other than that you want a Solid Majestic Zircon in every slot, with 3 51 stam gems if you are a JCer.
Helm: Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector from revered argent crusade (the stamina-shadow resist helm enchant is from the same vendor make sure to get the right one). Helms are a great place to enchant for resists when fights require, such as heroic Anub, Item Enhancements (Permanent) - Items - World of Warcraft.
Shoulder: Greater Inscription of the Gladiator from honor is recommended but you can also get Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle from exalted Sons of Hodir. If you do not have the honor, an easy way to get it is to win a single Wintergrasp with all the weekly's, but you could also get a Heavy Borean Armor Kit as a placeholder.
Cape: 22 agi or 225 armor. This is another great place to get resists for fights like heroic Anub, Enchanting - Recipes - World of Warcraft.
Chest: 10 to all stats or a Heavy Borean Armor Kit, this provides more hp than 275 hp while in bear form if you have kings.
Bracers: 102 stam for a leatherworker or 40 stam if you are not
Rings: if you are an enchanter you can put stamina on them.
Boots: 22 stam or Tuskarr's if you feel you need the run speed. You can also opt for 16 agi.
Legs: Frosthide leg armor, if you are a leatherworker you can go this instead for less mats.
Gloves: You have a lot of options here. Personally I recommend a Heavy Borean Armor Kit but you could go with 20 agi. If you felt you really needed it you can enchant 20 hit rating or 15 expertise rating.