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Thread: Cataclysm and the Mythical Bear Tanks

  1. #1
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    Cataclysm and the Mythical Bear Tanks

    Ok so I assume since this is the General Discussion section I can post this here. BUT! If not, feel free to sweep this under the rug.


    My character name is Multipurpose. I am a 85 Feral Druid on Korialstrasz and have played my druid since the beginning of WotLK. In BC I played a Holy Paladin, but that's beside the point. With the release of Cataclysm, I've watched Feral Druids go from being one of the most common tanks, to now being extremely sparce. Now as a bear I dont really understand where all the bears have gone. I've read enough material online to suggest that they are the weakest tanks in the game at the moment, but I honestly don't see it.

    When it comes to threat I really haven't seen that many issues, and the same goes for mitigation. Granted, I am only in the 5man heroics since recently returning to the game, and I run with a Restoration Shaman (Scream Overpowered!). I mean, is it really correct to say that Druids are the weakest tanking class in the game right now? Or is it just that it's not as faceroll as it used to be, and people don't like actually trying on a druid?

    I'm just looking for some outside input on this, feel free to tear me a new one, or agree. Agreeing is always nice

  2. #2
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    it's all just perceptions. outside of what Darksend can tell you (i think he might've said there were some perceived threat issues aoe related if memory serves me) there's really no reason not to use a bear tank. It's like what most people complained about warriors in wotlk, and paladins in tbc. It's largely perception, and a good guild will use their best Tank, regardless of whether it's a bear, a rageaholic, a blood mongerer, or a righteous turd. It's about the player doing what he can do best, yes that means altering some strategies around it, but nothing in the expansion so far has been, NOPE, X Tank can't tank this fight.

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    They are giving us an extremely 6% mitigation in the upcoming patch. Unless they do that EVERY SINGLE PATCH EA are going to fall behind fast. its like TBC all over again in that there is a glaring problem inherent in our basic scaling compared to the other tanks



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    Well I have noticed that AoE tanking is not what it used to be. By that I mean it's not as faceroll (Just spamming swipe). Demoralizing Roar has become a very useful ability in rotations because of the cooldowns on Swipe and Thrash. Also, the return of Tab Targetting to spread Mangles around. Though Berserk helps with that if you really need the extra threat.


    As far as Single Targetting goes I haven't seen a decrease in my TPS in coordination to TPS put out by DPS. Ocassionally a small burst here and there but nothing my usual rotation has troubles with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suppaspam View Post
    Demoralizing Roar has become a very useful ability in rotations because of the cooldowns on Swipe and Thrash.
    It adds what, 80ish aggro to everyone on application? Maul (glyphed) in addition to tab targeting mangle between those (now, finally!) short cooldown on swipe and trash should seal the deal.

    0 Thrash
    1.5 Swipe
    3 Mangle
    4.5 Swipe
    6 Thrash

    Bears lacked on the survival side, not the damage side. The shield only lasted one hit, didn't matter if you got poked from an add before the boss would land his blow again. Some patches ago they changed that when they changed Blood shield as well, now you don't have to worry that much about tanking multiple targets at once ("addfights") and with the addition of another 6% damage reduction coming 4.2 bears will totally be more be line with other tanks. They still don't have a short cooldown physical damage reduction ability like both block tanks (shield block/holy shield) or a ton of small cooldowns they could rotate like DKs but to counter this they have the highest physical reduction as well as the highest magical reduction pre mitigation via abilities/mastery/etc.

    For heroics dungeons: as long as you know who to attack, who to cc and who to interrupt it doesn't matter at all what tank you bring.

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    Even as far as survival goes I'm not seeing an issue. There again, that could be because of only being in 5 mans, and haven't seen too many other tanks take raid boss hits. I currently have 2 use trinkets and obviously Barkskin, Frenzied Regen, and Survival Instincts. So naturally I am rotating them all lol. I suppose as my gear changes and as I progress into more raiding I will see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suppaspam View Post
    Even as far as survival goes I'm not seeing an issue. There again, that could be because of only being in 5 mans, and haven't seen too many other tanks take raid boss hits. I currently have 2 use trinkets and obviously Barkskin, Frenzied Regen, and Survival Instincts. So naturally I am rotating them all lol. I suppose as my gear changes and as I progress into more raiding I will see.
    It has nothing to do with that, it has to do with scaling, and the problems we will face in full firelands heroic gear and beyond. They already addressed this by giving us extra mitigation this patch, but like I said they will need to do this again and again every time they add another tier of gear.



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    Aaaaah I see what you mean, sorry I am at work and I must have misread your first post while doing multiple things here. Get it got it good.

  9. #9
    Yeah, bear mechanics are a little clumsy at best. They certainly don't scale as elegantly as shield tanks and their flat permanent/near-permanent 30%+ block mechanics.

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    definitely scaling will be an issue. to keep bears in line with others, and also for warriors/paladins to keep them from becoming unhittable/permenant 30% tanks.

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  11. #11
    Not to mention that bears are...to put it simply...kinda boring to play. There's just not a lot of fun toolbox type things to toy around with while bearing it up.

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    I think the changes to healing are the leading reason why bears are less common.

    I think Blizzard did deliver on their promise to make healing in Cataclysm more challenging, enjoyable, fun, or whatever the adjective of the day might be. There is however a very direct link between changes in healing and changes in tanking. Because Cataclysm healing is more challenging, healing in a different context can be more or less difficult. It's easier to heal a shield tank simply because of that consistent and very predictable damage reduction. Healing a bear tank however is significantly more random because they have higher avoidance so often take no damage and the shield can either absorb a significant amount of the hit or none at all leading to a lot more variability in how much damage a single hit does. Because of this less predictable nature of incoming damage it is more difficult to heal. Not because there is necessarily more damage taken but more because it is more difficult to decide what type of heal to use because it is harder to predict the next hit.

    I think Blizzard did an excellent job on redesigning healing in Cataclysm. However they need to invest more on the tanking half of that relationship because rocking the boat on one side will naturally cause waves on the other.
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    I wonder... any thoughts about a bleed effect that would reduce physical damage by the affected by X% for Y seconds? Maybe X% chance that on a periodic DoT crit (a bleed effect) a debuff is applied to the target called "It's a Gusher" which reduces AP by Y% for Z seconds. This stacks with other AP debuffs.

    Do Bears have AoE bleeds? It would give a comparable effect to Bears as shield tanks without making it cookie cutter, because it isn't a block, it's based off of unique bear abilities (bleeds) and since it's crit based, but periodic to compliment non-periodic crits for SD you don't get the abilities to stack, but spread out some.

    It'd scale as agility/crit scale and since it's a flat % AP modifier, much like block is a flat % mitigator, you wouldn't have terrible scaling issues?

    Dunno, random thought I just had.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loganisis View Post
    I wonder... any thoughts about a bleed effect that would reduce physical damage by the affected by X% for Y seconds? Maybe X% chance that on a periodic DoT crit (a bleed effect) a debuff is applied to the target called "It's a Gusher" which reduces AP by Y% for Z seconds. This stacks with other AP debuffs.

    Do Bears have AoE bleeds? It would give a comparable effect to Bears as shield tanks without making it cookie cutter, because it isn't a block, it's based off of unique bear abilities (bleeds) and since it's crit based, but periodic to compliment non-periodic crits for SD you don't get the abilities to stack, but spread out some.

    It'd scale as agility/crit scale and since it's a flat % AP modifier, much like block is a flat % mitigator, you wouldn't have terrible scaling issues?

    Dunno, random thought I just had.
    It is SO SO SO much easier than that. Simply make savage defense scale off something other than AP.

    The biggest problem right now is if you are vengeance capped, crit, and get a shield, and after that you dodge 4 attacks in a row, have 2-3 seconds left on the shield, and crit again ... Since you dodged so many attacks you now have about 50% of your max vengeance that new shield will be 1/2 as strong and replace the old one, but when you get hit 1 second into the new shield you just lost 10-20K of absorbs.

    Vengeance is just to random to have a major survivability component based of it, especially at the levels of avoidance we are already achieving.



  15. #15
    Vengeance is just to random to have a major survivability component based of it, especially at the levels of avoidance we are already achieving.
    Frankly I still don't fully understand why Vengeance decays at the rate that it does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suppaspam View Post
    I've watched Feral Druids go from being one of the most common tanks, to now being extremely sparce.
    I want to pick up on this point, because I don't think there have ever really been a huge number of bear tanks. There was a very short period at the beginning of Wrath when heroic dungeons were super accessible, tanks were in high demand and lots of druids turned their hand to tanking (and it coincided with the great Sarth3D "you must have massive stam feral or blood DK to do hard mode" drama).... but once things calmed down it evened out again. I think this is important, because what you are describing as a decline, I see as pretty much the way it's almost always been.

    I'm old enough to remember when feral druids really were a joke as a tank (rolling into molten core as anything other than resto meant you didn't get the memo). I think it's been a long time since they were 'not viable' as a tank class, and in general that balance between tank classes is probably about as good now as it's ever been. It'll never be totally perfect of course, so forums will always have players complaining about this and that.

    I think the fundamental issues most likely stem from a few things:
    - The feral tank niche is 'best offtank'. That is a niche that very easily leads to that player being the first tank to get pushed into a dps role when there are less tanks needed. That in turn tends to promote the plate tanks into the 'main tank' role. I know, these terms are a bit outdated, but within a raid roster it's likely that you still have some kind of preferences within your tanking core. A social thing, won't apply in all cases but I wouldn't be surprised if it were fairly common.
    - The druid kit as a whole started out as 'jack of all trades, master of none'. It evolved into 'viable at all roles', largely losing the 'mastery of none' bit, but there is still limits on just how many buttons blizzard are prepared to give a single class... so while a prot warrior might find a use for almost all the abilities in his spellbook (and certainly all the abilities in his prot tab), a feral druid doesn't have the same degree of flexibility *within a single role*, and in a raiding context very rarely get to exercise the full extent of their multi-role flexibility.

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    From a healing perspective (Pally and Disc priest) a poorly played bear ranks with a poorly played DK to heal. I tank on Warrior, Pally and DK so I have no idea how to play a bear, but I can say there can be huge differences in healing similarly geared bears; just like DK's, that's why I attribute it to a the player's ability. I'm thinking maybe the ability to play a bear well may contribute to there being fewer around these days.

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    i dont know why did u say that. in Cata there are many types of boss, some classes will be well in the fight. For example Al’akir, warriors or DK is the best tank, but if u use bear or paladin, it is ok.
    IN Cata, there isn't the worst tank class

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    Quote Originally Posted by justinlee View Post
    i dont know why did u say that. in Cata there are many types of boss, some classes will be well in the fight. For example Al’akir, warriors or DK is the best tank, but if u use bear or paladin, it is ok.
    IN Cata, there isn't the worst tank class
    I think you are missing the point. While tanks may be relatively balanced, this does not change their interaction with healers. It is easier for a healer to heal a tank that takes more predictable damage and shield wearing takes are typically of that nature due to the constant, or near constant, damage reduction of block. While the actual damage taken by the tanks may be relatively even, it's harder for a healer who has to decide between casting a slow efficient heal or a slow big heal. In that 3 second base cast time the tank is likely to be hit. The healer needs to be able to anticipate the rate of incoming damage in order for them to heal efficiently. It's easier to heal if the tank takes a consistent 70% damage instead of ranging from like 30% to 100% depending on the state of their proced effect.

    Druids and Death Knights aren't becoming less common because they are less viable. They are becoming less common because the alternative tanks are easier for the healers to heal. And when I say easier to heal, I mean easier in the sense of decision making, not easier in the sense of actual damage taken.

    Player skill of course is always a factor. It's always easier to heal a good tank, regardless of class, when compared to a bad tank. If the player is exceptionally good or exceptionally bad it throws generalizations like this out the window. This type of generalization is assuming players are of equal skill.
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    I think a lot of it goes back to what Kaz said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazeyonoma View Post
    definitely scaling will be an issue. to keep bears in line with others, and also for warriors/paladins to keep them from becoming unhittable/permenant 30% tanks.
    Pally and Warrior tanks right now have been the cat's meow, with DK's and Druids kinda lagging due to blood shield and savage defense mechanics. I remeber a short while back one of the better pally tanks on my realm talking about his combined 90%+ mitigation, that with his dodge, parry, block, he was NEVER taking a full hit. Then I looked at what I'm having to do on DK.... ok, bone shield is up.... heart strikes delivered, so now I have my 6% damage mit up from blood barrier up.... I have diseases both up on targets for their reduction effects.... slap a death strike, blood shield is good... uh crap... bone shield is gone... time for another heartstrike to keep that up.... well, diseases are almost tapped out.... AAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Point being, warrior tank and pally tank... their base damage reductions are fairly automated in comparison to a DK.

    DK and Druid are still essentially avoidance/mastery tanks as opposed to block tanks. Blizzard DID state that they were pushing players towards not being as dependent on avoidance. I'll dig around for it, but I had stumbled across a Blue Poster that stated that they didn't want to have tanks chasing avoidance anymore because it caused for "spiky tank heals" and that the hits tanks were receiving, in order to make getting hit consequential were getting out of hand.

    Blood shield and savage defense were nods towards that direction. Problem is, they're still not on par with block tanking.
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