A Bear with Soul or How to Hold Up a Boss Fuzzy Style

After giving Rython a chance to expand my (and hopefully your) knowledge of tank prep, I got to thinking, “Who else could I tap with extensive raid knowledge?” ideally to pump them mercilessly for information and gleefully pass it along to you. Soulecho came to mind immediately. In BC Rython and Soulecho were the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of tanking. No, no the metaphor works I swear! Two tanks holding up a boss, keeping him busy while the rest of us (the Wild Bunch) loot to our hearts content. (Or am I the only one that sees raiding as a western?)…

Where was I? Oh yes! Soulecho has been a fuzzy tank since I started raiding with my hunter in BC and he still does OT duty come Lich King. So with all this bear experience who better to give aspiring fuzzy tanks some tips and hints along the way?

Do you know who Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are? And if so which would you be?

I’d like to be Butch, but the way raid leaders treat me as primarily as an OT all the time, although I have Mt capability, I’d say I’m the Sundance Kid atm.

I know that the mechanics for bear tanking works different from say Warrior or Pally tanking. What would you say is one of the biggest misconceptions you find about bear tanks?

The first is in alignment with my entering statement, that we can’t be Main tanks. The idea that most fights have to be done by warrior, pallies, or even now dk’s is ridiculous. I know most bear tanks, which are good at what they do, are very good and have the capability, given the place and time to do it, are main tanks. Really that’s the one that comes to my head at the moment when it comes to misconceptions

I hear a lot of new bears talking about how they are ready to tank because of their huge health pool, but is that all there is to it?

Health is a big part of it, but I find the idea of bears stacking 24 stamina gems into all of their slots, a very bad move. Mainly because druid tanks are not only about health, they are about health, dodge, and armor. So if you avoid putting any dodge or agility on and in anything you lose a vital part of what bear tanking is and will be vulnerable to taking more damage. Because no matter how much health you have, if you have no dodge or armor you will die super fast.

For that new to 80 bear just now looking to heroics how do you start weighting your stats?

The main stats as a tanking spec to worry about are stamina, agility, armor and dodge. Now dodge comes with a lot of agility as well as armor. You want to build these all respectively while gearing up. But once you feel comfortable with a good enough dodge and armor check, then good idea to build into health

What are your go to abilities/talents? Is there an ‘OH SHIT!’ one, or one to pull it out of the fire?

My “oh shit” abilities are frenzied regeneration + survival of the fittest. With these two combined I get a big boost in health plus a boost form healing cause of my frenzy glyph

Is there an ability lot of people over look that you find is a gem?

Barkskin end of story

Take on upcoming 3.10 patch changes?

Well so far the only druid change is a big one, and currently I don’t like the idea one bit. I mean a temporarily shield that takes one hit then we go back to normal, plus having lower overall armor to somehow compensate for giving us a damage shield. It’s blizzards version of trying to fix things. But as usual they fail at most things

Best advice for new Bears?

Don’t do more than you can handle, start light, and build up. When wrath came out I was stuck dpsing for a while because the gear I had from BT and Hyjal didn’t scale for shit so I had to back off and chill out a bit until I build up again. Now I’m on top of the world once more.

Summarized: Use BARKSKIN! Start slow and build your tank gear, keep your stats balanced between health, dodge/agility, and armor, and last but not least always remember to…have fun! (Ok I added that last one but come on!)

Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 4:02 am  Comments (1)  
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Understanding why you want to wear these clothes

Today will be will be discussing…stat weights. To begin we have a few of the many tools out there that allow you to weight stats to sift through gear.All numerical values I use in the example have not been checked for accuracy and exist to illustrate a point.


Loot Rank


Tank Points

While these are all good tools to use, they are useless if we do not have an understanding of what stat weighting is.Essentially you are giving a numerical value to a stat, the higher the value the more important you find it to be. I admit this is a very simplified explanation but for a more detailed look please see here! The good people at LO happily educated me on the math involved. So lets jump right in and set up some guidelines. For todays example I will break from priests and look at tank stats.

Our tank in todays frigid Northrend wilds needs to start somewhere when looking at his gear to take on forces arrayed before him. But where to start? Everywhere I looked they all said the same thing 540 Defense! But after hitting the magic 540 where do you go from there? Well if you followed the link you would just browse the well done guides and let them lead you by the hand like I did. But you are here and I like the company so lets continue.

Next you will be looking for evasion, hit, expertise and health. All these things will make my life as a healer easier. Now lets assume you have been gathering gear to make 540 def. and now are looking to round yourself out with the other stats I’ve just listed? Its time to create your stat weights!

To do this will we ill need to assign a value to each stat. I prefer to keep my numbers smaller as I find I value certain stats close enough not to warrent a larger spread. You however may be different and see a lack in your gear that desperately needs to be filled. If so you will want a larger spread of numbers.

Example: Currently I weight haste at .06 and crit at .04 I keep all my numbers under 1.

No method is the end all be all. However the larger the number the more ‘weight’ you are giving the stat. So looking at our tank who we will state has the requisite 540 def., how do we want to weight him? First lets go with multiples of 10 up to 100. ie 10, 20, 30

Evasion (why let the boss hit you in the first place?) is split between Dodge and Parry so lets go 50/50 for the sake of argument. ( I have not checked the mat because when I poked around Tank Spot I noticed they had already weighted all gear and posted lists, making me ponder my warrior tank getting dusted off)

Hit (I find this an often overlooked tank skill) you can’t cause threat on a boss if you can’t hit him. We have a hard target of 8%, but we can’t neglect our other stats in the hunt for threat. so we will weight this 30.

Health, need a good bit of HP to be pounded by a boss. So this I’ll give a 40.

And there we have our sample weights! Plug this into Wowhead, Rawr, or Loot Rank and let them compare the gear for you! Tankpoints is specially designed to help tanks with all requisite math built into the mod. YAY!

Well I hope this helps you understand weighting a little more.

Published in: on February 21, 2009 at 4:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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How a Tank Gets Ready-Guest Post

I was going to make this Raid Prep 2, but my Main Tank, Rython, gave such an indepth analysis of what he does to prepare for raids I thought I’d just let him speak for himself and then I’d follow up with Raid Prep 2 in a day or so. But really you need to get to know my tank first.
A little background is in order for you to truly appreciate why I would think of this Prot War as my go to guy. Rython was our MT all through BC to start with. While tanking duties were shared on some fights if I had to say who was the MT leader, Ryth would be the name you heard. Back in the days of BC raiding I sat my hunter butt in the melee channel with the tanks and melee dps. (If you haven’t just sat down and listened to the way your tanks and melee interact, do so. It will tell you volumes about your raid.) Rython has a cool head, talked to the melee and the hunters for that fact. I’ve found some tanks unapproachable but never Ryth. These days when I raid with Wild West (yes I’ve started bringing my healer) I hear Rython handing out raid assignments. There is a deep trust between the raid leaders and Rython to make the right choice.

“At this point in the game, with just farming old bosses I don’t actually do much prep. I just make sure I have a full stack of everything and that I know where we are going and when XD.

When we first started raiding wrath content things were very different (and will be in Uldar again) For every new encounter I watched a video first. I was especially interested in kite paths and movement mechanics. I’m a very visual person and I have to see something to really understand it. I do read up on the encounters as well, then watch the video again.

If something is important and their is a way to practice it before the raid I try to do that as well. Malygos is a perfect example of that. I think I put in a full hour of “Aces High” before I really felt comfortable in phase 3.

Closer to raid time I also look at the roster and see who we have to work with. I don’t handle slotting but if I see an issue the leads may have missed I’ll send a tell to them.

I imagine most people would be surprised (and maybe some wouldn’t) to learn just how much I research equipment. I knew the stats and tankpoint value of every piece of tank gear in the game before I stepped foot into naxx. I also study the points page before each raid.

This leads me to a bit of a tangent: as the main tank I feel its my responsibility to have the best of everything, and I do everything possible to that end. Of course we are on the LO system, and main tank gearing is not an option.

I remember on several occasions in TBC our other tanks with more points passed big upgrades to me to help our progression. And while I appreciate that greatly when it happens, I don’t expect it. I work hard to ensure I have the most points when those rare best-in-slot pieces drop. I probably pass on off-set and 2nd best gear more than any other person we raid with.

It typically works out quite well. I’m extremely well geared at this point, one of the best geared tanks on the server in fact (I’ve been lucky too, I admit). We almost never wipe because I died early, though of course our healers deserve the lion’s share of the credit for that. I just want their job to be as easy as I can make it 8-)”

Of course I wanted to know more! So here is a list of some prep points Rython does. (Do any of them remind you of Raid Prep 1?)

What materials (ie potions) do you gather before going to a raid?
Runic healing Injectors and Indestructible Potions. The indestructible is for tanking bosses that hit hard. You can use two in a fight by popping the 1st right before combat.

Do you bring any crafting materials along for a raid?
I actually carry all the raw gems on my person (I’m a JC) and for uldur I also plan on having all the enchanting kits/mats I might need sitting in my bags ready to go. I did this for naxx and there’s nothing like getting a new piece of gear and using it against the next boss.

Do you bring off spec gear with you?
I don’t bring my dps gear, due to space limitations and the sad fact that prot specced warriors just can’t do worthwhile dps no matter what they are wearing. If we ever get dual spec, that will change.

Anything you feel is a must have/must do for a raid?

I would never want to go into a raid not knowing the encounters. Learning by dying is….. much less fun than winning, imho
I’d also want to make sure I’m comfortable with my interface. Changing your key bindings or frames right before a raid is bad juju

Published in: on February 17, 2009 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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