Tag Archives: Druid

Decisions, Decisions

25 Jun

I’m in a bit of a dilemma, with 4.2 right around the damn corner. I enjoy DK tanking, and I enjoy Druid tanking. They both have benefits, and they both have drawbacks. I’ve pretty much done everything, even write a damn list of pros and cons, over the two tanks (they’re equally geared too, BTW) trying to come to a decision. Here’s what i’ve come up with.

DK Pros – Self healing is amazing. Best tanking cooldowns, period. Much better snap threat. Base-line expertise (probably contributes to the higher threat gen). Lower variety of stats that are *absolute garbage* on tanking gear. Great AOE threat, even without an AOE taunt. C’mon, face it… Death grip is *awesome*. “Defender of the Shattered World” title on this toon. Army of the Dead is *amazing* dps cooldown.

DK Cons – Much more unforgiving rotation. Making blood shield work to it’s highest potential is *very* difficult. 2pt12 bonus is crap. Runes are on cooldown at the worst times. Runic empowerment is far too RNG for my tastes.  DK’s take more damage than any other tank, and have to perform much better to be equal with other tanks (by Blizz’s own admission).

Druid Pros – Much higher armor. Much higher avoidance. More DPS output. An interrupt that’s also a gap-closer, if you need it. Another gap closer in feral charge. A ranged pull that generates respectable threat (FFF). 2pt12 bonus is relatively solid. T12 gear, in general, is much better itemized for us than T11 was (and by “us” I mean bears, not just ferals). AOE Taunt. Much easier/forgiving rotation. Berserk is *amazing* for aoe-threat, as well as a DPS cooldown. Flamking kitten staff 😀

Druid Cons – Sometimes I still find myself rage starved. Snap threat is lower (probably because of a lack of hit/expertise on my current gear). Lack of real magic damage reduction. Tanking trinkets are…. strange… for druids. Much more chance of “acceptable” gear, with strange itemization for bears (wtf haste). Much lower amount of threat stats (hit/exp… although Firelands looks to be fixing that some). AOE threat is still… questionable. Savage Defense could be better. Still have issues with rage at times, (mainly cause of low hit/exp). Everytime I have a Mangle miss/dodge/parry it makes me cry a little inside, ESPECIALLY when I’m using Berserk.

 

So there it is… There may or may not be an equal number of points between pros and cons, but they weigh in at about the same to me, so it’s really hard for me to decide. Also, I don’t wanna be one of those guys who keeps changing mains around, because it’s not fair to my raiders to do so. Whichever toon I stick with, i’ll probably end up sticking with till the end of the expansion. Honestly, I could see myself raiding with either one until the end of Cata, and doing so pretty successfully. My healing team has told me they’ve noticed little difference between actually healing either toon, but i’ll be perfectly honest… I’m not liking with what is going on with DKs at the moment. I really enjoyed the class (and actually, I still do), but the farther I get progressed, and the more I play the toon, the more I actually FEEL the issues with her.

 

I’ll give a for-instance… We put some attempts on Heroic Halfus for the first time this week. 2 DK tanks and a Pally tank. We only worked for maybe an hour, because we’re definitely NOT a hardcore guild, but I was the tank that lead off on Halfus, and I just felt like i was getting absolutely crushed. One of the healers was telling me that he was going OOM by the time the 3rd tank just picked up Halfus for the first time. Now admittedly, there were a lot of other issues going on, but it just seemed like, I literally COULD NOT Death Strike enough to offset the “Extra damage” that DKs take… Yeah, that’s another issue I have. There shouldn’t be a tanking class that takes noticably more damage than others, even if it’s more offset by rotational self-healing, because that rotational self-healing is SO EASY TO FUCK UP. Death strike’s healing is tied to the amount of damage you’ve taken a couple seconds prior. Well guess what, heroic bosses hit like a fucking mack truck, so if you’ve used 2 death strikes on big spikes, and all your runes are on CD, then there’s another big spike JUST AROUND THE CORNER that you can’t heal up through. And guess what else… Blood shield is wiped away with one hit. You almost have no chance of getting it to stack up a big number, because of all the damn hits your taking. Oh yeah! Fun times! /grump.

 

Not that Savage Defense is a perfect mastery, but it *is* better off than Blood Shield. Smaller absorbs, more often, proccing regularly enough to make a difference, but y’know what? Druids also have a MUCH lower damage intake. For comparison… My DK, in full 359 gear, and blood presence, unbuffed, is sitting just shy of 30k armor. My bear? Also in full 359 gear, in bear form, unbuffed, is sitting at 44k armor. On top of that, the druid is sitting at around 37% dodge, whereas the DK has about 30% dodge/parry and a metric TON of more mastery. Also? 4% of max health every 6 seconds via Leader of the Pack? It’s still a DAMN respectable amount of self healing, even if it doesn’t equal up to what a blood DK will do. My point is this… DKs are in a worse position right now than Druids, but damn if I don’t really enjoy playing both classes. I forsee yet another big overhaul of DKs coming before the end of this expansion. Their current model just won’t hold out as it is, for 3 more tiers of content, in my opinion. And if it DOES manage till the end of Cata, i would place money on the fact that they’ll be reworked before the next expac.

 

Firelands’ Bling – Bear Version

6 Jun

I’m rather surprised to see that there’s actually less agility items than there are strength items. But I guess it kinda makes sense, cause they have to differentiate strength items into tanking and non-tanking items, whereas agility is just… agility. It kinda makes things a bit more competetive if there’s any kitties, rogues, hunters, or enhancement shammies in your raid.

Necklaces:

(Heroic) Necklace of Strife – The *only* necklace in heroic t11. /shrug. Not spectacularly itemized (With the haste), but if you’re doing heroics, you probably already have it. I’m annoyed that in 13 bosses, there’s only one necklace in the whole tier worth using.

Flamesign Necklace – The *only* necklace in t12 content. Yet again, not amazingly itemized (hit and crit), but if it’s the only one… yeah, you’ll probably end up picking it up.

Ring: There’s actually a few more choices here than there are for the other tanks.

Band of Ghoulish Glee – Pretty sure this is going to drop from the Headless Horseman, so it’ll only be available for a limited time. That said, it’s not a half bad ring, for how easily you’d be able to pick it up.

Band of Glittering Lights – Not a very good ring, bearwise. Crit and haste are among our lowest priorities, so this one is probably better off left on the shelf.

Matoclaw’s Band – Another hit/crit ring, but without the downside of only being available for a couple weeks.  Nearly identical to the Horseman’s ring, if you’re coming from 359 rings, this one may not be a bad upgrade until you can pick up one of the raid-drops.

(Heroic) Lightning Conductor’s Band – If you picked this one up Heroic Omnotron, then you’ll probably hang on to it for a while. Hit and Crit rear their respective puzzled heads again, making this one of the only rings you might ever see from heroic t11 content. Conclave’s loot table is WAY too random for me to even think about listing them here, so I won’t (also, because I don’t know all of the enchantments available with them).

Splintered Brimstone Seal – The first of two t12 level rings, this one actually has mastery on it… something severely lacking from everything of a lower item level.  This one is probably BiS for 378’s, as it has slightly more crit, that can be reforged off into dodge, but still a good amount of mastery for those delicious savage defense shields.

Widow’s Kiss – Still a solid choice for bear rings, the haste on this one makes it a little less desirable than the Splintered Brimstone Seal. Also, it has less mastery than it’s counterpart. Not necessarily something you should pass up, per se, but the other one is just better for us.

 

Trinkets, for druids, are still an object of contention. All signs still point to bears wanting to prioritize agility over stamina, so it may work to your benefit to have an agility trinket, as well as a standard “tanking” trinket. The full listing of tank oriented trinkets, you can find here, so I won’t list all of them again… I’ll just put the agility trinkets here specifically for bears.

Aella’s Bottle (has the EXACT same stats/proc/use ability as Ricket’s Magnetic Fireball)- Obviously, the proc makes it look more DPS oriented (and it probably is), but this isn’t a bad trinket for bears by any means. If your bear is an alchemist, however, you can probably hang on to the Quicksilver Alchemist’s Stone over this one, as the agility comes REALLY close to equaling out, if you throw a socket-matching gem in there. Also, the bonus healing from potions can be quite nice, and really a lifesaver in some situations i’m sure. The on-use ability for this trinket could be modestly decent to help force a savage defense proc, but that’s about it. Kind of a tossup, depending on your current trinket situation.

(Heroic) Essence of the Cyclone – Circumstantially, one of the best trinkets from t11 content. High baseline agility, and a (somewhat useful) high proc for crit make this a good trinket to keep around for rotating in and out. I have a feeling tanks are going to be keeping several trinkets stashed in their bags.

(Heroic) Prestor’s Talisman of Machination – Not quite as good as the Essence of the Cyclone, based solely on the proc (haste instead of crit), but the baseline agility still make it a decent grab, if you haven’t picked up the other one, for some reason.

The Hungerer – The only i378 agility trinket available, this one is better off going to your rogues and hunters first. The agility base is high, of course, but the special effect, unique as it is, is completely worthless to us.  You can probably, safely, go without this for a while.

What trinket setup I would go with would be pretty dependant on the fight, obviously… but I would most likely keep (Heroic) Essence of the Cyclone, Moonwell Phial, Brawler’s Trophy, and Mirror of Broken Images in my bags at all times. Of course, your mileage may vary, and what you have access to actually picking up is going to differ with your guild’s progression as well. Hope these gear lists are helpful to you. Again, i’m hardly the be-all, end-all on this stuff. These are just my opinions, and are things to look forward to picking up once 4.2 drops.

 

Bear-Flavored Firelands Gear

31 May

Well, I did say I would put a bear’s list up comparable to my DK list for t12 content, and here it is. As far as I can tell so far, the stats are pretty much the same priority-wise as they were in t11. Agility and Dodge are still gonna be king. After that it looks to be Mastery > Expertise >= Hit > Crit > Haste. Obviously, Dodge doesn’t come standard on any leather gear, so that will be just about the only thing you reforge into. Gem-wise, you’ll be using Agility, Agility/Stam or Dodge/Stam.

Chest:

Demon’s Lord Wings – Haste is always crappy for us. I think Blizz is trying to find some use for it for bears, but yeah. I can’t see them doing much of anything that’ll make it any decent for us, other than getting an extra swing over the course of 10 seconds.

Obsidian Arborweave Raiment – Aside from the fact that both our 2p and 4p bonuses are hot this time around (get it? hot? har har?) this is just better itemized than the offset piece. Crit, being the higher value, is what you’d want to reforge towards dodge.

Feet:

Sandals of the Flaming Scorpion – Crit and mastery, plus the gem socket make this pair of boots the preferable pair. Also, the higher individual stat means you have more to reforge away from this than the others.

Treads of the Craft – Haste again. Blugh. Also, no gem socket…  Even though there’s more base agility (and thus, dodge) on these, the Flaming Scorpions end up with a higher amount of dodge if you throw an agi/stam gem in them, and reforge the higher stat into dodge. The bonus these boots have is that they’re crafted, so they’ll be easier to obtain for a while… but probably quite expensive for a while.

Hands:

Aviana’s Grips – These are lower ilvl than the raid drops, but will probably be easy to obtain, but they’re not very well itemized for us.

Clutches of Evil – Crafted and the same ilvl as the raid drops, but again not quite well itemized. Also, no gem socket. I would generally try to skip anything with haste on it, if I had my choice of things… admittedly, it doesn’t always work that way.

Gloves of Dissolving Smoke – These would probably be the item of choice. They aren’t your tier gloves, but these are a bit better itemized, set-bonuses not withstanding.

Obsidian Arborweave Grips – These aren’t the best itemized for tier pieces, but… it’s still a tier piece. (Here’s a little hint… I haven’t looked at all the tier pieces yet, so I don’t know which one is the piece to skip yet. I am looking these up as I go along. *gasp*)

Head:

Obsidian Arborweave Headpiece – A tier piece with hit rating on it? What is this I don’t even. Do *not* bypass this one if you get a chance to grab it up.

Vision of the Flaming Skull – This one has haste rating, so it’s instantly worse than the tier piece. Plus… y’know… tier lol.

 

Legs:

Cinderweb Leggings – I think you’re getting the idea by now. Haste? Pass it up, especially for a tier slot.

Obsidian Arborweave Legguards – ANOTHER leather piece with hit? YOU’LL TAKE THAT HIT RATING AND YOU’LL LIKE IT. (Seriously, i’m confused). Besides, we’ve already talked about the tier bonuses, right?

 

Shoulders:

Obsidian Arborweave Spaulders – I’m pretty sure the choice is clear by now. Although the choice between the tier shoulders and the off-tier shoulders isn’t nearly as difficult (as neither of them have haste :P), but these still come out on top by way of mastery and crit rating.

Shoulderpads of the Forgotten Gale – If you’re shooting to get more hit rating, then these are a solid choice, but, of course, the tier is better overall because man those set bonuses are nice. And mastery is still pretty good for us as far as survival goes, but dodge is still better in the long run.

 

Belt:

Flamebinding Girdle – With this belt coming from rep with the new Avengers of Hyjal faction, these will probably be easy to come across relatively quickly, but these are “technically” worse than the raid dropped belt… (y’know, that pesky haste rating and everything).

Riplamb’s Lost Collar – Stastitcally better, but probably harder to come across than the other belt. Also, it has expertise, which seems a bit more difficult to come across as well.

 

Bracers:

Flamebinder Bracers – Wow.. the curse of the leather bracers continues. I remember going absolutely berserk while gearing up on my druid, looking for bracers. And then there was only 1 set of 359 bracers, which means there’s only one set of heroic t11 bracers. This is a fucking terrible trend, and really needs to stop.

Now, lets look briefly at the tier pieces, so you can see which 4 pieces to take for your 4p bonus, and which one to leave out.

Hands – Crit/Haste (10 agi socket bonus)

Head – Hit/Crit (30 agi socket bonus)

Legs – Hit/Mastery (20 agi socket bonus)

Chest – Crit/Exp (20 agi socket bonus)

Shoulders – Crit/Mastery (10 agi socket bonus)

Just at a quick glance, I would easily drop the hands for one of the other choices. Fortunatly, the gloves are one slot that have multiple options, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something different to use, and get your 4pt12 in other slots. That being said, I don’t know what bosses are dropping tier tokens (or tier pieces, however they’re doing it this go-round), so if… say Ragnaros holds on to the head slot (which I could very well see happening), and you have 3 other slots, feel free to pick up the gloves and get your 4p bonus. I would rather have that set bonus than sit without it for the sake of a little bit of better itemization.

Weapons: I’m doing these the same way I did the DK weapons, and including heroic t11 versions, just because of the small number of choices.

Witch Hunter’s Harvester – This is the new crafted weapon available for bears to paw at for a little while. Sadly, it’s a lower ilvl than Firelands weapons… and even lower than heroic t11 weapons, but if you’re still using a 359, it may not be a terrible choice. Crit and mastery make it pretty well itemized for us at any rate.

(Heroic) Malevolence – As the heroic version of the *only* 2handed agility weapon from t11 content, you’re probably very familiar with this weapon. You’ve probably also fought with every hunter and kitty in your guild over it as well. Such is life. At least it’s well itemized for us, also with Crit and Mastery, but only having 1 usable item in an entire tier of content, out of 13 bosses? That’s fuckin lame.

Ranseur of Hatred – First of the 378 drops, this is definitely the “worse” between them. If you have to pick between this and Heroic Malevolence, it’s pretty much a tossup between them. As we know, haste is worthless for us, but there’s a good amount of it to reforge off into dodge, and it also has more baseline agility and stam.

Fandral’s Flaming Spire – No doubt the best item available before heroic raiding for the bear types. Crit and mastery are the tasty combo of weapon stats for bears, it seems (on 3 of the 4 items i’m listing here), which works out just fine for us. Sad to see that there’s no sockets on any of these weapons though, like there is for Sulfuras.