The Circle of Healing 2.0 survey has been such a great thing that it’s not really surprising that the Tanks want in on the fun. I’ve seen two modifications, one by Restokin‘s guest Bear, Garnaph, and another by Orvillius of D/E the Tank!.
In addition to my Holy-specced Blood Elf Paladin, Kiraleia, I’ve also been leveling a Prot-specced Tauren Paladin, Karelia, through LFD. I’ve enjoyed tanking with Karelia enough that I started to get curious about how the other shield tanking class played, so I rolled up a new Warrior, Katebeka, for the purpose. BTH has been a devotee of Bear Tanking ever since it first became a truly viable role back in BC, and between the fun he seems to have with it and BBB‘s enthusiasm for it, I’d also like to try Druid tanking at some point. I’ve never been particularly interested in Death Knight tanking, however.
Because my experience with tanking is limited to low-level dungeons — Karelia had only gotten as far as Razorfen Kraul the last time I played with her — I’ve decided to give BTH a guest-posting posting opportunity and have him fill out the Tanking Circle survey, instead.
My main, Ronada, is a Druid tank that’s been tanking since Kara. I also have a Paladin tank, and I’ve played a Warrior up to level 80 in WOTLK, but I didn’t tank a lot on him.
1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Ronada – Feral Druid
2. What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
25 man raids
3. What is your favorite tanking ability or CD for your class and why?
Berserk. Sure, it doesn’t help my mitigation, but it’s great for keeping aggro on pulls. While our Swipe aggro comes and goes, generally it’s not been competitive with the aoe of other tanks.
4. What tanking ability or CD do you use least for your class and why?
Challenging Roar. It’s not a permanent solution to any problems.
5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?1.
Greater raid awareness. A Druid has a simpler rotation than other tanks, which makes it easier to pay attention to what’s going on in the raid.
6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?
The lack of Bear gear is a serious weakness.
In the Firelands raid, there’s only 1 item in each slot that’s fit for a Bear (Haste does not fit Bears). Every item we get has to be reforged to Dodge. I have almost no options for deciding if I’d rather go with Mastery for bigger shields or Crit for better shields, or Hit/Expertise for more steady threat. Every Bear is going to be wearing exactly the same pieces, and reforging them in exactly the same way. Blizzard hasn’t made gear with both Agility and Dodge since BC, which is why I maintain that I haven’t seen a non-trinket Bear item in 4 years.
I have to compete with the other Ferals and the Rogues (4 people, in a typical raid with our guild) for leather, whereas there are only 2 people competing for plate tanking gear. The accessories are worse because there are generally about 7+ people competing for them when you add the Hunters and the Enh. Shamans. Add this to the fact that plate tanks can choose from more gear because they like any item with Mastery on it, regardless of whether there is Dodge/Parry on it. When my Druid got to 85 there were 4 Reputation reward items I could get. With my Pally, there were ~8. During progression, I’ve consistently had a lower Wow-heroes/Gearscore/ILevel than the other tanks in my guilds.
People say our lack of magic mitigation is a weakness – but it’s not as big a deal as most people think. Like the Warrior, we’re generally passed up on fights that deal a lot of magic damage. However, most fights where you think a lot of magic damage is going to occur, the actual amount of tank magic damage is less than 20%, which means we do as well as any other tank. But the perception is there.
7. In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?
8. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?
Druid. I enjoy tanking on my Pally, but I just know my Druid’s CDs and rotations so much better that I can focus on the fight instead of my class mechanics.
9. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?
I haven’t tried DK tanking. I didn’t enjoy Warrior tanking, because it seemed like there were too many buttons, and I couldn’t pay attention to what the mobs/boss were doing.
10. What is your worst habit as a tank?
Pulling trash too aggressively. (As his usual healer, I absolutely agree!)
11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
When another tank taunts a mob off me unneccessarily.
12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks for PvE tanking?
13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
Well, I view the damage taken logs and death logs in Recount to determine what sorts of things are killing me. I also visit online weblogs, but there aren’t a lot that focus on the tanking aspect of feral druids.
14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?
Some people think I do more threat than them overall – but I only really can pull ahead when I’m using Berserk. On long term fights, generally the other tanks can pull more threat.
15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?
How to do Cat DPS when you’re not tanking.
16a. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a tank via Recount or World of Logs, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. too much damage taken, not enough cooldown usage, etc)?
I always forget to use my potions.
16b. So, how about that whole Vengeance mechanic, eh?
It’s stupid, because Vengeance’s worth is inversely related to the strength of my gear. As my Dodge increases, my Vengeance goes down, which reduces my shield and threat. Also it means that the tank who has threat, keeps threat from the other tanks, but in an AOE situation it leads to one tank having no mobs and the other tank having all the mobs. Until the second tank dies, of course.
17. Dodge or Mastery, and why? or Stamina, Combat Table Coverage, or total Damage Reduction?
I prefer Agility, but then Dodge. I have reforged every reforgeable item to Dodge. For me, the debate is more if I should gem/flask/trinket for Agility or for Stamina. I take a midway approach – I gem and flask Agility, but trinket Stamina. I do use Agility trinkets on fights where aggro is a concern but tank damage is not – especially trash.
18. What tanking class do you feel you understand least?
19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?
ICE hud, Omen, I was using and liking ThreatPlates for a while but then they changed it and I haven’t taken the time to get it working since then.
20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats (stam, mastery, avoidance), or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I strive for balance. By being in the middle, that means if a certain fight requires more stamina or more avoidance, I can make the change without re-gemming – by changing flasks and trinkets. I believe that a 40 Agility gem is worth the same amount as a 60 Stam trinket.