Monday, December 22, 2008

[Druid] Bears are OP.

Other bloggers like Flyv and Currant have recently spoke about what their experiences in general with tanking are right now in various environments. That's pretty topical for me, since I've had a couple good ones recently.

This weekend was the first time I was able to do a Naxx-10 run. Prior to this I had been able to get in on a couple fights here and there, but hadn't done most of the fights at all. I was with 7 other people who hadn't done a full run either, and a few had been 80 for about 1 day.

I got to lead it.

I fortunately had a couple of very experienced players with me (hi Mortos) who knew the fights from both the 40-man and the new versions, so there was not a lot of learning mechanics. That helped tremendously. The inexperienced players were the DPS and the other tank, which also helped; the healers were all very good, had good gear and had done many of the fights in 25-man. That makes up for a lot. And the inexperienced or undergeared folks all were very good players too. That is nice. :)

It also helped that druids right now are seriously broken. Really, truly, seriously broken. But I'll get to that in a minute.

Despite having folks that were still in quest greens we went for the Faerlina achievement and did it fairly easily. We almost got the Maexxna achievement - we were about 2 minutes shy - and if we hadn't done loot council we would have had it easily. We one-shotted Spider wing, Plague wing, and everything up to Thaddius. Military wing gave us issues because of inexperience, but at the end of the night we only had Sapph and KT up. And we did those the next night in about an hour, 2-shotting Sapph and 3-shotting KT. For a bunch of people who hadn't ever seen the fights, were low-geared and getting upgrades on every boss downed, it was a seriously good showing.

But again - a part of it that made it easy was that bears are broken. We had a priest for Faerlina, but we decided that with my gearing it would be easier and more fun to try the Faerlina achievement. If you're not familar with this, it is that Faerlina has adds that must be mind-controlled to dispell or delay her enrage. If you don't, she does massive damage to the tank. The massive damage in question was, on me at least, about 12k hits (up from 5k hits). And honestly, it wasn't an issue. I got to 40% once, popped survival instincts and trinkets, and watched my health steadily climb up as dodge-dodge-dodge filled the screen. Easiest achievement ever.

I was offtank on Patchwerk and took barely more damage than the main tank. Hatefuls either missed me completely or only did about 6k a hit. I had to watch threat and stop mauling because I'd overtake the main tank. And they were doing great threat; it was just that between hateful threat and mine, my threat was insane.

I was regularly 4th or 5th on DPS. This wasn't a sign of bad DPS; I was doing 2k-2.2k depending on the fight. Anything with adds was good, clearly, but without adds it was still pretty high.

On KT, we decided to go for the achievement of getting 18 aboms down. That involves pulling at least 3 extra packs of aboms (so 9 in total, coming in waves of 3 each). These were really hard on our DK tank; they did about 4k average hits and peaked to 7.5 hits, all in 1.5 second intervals and adding a 10% healing loss debuff per hit. On me? 2.5k average, peak 5k, didn't hit me as much. I could tank three without the healers having any real issues. In the same fight, KT's adds come out and are supposed to be tanked by an offtank. Instead, we just had me tank them along with KT. And again, no serious issues; the only reason I died was that I failed to see a shadow fissure at one point because of giant insect butt. The next time it was easily done despite the other tank dying early to an unlucky streak of frostbolt and frost blast.

I don't know whether or not well-geared tanks of other specs can do this sort of thing regularly. What I do know is that it's kind of silly to have 43k health with 38k armor and 50% dodge, and on many fights other tanks simply can't compete with that.

A second example of OPness. We were doing my favorite instance - heroic AN - hoping for that stupid Essence of Gossamer to drop, again. (try 14: still nope). On the last boss, my wife died on the third set of adds and improved death dropped just as Anubarak surfaced. I had me and 1 DPS alive. With no heals, I managed to survive 2 pounds, carrion swarm and normal hits from 25 to 0. I had to blow cooldowns aplenty, but I lived and we didn't wipe. Being able to tank a boss a quarter of their health with only one dps alive and no healer? That's ridiculous.

Like I said, I don't know what the experiences of other tanks are like in these situations. My anecdotal evidence suggest they are taking more damage and avoiding less often than druids are. I do realize that I have some really amazing pieces like Origin and Defender's Code, and that these will be reduced in effectiveness in the future. At the same time, losing 4k armor is not going to kill me, especially with added stamina and avoidance.

I expect that druids get nerfed here soon, at least for raids. I think they'll also get buffed a bit for heroics, getting some kind of static mitigation based on the base AP of their gear that will give them a second mitigation source independent of armor. But right now, they're clearly ridiculous.

The last bit is that we'll be working on Sarth + 2 adds tonight, and in anticipation I built my stam set (the other two pieces of polar gear). In my stam gear - which is missing a LOT of pieces (the aforementioned Essence of Gossamer being a good example) - I have 37k health unbuffed in any way. That's pretty insane. I gain 300 stamina from Blessing of Kings alone. Buffed, I should be up to 48k. How can any other tank even come close to this? It doesn't seem all that fair. Add to this that I still do the most DPS as a tank, put out very good threat...yeah.

We're OP. We're imba.

If, by the way, you're wondering how I can complain about the state of druid tanking (and agree with Currant) while saying how awesome we are - note that I'm not complaining about the mechanics of druid tanking. Druids have everything they need to tank right now. In fact, we've got more than we need. It still feels like bears are this 3rd-party addon class that borrows odd things from everyone (rogue leather, plate tanking jewelry, hunter weapons), but those combine into what is honestly the best tanking class for the content on hand. I do think that druids should be toned down, and the armor nerf that's upcoming is not going to be nearly enough. But I also think that more needs to be done to make druid gear desirable to druids and make tanking fun. Swipe spam is just boring as all hell, as Karthis pointed out. It works fine, but it's not fun. Gearing up is, for the most part, not that fun. The old system was also not fun - relying on rare drops to make you go from suck to awesome is bad. This is bad too. The old system was bad but somewhat fun, in that getting those drops was Really Awesome. The new system? Not so much.

So I would like to see a big bear revamp, similar to what they did to prot pallies. Make more stats on rogue leather and jewelry desirable to druids so they can ignore non-rogue gear aside from weapons. Let them dual wield weapons just for the stat sticks so they can use fist weapons more often (and thus use even more rogue items). Give them more sources of mitigation than armor so that they scale more linearly and can do well in both heroics (where block value is better than armor) and raids (where armor is better than BV). Give them more tools to tank with and fix the ones they have.

Give bears some god damn new graphics!

But don't improve us any more. Don't give us more armor. Don't give us more dodge. For gods sake, don't give these things via talents.

Anyway, don't worry about being nerfed. Bears aren't just fine right now, they're insane, and they're insane on the hardest content that exists. Enjoy being imba for a while. It's not going to last. :)


Techwolf said...

Interesting and valuable post. I tank in cat talents and can do most heroics with no issue. I did respec for Heroic HOL but only to get PotP (-12% Damage) and Natural Reaction (+6% dodge).

When I did that, the first 2 trash pulls I don't think I needed a heal.

34k HP, 65% damage reduction and 35% dodge and that's 5 man (shaman, mage, boomkin, unholy death knight). Given Kings and a PW:F buff, who knows..

I'm not in the best of gear, granted, but still feel very powerful. Glyph of Maul is insane for threat. I spent about 5 seconds on first target, and then switch to the second and stay on second the whole time only using the extra Maul hits and swipe to keep the first on me.

Our guild doesn't have enough 80s yet to do Naxx but they're getting close. I'm already feeling like I'll be the default MT cause of the state bears are in.

Anonymous said...

Having been relegated to third string offtank for most of BC behind the warriors,(Sunnwell level guild)it feels pretty good to be a solid MT in all the new 25 man content. Please don't hasten our eventual nerf with your cries of "OP!"

Grumpy Misanthrope said...

You have the best bear gear currently available and are in an "intro to raiding" instance.

Many of the rest of us don't and aren't. I know that right now, I can't even get a tanking slot if there is any AOE tanking to be done. Pallies and warriors are simply too good at that.
I only have about 32K armor, 24K health, and 28 or 29% dodge. I can easily tank 5 mans and early heroics, if given the chance...I could probably handle Naxx-10, if I had a good healer behind me...but I'm in no way OP.

Mitch said...

Good luck on getting your Gossomar trinket. I've seen it drop twice, but since I'm mainly around for DPS I have yet to get it (since I'm one of the top DPSers I don't get the tanking opportunities often -sigh- I should start slacking and maybe they'll make me tank, lol). The first time the guy tanking it wanted it, fine. The second time I lost to the holy paladin . . . . . yes, the holy paladin.

I tanked Heroic HoS last week without even a good bear spec. No thick hide, no natural reaction, no PotP. I did have IW which helped a little (my pvp spec) and the shammy said I was taking some chunks of damage at times, but it was never anything that was too hard to heal through. Took hatefuls from Patchwerk in Naxx too with the spec.

Kalon said...

Techwolf - good luck with Naxx-10. It's a lot of fun, especially if you've not done the instances in another form. Very good mechanics, lots of things for people to do, and not a lot of trash to deal with. And the trash is very easy. :)

Anon1 - I would be amused if I hastened anything. I suspect Blizzard knows more than I do on this. But I'll keep quiet for now. :p

Grumpy - I do have some best in slot pieces, but by no means am I best in slot for everything. I'm still missing one good trinket, one good ring, an amulet, bracers, boots, belt, and even gloves. I've got two pieces of Naxx 7.25, and when I did this run I wasn't wearing one of them; I was using a T6 hat. I do agree - I'm not representative of what most bears entering Naxx 10 are like. At the same time, I know that it shouldn't be this easy, and I also know that I have similarly easy times in Naxx-25 and elsewhere.

And finally, with that level of gear you could tank a lot of Naxx-10. The point is that by comparison, the other tanks with that level of gear couldn't, I suspect.

Mitch - thanks. :) Maybe try 15 is the charm. I really only want it for a stam set for Sartharion. It's not even remotely necessary for anything else. I'm hoping to get the Darkmoon Greatness card the next time the fair rolls around.

And losing to the Holy Paladin is horrible. That makes me want to cry.

Don said...

I've got nearly everything best in slot (could use a helm better than the T7.5 one, and i'm still waiting on an epic staff to drop), and I think bear tanking is adequate, and fits the raids needs in certain spots. Our raid usually runs with three prot warriors and one feral druid (me). They do about 80% of the boss tanking, and we all just AOE tank the trash. I eat hatefuls on Patchwerk, and I MT Sartharion, but overall, I find that I end up dps'ing on the bosses.

Yeah, I can main tank Naxx10 and heroics without any issue, but I think the real value is being able to do reasonable dps being a strong off-tank. This is the same position I was in in Sunwell, and it worked out well for us there too.

Shamad said...

I'll agree that bears are very nice for tanking stuff that hits big, but this should be obvious, that's what we're built to do, maxing out armour will o/c negate more damage than a static block. We also stack a lot more dodge for lack of other stuff, so we can avoid large amounts of big hits.

On the other hand, we're underpowered compared to other tanks both in holding aggro on large amounts of small adds, aswell as mitigating their damage.

We're good, at certain things, that's for sure. We can do some things more easily than other classes. Then again, they can get many achievements easier than we can(especially in 5man).

I do recognize what you say, but overall I don't feel OP. The raidcontent is a pushover. We get a lot of stuff for free. But as the other tanks gear up, they catch up, and at the end of the line, we're not OP anymore, we're slightly better in some aspects, and a lot worse at aoe-threat(though the swipe fix did help atleast for doing heroics).

Also, many guilds are opting to use a high-stam DK to tank sarth with 3 adds up(with anything less than 2 any tank can do it in normal tanking gear), because DK's are silly atm with 4 different cooldowns, 3(iirc) on 1min timers, to mitigate the breath. Druids can stack stamina but can still get instakilled if they are unlucky, so you're still advice to keep a rotation of stuff on them. DK's are literally the only ones who can do it without external rotations. And they are getting buffed. I'm seriously concerned about how good magic tanks they will be when future content rolls out.

Anonymous said...

I cant remember the last time I felt passionate about a topic to respond;

I've been visting your blog for a number of weeks and, in general, I find your posts to be informative and interesting.

This post I take issue with. I love tanking as a bear. I love tanking as a bear more than I ever enjoyed my loc or mage.

I think that there are balance issues here and there and Blizzard is taking a direction with itemisation that is certainly different; they do this to help us enjoy the game. I do not think that bears are "broken" or "OP". In my experience I can spend time in game running Naxx10 and Heroics choosing to do content that I enjoy (vs running content I absolutely need for a drop) and I enjoy doing these things with people whose company I enjoy (as opposed to the one scrub priest the group absolutely needs to finish an encounter).

Congratulations to all of you who are decked out in purples with 50% dodge and 50k health. Your stats are a testament to the work you have put in. But - do everyone a favour and quit making definitive statements about EVERY druid in the game based on YOUR gear.

Lets keep in mind that all content released today is entry-level content. Given that encounters will get harder consider that the stats that make you OP right now are the bear-minimum stats for content upcoming. So instead of this 'i am the world' attitude how about you nerf yourself. Take your pants off, and your helm and your best in slot trinket. At the very least you will experience druid tanking as the majority of the people are experiencing it currently.

Here's a pre-empt to the hard-core flame replies: cry me a river, its casual-craft now. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Haha great writeup, very fun to read. I'll try and respond in the same spirt. That's been my experience too - easy content all around. I see warriors asking "what should my stats be?" "what should I gem?" etc etc. For bears, just do the obvious & you'll be fine. No math required.

With your health & dodge & armor and those 2 pieces (!) well, as you know, those 2 items are a big reason for the armor changes... so enjoy their OPness for a short while.

Sounds like you are very overgeared for the content you describe. Is that true? Defenders code in naxx10? ahem excuse me, that's half a shield extra right there. Defenders code in a heroic??? You may as well tell me you soloed slave pens so we need to be nerfed :P

But yeah, we seem awesome and easy. Whether we are more awesome than other tanks, as you know, is a matter for serious proof and statistics.

Oh, and just remember that fun is very subjective. I'm the opposite: I'm having fun NOT needing to worry about uncrittability. Not need to worry about complex stat balences. I'm having fun just picking up gear, wearing it, and tanking awesomely. I choose heroic t7 coz I like green. And I have fun looking nice in green. Whether its "best" in slot...idc. Why? because the content is so easy, it doesnt matter.

And what do I do now with all my unused brainpower? I level alts. And that's fun too.

What I mean is that one person's experience of "fun" is not a valid argument. As I'm sure you know.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I can't see how you expected to not get nerfed. From the figures you posted then you are in the top reaches of what a druid tank can expect at the moment.

As blizzard have said, your getting nerfed. The rest of the druid community are getting buffed.

It's all good and well hearing about the huge thing druids can do, but you cannot really comment until your DPS are the the same level of gear as you.

As it stand your a huge amount better than you DPS, and anything you see is skewed.

blink said...

2k? Jealous! I'm about as geared as you (minus that lovely stave and some minor stuff) and I get 1200, maybe 1600 if I'm lucky. ^^

Phil Jackson said...

Yeah, while we are not in a bear crisis like some would QQ. A lot of what you where remarking about is taken from groups that weren't all on the same level. It's still far to soon I think to say how all the tanking classes work out through raiding. Simply because one tank could have had a lucky RNG day and gotten major upgrades while the other tanks did not. So for one guild their DK tank is awesome because he got his upgrades first. Another guild might still be in love with their warrior etc. So while I love my druid and the stats I can get right now, I'm in no way saying that we are that much better than the other tanks until I can see tanks with equal gear in the same fights.

That is all not to say that we are not in need of a reworking. I'd love it if blizzard added to the complexity a bit to the class instead of us just looking at Armor/Dodge/Stamina. But them doing it during this expansion, I won't hold my breath.

Kiluia said...

Guys, I wouldnt take issue with this post. Kalon is just messing around. Its basically a post that says "I have awesome gear & I'm overgeared for all the content, aren't I awesome everyone!!!" - and its just a bit of fun.

Nobody's nerfing anything, or calling for nerfs, based merely on having outgeared the game 5 weeks after release.

Figgster said...

I agree with several of the other comments here: don't base the entire state of the class on your gearing alone. Congratulations on having all that nice loot drop for you. It doesn't mean all of us have. In fact if a druid currently doesn't have Defender's Code then we're below the tanking capabilities of the other tanks. If we have that trinket, we're above them.

You might have 50% dodge with both trinket's popped and the idol proc, but not with static raid buffs. You might be approaching it (45% maybe) but I highly doubt you're at 50% - based on your armory. Most bears currently have a bit more armor than other tanks, and significantly less avoidance. This is why there's a lot of talk on the tanking forum about how they need to find something to boost bears if they're gonna knock the top-end armor (which does need to happen).

Anonymous said...

Currently, Druids are underpowered unless they have 2-3 specific drops. Stop spreading things that are not true. You are geared for Naxx 25.

Anonymous said...

Bears being broken isn't true. I have a warrior tank and a DK tank, both at 80, and nearly epic'd, as well as my bear tank. Bear threat is definitely sick, but bear mitigation compared to the other two is far from broken. We are mana sponges. If you really think we're broken, go read the healing thread on least favorite tank to heal, and level a few other tank classes.

With Death Knoobs, the problem is just that, most don't know how to properly proc their CDs and properly spec. You get a good DK tank that knows what they're doing, and you'll see they don't take much damage, and their threat is truly amazing. My DK out-threats my bear any day, and I can probably out-threat my bear in quest greens.

My warrior is where mitigation is just sick. After having only crafted BS epics and the LW epic cape, and some instance blues, I tanked Naxx-10 and *solo* tanked Arachnid and Construct quarters, using a MS warrior to hateful strike tank (of which I still took many of the hatefuls).

The problem isn't that bears are OP, it's that, as most people are complaining, now that the newness is over, they're upset wotlk is too easy. No CC, just AoE spam FTW and trash mobs are down fast. Bosses aren't hard at all either once everyone knows what to do. Bears, if anything, I'd argue are definitely weaker than at least 2 of the other tanking classes, and not one healer in my guild prefers to heal my bear tank over my warrior/dk tanks.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on being OP for a very nerfed Karazhan equivalent. I am sure it was YOUR OP'ness that allowed you to take DPS in greens to a weak instance and dominate the content and get achievements.

The game is dumbed down right now and the best evidence of that was when *Twentyfifthnovember* beat all the content in 3 damn days in Sunwell gear.

You call this blog ThinkTank and you come on here and say bears are OP but you don't know if other tanks are OP in the same situations. Don't post damning articles about MY role unless you examine all the facts.

Bullroar said...


I check your blog every day and I respect your opinion but have you lost your damn mind? You need to rename this article "Content = Weaksauce".

Oh and by the way, you really should check if other tanks are OP in this content before putting an article out like this. I am really disappointed in your lack of foresight.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other posters: You overgear everything in the game right now.

Imagine this scenario: It's TBC. You get to 70 as a feral tank. You realize that there are a countable number of items which take you from shit-tank to god-tank. These items drop in very specific places and generally require luck with the RNG.

You decide: this is lame and unfun. You stop playing your druid.

You come back for WOTLK, you don't have any tanking trinkets, super armor rings. In 3.0.2 (?) they take almost half your armor due to item changes and rescale the armor-mitigation equation for level 80. They add a talent which gives a 12% armor boost in groups, but it doesn't close the gap.

Tanking in the meantime has changed. No groups expect to CC.

So now you're stuck in cat. You can't tank anything in bear.

The upcoming 3.0.8 changes are awesome for all of us not at the very end of the gear spectrum.

Unlike you, probably, at level 75, I've replaced every TBC item with WOTLK quests and instance drops.

Anonymous said...

You know, if you start a thread saying one tank class beats the others, then you're gonna inspire a lot of backlash. Just look at one poster who's already suggesting DKs are the uber tank. No stats, no proofs, just ppls subjective feelings, healers subjective feelings about tanks they like to heal and blah and more blah and more blah. Welcome to the gutter of the official forums.

Ghostcrawler - will you lock this thread now?

As we all know, there's nothing that stirrs up conflit amoung players faster than suggesting one class is more powerful than another. You should know better.

Oh and if you want to boast about how awesome you are... can you do it in front of the mirror in the privacy of your own room instead of on your (genereally awesome) blog?

Fathul said...

You guys are missing the point. Kalon isn't saying that bears need to be nerfed because content is too easy. Everyone knows that content is easy right now.

What makes bears OP right now (which we certainly are) is our power level relative to the other tanking classes. The armor, health, and dodge values that Kalon posted are simply unobtainable by the other 3 tanking classes.

Yes, block is better for multiple small hits. That's why the healers on the official forums prefer warrior and paladin tanks over druids and death knights. When it comes to raids though, which is the content that matters (easy as it may be right now), druids are very often the hands-down best tank for the fight. For guilds that are still working on progression kills druids are far and away the best tanks for 25 man Patchwerk's Hateful Strikes and 25 man Malygos, and either first or second with death knights for Sartharion + 3 drakes.

So don't worry if you're just starting to work on heroics or entering Naxx10 for the first time. These are not the fights that Kalon is talking about. It's fights like progression 25 man Malygos or Sartharion + 3 where we are OP, and those happen to be the fights that matter most.