Monday, December 8, 2008

[Druid] The collected ideas on how to fix bears

Since this is threatening to take over various comments on various posts I've made, this will be the topic to discuss all the different feral alternatives to the way things are for bears. You might take a look at the posts on the tank forums, though there's a lot of signal to noise there.

In summary, a lot of bears aren't happy getting all of their ability to tank solely from talents. Between SotF, the new changes to SotF, the large amount of dodge, static threat, and stamina that bears innately get and the total lack of scaling stats for bears, we have a class that is essentially set for tanking regardless of gear level. There are no juggling of stats, they say; there's only agility. There's no balancing dodge vs. mitigation; there's simply getting the best ilvl leather you can get for your mitigation and then getting a couple more points of dodge from trinkets and rings, or maybe getting a couple thousand more armor if you stack it. Threat isn't important. Damage is still high. There's no impetus to gear up. There's no incentive to get better gear or even progress; druids are already awesome.

And make no mistake - druids are really, truly awesome right now. Remember Kara in 2.0, when druids did tons of damage, tons of threat, and were easily geared for Kara right out of the box? Same deal here.

And remember how lame it was when T6 came and there was nothing?

So it's not a matter of ability; from all indications druids are king of the hill for a large chunk of the fights in T7 right now, and that's not going to change meaningfully with 3.0.4. It's a matter of satisfaction.

What's unsatisfying? Gearing up. The rogue gear isn't that interesting for bears right now, and it would be good if a change was made to make it so. The multiplier on leather armor makes it kind of silly not to upgrade to the highest levels possible no matter what, but equally makes that brainless. It's not satisfying to not worry about things like being uncrittable, and it's not satisfying to have no 'large' upgrades in your future because everything is baked into your class. It's also unsatisfying to not have to balance threat. It's really unsatisfying to have all gear somewhat okay for you. It's not fun to have only one mitigation talent and one avoidance talent. Any solution should try to address the gear issue, the single source of mitigation issue, the single stat upgrade issue, the threat issue, and the fun issue.

Here are the more popular ideas on how to fix this.

  1. Do nothing. Seriously, a lot of people advocate for this. Regardless of whether or not you think druid itemization and abilities are fun right now, the fact is that druids are just fine for tanking most things. They're still great on mitigation and damage incoming, especially on harder-hitting physical bosses. They do adequately against magic-using bosses thanks to barkskin, PotP and huge HP pools. There's nothing mechanically that says they suck right now, and there's no indicator that they're going to suck in Ulduar. That being said...it doesn't make the rogue gear or the tanking jewelry any more desirable, it doesn't make druids scale any better, it doesn't make gear exciting, it doesn't make tanking fun, and it doesn't answer any AoE issues.
  2. Give bears parry. There are lots of sub-suggestions for this, such as having a strength->parry conversion, an AP->parry conversion, no conversion at all, and all with varying nerfs to dodge, armor, or other values. The big advantage is that tanking jewelry gets split between two groups: the blockers and the non-blockers. And the non-blockers would want the same gear, basically. This is even nicer, since with the changes to FAP you can have druids wanting the same amulets, trinkets, rings, cloaks and weapons. It makes defense better than dodge and makes it another stat that would be nice. It gives higher avoidance, which bears seem to be somewhat lacking (though this will be reduced in issue with the 3.0.4 changes allowing all different kinds of jewelry). Itemization would look better. What it doesn't do is make rogue gear any more useful, nor does it make druids scale all that well with anything other than agi except at high values of dodge. It doesn't have any offensive->defensive conversion. It doesn't give mitigation at all, though at least it makes less of a mana sponge. It only helps scaling marginally.
  3. AP->armor. The advantage of this is that it's obvious and clear what the conversion is. 1 AP is one armor, period. FAP becomes a great deal for any bear no matter what. Strength becomes both an offensive and defensive stat. Rogue gear becomes far more valuable, and pvp gear becomes less valuable. The armor multiplier can be reduced so that it's not quite so insane and not quite so important to have the highest-ilvl leather you can. AP is also on every single piece of leather, so it's not like you won't get it. It even makes rogue jewelry fairly interesting. Both rogue leather and tanking jewelry become more valuable. The disadvantage is that AP gets multiplied a LOT by raid buffs, so you'd have to balance around that (I'd argue that this doesn't matter, as dodge/stam/armor already get boosted in raids). And it's not all that elegant, and may not be enough; bears only get around 4k armor. And it butts up against the armor cap issues yet again.
  4. Crit/haste/ArPen/hit->avoidance. Similar advantages to AP->armor, except it only improves avoidance. The advantage is that it makes some rogue leather more valuable and some less valuable, differentiating what is 'bear' loot and what is 'rogue' loot. It gives another offensive->defensive conversion that is on the gear.It makes rogue jewelry better. The disadvantage is that only a few pieces have any one of those things; look at the feral tier gear to get an example of the stat differentiation; some has haste, some has expertise, some ArPen, all has some crit rating. It makes rogue gear only slightly more valuable. It's also unclear whether more avoidance is what bears need.
  5. iLotP's cooldown removed. The advantage is that it's an ability that bears already have. They know how it works. It's a simple change. It makes crit better, which makes most rogue gear better. It makes hit and expertise better. 2% health every other attack (roughly) is pretty decent. This is downright overpowered when fighting multiple mobs, making it a nice fix for dealing with AoE. The disadvantage is that it's entirely reactive and based on luck, which means healers can't rely on it like they could an actual HoT, which basically means that it's useless in terms of making a druid more healable.
  6. Give bears some kind of damage shield. There are lots of ways that I've seen this presented, but they all result in almost exactly the same thing - a way to give a bear block without actually giving bears block. Have iLotP prevent damage on the bear instead of a heal, have maul's damage do the same, have some amount of AP automatically reduce all damage by a fraction, make defense provide straight-up reduction of damage, etc. The advantage is that it is a separate, scaling form of mitigation that will allow for high armor without absurd armor as the only way to stop mitigation. The disadvantage is that they all feel a bit clunky mechanically; it would be hard to put them into a tooltip for a talent, for example.
  7. Give bears block. Simply, give 'em block. Make block rating work for bears. Have block value calculated exactly the same way as warriors/paladins do. They would do it less, obviously - they do not have a lot of block rating gear compared to warriors/paladins, and have less strength - but they could keep higher armor in exchange for worse blocks. The disadvantage is that it really homogenizes the tanking classes, doesn't make rogue gear any better, and really feels like a thoughtless solution to a thoughtful problem.
If I were to rank these, I'd go like this:
3
2
6
(big gap)
1
4
5
(big gap)
7

But that's just me. I'm curious what y'all think, and what I've missed. Thanks!

PS: I've gotten a lot of reader mail and a lot of comments I've not answered recently, and I apologize for that. I'll be trying to catch up in the next few days. I really do appreciate the feedback, criticism, and kind words from everyone though, and if I don't respond to you immediately it's not because I don't want to; it's just that I haven't gotten the time yet. I will soon, or I'll shamelessly steal your idea for the next blog post. :)

38 comments:

Shamad said...

Any change imho should also try to adress our problems with aoe-aggro on large amounts of adds and the fact that, even though we were told they wanted to enable more cross-usage of gear cats and bears want almost completely different gear atm forcing any serious OT to keep a near full set of cat-gear with cat-enchants on top of the bear-gear.

Whatever the solution is I hope to see it now, not later. I've already picked up tons of gear for now as well as having to have gear for post-3.0.4. It's bad enough we have to change the way we gear once, but if we're forced to do so shortly after ulduar comes out again, it's just a pure slap in the face of the bear community.

Anonymous said...

I think the AoE threat and the scaling are different problems that need different solutions.

For the AoE threat, I'd nerf the other classes rather than buff bears. Bears are fine at AoE threat: they do enough to comfortably keep stuff off the healers. Anything else is excessive and just encourages mindless AoE spam. For the good of the game, it's other tanks (especially paladins) who need to be nerfed.

For scaling, I think there are heaps of options even beyond those listed. For example, instead of removing the cooldown on iLotP, why not have the heal scale with AP while in bear form? That would balance it much better for swipe spam situations than allowing every single crit to heal you.

I think the lack of blocking is a bit of a difficult thing to balance around, since if you're blocking, for example, 1k of a hit, it makes a huge difference if you're being hit for 2k vs 10k a hit in how well you absorb the damage. I think you could even this out a bit, without making a silly "bear blocking" mechnism, by having something like "protector of the pack" give you a buff each time you're hit. Maybe something like 50 extra healing received per hit, stacks 10 times, each heal received removes one stack? You could tweak the numbers, but it'd be a completely different mechanic so it'd keep bears unique but help out more so on many enemies (where each heal would be hitting for +500) than one big boss, just like blocking.

Marino said...

What you say on druid being boring I kinda agree. Even healing is more interesting. Do I stack haste or crit or spellpower. And what about spirit and mp5!?

Bear is simply: get armor, get agility/dodge rating. And that is it basically. No limitations anymore. No more defense enchant needed to become crit immune where 22 stamina would be so nice...

Instead of having a very wide range of gear to choose from druids are mainly confined to tier sets. Rogue gear is not really an option.
Simply put: Everything that has armor penetration is not a bear item. Wasted stat. Crit is a bit usable as is haste and hit.

There are imo 2 ways this could/should go:
1 Dress a druid in lvl 213 rogue gear and he should be able to tank as well as a warrior.
2 Make the leather items rogues use usable for bears AND make the other items that fit a Warrior perfectly also fit perfect for bears.

To clarify on the 2nd option. There are often no good alternatives for tanking druids. A lot of items have defense. There is no stam/agi head enchant in the game. We need to use the defense one as there are a lot of other items that would be perfect if only the defense stat would be converted into agility.

As a conclusion I am kinda leaning towards a combination. Giving druids parry would be one way to make all non leather warrior stuff become really useful. Next to that implement AP -> armor. Strength on warrior items will be very good now too and warrior items as a whole will be even better for druids then for warriors.

To compensate for this huge buff the druid (tier) items then should be nerfed towards rogue items. The druid Tier sets will be designed for dps rather then for a dps/tanking hybrid. This makes the tier items more exchangeable with rogue items.

As a result there will be no clear leather bear druid items left. A druid will have warrior non-leather items and rogue leather items. True freedom and ability to exchange whatever with whatever will be achieved.

Has that option been voiced anywhere on the forums? If not, if you agree, could you do that for me? :) Not only am I being a lazy kitty, I think you have a much better idea of where blizzard is looking and picking up new ideas. Besides the things coming from your mouth will have much more value than some anonymous druid nab ;)

Anonymous said...

Never posted on here but I felt like I had to add something that I found interesting I had read and felt could help.

I'm not sure how it would be implemented but I read something about glancing blows being incorporated somehow for bears.

Thoughts?

Phil Jackson said...

Firstly, if I was Blizzard, I'm make a a tier set for tanking ferals and then a set for dps ferals. They've said they are two different things now and they should be treated as such. Give me a bear tier set! As I browse the loot tables, I find that so many pieces that are non-tier than my tier gear would be for bear tanking. We are forced to spec into tanking talents, which is good, yet we still are forced to wear the same gear as a whole different role, bad.

From there, I think that would at least give feral tanks more options though it would be more of a bandaid than a fix.

We could always get a new form, turtle form, and have a shield... I'm kidding (sort of). I'd rather see us get a parry than a block. Or maybe some sort of when we are hit, we get a proc that let's use take less damage or something, though that's more of a block than a parry.

Cuer said...

Most likely change, given Ghostcrawler's comment when discussing DK tanking: a change to a deep feral tanking talent, that increases mitigation more from the Defense stat.

One idea we have for Icebound Fortitude is to scale the mitigation based on defense skill. This lets the ability be less of a paladin bubble in PvP for dps knights, while still letting it act more like Shield Wall for tanks. It also has the side effect of making defense slightly more attractive to death knights. (Let me add before it’s asked that yes we understand Ferals have this problem too and we are working on it.)

Olvar said...

I have to admit that I'm still not totally sure what would be a good solution for our scaling problem.
One thing is for sure:
Either the traditional tank items need to be more useful for bears or the rogue gear has to be. It is practically inacceptable that druids are the only tanks that either have to use sub-par equipment or lots of wasted stats, but Blizzard still claim everything is fine...

As for AoE threat:
I'm still at level 75 so I don't know first-hand how the situation is in the bigger instances. One of the reasons I haven't really progressed is the fact that I haven't been online for almost two weeks. One of the reasons for that is that my last tanking experience was a bit more stressful than I liked (and I had tanked a lot in BC).
I was in an instance with damage dealers about two levels higher than me and they seemed to have been in too many groups with higher level warriors and paladins.
I had to tell them to give me time to gain aggro on the groups before starting their AoE damage so many times that it was totally annoying.

The thing I hate most are the new knockback skills that shamans, mages, and moonkins have now (did I forget anyone?)!
I always explain to them: I cannot hold aggro or get it back when you push the whole group out of my hitting range. But they simply won't listen!
The reply I got from a mage was: "But it does so much damage!"
Yup, that was the same mage that did an instant on one of the mobs after I pulled it with hurricane and complained about getting aggro although I didn't even have the chance to make just one melee hit on that mob. It is really interesting that they care so much about damage, but don't understand that druid without any spellpower gear makes less damage with spells than an instant of a well-equipped caster...
A shaman said: "But they all come running back to you anyway."
Sure, if they are melees and if non of the AoE pulls aggro first...
In that special case it was even more annoying, because my main target was a caster which obviously didn't run back to me. It took me a second or two to figure out why swipe wasn't working anymore and switch to a different target - very bad for the aggro situation.

There have been long discussions about Swipe in the official forums, and I think two things have to be changed:
1. Swipe should generate additional aggro to have a buffer, when you use one of the GCDs for something else, like Barkskin.
2. Swipe should work even when your current target is not in melee range.
I don't really care that is isn't 360 degrees. I'm used to reposition myself and it is nice to have a shackle right behind me and still spam Swipe on a group in front of me.

Number (2) is a must, because it would have prevented at least one wipe in the past. We were in Mechanar heroic and I was pulling the four-man group in front of the second to last boss. One enemy was sheeped by the mage and I wanted to gain initial aggro of the other three with Swipe. Then the following happend:
1. Warlock sends Felguard onto my primary target.
2. Primary target is stunned.
3. Healer probably heals.
4. The other two run past me and kill the healer.
5. Wipe.

Blizzard want to make tanking more fun, but in my point of few it isn't always the case:
1. A lot of the other tanks in my guild already have new gear, I have nothing, because my old gear is still better, and selecting rings and amuletts with the upcoming stuff definately isn't fun.
2. Unless I'm tanking a single target or up to three enemies with Berserk active (in which cases absolutely no one in any of the groups has come anywhere near my aggro) it can be a major PITA if damage dealers seem to assume that a Druid is able to gain and hold aggro on groups as well as a Paladin.

Sure, tanking groups in the past wasn't easy, but at least I could tell them: Only damage on my main target, no AoE.
Now they AoE no matter what, and if they gain aggro they say: "But it worked just fine with so-and-so yesterday!" - Sure, that was a Paladin who's two levels ahead of me...
I once was at least the second best tank in the guild, now it's a bit of a joke... Maybe it gets better once I'm 80 and have decent gear?

If this continues I'm actually considering to respec to resto (which will be my second talent set anyway, once that feature becomes available)...

Shamad said...

Olvar, it does get slightly better when you get on the same gear level as your dps, but any top end geared dps can still pull off my swipe if he truly goes all out on a pack, something he couldn't hope to do on a paladin. All I can say is you learn to "avoid" instances with lots of ranged mobs that won't come running in line of swipe, or atleast you don't go there with a pug.

As far as the knockbacks go, every tank hates them equally, although they are for sure the worst for us. I'm confident that as you reach 80 most people will have been told off and if anyone does use that simply kick them from the group, or leave. It's not worth the grey hair.

Druidus said...

About swipe, the damage and aggro generated is ok, all I ask is that DPSers focus my target, which I allways mark with skull (I made a macro to set Skull, very handy to babysitting dps)

Swipe is good overall, I ran tens of heroics with no big issues, if it was 360o (or at least 270o) and didnt demand a target to work it would be perfect.

Another sugestion that I made earlier: remove the restriction from nurturing instincts so bears also get the bonus income healing, we could be hit harder but we're healed for more.

Mitch said...

My opinion on the AoE tanking: we have too many options. Pallies are straight up OP. Tanking shouldn't be this easy to just faceroll AoE. Worst thing Blizzard could have done, in my opinion.

My biggest annoyance is the lack of gains from defense. So many amulets/cloaks/rings/trinkets have defense, block, and parry while not enough have just stamina, agility, and block. I am forced sometimes to take items with defense because I may not get another drop I would prefer.

And to tip it off most in my guild don't even understand this. I mostly join along for dps because we have more than enough tanks in the guild to do the job, so I try to pick up whatever piece I can that tanks don't need. And when a decent tanking ring drops with defense on it the holy pally wants to roll on it and asks why I even want it when it has defense *sigh* I was so irked about comments I had to post on our forums to explain.

So I would like to see a couple things work: either the offense stats conversion to defensive numbers or using defense in a better way somehow. This way we can either use our new offensive stats like we're supposed to or at least have a reason to use defense.


On an unrelated side note: has anyone used this add on BadKitty? Seems like a good idea, but I won't be able to load it up until later when I get home (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/badkitty.aspx)

Mitch said...

In the second paragraph I meant stamina, agility, and *dodge* (not block /facepalm)

Copey said...

I’m a huge fan of this blog, and many others, for one big reason: You do the math. I understand that beta testers, blog owners, and people that post on the forums after a blue post are passionate about the game, and desire all that you are saying here. But I have to wonder if they are an accurate measure of the “normal” WoW player. By normal I mean that they aren’t already level 80, running raids and waiting for the next patch for more content because they are at end game one month after the expansion.

There is an addon that I have that tells me what armor, ap, hp, and anything else a piece of gear will give me BEFORE I put it on. And it changes the stats depending on what form I’m in. It’s how I pick my quest rewards and what I’m going to craft with LW. This is because I’m too stupid/lazy/whatever to try and figure out if a piece with x of strength and x of agility is better than a piece with just more pure agility.

There are those of us that are enjoying being super tanks, and enjoy having less math to deal with, and are having fun just like it is. After they change the class, I’m sure I’ll still have fun. But they only way I’ll know what gear to get is to read it off the internet, because I just don’t care enough to do all that math myself because it isn’t fun for me. I put on what is said to be an “awesome” piece, and I go play.

And thank goodness for that addon because I’ve passed/rolled greed on tons of leather in the past in instances when if I had easy access to the numbers I would have known it was an upgrade. Or, rolled need on leather and then put it on only to find out it’s just a bit less then I had, but since all the factors were different, I wasn’t sure and had to guess. So, I stack stam and agility. Don’t have to worry about 415 defense anymore, and a few other things. Well guess what, 415 was just some number that I had to achieve before I could raid as a tank. I grinded (grinding for gear when you are max level is not fun imo) for a while before I could get into raiding. And raiding is where I have fun, just because you have 10 or 25 guys trying to do the impossible as a team.

Obviously I’m not similar to the readers above that have already posted, but the thing is I’m able to give most druids I know or meet in WoW advice about a lot of things simply because I read you and other’s blogs. The majority of bears and cats out there that aren’t 80 yet don’t seem to be QQing nearly as much anything like what you posted. They are happy that they can use more gear. Not bummed because it’s always stam and agility on the gear.

I think that a leather wearing class that tanks is a very hard concept to pull off, and I don’t think there will ever be a final “solution” to please all the hard core people. I think Blizzard has done well, but wonder if they ever think about the unheard masses that play druids and never thought there was any huge problem with them.

Anonymous said...

Oh no Kalon you've created a bitch'n'whine-in-the-comments post. I hate it when your great article ideas turns whiney in the comments. I'd been having so much fun tanking in wrath, and now I see I'm a naiive fool because its broken, busted and blizzard are idiots etc etc etc.

When people say bear aoe tanking is broken I have no idea what they're talking about. I always top the damage charts for us tanks, mainly because our aoe tanking is so powerful.

Of course go to any class forum/blog & find people bitching & moaning in an identical manner. It says far more about the people who comment on blogs than it does about the game, unfortunately.

sigh

Anyway, my 2 cents worth is that AP-->armor is also my favorite idea. I dont really want block or parry, just because we're bears, and we're magical in nature. Warriors have nothing except the mechanical nature of their sword & shield skills to keep them safe.

I'm having a ton of fun playing. Yes, if I wasnt uncrittable through talents I'd have to start-->run--->calc slight more often than I do today... but that hardly means the game has become boring.

The only slight boredom I feel right now is that the content is *too* easy... but there's great reasons why that's the case, and the next tier of raids is billed to be more challenging.

Thanks too for your gear lists Kalon. They're been massively helpful as we romp our way through naxx and I have to make a quick decision about what to roll on.

Cuer said...

Death Knight changes were announced today, including a change to Icebound Fortitude.

Current text for that ability:
Icebound Fortitude
1 min cooldown
The Death Knight freezes his blood to become immune to Stun effects and reduce all damage taken by 50% for 12 sec.


Upcoming change:
Icebound Fortitude – now reduces damage by 20% instead of 50%. The amount of damage reduced increases with bonus Defense (to about 35% for 540 Defense, but it can go higher).

If they want to do something very similar for Druids, they'll make Barkskin's damage reduction scale off of Defense in the same manner. Of course, if they want to try to keep it different among the tanks, this could be tied to Protector of the Pack or something else entirely.

Deloimoi said...

I don’t have any complaint with Swipe, or feral tanking anywhere. I’ve done every heroic except Halls of Lightning, and on trash I basically use 3, maybe 4 abilities (queue up maul [glyphed], hit Demo Roar, spam Swipe and Maul) and nothing is ever pulled from me. Paladins, who everyone seems to complain about and I also have a paladin and have tanked on him, also have to use 3-4 abilities (Consecrate, Hammer of the Righteous, Holy Shield) to tank just as well as my druid, so what’s the problem?

As for druid scaling, I can understand how people can be frustrated at not having to update gear as often, and if I could choose I would say let us parry, since every other bear in the world (and animal for that matter) seems to like parrying me.

Anonymous said...

One thing I think I read in a Ghostcrawler post was the idea of druids having their "healability" scale. That could be an interesting way of doing things rather than just a stat->armor or stat->avoidance change that would make druids somewhat unique.

I know when I pop frenzied regeneration with the glyph and pop my herbalism HOT, that's almost a guaranteed full health bar unless the healer is dead. So if there was some stat->+% more healing conversion, that could work. It also makes the "stacking stam" approach that blizz champions much more viable since it's not just a way to make the healer go OOM if we're stacking something that makes the heals proportionately bigger as well.

Moosey said...

Not that we have the talent points in bear, but having NI apply to bear form as well as cat would go a long way towards increasing our healability.

It, of course, doesn't actually address the critical flaw. Our gear upgrades are uninteresting. I can take the item with slightly more stam with expertise, or I can take the item with tons of agi with some +hit. There are no pve leather pieces with tanking stats for us outside of expertise. There's no +dodge on leather. All "tanking" rings/trinkets/cloaks seem to have STR instead of AGI. So we're stuck grabbign sub-optimal pieces of gear for minor, at best, upgrades. That our Tier set is much more oriented towards cat dps than tank mitigation is just a deeper example of this problem.

On one hand, I'm glad, with the current itemization, that we don't have to chase down +def. Bears ARE solid tanks right now. The mini-game of 'getting newer and better gear, and seeing results from that' seems broken. On the other hand, I'd hate to see changes that put us back to pre-wrath capacity.

Torosso said...

I had idea for swipe.

Glyph of Swipe - Swipe now spreads infected wounds to additional targets 60% of the time.

What this requires to spread infected wounds is your main target to have the debuff applied (and continually applied) by mangle or maul.

Then swipe could spread this debuff to the other mobs in the pull.

The percentage could be changed to make it not op.

Also bears need some sort of aoe snap threat move (360 degrees) to grab those mobs that run straight through swipe with out getting hit.

Add a minor glyph for barkskin, that on activation all mobs get hit with a some dmg but it has high threat.

Mitigation wise we are ok against single target hard hitting mobs, but we suck against large groups of softly hitting mobs. Using barkskin on these pulls always would help.

Defense does need to do more for bears. But its another band aid solution.

secretagentcat said...

I would love nothing more than a 10-15 yard range on bear-form swipe.

Anonymous said...

I saw the idea of converting some attack stat to +healing received thrown around on the forums, and thought that was an interesting idea. It makes the attack stat useful, and makes all the stamina more interesting.

Karthis said...

I know I'm probably in the minority, but I think that the class is fine how it is. Any concerns about viability post-T7 are purely hypothetical at this point, and thus can be neither proven nor disproven.

As a bear tank I have fun being able to dps or tank any given encounter, and sometimes do both effectively within the same encounter. I can also heal in a pinch, give a healer free mana, snare a mob (or two if there are beasts involved), and bring a dead ally back to life.

If any changes ARE made to class mechanics, I hope that they do not further make bears like furry warriors. This means I'd hate to see the parry or block mechanics given to us.

Just my two cents.

Karthis said...

Also, I totally don't see where you're coming from with regards to gearing up being un-fun..... seems just fine to me. We get "wasted stats", but there are enough choices to be made to keep me happy.

Kalon said...

Shamad - thanks for the many good comments here and elsewhere. :)

I think I'll try and address the AoE thing separately, but that is one big reason why I'm finding bears to be not so fun; doing nothing but spamming swipe is not the best time ever. Blizzard made a big mistake with making all instances AoEable. And I also hope that whatever changes they make are relative to the gear we already have; it will be very annoying if (for example) they make defense the best stat for bears after making it so undesirable.

Anon1 - healing scaling with AP is one option, but again the problem with any kind of modifier to iLotP's healing as the 'fix' to scaling is that healing is a poor mechanic for tanks in raids. Non-predictive healing especially. This can be fixed (for example: take your crit rate and use that + AP as a constant HoT buff you put up and keep up with attacks) but at the end of the day its still a bit awkward. I don't honestly mind bears taking more damage than paladins on multiple enemies, because the flip side is that bears take less damage than paladins on one big one. That kind of balance is fine. But having some kind of secondary mitigation would be good, I think.

Marino - I agree, parry is an easy fix. I hope they don't do it though; I'd like to keep some uniqueness. AP->armor seems an obvious one, but it does butt up against the armor cap. One thing is that I really, truly do not want tier sets to be that much better or worse than other non-tier items. If you do that, you might as well go back to the TBC way where there was bonus armor, because all non-tier stuff will be useless. One goal should be to make all leather gear somewhat desirable, where the tier gear should be at the top end mostly because of the set bonuses, not because of the itemization.

Anon2 - Glancing blows are an interesting idea. It would scale with defense skill (at least that's how it used to work), but it seems like it would be a lot like the old armor penetration - either useless or totally insane depending on whether you had a little or a lot. Still, neat idea.

Phil Jackson - I really disagree; I don't want a different tier just for bears; I want the tier gear to be desirable for bears (or at least more desirable than PvP gear). Going down that road leads to TBC itemization where it's either highly awesome or crap. I want the amount of options that plate tanks have when gearing up. I don't think that's so much to ask. And I want that gear to be actually awesome; I don't want to look at a piece and say that it has 10 more agility, thus it's better. That's what I'm down to now, and it's lame.

Cuer - hey. :) I saw that too, and it looked like a good idea. Something like that would work for bears, though hopefully not defense-related. Like I said in the post, it really should be something that exists on rogue gear already, and hopefully something that doesn't already have a positive value for offense and defense. That leaves basically AP and crit, with some haste,hit or ArPen thrown in there.

Olvar - hey. :) I'd be really happy if they made rogue jewelry good enough to tank with too. It's close already with the new changes thanks to how good agility is relative to dodge/defense. They don't need that much more for bears to ignore most tanking jewelry entirely in favor of DPS stuff. That would have the added benefit of them not having to worry about making defense decent, or giving parry, or making strength do something, or any of that; rogue gear would be good in all slots. Don't know whether that's going to happen though, or even if they want it to.

Mitch - yeah, that's a problem I'm starting to see too. Do I roll on the tanking gear when I won't get as much out of it? Do I roll on the rogue gear? It's tough. I would rather make defense worse but make other stats better, but so it goes.

Copey - you very well may be right. Druids across the land may be very happy about their gearing situation, as most all gear is pretty decent. I don't personally see a lot of that, but I don't hang with a ton of ferals either. And the forums don't tend to be full of joy. :) I do know that I personally remember playing a paladin and seeing those pieces of gear that were huge upgrades and being pretty happy to get them. I remember getting gear and seeing how much more effective I was afterwards. And then I look here, and see that I've still got T6 gear on after multiple clears of Naxx and that I'm not rolling on Naxx gear not because it's not good, but because it'll benefit others so much more...and it feels kind of meh.

Kalon said...

Anon3 - it's interesting that you'd characterize this post as a bitch & whine post. I'm glad that you appreciate the gear lists. If you're having a good time, that's great to hear. If you don't think you need changes to how you gear that's awesome as well. I believe I mentioned 'do nothing' as the first option.

I don't think that anyone here, myself included, has said anything about blizzard being horrible, about bears being horrible, about them having a bad time, quitting the game in disgust, whatever. I'm sorry you took it that way, but I really believe that that's in the eye of the beholder.

Deloimoi - hey :) The biggest problem with AoE is the absolute reliance on using every single GCD on swipe and having such specific requirements for positioning. No other tank has the positioning requirements, and none have remotely the same GCD requirements. As an example, a warrior and a druid put out roughly the same amount of threat on 4 mobs - but to do the same threat that a warrior does in 12 seconds a bear must swipe 8 times and maul; a warrior has to thunderclap and shockwave once. As I said above, druids are mechanically fine; there's nothing a druid can't tank right now, and honestly they're the best choice for the majority of the content. But swipe-spamming like mad is not what I consider 'good' skills, nor is it that fun for me. If that's what you like, more power to you. I could do with a few more options.

Anon4 and Moosey - having healing scale would be a decent idea; it means druids would have to have less mitigation but would basically be as healable as anyone else. But what does it scale with? NI currently scales with agility - does agility need even more reason to be taken? You can make it scale with AP too, and that would be okay. It does hurt solo and 5-mans a bit, but I think that might be okay. I would rather not take yet another must-have talent for bears, but there are enough points. And it ties to druid lore fairly well too.

SecretAgentCat - a large range to swipe would be awesome...and not. On the (admittedly few) pulls with CC, it would make it very, very hard to swipe. But that is probably okay. A shockwave-like ability would be great too; the closest we have is maul, and it's the weakest of the 4 abilities that tanks have even when glyphed. A multitarget ability on a longer cooldown would be really welcome.

And finally, Karthis - thanks for coming by. :) I'm glad that you're finding bears fine as is; a long time ago you seemed pretty upset when they threatened to make swipe not break CC because it would trivialize tanking. I had thought the overall bear stuff would make things even more trivial for you, but it appears that's not the case. Good!

Gearing up for me is really un-fun right now. It's not that we don't have choices; there are plenty between crafted gear, quest items, drops, heroics, etc. It's that all of them are just not that special. And it definitely is the case of 'the grass is greener'. The other tanks in my guild are getting upgrade after upgrade and hooting for joy, and you can absolutely see the difference in their performance week-to-week as they get more of...well, everything. As for me, I've gotten the best in slot staff, trinket, cloak and shoulders and quite a few other upgrades here and there...and I'm still about the same as I was when I first started Naxx.I have a bit more health, but it doesn't matter. I have a bit more armor, but it doesn't matter for my health. I do do more damage, that's for sure, and my threat is better...but it was already pretty outstanding. And then I look at the other things I can roll on...and it's pretty empty, ya know?

I remember really getting excited about getting the T6 helm and T6 chest because of what a huge upgrade it was for me in terms of survivability, and it really did show in how well I did. I remember being thrilled about getting Treads of the Den Mother. The only wasted thing on there was the int. It's just hard for me to get worked up over getting more stam and more agility, again and again. That is, I admit, a personal failing, but I think it's not unreasonable to have the gear that you're supposed to want be good for your class.

I actually think that druids should be nerfed a bit, and hopefully the scaling will be reduced some in Ulduar so that bears aren't the best choice for everything. But I also think that they could do a lot better with making the gear that does exist be wanted by bears. Making bears be able to use rogue leather for tanking is good, but making bears want it is better.

Torosso said...

I think a AP->armor is probably the simplest solution. The problem is with the way Block works, it blocks a fixed amount of dmg from a melee attack so in theory numerous softly hitting mobs could be have their dmg completely blocked or very greatly reduced.
Adding more armor wouldn't change this (just make the dmg slightly less).

I think we will struggle more with avoidance in the long term not lack of mitigation from armor.

Increasing the +miss from defense and giving a conversion from +crit rating to +miss could be a good change. This would give us another stat to scale with that we can gear for without running into heavy diminishing returns.

Shamad said...

All the discussion of us scaling off of defence or strength does make me mighty nervous. Yes, these are stats that the other tanks want, and they are often found on non-leather tank items. But there's NONE of it on leather. It's bad enough as it is right now that cat's aren't getting the strength they want on their leathergear, let's not make it worse.

Reality is we need to be reworked to work off AP not str for damage. Bears also just simply need their own tanking non-leather gear, or all avoidance-stuff has to be based around bear needs instead of the other tanks. They have options, we don't.

I'm also more and more liking the idea of improving bear healability. Stamina is a ridiculously powerful stat for us, and if we could actually utilize it without gimping ourselves we'd have a never-ending scaling component. But we also really need that healability to scale off something that we actually find on our leather, probably AP or Crit.

As far as AoE-threat goes, my perspective on this might be a bit different than many others as my guild is pretty much geared to the teeth. For me, swipe really isn't cutting it. If even one mob moves out of swipe for just a short moment, and these things just inevitably happen when you have multiple mobs on you, then my dps'ers who are aoe'ing are more than capable of pulling those mobs off me. It's just so frustrating to know that both healers and dps would rather run their daily heroics with one of the paladins than with me, if they actually had a choice. Only reason to take me to tank heroics is the internal "tank shortage"(we've got 2 paladins, 2 druids, 2 warriors atm and gearing a few more for a 40man guild).

Anonymous said...

Has anyone but me noticed a problem in AE-tanking with getting the attention of mobs when they are coming from different parts of the room? The undead part of Gothik being a pretty devastating example. Demoralizing Roar may help at the beginning, Challenging Roar inbetween, but when CR is on cd I can't do anything else but stumble through the room, trying to get the mobs on me. I wiped my raid on this, warriors seem to be totally fine with it.

Shamad said...

Anon;
About your problem picking up multiple adds...well, run towards 1, FF, nab another near bye if you're lucky with a swipe, turn around and go running after a third and growl at it, and if there's a 4th...run to it and hit it and watch some dps pull the first mob of you while you're trying to get to the 4th...

Basicly, unless you have Challenging up you're in for some very interesting times.

Anonymous said...

Coincidentally I had a lot of trouble with the undead side of Gothik for the same reasons; mobs kept running though the swipe, endless single target taunting and a hell of a lot of running around. When we swapped a pally to the undead side and myself to the live side, it was as easy as anything. Not a biggie: consecrate is supposed to be the ultimate aoe tank tool isnt it?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm I just read through these comments, its a long post.

Just to respond to some of the points: Well, bear tanking has been going fine, but I guess its kind of true: going so well, that each new upgrade isnt massively required. I only really want heroic t7 because it looks so awesome (especially the shoulders they're beautiful !) I'm pretty open with my guild that we should all choose the best looking gear because the content is so trivial. I want ppl to lighten up and have more fun, and play with their friends. Theorycrafting is awesome and I'm grateful to you for doing in Kalon: but you have to admit its not necessary to radically beat the game over & over.

Is it true that pallies/warriors are going ooo-ahhh at every new updrade & getting massive visible boosts? I'm not enormously familiar with their itemization, but maybe we're just being cool cats in vent about our upgrades. They seem to do a fine job tanking all content right now too, even with upgrades coming in the future.

In terms of the skill (or lack thereof) of spam swiping: for any of us skilled at video games, I'd say the difference between spam swiping in once class, and TC/SW, DV,DV,DR or whatever those warriors do is pretty trivial. I'd heard how much skill it takes to play a prot compared to other tanks: so I rolled mine up to 65 and I was very disappointed. I didnt find it true.

Being awesome at video games means you can handle a 6 button rotation as well as a 1 button rotation. I dont find it takes any more mental capacity or skill whatsoever, even though I have more buttons to press, and more reactive "light ups" to watch out for. Maybe thats just personal, but if you look at your actual experience playing the game, you may find that is true for you too. Lets face it, for skilled players, video games are EASY. Its the dependence upon lots of other people in your team that gives the game the edge for me.

As long as each tank can get the job done, thats all that Blizzard ever promised. And we have so many other options in talent trees. Why should feral tanking be super sophisticated?

Copey said...

Wow, you are busy on this thread!

"And then I look here, and see that I've still got T6 gear on after multiple clears of Naxx and that I'm not rolling on Naxx gear not because it's not good, but because it'll benefit others so much more...and it feels kind of meh"

You go on to prove my point though. Most normal people didn't have T6 gear. At 78 I powerleveled my LW to 340 (using your guide, thanks) and then equiped almost an entire new gear set. And it's amazing to me how good the upgrades were. And I had T4/badge epics. If a person is decked out in T6, of course the gear isn't as big an upgrade as somebody that didn't ever get past T4. You and other bloggers like you are on the bleeding edge of the game, but I'm sure at some point you will be drooling over T8 or T9 gear when it's released.

Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

If you're used to driving your porsche on a race track, and right now the racetrack is shut down and your racing car is only good for shopping trips to the mall, its all going to feel a bit "meh".

And you're skills are going to be flapping around uselessly like so many palm leaves in a lazy wind on a tropical beach. Pardon the mixed metaphors.

Phil Jackson said...

Maybe it's because for T6 druids and non T6 druids, that after you get heroic geared we are awesome. But from there raiding epics just aren't as big a jump in goodness that we saw from there. /srug I'll confident in Bliz to figure out what they need/want to do by T8. We know they are looking at tanking still as you can tell from GC's posts and the changes to DK tanking. So I'm sure they will find a balance.

Shamad said...

Copey:
I can say I feel the same "meh" about the gear upgrades as Kalon, and quite unlike his T6 coming into wrath I'd just rerolled from played a holy priest/resto shaman in TBC. I hit 70 the day before Wrath. And yet since I've hit 80, just about every bit of gear I've picked up for tanking has felt..."meh". I'm used to gear having the stats I want, nothing wasted. At worst as a resto shaman post-3.0.2 I was having trouble picking up as much crit as I wanted, but my sp/int/mp5 were all doing great. It's not as if I ended up picking up gear with useless stats like hit/spirit or whatever to heal in. So why then do I have to to tank as bear?

In conclusion: MEH!

ps. Anyone who doesn't feel they find challenges in the current content, Sartharion with 2-3 dragons up should keep you entertained for a while. Just sucks that that's the only fun and challenging encounter in the game atm :/

Anonymous said...

What if we did a def to armor conversion? I don't know what the conversion would be since 1-1 obviously wouldn't work, even at the 4x armor. That makes defense worth something for us again because it would give armor and still gives dodge.

Kalon said...

Anon of the Palm leaves - heh. :)

And Copey - basically what Shamad said. It's more that every piece of gear out there feels slightly wasted to horribly wasted for druids.

Actually, here's the deal. Feral bears feel a lot like a class that some mod author put on to the game that hadn't existed prior to this. Like they did for Diablo back in the day. They made up some rules about how the class worked, put in a couple pieces of gear (but couldn't really change much) and tried to shoehorn in that class to the well-tested and polished other classes. And hey, it works, but it feels out of place and unwelcome.

I do have to say, I was very excited when Origin of Nightmares dropped. I think the real reason was simply that it was itemized for a bear. Nothing on there is at all wasted for a bear, and most of it is optimal. I was really happy when Defender's Code dropped too, even if it'll be not so hot in a couple of days. In both cases, it was because it's a piece of gear that is really good for a bear - and not accidentally.

Shamad, I'm really looking forward to trying Sarth with a couple adds up. It should be fun. :)

Anon of the defense - that's a similar idea to what was done for DKs earlier, and one that can work...except that defense doesn't show up on leather. It would make defense a better stat to be certain, and make the tanking jewelry that is shared be more desirable. What it wouldn't do is make AP, crit, haste or armor pen all that desirable, and I think that's a bigger problem. Plus adding anything to defense doesn't really effect a whole lot. Most bears don't have defense trinkets, it isn't on the weapon or the idols, so you'll be looking at two rings, an amulet and a cloak. That's maybe 120-140 defense rating between the four of 'em.

The more I think about it, the more I think that making bears gear exactly like rogues is the better choice. There are a ton of DPS jewelry options out there, and instead of having a bunch of stats that don't show up on one class of gear (defense, strength, dodge) vs a bunch that don't show up on the other set (AP, haste, crit, armor pen) and having just a bit of either, why not go all out one way? If bears share all of rogue gear - and actually want to - it removes those random stats completely. The problem there is, of course, that armor on jewelry doesn't show up on rogue gear, so you'd have to make that rogue jewelry pretty awesome.

Shamad said...

I'm not too sure armor on jewelry will be that big of an deal if you give a conversion of some offensive stat to armor, or even otherwise as ilvl on gear goes up our armor will approach cap. Even so, if there's a trinket with armor and no other wasted stats, then ok so be it, it's good because of what it is, so we'll use it.

Furthermore this does make sense, paladins were reworked to get threat stats off of their defensive stats, so they can just stack what they need to survive and they get what they need in ways of threat as a "bonus". We'd basicly be the reserve or the same principle, in effect a tried and tested system just adapted for the gearslot we are in.

Also, free tip if you end up MT'ing sartharion, read up on his torment ability ;) The rest is in the hands of the healers, the dps, gear and RNG. Also, those drakes are a PAIN to move around. And sometimes they just go wandering. Only mobs I've ever seen go behind a tank on their own. o.O

Gronyon said...

Regarding AOE tanking, there is a simple fix :
- give me a key I can hit to freakingly target the CLOSEST ennemy. (In Warhammer, it's N I think)
that already should save a lot of situation.


Regarding Scaling, I like the idea of increased healing effectiveness based on some attack stat. And for attack stat let's pick either Expertise or a stat that is also good for cats. I guess this mean not Haste nor Arm Pen. But crit is on any gear, hit is capped... :(