Tuesday, December 23, 2008

[Druid] Druids are OP - the comments

Wow, I stirred up a hornet's nest in that last post.

In the future I'm going to have to make sure that any posts without math are clearly indicated as opinion/fluff pieces and not meant to be taken as gospel. Yikes. Instead of answering all the comments in the comment section, I figured it'd be better to answer 'em here and follow up here. I'll continue to answer here as necessary.

One note here: while I do recognize that most of you didn't like my last article and want other things, I do really appreciate that you told me. I'm very happy that you took the time to write, and regardless of whether you agree or disagree I hope that you'll continue to take that time.

Basically, it broke down into three kinds of people: those who were optimistic and wanted to hear about how good druids have it right now in raids, and those who are pessimistic and are having problems for whatever reasons, and the realists who figured out why things are the way they are. I'll answer all generically before moving on.

For those of you who are optimistic: good to hear. A lot of people are having a lot more fun with their druid tanking than they ever did before. A lot of that is because of the new tools that druids were given to make them on par with other tanks. A lot is that the content really is doable with druids, though quite a bit is harder for a druid than other tanks. Compare this to what it was like in TBC for heroics, and you have to admit bears have it much better. Quite a few of the fights out there in raids specifically favor druids - especially the ones that are hardest on tanks. And it's never been easier to gear up a druid for tanking and even do well at that tanking.

For those of you who are pessimistic: also good to hear. The fact is that druids need work in heroics. Instancing is what the majority of people do out there, even if it's not the majority of what I write about. Heroics are where you meet future guildies, practice new skills, and in general push people some. And honestly, similarly-geared druids are a bitch to deal with in heroics compared to other tanks. Because of the way armor works, they end up taking significantly more damage than other tanks. They don't have the avoidance that other tanks do, which makes them harder to heal. They don't have the snap aggro to pick up mobs early and let DPS start going immediately. They don't have an easy time of keeping aggro or picking up loose adds due to the need to spam swipe. It's a real, quantitative problem. There are very good reasons why healers hate healing druids in heroics, and it's not because they geared improperly or became stam whores; it's because druids aren't well-designed for heroics. They're not balanced.

At the same time, they're really, really good in raids.

I think that a lot of the issue that people had with this was that clearly, I had two pieces of gear that are just ridiculous right now, and without them bears suffer. That's true; it's definitely clear that Defender's Code is crazy good, and Origin of Nightmares is amazing for threat and stam. And yes, I do overgear Naxx-10; it's definitely not progression for us. That being said, I don't overgear the content significantly in terms of amount of upgrades from Naxx-25. I have gotten very lucky with my drops, I'll admit. Others won't have. But I can say that with a couple of those lucky drops, I'm doing significantly better than other guild tanks who have gotten more drops and are general wearing a lot more high-ilvl gear. On similar fights I'm taking less damage and avoiding more attacks. I'm doing more damage. I have more HP. Perhaps when we both get to the end in terms of gear we can compare apples to apples and see.

And of course, there's the issue of the difficulty (or lack thereof). Naxx is easy, and there's no two ways about it. It's much easier than Kara. It's much easier than most heroics are. Saying how awesome druids are after running a couple of Naxx-25s and judging the content of Naxx-10 is kind of like saying how awesome it is that I can solo normal Ramparts at 80. Sure, I can do it - but what does that really say about anything? It's not even a statistically useful fact.

On the realism side, it's clear that I'm overgearing content, that the content is easy, that I have very good individual pieces of gear, that I had good players around me and that it's not so bad, overall, and that there's a lot more to go before seeing the endpoint. All of that is very true.

Onto the actual specific comments. My favorite was Kiluia, who said it best.
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.
Yep, very true. This wasn't some random forum post saying how amazing we were and to call for the nerfing of druids because we're ridiculous. I don't do that sort of thing (or if I do, I'll use more math). This was me having a nice post after a good couple of nights of raiding. I do actually think that more nerfs of a kind are going to be incoming for druids. I doubt very seriously that the stamina scaling is going to be allowed to continue for long the way it does, for instance; too many other tanks are already getting pissed about druids so clearly dominating the tanking e-peen of stamina. But anyway, this wasn't the most serious post ever. I had a good time raiding, I was proud that a bunch of people who had never set foot in Naxx of any sort did so well, and it was a fun night.

Don - who said:
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 something that I think I'll need to explore more in other articles. The things that druids do best (tank really huge-ass mobs and take tons of damage) they can do without all the best tanking talents. Heck, right now I have KotJ; it's certainly not a core tanking talent. Sarth doesn't require R&T, for instance, or feral aggression. I don't think that it's possible to get all the best kitty talents, but being able to get most of them and do very good damage is possible. Good to hear that's working out for you. I think I'd like to get back to that situation more; cat DPS is really fun and challenging now.

Shamad's post, as usual, was really on the mark. Other tanks will catch up, and druids are no where near as good as other tanks for heroics and content with small adds. Last night I tried Sarth+1 on 10man, and was doing the add tanking. (if you're wondering why, it was because the other tank wasn't as experienced or geared, and was having problems with the adds). And gods, what a nightmare it was. That wasn't the reason we wiped, but the amount of damage I took was insane. That's something that a druid can't reasonably do and all the other tanks can. I've been on heroics as DPS and seen how effortless it is for other tanks to get quick aggro, take no damage and move from pull to pull; most heroics require some drinking from my healers. There's a lot of room for improvement there.

Anon1's comment was really good and well written. Here's an exerpt:
But - do everyone a favour and quit making definitive statements about EVERY druid in the game based on YOUR gear.
That's fair. This is round one of the 'Kalon makes a statement about his experiences and fun and it must apply to all druids everywhere'. I will say that it's clear that Defender's Code needed to be nerfed now, in case it wasn't before. And I probably should've titled it "_I_ am OP", but I think that might've gotten even more flames. :) Here's what I'd like to see, Anon - I'd like to see druids get nerfed at the raid level. I'd also like to see them get significantly buffed at the heroic level. And I'd like both of those things to be based on stats on gear instead of via talents.

Anon2's comment was the polar opposite:
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.
Yep! They're totally ridiculous. With the patch that'll come down to earth some. Not a ton, mind you - more dodge and stamina will help deal with it a bit. But some. It won't stop the silly stam scaling though.

Anon3's comment confused me:

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.
I'm not quite sure what this means. If the DPS were the same level as me going into Naxx-10 we probably would've finished the whole thing in 3 hours. And we have DPSers in the guild that are that level. The DPS being as green as they were meant that fights took longer, which meant I took more damage. I guess that I was saying that because I was well-geared and a druid it meant the healers didn't go OOM on me and we could deal with longer fights.

Blink, it's all about the staff. Seriously, that thing easily upped my DPS by 200.

Phil Jackson wrote:
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.
It's tough to do that, but yes, I agree. Part of my judging this was that my group - which had a lot more new players - went faster and did better than the other 10-man group led by a better-geared warrior tank, and part of that was apparently that it was harder for them. Again, totally anecdotal. It very well may be that all tanks are OP right now; I suspect it is. This is the sort of thing that's totally subjective because the content is so easy.

Kiggster chimed in on that point too:
I agree with several of the other comments here: don't base the entire state of the class on your gearing alone.
That's a tough one, and one that blizzard has problems with too. How do you balance tanks so that they're good everywhere but not insane in one place and weak in another? I think that blizzard got things very wrong this time (and I've said as much previously). I do agree that my doing well doesn't mean that all druids, everywhere, should be fixed. 3.0.8 is going to help a lot of these issues one way or another. Hopefully future fixes will be incoming.

Anon4 agreed with all of that too:
Currently, Druids are underpowered unless they have 2-3 specific drops. Stop spreading things that are not true. You are geared for Naxx 25.
I'm not sure I agree they're underpowered without those drops. Starting raiding druids have it pretty easy; uncrittability, high dodge rating and decent armor right out of the box and without a lot of special gear or drops. Especially now that PvP gear is out. As gear improves though - they get pretty far behind without a good couple of trinkets and a good staff. As many others have indicated, it's a big spectrum of where bears are. With the gear they're a bit overpowered in raids. Without that gear and with other pieces and comparing to similarly geared tanks who got about as lucky on their drops, they're behind. And they're far behind in heroics at any point.

Anon5 was very interesting, given that he apparently has 3 close-to epicced geared tank classes.
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).
That's pretty impressive. If I'd done that I'd probably have posted "warriors are OP". :) I do think that it's not exactly the right comparison there. Having three pre-raid or pre-heroic tanking classes who have good crafted gear, I think that the druid loses handily. There's not a lot of good crafted gear for the druid, and they get far more benefit out of slots that aren't craftable. I do know that my healers very much prefer me to tank harder raid content right now. That may change as we all gear up. I also know that they prefer me least for heroics. Still, your main point is solid; without an actual challenging tanking fight, it's very hard to gauge anything meaningful. Sarth + adds is probably the best, and druids work well in one aspect (tanking big-ass dragons) and horribly in others (tanking any adds).

Anon6 got feisty:
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.
Well, yeah. It certainly didn't hurt. I don't think we would have been able to do Faerlina like we did if I was geared similarly to the DPS, for instance. I do know that the other groups that ran it didn't do this. That isn't to say they couldn't, but it was pretty neat that I could.

Bullroar got even feistier:
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.
I'm a bit baffled by this, honestly. Bullroar, do you think that I have some huge amount of pull in the warcraft community? Heck, does anyone think that? I had thought that it was clear that by relating two specific experiences I personally had that I wasn't speaking for generics for anyone, but I guess I'll make it clearer: this was my experience. It didn't seem reasonable. It still doesn't seem reasonable to have such high stamina, armor and dodge as a tank relative to what I see other tanks at right now, but perhaps that's fine.

I do think that after 3.0.8, it would be a good idea to do a 'state of the tanks' post. That will have math in it, more theorycrafting, and be actually quantitative and generic.

And then the floodgates were released, as anon after anon chimed in (this would be anon7):
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.
This was a very good point, and one that I agree with 100%. 3.0.8 is going to be good for a vast majority of feral tanks out there. It's a nerf for the potential raiding tanks of the future, but there aren't that many anyway - and those that do exist probably aren't going to be affected by this hugely. I've said that in the past too. I don't like the change mostly because it's yet another talent to make bears okay at tanking, which invariably doesn't scale well and doesn't motivate for gear - but I don't mind the nerf at my level, and I'm very glad that others are getting buffed.

Anon8 went back on the feistiness with a really good quip:
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?
Heh. Nice on the official forum bits. From what I've read DKs are pretty awesome for Sarth+3 adds, as they can reliably deal with the Shadron/Vesperon breath evils for a while thanks to their special cooldowns. I don't think that makes them particularly the best tank ever; Sarth + 3 adds is kind of like Brut in that shorter cooldowns with smaller effects (like Barkskin) are better than long cooldowns with big effects (like shield wall) since the time you'll need the cooldowns happens every minute. That doesn't make DKs the best tanks for everything, it just makes them better for this one specific instance. Of course it doesn't help that that's the only hard content that exists right now.

I will say that I'll try and write more about what people want to see articles on; clearly my audience wants math, theory, and objective hard-hitting news journalism instead of fluff and reports on how much fun I'm having. That's fine, by the way. I don't promise I won't write about the good times and bad times I'm personally experiencing, but I will try and make sure that they're otherwise marked as "Do not take this as a generalization about ferals, druids, other tanks or global warming."

And the last comment (at least for now) from Fathul:
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.
I think that's true, and I think that come Ulduar we'll see this a bit more - especially for harder-hitting bosses. It's going to be interesting to see how Ulduar shakes out, because they're going to have to be exceedingly creative to make pulls that are unique and actually challenging to tanks without reusing the same mechanics over and over. It's especially going to be interesting to see how they balance having one class with the highest mitigation against hard-hitting mobs and more stamina than anyone vs. having huge weaknesses against multiple targets while making every tanking class 'viable'. If you make something challenging for one tanking class it's probably going to be trivial for another right now. That's something that Blizzard has specifically stated they don't want. I personally really like that; I think the idea is great that tanks have a niche and that things are doable (but hard) with one tank and easy with another. That's not the direction Blizzard has stated they want to go, but with the mechanics of tanking as they stand I'm not sure that they can go any other way.

I'll put it this way. Druids having more health and more mitigation by a significant amount vs. hard hitting bosses is not going to be unnoticed and will be a non-trivial advantage on progression content in the future. I don't know if it'll be required for a druid to be in a raid, but I do think that there will be a number of fights that without a druid become significantly harder, at least as they are now. That's just my idle conjecture. If there aren't fights like this, my fear is that the content is just going to be simple again.


teflaime said...


It's not that I object to fluff...it's that that last peice makes it seem like we should all be owning every other tank in the game no matter our gear...

And I'm still not convinced that druids will have a place in end game with our incredibly poor scaling and the very serious lack of mitigation we will have compared to Warriors and Paladins...

Earthen Ring might be odd in that Paladins have long been the raid tank of choice on this server, but what I'm seeing on our server is just an exacerbation of that tendency. Pallies are very very good and they are getting better. Druids are okay and they will be getting worse...

teflaime said...

Since I feel that didn't phrase that properly, what I'm saying is there are a larger number of us (as druid tanks) who are having major problems right now, due to real restrictions and imagined, getting spots as tanks than the very tiny number of you who have had good drops and solid guild support.

And, not all of us want to be furry rogues. I did the cat thing through vanilla wow because Druids weren't allowed to tank. But now, I want to be a tank. If I want to DPS, I'll play a warlock. Boring class for a boring function.

Karthis said...


I didn't chime in yesterday because I wrote a novel of my own. I'll take a few seconds now though.

My personal opinion is that I feel that you're over-stating both the weakness of bears in heroics and their strength in the top raids. I've done just fine in both, and the DPS I run with gives me the breathing room to build aggro on trash pulls. (Note to everyone: If yours don't, then they suck - plain and simple.) While some tweaking here and there might be called for, overall the class "feels" right to me at the moment. Of course, my preferred role is a mish-mash of tanking and dps, preferably both in the same fight..... all of the new DPS mechanics for kitties are HARD to get correct, and that's a load of fun. Bear tanking is the same as TBC, but with a few extra buttons to press. (Again, this is all opinion, not gospel.)

ANYWAYS, the important thing I want to say is: this is your blog - write what interests you, and don't let a bunch of commenters convince you otherwise. If you don't want to be all-math-all-the-time, then please don't force yourself to do that. Your writing is eloquent enough that I'd probably keep reading if you started hardcore blogging about the latest developments in Hello Kitty Online... so just do what you feel like. (After all, this is a HOBBY, not a job.)

Mitch said...

My personal view on bear tanking: I don't have defender's code, but I do have the emblem trinket, the naxx 10 tanking staff, a naxx 10 amulet, and then the rest are an assortment of 80 epics enchanted/gemmed for DPS (hit/strength), a couple eviscerator's pieces, the blue OP quest gloves, and i even have the badge of tenacity still /facepalm

That said, I am able to tank heroics fine WITHOUT key tanking talents. Should ANY class be able to do this? I don't have the 6% dodge from natural reaction, I don't have the bonus armor from thick hide, and I don't have the 12% damage reduction from PotP!

Should a naxx-10 geared tank be able to do heroics without those key talents? . . . I don't know, but I can do it. I also have pro healers (like a shaman healer that actually interrupts mob's spell castings). Either way, the people that can't get certain armor trinkets/amulets/rings will be getting a HUGE buff whenever the patch comes out so I'm not sure I understand where the animosity is coming from. Just give it time and you'll have a boatload of armor tossed in your lap. Just focus on agility/dodge/stam ::yawn::

I would post what I tank in, but at the moment I am logged out in my pvp gear so that would do no good (I rarely log out in tanking gear).

tldr: IMO bears are fine right now and most will be better after the next patch.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to take the time to expand a bit on my view I think, as my take on this is one that I suppose is rather rare still, but rather than clutter up your blog completely I'm considering starting one of my own and hoping that this time(I had a previous one about politics and the likes(http://jazzandpolitics.blogspot.com)) I'll have the tenacity to stick to it. I'm depending on the ever changing nature of the game to keep me wanting to post.

I'll post a link as I get my in-depth first post and reply to your post ready, luckily boredom and christmas are great to get me doing stuff I'm otherwise too lazy to do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great writeup of a great set of comments from a great post!

I loved the spirit of your piece - it was clear you were having a good time, and having fun with the post, and your friends in game.

One thing I would love to see even more than math and hard facts. Whats the role of the player in the game?

Recently, our guild struggled to complete the last 2 bosses in 10-man naxx for the first time. Many many wipes on each, then the kill. Well, last night I was able to lead my own raid. So I hand picked a bunch of people I trusted, and we one-shotted these 2 bosses, to our own amazement & joy. Most of us, myself included, had never seen those bosses. I was well prepared and suprememly confident we'd succeed. Some felt burned from the guild's previous experiences... Then we tried eye of eternity: same experience of prior burn. People were saying "its really hard, we're gonna wipe a lot" Didnt really want to try it. Again, I put out the same attitude. We did 60% on our very first attempt. (previously they managed 95% after many wipes)

So our gear was very similar to the other group's. The only real difference was that I hand picked people I trusted, and I did everything I could to inspire them. And everyone player played really well. In an evening, the guild's perception of naxx & malygos flipped right over.

Those uber-guilds that steamroll content in a couple of days? No one ever discusses their experiences. Clearly, its not about their gear, nor their specs, or whether their classes are broken or not. It HAS to be about the players. They blatantly have no interest in the issues the rest of us noobs spend long lunch-hours discussing.

So tell me more about your experiences of how important the players are. The players who are broken. The players who are OP. The players who learn an encounter as it unfolds for the very first time. The players who cant follow a simple direction no matter how big the deadly boss mods letters are flashing. How do you choose who to bring to a raid based upon the players, assuming you have the luxury to do so? For example, I didnt invite our top guild DPSer, even though he's top every time, better geared than most, and he knows all the content much better from a previous guild. Why? Because he's an arrogant fool who creates a chaotic, fragmented vibe every time he speaks.

Please please please! I'm convinced these issues are the core of success in wow. Tell us more about them from your own experiences. Change names to protect the (not very) innocent! It's the core of the game; we all know it, but we never discuss it.

Anonymous said...

I have posted before how I didn’t think that your perspective was in line with the majority of druids out there. I’ve always tried to be civil about pointing it out, and then you came out with this post. I kind of got a little riled and wanted to start a lvl 1 character on your server just so I could come and bow down to your awesome gear and then tell you to take a hike with your attitude about druids.

Then I saw the flames in the comments, and decided not to pile on. I will share an experience with you. I went in to Naxx for the first time on Sunday, as DPS in cat form. My gear is getting really good (thanks in large part to your suggestions), but we have another Druid that has better gear than me, and he is one of the main tanks of the guild. I was just happy to get a slot in the raid. As we wiped time after time on “the dance”, I was thinking “I could be tanking this”. Then the next boss, and neither the druid or pally tanks were good enough. Nor our raid. So we went to Patchwerk. Same thing. After I would say 5 hours and probably 20 wipes, we called it.

The leather bracers dropped off Hiegan, and I deferred my roll to the only other feral druid, the guy tanking. He insisted I take them, as they were only a small upgrade for him and because I did so well. Moral of the story: I see this as normal. I see us as a guild (over a year old guild by the way) learning the raid. This is what I’m here for. To listen to 10 guys talk about it, and to here the raid leader shout out “Everybody to zone ONE NOW!!” and then hear the laughs as he is the only one that doesn’t make it. It’s fun. It’s challenging. And I don’t feel as over powered as you do. Back of my mind I was thinking “Do me and my big brother bear here just suck compared to Kalon? This isn’t easy at all.”

Next day I get a group together, and run the daily Heroic, VH. I always log out in tank gear, so I never checked. End of the instance, we got the achievement for not letting any mobs through, and that’s when I noticed I tanked it in my DPS cat gear. Which is why my trinkets didn’t seem to help much when I popped them. Sure my trinkets and rings are most of the gear that gets changed out between bear and cat, but still. I was not maximized to my full potential, but still got the job done easily.

Then, after that run I went with friends and DPS’d heroic DK. The tank wanted the ring. I did too, but told him I would pass on it if it dropped because he is a good guy. We blow through the instance, and at the last boss, the warrior tank dies. QUICKLY. I pop over (still in cat gear) and I tank that easily. He is in good gear, and I was minus 600 base armor from my rings and minus my dodge trinket. Then, we proceeded to 4 man it.

End of the day sir, I respect your knowledge of the game. I enjoy your writing. But sometimes when you talk about the cake walk that the game is for all druids I start to wonder if I just do not possess the skill set for it. Maybe Druids are OP, and I’m just a bad player. That’s what posts like that make me think. Then I do awesome in two heroics in a row, where I didn’t even have the proper gear on, and I really start to get confused. Because my gear level seems like I shouldn’t cake walk though heroics, but most of the time I do. Yet I and my guild mate who has better gear struggles in Naxx 10. To me, I feel like once you start farming heroics you should be still challenged in the raids. And that is the way it is for me and my group of friends. So I go back to feeling like “where does Kalon get off telling us how bullshit OP druids are?”

Thanks for taking the time to read all the posts. You are a cool guy, even if you are too powerful to be anybody’s friend 

Also, where do people get off posting anonymously?

Anonymous said...

There was a :) after that last comment about friends to not my sarcasm, but apperently my Word ate it before I copy pasted it.

Anyway, I'm a big fan, I have just started to feel like I need to put on my protective shell when I read your posts like this so I don't feel bad about my druid.

Anonymous said...

You see what I mean Copey?! Surely somewhere in all the confusion: runs that go awesomsly with all the wrong gear, vs. runs that go badly with all the right gear... even in the back of your mind... even with all the "thou shall not judge thy fellow player" conditioning... dont you just wonder... if... perhaps...just maybe... you're a better player than the other tanks, and you could run a much more successful raid around naxx...?

That's what I'm starting to believe, personally. I just cant explain it any other way. My fellow tanks are great people! I love em to bits. But maybe they're just not that good at leading raids...?

Anonymous said...

No, Mr. Anonymous, I’m not seeing what you mean.

I've lead raids, and I've been an officer in a guild that was raiding (only T4 content at the time, but still).

I've always thought of myself as a decent player. Not the best by a long stretch, for I know people that are better. But as far as LEADING a raid through anywhere, I would have to say that I’m not comfortable leading it until I’ve been through it enough times to know what to expect.

I guess my small beef is that when I start feeling good about my toon, and my skills I dislike reading how druids are the gods of the game and any druid can tank naxx with their eyes closed. Because I certainly can not. But then I wonder if maybe Kalon is actually correct, because I’ve stumbled through heroics where I had never even done the regular instance, and I tanked like a beast. I guess I’m just lost and confused, and take heart that maybe if I follow his gear list and keep on working I can someday be a super bear god too.

Shamad said...

As I promised, a new blog(and reply to your post) is up at http://lazybearmusings.blogspot.com

Phil Jackson said...

I guess we'll just have to wait and see how all of this works out. I'm sure blizzard has their eyes on us. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do simply because it will hopefully change how I have to think about tanking. The 3.0 changes just let me forget about defense, and even with the 3.0.8, it will just make me think less about the few armor drops. I guess I just want more to think about as a tank.

Anonymous said...

@ Kiluia and others.

All blanket statements are wrong; except for this one:

Player (skill/attitude) > Gear.

This holds true now and will continue to hold true given Blizzard's attitude towards designing encounters and balancing classes.

Druids are not broken. Some players who play druids are definetly broken as are some players who play healing and dps clases.

Granted, we pass judgements on our chosen carachter class based on our personal experiences with that class. However, unless a warrior tanks through an encounter whilst a druid gets hit so hard his head falls off lets keep in mind that we are different classes.

The other 4/9/24 people in your group will contribute infinetly more to the success or failure of an encounter then your gear ever will. This is evidenced in my personal experiences and by the fact (correct me if i'm wrong) that world-first Naxx clear was done by people wearing blues/greens.

TLDR: attitude and skill >> gear/lack of shield.

Challenge: finding those players on your server.


Anonymous said...

Whilst i agree with the majority of points in your generally great blog, i think it's really important to look at other tanks when making these comparisons. im not talking about all other tanks, just ones of a similar SKILL level. i think that is something that seems overlooked by many.

It's ok saying that we are OP in terms of what we can get from our gear choices etc. etc. but you still need to be a decent tank to make these kind of claims. i know of alot of tanks (of every class) that are struggling atm in heroics and raids. the basic reason is they arent good enough (yet) to cope.

i also know of some really excellent tanks who can rival druids in any instance, if they have the skill.

as far as aoe packs go i personally cant see any issue there atm, i just take the maul/swipe spam as read and dont really think its anything to complain about. i seem to hold aggro fine with that method, and though its maybe not the most interesting thing to do for a tank, i dont think its broken at all.

druids just hold on to what weve got atm i reckon, cos things will be changing. and i dont necessarily think they will change the way we work at all, it will most likely be the same situation as we have previously been used to whereby as soon as new content is introduced we look down the loot tables and think 'hmmm.... no bear loot there then'. other tanks will catch and surpass us as they pick up plate epics aplenty and thier stats grow and grow while ours remain somewhat stagnant and we all go chasing after arena sets.

(just my opinion :p)

Anonymous said...

This post will be a wall of text. Sorry.

Here is a comparison of a warrior tank and a druid tank wearing nearly the best gear in the game and the stats that they'll have. Disclaimers (there are quite a few) will follow the numbers.

This imaginary warrior is wearing Last Laugh, Wall of Terror, Armor Plated Combat Shotgun, Nexus War Champion Beads, Cloak of the Shadowed Sun, Gatekeeper, Sand-worn Band, Kyzoc's Ground Stompers, Ablative Chitin Girdle, Bracers of the Unholy Knight, and full Valorous Dreadnaught Plate. The unbuffed stats for this set come out to:

Armor - 22041
Strength - 911
Stamina - 1388
Dodge Rating - 373
Defense Rating - 492
Parry Rating - 307
Block Rating - 133
Block Value - 298
Hit Rating - 142
Expertise Rating - 34
Sockets - 4 blue, 7 red, 1 meta

The druid is wearing Origin of Nightmares, Idol of Terror, Boundless Ambition, Cloak of the Shadowed Sun, Gatekeeper, Keystone Great-Ring, Footwraps of Vile Deceit, Stalk-skin Belt, Thrusting Bands, and full Valorous Dreamwalker Battlegear. The unbuffed stats for this set come out to:

Armor - 5804
Strength - 257
Agility - 649
Stamina - 1155
Dodge Rating - 128
Defense Rating - 71
Crit Rating - 334
Hit Rating - 64
Expertise Rating - 181
Haste Rating - 122
Armor Penetration Rating - 78
Attack Power (non-feral) - 1006
Sockets - 5 red, 3 yellow, 1 meta

Disclaimers: I know that T7 isn't necessarily best in every slot, but defaulting to it made generating this list much easier. In general I made guesses when it came to warrior gear, if I made a major mistake in some of their items let me know and I can recalculate the stats. Also, I added all of the values by hand so there may be calculation mistakes, feel free to point them out. For the remainder of this post I will ignore base stats because I could not find them, but they should have very little effect on the conclusions here.

The following numbers are the stats that the characters will have unbuffed but with appropriate talents and dire bear form multipliers added in. I will show a minimal amount of work on how I arrived at the diminished avoidance values, please double check my math there.


Strength - 966
Stamina - 1471
Armor - 24245
Dodge - 9.48 (dodge rating) + 4 (defense rating) = 13.48%, reduced to 12.155 + 8.464 (3.464 base + 5 anticipation) = 20.619%
Parry - 6.24 (parry rating) + 4 (defense rating) = 10.24%, reduced to 8.72 + 5 (deflection) = 13.72%
Block - 8.11 (block rating) + 5 (shield specialization) = 13.11%
Block value - 298 * 1.3 (shield mastery) + 911 / 2 = 843


Strength - 272
Agility - 688
Stamina - 1836
Armor - 31383
Dodge - 16.512 (agility) + 0.56 (defense rating) + 3.25 (dodge rating) = 20.325%, reduced to 17.74 + 14.95 (10 feral swiftness + natural reaction, 4.95 base) = 32.69%

Conclusions: The druid will have 365 more stamina and 7138 more armor than the warrior. The warrior will have 1.65% more dodge+parry than the druid has dodge. You can probably add 3% more chance to be missed from defense for 4.65% more avoidance.

I specifically left out trinkets due to the fact that they tend to be switched around more than other pieces of gear since they're so specialized. The thing to note is that we scale better with both stamina and armor in the trinket slot than warriors do by a long shot, which will magnify the differences I just listed. Armor is the most obvious example: if both the druid and warrior then equipped Offering of Sacrifice and Defender's Code the druid's armor advantage would skyrocket to 12,976. We could do something similar with stamina and equip both with Essence of Gossamer, which gives the druid a 430 stamina advantage.

These differences will only grow when things like enchants, gems, and buffs are taken into consideration since we scale faster with stamina and agility. Further considering that this hypothetical warrior is not yet crit immune and must waste some gems/enchants on defense rating and the gap grows again.

Note that block does make up for this to an extent. Unfortunately we don't have any similar abilities with which to compare the two. If we limit ourselves to main tanking boss fights where hits are large but slow, which is where I argue that druids are overpowered, it's generally accepted that armor is superior to block. When you consider that we can stack nearly 13k more armor than warriors for such fights I can't see how anyone would think we are on equal footing.

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Sorry warriors, you suck. Its official.

I do believe all tanking classes can tank all content, in all the tanking roles, as long as they are appropriately geared & skilled, and have good friends to back them up.

But that's because I work for the Blizzard tanking department, and they force-feed me this brainwashing nonsense every day.

Thank god there are still some people who are pretty nifty with a calculator out there. I'm sick of meeting all these harvard grads in the blizzard cafes... with their phds in computer science and mathematical simulation techniques they think they're the bomb. I wish they'd spend more time reading blog comments.

Anonymous said...


Assuming that you do in fact work for Blizzard I think you're almost right. While Swipe was pretty clearly the weakest AoE ability of the 4 tanks, it was good enough to get the job done on all current fights as long as the dps understood to be a little more careful when a druid was tanking. With the buff it's actually a little ridiculous now.

However, if the first boss in Ulduar is a Patchwerk/Brutallus type fight where the tanks take enormous amounts of damage and the fight is balanced around players having nearly full Naxx/Malygos gear, then I can only see druids being used. On such fights our avoidance disadvantage is negated since the healers never stop healing anyway, and our superior health and armor totals make us the only logical choice if tank death is a real concern.

This is an issue that I want to see fixed now instead of when the Icecrown patch hits and all of a sudden we get hit with the nerf bat a little too hard and are suddenly not viable to tank progression encounters.

Anonymous said...

No I dont work for Blizzard. I could. I have the qualifications. I think it would be a blast My speciality is math/algorithms/statistics - I'd be in a team who designed the classes & their combat algorithms, and who obviously, according to vocal members of the community, didnt have a clue how combat or classes worked. Hence my irony.

Even thought I play a feral as my main, I dislike discussions that suggest one class's superiority over another in pve. As GC said recently, it may be true in a theoretical space divorced from real game play. But I encourage my raid leaders to look at the real game that we all play every night, and make decisions on who to bring for each raid based upon reality, not theory.