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:
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.
It's all good and well hearing about the huge thing druids can do, but you cannot really comment until your DPS are the the same level of gear as you.
As it stand your a huge amount better than you DPS, and anything you see is skewed.
Blink, 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.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.
The upcoming 3.0.8 changes are awesome for all of us not at the very end of the gear spectrum.
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.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.
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?
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.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.
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'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.