Thursday, October 14, 2010

[Bear] FAQ for 4.0.1/Cataclysm

Gah! So busy. This needed to be up, like, yesterday.


Q: What's the point & purpose of this FAQ?
A: Short & simple answers for people who want a quick fix. You don't need to have followed the beta changes since day one. This is for those who didn't read everything on EJ, didn't pour over changes and just want to know what the heck is going on.

Q: You're wrong! My research says blah!
A: Maybe. And if so, point it out and I'll correct it. But I warn you - I do a lot of research and I'm good at it.

Q: But what about 5-mans? Or PvP?
A: I don't care. This is for bears who are MTing 10 and 25-man content, especially 25-man. It is probably suboptimal for other choices.

Q: You smell, and I hate you!
A: Enjoy the WoW forums then. I get flamed over there all the time too.

Q: You don't talk about trash mobs, enchants, or detailed gear selection!
A: Nope, this is quick and dirty. I've talked about professions, gear choices, various good stats and other things elsewhere.

Q: You're just repeating stuff on EJ, Tankspot, and Toskk's forums!
A: Largely yes. That's kind of the point - I do the reading so you don't have to.

Mechanics & play changes:

Q: What rotation do I use?
A@80: For single target it's mangle when it's available, lacerate if there is no lacerate on the target, swipe when it's available, pulverize to keep the buff up after 3 lacerates, lacerate otherwise. Faerie fire if you're in a low-rage situation. Maul if you're in a high rage situation. For multitarget it's largely the same, save that you should prioritize spreading lacerates around to proc more mangles if possible. And start the pull by thornsing yourself.
A@85: For single target it's mangle off CD, lacerate if there is no lacerate on the target, thrash off CD, swipe off CD, pulverize to keep the buff up and lacerate otherwise. Faerie fire when you're low on rage, and maul if you're in high rage or need a quick boost of threat. And start the pull by thornsing yourself. On multitarget, rotate between swipe and thrash and lacerate otherwise, throwing mangles and mauls in when you have the rage.

Q: Stack lacerate to 3? But I thought it stacked to 5?
A: Nope. Lacerate is only three stacks. And even better, the damage it does to start with is significantly better, and the dot is pretty weak. Which makes it quite spammable.

Q: Pulverize is that good?
A: Yep. Pulverize helps with more savage defense, helps with rage, and does a good amount of damage by itself.

Q: So the single target rotation uses both of our AoE abilities?
A: Yeah, at least right now; both do significantly large amounts of threat and damage.

Q: What's thrash?
A: Thrash is an ability learned at level 81. It's great threat and applies a bleed.

Q: So no more swipe spam?
A: Nope! Swipe has a 6-second CD, as does Thrash. You'll want to plan to use swipe based on the fight and make sure that it's up if adds spawn at a specific time.

Q: So no more faerie fire?
A: Faerie fire costs no rage but isn't that great in terms of threat any more, at least not compared to lacerate.

Q: Wait - so what happened to mangle? What's the new berserk thing?
A: Berserk now gives a 30% chance to your lacerate ticks to reset mangle's CD. There isn't an improved mangle any more - but the lacerate ticks mean that you have a good chance to get extra mangles if you're paying attention. That means lacerate should be up all the time (it should be the first thing you do after pulverize) and ideally you should pulverize only right after a lacerate tick.

Q: All my attacks had /cast maul associated with them - should I keep doing that?
A: No! Maul has a 3-second CD, is off the GCD (so you can use it whenever) and doesn't do nearly as much threat and damage as it used to. Plus it's a huge rage sink, and chances are you don't want to mess with your rotation too much to use it. It's better used in multitarget situations or at the start of a fight to get a good threat lead.

Q: So the magic number for defense was 156 defense rating or 103 resilience rating before. What is it now?
A: 0. Bear form & Thick Hide automatically take care of being uncrittable.

Q: What are the new cooldowns bears have?
A: Survival instincts has changed to be a true shield wall - 60% reduction every 5 minutes. Barkskin is unchanged. Frenzied Regeneration (with the glyph) is now sort of like the old survival instincts but doesn't increase your current health unless you're very low, but adds the guardian spirit ability. All are very strong.

Q: Okay, those are pretty big changes - what else has happened?
A: Skull Bash is your new interrupt. And it's a mini-charge too!

Q: Anything else?
A: Vengeance is pretty neat for bears. Especially since Vengeance combines with Savage Defense to make blocking kinda ridiculous at times.

Q: Wait, Savage Defense? Isn't that kind of a lame skill?
A: Not any more! With it being modified by mastery, increased via vengeance and being fairly large anyway it means big, big blocks quite often.

Q: So what other goodies am I getting come Cataclysm?
A: Not a lot, sadly. I mentioned thrash, which feels like an answer to a question that doesn't matter any more (how to tank lots of mobs easily, which you shouldn't be doing!). At 83 you get stampeding roar, which is somewhat neat but has such a small radius currently it's not super useful. Still, it's another dash and it's in bear form. And at 85, you get wild mushroom...which is essentially as useful as hurricane.

Q: What's with innervate?
A: It's horrible now for ferals; it gives back mana based on the caster's mana pool.

A: Yeah, it's a bad design. I hope it goes away soon.

Q: is there any good news?
A: well, you can use tranquility to heal anyone, sort of like a divine hymn, but unless you have nurturing instinct chances are it won't be useful.


Q: Where's all my extra armor?
A: On leather, extra armor is long gone. On nonleather there's a bug that removed a lot of it; it should return soon.

Q: So what, we're supposed to wear rogue leather?
A: Yep.

Q: That sucks!
A: Not really, not any more. Most leather pieces have as much stamina as plate pieces do. It's not nearly as bad as it used to be.

Q: What rogue leather is best then? It's got all these weird-ass stats...
A: The only stats that help mitigation/avoidance directly that are on rogue leather are agility, stamina and mastery. Crit somewhat helps make more savage defense procs, as does hit and expertise, but they aren't big deals. And agility is huge now.

Q: How is agility huge?
A: Well, for a bear it gives crit %, dodge %and 2 AP per agility point. It's quite the one-stop shop for the well-to-do bear. Note that it doesn't give armor any more. Yeah, I don't know either.

Q: Mastery?
A: It's a lame name, I know.

Q: Okay, but that wasn't the question. What does it do?
A: For bears, Mastery increases the size of your savage defense shields by 4% per mastery point. This sounds wimpy, but it ends up being quite substantial; each mastery point at 80 increases absorption by about 400-500 damage, and that increases quite a bit with vengeance.

Q: But doesn't that mean PvP gear has the best stats for tanking then?
A: Yep! At least it has the best mitigation/avoidance stats. The PvE gear is better for threat. Sadly this hasn't changed in 4 years either.

Q: So great...I have to pvp now, don't I?
A: Not really. It may give you a small advantage, but since you can't reforge resilience away it loses a lot of item budget.

Q: Reforge?
A: Yeah! This is the biggest thing for bears in a long time. You can convert 40% of a secondary stat (not agility or stamina or strength) into another secondary stat that isn't on the item. For bears, this means that you can convert haste (which is pretty weak for bears) or extra hit into dodge rating or mastery.

Q: So what you're telling me is...
A: Yes! Tanking leather is back! Sorta.

Q: What about the non-leather items?
A: This is sort of a tough one. On the one hand, the tanking non-leather items can have extra armor. On the other hand, the DPS ones have agility and more threat, which can give more boosts. I'd recommend taking the non-leather tanking pieces with + armor when they exist, take the tanking trinkets that give stamina and armor, but look for high-agility and high-mastery jewelry otherwise.

Q: So defense is gone...what does that mean for gear?
A: It means look for gear with armor, agility, mastery, and dodge. Strength is okay but not thrilling.

Q: How about gems?
A: Stamina is still the king. Agility is better than it was before, but avoidance still isn't thriling compared to the gains you get from stamina.

Q: You have mongoose on your tanking staff?
A: Sadly Mongoose is still the best bear enchant at 80. At 85 there are going to be better ones, at least.

Q: Okay...what about other enchants?
A: In general, go for stamina and agility, then avoidance.


Q: Wow. What happened to our tree?
A: It went boom. You now pick a specialization (feral) and then get talents roughly once every other level. The total talents that you can have at level 80 is 36, and at 85 is 41. And you can't get any talents from any tree other than feral until you've spent 31 points in feral.

Q: Survival of the fittest is gone! So is MANGLE? HOW IS I DON"T EVEN GAAARHRGHG
A: Relax. Both are baked into the feral specialization or part of Thick Hide.

Q: So what spec would you recommend?
A: At 80, you can't go deep into the resto tree - so I'd go with something like a 0/33/3 build.
A: at 85, you want to get perseverance and you might as well get master shapeshifter along the way, so you end up with a 0/32/9 build. There are a few options available for those points.

Q: There don't seem to be a lot of options for bears.
A: That's not a question, but yeah, you're right. Most of the talents that are somewhat situational are either completely suicidal (King of the Jungle) or just aren't useful for bears at all (like Nurturing Instinct). Your options come down to brutal impact, infected wounds or stampede, basically. Of those I'd recommend skipping stampede, as it's only useful at the start of a fight.

Q: What about natural shapeshifter/master shapeshifter?
A: Master shapeshifter would be good if it were only 2 points, but it's essentially 3. And natural shapeshifter is worthless. There's not a lot else to spend your points on, though.

Q: King of the Jungle?
A: One of the best cat talents, but only meh for bears. Nice for an early threat lead but not all that useful otherwise. And threat really isn't that big of a concern right now. Still, get it if you plan on doing any decent amount of kitty.

Other choices:

Q: What Inscriptions?
A: Mangle, Berserk, Lacerate, Frenzied Regeneration and Feral Charge. Also Challenging Roar. I'd recommend swapping between the rebirth and the thorns glyph for the third major.

Q: What professions?
A: Too early to tell, but my guess is jewelcrafting (since it's useful for all specs of druid) and either leatherworking or engineering.

Q: If I'm taking all these bear talents, how do I dps as a cat?
A: Much better than before. The main cat talent you don't have is King of the Jungle, but your shreds, rakes, and rips all hit fairly hard. You also are missing out on glyphs which hurts, but it's much better than it was before.

Q:'re a sexy theorycrafter. You're so smart when you explain things. Where can I find the places that you stole this from more information?
A: EJ forums on Cataclysm Feral druids - the big one.
Combat Ratings at 85, which talks about diminishing returns
Beta forums, which kind of suck right now
MMO Champion, which has the latest updates on specs and talents
Rawr, the best damn optimizer on the planet.

Plus a whole ton of places that I can't be bothered to mention.


Anonymous said...

Cat's have been buffed. Shred is doing 10-12k unbuffed at the dummy. Doing 10-11k.

Jey said...

With the nerf to swipe threat that is just around the corner should we worry about trying to incorporate it into the rotation for single target since threat seems quite high already.

oh and your links the the specs don't work (at least for me).

Kalon said...

Anon - yeah, I'll bring that up in the cat post :)

Jey - thanks for the build links - updated. And I'll try to keep everything current as it changes, but right now swipe is still good for tanking single mobs. The 50% boost to threat is just huge, and it combines well with thrash.

Frick said...

Hi Kal,
Great stuff! Thank you for this!

Question about the Thorns glyph recommendation. In a word, why? At best, we'll only be casting it before we charge in, so why would a reduced cast time be useful? (Or is this more a symptom of crappy alternatives?)

Kalon said...

Frick - partially it's because of crappy alternatives (it's either that, faerie fire or rebirth), but partially it's because with the CD you can cast it on basically every pull in a 5-man, and that's super helpful. Same with doing it on most every pull on trash in raids. Again, super helpful. I know it's going to be nerfed, but it's still doing huge damage.

Jey said...

your response confused me but then i reread what i wrote and confused myself.

So will swipe be worth using if the 50% threat/dmg reduction goes live?

And if no, is it worth getting used to using in single target rotation with (at least for me) threat being so high right now?

50% threat boost?

Links are working good now.

Kalon said...

Jey - sorry for the confusion. Swipe should still be useful for threat going forward. While it's being nerfed by 50% damage, it still has an innate +50% threat boost. As such it does more than lacerate, and getting an extra lacerate stack isn't that big a deal any more.

Jey said...

ok good to know.

Oh and that "discussion" about feral aggression that we had. Yeah, so im sticking my tail between my legs on that one.

I totally love Feral Aggression now especially with the FF glyph.

screw those warriors and their sub-par sunders.

BearTreeCat said...

Q: So the magic number for defense was 156 defense rating or 103 resilience rating before. What is it now?
A: 0. Bear form automatically takes care of being uncrittable.

May want to fix that, Kalon. It's the Thick Hide talent that does that, even though yes, I know they originally said that Blood Presence/Defensive Stance/Bear Form/Righteous Fury would take care of that. I suspect you wrote this way back when, briefly revised it, and are only posting it now. =3

BearTreeCat said...

Same goes for this one:

Q: Survival of the fittest is gone! So is MANGLE? HOW IS I DON"T EVEN GAAARHRGHG
A: Relax. Both are baked into the feral specialization.

Not *quite* true, since SotF's uncrittability got rolled into Thick Hide as well.

Kalon said...

BearTreeCat - thanks, and corrected.

Anonymous said...

Q: How is agility huge?
A: Well, for a bear it gives extra armor, crit %, dodge %and 2 AP per agility point. It's quite the one-stop shop for the well-to-do bear.

Agility no longer gives armor.

Anonymous said...

Also, has anyone done the math yet on whether it is better to reforge to Dodge or Mastery?

Kalon said...

Gargh. Anon, I knew that, but my fingers did not listen. Fixed.

As to dodge vs. mastery, it's going to require a good bear sim to get done. My bet is that dodge will win out over mastery on fights that have multiple adds, but mastery will likely win as you get more dodge and for any shared pieces you may have with cat. It also depends a lot on whether mastery gets nerfed or buffed, how vengeance factors in, etc. It's one of the most complicated questions out there.

Xarnen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Good read as always... I would love to see them make a change to thorns so we can cast while in form :)

Willowbear said...

Thanks again Kalon. When you went on sabbatical you were sorely missed. It's good to have your input during this transition.

tbot said...

"A@80: For single target it's mangle when it's available, swipe when it's available, pulverize to keep the buff up after 3 lacerates, lacerate otherwise"
"That means lacerate should be up all the time (it should be the first thing you do after pulverize)"

You seem to be contradicting yourself a little bit in your priority system.

Should not "Have at least one lacerate on the target" be the second most important listed in your priority system?

Kalon said...

tbot - that's a good point. I'll add that in to avoid confusion. And yeah, having one lacerate up should be a priority no matter what due to the berserk thing, but having two more isn't that special.

Man, the bear rotation is weird.

Dave said...

One other thing possibly to mention is that growl should never miss regardless of hit rating. I'm curious if anyone knows if the same should be true of challenging roar - I swear I saw challenging roar fail on a target dummy last night.

Are you trying to get to any particular level of hit? Hit clearly is a useful threat stat and at some level helps mitigation just in terms of making sure more attacks land for procs and stuff. I'm trying to figure out if I should reforge to get closer or if it might even be worth dropping hit for mastery.

tbot said...

Dave - I am fairly certain that growl was moved to the melee hit cap. It can still miss if you are below the 8%.

And I agree, bear rotation gets really boggling. There is a lot of things to pay attention to and I feel like I am going to need to write an addon to keep track of them.

Also, I wish i could switch the clearcast and beserk proc animations for bears :(

Felkan said...

According to Blizzard it has been ~440 days since I last logged into my account (they told me when I called it to have it unlocked, not sure why I needed to do that).

I'm so lost, but I remembered reading your blog and BBB long ago. Thanks so much for the quick FAQ it is perfect for my needs right now.

Just gotta go practice...

Since I only have T7 and a bit of T8 gear, I'm not quite sure what all I should focus on gear wise, but then maybe I'll work on other things (switching professions, etc.) until the Expac is released.

Thanks again...

Anonymous said...

Cataclysm = The Return of Anti-Tanks?


tbot said...

Hey Kalon,

Do you know if Bear 4p t10 is just a tooltip error? or is really down to the 2% it implies?

Herman said...

Q: What are the new cooldowns bears have?
A: Frenzied Regeneration (with the glyph) is now sort of like the old survival instincts but doesn't increase your current health unless you're very low, but adds the guardian spirit ability.

Actually it DOES increase your health by 30% (both glyphed and unglyphed). And it has the "increased healing recieved" portion of guardian spirit when glyphed.

@tbot. maybe a tooltip error. mine says 12%.

Nyrith said...

What do you guys think about Thorns?
I personally find the mechanic interesting, but the castable-only-in-caster-from-thingy is annoying me.
I just don't like to be forced to switch to caster from between pulls.

And I'm thinking about using T1-bonus for buffing - which is always a bad sign in terms of game design.

As alway, great read. Keep up the good stuff!

tbot said...

Herman - My point was the tooltip reads (no longer decreases armor), the new enrage increase physical dmg taken by 10%. -10% + 12% results in 2%.

Also, Another note on threat Kalon. Swipe is only a better filler then Lacerate once AP > 6030 Which requires a tank in 264's or better fully buffed. Being a general FaQ you probable have a number of people below that point.

Rahl said...

Once again, just wanted to say a big thanks! Its great having you back on the wow scene!

Oura said...

Welcome back to WOW. You are still the best feral blog out there!

I hope we can expect a cat FAQ in a similar vein :)

Anonymous said...

Wrong post to reply to but...


Maim now deals 155% weapon damage, up from 100%.

Rip base bleed damage has been increased by 50%.
Shred now deals 350% damage, up from 225%. Additional damage increased by 55%.
Swipe now deals 335% weapon damage, up from 215%.
Ravage now causes 850% damage, up from 550%. Additional damage increased by 55%
Claw now causes 155% damage, up from 100%. Additional damage increased by 55%.
Ferocious Bite base additional damage increased by 55%.
Rake bleed damage has been increased by 55%.
Fury Swipes now deals 310% weapon damage, up from 200%.

Anonymous said...

Great job as always. I don't care what they do to us, I will always be a bear.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you are blogging again Kalon, and I look forward to reading more about bears.

- Auntjemyma of Garona

Bearmount said...

Great guide, your info has really helped me stay effective as a tank throughout all these changes and as a result I'm really loving them.

Quick Question, is it worth it reforging crit to mastery? I've already reforged all haste into mastery and am having some amazing SD bubbles as a result, but then I've got pieces like Seal of Many Mouths and Footpads of Impending Death that have crit/expertise. What should I do with these pieces?

Anonymous said...

Is hybrids (dps/tank) viable in term of:
1: Spec
2: Gear
3: Gems (agility NOT stamina)
4: Enchants (agility and stamina!)
5: Professions
6: Reforging (to mastery)?

Is it possible to get to something like a 95%/95% dps/tank spec/gear setup?
In which of the 6 points above do you think hybrids are hurt the most?

PS: The 6% reduced magical damage talent in the resto spec seem very weak (maby 1-2% reduced in total damage in most fights). Master shapeshifter is only worth 2,5-3% dps (2,67% at 50% crit). Almost all other talents you can get in a hybrid spec.

PPS: Thank you for another great informative post.

Anonymous said...

Cant thank you enough - I was feeling so lost with all the changes- and somehow you always make things better with your posts.
Really glad the best feral blogger is back to action!

alexandru said...

I just have to say thank you for yet another great post.
I bump your blog every morning at Coffey time and realy saves me time as I don't have to see all the other sites , you and mmo is all I need info wise and ofc the guild site and that's wow done for the day.
All these changes look very exiting even tho I am on a wow brake after summer killed the core raiding team at 9/12 heroic mode, I will be looking to get back at some point next month for a test-drive before cataclysm hits the store. Thanks again for all the great posts and all the work done.

Atu the true Brewmaster of Nordrassil.

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but your link to the fluid druid blog is outdated.

Evan said...

Hey Kalon, thanks for the post, it helps a lot! :D
Would you mind that I translate this FAQ into Chinese and post it on a forum? Of course I'll mark that the post is originally written by you on this blog.

Anonymous said...

So eehm...
does weapon speed matter?

Anonymous said...

ok nvm that. just found the answere on ej

"Both the minimum and maximum damage from the weapon are divided by its attack speed. These values are multiplied by the base swing speed of the form you're in (1 for cats, 2.5 for bears), and those values are then added to your minimum and maximum damage without a weapon equipped."

Kalon said...

Thanks, all, for the kind words.

Dave, I'm trying to get some hit and expertise but not worrying about it right now. In the future I'll probably care about it a bit more, but mastery will still be the gravy stat.

Felkan - don't worry about gear now. You'll replace most everything in Cataclysm.

ANon1 - antitanks likely still won't be a factor so long as stamina scales so amazingly well, but as an offtank it's not so bad. The best stats for cats are agility and mastery, and those are the 2nd and 3rd best stats for bears (after stamina). It doesn't suck. At the very least more shared gear is likely.

tbot - it's a tooltip error; 4pT10 removes the debuff you get from enrage completely and adds a 12% reduction.

Herman - it doesn't increase your current health, just your possible health. SI (the old version) and Last Stand both increaed your current and maximum health.

Nyrith - I wish thorns was castable in bear but not cat.

tbot - having 6k AP as a bear with vengeance is trivial. :) So it remains strong even at lower levels.

Bearmount - it's almost certainly worth it to reforge crit to mastery at the crit rates we're at now; it's likely not going to be that way come 85, at least for a while.

Anon, this comes up so often (the hybrid spec) I'm going to have to devote a post to it. Yes, you can have a hybrid spec, though the glyphs will suck unless you swap them. Yes, you can have some gear that swaps, but not all. I'll go into it in more detail later.

I need to update the fluid druid link! Lots of awesome stuff there - thanks for letting me know.

Evan - I don't mind at all, and tahnks for asking.

And no, weapon speed doesn't matter.

Daniel said...

Hey Kalon - good to have you back. :-)

A couple thoughts:

1. "Of those I'd recommend skipping stampede, as it's only useful at the start of a fight." This doesn't account for rage normalization, in which the start of a fight is our only serious weakness. 15% haste is faster rage generation - and for a main tank running 10/25 content, a much better choice than interrupts (brutal impact). We haven't been on interrupt duty yet in WoW, no reason to start now. :-)

Second thought:

Thorns glyph is largely useless in 10/25 content (which is what you said you were writing to) - as you never see a 25 second fight. Rebirth, on the other hand, can't be wasted now, so a 100% hp brez is extremely useful. In case it passed your watchful eye, you only get one brez per fight, regardless of the number of druids available. That said, I'd still never kill all my stored rage between trash pulls just to cast thorns regardless of the timer, even in 5 mans.

Take care, welcome back!


Anonymous said...

Nurturing instinct is not useless for bears. It affects the heal from Leader of the Pack. 8% + 70% of your agility = win?

Anonymous said...

"In case it passed your watchful eye, you only get one brez per fight, regardless of the number of druids available."

Actually, it's 1 battle rez per party per fight. If you have 5 druids in a 25 man and you put each in a different group of the raid, you will have 5 battle resurrections.

Schubido said...

Just an additional sidenote, because its not mentioned
Through Venegeance we now gain Threat (AP) and Mitigation (Savage Defense), too.

We gain about 1.5 AP through stamina now. (Venegeance cap is based on 10% of max HP).

As this scales with the ICC 30% buff (other than Agi), it even gives 1.95 AP per Sta.

Of course only stacks up after the pull, but still nice and gives it quite the edge in agi/sta comparisions. (to my opinion :) )

Daniel said...

A replacement for Mongoose.

Mighty Agility Enchant. +130 agility.