Tuesday, December 28, 2010

[Bear] Some early bear thoughts

A couple posters asked me to go back to writing some things about bears.

Well, they're fuzzy. And shouldn't be petted.

K. Happy holidays!

Oh, fine. Real things to consider. Let's start with some basics:

1. Interrupts and taunts cannot miss. Note that the interrupt attack (like skull bash) can miss, but the actual interrupt effect will never miss. This has been confirmed by repeat experimentation a ridiculous amount of times. This means that other than threat (and savage defense procs), there is no reason to gear for hit as a tank.

2. Parry haste does not exist for anyone. For players, for mobs, anyone. That isn't to say that mobs can't parry - or that they don't quite a lot - but it does mean that using expertise to get less of a chance of gibbage is a bit silly. Thus, other than threat (and savage defense procs) there is no reason to gear for expertise as a tank.

3. Haste improves the speed of autoattacks for bears. This improves rage generation slightly, but only slightly. It can slightly increase the number of SD procs you get, but only barely. In theory it will let you maul more, but not a whole lot more; mauls are usually a function of damage intake, not white attacks. Thus, other than threat (and savage defense procs) there is no reason to gear for haste as a tank.

4. While vengeance improves savage defense, it does have a fairly high ceiling. For most bears this means that they are not vengeance-capped (where vengeance is equivalent to 10% of their health). Which means adding more health does not improve mitigation; just because you have more health doesn't mean you'll be hitting for more via vengeance. This will vary between tank to tank and encounter to encounter; I expect that as you get into heroic raids you'll start pushing the limit of vengeance stacking and it'll improve again. But for the most part, stamina doesn't help mitigation (stopping damage intake), it only improves survival.

5. Most of the time stamina isn't helping survival all that much. We are at the point where effective health is not nearly as relevant as taking less damage and being smart with mechanics. Tank healing is pretty simple as long as the tank doesn't screw up a mechanic. Tank survivability is quite high; I've been able to survive for 20 seconds without external healing - and that's with a mishmash of tanking and dps gear. There aren't that many fights where the tank is going to be taking a ton of damage, at least not on normal modes; Heroic Nef hits for about 70-80k on a tank in normal 25-man, and he's by far the worst offender. What this means is that stamina past a certain point is just not that great. Gone are the days where bears got way more multipliers for their stamina, and gone are the days where a stamina gem gives 1.5 times the benefit it does to other tanks. Stamina is not the be-all, end all of a bear's use.

What all of this means is the following:

1. For heroics, don't bother stacking stamina unless your gear level is very low (like, just barely able to go into a random). Stack agility and reforge the highest value to dodge.

2. Understand the fight and be able to redo gear cheaply. Flasks for agility are good (especially since the stam flask isn't as good as it should be). Swapping cheap enchants is another idea. Use justice points to buy second sets of gear and redo them for stam and agility.

3. Threat is largely unimportant right now. If you're really concerned about it chances are you're doing something wrong; on a single target fight it is very, very hard for dps to touch you past 10 seconds.

4. There's no reason to worry about misses on important stuff.

The end result of all of this is that agility is Very Good. Mastery is Good. Crit rating is Good. Stamina is Good (to a point). Dodge (which gives about 50% more dodge% than agility does) is Good.

Hit, Expertise, haste, strength, AP? All meh.

Which, interestingly enough, is very similar to what the priorities are for cats. Other than dodge, that is.

And armor. Oh yeah, armor! If you are going to go stacking effective health despite what others are saying, keep in mind that armor improves both survival and mitigation. Also keep in mind that the best heroic armor trinket - Heart of Thunder - has worse armor than the worst old trinket you can buy - good old Glyph. If you can get your hands on a Petrified Twilight Scale it's well worth it.

Some other fun tricks:

1. Entangling roots is awesome. You're the only tank out there that has not only one CC but two. Both are situational and not perfect, but both are great and are good in a pinch. Know how to utilize them in various dungeons. Get used to them.

2. Remember that you can shift out of snares. There are a TON of snares in dungeons now - Ozrek's paralyze is a good example. Instead of waiting for the damage to free you, why not free yourself?

3. Get used to Line of Sight. You don't have an easy silence but you do have a ton of LoS abilities. This helps a ton with caster pulls. Otherwise casters should almost always be CCed; you can take a lot of physical punishment but don't have the control of caster that other tanks do.

4. Remember that skull bash is a short charge, too.


Xeld said...

Speaking of entangling roots... what are your thoughts on Glyph of entangling roots?

I somewhat stumbled on it as I had been using feral charge and was just skimming my glyphs one day. After swapping to that in my cat spec, and using in heroic, I have to say Insta-roots is pretty nifty.

I'm now thinking about picking it up for bear as we seem to have that 3rd Major glyph spot somewhat open to user preference (have thorns, but I just don't really use it much).

Add that with a macro to shift, cast, shift back and it's seemingly an extremely nifty (though situational of course) CC option for bears.

Probably also a nice way to really annoy those rogues and warriors in PVP.. which by itself seems worthwhile.

Ark said...

Is the interrupt thing exclusive to Skull Bash? I've had Shield Bash miss and fail to interrupt on my Warrior plenty of times.

Xarnen said...

I've seen on the spreadsheet Fasc created that crit rating and expertise are very very close for me in terms of mitigation (though no where near dodge rating or even mastery). Given our frequency to miss a lot in favoring dodge, do you believe that maybe expertise might be better than crit for helping maintain good pulverize uptime? Speaking of course for raids. :)

Also what are your thoughts on the effulgent meta gem (2% spell damage reduction) given the meta req is a bit better than the armor one and there are some fights with some moderate magical damage.

I'm also really digging Skardyn's Grace ( http://www.wowhead.com/item=56440 ) as a trinket. I like the clicky on use. Any thoughts on other good non-stam trinkets in this vein?

Thanks and great article!

Mugio said...

Any thoughts regarding using the ilvl 365 pvp gear? It seems like we're in another situation where the secondary stats on the item matter little and getting the most armor and agility out of the item is the best option.

Rauxis said...

any comment on the recent "Frencied Regeneration" nerf?

happy new year
Rauxis, chosen of CAT

Kalon said...

Xeld, entangling roots is a great glyph for cats and bears.

Ark, I'm not sure if it's exclusive to cats or bears or whatnot, but I do know that taunts can't miss and skull bash's interrupt ability can't miss.

Xarnen, my suspicion is that expertise is high simply because you're below the expertise cap. That being said, keeping a high pulverize uptime isn't that critical right now.

Effulgent and Austere are both easy enough. Yellow gems are kinda hot right now since mastery went yellow; a stam/mastery gem is perfectly fine, and an agi/mastery gem is also perfectly fine. Effulgent is probably better for specific fights like Nef, but ultimately it'll not be a huge deal.

I'll try and get into bear trinkets at a later date; one thing to note is that the Mirror of Broken Images is really, really awesome and well worth grinding for. A 1-minute CD for something that gives essentially a 40% resist all is going to be hugely useful in an expansion with tons of dragons and elemental lords.

Kalon said...

Mugio - the PvP gear is pretty awesome. While the stamina isn't necessary, the armor and agility make up for it. If you can get a good mastery PvP piece it's great. It just annoys me too much to comment on it any more.

Rauxis, it's not really a big deal. Bears largely don't use the heal from Frenzied Regen (they glyph out of it) so chances are you wont' notice. It matters in your dps spec more than anything.

Mugio said...

I understand and agree with the annoyance that is pvp gear. It seems right now that the PVP Helm is a superb choice since the only PVE helms available are a random trash BOE drop, T11 off Nefarian and an non-set piece off Cho'gall.

Anonymous said...

Yay for bear posts again!

Copey said...

Awesome stuff. Recently, I reforged some haste for extra hit, because I felt like my threat was low…I was thinking though that it had less to do with me, and more to do with DPS that fails to pay attention to new mechanics.

After your new post goodness, I’ll have to reconsider that. Before I reforged for hit, I had no problem keeping threat on single target bosses where I had a chance to get into my rotation. I still have problems with packs of mobs when DPS is being bad.

So…red agility gems instead of fatty blues eh? It feels so unnatural.

Thanks for some bear goodness.

Copey said...

As a Jewel Crafter, should a bear use his 3 JC gems for agility instead of stam? I feel like I'm noobing it up now.

Ciopo said...

glyph of root feels like an overkill to me, remember that we can always use nature grasp, which even can root multiple targets and don't even require you to shift out of form

Grumpyhorn said...

Wasn't sure where to post this, Bear seemed to be the best place. I was playing with your gear lists for bear form and turned off the cataclysm filter. Several WotLK trinkets came up to the top and the old Badge of Tenacity even made the top 25 in both the pre and post-heroic lists. Is the armor really that much better, that bears should be wearing these old trinkets? I noticed that RAWR also had the U. Organ very high on it's bear list. Could you elaborate or post on this at some point?