History of Feral DruidsDruid Vs Warrior TanksStats, Rotation, and TalentsTalentsGear and ItemizationFeral Raid RoleDungeon and Raid NotesMolten Core and OnyxiaBlackwing LairTemple of Ahn’QirajNaxxramasMiscellaneous
History of Feral DruidsDruid Vs Warrior TanksStats, Rotation, and TalentsTalentsGear and ItemizationFeral Raid RoleDungeon and Raid NotesMolten Core and OnyxiaBlackwing LairTemple of Ahn’QirajNaxxramasMiscellaneous
Can druids tank in Vanilla? If you answer yes, then you’re right! If that question sounds like a meme in the making then this treatise is for you. You have heard a lot about druid tanking, and probably most of it is negative. Things like crushing blows, def caps, itemization and more are brought up. A lot of negative comes up about druid DPS too. Trying to replace fury warriors or rogues and numbers and sheets for viability. Yes there are a lot of people who have opinions about feral druids and on the surface there is plenty that is negative that can be agreed upon.
Đang xem: Wow classic druid tank stat priority
But a lot of the naysayers often don’t have the full picture, are trying to argue the feral’s optimization based on the wrong composition, or haven’t had the opportunity to see a feral in action in a raid. I hope that this write up can present the full picture and an unbiased view for where a feral druid fits into a raid comp for every tier of content.
For more classic druid content, join the Druid Classic discord here: https://discord.gg/SMwmrBV
My WoW history started on release day back in 2004. I started off leveling the ever-popular Night Elf rogue and managed to do some casual stuff in MC. At that point I decided that I wanted to play a priest and leveled him. He took me into BWL and AQ and even a very small venture into Naxx. After Vanilla turned into TBC, I took a break and came back in Wrath and played through early Cata. There I leveled a druid and I loved what the class was like. But the game didn’t feel right so I turned to private Vanilla servers.
The first time I leveled a druid to 60 was on The Rebirth. I had just hit 60 when the great data rollback happened. It killed the server but we were fortunate enough to hear of another server coming up as a fresh experience. My guild rerolled there and we were able to join the rush to 60 on Nostalrius. Throughout leveling and during pre raid I was feral and tanked dungeons to get gear fastest. For raiding I healed but after getting enough feral loot and with the guild’s willingness to try new things I became full-time feral about a few months after BWL was released.
Since then I continued to be feral full-time with the guilds that I was a member of. For AQ and Naxx content I was on the tank roster during the entirety of progression and with well over 100 days /played have had many opportunities to see how a feral fares in raids at the highest levels of Vanilla content.
History of Feral Druids
This short section may seem silly and pointless but I think that it helps explain how mentality of the negativity of ferals came to be. I remember back in the beginning of Vanilla times that most players knew nothing about the game – myself included. It took until many levels in for us to actually discover resources like Thottbot or Allakhazam. But one thing I did know back then was that druids could not tank! Well how did I know it? Because in the beginning druids actually couldn’t tank.
Before patch 1.2, druid armor scaled horribly. Patch 1.2 changed armor scale from 65% to 180% for Bear Form and 125% to 360% for Dire Bear Form. That is a huge difference. I can’t imagine tanking as a druid if my armor at level 60 only added 125%. Any druid that tried tanking back then probably was extremely squishy to the point of being a total liability. It’s no wonder that the idea that druid tanks were bad stuck and stuck hard. It was not until late Vanilla where people were actually willing to even entertain the idea of druid tanks. But it took until TBC or later for them to be accepted as something real. For some I think, the idea that druids can’t tank was so entrenched from their early memories of Vanilla that this misconception looms as a shadow over anything having to do with the conversation of viability, even today.
During Vanilla it also didn’t help that itemization was not something that players (or even Blizzard) had a handle on. The idea of spell power or +healing stacking was really only understood by a few and followed by fewer. Druid tank itemization is an even odder list. Those that knew what they were doing would have been extraordinarily rare. Today we are more fortunate with extensive knowledge and theorycrafting to be able to push the game far beyond anything that people during the Vanilla days would have hoped to do. This includes itemization of druid tanking gear.
TBC Feral Buffs
It’s interesting to me how we have the Vanilla perception of the feral druid on one hand and the TBC and beyond one on the other. You would find very little argument about the quality of TBC druids. In fact people loved ferals then. So what happened? Some talent buffs and better itemization mostly. But how deep did those changes actually impact the class? Most were buffs to damage dealing with Mangle being introduced. From a tanking perspective the changes are actually minor. Here is a complete list of every talent that impacts feral tank survivability (note that I’m not listing damage/threat increasing talents).
Feral Swiftness (2/2): Increases dodge by 4% in Dire Bear Form
Survival of the Fittest (3/3): Reduces crit chance by 3% and increases stats by 3%
Improved Leader of the Pack (2/2): Heals for 4% of health upon critical hit
That’s the list. All of it. So you can see effectively that druids gain a base 7% avoidance plus whatever 3% stats would equate to. Additionally there’s the bonus healing when you crit. As a Vanilla example with 8000 health this would heal you for 320. Not exactly world changing though nice. So from a survivability standpoint druids gain between 7-10% avoidance, which is great but is 7% the difference between viable and “garbage” as so many people like to say? I would argue absolutely no.
Feral druids are most misunderstood right here. Or at least the ones that want to tank are. Those who are not ferals need to understand there are two mentalities with ferals and you should figure out what type you are talking to first.
One is the DPS feral who likes to powershift and see what kind of leet DPS he does. He’s generally happy to tank because that’s the point of being a flexible feral. But he wants to do damage mainly. The other is the tank feral. He wants to tank as much as possible. DPS is an offshoot which is fine when you need less tanks but please don’t replace him with some fury who complains all the time when he has to tank thankyouverymuch. Both of these ferals can do the same job but they definitely would rather be spending the majority of their time doing very different roles. The first is much closer to your fury warrior who has a tank set. The other is much more like your prot who Nightfalls.
Unfortunately it is extremely common to jump into feral conversations for raid comp with people and have everyone presuming we are talking about feral number one, the fury replacement dps doer. For me personally I don’t like arguing that standpoint because I don’t think that a feral doing that job is optimal. I think they work, so please not too much hate out there guys! But if you are talking bottom dollar what should we bring to a raid I do not think a dps feral is optimal. Their dps is too low to justify from a min/max standpoint and they are so similar to a fury that the concept of extra innervates and battle rezzes just doesn’t offset the difference. If you are talking equally geared equally tryhard and skilled the fury will win every time.
However if you are talking about a tank feral and comparing them to what you want in a raid comp I think it’s pretty easy to justify simply having one less prot or fury tank and instead have that be a full time feral tank spot. Most raids run with three or four dedicated tanks. Fights that may require more than four tanks usually supplement with the fury who has good tank gear. Probably in an ideal world you could have 2 prots or furys with fury dps making up the difference needed. However no guilds that I have yet seen on a server (with plenty of examples) ever ran just two dedicated tanks. I think it’s fair to say that whatever your comp would plan to be, if you stuck your feral in that last full-time tank slot then that’s what is being argued here.
A warrior who is in the third or fourth slot is going to be frequently used to tank trash pulls between bosses and generally about half of a raid’s bosses or so. When they are not tanking they increase their usefulness by swinging Nightfall if prot or DPSing if fury. Tanks in this position aren’t generally needing to worry about defensive cooldowns (Shield Wall, Last Stand) and they aren’t taking the beefy hits like the MT does from bosses. The marginal increase to healing required to keep up a feral for this role is offset by the increased raid dps as well as the multiple flexible things that the feral can bring to the raid, compared to the warrior offtank.
For me the bottom line of being a tank is do you have the gear to survive the encounter without being a drain of healer resources, as well as the class abilities to use for boss mechanics? If the answer is yes, then that is a successful enough tank that will be useful for the role. Druids do take more healing than a warrior. How much more? It depends on the tank role you are in and the content level you are at. Generally you take 10-20% more damage when hit and also have lower avoidance. However this changes hugely (in the feral’s favor) depending on what level of threat gear the tank needs to choose. Does that amount matter when you are the third or fourth tank who is picking up the stragglers and dealing with the random adds for boss encounters? No of course not. And then you gain all of the flexibility and DPS increase that feral provides that the extra warrior tank doesn’t.
Druid Vs Warrior Tanks
To go into more detail about raid comp and how druids stack up against warrior tanks I want to get into the weeds with the differences. I tried to list absolutely every single advantage and disadvantage in the most neutral way possible to not seem biased. Each brings advantages and disadvantages to the table. In some ways druids are absolutely better tanks than warriors. And vice versa. This lists the advantages of druids over warriors. Druid disadvantages are mostly warrior advantages.
More inherent armor makes pure mitigation fights easierMore inherent health pool makes high damage spikier fights require less consumes, easier progression for after wipes (because of lack of world buffs), or provide an easier barrier for entry (less healer coordination required)Provides a constant aura to 4 top melee that boosts their crit by 3%. This adds between 40-130 dps depending on the encounter and quality of melee benefitting from itProvides the most raid DPS increase compared to all tank roles (prot, fury, feral) (more details on this later)Can output the highest single target TPS in the game (more details on this later)With a larger inherent health pool druids can be advantageous tanks for magic heavy mobs since magic damage is taken equally the same between tank classes minus defensive stanceCan output excellent TPS against a single target even if not the mob’s focus without becoming rage starvedCan use Faerie Fire as a pull. This instant cast spell at 30 yards is an excellent tool for surgical pulls – better than hunters even except for hunter’s extended range.Provides innervates to top performing healers or castersProvides a battle rezProvides excellent uptime of Faerie Fire since restos sometimes can’t and don’t usually botherCan’t be disarmedCan’t be polymorphedCan sometimes save self from fall damage death by switching to cat if flung high in the airCan switch in and out of form to remove slowsAbsorbs most gear deemed to be worthless as upgradesDoesn’t absorb tank tier gear, allowing more and faster gearing of other prots/furys (this is far more beneficial than you’d think to not need to gear up a whole tank with 8 pieces of tier gear for each tier)Can be strong but not max level DPS when not tankingCan switch gear and heal for heal intensive fights that don’t need extra tanksCan switch gear and dispel/decurse for decursive intensive fights (also has highest mana pool for this too with Heart of the Wild)
Doesn’t block or parry so more damage is taken by defaultCan’t push crushes off the hit table and generally has low amounts of defense so can be crit (this is offset by more armor mitigation making it less potent)No defensive cooldowns so not able to substitute as MT for encounters that require itCan’t drink rage pots for extra initial rage (though this has not seemed to affect me negatively ever)Bad at aoe tankingCan’t stance dance for fear mechanics (this is much less of an issue for Alliance druids)Not able to talent to get 2 seconds shorter cooldown for TauntNo secondary taunt ability (Mocking Blow)Not able to disarmNot able to silence if mob is immune to stuns (often)Sometimes can’t battle rez because actively tankingSometimes can’t innervate because actively tankingWould never be able to provide the Thunderfury debuff (if the guild was lucky enough to have more than two)
You can see that the disadvantages generally center around a general lack of survivability – more damage taken, less defensive cooldowns, and less quick saves. This is all critical for a main tank. This is far less critical for off tanks. If offtanks have to hit Shield Wall or something to stay alive then either the raid is on the way to wiping anyway or the healers aren’t doing their job. Again the bottom line question I’d ask is can the tank handle surviving the content? If so then they are geared enough to make the role work. At that point compare advantages and don’t worry about the survivability issue.
Stats, Rotation, and Talents
Feral tanks rely on better mitigation and a larger health pool as opposed to warriors who generally stack defense. This is because with itemization as it is you can’t get to def cap and additionally the advantages of def loses its appeal since you can’t parry or block as a bear.
Armor:5.06*Base Armor (with 5/5 Thick Hide)Armor cap is 75% at mob level which translates to:Level 60 Armor cap: 16,500Level 63 Boss Armor cap: 17,265Hit Chance: Need 8.6% to be hit cappedAttack Power: 14 AP = 1 DPSStrength: 1 Str = 2 APAgility:20 Agi = 1% Crit20 Agi = 1% DodgeAgility does not give APAgility does give 2 armor per point but it does not benefit from the armor multiplierStamina: 1 Stam = 12 HP (with 5/5 Heart of the Wild)Defense: 1 Defense = 0.04% chance to be missed, not be crit, and to dodge.Threat: Bear form is 149.5% threat (with 5/5 Feral Instinct)Bear’s damage is multiplicative for threat. Maul and Swipe also do 175% threat in addition to base threatExample Maul or Swipe threat: Threat=Damage*1.75*1.495Faerie Fire: 108 Flat ThreatWeapons: Equipped weapons do not add DPS to forms except with their stats. Weapons with chance on hit do not proc. Weapons and armor with “equip” will work.Trinkets: Trinkets can be used in form
You can see with the stats that right away the feral druid has two advantages compared to a warrior: total armor is a multiplier off of base armor and stamina gives 20% more health than other classes.
Itemization for mitigation gear should be: Armor>Stamina>Hit>Crit/Agility>Dodge>Defense>Strength/AP.
Stats at 60
With our server, to keep things competitive world buffs of any kind had been disabled for Naxx. For one week for some reason they re-enabled buffs. So we were able to go out and get Dire Maul and Darkmoon Faire buffs. I got the stamina darkmoon buff just to see about maxing out my health. Normally for Patchwerk I was running at around 11,000+ health. This is what the stats look like for a near fully BIS druid tank.
Fully buffed here’s what a druid tank stats pan out at:
Health: 14k+Armor: 16.2k+ (with Inspiration or Lay on Hands armor gets above cap to around 18.5k)Dodge: ~30%Defense: 334AP: 2100+Crit: ~45%Hit: 8%Spell Hit: 1% (for Taunt and Faerie Fire)
First few attempts at Patchwerk we were playing with max armor capability. This is as high as I got.
Druids naturally have very high threat ceilings as mentioned above. The reason is because threat is multiplicative as compared to warriors, whose threat is additive. Even with bad itemization early, feral sustained threat is still better than warriors for all of the content. With AQ gear available, ferals get a lot of gear with multiple pieces of this gear being BIS for feral tanks and also very high up the list for DPS as well. So quality tank gear is also quality threat gear.
When tanking any type of mob, druids are almost entirely running in a state of unlimited rage. Since druid tank focus is about mitigation and larger health pools we get hit harder than warriors. This translates to more rage. Swipe funnily enough is the only rage dump druids have. Note that you need to be careful using it as a rage dump if there are multiple mobs around you.
The very simple tank rotation for maximum threat is:
Maul (on cooldown)
Swipe as a rage dump
Faerie Fire if situationally unable to Swipe or when building rage. Faerie Fire does contribute threat so don't skip it!
Maul is by far the best ability for threat. Swipe adds threat but it is also the most rage costly and also doesn’t scale with attack power so Maul is always more optimal. When talented and with the tanking idol, Maul costs 7 rage and swipe costs 12. Whenever we crit, if talented into Primal Fury, we gain back 5 rage. With crit at 30-45% depending on buffs, it’s virtually impossible to get rid of rage fast enough. If you feel rage starved then stop swiping and transition to casting Faerie Fire. It is free to cast and causes a flat threat increase but will allow rage to rebuild quickly so that swipe spamming can continue.
It is important to understand that, while you as a feral are using Maul and Swipe continuously, you are always hitting with yellow hits. What this means to you is that against a boss, bears are immune to the problem of damage (and subsequently threat) loss of glancing blows. Glancing blows occur on 40% of white hits and causes crit cap issues as well. They aren’t normally avoidable and the only way to mitigate the damage loss is to stack +skill. Since druids can’t utilize skill in form, the ability to remove glancing blows by always hitting with yellow hits is a huge benefit to stable and high threat and damage amounts as a tank. Plus you don’t have to reitemize gear based on crit or hit caps.
Because of our rage and threat mechanics, druids do an especially good job as an offtank attempting to gain threat while a main tank has the boss’ focus. Often warriors quickly burn through their rage doing their threat rotation and are stuck auto attacking to build rage up. Druids don’t have this problem at all. At the very minimum a bear can shift out of bear and into it again (bear powershifting!) to utilize the Furor talent and keep working on threat generation with Mauls. If tanking while in a situation where you aren’t being hit, stop spamming Swipe and focus on reserving all rage for Mauls.
As a real life example, my fully buffed druid routinely hits Mauls for 800, and swipes for 75. Crits double it and with a crit chance of 45% fully buffed I’ll tell you it crits all the time. With those numbers and druid formulas for threat that means that just regularly doing Mauls is over 1000 TPS. With Mauls and Swipes it’s over 1300 TPS. For a five minute fight that’s 390,000 threat.
But wait, it gets better. Introducing the wacky world of Vanilla WoW itemization: The Manual Crowd Pummeler!
This item is obtained in Gnomeregan and takes less than 5 minutes to farm and instance reset. You can carry as many as you have bag space for and there is no cooldown for the charges and yes it works for cat and bear attack speed.
This takes 2.5 second Mauls and turns them into 1.66 second Mauls. You can even add an Iron Counterweight to make it even faster if you’re really crazy. With that activated while tanking, your Maul can now output 40% more threat. For fights where you want a large threat ceiling, pop all three charges of the pummeler and have 90 seconds of insane threat. You can even switch to a second pummeler in the same fight if you need it but there’s a 30 second cooldown before you can use the charges of the second one. For warriors to get to the same level of threat generation as a druid using a pummeler, they have to tank as a dual wielding fury warrior popping Death Wish and Recklessness. And when warriors do it they are taking over 50% more damage than a druid while outputting equal threat.
Here’s a view of my KTM while main tanking Thaddius for maximum threat for no DPS ceiling. At this point, Thaddius was at about 46% health. This is without world buffs. When they were enabled it was shocking that even that initial threat advantage wasn’t enough to keep the DPS from pushing the ceiling so I was going to use two pummelers for future raids with world buffs since one pummeler wasn’t enough threat to let them go crazy.
Druids can also be used in a main tank capacity if a guild wants to take it on too. The challenge is working around some mechanics but the relative ease of vanilla content makes this very doable. Usually with hardcore guilds, maximum buffs are used and TPS is an extremely important aspect of tanking. Druid’s ability to do such consistently high threat may make them a desirable MT to balance the DPS output of the raid.
A critical macro that all druid tanks need to set up is one that will cancel form and then consume either a health pot or a healthstone and then go back into form. This is possible to do where you can do it instantly with no danger of being hit outside of bear form. Refer to this list of Druid Macros to get you started.
Raid DPS Contribution
A big issue in the community is the lack of clear understanding of the raid benefit of ferals. The benefit of a battle rez or Innervate is widely accepted but numerically very intangible. And on paper it is also clear that looking at a feral as compared to a fury warrior will show the theoretical feral DPS output as lacking. As of the writing of this the general community consensus is under the presumption that ferals are a net raid DPS decrease. Unfortunately this cursory analysis is inaccurate to the druid’s detriment. Druids are in fact a net increase to raid DPS. There are three main aspects that need to be understood about the difference between ferals and warriors when it comes to raid damage.
Equally geared and skilled fury warrior DPS will always be more DPS compared to a feral in a DPS roleFerals in a tanking role will always be more DPS compared to a fury or prot in a tank role unless the tank is dual wieldingFeral aura provides a measurable amount of raid DPS that is logged for the melee and not the feral, hiding the aura’s value
When people look at the problem quickly on paper, adding up point 1 and point 3 shows that ferals are inherently inferior to maximum possible fury warrior output. The aura is not strong enough to counteract the weaker feral DPS. The difference is actually pretty small, however it is consistent. This is where the community analysis has usually stopped.
As a quick aside, guilds that aren’t interested in pure min/maxing should note that a feral DPS who does 100% effort here is going to be only the most minor of DPS losses compared to another equally tryhard fury. If the difference is between a tryhard feral and a casual fury the feral DPS will probably win out.
So point 1 and point 3 show that pure druid DPS isn’t optimal. However the key issue is point 2. Feral tanks aren’t amazing damage dealers but they are decent. Fury and prot tanks however are absolutely lousy DPS. Any time a feral is tanking, that feral is doing more DPS than a warrior. That compounds with the aura making their raid DPS actually quite strong. Dual wield tanks are definitely appealing, however their incoming damage is significant and is costly for consuambles and requires strong raid healers to consistently pull off. It's very guild dependent for what works for them.
I did a long analysis of threat output and damage input for various builds to be able to compare druids and warriors. If you'd like to view it, here's the link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vRVNabnxWQoq4Ya_cNDMKuZJwf9zbfzWhe3qf6d08gEk3OuJJ_z_zgERPRaDioAGux14ORx6thE6Hub/pubhtml#
The difference between a full DPS feral and a full tank feral is not too large for talent points. This is an advantage for ferals in that any feral is a feral with the same capabilities to a certain extent. They will be close to equally able of doing DPS or tanking with a simple gear swap.
Pure Tank Build
Tank and DPS Build
Pure DPS Build
You can see that the tank and DPS build loses very little of either for potency. In fact there are only two talents for a total of 10 points that are specifically tank related that are useful for tank survival: Thick Hide and Heart of the Wild. It is common for people to skip Thick Hide for Feral Aggression so it’s up to you to figure out how important threat or survival is and that’s mostly up to your role. The rest of the talent points are all based on better DPS or TPS.
Gear and Itemization
Feral druids have to follow the same rules that fury warriors do when it comes to gear. We do not focus on our set pieces because set pieces are geared toward the classes’ “main” focus. So gear has to be found all over in every corner of the world and dungeon and it’s a hodgepodge of whatever works to get you the stats you need for success.
I made a spreadsheet that specifically balances survival stats as well as threat ones so that the druid tank can focus best on what they need for the role they have in raid. Knowing the strength of gear and how it impacts threat or survival is very important for tank gear sets. It’s important to not treat the list as an absolute in terms of higher equals better. There are trade offs that you might want to take into consideration like +hit or Stamina vs Armor or what is better for TPS. It provides the list of gear and general strengths. From it, you can make the best decision for what you need given what holes you have.
Bear Gear List
Some things for up-and-coming feral tanks or any druids to consider is that there are some critical pieces of gear that require hard decisions. The biggest is the quest to kill General Drakkisath where you have to choose from Eye of the Beast, Blackhand’s Breadth, and Mark of Tyranny. All are excellent trinkets. Blackhand’s Breadth is phenomenal for feral DPS and only a select few trinkets can replace it but Mark of Tyranny has no parallel. This is going to be one of the hardest decisions you can make as a druid because you can only have one.
The big drama that comes about with loot with ferals is when people are doling out Band of Accuria and Drake Fang Talisman. There is no question that these items are phenomenal for warriors and rogues. There’s also no question that they are phenomenal for a feral druid as well. Often people don’t want to give ferals a chance for these. It’s odd because if the feral is a full-time raider, giving a lot of effort with that role, why would they not deserve loot that boosts them as equally as a rogue or warrior? It’s not exactly the most fair situation to say that druids underperform warriors and rogues but then also never give loot to help even that out.
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From my opinion the druid can use those items the most compared to a warrior or rogue. The ability for us to get +hit on gear is extremely challenging, especially for DPS ferals. Having a 2% hit trinket or ring is huge for gear flexibility. I myself was sitting on solid DPS upgrades that were banked for months that I couldn’t use because I didn’t have enough +hit options. If your guild chooses to run a feral then choose to give them equal treatment for good gear. End of story.
BIS lists are never a perfect thing as each fight needs to be tailored slightly differently. However a general baseline set is a good starting point. Each list presumes that itemization follows gear progression available with dungeons as released.
Pre Raid>MC>BWL>ZG>AQ40 and 20>Naxx
Depending on the tier, druid tanks have different comparative strengths when looking against warriors. I’ll touch on my interpretation for each tier. This list has been adjusted given the release style of gear with Classic.
Head: 8 Agi or 1% Dodge – Alternatively ZG EnchantShoulders: Fortitude of the Scourge – Alternatively ZG EnchantBack: 1% DodgeChest: +4 StatsWrist: +9 StaminaHands: +15 AgilityLegs: 8 Agi or 1% Dodge – Alternatively ZG EnchantFeet: Minor SpeedWeapon: +25 Agility (2h) or +15 Agility (1h)
You’ll want to note that armor enchants do not gain from the armor multiplier that your armor from gear does. The rule for understanding what will multiply or what won’t is if the armor is colored white it will multiply. If it is green it will not. This is not to say that the armor enchants are bad but they are not especially good either.
Pre Raid BIS
Initially pre raid druids are actually extremely strong. Warriors aren’t using set pieces since pre raid sets are generally very bad. Druids instantly initially get pieces that are BIS or near to it as well as some long lasting items. Stepping into MC, druids would be strong tanks and close to or slightly below the same damage incoming as warriors. With their larger health pool they would be especially useful for Ragnaros.
Molten Core BIS
Blackwing Lair BIS
Temple of Ahn’Qiraj BIS
Feral Raid Role
To properly play a druid as a feral you need to be the quintessential support class. The bottom line is you are the best flexi player possible and step number one is to fill gaps where needed. If you need to be a tank or DPS or healer or decurser or whatever, jump in and do that role. If you are one that will be frustrated to have your role decided by circumstance then you are limiting the value that the feral provides to the raid. Ideally the raid is going to have the roles they need to succeed but in the real world stuff comes up. That’s why your first response should always be to offer your abilities where there are shortcomings. I have routinely done tanking, DPS, and healing all in the same raid on the same night. And that’s the fun of it because you get to constantly do different roles to keep it fresh.
As far as what to do I will go into a little detail for each role. It isn’t going to be as detailed as a pure guide might be but hopefully it’s a good enough overview for you to play around and get you going in the right direction.
For a list of consumables you should look to use refer to the Druid, DPS Warrior, and Prot Warrior tabs of this sheet:
Taladril's Consumables Sheet
Even though you are taking on the support class role this will be your main focus. You are probably going to be the 3rd or 4th tank depending on your guild and tank roster. You will be frequently tanking trash and dealing with bosses that need tanks up to your requisite tank role. Make sure to know the fight and know the strength of the spec so you can be taking on the correct role for the fight. The details for the fights below are from the perspective of that 3rd or 4th tank. Druids can tank virtually any boss in the game so even though it says you should dps, know that you can tank if you or your raid wants you to. More boss fight details are outlined below.
For raid comp except for very specific fights you should always be in a melee or tank group. If it's a melee group, the group needs to consist of at least one DPS warrior and will possibly also have a hunter. The rest of the group will be furys or rogues.
During general tanking you will be able to use Faerie Fire to pull mobs to you but keep a heads up because often the threat won’t be much to keep the mob focused on you for long so make sure to get a Maul and Swipe in as fast as possible to minimize problems with misses which would cause the mob to aggro on someone else. As with any tank role the biggest thing to keep track of is mob placement. As long as you do your rotation especially as an offtank you will have no issue with aggro.
While you may have mobs on you, a primary role will be to make sure that you keep Faerie Fire up on the boss at all times. This debuff is extremely important for raid damage optimization and a feral’s ease at applying it means that the uptime should be 100%.
Make sure that you are using a gear swapping addon that allows for gear presets. Switching gear between tank and DPS and other specialty sets is critical and should be preset before entering raids. You also need to have an addon that will automatically remove salvation when entering bear form. This makes sure that you are never trying to tank with that buff and helps you to not have to worry about it.
Any time you aren’t tanking generally you’ll be filling in as DPS. This could be mid fight if your tanked add is dead or this could be preplanned depending on the boss strategy. Your tank role will most likely dictate the spec you are running. You may be tanking a majority of the time and have a full tank spec or you may be mostly DPS. You will want to have your spec match your tank/DPS role ratio to be most optimized.
Regardless of how often you DPS you should practice powershifting. There are some good macros out there that makes it pretty easy. Once you have that then you can work on the timing. Often just spamming the macro is not as useful as timing the abilities to energy ticks and shifts that work with the global cooldown (GCD). You will find that this is very mana intensive so you will need to make sure you have the caster buffs and consumables on you for maximum effectiveness. Note that healers are often lazy and might skip you for mana buffs and paladins routinely don’t bother to buff the feral with Might.
As with tanking it is imperative to keep Faerie Fire up on critical mobs. You will want to always be using Shred where possible and not Claw except where necessary and use Ferocious Bite as a finisher when it hits 5 combo points unless the mob is imminently about to die. 5 is always the optimal number regardless of spec.
If you are really trying to focus on doing maximum damage then Manual Crowd Pummeler is your ticket here too. While active its DPS increase is stronger than any weapon in game including Atiesh. Farming it can be taxing though so use them intelligently in fights or prepare to farm a lot of them.
Some fights are simply not optimal for you to be DPSing when you are a tank focused druid. Understand that and be willing to look at healing as your role for these fights. Otherwise it’s quite possible that you’ll find yourself sitting on the bench until after the boss dies. Even though you may think that you can’t effectively heal with no healing talents at all that’s not true. You will be at the bottom of the meters but as long as you are assigned decursing duty or tank healing where your slower heals won’t be sniped then you can be very effective. Druids often don’t add points to the Rejuvenation talent so your HOTs are pretty close to the same as anyone else.
Your mana pool with Heart of the Wild makes you the most effective decurser in the game so where needed remember that you excel at this. Keep an MP5 gear set in mind for this purpose. And also think about installing an addon to help facilitate that as well.
At this point you probably will feel like your bags are overly full given that you have three full sets of gear plus resistance gear and other odds and ends. That plus a whole bag of consumables does make some preplanning with the raid leader very helpful. If you can leave sets in your bank and have a plan for your role you will do alright. And I’d suggest investing in 18 slot bags if you can. If there’s one class that is strapped for space it’s the flexible tanking druid.
Dungeon and Raid Notes
The ins and outs of certain fights can be interesting to document. So I wanted to go through what I’ve found as being doable for each fight in each dungeon, what gear I may use for a particular fight, and what role is best suited to the feral druid tanking in raids. The answer is always “you can do anything you want!” But anything isn’t always the most wise or reasonable option. Druids have a niche and there’s no faster way to lose that niche spot than to try to suggest you can do something that you shouldn’t. You need to be a responsible tank as your survival is priority. If you die then bad things happen to the raid rapidly. Again take this from the perspective of a 3rd or 4th tank and not the MT.
5 and 10 Man Dungeons
I mostly included these for thoroughness. Nothing in 5 mans or UBRS were situations where I worried about viability for tanking as a druid. I frequently tanked while gathering pre raid gear since tanks always can get dungeons going faster. Never did I get complaints about my survivability and my usefulness to add an Innervate here or a quick battle rez there was always helpful.
20 Man Raids
Zul’Gurub is a pretty straight-forward dungeon. The bosses have many more mechanics than MC with its tank and spank bosses, however nothing hits unusually hard and tanking is simple gear wise. You can just run your standard tank set, whatever that might consist of. One advantage is that if you use a druid for Jin’do tanking it’s a one tank fight. He polymorphs the tank once in awhile, requiring a tank swap. Druids are immune to it so they can keep threat the whole time.
The Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj is also another straightforward dungeon. At this point in progression if you are BIS geared for the level, AQ20 feels even softer than ZG did at the time. The only notable example is that Ossirian hits very hard. It’s actually a really good boss for druids, however I never got the chance to tank him as the MT needs to have the Crystal of Zin-Malor equipped to cheese the fight and I already did the quest before AQ was opened.
Molten Core and Onyxia
Onyxia is the first official 40 man boss and she is a challenge for early raids mechanically but a complete softie for tanking. There are a few famous videos of her being as low as 3 manned I believe with full T3 geared characters. She hits very softly and her mechanics are simple. I have main tanked her a few times and had nothing special on for gear.
Lucifron and his two adds are an easy start to MC. You can be in charge of an add or the boss. Either works depending on raid comp. As long as others are taking care of curses this is a straightforward tanking fight.
Magmadar is a single tank fight. You should just be DPSing the fight. Additionally if you are Horde, warriors can stance dance this while you can’t.
Very similar to Lucifron you can grab adds or the boss. As long as you stay out of the Rain of Fire and decurses are quickly taken off the tanks this is an easy fight.
You can tank Garr himself or grab an add or two. Druids have a bit of an advantage on this fight because you can shift in and out to help break the slow effect debuff that you get, as well as being able to feral charge. This helps a lot with picking up adds.
This is another one tank fight. Throw on your DPS gear and don’t get eaten by his fire. And don’t blow the raid up like a noob.
You can be the catcher for when Shazzrah teleports. Taunts and moving the boss is easy for any tank to do. Having a high health pool helps for this magic damage intensive fight.
Sulfuron and his four healer adds is similar to the others. Either tank Sulfuron himself or two adds. Not much more to worry about.
Golemagg the Incinerator
Golemagg hits a little harder than the rest of the dungeon. Tanking him is a little bit more of a thrill. You can tank him or his two dogs. Both are quite doable.
Majordomo and his 8 adds requires a few tanks for sure. With the healers all getting sheeped tanks pick up the warriors. You could either grab a couple warriors or tank Majordomo himself. With his teleportation, feral charge can be quite useful.
Ragnaros is where MC finally gets challenging. Initially I wondered if this was going to be a fight that druids couldn’t work with. However luckily enough for us there is a lot of quality fire resist gear that also is good for druid tanking as well. A druid in full fire resist actually has a better health pool than a warrior. It’s quite possible that a druid is a better option for tanking Ragnaros given the stats that you get for the gear you can find. Additionally for safety when you get knocked back you can switch to cat form to minimize the fall damage which can easily kill a tank if healers aren’t being careful.
Here’s my BIS gear set for Ragnaros:
Head: Molten Helm (+20 FR Enchant)Neck: Onyxia Tooth PendantShoulders: Fireguard Shoulders (+5 FR Enchant)Back: Fireproof Cloak (+15 FR Enchant)Chest: Thick Silithid ChestguardWrist: Cinderhide Armsplints of the MonkeyHands: Doomhide Gauntlets or Aged Core Leather GlovesWaist: Lava BeltLegs: Outrider’s Leather Pants (Horde) / Sentinel’s Leather Pants (Alliance) (+20 FR Enchant)Feet: Corehound BootsRing 1: Ring with +21 FRRing 2: Best Tank RingTrinket 1: Smoking Heart of the MountainTrinket 2: Best Tank TrinketWeapon: Blessed Qiraji War Hammer / Magmus Stone or Finkle’s Lava Dredger
Some of this gear requires much more content out than what you’d initially have access to. However there are easy ways to get to cap without the higher tier gear. The above gear gives 255 unbuffed FR so having a paladin in group with aura is enough for cap. You can also make a set based around 240 FR if you use Juju Ember.
Razorgore the Untamed
This is a simple fight to start off the raid. As a tank, get assigned a corner and tank all adds that come. The dragons are the only ones that hit with any force and they should be your priority but they are no real trouble. Once all of the eggs are destroyed every tank should be fighting for threat on Razorgore, including you.
Vaelastrasz the Corrupt
This fight is a great one to consider a druid being the first tank in the lineup with the Manual Crowd Pummeler equipped. The strong TPS would be a big DPS ceiling increase and help to get the boss down that much quicker. Even if the druid comes in later in the lineup that will still help DPS as well. Additionally cat DPS is excellent for this fight. Unlimited energy is very good for druid DPS scaling.
Broodlord is another fight where a druid tank can be a big help for early progression. The high mitigation and high health can help offset his brutal Mortal Strikes. Even in late tiers a tank can easily get practically one shot by this guy so early progression has a much harder time dealing with it. Additionally tanks have to fight for threat on this and druids do well keeping agro even when not being focused by the boss.
Firemaw will require you to bust out your fire resist set. It’ll look pretty much identical to what you use for Rag except for your Onyxia Cloak. Apart from that it’s positioning and Taunt timing. Nothing about it makes it a problem to tank.
Blackwing Spellbinders can be helpful for druids to tank. A druid can tank two spellbinders easily as a druid is immune to polymorph. This can help simplify these nasty trash packs. If possible though, a hunter or careful timing needs to be used for pulling as they are immune to Faerie Fire so the initial grab can be a challenge and requires you to get up and actually hit them.
This is a free loot fight, however druids are useful to be out there tanking and help with the Taunt swapping so that he doesn’t heal himself. There is no other gotcha and he doesn’t hit hard. This is an easy fight.
Flamegor is a two tank fight as long as hunters can do their jobs. You should just DPS this fight. It’s even easier than Ebonroc.
This is a two tank fight. Since he has an enrage mechanic, druids probably shouldn’t be offtanking this fight. Generally healers will have the fight under control and you can feel free to do as much DPS as possible here. If the guild is having troubles though this would be a great fight where you can focus most of your effort on just doing decursing and small amounts of healing.
For phase one you can be paired with another tank and take your role on one of the sides where the adds comes out. You can either pick up the one chromatic or the smaller colored dragons. For phase two you should get back over to the boss and do what DPS you can. Remember to do a battle rez on the way if need be and innervate someone during the fight. Main tanking this fight, though possible, would be unwise due to the druid call forcing you into cat form as well as a lack of stance dancing. But sometimes in an emergency…
Temple of Ahn’Qiraj
This fight calls for six tanks usually so being assigned to one platform and being ready to pick up Skeram is the name of the game. He doesn’t hit overly hard. It’s mostly about quick acquisition of target. Since they are all tauntable this is a pretty basic fight for tanks.
This fight is about control and appropriately splitting up the bugs. Each bug has different tank needs but they are all doable. Vem is the most squirrely but feral charge helps that.