Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bears that like to tank..or kitty..or moonkin..or tree!

My last post summarized talents and glyph choices that a bear could take if they were to dedicate one of their trees to just being a big ole bear! There are enough talent points and (just about) the right number of major glyphs to build a full on bear..well build.

What if you don't have dual spec? What if you want to be a competitive kitty, still be able to take big hits, and also pop into tree or moonkin form for extra versatility and overall hybridnessess. The nice thing about the feral tree is you can successfully pull off a respectable feral DPS and tank spec all in one! Here's how I'd do it:

A word or two on gear first

Being a druid is unique even more so than other hybrids. We can do literally everything. Both "forms" of DPS, tank and heal. We are also unique in terms of tanking and melee DPS in that we can use the same gear to do both. The idea that that awesome new staff you just picked up can double as a DPS weapon, or that crazy huge kitty DPS glove upgrade could also double up as a nice boost to your tanking set is a unique ability that druids and druids alone possess.

Some items don't always make great two-for-one pieces. For example the meta socket in a helm certainly needs to reflect the actual spec you are planning on using the helm for: RED for kitty and AED for bears. Trinkets are also (most of the time) specialized to work for one type of feral spec at a time. Bears naturally go for large amounts of stamina or possibly avoidance in the form of agility or straight dodge rating. While kitties would probably prefer armor penetration, crit rating, or something that's random and awesome.

Gems and enchants are also tricky sometimes for a druid that needs to share a piece gear between his two feral specs. Gems can be tricky because top of the line kitties need a lot of armor penetration if they have the gear to support it and bears generally shouldn't be stacking much besides stamina unless the situation calls for it or they are hurting in a different tanking stat area. As far as enchants, mainly bracers where the difference is a large loss of attack power or stamina depending on which way you are going, can be a tough decision.

Nevertheless the point to take away from this is you may not be the BEST kitty DPS or the strongest tank in a given situation, but combining specs gives you the opportunity to add to your raids options. Whether they need an extra healer tonight, or could really use extra ranged on a particular encounter you can be THAT druid.

One last thing about gear before I move on. Gearing up a druid for more than one role is essentially like gearing up multiple toons at once. It can be daunting and mistaken for actually being "unfair" by other classes. As far as being daunting, keeping your priorities straight and knowing what your guild or yourself expects from you should be the top of your lists when you make gear decisions or decide to roll/use DKP/whatever. As for the latter I've always taken a particular stance on hybrids and what exactly is fair and unfair when it comes to their versatility but that's for another post.

Overall thoughts and considerations

Before I get into options as a Bearkitty decide which comes first. Although like I said you would be able to do both and do them reasonably well you still need to choose what is more important. Some talents are more important than others. If you are a bearkitty you might use those points to pick up a tank oriented talent, but if you are a Kittybear than you might get away with skipping that to pick up some extra DPS in your spec.

This is also important for enchants and gems when sharing gear as well as glyphs which I will get to later. It's an important thing to consider and do so before deciding talents, glyphs, and gear.


The two things you are sacrificing as a bear for the extra damage are Improved Leader of the Pack and Infected Wounds. The two things you are sacrificing from a full kitty spec are Feral Aggression and Predatory Instincts. Honestly the big "losses" if you would even call them that are for bear. Improved Leader of the Pack is nice for numerous reasons, but does have it's limitations for being useful in a raid environment so it can go. Infected Wounds is incredibly useful and important unless you have a Warrior (Thunder Clap), Death Knight (Icy Touch) or Paladin (Judgements of the Just). For 10 mans it may be wise to pick this up instead of something else if possible, but in 25 mans it should be okay to skip. Below is my recommendation.



Glyphs can get kind of hairy. One solution before would be to carry around a whole bunch of feral tank and DPS glyphs and swap them when necessary. This is expensive and bag consuming, so here are my suggestions.

The biggest thing to remember is what I said earlier in this post. Which is it Bearkitty or KittyBear?

For BearKitty go with:
  1. Glyph of Survival Instincts
  2. Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration
  3. Glyph of Shred / Glyph or Rip
The first two make sense if you prioritize Bear over Cat and they also work well together and basically are one powerful extra oomph on your survival cooldowns. Glyph of Shred is probably more beneficial than Rip because it gives you one extra tick compared to Rip; however, if for some random or odd reason you can't shred than the shred glyph would be a bust so at least you could get some benefit and a boost to Kitty DPS.

For KittyBear go with:
  1. Glyph of Survival Instincts
  2. Glyph of Shred
  3. Glyph of Savage Roar
I feel like in terms of survivability increases Survival Instincts is a better option than others. You could go with Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration in it's place if you would rather have those bigger heals land. Originally I wanted to say go with Shred and Rip, but Rip is more of a creature comfort. Rip costs 30 energy and 3% more damage over the long haul is probably more beneficial. No math backing that up by the way, just throwing it out there. Also you still get the added seconds on Rip from the Shred glyph which should help out a lot with your kitty "rotation."


I hope this helps the druids out there that want to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to being a druid. Remember if you are doing progression and it's new stuff for your guild, consider being a full on tank or DPS. In a game where min/max is possible and often times encouraged in high end raiding, every little big counts.

Our 10 man ICC group one shot everything up to and including Blood Queen last night. All we have left is the free emblem, Dreamwalker, and then progression.

We had consistent 8k+ DPS from all our damage dealers last night, and our tanking/heals were spot on!

Hopefully we have the same group on tonight! I'll be sure to update..

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