With all of the changes coming down the pipeline in regards to cataclysm, and my last post about Bear AoE tanking, I thought it'd be a good idea to lay down what I use as my Bear tanking rotation currently, and hopefully within the next couple of months we'll be able to confidently say, Bear tanking (in terms of what abilities you are hitting) has changed to at least be a little more interesting.
So currently on live here's a detailed run-down of a max threat Bear rotation, it assumes you have the rage (of course you do), you are main tanking, and you have respectable amounts of hit/expertise and you have 0/0 points in Improved Mangle.
Normally you want to start with a Faerie Fire (Feral) or a mangle.
Once you are at five stacks of lacerate your rotation changes slightly, but then is the same until the boss dies or your lacerate stack falls off for whatever reason.
It should look like this from the pull until the boss dies:
[Pre-five stack of Lacerate] FFF>Mangle>L>L>FFF>Mangle>L>L>FFF>Mangle>L>S
[Lacerate is stacked to five] FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>L>Repeat
The only thing I did not include above is Demoralizing Roar and Maul. Demoralizing Roar because it extends the above rotation by a couple of iterations and is pretty much redundant. So just be sure (if someone else isn't already putting up an attack power debuff) to replace one of your swipes (not lacerate) with Demoralizing Roar. Maul should be queued up all the time via macro or if you are like me, old school key bind.
The rotation above (again as long as you don't have Improved Mangle) never changes and it's restricted by GCDs. You'll quickly start to notice that after your second Swipe or Lacerate if you are refreshing, FFF will have just come off the GCD the same time it's cooldown is up. And once you FFF, Mangle will come off cooldown the same time it's off the GCD. A simplified way of looking at the rotation is, you have two GCDs to do whatever you want between using FFF and Mangle on cooldown.
One other small thing to mention with the Bear rotation. If you are having trouble keeping Lacerate from falling off, change the "Lacerate is stacked to 5" rotation above just a little bit. Instead of waiting until the last second to Lacerate, Lacerate on the first GCD and then Swipe on the second. You'll end up overwriting Lacerate a bit earlier and it won't get the last tick, but it will keep you from having it drop off and stacking it back up.
[Cautious about Lacerate] FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>L>S>Repeat
This is all drastically changing in Cataclysm.
- Maul is no longer "On next attack", so it's going to have to be incorporated when it makes the most sense, which is possibly high rage, when you know the rage wouldn't be put to use doing something more important.
- Lacerate stacks can be "eaten" by Pulverize, which will increase threat, but at the same time require lacerate to be applied more often.
- Swipe is getting at least a 6 second cooldown.
- Thrash makes it's debut, may be used in conjunction with Swipe for AoE tanking as well as rotated in to the single target rotation.
- Faerie Fire Feral no longer has a cooldown, now stacks, and (I believe) costs rage.