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11-06-2006, 12:31 PM
Hi….frequent lurker, first time poster here. I have a feral druid, 10/34/5 (I think that’s right anyway) that I’ve specced and geared to be a bear tank. After quite a bit of work and a gradual growth in understanding of how to properly play a druid, I have finally gotten my character to level 58, and he’s rapidly closing in on 59. I had two experiences yesterday that have caused me to ask “how do you encourage those you group and run with to work well with a feral druid?”

First experience – Baron side Stratholme run. The group: me, a 58 feral druid, my hubby, a 60 hunter, a 60 retribution paladin, a 60 priest (a very dear friend and the reason we were going in the first place), and a 60 gnome mage in Tier1 and 2, frost-specced. The first words out of the mage’s mouth when we zoned in were “This is going to be difficult…we don’t have a warrior.” My hubby pointed to my druid and said “That’s what the bear druid’s for.” Mage said “But the warriors know how to pull aggro back off me.” My hubby replied, “Well, you’re going to need to find a new way to adjust, because we have a bear tank.” Needless to say, the run did not go well for me at all. Said mage’s “new way to adjust” was, apparently, to pretend I wasn’t tanking at all, but the pally was. Mage insisted on pulling, despite the fact that my hubby (the party leader) was trying to set up pulls and mark targets so we could better co-ordinate. Even after I asked for the count of 4 or 5 that a bear tank needs to stack aggro, I still had people diving right in next to me as soon as I engaged and peeling aggro off me before I even had it established. Added to the fact that 80% of the time the mage was pulling with Frostbolt, making it all the more difficult for me to gain control of the mob, I wound up spending the majority of the run feeling utterly useless and more like I was wasting my time. I had hoped that Barthilas would drop the bear Idol…but I didn’t even have that to redeem the run for me. On the up side, the Baron did drop the Devout Skirt for my priest friend…but even that fact didn’t make me feel any better about myself.

Second experience – Blackrock Depths. The group: me, the same 60 hunter and 60 priest, and two more of our guildmates, a 56 paladin and a 56 warlock who desperately want to catch up to and run with “the big kids.” When we zoned in, I explained to the lock and pally that on each pull, I would need a 4 or 5 count to make sure I had solid aggro so the mob wouldn’t get out of control. We did the Grim Guzzler, we did Ambassador Flamelash, we did Roccor (still no cat Idol either /cry), we tried the Lyceum, but it had been too long since us “veterans” had been that far in and so we wiped, and at last, we took down Bael’gar. Said lock and pally pulled aggro off me maybe twice the entire run, usually on adds I didn’t have solid control on in the first place. A Growl and a Swipe, and I could regain aggro on even those adds. Once or twice, the eager-to-learn lock and pally double-checked to make sure they were waiting long enough for me. We all had a great time, and plan to go back again together frequently…or until we get all those BRD quests done finally.

I know that gear and relative level may have played a certain role in the success or failure of these two runs…but I was also aware of a slightly antagonistic attitude from the mage in the Strat run. So how do you explain bear tanking and encourage party members to play well with the furry tank? And if a party member just can’t understand what you’re asking for or doesn’t seem to care…how does a bear tank stand up for his right to do the job he was brought to do? I don’t want to become a jerk about the whole thing…I’d far prefer to be polite. But if I have to be a bear about what I need to be a good bear, then...rawr. So be it. Thanks for any advice...I've already learned quite a lot from just browsing this site. :)

11-06-2006, 01:10 PM
Tbh, you were unlucky with that mage on the baron run. Any dps class/spec (mage, hunter, lock, dps warrior, rogue, feral druid, moonkin, shadowpriest) in gear of that quality, can pull aggro off any tank (be it a furry or tincan one) in gear of your quality at will. It sounds like the guy was trying to prove his point (which is completely wrong btw) or something like that.

A major part of being a dps class, is learning where your aggro limits (how much you can dps before you need to ease off, what you can dps, etc). If anybody didn't do his job in that run, it was the mage.

If a healer gets aggro, it's the tank's fault (most of the time). If a dps class gets aggro, the DPSer in question is at fault for not managing his threat good enough. (If the tank generates very little threat, he of course sucks. DPS should still manage to modify their threat generation to the tank's though. I've never, ever heard about a feral druid having threat generationo problems, though :-) )

11-06-2006, 01:17 PM
And if a party member just can’t understand what you’re asking for or doesn’t seem to care…how does a bear tank stand up for his right to do the job he was brought to do?Since you're in a mostly pre-made group, it would have been easy to let him know that he won't get any heals if he keeps pulling aggro. After he dies a couple of times, he should be able to figure out how to not get aggro. And as for him continuing to pull when asked not to, that right there is a big neon sign. For not booting him from the group, you deserved whatever you got, and I mean that in all seriousness. If you are going to invite someone to a group and after asking them to stop doing something, but allow them to continue to do it, you are asking for the behavior to continue.

11-06-2006, 01:47 PM
Between you, me, and the tree, Falloraan...I've often wished that we *would* boot that particular mage from the party when he starts doing that crap...or at least publicly take him to task over it. The more telling thing to me is that these were both runs where the entire group was guildmates...who have known I'm a feral tank since level 10.

I think I'm going to have a quiet word with my GM and assistant GM soon to discuss my concerns. We're going to be resuming Zul'Gurub runs soon...and while wiping 4 other people in a 5-man is one thing, wiping a 20-man raid because someone won't follow simple instructions is something else entirely. I'll likely be more an off-tank/additional DPS in ZG, but we'll see what happens. My GM has (as have I on my hunter) run MC with a feral tank on the tank list, so I hope that since he knows how to work with a feral, he can enforce some common sense in that instance (pun intended) :) .

11-06-2006, 02:16 PM
One trick to generate aggro as a bear is to spam "swipe" even if you're just fighting one mob (at least in 5-man raids like scholo). I don't know if it still generates much aggro as I'm primary a dps feral, but it used to anyway. =)

Many bears don't know that.

Sorry you had a bad experience tanking there. Don't blame yourself, that mage seemed silly tbh.

Best way to prove your a good feral tank is sadly just to play extremely good.. :(

11-06-2006, 03:03 PM
Maul is a lot better than swipe. :) They both generate (damage * 1.75 (maul/swipe threat modifier) * 1.3 (bear modifier) * 1.15 (feral instinct -- drop this one if you haven't got it)) threat. ...which means a good maul crit can generate thousands of threat, while swipe (which costs more rage) is stuck at a few hundred.

Basically, maul whenever it's up, toss demo roar if you can spare the rage to keep it up on the mob, and use swipe in-between if you've got even more spare rage. :)

You can usually keep mobs off the healers by demo roar alone, if you can spam it (which you often can in big groups).

11-06-2006, 03:27 PM
There was some invisible "extra" threat thingie on Swipe before. But maybe i remember incorrectly, that only works on several targets. Maybe they removed it. :(

Oh well. :p

11-06-2006, 07:57 PM
Yeah, definitely sounds like that dumb mage was trying to "prove something"... I definitely would have started letting him die too, people like that deserve high repair bills. I don't have any problem keeping aggro during 5 mans unless the DPS classes start purposely trying to steal aggro or get really lucky with a chain of huge crits. With multiple mobs I usually demo roar as often as I can, tab each one and maul each one, then start spamming swipe. It's usually enough, unless the single target DPSers aren't assisting off the same target. With bosses I ask that my group give me a few secs to get a couple solid mauls in before they start going nuts, with trash mobs I don't usually see the need, unless they're being dumb like that mage was.

Crit mauls generate huge threat, usually if you crit one the thing's stuck to you. So it's usually best to always use maul when it's up, save swiping for multiple targets and/or excess rage on bosses. I also spam FFF when single target tanking, especially on bosses, just use it when it's up, since it's free, and does generate extra threat.

One other suggestion, if you really want to see how your group and your aggro is doing threat-wise, get KTM threat meter, and get your guildies to get it as well. My guild started using it when we got to Hakkar I think, and now find it an extremely useful tool for raiding, because it lets you know when someone's about to steal aggro and when DPS needs to back off/step it up.

11-07-2006, 12:44 PM
Usually, how I begin a combat depends on whether I have to pull to me (usually to get a mob out of potentially undesirable placement, i.e. he might bring friends if we all go over there) or if I have to charge the mob. For the pull, I usually enrage, FFF-pull (if I don't have a hunter willing to shoot/FD to pull for me), then hit the mob with either swipe *or* maul when it first gets to me, then demoralizing roar. I spam faerie fire every time it's up, as I'd read about it acting like a warrior's continuing to stack Sunders even after 5 are up, at least threat-wise. If I charge the mob, I faerie fire it and hit it with a Swipe, then roar if the rage is there for it. If not, I hit the roar as soon as I've built up the rage for it. I probably wasn't using Demoralizing Roar to its best advantage...but I have begun to practice increasing its usage too, thanks to you guys.

So far as base attacks, I'll usually queue up a Maul and a Swipe, see which goes off first and if there's Rage for both. I prefer the instant-cast of Swipe to the "on next melee" of Maul - though I will admit that on the whole, the Maul does crit "bigger." when it crits. Time to readjust my use of Maul, it seems like.

Thanks for the tips, y'all. :)

11-07-2006, 02:33 PM
Swipe is a really good way to hold aggro on multiple targets, when combined with Demo Roar. Though it is pretty inefficient for a single target, unless you have more rage than you know what to do with. Maul generates more threat (afaik), and does more damage. Plus you need to make sure that there isn't something sapped / sheeped that will break if you hit it with a swipe. Usually if you break CC, the CC'd mob will head straight for whatever CC'd it.

Because Bear Tanks aren't the norm, unfortunatley you have to earn respect. Whereas people automatically respect warriors as tanks until proven wrong, the inverse is usually true with Feral Druids.

The main thing is be vocal. Tanks need to take control, and tell them how it is. Same with healing. Helps if the healer and tank are on the same page. As a tank or healer, you are indispensable to the group. They can always replace the dps (mage, rogue, hunter, warlock), but tanks / healers are harder to find. So you should have that confidence going in :). Be sure to tell them to single target dps. That is, they should cc one (or two) mob(s), let you pick up the remaining ones with a Demo Roar and couple swipes, then dps your target. Everyone should have target of target turned on in the interface menu, which makes it really easy to find who the MT is dps'ing. Remember to use Growl (taunt) on any mobs that head toward the healer or otherwise get away from you. DireBear threat generation is really strong, and we are great tanks. Now to prove that to everyone else!

11-09-2006, 01:16 AM
Sounds to me like your standard " Ooh Im a mage I can dps better than anyone" stories. Believe me ,people who tend to play mages also tend to get a bit arrogent and the best way to deal with them in my opinion is to /cough let them tank /cough. Im a feral druid.Im usually picked to be the tank in my group,not just by my guild but by a few other guilds with whom I have earned respect.Now here is a tip.Sorry in advance to the rogues out there.Try to get rogue gear for your Bear gear.Id suggest the Shadowcraft set to start of with and stack enchantments for +agi and +crit on every item you can get.Then get the standard Warden Staff Smoking Heart and Rend 180 armour trinket to build up on armour. This will insure aggro and keep your armour above the 8000 mark.

Not sure what the Rend item is called will update when I log in.

11-09-2006, 08:26 AM
Well, in such situations, said mage usually *does* wind up tanking. Problem is, because 99% of the time I'm on a run, it's a guild run, everyone rushes to his rescue. The "work-around" that has, to date, been implemented is that he stands right behind our MT so that when he inevitably pulls aggro, she can taunt it back off him before it kills him. Nice if we're using the standard prot-specced warrior MT...but sorry, lil' mage, I'm not gonna play that game. :sumo: So far's I'm concerned, said mage needs to learn two things - 1)how to follow instructions and 2)how NOT to pull aggro, as a successful run isn't all about the damage meter results.

As for gear...finally got my Warden Staff yesterday, for which I was much happy. I had a couple of Shadowcraft bits, and picked up 2 more last night on a LBRS run. I've got the Cadaverous pants - and I'd really like to dig up more of that set for a couple of the bonuses- as well as my ST quest druid chest and a furbolg quest reward helm. I need to go back to BRD and convince Arglemarch to cough up that Naglering for me...and as for the Smoking Heart, well...I'd love it...but I'm a 300 Herbalist/Alchemist. I'm also stingy as heck with my gold, which is why I haven't ditched Herbalism for Enchanting to get the trinket. I'm currently making a LOT of pots for my hunter (rhok'delar is a HUGE PITA), and find it easier to spend time herbing than gold buying mats off the AH.

Not sure about the Rend thing you mentioned...might be a tad difficult to get that for my druidif it comes from a Horde quest, as he's a Night Elf. :) I've got to get an UBRS run to pick up the Mark of Tyranny, and hopefully I can pick up a couple of pieces out of ZG to kind of round out any weak spots. At the moment, I've got a lot of +sta enchants on my gear, to maximize survivability. (I'm working on the mats to get the +25 agi on the Warden Staff, though...) I don't seem to be missing terribly frequently at all, so I hadn't worried as much about +hit. Thanks for the tips, though...I appreciate it. :)

11-09-2006, 01:26 PM
I ran Live Strat last night farming for Righteous Orbs (woot got two now! time to sell another crusader), and we had a similar situation. Though it was cause we asked the mage to just AoE the bejesus out of the UD mobs on the way in. We were all in really good gear, and I had no problem keeping him up: Rejuv on the way in, Regrowth at about 65%health, immediately start casting HT rank 4, when that goes off swiftmend and rejuv again. We also had a warlock that would go in with him and soulfire, who I'd HoT up too. We took down the packs of mobs super quick, and it was a really efficient farming run. But that kind of group only happens with some planning and knowledge of each other.

Yeah, it is frustrating as all hell tanking when an aggro-happy mage just does his own thing ignoring the group. I don't know how many times I've told people to only dps my target, and use CC efficiently. Be sure to spam FF and Demo Roar every time you can in between swipes.

I think the rend trinket you are talking about is the Mark of Tyrany. 180ac, 10arcane resist, 1% to dodge. I have that, Smoking Heart, Ring of Protection (absolute must: blue ring with 150ac and 9sta) and Warden Staff for tanking stuff. I had the Nael ring before they buffed it (added in the 50ac and some other stat) and sold it. Asked a GM if I could get it back now that they buffed it cause it was suddenly worthwhile, and he basically said "run BRD again". Really good ring as it is now. Another easy tanking ring you can get is the Ring of the Tortise, from a (super easy) quest in Tanaris. Its a green ring with 120ac, no other stats. Not the best, but for maxing out ac, its pretty decent.

Really, the SC stuff is nice, but about the only worthwhile piece is the cap. And its debatable whether the Eye of Rend is better for tanking. There is better stuff available for druids. Cadaverous chest is sick (60ap), Tombstone Breastplate (2%crit) is really nice too. The Blademaster Legs are good (2%dodge ftw), Ash Covered boots from Live are nice (1% dodge). Also get the evil eye pendant from DM (15agi and 7def). I try to load up on dodge, stamina and obv AC for tanking. There are some really nice druid tanking pieces in AQ20 if you get the chance to go there.

As far as bad groups go - they build character. And what you learn from keeping up a kamikaze mage will help you be just that much better of a druid / tank in the future, and also help you know what to look for / expect in any groups that you get in. Don't let it get you down, sounds like you did a great job.

11-10-2006, 03:15 AM
They should really implement a system where bad players can get pettitioned against and then get a wanted poster in the main town for a week.Might even have a monetary reward and you can hunt that stupid bastard that ninjad you leet class gear.

11-10-2006, 05:33 AM
Sorry, but that would quickly risk turning very sick, IMO. Mobbing, freezing-out, you name it. And often very unfairly. Remember a group of friends simply turning onto a guy they don't like and just spam such a system.

11-10-2006, 07:28 AM
maybe a system when enough complaints arrive from different sources from different guilds and different times.Say when someone repeatedly harases other players,they can have a GM follow him and confirm that this is what is happening and then post a warrent.Im pretty sure that you can set something up that would result in a fair system. I personally have quite a few ninja's on my notes that would make me very happy to see hunted.