How good are the feral druid tier 11 set bonuses? Are they worth getting over other gear? Here are the bonuses:
- 2 pieces: Increases the periodic damage done by your Rake and Lacerate abilities by 10%
- 4 pieces: Each time you use Mangle (Cat) you gain a 1% increase to attack power for 30 sec stacking up to 3 times, and the duration of your Survival Instinct ability is increased by 50%
Lets look at this for bears, and compare the options.
The 2 piece bonus doesn’t look that great. 10% damage on the periodic damage of Lacerate is a very small portion of a bear’s damage. In the gear sets that I used for the comparisons between mastery and dodge reforging a bear druid in heroic gear will have roughly 32000 attack power when buffed for a 10 man raid. That means Lacerate will tick for StackSize * (23 + AP*0.00776), or 271 damage per stack. So the set bonus is adding 27 damage per lacerate tick. If we assume a 100% uptime of 3 lacerate stacks (which is not going to happen, but bear with me) then that’s a total of an extra 81 damage every 3 seconds, or 27 dps.
The extra threat and damage from the 2-piece bonus doesn’t seem worth it at all for tanking. The only reason I can see to get it is that it is needed for the 4-piece bonus or for when you are in cat form.
The 4 piece bonus looks better. An extra 6 seconds of 50% damage reduction every 3 minutes seems ok to me. While Survival instincts is more likely to be used to reduce the damage of a raid boss special ability it never hurts to reduce incoming damage after that point as well. This averages out to 1.7% less damage taken if Survival Instincts is used every 3 minutes. That doesn’t sound like much, but I’m sure it will have an impact on a healers mana pool.
So the question is, should we go for these bonuses? What other options are there? Maybe its worth holding out on equipping the set pieces until the 4 piece bonus is available?
Here’s the items for each slot with the same ilevel as the T11 gear:
- T11 – Stormrider’s Headpiece: Agility 281, Stam 512, meta socket, 1 blue socket, +30 agility socket bonus, 168 hit, 228 crit
- Membrane of C’Thun: Agility 281, Stam 512, meta socket, 1 yellow socket, +30 haste socket bonus, 168 expertise, 228 haste
- Tsanga’s Helm: Agility 281, Stam 512, meta socket, 1 yellow socket, +30 agility socket bonus, 168 crit, 228 mastery
- Agile Bio-Optic Killshades: Agility 301, Stam 512, 1 meta socket, 2 cogwheel sockets, 20 agility socket bonus
The best item here is Tsanga’s helm. It has a great socket bonus and the two green stats that affect mastery the most. It is also BoE, so if you have the gold this is a good option to purchase.
- T11 – Stormrider’s Raiment: Agility 301, Stam 512, 1 red socket, 1 blue socket, 228 haste, 188 expertise, +20 agility socket bonus
- Assassin’s Chestplate: Agility 341, Stam 512, 183 hit, 253 crit
- Sark of the Unwatched: Agility 301, Stam 512, 1 red socket, 1 yellow socket, 198 crit, 218 mastery, +20 mastery socket bonus
- Morrie’s Waywalker Wrap: Agility 301, Stam 512, 1 red socket, 1 yellow socket, 198 crit, 218 mastery, +20 mastery socket bonus
In this slot the tier piece is best if you need the expertise and because of the agility socket bonus. Otherwise the Sark or Morrie’s items are better here since their green stats directly affect Savage Defense. Morrie’s Waywalker Wrap is a BoE and will be very expensive.
- T11 – Stormrider’s Spaulders: Agility 233, Stam 380, 1 blue socket, 10 agility socket bonus, 149 crit, 169 haste
- Poison Protocol Pauldrons: Agility 233, Stam 380, 1 red socket, 10 mastery socket bonus, 149 crit, 169 mastery
The Poison Protocol shoulders are the superior item here. The amount of mitigation gained from the extra mastery is superior to the haste. However, reforging haste to dodge on the T11 piece will be better than reforging either of the stats on the Poison Protocol Pauldrons.
- T11 – Stormrider’s Grips: Agility 233, Stam 380, 1 red socket, 10 mastery socket bonus, 149 hit, 169 haste
- Double Attack Handguards: Agility 233, Stam 380, 1 red socket, 10 mastery socket bonus, 149 expertise, 169 mastery
- Liar’s Handwraps/Stormbolt Gloves: Agility 233, Stam 380, 1 yellow socket, 10 haste socket bonus, 149 crit, 169 haste
The best tanking piece here is the Double Attack Handguards. The lack of haste on them is the difference.
- T11 – Stormrider’s Legguards: Agility 301, Stam 512, 1 yellow socket, 1 blue socket, 228 mastery, 188 crit, +20 agility socket bonus
- Aberration’s Leggings: Agility 301, Stam 512, 2 yellow sockets, 228 crit, 188 haste, +20 agility socket bonus
This time the T11 is the best item, mastery and crit are the best green stats that appear on leather for a druid tank.
The hands, legs and chest may all be purchased with Valor points (1650, 2200 and 2200 respectively) and the helm and shoulders require a token.
The pieces with the best itemization and overall damage reduction are: Tsanga’s Helm, Stormrider’s Spaulders (because of reforging haste -> dodge rather than a better stat), Morrie’s Waywalker Wrap (BoE) or Sark of the Unwatched, Double Attack Handguards, Stormrider’s Legguards.
So in this case the poor 2 piece bonus is retained because of better itemization on the tier gear, but the better 4 piece bonus is not.
I plugged all this gear into Rawr and checked what happened with the full 4 piece set (changing shoulders and chest) and the difference was 0.1% damage taken in favor of using the 5 pieces listed just above.
Given the difficulty of obtaining raid drops and the tiny difference in overall damage reduction I think using the tier gear if you can get it is the best idea. Once your guild has the raids on farm and you can pick and choose which piece to use then it may be worth optimizing. For some reason this feels like a very obvious conclusion after going to the trouble of all the research!