Things have changed a lot for druid tanking.
A few weeks ago I had been tanking some instances in the beta and it was mostly ok. The new Savage Defense combined with abilities costing rage was a little tricky, but it mostly worked.
I logged in after the most recent beta patch this week and found tanking completely different. Here’s the highlights:
- The most important thing I hadn’t noticed was the change to Frenzied Regeneration – it’s now an instant heal!
- Savage Defense also changed (a little while ago) to be a dodge bonus, so you have to actively make a choice whether to heal yourself or to add mitigation.
- Offensive abilities no longer cost rage (with the exception of Maul).
This is huge, since there is no conflict between generating threat and mitigation for our use of rage. This was a problem earlier in the beta.
- Rip is back! Guardians get Rip when in cat form.
I wanted to test the self-heal changes for Frenzied Regeneration, so I went to the Pearlfin Village and rounded up some Slingtail Fishrippers. They spawn from a camp in groups and run down to the village. Sitting on the road allows you to collect lots of them at once – so I had groups of 10 beating on me, and as soon as they died another pack would arrive.
Dealing with this was trivial, and fun Swipe and Thrash cost no rage, and did enough damage that the mobs steadily died. Rage built up fast enough that I could use Savage Defense when my health was high, and Frenzied Regeneration when it started to go down. Occasionally I needed to use Mangle for the extra rage generation and damage, but I could have stayed there all day.
Druids now have the ability to do significant heals in tank form, just like Death Knights and Paladins. This is a great change for questing and soloing old content, although I worry that we will be more squishy in instances since Guardians will probably be balanced around using Frenzied Regeneration. I’ll do some more levelling and run some instances to see how it goes in the near future.
I’ve taken some screenshots of my level 85 spells so you can see the changes.
This is a list of the most commonly used abilities. I haven’t included cool-downs, since most of them are unchanged from previous posts.
I see the rotation/priority being something like this:
- Mangle whenever available
- Thrash if Weakened Blows needs to be applied
- Savage Defense if available
- Lacerate if the debuff is not on the target
- Faerie Fire if Weakened Armor is not on the target
- Lacerate when available
There are some datamined changes for an upcoming beta patch that say bear form will also “increase haste and critical strike from items by 50%”.
Savage Defense and Frenzied Regeneration are the two main rage dumps. It is possible to alternate these as needed when soloing and stay in bear form.
Maul still costs rage, and I suppose you might use it when Leader of the Pack is giving you enough heals that you don’t need to dodge or self heal.
Here’s all the attacks and rage generation. I listed Primal Fury because it is a critical part of generating rage. Not using Mangle can cause you to get rage starved, so make sure you press it every now and then when you are AoE tanking.
Now that we don’t need rage for attacks, Enrage is best used at the start of a pull to ensure you have Savage Defense up fast when entering combat.
Faerie Fire is still our only ranged attack, but it can reset Mangle now. Notice that it does about half the damage of Lacerate (at level 85) and double the initial damage of Thrash on a single target.
Thrash and swipe continue to be the AoE attacks, and neither of them cost rage. Thrash is very low damage, but worth applying for the Weakened Blows effect.
Finally, it is worth a mention that Rip is available in Guardian spec again! The screenshot below shows the difference between Rip in my Feral spec and Guardian spec (in that order) at level 85. As you can see, it is significant. Combined with the lack of Savage Roar in Guardian, don’t expect competitive dps. However, it does make questing in cat form while in Guardian spec viable – before Rip was returned to us it was better to be in bear form all the time.