Gearing Your Fresh 70 Feral Druid Tank

Photo by thadz courtesy of sxc.

Matticus’ Note: This is a guest post from a friend of who has no blogging experience whatsoever but still did a great job nonetheless. This will be a great reference for me on my Druid. Thanks Masato!

After seeing the great responses to my first guest post, Matticus told me I should keep writing. So, to see whether it was a fluke or not, here is another.

Well, I’ve seen Matticus’ posts on pre-raid heal gear for Priests and Shamans, so I will do one of my own based on my experiences, but for the one of the other needed roles in any instance: the Tank. Feral tanks do very well in most situations, as they have incredible amounts of armor, tons of HP and dodge. They are seen as a somewhat easier type of tank to heal because they tend to take more consistent damage, rather than unpredictable spiky damage shield wearing tanks take. Druids may be a bit more of a mana sponge in this case, but it’s usually less stressful on the healer to keep heals running, rather than having to react to sudden spikes (this is more adamant on raid boss fights, but still mostly applicable in 5 mans).

Druid tanks are quite easy to gear up to have very decent stats without setting foot in a raid, and not even a single heroic. I’m building this list towards the PvE type person, but if you are the type that likes to PvP, most of those epics are slight upgrades to the ones I’ve listed. It takes a bit of farming, questing and rep grinding, but afterwards, you’ll end up being geared well enough to main tank at least the first half of Karazhan, and more likely than not, offtank the second half. There have probably been other posts with very similar lists, but I’ll write my own version here for you all. For the most part, bears want to look for Armor>Stamina>Agility. It is also important to have 415 defense skill (or 2.6% crit reduction BEFORE talents) so that you cannot be crit by level 73 bosses.

I will also discuss a proper feral spec later on in the article.

Working from the top to the bottom:

Head:
Stylin’ Purple Hat
BoE LW crafted: Pattern: Stylin’ Purple Hat.

This helm is very easy to get a hold of, nice stats, and is your best bet until you hit some heroics.

Neck:
Necklace of the Deep
BoE JC crafted: 3 Motes of Water, 10 Jaggal Pearls, 1 Black Pearl.
This neck is amazing not only because it is ridiculously easy to get, but it has 2 Red gem sockets. Pop in a couple of Shifting Nightseyes and you have a piece that will last you a long time. Not only is it great, but you can equip it at level 65!

Shoulders:
Shoulderpads of Assassination
Assuming you don’t have any rogues in the group to fight you for these, they work decently if you don’t want to PvP for gear. They drop off the last boss in normal Sethekk Halls. They also have 2 Yellow sockets to boot.

Cloak:
Thoriumweave Cloak
Pretty much the second best druid tanking cloak out there (until you hit the armor cap at least), and you can get it from the first boss in regular mode Mechanar. Super easy to farm, and it is awesome.

Chest:
Heavy Clefthoof Vest
BoE LW crafted: Pattern: Heavy Clefthoof Vest
This chest has 2 Yellow and 1 Red Socket, and is not difficult to get.

Jerkin of the Untamed Spirit
You can get this chest piece from an easy 2 person quest in Hellfire at level 58! Incredible stats, and will last you from then until level 70 when you have your Heavy Clefthoof Vest made.

Wrist:
Umberhowl’s Collar
Quite a lengthy quest chain out in Shadowmoon, but well worth it.

Hands:
Verdant Gloves
Another lengthy quest chain for these out in Shadowmoon.

Waist:
Manimal’s Cinch
Another Shadowmoon quest, but this is a VERY nice belt, even though it’s a green.

Legs:
Heavy Clefthoof Leggings
BoE LW crafted: Pattern: Heavy Clefthoof Leggings
2 Blue and 1 Yellow gem sockets, straightforward materials.

Feet:
Heavy Clefthoof Boots
BoE LW crafted: Pattern: Heavy Clefthoof Boots
Blue and Yellow sockets, and again, not bad mats.

Rings:
There isn’t much you can do here without Kara/heroics. The Violet Signet of Defense (Kara Rep) and Ring of Unyielding Force (25 Heroic Badges) are the best here until 25 mans, and even then, they’re still good.

But until then…

Iron Band of the Unbreakable
Normal Mode Old Hillsbrad.

Delicate Eternium Ring
BoE JC crafted: Design: Delicate Eternium Ring

Trinkets:
Badge of Tenacity
It is a random BoE drop in Blade’s Edge Plateau, or else costs about 1000g depending on your server. However, it is VERY much worth the pain to get it, especially with its 2 min cooldown 150 Agi for 20 seconds use.

Darkmoon Card: Vengeance
Will cost you a hefty sum of money, but lots of stam, and a proc that adds to your aggro generation.

Commander’s Badge
A nice chunk of Stamina if you feel so inclined to reach Revered with the Netherwing.

Engineering also has 2 similar BoP trinkets, the Gnomish Poultryizer, and Goblin Rocket Launcher.

Weapons:
Earthwarden
This is THE tanking weapon until you get into SSC and hope for a random trash drop. Well worth the grind to Exalted with Cenarion. A MUST have.

Braxxis’ Staff of Slumber
Pretty much a lazy man’s Earthwarden. A decent BoE that you should be able to find on the AH for around 50g (depending on your server). Use this until you’re Exalted with Cenarion.

Enchants:
Throw Agi chants on everything that will take them (cloak, gloves, boots, weapon), and +stats on the others (bracers, chest). Why agi over stam you ask? In my opinion, having avoidance and mitigation is better than just being a sponge. Plus, more agi = more crit which means more threat generation. Also, the agi/stats enchants are overall cheaper than the stamina one.

For the helm glyph, Glyph of the Defender until you’re crit immune, then go to Glyph of Ferocity.

Shoulders: Inscription of the Knight or Inscription of Warding (or the greater ones if you have the rep). Like the helm, use these until you’re safely over the crit cap and switch to Inscription of the Blade or Inscription of Vengeance.

Legs: Clefthide Leg Armor. No point really in getting Nethercleft Leg Armor until you get some nice epics, or you have the extra money to spend.

For gems, there is a lot of debate between druids. Some go Solid Star of Elune in EVERY socket. For starting off, this is probably your best bet, since you’re getting a nice bit of Agi just from the enchants. This isn’t exactly a bad choice, but I personally like balanced stats, once you start getting better gear. I prefer to put Shifting Nightseye‘s in my red/blue sockets, and if there is a bonus that is helpful, I’ll put in Glinting Noble Topaz for the yellow sockets. Why those and not, say, Enduring Talasite? It is because hit means you don’t miss, and when you don’t miss that means you generate more threat. Also, defense rating is next to useless once you’re crit immune.

Use your own discretion though when enchanting/gemming. Gem and enchant to what stats you think you lack or if you’re short a tiny bit from being crit immune.

So what do your stats look like with this gear? For these calculations I used 2 Shifting Nightseye in the neck piece, and 2 Enduring Talasite in the Shoulders to hit the crit cap. The rest of the gems are all Solid Star of Elune regardless of socket color, and all enchants are Agility or Stats. The exalted Scryer shoulder inscription and epic leg armor are used in these calcs, so your stats may vary slightly, and if you’re Aldor, you may need to swap in another Enduring Talasite to stay at/above 2.6% crit reduction. Stats also assume Survival of the Fittest and Thick Hide.

Final Numbers

Armor: 23995
HP: 13558 (Night Elf)
14256 (Tauren)
Dodge: 32.93% (Night Elf)
31.16% (Tauren)
Crit Reduction: 2.62%**

** Also, resilience stacks on top of this as well, so if you have some PvP items, just add up what the tooltip says for the resilience and defense, and if it’s at 2.60% or more, you’re golden.

Now, these are very good stats, especially for not even having to step foot inside a heroic! Also, aside from a couple of drops, these are all rep/quest/crafted items, so you don’t have to worry about the dice for most of your gear. If you look at Matt’s Kara Requirements for bear tanks:
415 def with 3/3 Survival of the Fittest, 12000 hp, 30% Dodge, 20k armor
You’re over the mark with this gear setup. Not too shabby. Now, that Survival of the Fittest comment brings us to spec.

Speccing Your Feral Druid for Endgame

Survival of the Fittest (SotF) is the only mandatory talent, while there are many that are strongly suggested to have, and others that are strongly suggested not to have. Why is SotF mandatory? Because with 3/3 you reduce your chance to be crit by 3%. Seeing as level 73 bosses have a 5.6% chance to crit, this means you only need 2.6% from gear. Also, the added 3% to all stats is a nice thing to have as well. Hopping over to the resto tree, 5/5 Furor for extra rage at the beginning of pulls, 5/5 Naturalist for 10% extra damage, and Omen of Clarity for rage free attacks every now and then.

As for talents you shouldn’t get, Feral Aggressions is pretty much useless. Nurturing Instinct is more than useless as well. Shredding Attacks is nice if you plan to be kitty in groups a bit, but if you don’t plan on it, skip it. The rest of the feral tree is pretty much a must have. That means you have 1-3 extra talent points that you can put wherever. Natural Shapeshifter is nice, or Nature’s Grasp if you plan on some PvP. Yeah, it may sound like I’m telling you how to spec, but honestly, look at any feral druid that has at least cleared Kara, and their spec probably follows these guidelines.

Well, I hope you made it through my long post (I honestly didn’t think I had that much to say!) and hopefully helps get you started on your way towards druid tankage. If people find this helpful, I may be so inclined to make a resto version of this guide.

Masato
Feral one day, Resto the next.

Matt’s note: Make a comment and persuade him to make a resto guide. If he does that, then I can finish up my Paladin gear list and I’ll have all four bases covered =).

The Problem With Enchanting: Part 1 (Demand)

The problem with enchantingI was reading one of Tobold’s latests posts on enchanting and I just had to write a response. You can imagine my amazement when he wrote that he is one of the few 70′s who runs around without any major enchantments on his gear.

Why?

Because enchanting your gear is one of the most expensive things you will ever undertake.

The gear selection and vast selection of raid instances are at the point where you could replace a piece of gear you got today with one later on in the week.

So herein lies the dilemma. Why spend copious amounts of money investing in enchants for some item when it might be replaced later?

It’s like shopping for computer parts. You could upgrade your memory now or wait and watch it drop in price. You never know when a better deal might come along, right?

Let’s take a look at the price for 81 Healing to weapon. WoWecon.com reports Large Prismatic shards having a price of 19G (Ner’Zuhl has ridiculous prices with 25+G).

Primal Life: 10 gold x 8 = 80G
Primal Water: 20 gold x 8 = 160G
Large Prismatic Shard: 20 gold x 8 = 160G

That’s about 400 gold spent just to increase your healing by 81 on your weapon.

Obviously, your weapon is the most expensive piece to enchant. Factor in bracers, gloves, boots and your chest and watch the costs double or even triple on some servers. As raiders, I’m not sure what we spend omre of our money on: potions and flasks or enchants (or even jewelcrafting).

With costs like that, you want to ensure that your gear pieces that get are here to stay. I’ve had cases myself where I got an item one day only to replace it the next. What sucked the most is that I had the original item enchanted before I got the upgraded piece.

Knowing When to Enchant

Get the most out of your enchants! It should be an investment on gear that you know you won’t replace for a while. Typically, I follow the 4-week rule. If I know for certain that I’m replacing this item within 4 weeks, I won’t enchant it.

Start reading up on boss drops. Know which boss drops the items that you’re looking for. Calculate the probability of you getting an upgrade. Remember that not only does the encounter have to drop the item for you, you may need to compete with other players in your Guild for it. If you’ve got the most DKP, then you’re set since you can either bid a high amount or get first option.

Great example: Your Attumen bracers drop for you but you’ve been steadily collecting badges for better bracers anyway. You figure you’ll easily obtain the amount of badges you need within a week. Therefore you shouldn’t enchant your Attumen bracers.

Matt’s Philosophy: Assume what you want from a boss isn’t going to drop and enchant your present ones. Be the best player you can be statwise as that will help the Guild more in the long run.

Be prepared to pass on an item because your enchanted gear is better then that unenchanted piece. You can score major brownie points and save precious DKP if you pass it off to someone else.

Staves vs Maces and Off hands

Staves vs Maces“First off i have to commend you for your hard work at making your blog the only one i have ever read. World of Matticus has almost all of the priest information i could hope to read and I have put to use many of the tips found therein. But i can’t find anything about the debate of Staff vs Mace+Offhand (healingwise). Is there a certain point where a staff would be better than the duel wielding combo? Is a mace-offhand settup always better? Please let me know what you think. Thank you for your limited time.”

That was an email I received from a player last night. Incidentally enough, I had a post about this already lined up. What excellent timing!

Back before Burning Crusade, there was one weapon that truly defined a Priest. Those who had it were idolized by Priests everywhere. When you saw it on the back of a Priest in front of you, immediately you would feel an aura of safety. I am referring to [item]Benediction[/item]. Oh how times have changed.

I’m going to present argument from two different sides: The best possible Priest approach and the team Priest approach.

The Best Possible Priest Approach

Do you want to be THE Priest? Do you want to have so much healing and MP5 that you can bring back Elvis? Then this is the setup for you. From what I’ve noticed, a Priest with an MH/OH combo will have slightly higher healing bonuses and a little more mana regeneration than a player with a Staff. But staves aren’t completely useless in their own right. They might lose a bit of +healing when compared to to the MH/OH, but there’s a lot more stats (stamina, intellect, etc). Therefore, if you care that much about min/maxing your Priest (in other words, making it as best as possible), then grabbing an MH/OH is the best way to go. But you have to realize that you’re not the only class that is able to use it.

You’ll be in direct competition with Paladins and Shamans (maybe Druids).

The Team Priest Approach

You don’t want to be the best Priest possible. You know that all the maces are being greedily eyed upon by the other healers because they are way more powerful. You also know that your fellow healers won’t give that awesome healing staff a chance and that it will get sharded. I have seen this happen far too many times. Healers are passing on items that help them in favour of getting an even better item. You may or may not know of my thoughts about this. Precious loot should not be wasted because you never know for sure when you will get the weapon that you want. I never once saw Light’s Justice or Shard of the Virtuous on my Priest.

I hope you can understand my main argument here. I’m not arguing from the perspective of being the super best healer. I’m arguing from the perspective of a healer who wants to contribute to the best of his or her ability with the tools they have.

By accepting the staff, you remove yourself from competing against the Shammies and the Pallies. Let them fight over the mace and spend their precious DKP. A simple minimum bid just gave you nearly the same amount of healing at half the price. Again, this is dependent on your Guild and the style of loot distribution that you have.

Think about your raid healer setup.

In Carnage, we have:

  • 2 Holy Priests
  • 3-4 Paladins
  • 1 Resto Shaman

The Paladins and Shamans are going to go after 1H’s because they want something to complement their Shields. The other holy Priest doesn’t like staves. That leaves me to obtain loot at half price because these turkeys aren’t going to use it anyway! By taking it, I benefit the raid as a whole because it increases my healing and speeds up the gearing process.

I even save a little DKP because I don’t have to bid on both a mace and an offhand. I don’t have to wait for 2 bosses to drop the 2 items that I need. I only need to kill 1 boss repeatedly.

I am sacrificing my potential to be the best possible Priest later to help the raid now.

To finalize

Whatever weapon you choose to go with is affected by different factors.

  • Your guild
  • Loot distribution methods
  • Your style of play
  • Personality
  • Phase of the moon

Just understand that arguments can be made for either class. I don’t view myself as a selfish raider. I want to get to the end of the game as fast as possible and if I have to lose 30 healing over it, then I can sleep soundly with no problems. Besides, the extra stamina means I’ll live just a bit longer then Paulina Priest over there.

That’s why I opted for my new staff instead of waiting on Vasj to drop her mace.

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Gearing Your Fresh 70 Hunter

[Matticus Note: The Importance of Being Ernest. A 1500 word paper describing high British society and moral values that I need to do. Which is also due tonight at midnight. There is also a Canucks/Oilers game which I must watch. I doubt I get a lot of Hunters reading my blog, but in the event you have a Hunter alt, this might be the thing for you. This is another gear list which can be examined and use for Pre-Karazhan purposes.]

Gearing your Huntard… er… Hunter

By Doc Holiday

I am tired of seeing god awful hunters running around in god awful gear because they don’t know what gear and stats are useful for us. Lets start with the basics

Stats

Agility – It improves our Critical chance and Attack power. These are both good things
Critical strike – Improves Critical strike chance
Hit rating – Very important but pretty much ignored by hunters who don’t know what they are doing. 136 is our Hit rating cap. Having more then this wont help us out. So if your at this or close to hit you can stop looking for more hit. 89 hit rating for you surefooted hunters
Attack power – Increase your base damage

That’s the big four when it comes to stats we should look for

Intellect, Stamina and Mana per 5 are also good stats to have but not AS important as the ones noted above

Head

Malefactor’s Eyepatch
Easy to obtain via a series of Quests while your leveling in Blade’s Edge mountains. Huge amount of Agility, Stamina and Attack power as well as some nice mana per 5.

Stalker’s Helm of Second Sight

Longer and somewhat more difficult quest chain in Shadow moon will get you the best pre Kara Helm. I recommend 4 hit and 4 agility gems as it is hard to find some +hit early in the game

Neck

Choker of Bloodied Feathers
I got this in an early quest from Terrokar. I never found a replacement until Karazhan because quite frankly it is that good an item especially Alliance side

Insignia of the Mag’hari Hero
Horde side only quest. Great neck with a little bit of everything including some precious hit

Shoulders

Beast Lord Mantle
Quite frankly there is no other shoulder that is better or equal to Beast Lord. Run Steamvaults as many times as you can to get this. Socket it with a 4 hit 4 agility and 8 agility and you will be set for quite awhile

Back

Perfectly balanced Cape
You get this quite early on from a Blood furnace quest. Add 12 agility to this cape and you really won’t need anything else for quite awhile.

Delicate Green Poncho
Another great choice early on as well. Nice stats and that all important hit as well.

Chest

Felstalker Breastplate
Easy to make this makes a great started chest piece. Add two 8 agility and one 4 agility and 5 stamina gem and you got a large amount of agility on this chest piece.

Salvager’s Hauberk
Obtained from the lower city at revered. I like this chest a lot. Large amount of stamina and huge critical strike bonus make this a nice and really easy chest to get. Considering most hunters will have obtained this rep quite easily

Wrist

Felstalker Bracers
Easy to make and if your already wearing the other two pieces you get a nice set bonus

Auchenai Bracers
Nice reward from a simple Shadow Lab quest.

Gloves

Ar’tor’s Mainstay
No reason not to have these gloves a 70 hunter. Very easy to get

Belt

Felstalker Belt
Easy to make and a super nice set bonus makes an easier choice

Rune Engraved Belt
Alliance side quest only. Nice option if you are not a leatherworking or do not want to get the mats together for felstalkers. Large amount of hit is always good

Legs

Scaled Greaves of Patience
Probably the best pre 70 dungeon legs you can get. These come form Old Hillsbrad and will be easily obtainable at 70

Feet

Sky Hunter Swift Boots
Really nice boots from a fairly short and easy sub 70 dungeon Sethekk Halls. The only boots to get pre raiding in my opinion

Rings

Slayers Mark of the Redemption
Hit, agility and attack power in one easy quest makes this a must have.

Band Of Anguish
Hit, agility and attack power in one easy quest makes this a must have. Hey did I hear an echo?

Longstrider’s Loop
If you are lucky enough to get one of these in Mana tomb’s then hold on to it for awhile. It might be the best hunter ring pre raiding.

Trinkets

Hour Glass of the Unraveller
I know its in Black Morass and you hate that place but I can tell you will not find a better blue trinket in the game. To give you an example of its usefulness I use this on my hunter today and I just started doing Hyjal and the Black temple. Get it.

Abacus of Violent odds
Oh no another trinket at a tough end boss in a 70 dungeon. Great trinket with a great use. Haste will be your friend in the future

Weapon

Sonic Spear
The ONLY weapon a hunter should have pre raiding. Slap a 35 agility enchant on this baby and you set for a long long time. Trust me this thing is that good and while sucks you have to slog through shadow lab its worth it.

Ranged Weapon

Logn’goron Bow of the Torn Heart
Easy weapon to get via a quest in Shadow moon. Nice starter bow with all the right stats and it looks cool to boot!

Quiver

Worg Hide Quiver
Assuming you don’t have your epic one from the old quest you can get this exact replica by getting Honored with the Kurenai. Which is easy to do as you will get honored simply by doing quests in Nagrand anyways.

If you put it all together here is what you get

As a BM hunter (I am currently BM and I recommend this to all new hunters but more on that later) you will end up with

1800 Attack power self Buffed
20.9 Ranged Crit
57 hit rating

Now I added the following for socketing. Any red sockets I used 8 agility. Any Yellow sockets I used +4hit +4agility. Any blue sockets I used +4agility +6stamina. I enchanted the head with Glyph of ferocity, Shoulders with inscription of Vengeance, chest with +6 to stats, wrist with +24 to attack power, legs with cobrahide leg armour and put 35 Agility on the Sonic Spear. I left the gloves, boots and ranged weapon unenchanted. I felt the cost of enchanting those to be expensive for the time and use of the items.

Basically you are more then ready for Heroics or Karazhan at this point. You should also be able to out DPS everyone in 5 man dungeons quite easily.