11 Reasons Guildmasters Fail

11 Reasons Guildmasters Fail

master

Guy Kawasaki tweeted a link to an article that caught my eye. It was a psychology blog called PsyBlog. Long time readers know that after WoW and tech blogs, I frequently read psychology, blogging and personal development blogs.

So what exactly did I read? 7 Reasons Leaders Fail is the original post.

Already you can see where I’m going with this. I noticed characteristics highlighted in the article that were exhibited by leaders I had in the past. So in this post, I want to apply some of the reasons listed on PsyBlog to WoW leaders and add a few more of my own.

Strict Hierarchies

This is the first reason listed in the PsyBlog post. Here’s a typical hierarchy of a raiding guild:

  1. Executive (GM)
  2. Advisors (Officers)
  3. Raiders
  4. Everyone else (Socials)

Some of my former GMs in the past were stubborn and not open to using methods that would make life easier for them and the raid. Often times, the raid would “play dumb” and did what the boss said (which includes me). We assumed he knew best when it wasn’t always the case. He set up the pulls, assigned the healers, organized positioning and did everything else himself.

A present Warlock in my guild alerted me today that he could tack on Detect Invisibility on several players to help spot for those pesky black shades that seemingly appear out of nowhere in Naxxramas.

Poor Decision-Making

This is number 2 on the PsyBlog. Let the experienced veterans make some calls. Some people aren’t cut out to make certain decisions. I should never be allowed to setup pulls or mark targets (as Hassai so kindly reminds me). I should leave that to the tanks. I should not be setting up crowd control targets. I Should not be the one calling out Battle Res targets. There are other players in better positions who can make effective calls quicker than I.

Let your best people do the jobs they are suited for. Focus on your individual strength. My strength relies on healer organization and assignments.

Something I pride myself in is the ability to ask questions. If I’m unsure about a mob pull or an item, I’ll ask the experts. I expect them to give me precise information so that I can make the right call.

Impossible Standards for Leaders

Here’s a good one. The reason says it all. Leaders are expected to know every little thing.

We don’t.

We’re only human. It is so true it is scary how accurate this statement is. I’m expected to know optimal Mage DPS rotations, tanking orders, MD targets, gear choices and so forth. I’m not exactly a walking WoW Wiki. A few of the qualities leaders are expected to posses, according to PsyBlog, are integrity, persistence, humility, competence, decisiveness, and ability to inspire.

So where do I stack up?

Here’s my self evaluation out of 5 (with 5 being the most and 1 being the least).

  • Integrity: 5
  • Persistence: 3
  • Humility: 5
  • Competence: 3
  • Decisiveness: 4
  • Ability to inspire: 2

(Note: Guildies may comment without fear of reprisal)

Treating People Like Crap

It’s a simple concept. If you treat people like crap, you can expect crap performance. I don’t like to yell but I can and will speak firmly at times in order to crack the whip. In this case, my guild is also my boss. If they don’t like me or my performance, nothing is going to stop them from departing. I don’t want them to leave. I want to foster a friendly yet professional environment. But I can’t afford to be too friendly as you’ll find out later on.

Psychology of Followship

This is another intriguing point from the PsyBlog. What makes people follow someone else? I think it’s important for GMs to ask themselves why these people are following them and why they trust them. GMs are obviously doing something right. If they weren’t, then members would be sporting a different tag. This is especially true in WoW where leaving and joining guilds can be done in mere seconds.

Like people who think alike will generally do similar things. I want to kill Arthas. I want to do it on these days. I want to take this approach. I have over 20 members who have a similar stance. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be here.

Lack of a Presence

Leaders need to show themselves. They need to be visible. When BC came out, my GM was hardly ever around. I thought he didn’t care about the game. He didn’t have any plans for Karazhan. In my next guild, on the day we were working on Gruul, my GM wasn’t in the raid. He was out farming on Elemental Plateau instead of being with us killing Gruul. We had to pug a player for his spot.

What am I doing following someone who doesn’t seem to care about this game as much as I do? Is this someone I really want to follow?

No Confrontation

If you have a player who is performing poorly or is behaving poorly, they need to be spoken to and the situation needs to be resolved. I’ve had leaders in the past who did not have the spine to call their bluff. I think a GM needs to be prepared to remove anyone from their organization if the situation ever demands it. Be prepared to sit a player out. There will be times when the success of a raid rides on a single player’s performance. If they can’t hack it, they need to be told to sit for the night in favor of someone else.

If the guild I’m in ends up wiping to a single boss for 15 straight tries and the rest of the guild feel that it’s the result of one person, then something’s got to change. Maybe they’re disconnecting like crazy or having computer issues. Whatever the reason, it has to be fixed. The raid must go on. As much it sucks for me having to make the call, I have to be prepared to do it. Even if its me.

Alienation

In a recent post I wrote about Deciding Between Normal Raids and Heroic Raids, AltoholicsAreUs wrote:

The only thing you MIGHT have to watch out for now, is “cliques”, meaning groups of people who plow through the ten mans to farm or obtain gear, but do not allow newer or outside members of your guild to participate.

I’m not the best baby sitter in the world. I got kicked in the groin once by my little “buddy” in grade school. Cliques are going to crop up no matter what and there’s very little that can be done to put a stop to it. You could try, but the clique could react in a bad way. The GM and officers need to be intimately aware of the guildies around them and attempt to include them in guild wide activities such as Lake Wintergrasp. Check in with players from time to time to see how they’re doing.

No Enthusiasm

A GM needs to have a level of energy and passion for something like this. No matter what you do in life, be passionate about your interests. If you’re not, then you’re not doing what you like. Seth Godin’s a great speaker because he’s passionate about what he does. Garr Reynolds is a greater presenter because he excels at speaking and presentation delivery. A great Starbucks barista separates herself from the rest by adding the little swirly thing to my venti sized iced double chocolate chip mocha frappucino!

They all love what they’re doing. I love what I’m doing. I don’t have to be skilled at hockey to be passionate about the game. Are your GMs passionate about what they’re doing? Are you?

One of my new recruits appeared to be delighted when he found out I wrote a WoW blog and contribute to WoW Insider because it demonstrates that I like what I’m doing.

Empathy and the Lackthereof

Some GM’s I’ve had were self centered and self absorbed. They weren’t capable of putting themselves in the shoes of others or just plain didn’t care. Now I may never be able to wear the shoes of Brio or Hassai when it comes to tanking business. I do try to make a concerted effort to listen to them and see where they’re coming from if they feel the need to say anything. Don’t ignore your guys and don’t brush them aside.

General Ineptitude

Some people just should not be trusted with leadership. It’s sad to say, I know. Not everyone is capable of being a Michael Jordan or a Tiger Woods. Not everyone is meant to lead. Whatever the reason is, bad leaders will eventually lead to a fractured organization that will have no future as a worst case scenario. Maybe they don’t have the social skills or the time. Perhaps they can’t take the disciplinary actions required to do something. If a guild loses faith in its leader and no longer has confidence, something needs to change before it deteriorates further.

Where does this leave us?

I can’t just talk the talk. I have to walk the walk. If I can’t back up my words or beliefs, then I am no better than some of the GM’s I’ve had in the past. But by being aware of what makes bad leadership, I can consciously make an effort to steer myself away from the behavior that made them that way.

I’m in a unique position since I have several bloggers in my guild who aren’t afraid to call me out and keep my honest. It’s in my best interest to not suck and to do the right thing. I can’t just hold myself accountable to my guild. I also need to hold myself accountable to my readers.

Here’s a challenge for the WoW bloggers and readers out there.

What makes your GM great?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Whether it’s stories about bad experiences or good experiences, others including myself would surely benefit.

Guest Post: Mana Tide – To-do List for the Level 80 Resto Shaman.

Guest Post: Mana Tide – To-do List for the Level 80 Resto Shaman.

This is a guest post written by Devon.

guest-post Prologue

Click the link above fellow totemites, let the rejoicing begin. This position of power ensures Shaman buffs in the future (and hopefully a college football playoff); not even Blizzard can tell this guy “no”. Damn government just can’t keep its hands off, but in this case I’ll keep my trap zipped.

In preparation for the shaman revolution and my PvE aspirations I’ve compiled a quick gear list and to-do list for the chain healer in all of us. This can, and should, be started at late level 77 and 78. The goal is not to make heroics manageable, but to make you one of the best resto shamans in your guild regardless of your time in Naxx.

Print it out, tack it to your wall, and let it do the thinking for you. You know you want to.

*Steps 0-0.5 are preliminary. The rest should be completed every day until your desired epeen loot level is achieved.

Step 0:

Get your freak spec on.

Before respeccing I suggest getting your Icecrown quest achievement. It will get you the Cannoneer’s Morale trinket, Knights of the Ebon Blade rep, and Argent Crusade rep. Searing totem just doesn’t kill as fast as ye ol’ Stormstrike.

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=hZ0xxIZxMezVxogkrIRt is my recommendation.

The 16 points in Enhancement are very solid. The following build has the restoration tree must-haves, everything else is just gravy (or filler you pessimists):

Must have talents click here.

Head over to the AH and grab your Glyph of Chain Heal, Water Mastery, Earth Living Weapon, and Water Shield. You should have already had the latter Boudreaux.

This oh-@#^& macro free of charge from elitistjerks.com:

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness

/stopcasting

/use 13

/use 14

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/Cast Tidal Force

/cast Healing Wave

With this and rip-tide I’ve had no heroic troubles. This has the over-zealous rogue seal of approval.

Step 0.5

Where the little guy gets his totem.

Grizzly D. Adams will give you Totem of the Bay.

Dis one, it’s da best. Get 30 of these.

Step 1

What’s with the fat guard standing on the quest giver? Go do your Wyrmrest Dailies everyday until you are Exalted for the Grips of Fierce Pronouncements.

- Drake Hunt at the Nexus. Raelastrasz 33, 34 coords. The harpoon has ridiclous range. If you don’t have your flying mount I recommend the western platform.

- Defending Wyrmrest Temple at Wyrmrest Temple. The quest-giver is on the MIDDLE level of the temple. As with all dailies practice makes perfect, but I recommend renew and the sprint (press 4) every time they are up. For those going for time note that it only takes one dot and one flame breath to kill the drakes, pwn and move on. Happy hunting.

- Aces High. See comments here.

Step 2

Knights of the Ebon Blade make me think of emo kids at my high school.

Ebon Blade Dailies everyday until you are Exalted for your Kilt of Dark Mercy.

Icecrown dailies:

Repeatable Quest:

Step 3

Troll Pa’troll everyday until Exalted with Argent Dawn for your Signet of Hopeful Light.

The Troll Patrol quest is given in the Argent Stand of Zul’Drak. 3 of them are very easy, the quest form Alchemist Finklestein WOULD be difficult if you didn’t have this mod: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/easyserum.aspx

You get a bonus for doing Troll Pa’troll in less than 20 minutes, there should be time to spare using this mod.

Step 4

No moar dailies, so sayeth my sanity.

All in all I spend about 1.5 hours doing dailies. I try to keep my play time at less than three hours a day for personal reasons so another 0.5 – 1.5 hours lets me run an instance or two (good riddance UBRS). In addition to the loot list below I recommend doing the daily regular or daily heroic instances for the reputation and emblems of heroism. Much of the gear you get in this step each day will be a place holder for crafted epics listed in Step 5. Start with the Wyrmrest Tabard since those dailies require longer flights between quests.

Step 5

Ok, I can haz gold now.

As money permits purchase the following items or their respective mats as they show up on the AH:

Revenant’s Breastplate (Leatherworking): 12 Heavy Borean Leather, 12 Eternal Water, 1 Frozen Orb

Revenant’s Treads (Leatherworking): 10 Heavy Borean Leather, 10 Eternal Water, 1 Frozen Orb

Titansteel Guardian (Blacksmithing) – 6 Saronite Bars, 6 Titansteel Bars, 2 Frozen Orb

I haven’t gotten my guardian yet because I’m scurd of handing a stranger that many mats. Guild blacksmith has a wifey, no chance for me there. The two revenant’s pieces cost me about 1000 gold, which you should have after all that questing you did RIGHT? Quick aside: Lesser Healing Wave and its associated glyph rocks my healing socks.

Regards,

Devon

20 + 3 Myths about Women Who Play WoW

20 + 3 Myths about Women Who Play WoW

unicorn 

So Matt and I were goofing off one day, and in one of those conversations where you’re not quite sure how it got onto that topic… we started talking about some of the myths around being a female gamer. Like all stereotypes, some have a base in reality, some are pretty funny, and some nag at my feminist sensibilities. Here’s 20 myths about female WoW-ers that I’ve encountered:  

  • We don’t exist
  • We’re super-hot asian women
  • We’re all crushingly obese in real life
  • We can’t Tank
  • We can’t Melee
  • We can’t PvP
  • Actually, we can’t play
  • We must want to be your girlfriend (or cyber you)
  • We’re sleeping with our Guild leader/Raid leader and that’s why we get raid invites/gear
  • We only play healing classes
  • We cause 100% of all guild/server drama
  • We get given gold, mats, and items for free
  • or, if not for free, in exchange for non-monetary favors
  • All female ‘toons are really guys trying to cash in on the above myths (especially Elves)
  • We don’t play Horde
  • We’re only playing to spend time with our boyfriend/husband
  • We care more about how gear looks than its stats
  • We only tame cuddly, cute pets
  • We don’t theorycraft (‘cuz math is HARD!)
  • We all hate each other
  • Female GMs are all married to a co-GM and not really leading the guild
  • We fly into hysterics if given negative feedback
  • We aren’t allowed to raid when we’re on our period

Image credits: Sacredart

Thanks Auz & Joveta!!

One Thoughters from Matt and is Your Class the Best Lover?

I used to do these. Wyn does them. Then Auz started it.

  • When did cookies become a sometimes food?
  • Raiders who raid often don’t want to. Raiders who don’t raid often, want to.
  • My coblogger gets more fame and recognition than I do.
  • Hey Auz, click here
  • How do wands work? Is there a button? Maybe a stun and kill setting?
  • Do Blizzard developers read WoW blogs?
  • What would a 10 man counter terrorism unit in WoW consist of?
  • I always finish the milk before the cookie. Ugh.
  • Mallet has 19 Exalted reputations. Too lazy to level Sporregar.
  • Jessica Alba’s 27. I need to find me a new poster girl.

So is your class the best lover?

Here’s the back story. Last Monday, I had watched something completely unexpected unfold before my eyes. Girl in front of me, on her Warlock, playing WoW. Saresa was fuming because I mentioned that Warlocks aren’t my type.

Big mistake.

She uses my own trademark list posts against me (score!) and provides 12 Reasons Why Warlocks are the Best Lovers.

So this begs the question.

Why is your class the best lover? Any amount, any reason. Feel free to comment it or (even better) blog about it. I think the Warlocks are covered. But maybe there’s a few extra features I don’t know about!

On another note, check back in about 5ish hours. That Sydera, I tell you, is one really ambitious blogger and when you see what she plans to open up with. All I can say is wow.

10 Reasons Horde is Better

10 Reasons Horde is Better

joveta-post

This is Joveta’s Week 2 Submission

I’m sorry (no, not really), but it’s true.  Alliance, you’ve got a lot of nifty things, but when it comes down to it, Horde has you beat hands-down.

 

 

 

Ogre Loin Cloths

loin-anaughtybear You just wish you had a quest that let you dig up a Ripped Ogre Loincloth.  Alliance, you may have a cutesy pet in Feralas, but Horde gets fashion.  Alternate recommendation for those in the audience saying to themselves, “But Jove…  Why would I want a gray item?”  Simple!  Slap an armor kit on one of these babies and give ‘em to your tanks to combat healer boredom during trash pulls.  Fashionable and useful!

 

Zeppelin

zeppelin-arthouseparty(net) I don’t know about you, but I like a little variety in my transportation.  Alliance,  you’ve got gryphons and boats.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with utility, but in addition to wyverns and boats, Horde gets Zeppelins.  It’s an attractive way to cross the ocean without that pesky seasickness, plus it’s character-building to participate in anything created by goblins and engineers;  you never know when it might blow up in your face.

 

Thrall

Thrall-orcyish He is the Warchief.  Not only is he a kick-butt shammy who can chain lightning your face into the dirt, in the past, he’s been spotted riding a pally horse and getting his mack on with two cute blonde humans at the same time.  Who does Alliance have who can compete?  Definitely not…

 

Fandral Staghelm

Staghelm-zenvirus Related to the above, we hordies can actually kill that @$%%!# Staghelm up in his tree in Darnassus.  Alliance just gets to fantasize about it.  Isn’t that just like an “I win” button right there?

 

 

The Men

Sorry, Alliance.  Your options are “short and creepy” or “gorilla.”  Horde men have  actual variety in shape and appearance, and as such present something for everyone.  Like green and well-muscled?  We have orcs.  Tall and blue?  Trolls win, and have an awesome dance to boot.  Fur?  Taurens, if that’s your thing.  Like something you can go shopping with?  Blood elves are beautiful and can also give you hair-care advice.  Prefer your men deep and gothy?  Undead.  (Also, why is the Alliance trapped in a VH1 “I love the…” special when it comes to dances?  Horde men at least are in the correct century.)

 smooch

Silvermoon City

Oh Silvermoon City, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways… 

Face it, Silvermoon is what every city wishes it could be.  It’s awesome enough, it deserves it’s own list.

If one is good, two is twice as good

Twice the banks and auction houses, twice as good, right?  That’s right, folks.  Silvermoon is the only city with dual banks and auction houses.  I’m sorry, Alliance, you’re stuck with just the one per town.

Mailboxes to infinity

mailbox Have you counted the mailboxes in Silvermoon?  There are  approximately 15-billion.  Unlike all those other towns where you literally need to “run to the mailbox” (of which you can choose between 2 or 3) in Silvermoon, one is never more than 25-feet away.  Goblins totally deliver faster there, too.

It’s clean and pretty

Not only was it planned by an architect with an eye for appearances, magic keeps the streets clean 24/7.  Enough said.

L70ETC

None of your cities has a rock band in residence.  Silvermoon does. 

Quality cyborz

Because it must be mentioned…  When it comes time to settle down and engage in some romantic interlude with your sweetie, which do you prefer?  A quiet inn off the beaten track, sumptuously decorated and lovely?  Or Goldshire, a ratty, falling-down, decrepit and noisy place with dingy sheets and bedbugs?

Got any additions to the awesome?  Any alliance want to come take me down a peg and try to prove me wrong?

SYTYCB: 12 (or More!) Songs for a Musical Karazhan

crutch-post

This is Crutch’s SYTYCB week 2 entry.

Has raiding Karazhan become a weekly chore? Something you put up with just to get your 22 badges? Have you gotten to the point where your raid instructions for bosses are “Kill stuff heal stuff don’t suck”?

It sounds like you’re ready for Musical Karazhan!

To play Musical Karazhan, get a DJ (yourself, of course!) and nine other raiders into vent (or TS, or the communication program of your choice), but instead of using vent for raid instructions, you use it as a jukebox for the raid.

I recommend using fairly well known songs for trash, music that is either amusing or classic. You want to entertain your raiders as much as possible, after all. If you’d like, you can even take requests!

Most important, however, are the songs you use for bosses. And hey, what would I be doing here without giving you some recommendations?

(Warning: Some of the videos may be NSFW.)

image taken from www.armyofinbetween.com/images/films/ghostbusters.jpg
Opening Theme – Ghostbusters: Get yourself in the mood for some ghost slaying with a little movie classic… because, really… are you afraid of these ghosts?

MidnightTheme to Mr. Ed: I’ve always thought Midnight was the more… formidable opponent. The comparison of Wilbur to Attumen is just a bonus.

MoroesBe Our Guest: Moroes just wants to serve you dinner. Most people would prefer not to become undead first, though. I must admit, however, I always get just a little hungry during that part of the raid. All that tasty looking food on the tables… I think I’d better get myself a pizza.

Maiden of Virtue - Like a Virgin: Surrounded by all of those concubines and succubi, it’s hard to believe that Maiden is still virtuous. However, if she wants to be like a virgin, it’s fine with me.

Opera – Each event requires something a little different. (I can’t quite bring myself to wimp out and provide you only one song…)
Big Bad Wolf – Little Red Riding Hood: Because you’re everything a big bad wolf could want! aaooooooooooww…
Wizard of Oz – We’re off to see the Wizard: (Dark Side of the Rainbow might be a little obscure for most raiding audiences, hmm?)
Romeo and Juliet – #1 Crush: (Bonus points and cookies if you can get anyone to faint by remembering the movie…)

Nightbane - Through the Fire and Flames: You’re almost halfway through! Make sure to give your fellow raiders a bit of a pick-me-up. Although, you might warn them to turn down their speakers a little bit first…

Curator – Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto: We want to thank you, Curator, for giving us our first taste of tier sets all those months ago. Also for making our DPS feel mighty about those amazing crits during Evocate.

IllhoofThe Devil Went Down to Georgia (and there are other versions as well!)

Shade of Aran - Shade of Aran chant: Sometimes, you still have to give raid instruction. Thankfully, in this case, you get the raid instruction and the song at the same time! Of course, if the chant reminds you too much that you’re in Karazhan, you can always try another take on Flame Wreath…

Netherspite - I Swear I Saw a Dragon: With lion’s head and eyes of red, this dragon may be the hardest challenge in a musical Karazhan run. I recommend setting up assignments before you start the run.

Chess EventThe Story of Chess: Learn about why chess was invented, as you take down that cheating Medivh. Don’t cheat when you play actual chess later, cheaters never win! (I mean, just look at Medivh…)

PrinceStill Alive: Rub it in Prince’s face that, even after all of these bosses, you’re still alive. And when he’s dead you will be still alive. Well, at least as long as you don’t get bad infernals.

What songs would you add for Musical Karazhan? Perhaps you want to extend this to SSC/TK, or even MH/BT? Share with us your song ideas, so that all of our future Musical Raiding may be a triumph!

SYTYCB: Week 2 – The List

This week’s blog posting format, with some special dice rolling help from Anna, is the list post. It should be a little easier for the bloggers to do now compared to week 1 when I dropped the rant bomb on them. However, while it’s easier for them to produce something, I think it’s only going to get much more difficult for me to judge and critique them accordingly.

An excerpt from the EMail I sent out:

The list post is my baby. I don’t think I’d be far off from the truth if I said that it’s one of my signature style of posts ;). Again, like last week, you think up your topics and your points… I’m expecting top quality stuff here. You guys know who you’re up against and what everyone has to offer.

Examples of lists:
13 Things Every WoW Player Should Know How to Do
9 Traditional WoW Posts (with examples!)
11 Excuses: How to Tell the Real Life Professions of Your Healers
20 Characteristics of a Mature Guild Member
10+3 Personalities Every Guild Leader Needs Around

Note, I couldn’t think of any other lists that were off site off the top of my head so I poked around my archives.

Remember length doesn’t matter but you do want to provide enough to show that you’ve put some work into it instead of just randomly listing stuff. Think to yourself how you can not only list your points, but elaborate on them further.

In the critique post, I mentioned that you should look at different blogs and authors and find out what makes them so appealing to you and that you should try and emulate their style. Use their elements. Take that extra step. The rant post, while not the best week 1 post, helped demonstrate to me who’s a writer and who’s a blogger. The bar has gone up.

A successful list post provides just enough information but also leaves the option open for readers to comment and contribute, to agree and disagree, etc. Look at each other’s critique that Wyn and I wrote and see if there’s anything from there that you can apply.

Speaking of List Posts, I said that I had trouble scouring the WoW blogosphere for list posts. If you have any that you’ve written in the past that you’d like to share, please leave a comment with a link! I’d love to check them out and read (or re-read them) again!

3 more upcoming posts today at 6 AM, 10 AM, and 2 PM.

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 =).