Recommended Requirements for Naxxramas (Normal and Heroic)

Recommended Requirements for Naxxramas (Normal and Heroic)

Your requests have been heard and I am here to deliver. I’ve received repeated emails for minimum Naxx requirements for both 10s and 25s. Unlike the Kara or ZA guides I wrote, this one will be much more brief. I won’t be able to give precise numbers for stats or anything like before due to radical buff changes in raiding. I spent a lot of time writing, re-writing and scrapping this post repeatedly because it’s extremely difficult to pen this. Here’s what you should shoot for.

Before you even read the numbers, you should consult Anna’s blog: Am I Ready to Heal Naxx?

Note: These numbers are good for both Naxx 10 and 25.

Note 2: Your mileage may very. Experiment with different raid combinations to find out what works best.

Tanks

Health: 25000 unbuffed
Defense: 540 (Crit immunity)

Note: Druids will have a higher health pool. 30000 health is a good number to aim for.

Melee DPS

Hit: 9%
DPS output on average: 2000 DPS

Obviously the more the merrier.

Caster DPS

Hit: 17%
DPS output on average: 2000 DPS

Note: Both percentages assume you are completely naked and lacking in hit-increasing buffs. You can find your hit percentage by mousing over the hit rating on your character screen.

Healers

Spellpower: 1550
Mana regeneration: 700 (is what I was able to get away with)

Paladins mana regeneration: around 200 with 25% crit is a good start

Shamans may have slightly lower mana regen.

Treat these as guidelines! Use your discretion. If you can handle a few heroics under your belt, then you’re ready to give Naxx a shot! Don’t expect to be killing Kel’Thuzad or anything right away. Know your limits.

Prayer of Mending Generates Threat for Priest (Same with LB, Earth Shield)

Yeah, you read that right. Threat is now being slightly changed. As it stands right now, Prayer of Mending when activated generates threat for the player it is on. This change now means that every time we cast Prayer of Mending and it activates, threat is generated for us.

The same effect applies to Lifebloom and Earth Shield for their respective classes. Wonder what the Paladin equivalent is.

Source: This blue post

PS, the life of a blogger. One window open on an RSS feed for blue posts, one open in GMail for contacts, one open in Twitter for breaking news and one on course notes for my exam Monday :(.

EDIT: And one messenger window open for my favorite enhancement shammy to fast track me interesting stuff!

20 Questions with Veneretio (tankingtips.com)

Whenever the Zul’Aman gong has been banged, Matt gets a chance to sit down with a WoW Blogger chosen this week by his Sinister Squashling. Find out a little more about your favourite bloggers as he tries to get to know them a little more!

This week, Veneretio of Tanking Tips lowers his shield long enough for him to answer a few questions.

I didn’t know your blog until a few months ago. I tried to find an about page but I couldn’t! Willing to tellus us a bit more about the blogger behind Tanking Tips?

Well I guess it’d make for a boring 20 questions if I didn’t ;) [Editor's note: I clearly fail at getting my point and intent across. Oh well. Next time!].

What motivated and jumpstarted you to blog?

What most people probably don’t know is that I started blogging about 4 years ago. I’d say I first was motivated to blog just because I wanted to make a high traffic website and I tried every avenue possible from blogging to running a forum to contests to articles to polls to well you name it. I later found out that just blogging about one’s life wasn’t terribly interesting. And by later I mean 2 years later I found out… >.< Fortunately that taught me a lot of valuable lessons about blogging in general though and it’s why I’ve been able to approach my tanking blog in a professional manner from day 1.

What jump started TankingTips.com can be accredited to leaving my 2nd guild in 3 months. Basically, I knew in leaving that I was about to lose all the discussion surrounding everything I’d wrote in the guild forums for the 2nd time in 3 months. A prospect I wasn’t very happy about to say the least. The motivation came from missing blogging and really enjoying over analyzing every little detail of tanking. I’d read and re-read the works of everything from Ciderhelm and Wanderlei to Satrina and Berginyon. I wanted to create my own tanking reference something that wasn’t going to disappear on me in a few months. (I’m still in the guild I left to upon the creation of TankingTips.com well over a year later)

I notice you play an Orc Warrior (Ew, an Orc!). Why that instead of another tanking class?

Simply put when testing out the toons, I fell in love with Charge at level 4 on my Warrior. As to why I chose an Orc, it was because they looked the coolest and felt the most like a Warrior. As to race, Horde was the only option. Something about playing a fantasy game then being a human never really sat well with me. Not to mention having to see annoying Gnomes, grumpy Dwarves and hot Night Elves all the time would have been a little more than I could take. Ah… then again maybe I could have handled it.

What’s a typical WoW raid night like for you?

Log onto WoW and jump on Ventrilo an hour before raid invites start. Invite the chick that does the healer invites half an hour before raid invites start. Convert the group to a raid. Remember to set the instance to Normal so she doesn’t yell at me. Remember to give her assist so she doesn’t yell at me. Remember to set it to Master Looter so that… well you get the picture. 15 minutes before the raid, start doing pre-invites (ie. the people that I know are coming) and start arguing with Miss Inviter of all Healers except Paladins that we need to get a 2nd paladin into the raid somehow for another round of buffs. This is also the time in which she’ll bring up any and all matters of extreme guild importance that are impossible to discuss in 15 minutes especially while doing invites. 8 minutes before the raid everyone else brings up any and all matters that they think are of extreme guild importance. 5 minutes before the raid the 10 people I wanted to invite 10 minutes ago log on so they aren’t late for the raid.

Raid invites officially open and I’m bombarded with tells. The first wave is easy which really means I’m still inviting people I should have invited 15 minutes ago. I hop channels with Miss anti-Pally buff and Doctor DPS and we start hashing out who the final slots should go to. The conversation basically goes something like this:

Miss AP: I’m taking this person and this person because I need 9 healers.
Me: You can have 7.
Miss AP: 8.
Me: 7 + a Prot Pally
Miss AP: Deal.
*Raid successfully acquires 2nd Paladin Buff*
Me: Any opinions on who else we should bring Doctor DPS?
DD: What? No, whatever. I’m talking to a chick on AIM atm leave me alone.
Miss AP: We need more warlocks.
Me: We already have 3.
Miss AP: I know, we need more.
Me: I’m inviting another rogue.
Miss AP: I’m leaving the raid.
Me: We’ll just heal it with 6 + a Prot Pally I guess.
*Raid successfully fills all Melee Slots*
Me: Okay, so-and-so’s Brother wants to come and so does Guild Member X that’s never raided but been in the guild for 4 years and I don’t have room for either.
Miss AP: Are they Warlocks?
Me: No.
Miss AP: Hmm… do they have the gear?
Me: Everyone has the gear, Blizzard handed everyone the gear. They just have to do like 4 heroics and they’ve got the same gear we had 2 weeks ago.
Miss AP: You sure there aren’t any more Warlocks around?
Me: I’m flipping a coin.
*Flips*
Me: Okay, it’s Ancient Guild Member X
*Checks Armory and notices he doesn’t have the gear*
Me: Uh… we probably should take the Brother. I think he could be a valuable asset in the future.
*Checks Armory and notices he doesn’t have the gear either…*
Me: Then again maybe I should just invite another Warlock.
Miss AP: I knew you’d see it my way.
DD: Huh? Can I bring my rogue yet?
Me & Miss AP: No!

…and somehow this happens everytime taking about 15 to 20 minutes ending with a full raid and plenty of time to spare so that we pull early. (We grant 30 minutes for invites) The raid lasts 2 and a half hours. I start it off by insulting the healers (especially resto-druids for their inability to rez), the rogues, the hunters and women in general. I spend the entire raid thinking of quick replies to shots directed at me because I don’t do something exactly how TankingTips.com says or because I’ve said something “Canadian” all the while desperately trying to hold off over-aggroing Warlocks to the chorus of “Your threat is not fine”. I deflect the banter by giving away Miss AP’s gold, forcing Shadow Priests to pay the raid when they die and of course, making fun of the healers, rogues, hunters and women. Somehow this plus consistent, steady progression fits into every raid night with us usually accomplishing more than we expected and ending early.

What direction do you intend to take your blog to?

I want it to become a stronger reference site while also maintaining the blog aspect of it. It’ll get a new design for WotLK and if I’m really ambitious a 2nd design that you can turn on when you’re at work. (I’ll call it TankLite or something along that lines, it’ll have less branding and load faster and maybe even look like you’re actually doing your job lol) Don’t think it escapes me that traffic is highest weekdays during working hours ;) Overall though, I’m pretty happy with how things are and I’ll be maintaining my strict focus on Warrior Tanking. The podcasts will continue, you’ll probably see a few more slideshows and possibly even the emergence of video content. I’d like to delve into UIs since it’s a completely untapped area for the site and perhaps if I’m really ambitious look into creating an add-on or two. Finally, I’ll continue to watch out for a guest blogger or two especially if I can find one that’s a more involved raider than myself and you’ll eventually actually hear a 2nd voice on the TankingTips.com podcast.

Let’s talk about Wrath. Be honest. What excites you and what disappoints you?

Threat and damage scaling more aggressively with tanking gear is going to be amazing. I’m looking forward to the day that I out dps everyone in a heroic while wearing my conventional tanking gear. The ability to easily AOE tank content that I outgear is very enticing too and I think it is really going to push Warriors to do 5 mans a lot more than they do now. (A step towards the end of raid-only warriors I hope) To be more specific, I get excited a lot just by reading the play by play. Loading up mmo-champion.com every day and just seeing what’s new be it for Warriors or not. In particular, I’m really looking forward to even bigger Shield Slam crits and the fact that I’m going to crit a whole lot more often than I used to. Shockwave looks great, Weapon Throw looks astounding and I can’t help but hope that perhaps with In combat charge than maybe just maybe we’ll see some viable Prot PvP.

The disappointment only comes from parts of the WoW community. There’s a minority of people that just hate everything and it’s really a downer. We get a nerf, they complain. We get a buff, they complain. Most people can’t really put their finger on it, but if they really looked closely at my blog, it’s very rarely negative. (and when it is, it’s almost always in jest) The game is suppose to be fun, entertaining and motivating. For me that extends even to the discussion of it. I’ll always be the guy saying, “Okay, this is what we got, what are we going to do with it?” So for me what’s disappointing is the people that just aren’t giving Blizzard a chance.

Some would say there is a special relationship between a tank and the healer (or a healer and the tank). Fact or fiction?

I’d have to say fact. It’s not by pure accident that I do 95% of my runs with the same healer. It’s also not by accident that I tease the healers in raids the most and always try my best to make them feel good. (haha, somehow those are the same) While tanks don’t have to trust nor respect their healers, I can guarantee when they do and it’s returned in kind that what’s accomplished is far greater than the opposite despite superior strategy, gear and skill. In general though, we’re kinda forced to like your frail kind since our life is in your hands from a very early point in the game. Be it raiding or even PvP, we have to rely on healers and as a result, we naturally create stronger relationships with them.

When it comes to raiding, I feel like that’s where the tank/healer relationship really starts to solidify. While the dpsers are just watching the numbers go up and tracking personal performance against the next guy, Tanks and Healers are actually helping each other’s performances rather than competing.

Do you know where Elvis is?
On the Twisting Nether realm, he is so difficult to accurately located because he is, in fact, 2 entities not 1. They go by the alias’ Commandant and Dalrem. I’ve never talked to them, but reports indicate that Elvis’ Commandant entity is the bigger loser of the two.

If you could change (or add) something to your class, what would it be and why?
Mana Bandages. I want freakin’ Mana Bandages already. I really want everyone to have them, but if I have to change my class, give me those things. Somehow, someway. I hate waiting. Also, I’d like all food to be twice as effective for Warriors.

Let’s say I wanted to start tanking as a Warrior as a fresh 70. What are some of the things I have to do first ( in a nutshell?)

Read my entire website.

Seriously though, you’d need to have a mic and not be afraid to talk on ventrilo. You have to be able to mark targets. Mostly, you’ve just gotta experience it. Tank 5 mans, a lot. This really is something that needs to start far, far prior to 70 though. Sunken Temple especially should require Warrior’s to tank it before even being able to continue leveling. Finally, you’ve gotta get ready for being called a noob, a lot. Do your research and stick to what you’ve read and keep doing it. Sometimes when you get called a noob, you really are one… sometimes you’re not. Either way, you’re learning.

Overall, good tanks have natural leadership qualities and are able to focus constantly on the task at hand. You can screw up a lot of aspects of tanking if you’ve got those things in your favour from the get go.

Speed questions

When not WoWing, you:

Blog, Work, Watch tons of Movies, Party when I can, Golf on occasion

Favourite beverage of choice when playing WoW
Coke

Tanking is like:

Being the general

Favourite movie

The Matrix, Transformers or whatever is really cool and I just saw in theatres.

Tanking music you recommend:

None, it makes me harder to hear when I’m talking.

Jessica Alba or Jessica Biel?

Alba obviously even if she can’t act.

Most OP tanking class:
Warriors, the way it should be. ;)

Nerf:
Rogues.

Top 5 blogs/sites (doesn’t have to be WoW related)
www.tankspot.com
www.mmo-champion.com
www.smashingmagazine.com
gmail.google.com
www.netvibes.com

Can’t play WoW without my:
Ventrilo

Shoutouts to:
Ibex especially Sioux and Speidel who put up with me the most. Not to mention Rungo and Eclectic that I talk with more now in-game than I do IRL.

Kavtor ala E X A L T E D for being the unofficial co-writer of TankingTips.com
Ciderhelm, the hardest working website owner I know.

My readers, that I fondly like to call “The Comment Community”, they’ve made the site a success. I just tell them what to talk about.

The Tank Bloggers!!!

Thanks again to Veneretio for participating this week! Don’t forget to subscribe to his blog!

7+2 Healing Haikus – Keep Your Tanks Alive Through the Power of Poetry

I can’t exactly remember what inspired me about a Haiku. I was reading up a little bit about Zen. The original idea was me emailing out various healing bloggers for quick one liners on healing tips and lessons for their class.

But then I decided what the heck? Let’s make them work a little bit. How about we convert that wisdom into some haikus for our readers?

MK of dwarfpriest.com

In vanilla WoW
Priests topped the healing. But now?
Out healed by shaman

Kestrel of Kestrel’s Aerie

A frisbee alights
Like the wind it moves again
Joy–the boss is down.

Zerei of Blood Paladin

If you’re deciding
between this upgrade and that,
balance is the key!

Lady Jess of Lady Jess

Zing tank in the head
Renew steadily ticking
Greater heal not flash

Softi of Softthistle’s Spot

H-O-T’s, gotta love
Em. Lifebloom times three and
Rejuv saves my butt!

My own contribution

Your tank is dying
When renew is not enough
Spam flash heal you must

Leafy of Leafshine

Leafshine stacking heals
Always keeping Rejuv up
Or the tank go splat

Kirk of Priestly Endeavors

**Kirk wrote an excellent masterpiece. I’ll post a snippet here.**

Flashes and tones as candles burn
unacceptable green spreads

Past horses and grooms
Ancient love in need redeemed
Weren’t you on main tank?

Read the rest

A special thanks to the contributors =). Feel free to comment with some of your own!

Edit: Here’s one more that I forgot :(

Siha of Banana Shoulders

For your safety, mage
Do not pull agro again
- BoP is on cooldown.

Healers Spill: White Lies we Tell Tanks All the Time

Wiping sucks. It’s going to happen to any Guild of any size at any point. But there are good wipes and then there are bad wipes. I’ve caused my share of bad wipes (but not in my current Guild, obviously, because I know some of them read my blog). Tanks are delicate creatures and have to be treated in a certain way. Even though some tanks might be shall we say aggro challenged, it is better if we merely nod and admit fault even though it isn’t really ours so that the run can be finished. I’ve seen tanks get emo when their ability is questioned and leave the group hanging. Then the group spends a good hour in LFG trying to find a tank to finish out Heroic Slave Pens. Sheesh!

Anyways, I know I’m safe because I don’t think a lot of tanks read my blog (I think).

“Sorry, lag”

It happens sometimes. Our connections do hiccup and we go offline. As healers, we often blame our ISP. Every so often, it isn’t the ISPs fault. You see, there’s this new file sharing technology called bittorrent that we as healers might have forgotten to turn off…

“It’s not you, it’s me”

The tank happens to take about 18000 damage within a space of 2 seconds. There’s nothing we can do about it. 2 seconds is enough time for 1 spell. Sometimes we just can’t keep up with the damage with 1 healer. You just absorb so much punishment that you NEED 2 extra bodies to keep you alive and going. There’s no way around it. On the other hand, maybe I forgot to use my max rank heals.

“It happens to a lot of tanks”

Tanks are used to dying you say? Well, yeah. All tanks are used to it. They’ve died many times and they’ve got the durability loss to prove it. So what if you died? It’s no big deal. Nos Staminitus is a common affliction that affects many tanks. But don’t worry, there’s a special cure. There’s tons of consumables in the markets designed to help get you up. Er, your health that that is.

“Oh your gear is fine”

You look great! Honest! Even though you can’t seem to withstand several crits or crushings in a row, at least your armor is all shiny and stuff! I guess I’ll have to actually work up a sweat to keep you alive.

“You’re the best tank ever!”

I’ve had to say this on more then one occasion. I swear, some tanks seem to have the largest egos in the world. I guess it’s because they’re needed so often. There are some players in the world who have top end gear and top end weapons. But holy cow they just can’t seem to deliver! And I’m not talking about Taurens, either!

Have you ever lied to your tank? Or even your raid/party? Why and what was the situation?

Special thanks to Trackhoof and others who requested to remain anonymous for their input

Structuring Your Casual Raiding Guild

King and his Pawns

A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to read Karthis’ post on Building a Raiding Guild. In it, he posed several excellent points:

  • Progression Results
  • Leadership Restructuring
  • Smart Recruiting
  • Identifying and Assisting Underachievers
  • Accountability of the Raid
  • “Pat on the backs”
  • Separation of Raiders and Non-Raiders

The other day, an ingame friend of mine asked me to help him create the blueprint of a raiding guild from top to bottom identifying positions and the like. I figured my current Guild model would be a good one to use along with an explanation of each role both within the Guild and within the Raid.

Gnometastic posted a request for input about diving into the T5 instances which I will also address at the bottom of today’s (long ass) piece.

The first thing I will stress to any casual raiding guild is the following: Drop the casualness. The moment you decide to step foot in you T5 instances, you are an official raiding Guild.

What IS casual

From my various experiences and chats with other guilds, casual to THEM means:

    Not reading up on strategy before hand
    Not listening to the raid leader
    Not paying attention or having any kind of situational awareness

And they wonder why they have such a hard time in SSC and TK.

This is what casual means to me

    Not spending more than 6 hours a night raiding
    Not spending more than 3 days raiding
    Not being stupid while having fun

1 definition describes a guild that is struggling night after night in T5 instances and wonders what they have problems. The other is having a blast exploring Mount Hyjal and Black Temple.

Guild Positions

Here’s the framework of our Guild:

Guild Leader

We only have 1. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. The ultimate decision rests on him. Any hard calls are his to make. We are not tied down or restricted in any kind of way. Your Guild Leader should be rational, intelligent, and must actually have a pair.

I’ve seen a lot of paper tiger Guild Leaders who were not willing to stand up for themselves and their Guild. Everytime someone made a request, they would immediately bend over backwards to accommodate them. The way I see it, if you’re not willing enough to say no to someone in your Guild, you are not fit to lead. I wrote more about Leadership earlier in the school year. Any aspiring GMs, I encourage you to read it.

Your Guild Leader obviously cannot run the show alone. But he must be willing to listen to opinion of his officers and guildies. The guild in turn must respect the decision he comes to. If they don’t like it, they’re free to hit free agency.

Don’t run a CO-GM kind of deal. In my experience, I’ve found that it rarely works well. When 1 GM puts their foot down, the other may not be as firm. In fact, the 2nd GM might even reverse the first GM’s decision. You cannot that kind of instability in a Guild.

Officers

If you read Kestrel’s interview the other day, then you can see his best advice to any GM is one simple fact:

    You can’t do it all.

These are players that people can turn to for help. There isn’t really much for them to do. They could assist in various day to day guild affairs. Honestly, whoever you put in these positions depends primarily on what your Guild Leader lacks.

If he lacks time and organizational skills, he can delegate an officer to help him set raid schedules.

If he’s lacking people skills, delegate a recruiting officer or 2 to help find some raiders and personnel.

What they do isn’t important.

The bottom line is that these are individuals that your Guild leader can trust and depend on. There is no perfect set of criteria that can define who is eligible to be an officer and who isn’t.

Raid Structure

Here’s the real meat and potatoes. I think our raid structure is a pretty damn efficient model.

Raid Leaders

Note the plural. We have 2 raid leaders who feed off of each other because it’s impossible for 1 person to track everything going off simultaneously. It’s nice to have another leader around to call out something the other might miss.

In addition, it helps reduces burnout on 1 person. We have 1 person research and call the play for 1 boss. We have the other raid leader research and call the play for another boss. For example, our GM doubles as a raid leader (let’s call him Bob). He calls the play for Lurker, Fathom Lord, Tidewalker, and Al’ar. The other raid leader (let’s call him Fred) calls the plays for Vashj, Kael, and Leotheras.

During trash pulls, they light up the marks on the various mobs. They call for what it is that they want to happen. They might want a sheep on square, a misdirect on skull, or a trap on circle. They don’t care who does it as long as it’s done.

They have delegated duties down the chain of command.

Mage Leader

The job here for the mage leader is to set up and organize sheeps, plain and simple. If Bob calls for a sheep, the mage leader picks a mage within the raid and tells them to sheep that target. There’s going to be pulls where there could be 6+ mobs involved and keeping track of sheeps can be difficult. It’s the job for the mage to know who sheeps what when. It’s also the job for this mage to be able to “oh shit sheep” a mob incase 1 of the other mages fall.

Set up a mage channel.

Hunter Leader

Typically, our raiding arsenal includes 2 Hunters. They’re usually good about working out misdirects and traps amongst themselves. If you have more then that, it might be valuable to set up a go-to hunter to work out which mob or boss gets misdirected to who by which hunter so that there are no overlaps. Our Hunters usually interact with the mage leader in case they run out of mages to CC with.

Hunters: The Plan B.

Heal Leader

We like to dub ours “Gold Leader”. We even have our own healing channel. His purpose is pretty obvious and straight forward. He assigns the rest of the healers their targets. He’s intelligent enough to reassign or switch people around if it’s necessary.

For the love of god, if you’re a healer, ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ASSIGNMENT. Echo back to him who you’re healing so that he knows there is no confusion!

Other Things to Know

I’m going to make a comment directed to Gnometastic in particular to all of his main points that he wanted to know more about.

Main Tanks

Carnage runs 1 Main Tank and 1 Off tank. The MT is a Warrior and the OT is a Druid. We also run 2 DPS Warriors who can slap a shield on and help with any extra parts of an encounter. We also have a Holy Paladin who’s willing to go Prot and vice versa as we need depending on the encounter.

Speccing into Raiding

As quoted by gnometastic:

I believe in freedom of choice and as long as you can play it you should be able to (within reason) spec it.

Normally, I’m inclined to agree. But this must be balanced by asking the following question:

    How badly you want to progress?

The 2 DPS warriors I mentioned above? They are willing to respec prot if the encounter requires it or there is simply too much healing required. Both of them respecced prot to allow healers an easier time during Kael.

On the flip side, if I were asked to do something like respec to Shadow, I would not. I’ve never played or levelled as Shadow. I wouldn’t know what to do. I would gimp the raid even further. I have no objections to sitting out a night in favor of another Shadow Priest.

If I were to become benched for the remainder of my time, then nothing stops me from parting company on good terms. I’m sure there are Guilds out there looking for a veteran healer.

Looting System

Hmm, it’s a toughie. It depends primarily on the Guild. Guilds have to start being strategic with their loot at some point. No matter what system is used, always ensure that Officer discretion can come into play at some point.

Carnage had the past policy of awarding MT priority on loot. That is, if it’s a substantial and noticeable upgrade for the tank, he gets first option no matter what his DKP is. If you think the MT might abuse that privilege, then I say to you to go find yourself a new MT.

There was a situation the past where a Defender token dropped. It would have been a marginal upgrade at best for the MT, but the 2 piece set bonus would have been a huge boon for the Priest. It was lobbied quite hard by our healer lead to have the MT policy revised to keep things like this in mind.

PvP vs PvE Gear

I made a quick note about this a while ago as a response to a reader. Before I believe that PvP Gear could not subsitute for raiding. Now I believe that there are different factors to take into account when deciding this.

    Raid Encounter
    Which season of gear

Although I still would not suggest raiding with full on Season 3 gear, I am open to the idea of substituting a a piece of gear or 2 depending on how the fights are. The Vindicator’s bracer would hands down blow away any kind of bracer that Attumen drops.

In any case, the gear choice isn’t that different for DPS classes I don’t think. But as a healer, I would value PvE gear way more then PvP gear.

By the way, be hit capped before worrying too much about spell damage and crit. That’s what my colleagues tell me and if you think about it, it does make sense. After all, what is the point of having insane spell damage if your spells get resists half the time?

Attendance and Raid Breakdown

From my experience with certain DKP systems, I’ve discovered that you can also apply a certain decay rate over DKP via a simple formula. For example, DKP earned x percentage of raids showed up to over the past 60 days.

Raider A has 100 DKP but his attendance has slackened to 30% attendance to real life factors. His effective DKP is now 30.
Raider B is new to the Guild and has 30 DKP so far but has been to 100% of the raids. He doesn’t have a penalty applied since he has showed up to all of them.

Here’s the standard Carnage configuration that we bring:

4 Tanks

  • 3 Warriors (2 of which can be DPS)
  • 1 Feral Druid (OT)

14 DPS

  • 2 Hunters (BM, I think)
  • 4 Mages
  • 3 Warlocks
  • 1 Shadow Priest
  • 1 Enhancement Shaman
  • 2 Rogues
  • We keep an extra Rogue, Shadow Priest, Elemental Shaman, and Hunter on standby depending on what we need more of.

7 Healers

  • 2 Holy Priests (1 with Imp. DS and 1 with CoH)
  • 3 Holy Paladins
  • 1 Resto Druid
  • 1 Resto Shaman
  • We keep an extra Paladin around in case he is needed.

For Voidreaver, Gnome, bring a Resto Shaman or 3. It makes the other healer classes kind of moot. I always wonder what I’m doing there when we do Voidreaver.

In terms of attendance, we do it inversely. If you can’t show up you make a note on the forums in advance. That gives the Raid leaders time to go scramble a replacement instead of having to do it last minute. We build the raid out of whoever is there with the core members. They are the ones that usually show up 9.9 times out of 10. I think I’ve only ever missed 2 official raids ever since I signed with Carnage back in May. The guys that should be raiding are the ones that want to raid and are willing to make the dedication for it.

We also don’t switch our MT/OT combinations. The MT is made the same no matter what. However, there are certain encounters where a Bear tank is better suited then a Warrior tank (Leo).

Class Balance

It honestly depends on the boss and the instance. We like to bring in 7 AoE. It makes killing things that much faster.

In the end, it does come down to how serious and committed you are. I think 20 hours a week is a bit much. Attrition will take it’s toll sooner or later. I know some successful raiding Guilds going at 6 hours a week. We clock in about 12 hours of 25 mans plus an additional 6 hours of optional 10 mans if we want.

This piece is probably one of the longer ones I’ve written. I probably should have broken it up and divided it. At the least, I would have had material for 3 days worth of posts. But you’re always welcome to bookmark and come back to it at a later time. I’m hoping the experiences I’ve had can benefit you in some way.

I’m kind of curious as to the experiences of other raiding readers. How is your guild set up in terms of class balance and leadership? Is there only 1 individual leading the entire raid including direction sheeps, heals, and so forth (Bless him)? Have you had any success with other styles of leadership?

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 =).