Polar Bears: Episode I – Northrend’s Got Talents!

Now that my Warrior is hitting Naxx on a regular basis, is exalted with Hodir and has nearly all the goodies out of Heroic Instances that I had on his shopping list, I’ve been feeling the call of the wild, urging me to return to my Feral roots and level my Druid, Urago, who has been sitting idle in Shattrath City for many moons now. I wanted to be able to provide Bear Tank insights here anyway, and the best way to do that is to experience it first hand, right? So I’ve been hitting Howling Fjord the past couple of days, gathering Goldclover and killing Vrykul along with my Resto druid buddy Rivanu. So far we’ve not run into any major challenges with my AoE tanking abilities and his HoTs, we just keep hitting and healing until things sparkle. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with builds and here’s what I’ve finally landed on:

Urago’s Talent Build

I’ll go through each of my choices here as well…

BALANCE TREE: There’s really nothing beneficial for a Feral Druid to be found in here. Sorry Boomkins. Keep on dancin’ on those mailboxes though.

FERAL TREE (60 pts): Go figure, the bulk of your points are going to be spent in this tree, whether you go for more of a Bear build, a Cat build or even hybrid between the two (as I’ve half-heartedly tried to do, though I admittedly slant far more toward Bear.)

TIER 1

Ferocity (5/5): Maul, Swipe, Mangle. These are your 3 biggest weapons when tanking, particularly when tanking multiple targets. Saving 5 rage each is a huge benefit, especially while levelling. In an end-game tanking setting where you’re more likely facing infinite rage scenarios, I might not go this route. You also save energy on your Cat Mangle, which is great for DPS mode.

Feral Aggression (0/5): My standard build philosophy is Survivability > Rage Management, so why Ferocity over FA? I’m building for 5-man content mostly. If I ever raid, I might be more inclined to respec FA as given the 2 choices, FA clearly provides more survivability. But for my purposes, I would rather conserve Rage on my 3 most used abilities for the time being.

TIER 2

Feral Instinct (3/3): +30% Swipe Damage? Hellz yeah! AoE tank away baby.

Savage Fury (2/2): +20% Mangle Damage? Woot! Great for single target tanking OR DPS’ing, and combine w/ Berserk for AoE happiness. Mangle is our Shield Slam and we must give it love accordingly. You give a Warrior +20% to SS and they’ll wet themselves with glee.

Thick Hide (3/3): No-brainer. You don’t get block, you don’t get parry, you don’t get plate. Dodge, Armor and Health are all you have. Your armor multiplier no longer applies to bonus armor or rings/trinkets/etc. This is a bear-form must have.

TIER 3

Feral Swiftness (3/3): Remember what I just said about Dodge?

Survival Instincts (1/1): Bear Stand. Warriors are loaded with “OH S#1T!” buttons. We get one. Take it.

Sharpened Claws (3/3): Aside from being a prereq for a talent or two in tier 4 you might want, 6% added crit is great for threat and will be even greater for Mitigation (What? Yes!) if the current 3.1 PTR changes end up making the live 3.1 release.

TIER 4

Shredding Attacks (0/2) – Not so hot for Bear. If you’re wanting to specialize in Kitty DPS then by all means (but you’re on the wrong site, my fine feline friend.)

Predatory Strikes (3/3) YES PLEASE! It’s also nice when they make 1 must have talent a pre-req for an even better must have talent. I wish whoever created the Destrolock tree felt the same way (Soul Leech Fail!)

Primal Fury (0/2) OH! Controversy abounds! No Primal Fury? Well, like I said, my build priority is Survivability > Threat Gen > Rage mgmt. Sure it could be argued that Rage mgmt. and Threat Gen. go hand in hand, but I think I’ll get more bang for my buck out of where I spent these 2 points, which I’ll get to much much later.

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