Druid Tanking In Cataclysm: Roar for More!

Druids are very well known to do a variety of roles depending on the talent tree assigned by their player. They can turn into trees and do some wicked raid healing, they can turn into cats that do some nice physical DPS, then there’s the Moonkin or Boomkin (which isn’t a pleasant sight when dancing) for some massive magical DPS, and there’s the bear which we all know can take on the role of tanking. Though they are not particularly popular in the tanking department, they usually do a pretty good job in raids and dungeons.
Now that Cataclysm is just months away (we hope), what can we expect from our fearsome furry feral tanking friend as new abilities and stat systems are introduced in the game?
Druid tanks have a couple of changes that range from “huh” to “whoah!” It’s just a matter of how druid tanks utilize these abilities to their advantage.
Now we all know by now that most stats that we’ve become attuned to are being scraped out or being integrated to the main stats. Block Rating, Dodge Rating, Hit Rating and attack power are either down the sink hole or combined to the core stats such as Strength, Agility, Intelligence, and so on. This makes gearing pretty easy but a little mindless to most of the players.

Along with that, Bear druids will also have Rage Normalization just like the Warrior class. Rage Normalization standardizes the amount of Rage gained for every attack made or attack received. Bear tanks would have to rethink their strategy in pulling and maintaining aggro during an encounter.

A couple of abilities will also be added to the Druid in general, let’s check ‘em out and see if they’re useful for our Bear form:

Thrash (Level 81): Thrash deals damage and causes all targets within 10 yards to bleed every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. The intent here is to give bears another button to hit while tanking. Talents will affect the bleed, such as causing Swipe to deal more damage to bleeding targets. 5-second cooldown. 25 Rage.

Thrash is basically a filler for the Bear tanks to utilize coming from comments that Druid tanking has become less dynamic and boring. It’s a cool ability that gives the druid more abilities to grab aggro from a mob, especially during boss-encounters when adds spawn. However, the cost of 25 Rage can become a bit of a let-down considering Rage farming getting complicated. Some Druid tanks might consider other options rather using this Thrash (no pun intended. Lol).

Stampeding Roar (Level 83): The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown.

Pretty neat ability for the tank and the melees if they want to rush in the boss all at once, though it may cause trouble since the tank is still trying to establish threat. From the 3-minutes cooldown, it’s not as appealing as it looks in the beginning, but once you spend a talent point or two (we hope not), you’re free from the long CD. This ability is more PvP oriented but can still be of some use for PvE.

Wild Mushroom (Level 85): Grows a magical mushroom at the target location. After 4 seconds the mushroom becomes invisible. Enemies who cross the mushroom detonate it, causing it to deal area-of-effect damage, though its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. The druid can also choose to detonate the mushroom ahead of time. This is primarily a tool for the Balance druid, and there will be talents that play off of it. No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast.

Basically a DPS ability. It is possible to use it for threat generation, but doing so might pull unwanted adds. Better leave this ability to DPS experts.

In a nutshell, these abilities may be DPS-driven rather than a gift for the tanks, but again, it’s just a matter of how to use them.

The bear form of the druid will also be seeing their own unique Mastery Bonuses:

Damage Reduction: Pretty much a no-brainer here, but more details have yet to be released.

Vengeance: Similar to other tank classes, Vengeance is an ability that allows the tank to keep up with the DPS so as not to lose threat to high-DPS team members. Vengeance allows up to 10% increase in Attack Power and works once the tank receives damage from an opponent.

Savage Defense: Although there are no further information given by Blizzard, most likely it will be a buff that increases defense and allows the tank to do damage once they’ve been hit, a little more like the Thorn ability.

Druid tanks have a lot of changes in store for them come Cataclysm. The stat changes and Rage Normalization will definitely be something to think about when doing a pull and a rotation. Ability wise, we won’t be seeing much for our beloved bear tanks as they continue to become a lackluster for new players or new tanks. We have yet to see the Druid tanks step up to the plate and manage keep up with the other tank classes, especially the Paladin.


  1. Bombshell says:

    Bears are so getting the shaft in Cata =(

  2. monochromacer says:

    Yeah, too bad for them. :( Ever since ICC was out, I’ve only seen a few druids tank this. It’s always the Paladins that get the spotlight.

  3. I think Stampeding Roar is not meant for the pull. I think its meant for when melee need to switch target to an add for example. This would give them the speed to move and have less down time

  4. well since the changes in the latest patch, druid tanks seem to have a very hard time maintaining their aggro/threat on mobs, atm its not to bad on single targets and bosses but add tanking is just not even funny, hopefully as we level upto 85 things may get better for the lovely bears, but i wont hold my breath

  5. yes, mob tanking can be kind of a pain. the bears did get the shaft. the adjustment is a pain but once we get it down i think all will be ok. least… theres always hope.

  6. I don’t see any problems with Bear tanking in Cataclysm. To work it out, just stay positive and remember that it’s the DPS’ job to manage the threat.
    A tanks job is to have higher threat than the healer, which should be very easy, and to reduce the damage taken. To hold aggro in a multiple target pull without breaking Crowd Control abilities, mark one target with skull, maul it (DONT use the glyph of maul) and add a stack of Lacerate. Move on to the non-CCed targets and Lacerate them. Then back to the skull marked. Having all the DPS on the skull marked will make it alot easier to hold aggro.
    Im quoting davas comment:
    “druid tanks seem to have a very hard time maintaining their aggro/threat on mobs”
    This is wrong.
    The DPS will have a harder time not overaggroing. As I said, it’s the DPS job to manage aggro.

  7. @Nico-I’ve recently started on a druid tank, and it’s still in baby stages, level 25. You said not to use the maul glyph. If I’m not mistaken, that allows you to hit a second target for 50%. If that’s the one, it’s working out great for me. Why shouldn’t I use it?

    I agree with you on the DPS watching their aggro. As they say, if the tank dies, it’s the heals fault, if the healer dies, it’s the tank’s fault. If the DPS dies…it’s their own damn fault/who cares.

  8. i Dno what kind of bear tanks u are here..
    but i have no agrro/thret probloms overall on my bear tank …not even with multiple mobs Doe’snt matter if its in a raid or not ..
    and i dont se why pplz saying bear tanks are not as good as other classes .. seem to be doing just fine alongside of other tank ..
    what ive seen in the other hand is that death knights and paladins have probloms keeping aggro..

  9. only thing im wondering now is how much the dodge cap is..
    can’t seem to find anything useful about dodge for druids in cataclysm..

  10. Bearcattree says:

    same i cant find anywhere how much dodge.
    and i have no prob holding aggro half the time i dont even have to cc with the groups im in i can pull 2 groups of trash and if dps lets me get aggro fro a sec i never lose it

  11. Anonymous says:

    Iv found that as a bear tank in cata the only problem iv had is establishing threat with everyone pulling 15-25k in 25 man raids right off the bat. w/ misdirectes and such i would recomend keeping omen up and watching it carefully for burst threat inc from the dps.