Hello. I am going to be performing an experiment.
As luck would have it, this experiment involves playing a lot of World of Warcraft and writing about it. (Nothing strenuous here, no sir, not from me.) Specifically it involves playing a druid (spec’d Feral to tank) and leveling him through the Dungeon Finder.
Why, you may ask?
A number of reasons: I love bears. I really do. As a tanking class, I love the fierceness of tanking with no heavy plate armor, no shield, no gleaming swords: only your claws, your powerful bite, and your thick fur stand between the hulking boss before you and your squishy friends. You growl, they listen. Your roar intimidates even the greatest of dragons. From your claws drip destruction: a fury more righteous than any paladin, more bestial than any warrior, more blood-caked than any death knight. You are, singularly, the Tank. Your body is your weapon, and you wield it with extreme mastery. (I just got chills, guys, feel my arms.)
But there exists a problem greater than any one person’s love for a class/spec: bears are damn hard to tank as while leveling. Our AE is very silly until we get Thrash at 81 (limited to tab-targeting on a level no other tank has to deal with), our defense is paper-thin until we get our critical dodge talents around the 30th/50th level, and our fundamental “tanking buttons” (Frenzied Regeneration, Barkskin, Survival Instincts, etc.) do not come into play until very high levels. Up until these three things are remedied, tanking on a bear can be hard, requiring more attentiveness and a sharp eye to keep threat on more than three targets. The learning curve is far too high for newer players, in essence.
So… exactly how hard is it to bear tank at a low-level? As much as I can guess, I don’t know. That’s why I’m starting this experiment, to see how far the ball has been dropped on low-level bear tanking or to see how out of proportion the experience has been made into.
I’m starting a new druid, no heirlooms, no gold, no powerleveling, on my home server, Earthen Ring-US. (Edit: Pazdingo has been made.)
CRITICAL FINAL NOTE: There won’t be anything brain-wrenchingly new on this blog, or even anything remotely new. Everything I say, have said, or will say has been done before by people smarter than I am, with degrees in World of Warcraft Theorycraft. If you’re looking for in-depth analysis on bears, tanking “rotations” or stat priorities, or anything hereby deemed Smart, I encourage you to check elsewhere. All I can give is my impressions of mechanics, encounters, and tanking tips. Someday soon I will compile a list of blogs/resources that know far more about bear tanking than I do, with the hopes that anyone searching online can find what they are looking for.
Thank you, and welcome to Tusks&All!