Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane + Barkskin = Druid AoE Tanking

So, my fangirl squeal the other day was due to BBB answering a question I had on the proper use of Hurricane for a druid tank.

I've read somewhere, probably on a BBB post or article somewhere, about the use of hurricane. The very few times I've run with another druid tank, I've seen them use hurricane. In very specific situations, true, but it was used.
Healers need to be prepared when a bear does this, because instead of lots and lots of health and lots and lots of armor, I have baby health and pitiful armor. Still uncrittable, but still taking more damage than they are used to! Granted, 20% less than otherwise due to barksin, but still more.

However, the benefits of Hurricane outweigh the negative of additional healer stress! At least in my opinion and the opinion of other bear tanks who use this method for threat generation.

Now, my take on Hurricane with nonelites is to use it until Barkskin runs out then shift to bear form (with the caveat that I have a hand hovering over the bear button in case the healers start to fall behind for some reason). This way I get the most out of my spell and barkskin. Bears don't have threat mitigation (especially not for their spells!), so this is a really nice way to get a lot of threat on a lot of mobs all at once and unless we have Uber-Lock or Insane-Mage in the group, even once the DPS open up, they tend to STAY on the tank. It may not do a ton of damage, but it gets the threat and that's what is important.

When a bear tank is AoE tanking without the use of hurricane (like say in a 3 or 4 elite situation...)... it's a lesson in swiftly targetting things, knowing what to hit to build the highest threat, and how to keep everything on you instead of the healer, and how to keep the current 'kill target' on you when all your DPS are throwing the kitchen sink at it. And often, with the eager beavers that all DPS are (MUST OUT DPS EVERYTHING!), you'll lose the main target when it's barely halfway dead. And the choice becomes - can the DPS kill it before it kills them and I don't have to go pick it back up, or do I need to go save their asses?

Me being me, I'll often let it go and start sinking threat on the second mob. Hey... if you want the aggro, you better be able to take the hit or kill it before it hits you. It's the strategy I use when I'm warlocking! If I don't want the aggro, I watch Omen. If it isn't important, I just have fun. And take my lumps if I die.

AoE Bear tanking is fun, exhilirating and a massive headache!

Now to quote my email!

"Remember, the key reason a bear tank uses Barkskin/Hurricane is to generate threat on many multiple mobs to enable other classes to DPS/AOE without pulling aggro to them, especially healers. As such, you will be taking hits from all affected mobs, so it pays to use it only on non-elite groups.

As an aside, I have used it on 4-pull elites myself to generate initial threat, and was kept alive by a very good healer, but I was the only person doing AOE, and as soon as I shifted to bear one add was trapped, so it can be done, but BOY do you have to watch your health.

Having all your Druids do it just after you, especially Moonkins, also helps prevent squishie healers from pulling aggro and dying. Moonkins have some truly awesome tanking power, much better if they be the ones to inadvertantly pull aggro.

So get a jump on damage, make sure your other healers and DPS let you get a jump on generating the threat before they unload on 'em, and be prepared to shift to bear and Swipe, Swipe, Swipe as soon as your Hurricane runs out." -- BBB

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