Oct 272010

Since the 4.0.1 patch, many ferals have reported an issue with what I’m referring to as “intermediate threat.” Unlike pre-patch, where threat issues were either on the pull (tank missed, I didn’t, oops I’m dead) or late into the fight (sustained DPS > sustained tank TPS), we’re having an issue around 30-45s in. Why? Couple reasons:

  • Tricks of the Trade / Misdirection no longer giving permanent threat (fades after 30s). This is the biggie, as threat meters are not accounting for this drop. Your average raid has 3-4 rogues/hunters, and they’ve been well-trained to use TotT/MD on the pull. Everything looks good, you give the tank a few seconds, then open up full blast, no issues…and you zoom from 80% threat to 110% threat at 30s in (when all those TotT/MD’s expire simultaneously) and go splat.¬† If you’re fast, you can run out of melee range/Shadowmeld (NE’s) to save yourself, but your mileage may vary.
  • Vengeance issues. Vengeance is pretty complicated in how it works, but it essentially gives tanks more attack power (thus more DPS, thus more TPS) as they tank damage. Unfortunately, it takes time to stack, and it starts to decay far too quickly. Combine this with a tank’s very high avoidance at level 80 (50%+), and vengeance is likely not well-stacked when it’s needed.. Unfortunately, vengeance can increase a tank’s DPS/TPS by as much as 50%, so swingy is bad. Very bad. (For what it’s worth, I think the concept of vengeance was good, but the implementation has been horrible. It’s supposed to be somewhat “optional,” but now tank threat is too weak when it’s low (heroics/lower tier raids, offtanking) and too strong when it’s high. I’ve seen parses from lvl 85 boss fights on beta where the tank finishes first on DPS.)

Solutions (for cats):

  • Save Berserk. We’re used to hitting Berserk ASAP so we can use it again sooner, but that’s not going to do you a whole lot of good. I’d recommend waiting until after your second’s Tiger’s Fury (so 30s delay). As always, a pro move is to figure out the estimated fight duration; if you know you usually down, say, BQL or Festergut in 4m 30s, then using it at 30s and 3m 30s isn’t any loss over using it at 5s and 3m 5s.
  • Preemptive Cower. While initial cowers are somewhat ineffective (10% reduction off 100k does less than of 1m, obviously), you’re still dropping quite a bit. I’d recommend going ahead and using a Cower after you’ve gotten your initial DoTs up and your TF’s worn off (so about 10-15s in), use it again when it’s off CD, and then evaluate.
  • Thorns on the tank. Toss this up during the pull (check with other druids, though, since I don’t believe it stacks). This will add a bit of TPS and rDPS, essentially for free. If you’re high on threat still, start using it on the tank on cooldown. (If the tank has multiple mobs, glyph it and use it on cooldown anyway, as is it just became your highest DPS ability.) For more fun, toss on 3p T1 prepull (yes, Tier 1!) for 10s extra of thorns time…just don’t get caught in combat with T1 on.
  • Hand of Salvation. Enough said, though if you have mages or boomkins, they’re probably soaking up all the salv’s. :(
  • Cataclysm will fix it. Maybe.

Solutions (for bears):

  • If you can’t coax another druid into it, get used to using Thorns pre-pull, and during a fight if you have a few seconds of not getting hit. (Admittedly, I need¬† to check if shifting out drops your Vengeance stack; not sure.)
  • Have your hunters/rogues stagger their threat-transfer abilities. Your DPS can throttle back, if they have some warning. Avoiding the “30s chain-threat-drop” is key here.
  • Wear DPS jewelry/trinkets. Not recommended for raid tanking (where the stamina saves you from dying to spike damage) but for tanking lower-tier stuff, very useful.
  • Preemptive Challenging Roar/Growl on an accessible keybind. CR doesn’t affect threat, but it forces enemies to target you. Growl adds enough threat to you to vault you to the top of the threat table. You probably can’t react in time to save a melee DPS, but you should always be able to save a caster at max range, unless you’re using the following strategy:
  • Let the aggro monkeys die. Satisfying, though not optimal.
  • Cataclysm will fix it. /hopeandpray.

  12 Responses to “Threat issues and solutions 4.0.1”

  1. I think DPS jewelry is a must now for bears, especially in raids. The stamina has been equalized across the item levels, so you’ll get the same stamina on DPS gear as “tanking” gear. Also, you’ll get agility instead of strength. As for the dodge, well, aren’t most bears reforging it to mastery anyway?

    • This is correct. I was able to ask a question at blizzcon about this very issue. The response was we should not be using or rolling on Strength jewelery anymore. The agility on the dps rings should give enough dodge, and the crit helps to proc mastery. The only crappy part is if you have a haste ring/neck.

      For some reason my question was left off most reporting sites so this has not really gotten around yet. Math seen on the beta forums supports that agility will just just as much dodge as a same level dodge strength neck. I just sucks we have to roll aginst 4 dps classes (Shaman, Hunters, Rogues, other Ferals).

      • I leave my dodge and reforge haste or crit for mastery.
        Two reasons – Haste generally sucks for bears and haste and Crit values are generally higher then dodge. Since everything is a one to one ratio i feel you get more mileage out of the other two.

        And while we do have to roll against DPS now most good guilds will allow the tank to get gear first so i dont think it will be too much of an issue unless all you do it pug.

  2. Thanks for posting this. If they do fix it I think it will be razor edge on TPS vs threat from DPS. To me it just really looks like Blizzard’s goal to make things harder is by forcing a fight between dps threat and tanks holding that threat.

    We both agree that most likely the days of 8 mob pulls with 4 cc’s are gone for good. So to make the game harder this appears to be the way they want to do it. Vengence would probably keep threat but as you noticed the DPS numbers get really high and I can forsee lot’s of QQ’ing that tanks do more damage than DPS does. If they lower vengance then they have to boost TPS on abilities.

    One thing for certain. Tanking is going to be interesting in Cata especially with LFD. As Forest Gump’s mom used to say, “You’ll never know what you’re gonna get.”

  3. “Let the aggro monkeys die”. Hilarious (my choice btw).

  4. Another option for bears (as long as you have your 4Pc T10 bonus going) is to spec into KotJ and make full use of Enrage at every opportunity, especially in that first few seconds of the fight. Working through a relatively short window, that 5% can make a huge difference.

  5. I’m not sure how much attention bears usually pay to Tricks, but blowing things like Berserk and – if you spec into KotJ – enrage early on when you have tricks means you will get more threat out of them, because you will be getting the damage buff as well as the bonus threat.

  6. I know the AP buff from Vengence decays quickly but can i just say how much fun it is to pull 20K on festergut WHILE TANKING. OMG the rip ticks i was getting after the tank swap were AMAZING!!!! If they let it decay slower there could be alot of issues with our dps with certain boss mechanics.

  7. Our hunters reapply MD when the first runs out.
    Rogue’s can re-trick.

    Even though they run out after 30 secs, just get them to reapply. if after 60 secs there still isn’t a clear lead then that would be a tank problem (or gear difference) but there’s no harm in reapplying Tricks/MD again.

  8. @Achnom- I haven’t really done any math on it, but I’m hesitant to recommend mastery for lvl 85 (for bears) until I see what our crit rates look like.
    @Saniel, Nich- what you say is true, but I imagine most bears are already doing that…and we’re going to be breaking 4pT10 fairly soon.
    @Oakes- Yeah, so I’ve heard, I need to get into an ICC run to try it. :)
    I thought Vengeance only boosted your AP while in Bear? if not, that’s an issue that will probably be fixed.
    @Cpt. Fizz- Yes, hunters/rogues can reapply. the problem is that they all drop off at once, which makes riding the tank’s threat hazardous. Until Omen has some way of denoting which part of tank threat will fade (which could take some doing) then I’d almost rather MD/ToT be restricted to sticking adds on a tank.

  9. I can’t imagin that they just let our vengeance stack drop like that. What if we need to pop out to brez or innervate someone (i realize our innervate sucks now in comparison to what it was but its still 6-7k mana). I can’t even remeber how many times on Rotface or even Lich King i have battle rezzed someone when the boss is busy doing something else. Should I really loos my 8k ap because I used a class ability?

    • Oakes – My understanding from reading GC’s blue posts is that vengeance will be removed only if we shift to cat form. If we stay in bear and caster form the vengeance buff remains.

      I’m not positive it’s working that way on live, but they have said clearly, that’s the idea for Cataclysm. They don’t want cats shifting to bear for the buffs.

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