While I’m waiting for the Blizzcon stream to stop being bad, I’ll continue with discussing the changes bears received with 4.0. The threat section is long. I’m sorry. ;)
This is a change I’m not sure I like, but I don’t really hate it. It’s a lot more noticeable in 5 mans and raids that I severely outgear. Bears now get 16 rage per auto attack, and 32 rage per crit (+5 rage from talents) regardless of how much it hits for. No more filling up a rage bar with a single auto attack crit, which is unfortunate. Rage gain based on hits is calculated to your max HP and will calculate if an attack is dodged, misses, or is parried. Not entirely positive how, but the reasoning for this is that you shouldn’t™ become rage starved when you’re tanking content you outgear. Yeah. Right.
Heroic ICC, I never run out of rage, even with spamming maul. Anything below that in difficulty, even if I wear DPS gear, I just don’t seem to have the rage to do anything for a prolonged period of time. It’s pretty rough. Even with heroics, I have to be way more conservative with rage than I’ve ever had to be. Swipe’s rage reduction will help in Cata, but it just doesn’t feel comfortable operating with limited resources. It’s easily manageable by simply not hitting Maul unless I have excess rage, but most content now I just zone out and spam things until it dies. Not the best way to do it, but, ya know… carried by gear. ;)
Threat and Threat Rotations
Threat changed almost drastically. Yes please. It was/is a very nice change from having a completely non-moving rotation. With the addition of Berserk procs, it caused a priority system to occur. I love this. I absolutely do. I now pay attention to what I’m doing as I’m tanking.
Pulverize needs some work. Having Swipe do more threat than it is just plain silly. While I do like the mechanic of it, it’s damage and threat needs to be raised a little bit. Its soundfile needs help too. Regardless, like I said, I enjoy its mechanic. I enjoy the fact that there’s a penalty to using it(and maybe it IS best that it’s damage and threat is iffy, at best), and that working around that penalty is entirely possible through smarter usage and timing.
Berserk Procs and Lacerate. H’oh boy. Where to start here? It makes for a more interesting rotation, but if you pay attention to the rotation and the proc timings for more than 30 seconds, you begin to notice a pattern and a fundamental flaw to this mechanic. It tends to proc right after you start a GCD, making it nearly impossible react right away, like you are able to with Sword and Board (Warriors use GCD abilities to force a proc, rather than relying on a dot. It’s much more controlled).
It’s rather frustrating hitting Pulverize and having Berserk proc at the same time, causing the biggest downtime Lacerate can have in a rotation. You can either ignore the proc and put Lac back up (which is a threat loss) or you hit Mangle(yes) and have Lacerate down for 2 globals, with a new tick happening after 4 globals. It’s fairly ugly and should be avoided… but RNG will screw you whenever it wants.
Now, I mentioned a way to work around with timing, at least initially. I’ve found the best time, in regards to Lacerate ticks, to use Pulverize is the second GCD after a mangle. So, Mangle > Something(1st GCD) > Pulverize(2nd GCD) > Lacerate(3rd GCD) >Mangle. With this position in the rotation, Lacerate should tick after the Mangle, giving the potential for 2 Mangles in a row. Of course, if the Pulverize buff is down, you’d want to use it on the 1st GCD to get it back up. Doing it this way, however, will cause a Lacerate proc to happen when you’d be hitting Mangle anyway.
The whole thing is more than a little awkward. Making Lacerate tick faster or slower most likely wouldn’t work to solve this. If it ticked faster, you run the risk of having a chain of Berserk procs and then just doing nothing but keep Lac up 100% and spam mangle. Slowing the ticks down *might* work, but it will obviously result in lower threat potential.
AoE threat, while completely do-able, is a pain. Comparatively speaking, Bears have one of the stronger AoE attacks out of the 4 tanks. Swipe hits hard. The cooldown is completely fine because of this, and I’m used to it. It’s just that we are missing our second AoE attack, which we get at 81. It’s not the end of the world that we don’t have it, and I don’t mind. It requires more attention and watching health bar cues and watching omen to see who’s creeping up. Once Lacerate is spread around enough, you end up getting to tab-mangle between Swipes, which is pretty nice. Thrash lessens the burden, but the method doesn’t change at 85.
All in all, Bear threat now requires much more attention. I both like and dislike it. I like it because I’m not falling asleep in my chair during raids. I dislike it because I find myself paying more attention to my buffs and debuffs and procs than I do to the surroundings around me while tanking… and tanking what I tank… it can be pretty damn detrimental.