Tank It With Your Face: Level 15

Level 15 is a an important milestone: you become eligible to use the random Looking for Group feature.  I generally try to run at least one, and possibly two dungeons a day using this feature while leveling.  Not only do you get the handy Satchel of Helpful Goods for every random dungeon you successfully complete, but the dungeon itself provides a good experience boost.

So, as a bear, what is in your repertoire of abilities that allows you to keep the mobs from eating your fellow dungeon runners?

Self Buffs

Self-buffs should be active at all times.

Mark of the Wild: Increases armor by 64 to 65 and all attributes by 1 to 2. Lasts 30 min.

Thorns: Thorns sprout from the friendly target causing 6 Nature damage to attackers when hit. Lasts 10 min.

Abilities

Maul: A strong attack that increases melee damage by 17 to 18 and causes a high amount of threat.  Effects which increase Bleed damage also increase Maul damage. Cost: 15 rage.

Bash: Stuns the target for 2 sec and interrupts non-player spellcasting for 3 sec. Cost: 10 rage.  1 minute cooldown.

Growl: Taunts the target to attack you, but has no effect if the target is already attacking you.  30 yard range.  8 second cooldown.

Demoralizing Roar: The druid roars, decreasing nearby enemies’ melee attack power by 32 to 31.  Lasts 30 sec.  Cost: 10 rage.

Enrage: Generates 19.9 to 20.0 rage, and then generates an additional 9 rage over 10 sec, but reduces base armor by 27% in Bear Form and 16% in Dire Bear Form.  1 minute cooldown.

The Pull

As a Bear, you are reliant on rage to activate your abilities.  Growl is a non-rage ability, and should be your primary pulling mechanism, from single to multiple mob groups.  You will want to immediately follow up Growl with Maul on the Main Target of the group before switching to a secondary target.  Once Maul has been placed, tab target and Maul your second target.  You can Growl at a third target if it is not attacking (great for spellcasters) or Maul to generate threat, then return to your primary target and Maul.  Use Demoralizing Roar.  Maul primary target until nearly dead (10% or less), Maul secondary target, Maul third target, then resume Maul on 2nd target until dead. Maul third target until dead.

Tips

At the start of the instance, or following a break for mana, Enrage can be used to provide a rage pool to start combat.  Be mindful of your damage taken before using Enrage during combat.  It does reduce your armor rating and can cause your healer a panic attack if you have multiple mobs.

Tab-targeting will be necessary at this level as you have no AoE abilities until 16, when you gain Swipe.

Mark a Main and Secondary kill target.  Due to your limited abilities, you need your party to focus fire to prevent loss of aggro on secondary targets.

Due to the long cool-down associated with Bash, I suggest using it on mobs that are self-healing.

Keep moving!  It is vital that you minimize breaks between groups so that you do not lose your accumulated rage.  If needed, begin pulling the next group when the last target of your current group is at less than 10%. Be aware of your healer’s mana pool before chain-pulling too effectively to prevent wipes.

Don’t be afraid to start tanking before you gain Swipe!  You can be an effective tank without AoE abilities as long as you remember the primary rule of tanking–tab-targeting.  So long as everything hates you, you’re doing the job right!

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8 thoughts on “Tank It With Your Face: Level 15

    • I'm horrible at remembering glyphs! Thanks for the reminder: I'll add a note later in the main text 🙂

  1. Excellent write up, Wind.

    I've considered switching over to bear tanking on my druid, or more likely using it as my dual spec in two levels. It would have been nice to start it at 15 instead, but learning the basics is important no matter what level you start at.

    • Thanks Psy! I almost chickened out when I saw what I had to work with, but my runs last night were very smooth.

  2. Wow – you have all those abilities at 15! I'm psyching myself up to tank on my Paladin. My only method of pulling is body pulling with a judgement follow up (10 yard range). I also have my hammer stun on a 60 second cooldown or something.

    Other than those two abilties, it's autoattack and no AOE. I'm worried :S

    Oh wait, I got 1 taunt now.

    • It's definitely more difficult to get started on the non-traditional tanks–druids and paladins. Their early levels do not take into account tanking as a viable path, but they definitely even out and become comparable between the 20's and 30's. I definitely don't envy you trying to tank without any AoE. I was so frustrated with a thunder-clapping Arms warrior I was running with last night!

    • I figure if new tanking DK's have problems with putting nasty gunk on the floor, then Druid tanks at 15 deserve a little sympathy ^^ Fortunately my early paladin days served me well for trying out druid tanking 😛

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