Friday, April 8, 2011

Another big change for Bears

There were more additions to the 4.1 Patch Notes put up yesterday, and among them was this gem for Bears:
# Enrage no longer increases physical damage taken.
Go head and read that again, just to let in sink in.

Do you feel that? That warm, tingly sensation? The light-headed giddiness? Yeah, me too.

One of the things I've liked least about Bear tanking is the choice I constantly have to make between waiting 10 seconds after hitting Enrage to engage a boss, or dealing with the fact that I'm going to be taking extra damage in the vulnerable opening moments of the fight when everyone is getting into position.

A standard pull for me looks like this: Thorns -> Bear Form -> Enrage -> Barkskin -> Pull. On many fights, this is the only real opportunity I have to throw Thorns on myself, and I already lose several precious seconds while going through the rest of the chain. If I chose to wait the full 10 seconds, it'd be almost a total waste.

Another place I hate having to hold of using Enrage is after Magmaw's impale phase. My raids generally solo-tank Magmaw, which means I'm spending much of the time tanking with that huge armor debuff he applies. I go cat while he's impaled to crank out some additional damage, but when I shift back, I'm rage starved and have no aggro (because his table resets when he picks up the tank). But I don't want to Enrage because I don't want to take the additional damage on top of having the armor debuff. It's enough strain on my healers already. This will make that transition so much easier.

And for you hybrids out there? You should be dancing.

King of the Jungle is an absolutely essential talent for good Cat DPS and Primal Madness is nice (though not essential). The problem was that, even with the benefit those talent also give in Bear form, the tradeoff with the extra 10% damage just didn't really make them worth it.

With this change, they're still not as good for Bears as they are for Cats...but at least they're unarguably positive places to spend talent points if you so choose.

I'm really glad to see this change. Blizz experimented with our T10 bonus, where it actually decreased the damage when took when we Enraged. That was probably overkill and they ended up leaving Enrage alone once Cata dropped. I think it's become clear, though, that there are certain moments when Bears need Enrage, and penalizing us for using it wasn't right, either. So now we're in the middle ground.

I'll take it.
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