Updated for Mists of Pandaria patch 5.2
Feral Druids in Mists of Pandara were split into two specializations (specs:) Feral Cats and Guardians (bears.) As before, cats are the damage and bears are the tanks. Patch 5.2 provided guardians with some survivability buffs. Details are here.
This page focuses on Guardians as tanks in a PvE (raiding) environment. For Druid leveling or PvP see the links just below.
|This Guardian Druid guide is primarily intended for use in tanking PvE instances and Raids at level 90. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Druid, check out our Druid Leveling Guide.
If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Other Druid Guides:
Guardian Bear Talents
Our choices are in bold.
There are situations where you might want a different talent. They’re easy to change and you will need one Tome of the Clear Mind for each change you make.
- Feline Swiftness is a speed increase, useful for chasing after targets that aren’t chasing you instead.
- Displacer Beast is great for times when you feel like quickly traveling 20 yard, shifting into Cat Form, and getting a brief speed increase. Hopefully this is never.
- Wild Charge lets you charge and stun an enemy (despite what the tool tip says,) a decent way of opening a pull or swiftly reaching a target at a distance.
- Nature’s Swiftness gives you the option to instantly cast various spells. This might be very useful depending on the fight, your group, and your style.
- Renewal is a self-heal that scales well with our massive life pool. It’s a nice “Oh, Crap!!” button every two min.
- Cenarion Ward is a six second Heal Over Time which activates on damage. 30 second cooldown. A good choice if you don’t need to heal a lot right now.
- Faerie Swarm replaces Fearie Fire and might be useful for slowing down targets you need to grab. You’ll likely be using Faerie Fire anyway unless another Druid is providing it, Fearie Swarm just improves it.
- Mass Entanglement is useful CC for any fight that requires it.
- Typhoon knocks targets away from you, which is generally the opposite of what you want as a tank.
- Soul of the Forest helps out your rage generation by boosting the rage you gain from using Mangle.
- Incarnation: Son of Ursoc is a great cooldown for taking and holding threat as well as building rage, survivability, and anything else you can imagine. Still, it has a 3 minute cooldown, decide whether you’d rather have the burst threat/rage or the constant increase from Soul of the Forest.
- Force of Nature summons three treants which taunt nearby enemies, making it a crude imitation of Army of the Dead. It does have a one minute cooldown, which doesn’t make it any less useless.
- Disorienting Roar might have some utility in slowing down a group of adds you need to pick up threat on, but I’d still prefer the other options in this tier.
- Ursol’s Vortex is a nifty ranged AoE slow that could come in handy for controlling a group of mobs.
- Mighty Bash is a 5 second stun on a mediocre cooldown. Take it if you need a stun for whatever reason.
- Heart of the Wild is a very choice in this tier just for the passive boost it provides. You’re not likely to be out of bear form for anything important, but the stat boosts are nice.
- Dream of Cenarius is unlikely to be useful in any situation.
- Nature’s Vigil is a very decent cooldown for the healing and damage it adds. Patch 5.2 cut both the cooldown and the buff in half. Even so, an added 10% to all damage done plus some passive healing of your allies isn’t at all a bad thing. The 1.5 minute Vs 6 minute cooldown (of Heat of the Wild) is what makes it the pick of this tier.
Glyphs can be easily changed and each change requires one Tome of the Clear Mind, just as with talents.
- Glyph of Might of Ursoc is an option if you feel it benefits you on a particular encounter.
- Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration could certainly come in handy at times, providing a healing boost similar to Vampiric Blood instead of actual direct healing.
- Glyph of Stampeding Roar is a boon if your raid requires the movement speed boost.
- Glyph of Rebirth is almost essential during encounters to avoid the target being killed instantly after resurrection, but someone else should be handling the rezzes.
- Glyph of Maul is useful in certain AoE situations, but only rarely.
- Gl;yph of Fae Silence – Adds a silence to Faerie Fire, and a 15 sec cooldown.
- Glyph of Grace – less falling damage when jumping off things.
- Glyph of the Chameleon – If you like pretty colors.
- Glyph of Aquatic Form – For all the wet stuff out there.
- Weapon: The best 2-handed Agility weapon you can get.
- Primary stats: Stamina > Agility >>> anything else.
- Secondary stats: Hit/Expertise (both to 7.5%) > Mastery/Dodge > Critical
- Weak: Haste > Expertise over 7.5% and less than 15%
- Useless: Hit over 7.5% and Expertise over 15%
Stamina: Make sure you have enough that your healers have to to take care of you. You should be able to survive at least two hits.
Hit & Expertise: if you’re not hitting your not doing damage or threat or proccing abilities.
Expertise applies to your opponent’s Dodge and Parry, 15% eliminates both.
Mastery was buffed in 5.2 for more armor. This helps to smooth out incoming damage and makes life easier for your healers (and you.)
Dodge: Missed strikes do no damage, but smoothing out the damage that you are taking is more important.
Reforging: Reforge all other stats to Dodge, or to Crit if the gear already has Dodge.
In-Depth Rotation Guide
With the changes to Bear Druid tanking in patch 5.0.4 your rotation is primarily focused on generating enough rage to use your defensive abilities. Core to this is Mangle which is now your primary rage generation ability along with auto-attacks which grant extra rage when a critical hit.
Rage generation is increased by your attack speed, hit chance, and expertise as the more often you land a strike the more rage you’ll generate. Critical strikes with Mangle or an Auto-Attack grant an additional 15 rage due to the Primal Fury passive.
- Growl, our taunt, lasts for 3 seconds and has an 8 second cooldown.
Your highest priority is now to use Mangle whenever possible to generate rage. Lacerate, Thrash, and Faerie Fire all have a 25% chance to reset the cooldown on Mangle and you should use Mangle whenever this effect occurs.
- Faerie Fire should be applied to your target and refreshed whenever necessary.
- The bleed effect from Thrash should be applied to and refreshed on your target.
- Lacerate should be used as often as possible to stack the bleed effect and refresh Mangle.
- Maul is rarely worth using due to the rage cost and should be avoided unless you’re in danger of capping out on rage.
When facing multiple targets, apply Thrash‘s Bleed effect and continue to use Mangle whenever possible while target swapping to ensure you build sufficient threat on every target. Swipe replaces Lacerate as your damaging ability of choice.
- Vengeance increases your attack power by 2% of the unmitigated damage you take, lasting for 20 seconds. Shifting into Cat Form will remove this effect.
- Berserk is your best threat and rage generation cooldown as it removes the cooldown from Mangle and causes it to hit up to 3 targets for 10 seconds. This is the best way of taking and holding aggro on multiple target pulls as well as generating an initial burst of rage for use on various defensive cooldowns if necessary.
Your Defensive cooldowns are
- Savage Defense operates on a charge system, allowing you to store up to 3 charges maximum. Savage Defense lasts for 6 seconds each time it’s activated and has a 9 second cooldown per charge.
- Might of Ursoc increases current and maximum health by 30% for 20 seconds with a 3 minute cooldown. Using the Glyph increases the health granted by Might of Ursoc by 20% but increases the cooldown by 2 minutes.
- Frenzied Regeneration converts up to a maximum of 60 rage into health and has a 1.5 second cooldown. Using the Glyph causes it to always cost 60 rage and no longer convert rage into health but instead increase healing received by 40% for 6 seconds. The Glyphed effect is best used in immediate advance of heavy damage to allow time for you to benefit from the increase in healing received.
- Survival Instincts reduces all damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown.
- Barkskin reduces all damage take by 20% for 12 seconds on a 1 minute cooldown.
Tier 4 Talented Abilities:
- Incarnation: Son of Ursoc should be used whenever you need additional rage and/or threat as it reduces the cooldown on all your melee abilities and Growl to 1.5 seconds, allowing you to spam attacks for 30 seconds. The cooldown on Incarnation is 3 minutes.
Guardian Gems for Tanking
If you need the gold to buy gems, then you should check out this slick gold making addon.
The gems with secondary stats have twice the value of the Agility gems, eg: 320 Dodge Vs 160 Ag. If you’re gemming for offence (threat) then go for Agility or Ag/Mastery gems. If you’re gemming for mitigation/avoidance then gem for Dodge. It’s worth matching the socket bonuses on your gear if the bonus is a desirable stat for whichever gear strategy you’re following.
- Orange gems match red or yellow sockets
- Purple gems match red or blue sockets.
|Meta||Agile Primal Diamond: +Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect|
|Red||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Yellow||Fractured Sun’s Radiance: 320 Mastery
Subtle Sun’s Radiance: 320 Dodge
|Orange||Adept Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Mastery
Polished Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Dodge
|Purple||Glinting Imperial Amethyst: +80 Ag, +160 Hit|
|Prismatic||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Cogwheel||Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery
Subtle Tinker’s Gear: 600 Dodge - requires an engie helm, such as this.
Guardian Druid Tanking Enchantments
While most of these are defensive enchants, there are a few to add some firepower.
Head enchants do not exist, all shoulder enchants come from the Inscription profession.
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – River’s Song: Sometimes increase Dodge by 1650 for 12 seconds.
Enchant Weapon – Windsong: Sometimes increase Crit, Haste, or Mastery by 1,500 for 12 seconds.
|Shoulders||Scribe’s Inscription of the Serpent Pearl: +750 stam, 150 Dodge, Requires Inscription 550
Ox Horn Inscription: +300 Stam, 150 Dodge
|Cloak||Enchant Cloak – Greater Protection: +200 Stamina|
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Superior Stamina: +300 Stam
Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all stats
|Bracers||Greater Agility: 170 Agility -or-
Enchant Bracer – Superior Dodge: +170 Dodge
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: 170 Mastery|
|Belt||Ebonsteel Belt Buckle: New gem slot for gem of choice.|
|Leggings||Ironscale Leg Armor:: 430 Stam & 165 Dodge|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Greater Precision: +175 Hit
Enchant Boots – Blurred Speed: 170 Agility, slight movement speed increase.
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Stamina: Requires iLevel 372+ and Enchanting 555|
All food buffs last one hour and provide only one stat. Foods are available that provide secondary stats, but they’re only worth about 200 points.
If you have the Alchemy skill the effect and duration of flasks and elixirs will be increased, including the value of secondary stats, by about 30% and an hour.
- Virmen’s Bite: 4k Ag for 25 seconds. If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
- Potion of the Mountains: 12,000 Armor for 25 seconds
- Master Healing Potion: Heals 120k HP
- Master Mana Potion: About 30k Mana
Elixirs – you can have one battle and one guardian elixir up at a time.
- battle: Mad Hozen Elixir: 750 Crit
- battle: Elixir of Perfection: 750 Hit
- battle: Elixir of Weaponry: 750 Expertise for one hour.
- battle: Monk’s Elixir: 750 Mastery
- guardian: Mantid Elixir: 2,250 Armor
- guardian: Elixir of Mirrors: 750 Dodge
Druid Races for Guardians
Druids are the most exclusive of all classes, there are only four races to pick from. Mists of Pandaria made no changes to races and very few to the racial abilities and there are no Pandaren Druids.
The difference between races is largely visual as opposed to bringing any real advantage to any particular race. Trolls might be the most generally useful, but pick the race that works best for you. But, if you want to be “efficient,” then here are the details for each race:
- Tauren - Maybe the best tanks
- War Stomp stuns nearby opponents
- Increased health (about 5%, about 20k for a 400k health pool,) but doesn’t seem to scale well at very high levels.
- Good with Herbalism
- Worgen - Movement and DPS
- Can periodically move quickly, which is useful.
- Increased crit chance is nice, since Crit is a decent stat for you.
- Increased skinning speed and skill
- Troll- Best tusks.
- Berserking increases attack and casting speed.
- Damage increased Vs beasts, all 5 million of them, which is nice while leveling and will have some use Vs beast mobs in dungeons and raids.
- Ranged weapon Expertise is not a useful ability for Guardians.
- Reduced duration of movement imparing effects, useful for most, but your shapeshift is a far superior “break free” ability.
- Night Elf - Not much going on here.
- Shadowmeld has situational use. You fade away, dropping aggro, but must remain stationary. Only useful if you’re tired of your team and you want the boss to smash all of them.
- 2% dodge is a nice ability for you.
- Faster movement while stealthed is nice when prowling, but it has no use in tanking.
- Resistance to Nature damage
Professions for Guardian Druids
All of the professions provide some benefit for any class/spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.
Most of the professions add an average of about 320 Agility. Since gems with secondary stats are twice the value of those with primary stats (320 Mastery Vs 160 Int, for example) Blacksmithing might be the most valuable profession if you’re just looking for the buffs. You’ll be able to slot 640 Crit or Mastery as opposed to 320 Ag.
Jewelcrafting provides only 320 in any stat over non JC gems.
|Blacksmithing||gives two extra gems slots. Since gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats Blacksmithing might be a very valuable profession. For example, you’ll be able to socket he two gems for 640 Mastery or 480 Stam instead of 320 Ag.|
|Jewelcrafting||Make nicer gems for your own use.|
|Enchanting||Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Ag or Stam gain.|
|Inscription||Shoulder enchant adds 520 Ag and 100 crit or 750 Stam with 100 Dodge.|
|Alchemy||More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Ag and an extra hour to your main flask.|
|Engineering||has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Ag by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.|
|Leatherworking||Bracer enchant adds 500 Ag., another adds 750 Stam.|
|Tailoring||Cloak enchant sometimes adds 4k Attack Power for 15 seconds.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds. The life and water spirits found while flower picking are also very nice.|
The Fast Druid Leveling Guide
Guardians are fine tanks and while you can level all the way to 90 in the dungeon system sometimes it’s nice to step ouit into the world and do some questing. Or maybe you’re leveling another alt who doesn’t get your tank’s instant-queues into the dungeons.
Either way, you’re looking at a lot of quests and a pretty fair amount of time. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that a lot faster? You can. You will save you many days of in-game time and also save a good deal of frustration, even if you already know many or most of the quests.
How? By using Zygor’s Guide. Zygor’s automates the whole leveling path, showing you exectly where to go and what to do every step of the way to 90, automatically updating as you complete tasks and quests, and is like having an expert helping you every step of the way. Pick your starting point, regardless of your level, and the guide automatically updates and advances as you complete quests, sets a waypoint arrow automatically, and includes all the important quest info.
Want to step away from questing to dungeon level or PvP? No problem. Zygor’s is smart enough to detect your level and update appropriately. It’ll even clean up your obsolete quests.
You will probably never need to look at your quest log again!
Grab your copy of Zygor’s Leveling Guide, here