So as many feral tanks can tell you, when we got patch 4.0, a lot of changes were made to bears. They removed the ability to spam swipe, which was great for rounding up lots of mobs, by giving it a 6 second cooldown. This felt odd to me as I also had a Death Knight Tank and a low level pally tank. Both of these tanks still had very nice AoE attacks that they could use, some in a short rapid fire style, while the bear lost its good AoE attack for the most part. They changed talent around in the trees and just generally made it a totally different game for feral tanking. Sure we were still bears and had large health pools, but so much had changed that a lot of us felt that that's all we had going for us. Many I had talked to then and now, as well as myself, felt that with all these changes and after trying to make them work for some time, felt it was time to hang up the tank gear and play a new spec. Most seemed to go in to the balance tree while there were some that went in to the resto tree (lol, resto tree.).
But, with the coming of patch 4.1, feral tanks got a few needed changes. One of the more notable was swipe, Blizzard dropped it's cooldown from 6 seconds to 3. This might not sound like much, but with Thrash, a second AoE attack still on it's 6 second cooldown, this gave us a nice stagger to any need to use AoE hits to hold stray mobs. They also did a major overhaul to our damage mitigation mechanics as stated in the official 4.1 patch notes:
"Savage Defense has been redesigned slightly. Instead of a single charge absorption, it now places an absorption effect on the druid absorbing up to 35% of the druid's attack power (modified by mastery, if applicable) in damage and lasting 10 seconds. There are no longer any charges on the effect."
To me, the charging effect was a real pain. With this new setup, it makes it nice ans smooth and, as most healers will say they like it, predicable. Giving the healer predicable about a damage incoming is a good thing as is reduces the amount spiky damage and the amount of "OMG, I CAN'T HEAL FAST ENOUGH!!!!" situations.
I think I can speak for most druid tanks when I say thanks you Blizzard for listening to us. We love being bears, we love getting smashed in the face as we protect our groups. We really missed it and I for one and very glad that we got some changes made to the spec which gives us a more viable feel and place in the tanking world. As many people I know have noticed, bears kinda dropped off the face of Azeroth shortly after the big changes took place. However....
Bear tanks are back baby!!!