First, by stacking stamina, yes, you have far more health and it does in fact give the healers a lot more time to get off a heal before your health pool is empty. However, healers, no matter what Blizzard or any forums posts say, have a need to keep your health bar as full as possible at all times in a fight. By having a huge health pool, you are still taking large chunks of damage and thus, more mana is used to keep you up. This can be a very bad thing as healers can tell you. Here's a little secret, *looks around to see if anyone is listening*, if healers run out of mana, you get no heals. lol.
Ok, now, on the opposite end of this, if you stack other stats totally over stamina, you will have a much smaller health pool and thus make it hard for the healers to keep you up. The trick it to find a nice balance of stats to make the healers life easier. Remember, the best thing for a tank is to take your epeen and throw it away. Epeens only end up causing problems, espeically for tanks and healers. Now, the tricky part is to remember, you need to have some stats over any other stat regardless of how you feel. Here is my breakdown of stats and the order I feel that should be dealt with.
Hit Rating - 961 or 8% hit is needed for raid boss or 721 hit for heroic 5-man boss. That is the long and the short of it. Now, I have found that there is leeway here. If you go in to a raid with 5%, you will notice a huge problem in threat, you won't produce enough. If you go in with 7.5%, you will usually be just fine. But the closer to 8% you are, the more threat you will be able to generate and the happier your group will be.
Expertise - The soft cap is 26 expertise or 781 rating. This soft cap is a MUST! I can't express this enough as I see so many tanks below the soft cap and pay the price. What is the price you ask? Hit rating is great to hit the boss, but think of expertise and "The Force". It allows you to predict when a mob/boss is about to dodge or parry your attack and allows you to counter act it and still hit him. Now granted that this is all just numbers in the system and there is no thought involved in the counter action. However, as you can see, being able to not be dodged or parried will also help you to gain maximum threat generation.
Dodge Rating - This to me is far more important then stamina. This is a major part of your a. The less damage you take, the happier the healers will be with you. Now, as I stated earlier, you should not focus solely on this stat as a way to be "WINNING!!!". You will need to balance this stat with stamina. I have however found through trial and error that this stat is a very good one to improve over stamina at first. I usually shoot for a dodge rating of atleast 30%, in bear form, before I start tossing in a few stam gems in my gear. Now, your best way of getting dodge is to grab as much agility as you can. Dodge just gives you dodge rating, but agility gives you
Stamina - Stamina, this is what I consider to be a tricky stat. Every tank out there will tell you that having a large health pool feels good, that it helps you to feel like you can do about anything. This is totally not the case. If you have a huge health pool and little avoidance/damage mitigation, you will likely drop like a sack of potatoes very quickly, no matter how good the healer is. Once I got my dodge rating up to 30%, I worked on getting my stamina up so that I had a health pool of about 138k health in bear form. Now I know that this does not seem like a lot, but remember, the more you avoid taking damage, the less health you need to stay alive.
Mastery - This is a very good stat to work on next. This is your damage mitigation stat. This stats works with your Savage Defenses.
Critical Strike - Crit, well, this is purely a threat stat. The harder you hit them, the more threat you generate. It's much like when dps have huge crits and you can see them climbing the threat meters quickly. It works the same for you. Although this is a nice stat for threat, it is the second to last you wanna work on.
Haste - This is a stat you DO NOT want. Any and all haste should be reforged in to dodge rating. For a tank, it's not how fast you can hit them, it's all about generating threat through avoiding damage and other attacks in your arsenal to generate the threat.
Now, through my personal experiences, I have found that if you follow this guideline, you will find that feral tanking will go far smoother then most would lead you to believe. Remember, avoidance is a huge part of staying alive, not just your health pool. The more damage you can avoid/mitigate, the less damage you will take, the happier your healer will be and the more confident you will be since you will tend to find healers saying how easy you are to heal.
Next post I'll talk about the current tanking build and glyphs as well as enchants for tanking.
Keep up the good work bears and remember, we gotta show those other tank classes how tanking is really done!