After handing out all this information about tanking and everything else I have covered in my blog, I though I should take a moment to give you a look in to where this wealth of knowledge (pffft) comes from. A little background on me, the blogger so you can maybe understand a little bit more about why I have the opinions I do and why I have taken it so seriously to gather up all the information I have obtained over the years and feel the need to share it with everyone out there that is looking for some help or maybe just a confirmation of what they were thinking.
I stated playing World of Warcraft back in early/mid 2006. My first toon was......a mage. I know, but I soon learned the ways of the tank side, lol. After a lot of thinking about it, I grabbed myself a free trial of WoW. I always loved the Warcraft games and thought, why not. Man, I was not prepared for what I saw. I started out as a human not having a clue as to what was going on. didn't know what quests were, didn't know anything. I wondered around in awe of the landscape of the game. To me, the Elywnn Forest was amazing looking. I Stumbled on Stormwind and didn't have a clue a I got lost (didn't know about hitting "M" for a map yet, lol). I found what I thought was a underground train that would take me around the city....WRONG! I get off the tram and wonder around some more. I finally find what looks like an entrance and.....I find myself in a high mountain peak, surrounded by snow. I was shocked and in awe....and had to have this game! I told my wife that she had to try this game out. After all, she is the one that got me in to the warcraft games in the first place. After she roamed around a bit, it was settled, we got a WoW account.
After about 6 months, I got a second account. Since I knew nothing about character transfers, I started a new toon..my druid Neotaeo. My original reason for this was I liked the description of being able to cast spells AND heal myself. Little did I know that in my leveling, I would learn how to change forms. This was a big thing for me, I loved it. The survivability of the bear form really kept my attention. Of course, I still had no idea what a tank was. I wouldn't learn what a tank was until I got to about level 50ish. By this time, My wife and I had seen the demon attacks on cities and discovered the upcoming Burning Crusade expansion. So with the coming of BC, I became a full on tank...kind of. It was a steep learning curve and bears were looked down on even harder then ever in times after.
By the time I hit lvl70, I was the GM of my guild, tanking anything I could get in to and building up a guild group for dungeons. I began to tank everything in sight, it didn't matter what it was or how hard it was, I tanked it ( or at least tried to). I began to read up about feral tanking. Back then, we still needed defense, although, we didn't not need as much as other classes. This is when I found myself becoming all too familiar with 2 major things in BC. 1, everyone would rather take a pally in a group then a bear, and if there was no pally, they just would not go some times. 2, bears were stacking stamina (NOOOOOO!!!!!!). It was at that point that I decided 2 things. I was going to make a name for myself as one of the very few bear tanks on the server people would have no trouble running with. And 2, I was going to do bear tanking against what most people were doing. Almost everyone was stam-stacking and that did not make sense to me. If you can get your dodge rating up high, you will take less damage and therefore need less heals. By the end of BC, I was getting requests from some of the bigger raiding guilds on my server to tank raids like SSC, and Gruuls ( I made a lot of friends tanking heroic dungeons with people) and I was proving that stam-stacking was NOT the way to go, even if people didn't listen.
With the coming of Wrath of the Lich King, bears had changed. We got rid of defense and got some nice AoE attacks. This was like music to my ears, if we don't have to have defense, we can add more agility to our gear where we can. Wrath however, caused problems that we would not understand until Cataclysm would hit. Tanks, bears included became lazy and impatient. We would run in to a group, round them up and begin to hold everything, and it was not hard for us. Even I fell in to the trap that was Wrath. When Cataclysm hit us, we were in a world of hurt. Tanks that were so use to running in and grabbing everything were dying very quick because Blizzard had brought back the need for crowd control (CC). I know I found myself in a fix. They had done major changes to bear that left us all but broken, but they also changed the rules of the game back to BC style mob pulls. I'll be honest, I hung up my bear suit for awhile after trying very hard to relearn how to bear tank. But this gave me a good opportunity as I rolled a Death Knight for the sole reason of tanking. I could learn form scratch how to tank in Cataclysm. Although I was now a DK tank, I still kept up on druid tanking and gave Blizzard my two cents worth of information and feeling on how they could change bears and make them more playable again. After all, it was at that point that bear tanks all but disappeared ingame. We all felt the same way, and I'm glad that Blizzard listened. With the big changes they did to bear tanks again, they brought us back out and in the main stream of tanking again.
So, I have seen and been through so many different incarnations of feral tanking and have done so much person trial and error for what works with bears that I feel that I need to share it with those that are either just starting out in feral tanking or might be thinking about it. I share this with those that might be looking for some piece of information that confirms what they think. I even happily share my info with those that would argue against my points as I know that I don't know everything and there might be a different way of doing things that are better or easier at the time. For over 4 years now I have been the GM and main tank of <DunderMifflin> and I intend on continuing tanking until they shutdown the servers.