• Bares mostly like the taste of fase!

Dungeons

Preparing for Challenge Modes

February 10, 2014

Challenge Modes

Introduction

I’ll be honest, I was really trying to find a way to justify watching Lego Movie tonight. But I knew I had to get this post out instead. A lot of people have been asking me lately about what they should do to prepare or get through Challenge Mode dungeons. I’ve been getting back into them in a big way recently with my friends, so I wanted to share my knowledge and things I’ve learned with everyone else.

Before you even step into a CM, there are some mechanics differences that are specific to CMs that you won’t find in any other aspects of the game (at least right now). Once you understand those differences you can prepare your gear, talents, and glyphs. Finally I can leave you with some basic ideas on when to use cooldowns, how to to pull, and what sorts of dangers to look out for as a tank.
 

Challenge Mode Mechanics

Vengeance doesn’t behave the same in Challenge Modes compared to everywhere else in the game. You’ll probably recall that for 5.4 it was nerfed from a 2% gain on unmitigated damage, to 1.5%. Not only that, but a diminishing returns was added if you’re receiving damage from more than one source (1/n based on melee damage of the mob – highest first). The beauty is, neither of those nerfs apply to Challenge Modes. This means that it’s always advantageous to pull as much as you can handle to increase your damage as much as possible. Tank DPS is incredibly important, especially for sub-optimal compositions that may not have great AoE potential (I recently did a Scholomance run with a Ret Paladin, Rogue, and Moonkin).

The timer forces you to pull mobs as quickly as you can conceivably handle them. However it’s incredibly important to keep track of where your cooldowns are at from pull-to-pull. The last thing you want to do is initiate an incredibly dangerous trash pull before you’re ready to do so. While DPS is a substantial determining factor in a successful Challenge Mode run, communication and execution of a plan to handle each pull is by far the most important.

Challenge Modes are divided between two distinct types of encounters – Trash and Bosses. Trash encounters will vary wildly, but by and large you want to pull as much as possible. That means that trash will not only take significantly less time than a given boss, but will be much more dangerous. Both of these factors should obviously tell you that survival cooldowns like Survival Instincts will be used on trash, whereas DPS cooldowns like Incarnation will be used on bosses.

Finally, Legendary Items and Set Bonuses do not function in Challenge Modes. Therefore you will want an Agile Primal Diamond for your meta. You don’t need to throw away your tier 16 gear for Challenge Modes though, since it’s so incredibly well itemized. Nor do you need to throw away the cloak, for exactly the same reason. Heck you don’t really need to swap your meta if you don’t want to, you just need to be aware that it won’t work.
 

Gear, Talents, and Glyphs

Selecting Gear for Challenge Modes is basically the same as any other kind of content for a Guardian. The first priority is to make sure you are capped on both Hit and Expertise (2550 and 5100 rating respectively). Your second priority is to get as much Critical Strike Rating as you can get your hands on, for the same reasons as you would want it for a raid encounter or Proving Grounds. Of course you can really use any old gear to accomplish this, but the more gem slots a piece of gear has in it, the better. The budget from a gem slot only comes from the primary stat – Agility – and secondaries. The value of Armor and Stamina is unaffected, which means it’s a net increase in value to have an additional gem socket on a piece of gear.

The place it gets kind of messy is with trinkets. Almost all of the Siege of Orgrimmar trinkets (like Vial of Living Corruption) scale down to near uselessness at 463. Heck even most of the RPPM trinkets introduced in Throne of Thunder are pretty bad, especially after the RPPM nerf in 5.4. On-use trinkets, or trinkets with the most passive stats are the best options you have – with one exception: Delicate Vial of the Sanguinaire. This trinket is incredible for Guardians in Challenge Modes – in fact it’s probably the only situation in the game where this trinket excels. Combine huge numbers of mobs swinging at you on many of the trash pulls with a naturally high dodge chance, and you get very large chances to proc the trinket. On many of the larger trash pulls it’s very common for it to stack to 3, which grants you a whopping 50.79% armor increase.

For survival it’s a no-brainer really.

My favourite 2nd trinket for Challenge Modes is easily Ghost Iron Dragonling. 1800 undiminshed stats is really hard to turn down. The one problem is that the pet will sometimes proc at inopportune times. In my opinion that’s a small price to pay for such a valuable trinket. In reality you can pick any two trinkets and do just fine, but those are definitely my personal favourites.

Talents are a little more 50/50. Some tiers have purely default choices, whereas others are basically user’s choice.

  1. Tier 1: Take Feline Swiftness or Wild Charge. The problem with FS is you’ll often have other party members which will be slower than you – but on the other hand you almost always want to be the first one to reach a trash pull or boss. Charge is incredibly useful for kiting, which is quite often something you’ll end up doing to stay alive.
  2. Tier 2: This tier offers something of an interesting choice. Typically Cenarion Ward doesn’t get much traction in in raids because any predictable damage you can use it on is easily covered by normal healing. However in Challenge Modes it’s very easy to find a GCD between pulls to throw a CW on yourself to give your healer more time to react when you pull a new group of trash. Of course Renewal is still off the GCD on a much longer CD, and Ysera’s Gift will still provide constant passive healing. I prefer – and recommend – CW for Challenge Modes, you can use any talent on this tier and do fine.
  3. Tier 3: There really isn’t any real choice other than Typhoon. It functions either as a secondary interrupt or to give yourself breathing room in order to kite.
  4. Tier 4: At the launch of the expansion Soul of the Forest was pretty worthless. It’s since been buffed to be competitive with Incarnation over time. The problem is boss encounters in Challenge Modes are where you need the most damage, and conveniently bosses are usually 3 minutes apart more or less. That makes Incarnation the easy choice for Challenge Modes. Don’t even ask about Force of Nature.
  5. Tier 5: This is a choice between Mighty Bash and Ursol’s Vortex. You can pick the talent that’s appropriate to your group composition or the dungeon you’re doing.
  6. Tier 6: You might think there’s actually a choice here at first pass, but there really isn’t. Heart of the Wild isn’t usable as a tank on any bosses except maybe the first one in Jade Temple. Which brings us to Dream of Cenarius which is a complete DPS loss if you use an HT instead of any offensive ability, and unlike a raid scenario the healer will cover all of the incoming group damage. That leaves us with Nature’s Vigil as the obvious choice.

That leaves us with Glyphs.

  • Unlike a raid scenario I’d avoid Survival Instincts. You want to have the full 12 second duration, and conveniently the most dangerous pulls are 3 minutes or more apart. Leave this one out.
  • Also unlike a raid scenario Fae Silence is actually incredibly useful. Silence effects are far more uncommon than stuns, and being able to keep dangerous casters locked down is valuable.
  • A no-brainer glyph slot goes to Maul. Nobody says “No” to free extra damage.
  • Stampeding Roar can be valuable, but over 90% of the time when you use Roar in a Challenge Mode, your group will be stacked up for an Invisibility run.
  • The last glyph that can definitely be useful is Faerie Fire. Combining this with Fae Silence allows you to grab dangerous caster mobs from range.

 

Tactics

The first thing that you will learn when doing a Challenge Mode is when to use your survival and DPS cooldowns. I’ve mentioned this before, but our major survival cooldowns – Survival Instincts and Might of Ursoc – are primarily used on dangerous trash pulls. That leaves our minor cooldown Barkskin available to be used whenver you need it, due to the buff it received in 5.4. If you think you might be in danger in the next few seconds, don’t be afraid to press Barkskin. I often use it pre-emptively on any new trash pull to give Delicate Vial of the Sanguinaire a chance to stack up and carry you through the pull.

Single target DPS cooldowns – primarily Incarnation – should be saved for bosses. Whereas Berserk is best used on either large trash pulls, or bosses with more than active target on which DPS is valuable. That leaves Nature’s Vigil which should basically be used on cooldown to maximize the benefits.

Be adaptable. Just like a raid encounter, hardly anything goes your way the first time you attempt it. Don’t be surprised if you need to alter your strategy for a specific boss, how much trash you pull, or how often you pull it. You don’t need to be perfect to get your transmog set, but you do need to execute a plan from start to finish. That plan can only be formed if you know what to expect, so be open to only getting Silver or even Bronze your first time through.

What about you? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

Hey, everyone.  Long time, no post.  I started leveling another Druid so I could pick up writing a Guardian leveling guide for LFD junkies.  Instead I was quickly sidetracked with how nearly unplayable it felt when first entering dungeons at 15.  As in, worse-than-swipe-at-32, unplayable.

This is my feedback and my rant.

Weird rage quirks – I spoke with someone on this, and they suggested it was akin to low level spells having smaller cast times and/or cooldowns because of the limited amount of abilities provided in total.  But, Rage per Auto Attack (RpAA) will go down as you gain levels until it plateaus at level 21.  That is, when we gain bear form at level 8, we get 27 rage per auto.  At level 9, 24 RpAA.  Level 10, 21 RpAA.  Level 11, 20 RpAA.  It then goes down 1 rage per level until 21 when we get the 10 RpAA that we are supposed to.  This is problematic for various reasons and I will describe most of them below.

Abilities – At level 15, we have two damaging abilities.  One with a 6 second cooldown (mangle), and one with a 3 second cooldown and a hefty cost of 30 rage(maul).  Both of them hit pretty soft.  Maul hardly hits for more than an auto attack.  Savage Defense has its large 60 rage cost, making it largely unusable, and Growl is just Growl.  At level 18, we gain Bear Hug – which is mostly useless and only mildly useful in certain situations.  At level 22 we gain Swipe.

That’s 7 levels without an AoE.  I’m not alone when I say that I believe all tanks, not just Guardians, all tanks, should have at least 1 AoE button to use upon entering LFD at 15.  It just makes life easier.

Instead for 7 levels, this is what we experience: Mangle, wait, wait, wait, Maul, Mangle, wait, wait, maul, wait mangle, wait wait wait, mangle, maul, wait, wait, maul.  That’s the sugar coated version.  What’s really happening during those waits is: Growl, no wait, chase that one down, no wait, mangle missed (EXPLETIVE), oh, maul missed too?  Word.  Lost threat here, don’t have enough rage there… Why does my face hurt?  Oh god oh god oh god, 60 Rage for Savage Defense, WHERE ARE YOU.  Get 60 rage – oh, look, mobs are at 10% health or there’s 1 left and it’s a caster, GREAT.  *thumbs up*

. . .

To be quite honest, at 15, rage isn’t too much of a problem.  Why?  Because you’re getting 14 RpAA.  Two autos and a Mangle gives you enough for a Maul, and it’s not that bad of a wait to be able to hit SD if you plan (way, way) ahead.  As you go forward, however, you’re getting less and less rage.  It is 100% noticeable.  You may not know that you’re getting less RpAA at higher levels, but you certainly notice being unable to hit Maul or SD as much as you started out being able to.  That is massively frustrating.  We go from having a certain amount of rage generation to less rage generation with the same amount of abilities, and getting and keeping AoE threat actually gets worse the closer you get to 22.

This was my typical rotation for a pack of 3 or more.  Run in and Growl #1 on the way in, auto attack #2, Mangle #3, Maul #1 if I lost it, whirl back around and auto attack #4, mangle #2 before I lose it again, maul #4…  For 7 levels.  For 7 levels I frantically switched targets, mashing Maul, mashing mangle, tab auto attacking, keeping growl almost on CD, praying neither of my physical abilities got parried, dodged, or missed, and bemoaning my inability to hit SD as my health seesaws back and forth because I need to use my rage on Maul.  Occasionally I’d be able to shift out and Moonfire 2 or 3 mobs on the pull, but if I had any amount of rage I’d stick in bear form because I know I’d need it sooner rather than later.

It’s also quite ironic that the one scenario where Thorns would actually have been helpful… and it was removed from the game.

And Bear Hug?  1 minute CD.  We can hit it and switch targets as a form of AoE opener, but it is really nothing special.  At level 18, we don’t want a stun on a 1 minute CD that we can kind of use for threat or kind of use for an interrupt.  At level 18 we want our AoE abilities because 3 levels of hell just happened.  Bear Hug just adds insult to injury at that point.

18-22 was the same rotation as above with Bear Hug sprinkled in out of complete necessity, not out of wanting to use the ability.  I only used it because I needed to, not because I wanted to.  It is a very lackluster ability and to be quite honest, we can do without getting it so early on.

Level 22 and we finally get swipe.  Oh my god, a breather from the hectic need to grab AoE threat with limited abilities and resources.

Except…

Swipe, Mangle, Swipe, wait….. wait…. Swipe, Mangle, Swipe, wait…. wait…. Swipe, Mangle, Swipe, wait….

We just went from frantically running around to: “oh… my-god… this is so painfully boring.  What… I can’t even…”

Why not add in Maul for a bit more flavor?  Well… Because Maul is a trap.

See… I know I should be saving my rage for Savage Defense.  Say what you will about low level dungeons but it’s still easily possible to drop dead if your healer is only half paying attention.  Especially if you have those swell DPS that like to run ahead of you and “accidentally” pull more packs of mobs as though the large pack you have now is beneath them to kill first.  DPS must flow…

Maul… hardly does more damage than an auto attack with a cost that’s too great for the damage it does.  And, I’m sorry, since when did MAUL go from “OH GOD MY FACE” to “heh heh… hey, that tickles… ^.^”?  Not cool.  Not.  Cool.

The average new Guardian isn’t going to know that, however.  They will have just spent 7 levels (perhaps more if they quested in Bear form) using Rage on Maul and probably ignoring Savage Defense because it wasn’t damage.  And they needed damage because the damage output is woefully slow and small that every bit was necessary.  It’s also teaching Guardians how to play incorrectly.  It’s teaching them the wrong priorities.  It can’t be helped because of the poor ability spread (I’ll get into that too, don’t you worry), but nevertheless, it’s teaching them to do it wrong.  They will get to higher levels, still be hitting maul, get asked why they’re not using SD and answer “lol, because I need rage for damage and SD costs too much”. (note: I am not saying that SD’s rage cost is too high)

Well… life gets a bit better at level 28 when we finally receive abilities that reset the CD on Mangle: Thrash and Faerie Fire.  In addition to that, Thrash will buff the damage of Swipe.  AoE ceases to be an issue and Rage flows a bit more freely – getting even better at 30 with the addition of Primal Fury.

But, that’s 15 levels of suffering in order to get the point to where it’s comfortable to tank and not feel awful about it.  Is that really necessary?  We’re back to the days of “just don’t tank until level 32 when you get swipe.”  There’s nothing fun about Guardian LFD leveling 15-28.  Nothing.  It’s awful, it’s mundane, it’s painful, there’s no synergy between abilities, there’s hardly anything to press, it’s frustrating, and if I was a new player I’d be completely turned off from Guardian until much later, if not forever.

That’s not Okay.  It was not Okay to tell Bears to wait until 32 to tank in Wrath, and it’s certainly not Okay to tell bears to wait until 28 or 30 to tank again.  Wrath was doable – we had thorns, maul hit really hard and rage was not in short supply.  This?  MoP?  It’s almost unbearable (no pun intended).  It nearly made me give up on it.  Never enough rage, abilities hitting for very small amounts because of the low base damage which was caused by unlimited Vengeance – which you don’t see very much of in low level dungeons.  I get, maybe, 50 extra AP?  That’s not enough to make a difference, even with chain pulling.

___

Moving on to the ability spread.  It’s… terrible.  Again.

  • AoE at 22, when it should be at level 14, 15, or 16
  • Bear Hug at 18, when it should be much later, allowing for something else to be moved down
  • Thrash and FFF at level 28.  2 abilities that reset Mangle, when 1 of them should be moved down (FFF to 18?) much earlier to get used to the synergy.
  • Ranged pull ability at level 28.  Compared to 20 for Warriors, 10 for Paladins and 10 for Monks.  Again, FFF to 18.
  • Lacerate is fine as is, though moving it lower wouldn’t hurt.
  • Barkskin: level 44. Availability feels a bit high still.  The SM dungeons hurt a bit more and the lack of cooldown is no fun.  It’s an improvement from getting it at 58, however.
  • Enrage: Level. Seventy. Six.  Is this for real?  Seventy-six?  Warriors get theirs at level 18 and they certainly have an easier time tanking – and do more damage.  What the hell?  What?  Oh, no.  No, no, no… I don’t want my resource generating ability until WELL AFTER I have very few problems generating it.  You must have me confused for someone that NEEDS it.  I can’t even talk about this without wanting to swear, so I’m just going to say: Lower the level we get Enrage.  By a lot.  Soon.  In 5.1.  Please.  Do it for Baby Cenarius.  Move like… Bear hug to 76.  I can live without Bear Hug until that point.  Really, I can.  I can live without Bear Hug until 90.
  • Seriously, take Bear Hug out of the level 18 slot.
  • … no really.

 

Low Level Guardians need a ton of help.  I took no enjoyment away from leveling my new one.  It wasn’t fun, it was tedious.  I did it because I had to, and the only “wanting” to was for the purpose of experience in order to give this feedback.

All I can do is provide this feedback and hope that they will be looked at, else we will be telling other guardians not to bother with tanking until 30 levels in again.

It’s like getting a new fancy toy that you have to play with even before you get home.  Instructions?  Please.  I’m gonna push buttons until I break it!

Except for the part where these are old toys… that are broken… again.  Well, it’s kinda the same thing, right?  ….right?  Okay, maybe not.  We ended up with one “HOW THE HELL DO YOU EVEN BREAK THAT?” bug, one “… again?  seriously?” bug and one “uhhh… we told you about this during PTR” bug.

First one is Skull Bash.  No version of this works while inside the Firelands raid instance.  This is more than a little frustrating, as we are the only class afflicted with this bug.  Sucks even more when you rely on your Bear to do some interrupting.  Dunno what in the world they did to break this ability, but it better be hotfixed very soon.  Speculation is that it was somehow broken after they broke Battle/Guild Standards, but no one can seem to remember if they were able to skull bash beforehand. :P

Second is Thrash.  Yes… again.  Thrash’s DoT went from being mitigated by armor, to not being mitigated by armor, but then the initial hit wasn’t being mitigated either, and now we’re back to square one with the DoT being mitigated.  I feel like I’m being trolled.

Third is Frenzied Regeneration.  The tooltip, which was mentioned on the PTR bug report forums, says that it should only raise max health by 15% for both effects.  It’s still 30%, so don’t worry there.  My only hope is that by bringing attention to this, Blizzard doesn’t tell us that it’s really supposed to be 15%.  Because that would be horrible.  And suck.  And I’d probably cry a little.

As always, I’ve submitted but reports in game and on the forums, as well as brought it to the attention of the Tank forums.

 

With that out of the way, I really have been looking forward to Firelands.  I, personally, think that it’s been well designed.  The fights are fun (most of them) and require a lot more coordination and participation than before.  The trash though… Screw that.  Some of it is super easy, some of it makes me drop to my knees in heart-breaking agony and curse the cosmos for its creation.  Okay, maybe I just do that in my head, but it’s still really a giant pain in the bearbutt.

Drow got to 5/7 last night, and should easily get to 7/7 tonight with just Staghelm and Ragnaros to go.  The real challenge for us is going to be these hardmodes.  It looks as though all the top guilds will be getting to them at the same time, so we’ll see how we fare next week.  I’m also really really really really really hoping Fandral’s staff drops the first kill.  That would mean happybear-kitty.

Some of you are curious what kind of roles Bears should be doing on these fights.  Well… Bears are stupidly OP right now.  The only thing better than us right now is a shield tank that has full combat table coverage (meaning no melee swing goes unblocked or unavoided).  So essentially a Prot Paladin assuming they’ve geared for that.  That 6% glory buff won’t go unnoticed or uncompensated for, mark my words.  Regardless, I’ve had a chance to deal with all the fights I had questions about regarding our Hybrid status.  We actually can go Cat quite often enough to cash in on this extra bit of utility.

Shannox – Depending on how you end up doing this fight, you should be able to DPS all of the second phase.  Tank Riplimb, kill Riplimb, go kitty, profit.

Beth’tilac – We’ve figured out it’s quite possible to 1-tank phase 2 through the use of cooldowns, but even if your raid can’t handle that(since it gives the tank a nasty healing debuff), you really only need to tank her for about 10 seconds before you can go back to DPSing her.

Rhyolith – If you 2 tank, absolutely cat DPS for the (very short, heh) second phase.

Alysrazor – There’s only a finite time you can cat DPS, which is during Phase 4, but you may end up needing to tank anyway since the Blazing Claw debuff stacks very quickly and will wreck a tank that’s not prepared.  Else, enjoy your ridiculous DPS on the hatchlings. ;) 

Baleroc – I chose to do the Decimation Blade tanking, which doesn’t happen all that often, so I was able to go Cat for the vast majority of the fight.  The only problem is, Baleroc’s blade attacks are a cooldown instead of a set timer, and he’ll choose one or the other at random.  If you’re DPSing, you need to be very quick with switching and taunting in time.  You’ll also need to be quite careful of gaining Torment by mistake (aka, stay away from the pink shards)

Majordomo Staghelm – Fandral is a 1 tank fight and there is no opportunity to switch to cat.  We’d also do quite well here as tanks due to the rising damage of his Cleave (fire damage) over the course of the fight.

Ragnaros – It will be possible to DPS during tank debuff swaps, as well as during one of the phase transitions.

 

I’ll hopefully be getting up those tank strat-type videos within the next few weeks as I become more accustomed to the fights and start picking up on the subtleties.

 

But seriously.  yay Firelands. :)

Well, we (“we” being myself, Lissanna, and Arielle) just finished recording our second installment of the Team Waffle Podcast Friday night.  Whee. ^_^  I think it went well, and certainly better than the 1st.  We got over 5,000 hits on our first episode, which literally just blows my mind.  Thank you so much for the support!  Now that vacations and holidays are over, we’ll be able to record with a more regular schedule.

And, now that vacations and holidays are over, I can stop procrastinating hardcore about writing up a blog post.  Believe me, I feel bad that it’s taken me this long to do it.

Now, I know the Patch Notes for 4.0.6 came out recently, and I’m sure you’re all jonesing for a post about those.  This is not that post.  We did address most of it in our Podcast, so I’m just gonna dangle that in front of you for a little while longer.  Yes, I am mean.  No, it doesn’t bother me. ;)

Down to the real nitty gritty, here.  Gearing.  Gear progression.  What stats do you need for this, what stats do you need for that, are you ready for this or that… There is a lot of that going around, and hopefully I can clear those questions up for a lot of people.

Ding, 85!  Well… Now What?

Chances are you are not ready to start into heroics upon level capping.  To be able to queue for them, you need to have an average iLvl of 329.  To check what your iLvl is, open up your character sheet, tab out the stats addition and look under the “General” area.  That’s where you’ll find it.

It is quite possible to cheese the queue system.  Blizzard has the dungeon finder scan not only what you’re wearing, but what’s in your bags and your bank as well.  You can also use PvP gear to cheese it.

Unless you’re running into heroics with an all-guild group and your healer is very good, DO NOT DO THIS.  Cheating the system will only make your life hell.  You will be taking a ridiculous amount of damage and get destroyed faster than a bucket of icecream in a room full of hormonally imbalanced women.  Yeah.  It’s that bad and scary.

So where does that leave you?

(Aside from rocking back and forth in the fetal position in the corner of a dark room from the above scenario…)

Well, if you were proactive while leveling up, got the right rep, got tabards, did daily random dungeons and their quests, did the good quest chains in Uldum/TH… you’re probably in a very good spot and only need a bit more oomph to push you over into heroic land.

For the rest of you, there’s quite a few options.  First things first, you want to upgrade whatever you can immediately upgrade.  Even if it’s not ideal stats (crit/mastery), an upgrade is an upgrade.

  • Look at the rep vendors.  Most of your rep should be at honored, and there should be a few things you can pick up from them.  Guardians of Hyjal, for example, has a really amazing chest that you can get at level 83 and honored.
  • After rep, look through the AH.  If you can afford to, there’s a decent amount of BoE blues that can be used.  Just avoid the PvP gear.  I know it looks tasty, but again, it’s only going to cause you trouble.  Not only can Resilience not be reforged, it’s also causing you to lose valuable stats.
  • Another valuable source of gear is the gear from Justice Points.  If you have them at your disposal early, use them.  Personally, I bought the Legs and Belt immediately after dinging 85, then while not optimal, the Helm and Shoulders after.
  • Lastly, run normal dungeons.  Do the quests for Lost City, Vortex Pinnacle and Grim Batol.  I don’t know off the top of my head, but at least one of those has a good bear reward.

Your goal for the transition from regulars to heroics is to get most of your slots to 333 item slots.  A few 325′s-ish here and there, some 346′s from crafting and Justice points.. and you’ll be golden.  You can get in with less, so long as you have a good healer and make use of CC.  Now, when you get to that point… Gem, enchant, and reforge your gear. Cheap gems, cheap enchants, reforging into Dodge via haste, crit, hit and exp.  Doing so will go a long way and help you immensely.

But what kind of stats do I need for Heroics?  For Raiding?

This is not something I want to answer, as it will probably be regurgitated back in absolutes some way or another.  However… I will.  With this disclaimer(though I fully know that no matter what I say, it’s going to backfire anyway):

The following stats are not absolutes.  They are incredibly rough estimates.  If you are in the appropriate level of gear, what you have is enough.

For Heroics -

Dodge: Above 25%
Crit: Around 25%
Health: Around 120k
Armor: Around 28k
Mastery: Around 15
Hit: Doesn’t Matter
Exp: Doesn’t Matter
AP: Doesn’t Matter

For Raiding -

Dodge: Around or Above 30% (going to regret that one)
Crit: Around 28-30%
Health: Around 130k
Armor: Around 30k
Mastery: Around 18
Hit: Doesn’t Matter
Exp: Doesn’t Matter
AP: Doesn’t Matter

Heroics are so last week.  I want to know about raiding!

For the best pre-raid gear, visit my tanking guide on the forums here, or visit Arielle’s post here.  The transition from heroics into raiding is more or less getting all the gear you can out of heroics, rep, and craftables.  A few pieces can obviously lag behind since RNG sucks, but the goal is to get mostly 346′s.  However, you also have a second goal, and that is to hunt down and keep trying for the most optimal pieces that have mastery on them.  Because dodge is better than Mastery at this time, you will absolutely want as much mastery from gear as possible.  All the time.

Yes, this means your Hit and Expertise will suffer.  No, it doesn’t matter because Vengeance is silly.  Yes, even with Skull Bash able to miss.

That’s pretty much it as far as gear progression goes.  It’s just one step of the ladder to the next.

The important part to remember is to use Crowd Control while you’re still gearing through heroics.  That will greatly reduce the intake of damage you’re experiencing, and… you’re a druid.  You have Roots and Hibernate available to you, though they are 30 seconds instead of 1 minute.

Good luck!