Monday, March 29, 2010

Expertise for Feral Tanks

Recently, I have begun to wonder if Blizzard forgot entirely about Bear Tank itemization when crafting the gear made available in Patch 3.3. Sure, there is tons of Stamina and Agility to be had, but the striking absence of two pivotal Druid tanking stats on a vast majority of our class specific gear is incredibly disheartening. Those stats are Hit and Expertise. To answer your Feral Hit Rating Questions, check out our Guide to Feral Hit Rating Gear and our Bear Form and Hit Rating guide. Below I will explore the Expertise side of the Bear threat equation and explain why Blizzard has created a problem for Bear tanks tackling ICC.

What is the Bear Form Expertise Cap?

The soft cap for Bear Form Expertise is 26 Expertise or 132 Expertise Rating (the stat which appears on your gear). This level of Expertise will completely eliminate dodges from your enemies' defense tables. To eliminate parry from your enemies table you would need 443 Expertise, but I don't need to tell you how impractical and unnecessary that would be. Just shoot for 132 Expertise Rating and consider anything over that a less significant bonus.

Why is Expertise Important for Bears?

There is a common misconception amongst all tanks that Hit and Expertise are exclusively dps stats. The truth is, they are also vital threat stats because an attack which misses or is avoided generates zero threat. A lack of Hit or Expertise leaves your dps one unlucky string of failed attacks away from getting splattered by the target you were supposed to hold and all the Stamina and Avoidance in the world won't save you from their anger at the coming wipe.

Aside from the short term consequences of occasionally generating zero aggro, a lack of expertise severely harms your threat generated per second. Point for point, until you reach 132 Expertise Rating, Expertise gives you more threat per point than any other stat. You heard right, ANY OTHER STAT. That includes our precious Agility, Crit, Attack Power, Haste, and even Hit. Until you reach the hard cap of 132, Expertise nets nearly double the threat, point for point, of any other ability. If I have not convinced you by now that the stat is important, I do not think I will be able to.

Where Can Bears Find Expertise?

There are currently only three gear slots where Bears can find endgame leather with Expertise on it. Those slots are chest, feet, and legs. To reach your 132 target, you will need to equip an Expertise item in at least two out of the three. Unfortunately, you only have one random drop possibility (and it is BoE), so to get the Expertise you need you will need to part with either a significant number of badges or a significant amount of gold. Here are your options:

Ikfirus's Sack of Wonder (BoE drop off Gunship in ICC 25)
Shadow Seeker's Tunic (95 Emblems of Frost)

Lasherweave Legguards (95 Emblems of Frost)

Footpads of Impending Death (Crafted BoE)

There are also a handful of rings and necks which provide Expertise, but they do not pair that Expertise with any other tanking oriented stats. Lastly, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a Battered Hilt, the Lightborn Spire could help solve your Expertise woes.

Good luck in your hunt for this ever elusive stat. Hopefully, Blizzard will make things easier for us in the future.

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