wotlk classic pve feral druid tank stat priority

Knowing which stats provide value to your class is an important part of understanding the class you play. It also allows you to make gearing decisions independently of gear lists, which is useful to assess whether an item you’ve received is an upgrade (even if it may not be best in slot!).

However, keep in mind that stat priorities do not mean that you should completely stack one stat over another; all the listed stats provide some value to Ferals, so an optimal set will provide a balance of these stats for the most overall value. For example, while 1 Stamina may provide more value than 1 Agility, 2 Agility will provide more value than 1 Stamina. Therefore, it is important not only to know which stats are the most valuable, but how each stat objectively compares to the others.

Unfortunately, there are no up-to-date simulation tools available for Wrath of the Lich King, and these will not be developed until Beta testing starts. Therefore, it is impossible for us to know for sure just how much value each stat provides to the survivability and threat generation of a Feral tank. Furthermore, the balance between threat stats and mitigation stats is arbitrary; if threat generation is a completely trivial process, then even expertise (the strongest threat stat) will have very little value in practice compared to any mitigation or survivability stat.

Therefore, the stat priorities you see here are my best guess of how Ferals will prioritise their stats in Wrath of the Lich King, based on how they did so in retail and private servers. I will keep this guide updated as more information comes out to reflect Classic gameplay.

Stat Priority

  1. Stamina
  2. Agility
  3. Expertise rating
    • Until soft cap: 132 rating
  4. Hit rating
    • Cap: 263 rating
  5. Expertise rating
    • Until hard cap: 377 rating
  6. Armor
  7. Dodge rating
  8. Critical strike rating
  9. Haste rating
  10. Armor penetration
  11. Strength
  12. Attack Power
  13. Defense rating

Stat Explanation

Stamina provides health and is the core stat for Feral tanks in Wrath. Through stamina-enhancing effects like bearform and hotw, bears gain a lot of health per point of stamina (1 stamina ≈ 16.4 HP).

Although stamina does not affect the amount of incoming damage, as long as healers can keep up with your damage taken then a large health pool is great for your survivability as a tank.

Agility both increases a tank’s dodge chance (reducing the amount of incoming damage) and critical strike chance (reducing pull variance and increasing threat output). This makes it a well-balanced stat for Ferals who cannot parry or block and therefore rely on their dodge for mitigation. Agility also increases armor by 2 per point, though this is very minor.

Aditionally, Agility is the best DPS stat for Ferals in cat form, making it a versatile stat if you fill a hybrid role.

Expertise reduces your chance to be dodged or parried by 0.25% per 1 Expertise (~8.2 expertise rating). Tanks hit bosses from the front, meaning they get parried — this makes expertise a very powerful threat stat as it reduces dodge and parry chance at the same time. This effectively makes it twice as powerful as hit rating.

However, bosses only have a 6.5% dodge chance, and a 14% parry chance. This means that there is a limit to how much expertise can benefit your threat. The expertise ‘soft cap,’ at which point a boss can no longer dodge your attacks, is 26 Expertise. As Ferals receive 10 expertise from the talent primalprec, 16 expertise (132 rating) will bring you to the soft cap.

Above the soft cap, expertise only reduces parry chance, making it half as valuable until the hard cap of 56 expertise (459 rating / 377 with primalprec). After this, it has no value. Expertise above the soft cap is slightly less valuable than hit rating as it does not affect spell hit; Hit rating benefits both faerie and growl.

Hit rating reduces your chance to miss attacks and abilities by 1% per ~32.8 hit rating. This makes it quite a strong threat stat, and reduces the likelihood of missing your first hits on a target (which is usually where threat can get iffy). Players have a base miss chance of 8% against bosses, meaning that hit rating has a hard cap at which it no longer provides any value. This cap is at 8% (263 rating) — you do not need to reach this cap, but you should definitely not exceed it.

Hit rating also increases your chance to hit with spells, such as faerie and growl.

After you have reached the soft-cap as explained in the previous Expertise section, the stat loses some of its value, as it now only reduces the chance for your attacks to get parried, rather than dodged AND parried. As a result, it is slightly weaker than hit rating — but still a great stat for threat nonetheless. That is until you reach the hard cap of 56 expertise (459 rating / 377 with primalprec), which eliminates parries. After this point, expertise has no value.

Armor is massively important for druids’ survivability as it reduces all incoming physical damage. Through bearform, thickhide, and sotf, bears have an insane ~6.9x modifier for armor. However, I place armor fairly low on the stat priority list because in Wrath, this scaling is changed to only apply to Leather and Cloth items (meaning it does not apply to rings, trinkets, or weapons). Furthermore, there are no longer any leather items with increased armor budget to make use of this scaling — armor is now simply a function of item level.

Therefore, as long as you wear leather instead of cloth, and high item level gear, the only armor you need to worry about in terms of stat priorities is bonus (non-scaling) armor on accessory/weapon slots, which is not nearly as impactful.

Dodge rating increases your dodge chance, which reduces your average damage received. Because bears cannot parry or block, dodge is an important source of mitigation. The amount of dodge chance each point of dodge rating gives depends on the amount of dodge rating the player already has, as Wrath of the Lich King introduced diminishing returns on avoidance to prevent druids from dodging every attack. Generally, however, each point of dodge rating provides less dodge chance than each point of agility, and of course provides no critical strike chance. This is why dodge rating features considerably lower on this list.

Critical strike rating is a decent threat stat which reduces your chance of unlucky openers, as a critical strike in your first few hits helps with your initial threat. Additionally, critical strikes actually provide some mitigation value through savagedefense — this is relatively minor, but worth a mention.

Haste rating is a decent threat stat which reduces your chance of unlucky openers as it lets your next swing come sooner, and helps with rage generation. It’s nothing to specifically aim for, but it’s not a bad stat.

Each point of strength provides 2 attack power. However, kings, sotf, and impgotw all increase your strength but not your attack power, making each point of strength as valuable as ~2.38 attack power. Overall, it’s a decent stat for your average threat.

Armor penetration increases the damage of your physical attacks. Like strength or attack power, it’s a decent stat for average threat, but isn’t anything special or that needs to be focused on for a tank.

Attack power is the basic threat stat. It boosts the damage of all your attacks, therefore increasing your threat generation. There’s nothing wrong with attack power, but point-for-point it provides less value than other listed stats.

Defense rating slightly increases your dodge chance and your chance to be missed by physical attacks. Generally, most of its value comes from critical strike suppression (reducing the chance that the player gets critically struck by a physical attack), however Ferals are immune to critical strikes with talents alone and therefore do not gain this benefit. This makes defense rating relatively weak for Druids, though it still provides some mitigation value.

 

About the Author

Oxykitten

I've been an avid WoW player since Vanilla. At 6 years old, I was slowly progressing through Blackfathom Deeps and levelling up with my brothers. Since Classic Wow launched, I've found a new way to enjoy the game; participating in Feral Druid theorycrafting communities and performing well in an underdog class has been a fun challenge. I hope to be able to share all I've learned with anyone who shares that interest!
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