PvE Feral Druid Tank Stat Priority

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.

To compare the relative value of stats to one another, we use simulation tools which calculate how different stats change your risk of death during an encounter. There are other metrics that can be used for tanking, but the Classic/WotLK community tends to stick to this as tank deaths tend to be disastrous, and damage intake profiles in Classic expansions are not always consistent.

Of course, this simulation will only evaluate defensive stats. Separate simulations for threat generation can assess the value of offensive stats, and then we make arbitrary judgements on our survivability to threat balance. Because threat generation is relatively trivial and not heavily affected by gearing in WotLK, I prioritise survivability heavily and rate offensive stats separately.

Stat Priority

The tables below show the stat priorities for defensive and offensive stats, respectively. You should generally prioritise all defensive stats over offensive stats.

Because the exact contribution to survivability can be quite variable, I have compared the different defensive stats with “simplified equivalency points,” which approximate the relative value of each stat to each other to make comparing items easier. For example, 1 Stamina is three times more valuable than 1 Dodge rating, and 1.5 times more valuable than 1 Agility.

The actual values calculated from survival simulations are quite close; if you want to be exact, simulating your own character and gear set will always be more accurate.

Simplified equivalency points (normalised to Defense rating)
Defensive stat priority
Armor (on armor pieces)
Dodge rating
Defense rating
Bonus armor (on rings, weapons, buffs)
Approximate equivalency points (normalised to Attack power)
Offensive stat priority
Expertise rating (before soft cap of 132 rating)
Hit rating (before cap of 263 rating / 230 rating with heroicpresence)
Expertise rating (after soft cap, before hard cap of 377 rating)
Haste rating
Armor penetration
Critical strike rating
Feral attack power
Attack power

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.

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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Alliance players with Draenei in their groups benefit from heroicpresence, bringing the hit cap down to 7% (230 rating).

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 effectively the same as hit rating. While its exact threat contribution is slightly lower because parried attacks generate rage, whereas misses do not (making misses more punishing than parries, and therefore hit rating stronger than expertise past soft cap), expertise also has a very minute defensive value due to reducing parry haste. Overall, they have roughly the same value.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


About the Author


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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