Microblog: A Sunnier Bear Redux

I’ve finally leveled my druid to 110. This is the first time this character has been max level since she was my main back in Cataclysm. Readers who have been around here a long time might remember her.

I’ve resisted playing her for a few expansions because on TankCast we want to cover all the tank classes, and Arielle has druid pretty damn well covered. But those glowy bears and cats were too much for me!

If I was being the best tankcaster, I would have leveled my warrior. I already have a death knight at 110 (to try to understand them). But then I transferred my druid over and I was once again smitten by turning into a wild animal.

I leveled as feral. Back when this was my main, guardian as a spec didn’t exist, so I felt like I’d pay tribute to my history by staying feral. Also, I like to watch cat form run. I liked to watch cat form run back in 2006 when it was an ugly wyvern monster (I played horde), and I like it even more now when it’s a sleek beautiful wildcat of my own choosing.

Luckily, feral plays really similar to what I remember. I’m not used to the Regrowth buffing bleeds, but everything else is nearly the same. At least similar enough for me to function without getting confused.

Once I hit 110 I tried bear again for some dungeons. Bear has changed much more. Active mitigation, no lacerate, spammable swipe, moonfire. I like all the changes though. Bear feels like a good sandwich. There’s not a lot of unique flash, it’s not a gourmet goat cheese alfredo with lamb, but all the pieces are there and when they come together it’s incredibly satisfying.

There’s a lot of aspects that make bears really easy to pick up (and I don’t mean that in a bad way). Their pull ability (moonfire) has no cooldown, no travel time, no chance to pick up extra packs, just always there when you need it. They always have something for aoe pickup (swipe). Even Ironfur usage has remarkably few questions upfront. At low rage levels you just use it when you can, and later that morphs into keeping a stack up most of the time and choosing when to have two stacks.

I don’t think all the similar restrictions on other tanks are bad in comparison, just that the upfront simplicity of bears is welcome. I love brewmasters, but there’s no doubt picking one up from scratch requires learning the basics of stagger and restrictions on pulling with Keg Smash and a load of complications. It’s a sandwich vs. an artisan sour IPA. Both are good, but one is instantly appealing and the other might take some time to acquire the taste.

Anyway, now that I’ve sort of let my DH fall by the wayside, this druid has a pretty good chance of becoming my preferred alt. I especially want those neon bear skins! Being able to finally transmog my bear form might be the most exciting change.

Some other things that I’ve been enjoying about the druid:

  • Big strong paw weapons
  • Transmog from a way back that makes me nostalgic
  • Movement out in the world is so smooth with travel form.
  • Why can’t I enjoy the dps specs of my monk and DH the way I enjoy all the druid specs?
  • Happy classes suit me better on a thematic level. Demon hunters and death knights are so serious all the time. Druids get cutesy followers like Brightwing.
  • Giant fat tank. Pandaren are as close as I can get otherwise. I love that fat lumbering bear butt.
  • Thrash might be the most satisfying button to hit in the game. It makes up for the lack of Ironfur animation.
  • Really all the new animations are great, for both bear and cat.