Druid Tanking Tips

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The job of a tank in World of Warcraft is to make themselves the focus of enemy monsters, taking the hits so the other players in the group don't have to. While Warriors and Paladins do this by donning heavy armor and shields, and smashing the enemy with whatever weapon is at hand, Druids take a more... natural approach.

In order to gain the type of thick armor needed to survive hits from the scariest bosses in the game, Druids shapeshift into hulking bears and shred enemies with their claws. That's one way to hold somebody's attention!

Despite the difference in approach in how Druids tank compared to Warriors and Paladins, the actual functions of Druid tanking are not terribly different. Although Druids use their claws and thick hides instead of swords and plate armor, they essentially operate the same way.

They use abilities that produce a lot of threat, and they have large health pools and high armor values. In fact, their numbers are usually even higher. So why would a player ever choose another tank?

Crushing Blows: The Druid's Main Drawback in World of Warcraft

The big difference between Druid tanks and Warriors or Paladins is a thing called crushing blows. Any World of Warcraft player is familiar with critical strikes, and crushing blows are similar to criticals. They only deal fifty percent more damage than normal strikes, but are much harder to prevent than critical strikes.

The details of crushing blows are outside the scope of this article, but suffice to say that where Warriors and Paladins can prevent them, Druids cannot. This means that bear tanks will suffer occasional spikes of damage that other tanks won't.

This can be a risk, as bosses' normal hits take off about a quarter of a tank's health bar!

The other major downside of Druid tanks is that they lack the emergency buttons of a Warrior tank. They have no real way to actively prevent damage like a Warrior - they just have to count on their armor and health to absorb damage. However, since they tend to have more health and armor than other tanks, the act of healing a Druid tank can be somewhat more predictable, even with the risk of crushing blows.

Taking Advantage of the Druid's Versatility in World of Warcraft

Druids bring a lot of other advantages to the table, though. Primarily, they bring versatility. Unlike both Warrior and Paladin tanks, Druids can actually deal a substantial amount of damage while tanking.

Furthermore, when they aren't tanking, Druids can shift into their cat form and deal damage that's competitive with most other classes. Their bear form and cat form use basically the same talent specialization - this allows Druids to switch their role between tanking and damage on the fly (though they do need to change their gear to be most effective).

Another big advantage of Druids is that they bring Rebirth - their combat resurrection ability. Normally, dead characters can only be ressurected when the group isn't engaged in a fight. Once every 20 minutes however, a Druid can resurrect a player mid-battle. This is great for turning the tides of an encounter that's going downhill.

Smart Druid players will take advantage of the wide range of options afforded to the class, and make a great addition to any raid team. What they lose out on in raw mitigation, they make up for in their versatility. Druids make solid main tanks for a raid guild, but where they really shine is an off-tank role, where they can use their damage abilities once they are no longer needed to tank.

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