Pet Menagerie – The Bear

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bear

 

Welcome back, folks! Before we get into the topic of this week, I would like to take the time to thank ya’ll for the responses to my last (and technically first) article. It’s very encouraging and I’ll be bearing(har) the comments in mind for this edition and for future ones. Today we’ll be looking at the second of the Lore-master’s zoo of companions, the Bear.

The bear is intended to be the ‘tanky’ pet for the Lore-master, and is more sturdy than the others (aside from the Spirit) to fit this role. We will examine the bear and try to determine just how effective he truly is at that role and as a companion in general.

 

Damage

 

In terms of damage dealing capability the Bear comes out at the top end of the scale. Depending on how long the fight lasts, it’s either ahead or just behind the Lynx. As of this writing it is the only pet whose autoattacks have properly scaled in damage.

He also has a couple of skills that can boost his damage. The first of which is his Shatter Arms skill. This ability increases the incoming Melee and Ranged damage of the target by 10% for 30s, with a 1min cooldown. Naturally this will buff the Bear’s damage output, but it will also increase your own Melee damage, including Staff Strike, Staff Sweep, and your autoattacks which make up a substantial amount of your overall DPS.

This is pretty much the only use I can see for having the Bear out in group instances and raids, as for fights with a single boss mob it can work great for Champions, Hunters and Burglars in particular. Bear (har) in mind however, that the damage component of this skill does NOT scale correctly. Shatter Arms can be set to autofire, and in general solo questing that’s a pretty good idea. In group instances you might be better off saving it for tougher mobs instead of him hitting the trash instead, or for when you know your teammates will be going for a burst of damage.

The second damage skill available to the Bear is Bear Hug. This skill stuns the enemy for three seconds and is also on a 1min cooldown. That’s it. Now you might be thinking, “Hey Ethelros you contemptible berk, LMs have a bunch of stuns! What use is another one?” Well, you’re right really. At lower levels you might be lower on the CC you can use, but as you get higher up this becomes a more and more dismal ability. Unless you’re having your pet distract an enemy way over yonder, I personally don’t see it being a whole lot of good. This skill is like Shatter Arms in that the damage component does not scale and it can be set to autocast. It’s really up to you whether to do so or not, if you really have no other CC to use it can be a decent last resort I suppose.

 

Utility

 

In comparison to the Raven, the Bear does not have quite as much variety in the things that it can do. It’s flank rate is pitiful, being among the lowest of all the pets. But what it does have is one VERY, VERY useful ability that if you can get to grips with using, can amplify your survivability against NPCs tremendously. The ability in question is known as Roaring Challenge. Just like the Guardian’s Challenge skill, this forces the target’s attention to the user for a short period of time, and there are few occasions where this focus can be broken. The force taunt lasts for a period of ten seconds, with a 1min 10s cooldown. If timed right to hit immediately after your initial stun has worn off, you can keep yourself completely free from harm(which also helps your inductions) for 13-15 seconds, depending on what stun you use.

Of course Roaring Challenge is also great for when your Morale starts getting dangerously low. The Bear is generally tough enough to withstand the damage for those ten seconds, and it can buy you enough time to heal yourself with Water Lore, or if you do not have it yet, then Inner Flame (which has the added benefit of healing your companion, ensuring he stays up to defend you, and also transfers part of your threat to him). Unlike the other two skills, this one cannot be set to autocast, so you must remember to cast it yourself.

Now we look at the big question surrounding the Bear; can he tank effectively? Well from my perspective, no. No he can’t. He’s survivable enough, sure, and with healing support from his owner he can hold up strong against most opponents. The big issue here is that he simply cannot hold aggro from an LM that is making even the slightest effort to do damage. The taunt will wear off eventually, and when it does that mob is going to make a beeline straight towards you.

In short, the Bear can be the best tank ever… unless you’re attacking the same mob as it.

 

Conclusion

 

My final thoughts on the Bear; it’s a decent pet. In terms of the things it can do it’s not that great, but it does do fairly good damage (for a pet) and that force taunt is just amazing stuff. It’s most helpful for solo questing due to the increased DPS, but as noted earlier the debuff can be situationally useful in group and raid content to speed up killing.

That’s all for this edition. Thanks for reading and in the next article we will be looking over what is possibly my favourite pet, the Lynx! Remember to leave a comment and any advice, feedback or disagreements below. See you all next time!

3 comments

  1. Andang /

    I love the first time you get a bear…it is a very cool moment as a Lore Master

  2. Ringeras /

    Another good installment in a new series. Well done, Ethelros!

    I agree with your assessment of the bear. While they are as tankish as an LM pet gets, my advice to new lore-masters is to not think of the bear as a tank but more as a speed-bump. The mobs can and do break off of the bear and attack you and often when you least expect it. You want to be ready, able and willing to get into the thick of things with your bear. Your bear just lets you have more control of the flow of the battle.

    What you can do with your bear is keep the enemy distracted and slowed long enough that they die before they turn their attention to you. So consider the Bear Hug is almost an interrupt/distraction rather than a stun. Roaring Challenge and bear threat mechanics are more like the old example of the playground fight where you can get the better of your adversary by a well-timed “Hey, look over there!” so that you can make your strike or get into a deep induction while they aren’t looking at you.

    If you do need tanking action from your bear, feeding him a pot of Honey and Oats first will help his armor value and perceived threat.

    Shatter Arms gets my vote for the best skill for your bear and it comes at lvl 21 so it’s a nice piece of buffing for your adventures when you finally leave Bree for North Downs or the Lone Lands.

  3. The bear is also a good pet to play tag–gather up enemies for group debuffs and attacks.

    I can quickly chain-target my bear on spread-out mobs: Target, let the bear attack for a few seconds, then target the next. Any pet can start this Conga line, but the bear is tanky enough to tag a good number of mobs without getting dicey. Always target a ranged enemy last; it won’t always chase. A good rule of thumb is to tag as many enemies as the smallest “max targets” of your favorite debuff/destroy routine.

    Once they are gathered, debuff and destroy. Your lore skills will not aggro mobs your bear has tagged; the damage from his autoattack trumps the threat from lore skills. It’s also often enough to use gust of wind without immediate reprisal. I tend to lead the damage with gust of wind followed by cracked earth; it lets me get away or use Inner Flame from a distance if I over-pulled.

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