Ok so, a baby bear steps into the room and goes all out to town. There's Feral Faerie Fire flyin' around, faces are getting mangled, there's blood pouring out of miscellaneous lacerations all over the place, things should be good right? Except, why is baby bear getting smushed in the face? BEAR FACES ARE HARD LIKE ROCKS! Baby bear! You're whiffing all your moves! What is going on here?!
The healer for baby bear takes a look and Oh. My. God. Baby bear has mixed stripes with polka dots, there's even a pair of purple shoes in there. This will not do. It's time for the fashion police!!
Every Mob is Crazy 'Bout a Sharp-Dressed Bear
Bears get the benefit of a relatively straightforward stat list and priority chain. Essentially, for now, it goes: Stamina > Agility > Expertise > Hit > AP > all that other stuff. Stamina maintains a slight priority over agility, but it's fairly close, at least, as far as I'm concerned. Which brings me to an important point: Stam vs. Agi is a hotly debated thing in the bear world. Here's what I've dug up as to why so far.
The Agility first camp says that effective health is more important than straight health pool. If you're not familiar with what effective health means, I found you a nice doober about it. Free calculator included! Basically, effective health is how long you can go without a heal when something is punching you in the face really really hard. Now, since agility contributes to armor, dodge, and crit, it's giving you a powerful meal deal of mitigation. Armor will make the hits hurt less, dodge makes the hits land less, and crit means you get to proc savage defense more. Bear bubbles are kinda fun, after all. People in the agility camp figure that since us bears have so much health just from straight gear, we gotta gem, enchant and buff agility and nothing but. The thought goes, what good is 80k hp when one punch from that rotten guy over there takes away 30k of it?
The stam camp says, listen you guys we were designed to be soaker tanks who just eat punches in the face because we can. Who cares if we're getting hit for 20k on a regular basis? We can have 100k health pools! Screw mitigation! Our enormous butts are our mitigation! Since stamina gives us health, and we need health, we need stam stam eggs and stam eggs bacon and stam-- wait, no... wrong reference.
I personally fall in the middle of these two camps, with a slight preference to stamina. I've tried both extremes, and I see advantages to both. So what I generally do when I'm deciding on an upgrade is I'll take a higher stam piece if I don't lose agility, or if I lose only a little bit that I can make up for with gems or enchants. I will gem to fit a socket bonus of 8 or more stamina or agility. I enchant almost exclusively agility, and gem mainly for stamina. This balance makes me a threat monster that's hard to punch into the ground, but doesn't leave me dead if something DOES manage to punch me.
But wait, there's more! Let's talk tier bonuses. The 4t10 bonus is the greatest bonus ever given to bears. It takes Enrage from being a double-edged sword to being a beam of sunlight from the recently-parted clouds. Now, technically, raw stat-wise, the basic tier 10 doesn't stack up against the off-tier badge stuff you can get, but that does not matter. That bonus is worth it. Druids are a cooldown-based class (and I'll ramble about that more later) so getting another mechanic to abuse is awesome! However, if you have any shot at the little statue things to upgrade your tier 10, then do it. Best of both worlds, right? I'm aiming for gloves, shoulders, head and chest (but I'm not quite there yet) for my bonus. Then I've got the ICC crafted boots and I'm getting the pants to match them. Everything else I have picked up where I can. I'm not going to make loot lists. Those are long and boring and there's plenty of sites who do that way better than I ever could. But, when considering and upgrade, your main focus should be on improving stamina or agility, or, ideally, both. Everything else is kind of a bonus. Badge gear and tier gear is usually a nice safe bet, and while defense rating is not optimal, don't turn down a piece just because it has some defense on it. But don't take away a tin can tank's parry item. That's just mean.
That's what I got to say about that.