According to a recent blue Feral Q&A featured at MMO-Champion, Barkskin may now function as a “Shield Block” ability for Bears:
Please pass us some further details as to what other tanking talents/abilities we will be given to help cover the differences between feral tanking and humanoid tanking.
We have to be careful here. Our goal is to make sure all the tanks can do the job, so we want to make sure we don’t give druids an ability that will push them over the edge. Druids were really good tanks in BC, especially near the end of the content. I don’t feel that we are having to make up a huge deficit. I understand you want to have more buttons to push, but compared to BC you now have new cooldowns like Berserk and Barkskin, and some old groaners like Tiger’s Fury and Frenzied Regeneration actually do something cool now.
What! As of the latest beta build, Barkskin is a 12 second spell that reduces all damage taken by 20%. That includes Spell Damage, folks. Couple that with Protector of the Pack, and you can have a ~35% overall damage reduction for 12 seconds to get you through a few rough spots. A total solution to the Druid tanking shitstorm? Maybe not, but it’d be a nice addition if we don’t have to leave Dire Bear to cast it.
Compare to the new Shield Block (with a 1 minute cooldown).