Below are my talent recommendations for various situations along with an in depth look into each talent choice.
Recommended Defensive Build:
- Bristling Fur (ST / low mob count) / Blood Frenzy (AoE, high mob count)
- Guttural Roars
- Restoration Affinity
- Galactic Guardian
- Guardian of Elune
Recommended High Mythic+ & Cleave Build:
- Brambles (passive damage increase) / Blood Frenzy (generates more rage)
- Guttural Roars
- Balance Affinity
- Galactic Guardian
- Guardian of Elune
- Rend and Tear
Recommended ST DPS Build:
Tier 1 - Level 15:
Brambles is a passive that simply increases our DPS, this talent should be taken when survivability isn't an issue and you want to output more damage. With Brambles talented, you want to try to use Barkskin as it comes off cool down to further increase your damage output.
Bristling Fur is a 40 second cool down that generates Rage from damage you take for 8 seconds, this is the best choice for survivability on single target and low cleave situations due to its high Rage generation and ability to time it with boss abilities. While Bristling Fur is active it is important to make sure that you are spending the incoming Rage quickly and efficiently so that you don't cap as well as using it in situations where you will take high damage to generate the most Rage. Additionally you should try to avoid using this ability along with damage reduction abilities as you will generate less Rage as you are taking less incoming damage.
Blood Frenzy causes Thrash to generate 2 Rage each time it deals damage, with this talented it is important to keep your Thrash bleed up permanently on multiple targets to maximise on Rage generation. This talent is the best option for survivability in cleave and AoE situations as it provides high passive Rage generation.
Tier 2 - Level 30:
Wild Charge provides you with various extra mobility depending on which shape shift form you are currently in which can be useful if the other talent options are not required for an encounter.
Tier 3 - Level 45:
Balance Affinity increases the range of all of our abilities by 5 yards as well as giving us access to multiple Balance spells. This talent is mostly taken to help in aggroing AoE mobs and maintaining DPS uptime due to our attacks increased range, most of the Balance spells are rather lacklustre however Sunfire can be used if out of melee range and if it will hit more than 1 target.
Feral Affinity increases our movement speed by 15% as well as giving us access to multiple Feral spells. This talent should be your go to choice if you want to maximise your DPS on single target raid encounters by 'catweaving'. You can find more information on how to play with this talent in the Play style & Rotation section.
Restoration Affinity grants us a passive heal as well as giving us access to multiple Restoration spells. You should take this talent if you feel like you will need the extra survivability that it provides, however the other two talents on this row are more preferable for damage and utility in most cases. Additionally, the healing spells you are provided with are mostly not worth using with the exception of Swiftmend in very niche situations.
Tier 4 - Level 60:
Mighty Bash provides us with a 5 second stun on a 50 second cool down, useful if an encounter requires you to stun a target.
Mass Entanglement is an AoE root that can be useful for crowd control, however it breaks on damage making it pretty unreliable overall.
Typhoon is a knock back ability which can be useful for crowd control and interrupting mobs, this should be your default talent choice for this tier as it provides the most utility overall.
Tier 5 - Level 75:
Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc is a 3 minute cool down that gives us an improved Bear Form for 30 seconds that provides us with 15% more armor, causes Mangle to cleave and reduces the cool down of Growl and melee DPS abilities to 1.5 seconds. This talent can be useful in specific Mythic+ dungeons such as Maw of Souls where the dungeon is generally cleared in 3 big pulls that are spaced out between bosses to allow the cool down to reset.
Galactic Guardian has a 10% chance to proc from your attacks and causes it to cast a free Moonfire as well as buff your next Moonfire cast to deal 300% more direct damage and generate 8 Rage. This talent provides us with the highest Rage generation on the tier as well as a strong cleave and AoE bonus by making Moonfire easier to maintain on multiple targets, because of this, Moonfire becomes our highest priority to cast when we have this proc active. Galactic Guardian should be taken in most situations.
Tier 6 - Level 90:
Earthwarden causes Thrash to grant us a buff that reduces the damage of the next autoattack we take by 30%, stacking up to 3 times. As this talent only reduces damage from autoattacks and not other abilities it is rather weak in comparison to the other talents.
Guardian of Elune causes Mangle to increase the duration of the next Ironfur or Mark of Ursol by 2 seconds, or to increase the healing of the next Frenzied Regeneration by 20%. This talent should be your go to choice for the tier as the increased Frenzied Regeneration healing is very strong along with the ability to have a higher active mitigation up time.
Survival of the Fittest reduces the cool down of Barkskin and Survival Instincts by 33%, this talent is rather situational but could be useful if an encounter requires you to have cool downs available again sooner. Additionally this talent can provide a minor DPS increase paired with Brambles as it allows more frequent Barkskin use.
Tier 7 - Level 100:
- You are tanking 2+ mobs & the targets are alive long enough for multiple Thrash stacks to be applied.
- Playing Feral Affinity in raids for catweaving
- Using talent Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc
Therefore in most cases this talent will only be used for mid-high level Mythic+ or select boss encounters. However if you have the legendary legs, Elize's Everlasting Encasement , then this talent becomes a more viable pick for defensive purposes too. The legendary legs will make Rend and Tear the best defensive talent choice on single target and above if;
- You don't drop Thrash stacks and they are up for ~90s+, it is at this point you start getting the value of the damage reduction versus the instant damage reduction on Pulverize
Lunar Beam deals high AoE damage and healing over 8 seconds, this talent can be useful in lower Mythic+ dungeons where targets don't live long enough to apply high Thrash stacks for Rend and Tear. Lunar Beam should be used to burst down annoying packs of mobs and to provide some burst healing utility for your group.
Pulverize consumes 2 stacks of Thrash to deal damage and reduce all damage we take by 9% for 20 seconds. Pulverize is the go-to talent for survivability in raids and challenging Mythic+ (unless using the Elize's Everlasting Encasement legendary as mentioned above). It deals high ST damage.
Claws of Ursoc provides us with the spell, Rage of the Sleeper which gives us a defensive cooldown that also reflects damage. As we gain Artifact Power, we can spend it on damage, survivability and utility traits, here is the route I recommend you take:
At the end simply max out the armor increasing trait, Ursoc's Bond.
Ideally for DPS you want 3x Jagged Claws relics, and it is worth sacrificing ilvl to achieve this. They will be a significant DPS boost, particularly in Mythic+ and even more so if you have the legendary bracers; Luffa Wrappings