Cataclysm brought out a new way to do talents and specializations. Trees have become more simplistic (now with only 31pt “final” talents), open up various bonuses for that spec, give one class-defining spell, and provide a Mastery Bonus specific to that tree. You will also find that you cannot progress down other trees until you have spent 31 talent points in your chosen tree.
There are 36 talent points available to use at level 80. There is still speculation going on as to what is the “best” spec. Regardless of what you choose, the standard will be 0/33/3. Now, why not 0/31/5? You can’t get to the second tier of Resto until level 81. There is no point in taking Natural Shapeshifter until Cataclysm comes out.
Below is a list of talents what I consider mandatory and what I consider optional. Keep in mind that you will have to take some of the optional talents to get to the lower tiers, and that some will be better than others for this choice.
Mandatory Feral Talents
2/2 Feral Swiftness
2/2 Infected Wounds
3/3 Fury Swipes
2/2 Primal Fury
2/2 Feral Aggression (Some will argue against this. I find that having the max armor debuff up before anyone has even hit a boss is a must.)
1/1 Feral Charge
3/3 Thick Hide
1/1 Leader of the Pack
2/2 Brutal Impact
1/1 Survival Instincts
2/2 Endless Carnage (The longer the buff is up, the less downtime on Lacerate you have, the more Berserk procs you can get.)
2/2 Natural Reaction
3/3 Rend and Tear
Mandatory Resto Talents
3/3 Heart of the Wild
Optional Feral Talents
3/3 King of the Jungle (For those of you with 4T10; The bonus *may* be bugged with the Enrage change)
2/2 Stampede (Not too much use for this currently. It’s more shiny than anything)
Examples(Not much variation, honestly):
Feral specialization will give you:
Mangle (Level 10; 15 Rage, Instant, 6 sec Cooldown)
Mangle the target for 230% normal damage plus (260 * 2.3) and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 min.
Increases your attack power by 25%
Each time you take damage while in Bear Form, you gain 5% of the damage taken as attack power, up to a maximum of 10% of your health.
Reduces the chance enemies have to detect you while Prowling.
Mastery: Savage Defender (Level 80)
Increases the damage absorbed by your Savage Defense ability by 32%. Each point of Mastery increases the absorb by an additional 4%.
Feral Mastery is one of the more powerful Tank masteries currently. It will scale very well with gear.
What is Mastery? Mastery is a new-fangled stat that works the same as any other rating stat. X amount of Mastery Rating will give you Y amount of Mastery. For each point of Mastery that you have, the value of your Mastery Bonus will increase. In the case of Bears, Savage Defender. So, if you have 1 Mastery, your Savage Defense will increase the absorption amount by 36%.
(Need confirmation on whether this is additive or multiplicative)