Most WoW theory is about maximizing raid damage. But for the next few weeks we're all playing a different game: levelling up, mostly fighting mobs solo. What's the way to spec for solo play? The big thing is that Shred and Rip are basically useless when fighting alone. We also care about survival, particularly healing and damage mitigation.
Here's some talents that have unusual utility while levelling:
Feral Instinct: Stealth makes a lot of quests go faster and swipe spam is good bear AoE.
Feral Swiftness: moving faster is the #1 way to help you finish quests quicker.
Brutal Impact: Stuns are a big help when solo.
Nurturing Instinct: boosts your LotP self-heal, also makes your emergency Rejuvenation work better.
Improved LotP: passive self healing is huge. Also gives you mana!
Infected Wounds: 10% attack speed reduction on whatever you're fighting.
Improved Mangle: Mangle spam is your #1 cat DPS when solo.
Rend and Tear: Ferocious Bite will be your primary finishing move when fighting solo. OTOH, the Shred bonus is wasted.
Berserk: three minute cooldown means you can use it every two or three pulls
Talents that are not so useful in solo play:
Unfortunately there are way more talents I'd like to take for solo play than ones I'm willing to give up. Here's three possible compromise specs:
- 0/50/11 Burning Crusade raiding spec (Cat DPS focus, level 70)
- 0/50/11 WotLK levelling spec. (Solo focus, level 70)
- 0/60/11 WotLK levelling spec. (Solo focus, level 80)
Going level 70 to 80 I'd take Berserk first, then Brutal Impact, then Rend and Tear, and finally Shredding Attacks. Of course this is all speculation, we'll see how the game plays.
PS: dear Blizzard. It was nice of you to give Moonkin two free talent points in the 3.0.3 patch. How about us poor ferals? Our tree is too tight.