This post is going to be pretty short and sweet. As you all know two weeks ago, 3.3.3 introduced a new Mangle change:
Mangle: The debuff from this talent now lasts 60 seconds, up from 12 seconds.
Most kitty kats rejoiced at this change since there was essentially no longer a requirement to keep mangle up (or only a need to put it up once every 60s). This helps to simplify the challenging rotation we have while at the same time increasing the dps output possible with less energy being spent on mangle. For those who are lucky enough to have a bear tank or arms warrior (or both like me!) there was no change at all in rotation or dps output.
There is a fundamental spec change that needs to be made for those who are manglebots in their raid. Previously there was a need to spec 3/3 Improved Mangle to reduce the energy cost. Now that Mangle lasts for 60s there is absolutely no reason to spend 3 talent points into an ability that is used once every minute or 3-6 times on an average fight. Instead this frees up 3 points that can be spent elsewhere. First your base spec should be this (0/52/16) leaving 3 points remaining. I don’t think anyone would debate my choice here as this is pretty cookie cutter stuff. The question now is, where to put the last 3 points? I would say you really have 3 potential paths, each of which is viable depending on your raid composition and environment.
Personally this is where I drop my points and this is the spec I’ve used for a very long time (even pre 3.3.3). Now I know there are a lot of haters out there that think Ferocious Bite is a useless ability and is not worth the points but I strongly disagree. It has its uses and its utility increases as you get closer and closer to the crit cap. The more and more you crit, the easier and faster you gain combo points, the more excess energy you will have which can be dumped using Ferocious Bite (as long as your dots are rolling). Mind you, its not a lot of extra dps, but if you want to optimize and generate your maximum output this is where you want to invest your points.
If you have a tendency to lag, have bad fps, have slower reaction times or if your healers are not as quick on the uptake, survivability may outweigh 9% increased damage on an ability that is used sparingly and very select situations. In most raids, surviving is much more important than a few extra dps you can squeeze out and there’s always a chance that a tank will die and you may be called upon to quickly shift into Bear Form and tank. Points invested here will go a long way to keeping you and your raid alive.
This is completely dependent on your raid composition but if an attack speed slow debuff isn’t being applied (on a regularly basis) its probably best that you invest your points into Infected Wounds. A few other classes can provide this (DK: Icy Touch, Paladin: Judgement of the Just, Warrior: Thunderclap) so take a look at your raid comp and find out if this debuff is already provided.
Finally, these suggestions are generalized to focus on one of the three categories. There is nothing stopping you from mixing and matching to get a combination of benefits. For example, you could spec 4/5 Feral Aggression and spend 1 point into Survival Instincts. Hopefully you’ve already made the adjustment and removed the 3 points from Imp Mangle but if you haven’t take these points into consideration when you make the switch.