Article may contain spoilers for players who have yet to purchase a teddy.
After 16 hours of /played time on my newly created Beorning, Bearmark, I think the class has a lot of potential. I’ve been using the red trait line for DPS, and it’s decent and even possibly overpowered if used well. I even managed to spend an hour in PvMP with the Beorning at level 20, which was fun (I made 2 ranks!). I haven’t tried out the blue or yellow lines, but from reading and listening to others in and out of game, the overall feeling people are getting from the new class and its three trait lines is that the Beornings are the new breed of hybrid Captains, or what the Captain class should have been, prior to Helms Deep. I don’t have an opinion on that for now. I’m Captain biased and no bear should be compared to my fellow leaders of men. Yet.
The first fifteen minutes or so after character creation introduced me to the new starter zone of the Beorning, the Vales of Anduin. It’s pretty refreshing and in my opinion, not a rehash of other existing zones. You can even catch a glimpse of the Carrock halfway through the introduction quests. Speaking of which, by the third quest, I was already getting a taste of the Beorning in combat. The bears, as many of you know, doesn’t use power to execute attacks, instead spending its pool of Wrath to unleash damaging skills, heals and other gambits. Players build up wrath by executing ‘builder’ skills, much like how the Champion builds up fervor pips. The catch is, the bulk of your wrath will be spent in Bear-form, to use powerful finishers.
Skills at early levels are as expected, adequate and okay, but at level 20 and above they do become more potent, after I invested some class trait points deeper in the red tree line to increase crit, bleed damage and unlock more attacks. Despite cheesy bear animations, bear-form skills that consumes wrath like the tiered Thrash can dish out a lot of damage, but a downside I encountered is my own over-reliance of using that one particular skill. This happens because Thrash scales in damage up to three times, and the third strike completely mauls mobs – peons and landscape bosses alike.
The Beorning racial traits are interesting and most are decent, but the one that caught me off guard was the trait that grants you the skill to bake honey cakes. Yes, you read right: Beornings get a skill to bake honey cakes. With a short cooldown for making free consumable health and power regeneration food on the go, I think it’s a good and interesting addition to the game. If it is confirmed that these Beorning-baked honey cakes scales with level, then I will be amazed – and very thankful. Away with farming and cooking!
Gear-wise, Beornings wear Medium Armor but aren’t as squishy as the Hunter or Burglar, and are more in-line with the toughness of the Warden. From questing throughout Bree land, old quest reward armor suffices, and the new addition of giving me the choice to pick any piece of medium armor (from helm to feet) from a chest is a nice touch. Might is the main stat for Beornings, and these quest reward armor chests offers medium armor with might and vitality variants. This is mostly due to the lack of might on crafted and guild crafted armor, which is somewhat disappointing. I’m an OCD crafter and have a tendency to gear my toons using the best possible crafted gear, such as teals and purples that requires rare shards and guild reputation. Sadly as mentioned above, most of these crafted armor doesn’t have might on it. I guess landscape rewards will have to do for the time being.
Weapon choices are also interesting. During the infancy levels, I wielded a a two-handed axe to devastating effect. Among others, Beornings can also pick between spears and clubs, with the latter granting a damage bonus (or to hit bonus, can’t recall) from a racial trait. I like racial bonuses, but I hate clubs, period. They just look awful, and there’s nothing menacing about wielding a Legendary Club of the CaveBearMan. You’ll find me using spears, which really is no better without a shield for company.
My final thoughts on the bear: For a thousand Turbine Points, it definitely has great potential and the early levels were good fun as I dabbled with skill rotations and gear. The early DPS red line is as you would expect: hard hitting, crit heavy and oozing bleeds, which made levelling fast and efficient. Bear-form can be improved, with animations somewhat lacking while the mechanics of bear-from skills are basic. At a glance the class offers the classic trinity of tanking, DPS and healing right from the get-go with its trait trees, but will need to be fully tested in future to learn if they are excellent at fulfilling all three roles. I will be taking a harder and more critical look at these aspects of the Beorning, especially the higher level skills and the other two trait trees after level 50 in Moria when things start picking up for most classes. Overall I am interested enough to continue levelling my Beorning as I’m genuinely eager to see how it performs in PvMP and instances at end game. Oh, and to quell the talk of Beornings replacing Captains.
More to come on the Beorning. Till the next post, thanks for reading and have a great week to all!