June 20, 2020

LOTRO: Beorning Guide - In Depth Beginner's Guide and Class Overview



This LOTRO class guide focuses on general aspects of the Beorning class, expanding on the overview from LOTRO Basics: Classes of LOTRO Guide. The goal of the guide is to cover:

  • An overview of the Beorning
  • Detail Beorning gameplay, traits, and builds
  • Discuss how Beornings fit into LOTRO and compare to other classes


Guide Updated: 2020/05/04 – Published!

Beorning Resource Page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/beorning-class-guides.html

All Class Guides and Resources: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/class-guides-and-resources.html


Table of Contents





Introduces lore, fantasy, and a description of the Beorning class.

Role and Viability

Covers how Beornings fit into LOTRO and compares them to the other classes. Also contains a role evaluation on viability.

Gameplay Overview

Gives a general overview of how the Beorning plays in combat, introducing basic concepts and covering some notable abilities.

Specs - Traits and Gameplay Expanded

Goes into further detail on each spec: covering a build and the traits, detailing gameplay mechanics for the spec, and offering a skill priority rotation.

Quick Tips

Some to-the-point tips I have picked up from my experience with the Beorning!

Material Not Covered

A quick list of material that was not covered in this guide and where you may find that info – notably, this guide does not include the end game meta and gearing.

Review, Feedback, and Closing Thoughts

A short review with some feedback and recommendations for the Beorning, for dev consideration and community comment.



Beorning Background


The creation of the Beorning class was inspired by Beorn, a skin-changing character in The Hobbit, which was released around the same time as the class. The Beornings in LOTRO are descendants of Beorn, able to skin-change into a bear. They were reserved in wilderness for a long time, gaining a deep connection with nature. In game, Beornings originate at Beorninghus, a small lodging encampment that was fully fleshed out in the Vales of Anduin zone update.



Beorn. Source: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zAW7tDdBNE


Often compared to Druids, the shapeshifting class in World of Warcraft, Beornings are the first class to be able to change forms of their own character – between Man and bear forms. They, however, play very differently than Druids (where bear form is for tanking), as they balance swapping between Man and bear form in combat, no matter the role.


The Wrath Bar


Beornings provided another new system to LOTRO – wrath, which replaces power – the resource all other classes have under their health bar. Wrath has a cap of 100 and functions similar to rage in World of Warcraft, which bear form Druids actually use in that game. It is quickly built with a slew of Man form skills or passively over time in bear form. In a somewhat recent change, bear form Beornings can now generate wrath with Thrash – the primary bear form attack, while most other bear form skills consume wrath for powerful effects.


Beorning bears are no exception to the rule that bears like honey. The class has the ability to bake Honey-cakes which provides a small amount of morale and power regen (you will need to make one hundred of these for a class deed!). They can also use their skill in honey to swarm enemies with Bees, which is not pleasant, to say the least.



The Role and Viability of the Beorning in Group Content


The specs of the Beorning and their role:

  • Blue: Tank – Focuses on grabbing aggro from enemies and using bear form to gain survivability and damage capabilities.
  • Red: DPS – Focuses on bleeding enemies while building wrath in man and bear forms preparing to consume wrath to unleash devastating blows and executing enemies.
  • Yellow: Healer – Focuses on balancing wrath builders and consumers while keeping allies alive and debuffing enemies.


Being able to perform the three major roles a group needs, Beornings are very flexible when it comes to grouping. However, the flexibility brings the drawback that Beornings are often not considered the very best at their respective roles by the community. Although, this does not mean the Beorning is not sought after or good enough for group content.


Quick role evaluation:


  • Blue - Beornings are viable tanks, providing a unique tanking experience with very high morale, strong passive defenses, and ability to self-sustain.
  • Red – Beorning DPS at endgame is not as strong as other classes as it does not scale well with level (it is very high DPS at low levels), however, its DPS is not very low, either.
  • Yellow – Beornings are most often sought after for their ability to heal with strong AoE burst healing and provide unique debuffs to enemies.


Each role will be covered in more detail in the specs section.



Beorning Gameplay

Gameplay video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx6CNrzWw9w

Beorning gameplay revolves around balancing wrath in man and bear forms. As with a lot of classes, the flow of gameplay changes depending on spec. In general, Beornings build wrath in man form and consume it in bear form. Briefly, for each spec:

  • Tank Beornings prefer to stay in bear form as long as possible
  • DPS Beornings briefly switch to bear form, maintaining high amounts of wrath throughout combat
  • Healing Beornings swap forms the most to maintain high amounts of wrath and consume it for strong heals


Man Form

No passives bonuses.


Beornings have three basic abilities in man form that build wrath – Slash, Slam, and Biting Edge. These are used to build wrath and deal damage in man form, potentially gaining boosts with traits. Additionally, red and blue line get an additional basic skill that provides a buff and generates wrath.


Other notable man form abilities:

Ferocious Roar - generates wrath before combat, gaining other benefits from class traits.

Hearten – used to heal, costing 10 wrath at baseline.


Bear Form

Requires 1 wrath to enter. Generates wrath over time (1 per 3 seconds baseline).


Largely, bear form abilities are either unique to specs or have different effects based on spec.

Thrash is the most consistent between the specs, dealing damage and generating 5 wrath. This skill tiers up three times – rewarding you for using it repeatedly.


Other notable bear form abilities:

Relentless Maul – Channeled mauling of nearby enemies to do AoE damage.

Vigilant Roar – Ranged forced taunt that deals damage.

Grisly Cry – Ranged attack that deals damage and fears an enemy for a short duration.


Both Forms


The Beorning has a variety of abilities available in both forms – often providing utility. These also can largely change based on class traits and spec. A notable skill includes Bee Swarm – ranged wrath consumer that deals a light DoT.


Your interrupt, corruption remover, and debuff remover are also available in both forms.


The interrupt, Viscious Claws, is an immediate skill may be used to animation cancel – a game mechanic to attack quicker and maximize output. Read more about animation cancelling here: https://www.lotrobasics.com/2020/05/animation-cancelling.html.


Dual-wield vs. 2-handed Weapon (DW vs 2H)


Weapon choice can have a significant impact on the flow of combat and damage of abilities for the Beorning.


DW is best for man form, healing, and a strong consideration for tanking. This will provide an extra attack, more damage, and faster animations with man form abilities. At high levels, it importantly allows for extra stats.


2H is best for maximizing damage in bear form – bear form skills only draw damage from the main-hand and do not take into account an off-hand for DW bears.


For the casual player, weapon choice will not matter too much, however, to min-max, it is best to weapon swap in combat between DW and 2H. In general, I use DW over 2H while leveling, it can be easier to get a solid 2H than two 1H weapons – at which point, I would recommend using the best weapon you have.


A Brief Note on Legendary Items


At end game, I begin my imbued legendary build with a 2H, to not have to worry about an off-hand weapon. Some Beornings opt to not use a legendary weapon for healing because its legacies primarily contribute to bear form damage output – DWing non-Lis allows for more stats (and is a lot cheaper/easier)!



Beorning Specializations and Trait Builds


This section will take an individual look at each trait line and some builds for the specs for the Beorning, also going into a little more detail on their gameplay.


Blue Beorning


Trait Build (50 Points)




This build is optimized for the tanking role in group content and survival for solo content. It mostly focuses on defensive tanking options, however.


Notable traits not picked:

Opposing Presence – I opt to not pick this in the build, however, going the full 5 points could be useful for the force taunt, otherwise up to 4 points to increase Biting Edge damage.


Notable traits for further in the build:

This build is quite flexible, allowing you to continue in the yellow line for more survivability and utility or down the red line for increased damage.

Notable in yellow: Improved Hearten, Desperate Shouts, Stampede (1 point), Takedown, Debilitating Bees, Piercing Roar.

Notable in red: Bleed Damage, Serrated Edge, Lumber, Composure.


Gameplay – Tanking Skill Priority/Rotation


Tanking Beornings try to maintain buffs and debuffs while maximizing time spent in bear form. Bear form greatly increases defenses and morale and opens up healing abilities, allowing the Beorning to survive longer. Additionally, force taunts and utility skills are also available in bear. Man form is primarily used to build wrath, maintain buffs and debuffs, and to use Hearten – to heal up and generate wrath.


While tanking priorities do not always pan out in practice, it is good to keep an idea of strong skills and what the gameplay may look like. It is important to use your utility skills and CDs as needed and not focus on just dishing out damage as a tank.


  1. Maintain high wrath for bear form
    1. Alternate Thrash and Claw Swipe – during down time in bear form
    2. If low on health or taking large damage, add Recuperate into the mix
    3. Also if low on health, add Vigilant Roar on CD if the force taunt is not needed
  2. Use Roars and utility skills as needed (both forms)
  3. Bee Swarm – for the debuff
  4. Hearten to gain morale
    1. Recuperate may also be used in bear form
  5. Build wrath in man form as needed
    1. Guarded Attack to boost mitigations while in man form
    2. Slam to debuff enemy damage while in man form
    3. Biting Edge for AoE damage and force taunt if trait is chosen
    4. Slash as filler


Red Beorning


Trait Build (50 Points)




This build is optimized for the DPS role and soloing/leveling. It notably excludes Execute-boosting traits because I do not recommend that Execute be used.


Notable traits not picked:

Enraging Sacrifice, which may be picked if you can often find a target for Sacrifice, allowing you to generate more wrath with its use.


Notable traits for further in the build:

Upgrading Rending Blow to Armour Crush in the blue line.

Tactical Mitigation and Vitality Increase in the blue line.

Fate in the yellow line.

Debilitating Bees in the yellow line.


Gameplay – DPS Skill Priority/Rotation


DPS Beornings try to maintain high amounts of wrath while dealing s bleed damage and using bear form for wrath consumers. At higher levels, wrath translates into critical chance, so it becomes important to stay at maximum wrath. Most of the time, it is optimal to stay in man form for maximum damage and wrath, while only swapping to bear form to use Bash and Relentless/Brutal Maul. Using Thrash while in bear form three times also gives an increased damage buff, and, as noted below, is good to use alternately with other skills while in bear form.


Red line follows a priority-based rotation on using strongest abilities first when off CD. With the Beorning, you always want to be using an ability since the short CDs allow for it. When in either form, you are often wanting to alternate Slash or Thrash with your other skills to maximize efficiency. Slash will build moderate tiering bleed damage while Thrash will build an outgoing damage buff. The priority lists below are based on skill strength – what you want to prioritize for maximum damage. It is still important to fit in Thrash and Slash in the alternating manner.


Most of your damage comes from Relentless Maul, it should be your highest priority to use on CD. It can be combined with Ferocious Roar to guarantee a critical hit on every “tick” of Relentless Maul. Finally, Vicious Claws is an ‘immediate’ skill, which can be used to cancel the animation of a skill you are executing, allowing you use other skills quicker. This can be a good option to use right after Bash is triggered, as it is one of the longest animations for Beornings.


Note: even as DPS it is best to use your utility skills when needed!


ST Priority

  1. Expose – for the buff
  2. Bash – maintaining the bleed
  3. Relentless Maul – strongest ability, try to combo with Ferocious Roar right before it
  4. Viscious Claws – use as animation canceller when the interrupt is not needed and to help refresh Bash
  5. Biting Edge – maintain the bleed
  6. Bash – on CD if no other skill above may be used
  7. Slash – maintaining the bleed
  8. Thrash – going for tier 3 whenever possible, maintaining the outgoing damage buff
  9. Bee Swarm – if DoT is not present or to alternate with Thrash while in bear form
  10. Expose – on CD, generally only used for the buff
  11. Slam


AoE Priority

  1. Expose – for the buff, exclude on short fights
  2. Relentless Maul – try to combo with Ferocious Roar right before it
  3. Biting Edge
  4. Thrash Tier 3 – requires Thrash T1 and T2 used first
  5. Bash – on priority target
  6. Fill with ST priority



I generally do not use Execute or recommend its use, not only because of its low damage, but especially due to the crit bonus for maintaining high amounts of wrath from the trait bonus Wrathful.


Yellow Beorning


Trait Build (50 Points)




This build is optimized for healing in group content.


Notable traits not picked:

Levelling Roar – I find I am in melee enough that getting extra damage with the stun is useful with Takedown.


Notable traits for further in the build:

Vitality Increase and finishing Critical Chance.

Blue line offers some utility with Rending Blow and Armour Crush, Sacrifice and All on the Line, Tactical Mitigation Increase, Assertive Roar, and Sluggish Stings.

Red line offers a DPS increase, most notably with Bleed Damage, and Serrated Edge.


Gameplay – Healing Skill Priority/Rotation


Beorning healing involves balancing man and bear form to keep allies alive while dealing chip damage and providing powerful debuffs to enemies. In man form, wrath is built with basic damaging abilities and ST heals, while in bear form, wrath is consumed for powerful AoE heals.


It is important to always keep a priority healing target marked with Mark of Grimbeorn and priority enemy target marked with Mark of Beorn. It is also a good idea to try to line Relentless Maul up with enemies to hit them while you are healing nearby allies.


Similar to tanking, do not follow this priority to the key as real situations in the game cause you to need to act/heal differently. This is just to highlight some strong abilities and gameplay mechanics in the yellow line!


  1. Heal fellows low on morale that need it
  2. Mark your target enemy and target ally allowing them to receive powerful debuffs and buffs/heals, respectively
  3. Budget wrath – keep wrath as high as possible for when it is needed for powerful heals
  4. Maintain debuffs and buffs
    1. Bee Swarm on CD
    2. Vicious Claws on CD if interrupt is not needed
    3. Piercing Roar to decrease enemy damage
    4. Slash to boost your healing output – Maintain tier 3 buff if possible
  5. Takedown (or Leveling Roar) for stun
  6. Build wrath
    1. Nature’s Mend and Hearten to heal in man form and build wrath
    2. Otherwise, damage enemies to build wrath while no one needs healing
  7. Damaging abilities…
    1. If no one needs healing, damage foes!
    2. Thrash if in bear form
    3. Biting Edge
    4. Slam
    5. Slash
  8. As always, use utility skills when needed!



Quick Beorning Tips


Here are some tips I have picked up from my experience playing and watching other Beornings!



  • Hearten is useful to quickly generate wrath after the initial cost, in addition to healing if you have the blue line trait for it.
  • Ferocious Roar in the red line can be useful for guaranteeing a crit on your next ability – using with Relentless Maul will allow you to crit with every attack during its channel.
  • While you can use Thrash and Slash to transform into bear and man form, respectively, using the form changing ability can be smoother with CDs and global CDs, readying you to use stronger abilities in either form quicker.
  • Bear form Beornings cannot be silenced. Additionally, transforming into bear removes disarms.
  • Low level Beornings are very strong
    • Healing Beornings can off-tank and deal moderate damage all while healing.
    • DPS Beornings can kill lots of things very fast – man form is generally strongest at low levels (before you get Relentless Maul).
    • Tanking Beornings are likely the weakest of the three because they get stronger tanking abilities at higher levels, however, are still plenty good to clear low level content. Claw Swipe still deals strong AoE damage on a short CD at low levels.



Material Not Covered in This Guide


This guide does not cover stats, virtues, LI builds, current gear meta, etc. This is to keep the guide relevant in the future as that stuff can quickly become outdated. Not covering these topics also allows the guide to fit both the regular servers and legendary servers. Additionally, target stats and virtue traits are largely similar for all classes in LOTRO, making it convenient to source that information elsewhere.


You may find guides containing this info on the Beorning class page: https://www.lotrobasics.com/p/beorning-class-guides.html



Quick Beorning Class Review and Thoughts


This will be a more subjective section, but I want to offer some of my thoughts on the class.


In general, Beornings have few skills relative to other classes. They have a basic corruption removal, basic interrupt, a small number of CDs, and only a handful of regular abilities. This can be good for a simple framework for the class, similar to Champion and Hunter, but can make gameplay feel repetitive after a while.


Red Line Gameplay


I bring this one up a lot, but I believe that red line gameplay feels flawed. As brought up in my large video on this topic, I think that bear form is overall too weak and wrath consumption is not meaningful. Red line gameplay currently focuses on maintaining high wrath and avoiding wrath consumption unless necessary (Bash and Maul).


There are a few ideas I have for how this could be remedied, however I want to keep it general here. I think wrath consumption should be promoted and the benefit of having high wrath should be its consumption for strong skills, not something passive (like the current crit bonus). I think bear form should be more useful and feel stronger, in general. Make bear form stronger, in general. Right now, my Beornings deal more damage in man form except for utilizing Maul CDs (20 seconds) and Bash, while only using other skills to alternate with Thrash.


Blue and Yellow Line


I believe these two trait lines are the best built and provide solid gameplay. Blue line has meaningful wrath consumption and a smooth rotation that is able to be maintained in bear form. Yellow line has unique gameplay with balancing man and bear form for different heals – also having meaningful wrath consumers.


Overall, the Beorning offers a unique LOTRO experience while viably filling roles in group content, but as the class is played more, issues can become more noticeable. If you are considering purchasing the class, I highly recommend knowing what you are getting. While I find the class fun – particularly as tank – some players may get bored with it quickly.





Feedback and comments are greatly appreciated!


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