Suggested skill levels:
Automation: Minimal. To go into detail, there's a very minimal amount of automation that goes into Lycanthrope. You can reasonably get by without a lot of code. I've seen Lycanthropes use nothing but macros and aliases in order to pursue their offense. However, you will have an advantage if you have an affliction tracker with macros that are based off of limb conditions. Also, it's incredibly prudent to create highlights and echoes for when your opponent is utilizing pre-restoration.
As an example, I utilize my number pad exclusively for Lycanthrope excluding a few aliases and function keys. As an example, my "NUM1" key, without CTRL pressed, will execute my dual hamstring macro and thus break both legs. However, if it detects that the enemy already has a broken left leg, it will attempt to mangle that leg. If that leg is mangled, then it will go for the destroy. If it is destroyed and they're not prone, it'll execute a rend/hamstring to the other side of the target's body. If it's destroyed and they're prone, it will jawlock the groin. I have a function macro that will then execute the appropriate rip based on the jawlock that I have.
Your offensive script can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Mine is probably medium of the range in its complexity, but it has worked for me and I'm willing to help people code something together if they need help.
Artifacts: I'm basically going to order these in what I feel is the most useful down to the least.
Amulet of Protection - A given. We get the full benefit from it since we're an unarmored class and we fall over from the slightest breeze.
Constitution - Added constitution goes a long way in ensuring your survivability, which is what Lycanthrope's largest weakness is.
Sip Bonus - Same as the above. Higher sips means greater survivability in classes that will try to bash you to death.
Anti-Web - Web stops our offense in its tracks and its usable with one broken arm. This will basically force your opponent to choose another offensive means to stop you.
Claws - More damage potential from Ferality. These combined with baleful (sensitivity) howls will basically turn opponents into a dead carcass to stuff in your den.
Wolves and Bears:
The following are the differences in abilities between wolves and bears.
Classes you are strong against:
Sentinel - You can shut Sentinels down since their offense is entirely based on them having both arms in order to strike. You also have the ability to startle their raven and butterfly away, which will negate the rest of their passive offense on a whole. You can also neckdrag them out of their traps if necessary as well. Just be mindful of their damage and use your howls to your advantage. Your active and passive ability to completely stop their offense in its tracks will work in your favor here.
Templar - Same as the above if they're a 2h Templar. If they're a 1h Templar, they can still hit you at least once. Their damage potential is higher than Sentinel so you have to be taken extra precaution against them. Blunt weapon Templars have an offense similar to ours just without the luxury that is Howling. You can best them most of the time, just keep an eye on your health.
Carnifex - Once again, same as Sentinel. They require both hands in order to attack you and have very little, if anything, of a passive offense outside of their hounds. Watch your soul. A Carnifex, if they get their momentum going, will start afflicting you to high holy hell because the speed of their poleslash increases with the more soul they've drained. Pay attention to your limbs and pre-resto as appropriate.
Luminary - They've got an advantage with Angel Care in curing your limb breaks, but they have very little in the way of stopping your offense. You break their limbs, you stop their afflicting. They're also more resource intensive than you are if the fight drags out. Just be mindful that while a Luminary is ultimately gunning for your mana, you need to pay attention to your health. They have the means of damage killing if they can get you prone with overwhelm. Don't overuse your focus and reconstitute against them. Prioritize your mana over health and you should be alright.
Syssin - While Hypnosis and Sleights definitely make them one of the best affliction classes, they need to actually be able to dstab you in order to do anything. If you put emphasis on making sure that their dstab arm is broken, you'll break their momentum. Just keep in mind that the momentum in a fight against a Syssin can honestly shift in their favor at any time once hypnosis starts ticking or void starts absorbing your attempts to heal. They're also notoriously good at avoiding you when the fight starts to look grim. However, in a straight up fight, you should win.
Classes you will struggle against:
Lycanthrope - What can counter a Lycanthrope? Another Lycanthrope. Two Lycanthropes fighting each other will be subjected to the howls of their opponent and since both of your offenses are active, you'll find yourself frequently disrupting one another's momentum with limb breaks and paralysis/disruption howls. Fortunately, you're both as tough as paper so damage is possible. This fight largely breaks down to curing and individual skill of the Lycanthropes involved. Two Lycanthropes that know what to look for or are highly experienced will be fighting for some time. As a personal note, I fought in a free-for-all against Tyrak as a Lycan vs Lycan and it went on for about 45 minutes.
Praenomen - One of the few classes you can't really stop, even with limb breaks. Between their passives and their actives, their damage will quickly overwhelm you if you choose to prioritize mana. Even if you manage to get them prone, they can still use their dwhispers in order to stop your offense or continue their own. If the Praenomen in question is artifacted, you'll struggle even more in trying to keep up with them.
As a note, the above class counter notes are largely speculative and based on personal experience as fighting as a Lycanthrope. Your success and mileage may vary against certain classes but that is just a general picture of what to expect.
The next part of the guide will cover pre-restoration and how it applies to the Lycanthrope. Pre-restoration is a term that you'll hear thrown about often, especially in regards to limb-based offenses like Monk. What is it exactly? Well, restoration salve is applied to a limb when it reaches a state of being damaged or mangled. The process of limb damage goes as thus in order of severity: broken, damaged, mangled. A broken limb is delivered by our rend attacks to the arms and our hamstring attacks to the legs. These blows can be remedied by an application of mending salve to the affected limb. However, that is not the only effect of our attacks. Our limb attacks also do a portion of damage to the limb. Specifically, our limb attacks do around 3.5-4.0% damage to a limb. Limbs will become damaged at 33%, so it will take around 8-9 blows to a limb to put it in a state of not only being broken from your rend/hamstring, but also being damaged in the process. At that point, it will require an application of restoration salve to cure it. If, for some reason, the limb goes uncured then it will be mangled at 66% and require two applications of restoration. Keep in mind that our jaw abilities will automatically force these damage states on a limb. Mangling a broken limb will take it to the state of being damaged and a destroy attack will take it to mangled.
So where does this tie in with Lycanthropes? As a Lycanthrope, you need to effectively learn how to count (or have a system do it for you) in how much damage you've done to individual limbs. Individuals also do not have to wait for a limb to be damaged before it can be applied with restoration. The person can apply restoration to a limb in order to heal up to 33% of damage to the limb. However, this pre-restoration comes with a cost. Curing a limb with an application of restoration is not an instant cure, it is a delayed cure of around 4 seconds. At dexterous, your jaw attacks function at around 2.5-2.6 seconds and your rend/hamstring functions at 2.3 seconds. This means that if you time your breaks appropriately or you manage to set each limb up, you can begin to outpace the rate of someone curing their limbs with restoration. Once you reach a certain point, you can keep an opponent indefinitely held down if you overwhelm them with mangles which will allow you to at least get one or two jawlocks off without issue. However, your enemy will not just apply pre-restoration and allow you to take advantage of it easily. There will be a session on parrying and the different kinds of parries adopted by systems and how their pre-restoration ties into it.
Howls are the passive offenses of Lycanthropes. We have a wide array of afflictions at our disposal that can be delivered while concealed because of snarling and allow deafness, which would normally stop howls, to be bypassed via Boneshaking. The following guide covers some of the more used combinations of howls and why they're used. If any other Lycanthropes don't see a combination that they've tried and tested and would like to add it to the list, please send me a forum message.
As a side note, howls proc every 15 seconds. A timer is helpful to coordinate your attacks.
A standard howl combination. Paralysis allows a Lycanthrope to be able to jawlock without the target being prone, as well as perform a spinalrip on the target. A victim who is spinalripped will have to apply restoration to their torso in order to remedy it which can allow you to take advantage of the other limbs while the opponent is preoccupied with the torso. Stupidity can afford you some small delay in an individual's attempts to cure their limbs. Anorexia/Belenephobia can buy some time since an application of epidermal is used to heal the anorexia, giving you an extra second delay on their applications of restoration or mending since it takes them off salve balance for about a second.
My personal selection in most fights. I prefer this combination because it allows a Lycanthrope to do two things at once: maintain their offense while keeping up a defense to stave off damage. Passive disruption is one of the best howls we have at our disposal, knocking a victim off equilibrium for two seconds while they concentrate. The added paralysis and knockdown can allow you to go a jawlock on the arms more easily as you will not need to have the legs broken to go for a jawlock. The same applies if you're trying to go for a necklock.
This used to be my main howling set up but I abandoned it upon discovery that concentrating gives a symptom message that you have confusion and alerts the system to cure the confusion and disrupt. One of the greatest assets to Howling is that since balances like tree, renew, etc. are off balance from dealing with your limb breaks, you can often get afflictions through some systems for some time before they realize that they have them. This combination allows you for the same means of disrupting your opponent and furthering your offense as above, but the added knockdown above gives you a little bit more ease when it comes to jawlocks. Still, this howling combination is useful for instances when you find yourself in retardation as the delay caused by the aeon will delay your opponent realizing they have confusion and cost them more seconds in getting themselves back up.
I don't start with these howls. If I manage to get a spleenrip on an opponent from my Paralysis/Disrupt/Knockdown combo, I have an alias where I quickly drop the knockdown howl in order to switch to the sensitivity howl, which does not require balance or equilibrium, but rather uses the howl balance. Essentially, once I start racking up the bleeding, my damage combined with the amount of bleeding that I'm doing becomes too much for individuals to handle. Unfortunately, you somewhat sacrifice your devour path of killing in the process since an effective bleed strategy requires elongating your claws, thus increasing the amount of balance it takes to recover from your regular attacks.
Next up for the guide is parrying and expanding more upon certain subjects. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to let me know.