The Druid is a hybrid class. We are all about versatility and can do a little bit of everything. We can heal ourselves and others, we can survive a beating from heavy hitters (called tanking), and we can unleash loads of damage with our spells or with our claws (called magic dpsing or melee dpsing, respectively).
The difference between druids and other hybrid classes is that we specialize in only one of these roles at a time. Notice that does not mean we are limited to only one at a time, and successful Druids use all of their skills and spells according to the situation, regardless of their specialization.
This guide is intended to help new and seasoned World of Warcraft players with the practical aspect of playing the class. The general sections will be kept brief and the focus of the guide will be on Druid-specific content and gameplay.
Since we do a little bit of everything, we need a little bit of everything. Ideally, if we were going into a fight blind, we would have a decent amount of every stat and bonus available. Since we typically do know what role we are filling, what our personal playstyle is, and what to expect in the next fight, we often want to focus on stats that help us most.
Here is a prioritized listing of what to focus on for what specialized roles you will play in groups. Keep in mind that only the five primary stats are readily available until the mid-50 levels and up.
There will be many influencing factors that change these priorities around a little such as PvP vs PvE, particulars of a boss fight, etc. In PvP, for example, stamina becomes much more important to every role. For the most part while leveling you just need to make sure you aren't neglecting anything.
If you decide to create a Druid you will find it's a playstyle that rotates often to take advantage of every enemy weakness. For example, if your enemy is a hard hitter but doesn't have any ranged attacks, you can open a fight by rooting them in place and casting spell damage from a safe distance. When the Roots break away and they come into melee range you can shift into bear form and finish them off from behind your high armor rating. In the next fight you might go up against a caster, sneaking in close with cat form and tearing through their weak armor. The fast attack speed of cat form is effective at interrupting the enemy's casting.
When you reach level 40, another playstyle option comes into the rotation if you follow the Balance talent tree. Moonkin form boosts your armor but utilizes your humanoid offensive spells. It plays like something of a battle mage, casting spells but not sweating it when the enemy gets in close.
You will get used to frequently changing forms and styles in reaction to changes in situation. In warning, some players actually find this frustrating. If you think it would be fun to be in cat form all the time, you might consider playing a Rogue instead. At times even a balance Druid needs to leave moonkin form for bear to be effective.
The downside to all this versatility is that the class doesn't really come into it's own until the late 30s and early 40s. It takes a patient player to get through the tough levels where we feel weak compared to other classes, but in the end we can hold our own against anyone.
Solo, a Druid almost never has to stop and rest. A feral Druid regenerates mana while fighting and a balance Druid can gain mana through melee attacks. In instances and at the end game you will be valued primarily for your ability to heal or to tank, though you will still deliver in the damage category. That is, if you are any good.
Check out this examination of Druid tanking from the guides section of Allakhazam.
Brisin has collected an excellent index of resources in this thread.
Weapon damage also makes no difference. Your cat and bear form damage is based on a hidden feral weapon skill that is automatically set to maximum when you level up (5 times your level). You should use whatever weapon gives you the best stat increase (agility, strength, etc). This means that you do need to train to use each weapon type at the weapons trainers, but it is not too important to actually level up your weapon skill unless you are using Moonkin or Tree of Life form.
In bear or cat form we don't use weapons - we use claws. Since we are not hitting anything with our weapon, no "chance on hit" procs will ever work eg. crusader, lifestealing, stun procs etc. This applies to weapons only, so proc effects on your armor, trinkets etc. will work in any form.
Note that these rules don't apply Moonkin or Tree of Life forms. Those forms do actually swing the weapons we are holding.
Druids depend on stats to do our work, and that work may change from fight to fight. Different combinations of stats fuel our ability to do our job well, altering our capability even more than the talents we choose.
Regardless of spec, Druids are capable of filling any role given we have the appropriate gear. When Druids get higher in levels we end up carrying around two to four pieces of equipment with different stats for each slot, changing outfits depending on what we expect our role to be for the next battle and what stats are important to that role.
Outfitter or a similar ui mod (Itemrack, ClosetGnome, Wardrobe) can be incredibly helpful with managing you gear in only a few clicks instead of having to search through your entire bag space.
To start raiding Karazhan a tank should be fitted to a minimum of 12k Health, 415 Defense (with Survival of the Fittest), 20k Armor, and 25% Dodge. A healer should be stacked with at least 1000 +Healing, 6k Health, and 8500 Mana.
For all questions about whether one piece of feral gear is better than another, Emmerald's druid gear lists is a popular, comprehensive comparison list that lists Druid gear by slot and sorts them by value for tanking, burst dps and sustained dps.
For a good comparative list for healing gear you can look to this wowwiki article.
The race choice is an easy one since you have only two options: a Tauren fighting with the Horde, or a Night Elf as a member of the Alliance. The choice is mostly aesthetic, but the racial abilities do make a little bit of difference in the way you will play your druid. The character stat differences are negligible and they shouldn't affect your decision. If you have friends already playing the game, simply choose based on their faction.
Which class has better racial abilities usually boils down to an argument of Warstomp vs. Shadowmeld and Wisp Spirit. Warstomp is powerful in any situation, saving us from death in PvE content and annoying gnomes to no end in PvP. Shadowmeld can be handy since you don't have to shapeshift to enter stealth and is believed to increase the players level of stealth and Wisp Form makes dying a little more bearable.
Once you create your new Druid, simply look for characters with yellow exclamation points above them. These characters will offer you quest opportunities and direct you to new areas as your levels increase. As you complete quests you will collect rewards (don't forget to equip them to your character) and new quests will become available.
If you would like a detailed leveling guide look to Jame's Leveling Guide for Horde or for Alliance. Once you get to the Outlands, do every quest you can find. When you get to level 70 you should still have plenty of quests available to do for extra money towards your epic flying mount.
The first Druid class quest comes from your trainer at level ten along with the spell Teleport: Moonglade. Mathrengyl in Darnassus or Turak in Thunderbluff will send you to the sanctuary of the druids for your first lesson in shapeshifting.
The Moonglade is inaccessible to non druid players until level fifty or so, and even then requires some work gaining acceptance with the Timbermaw Furbolgs before anyone can travel their tunnel unharmed. You will find flight paths to the cities of Darnassus and Thunderbluff and both Night Elves and Tauren live peacefully here.
When you first arrive in the Moonglade you will be next to a small building on top of a hill. Enter and proceed to the second floor where you will find Dendrite Starblaze ready to guide you to learning your first feral shapeshift, bear form.
Dendrite will first send you out into the Moonglade to find the Great Bear Spirit just a short walk to the northwest. After talking with the spirit cast Teleport: Moonglade again to get quickly back to Dendrite, who will in turn send you back to your class trainer in the city. You can find flight masters in the southwest part of Nighthaven or you can use your hearthstone to get home.
As a test of your worth as a druid, your trainer will send you to defeat Lunaclaw, found in The Barrens for Tauren and in Darkshore for Night Elf druids (click the link and see the maps at the bottom of the page). Once you find the Moonkin Stone, summon and defeat Lunaclaw, speak to his spirit, and return home again to learn how to shapeshift to bear form.
After getting to level 14 your class trainer will give you another quest sending you to the Moonglade. See if you can get your hands on 5 Earthroot before you go. You will need them in a bit. Cast Teleport: Moonglade and learn that Dendrite wants you to find out what has been poisoning nearby wildlife.
Alliance druids will be sent to Cliffspring Falls in Darkshore, and Horde druids will go to Dreadmist Peak in The Barrens to gather a sample of the water. You will be delivering the sample to another druid, either Alanndarian Nightsong in Darkshore or Tonga Runetotem in The Barrens.
These local druids need your help to mix a curative potion to restore the health of some local animals. If you haven't found any earthroot yet, you can buy them from Hula'mahi right there in The Crossroads, though I believe the nearest vendor for alliance is in Stormwind.
Alliance druids will also need to gather Lunar Fungus from the same cave you went to for the bear form quest. Horde druids must collect horns from the kodo most easily found in the north part of the barrens.
Once you turn in these materials your quest giver mixes a salve and asks that you help administer it. I'm sure you've seen the Sickly Deer and Sickly Gazelles walking around by now. Get close to one and use the salve by right clicking it in your bag or by dragging it onto an action button.
Cure ten of them and return to the Moonglade for a nice offhand reward. Dendrite will then send you back again to your trainer to learn Cure Poison.
Consider yourself warned that there is more than one long walk ahead. It should be routine by now to visit your trainer every other level to learn your new spells. At level 16 you will be sent once again to Dendrite, who will give you thirty minutes to go swimming around Moonglade's Lake Elune'ara looking for a shrine bauble. It spawns in a few spots around the lake, so watch your breath meter and look for the bauble container on the lake floor.
Once you find the bauble, head to the Shrine of Remulos west of the lake and just off the path. Use the bauble (right click it) to end the quest and talk to Tajarri on the edge of the shrine. Tajarri will send you in search of two halves of the Pendant of the Sea Lion, clues about which you can hear from the two flight masters in Nighthaven.
Each half of the pendant is found in a Strange Lockbox in different parts of the world. Alliance druids head to Darkshore and Westfall and Horde will visit The Barrens and Silverpine Forest.
For the Half-Pendant of Aquatic Agility you will be searching areas that require you to fight through enemies. For the Half-Pendant of Aquatic Endurance you will be looking in very deep places on the edge of the sea, just before you see the fatigue bar appear. In all locations there should be a fissure next to the lockbox, allowing you to breath normally while you open the lockbox and cast Teleport: Moonglade or use your hearthstone.
While you are doing all this running around the world you should drop in to visit your weapon trainers. You will start off with a couple skills already known but Druids are able to learn the use of fist weapons, staves, daggers, maces, and two handed maces, and polearms once you reach level 20.
You must visit the trainer and spend ten silver to train each skill before you can equip weapons of that skill type. Each weapon skill has a maximum point value that is equal to five times your level, and you can gain points by swinging any weapon of that type.
You also have a hidden feral weapon skill to represent your claws in Cat and Bear forms. This hidden skill is automatically maxed out for your level and other weapon skills do not matter in those two forms.
|Parts of this page were originally written by highRfrequenC.|