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Healer/Tank/Support - As a Druid, your role in a party will always be different, depending on the makeup of the party and the demands of the instance
In order to be able to optimize yourself for any situation, a Druid should always carry AT LEAST 2 full sets of gear. One set for feral and one set for casting. Feral gear should include Strength/Attack Power+ and Stamina +, which casting gear should consist of Intellect, Stamina and a healthy dose of Spirit never hurts. There very few items that will give both melee and caster stats, so be prepared to have one of your bags full of gear at all times.
One thing to note - There are so many possible ways to play a Druid - so many different talent builds and so many effective ways to use your abilities in any form. I dare not assert that this guide outlines the *only* or *best* way to play a Druid. What I am sharing here is some insight that I have gained from my own experiences, and I welcome feedback.
If the party is lacking a Warrior, Druids in Bear form make fine tanks. Before you can be ready to tank properly for a party, however, you need to equip yourself with your melee gear.
For a tutorial on Tanking, see the Warrior section above.
To tank as a Druid, you have three main tools. First and foremost is Growl. Growl has a ten second cooldown, but it will convince a mob to attack you for at least five seconds. The only downside to Growl is that it only hits one mob, and has a 10-second cooldown. The next important tool is Demoralizing Roar. Demoralizing Roar not only angers mobs into attacking you, but it significantly reduces their attack power, decreasing the amount of damage you take. Finally, Druids have a damaging ability called Swipe that hits up to three nearby targets for a small-to-moderate amount of damage. Swipe is useful to keep the attention of all nearby mobs.
Bear Form offers all sorts of other abilities, which can be used effectively based on the situation. Frenzied Regeneration, which heals you over time, can be useful, for example, if the healer runs out of Mana, but it uses up all of your Rage, which can make holding aggro more difficult.
Notes on Talents - There are a few Talents that will offer significant help with tanking. The first is Ferocity, which lowers the Rage cost of Maul (your bread and butter DD ability in Bear Form) and also lowers the Energy cost of Claw (your bread and butter DD ability in Cat Form). Next up the tree is Sharpened Claws, which increases your chance to crit in both Bear and Cat forms. Putting these ten points into Feral can significantly aid you in tanking for a party as well as soloing.
Probably the most common role for a Druid in a party is the main healer. Healing as a Druid can be a demanding task that will require your constant attention. You don't have Power Word: Shield to save your tank if you slack off and miss a beat.
One important thing to consider is the efficiency of your various healing spells. It works out that the slower the cast time, the more efficient the healing. The following is based on the highest rank of each spell, and does not factor in any boosts from talents:
The advantage of using Regrowth and Rejuvenation instead of Healing Touch is that if the main tank has both and the situation is under control, you can stop casting for 15-20 seconds and regen some MP (this would be when a healthy amount of Spirit comes in handy).
One important thing to note - when you are the main healer, you would be ill-advised to use your damage spells. There are cases when it's okay - generally when things are going easy and you are confident that you won't run out of mana. In difficult situations, spending Mana on damage spells could end up causing your party to wipe.
Notes on Talents - The Restoration Tree is full of talents which will aid with healing. One that is particularly useful is Nature's Swiftness, which causes the next nature spell (which includes ALL of your healing spells) to be instant. NS can be very useful when the proverbial droppings hit the fan. The ability to instantly cure your main tank with your mot powerful Healing Touch spell can save the party from an otherwise certain whipe. NS is also very useful in solo PvE and PvP, and I would say it's probably worth putting 21 points into Restoration regardless of where you put your other points.
Druids are generally not the best tanks, not the best healers and certainly not the best damage dealers. As a class, our strength lies in our flexibility.
In some party instances and most raid instances, there will be a Warrior as a main tank and a Resto/Divine Priest as main healer. In this case, there are many useful ways that you can spend your time and effort:
Off-tank - Main healers, Rogues and Mages (and others) do not like having a powerful Elite mob beating the crap out of them. A quick switch to Bear Form and you are very capable of holding the mob's attention until the Main Tank can come take over. Just throw a regrowth on yourself and Growl at the target and you'll be fine until help gets there.
Off-healer - Even if you're not the Main Healer, you should still monitor the Main Tank and help out when necessary. A little bit of help from you can (1) divide up aggro so that the mob will ignore the healer and (2) help the Main Healer keep their MP up.
Faerie Fire might not seem like an incredibly powerful spell, but if 2-3 or more melees are whacking away at a target and you help them hit that target 3-5% harder, you are helping deal a good deal of damage, and the MP cost of Faerie Fire is minimal.
Remove Curse is very helpful in certain instances where mobs cast a lot of curses. Mages can also remove curses, but allowing Mages to save their MP for their primary duty (damage) is always beneficial. Cure Poison and Abolish Poison are also very helpful.
While Damage is not a Druid's strong point, if you don't have anything else to do at any given time, it never hurts to add to the damage. Make sure you don't blow all of your MP on DD, though. Cat Form can be very helpful, as it allows you to deal ongoing damage for a one-time hit to your MP. Moonfire is also useful, and hitting multiple targets with it will add up to significant DPS. Just make sure you don't do too much damage, or you'll quickly become an off-tank
Innervate - Innervate is the final talent of the Restoration Tree. In end-game instances, it is usually assumed that Druids will have this ability. It is on a six minute timer, and it lets you increase MP regeneration for you or one of your allies by 4x (or regular full regen if they are casting). The typical use for this ability is to help the main healer in boss fights to make sure they don't run out of mana, but there are many other possibilities for the effective use of this spell.
Ranged DPS, Crowd Control (CC)
Alot of people believe hunters are non-essential for a group, but they are wrong. Hunters can pull some of the highest DPS while gaining minimal aggro, They can CC most any mob.
Lay a Freezing Trap to Mez a mob, Cast Hunter's Mark on the mob for the main tank to target, this is a lot more than just adding ranged attack for you, this lets the less competent people in the party to target the mob the MT is attacking.
Since you are Ranged DPS you also have a wider view of the battlefield than most of the classes, so it is also your job to watch for sentries and close mobs, If someone aggros sentries or other mobs, you need to pull them off of them and run them to the MT.
Being at range and away from the nasty little monsters with teeth gives you a change to use bandages when ever you want. This will save the casters mana and keep the group going smoothly
Pets, Pets are nice in 5 man instance, pets are bad in instances where mobs fear. I do not recommend using pets in instances past BRD unless you are better than Jesus playing a shaman at micro-managing.
If you are using a pet, you should be using it for CC, tank the caster mobs, since those usually like to pick at the tank from far away, this can help the group greatly.
Stings, most of you are aware that hunters have stings, Stings are nice, but make sure you using one that would benefit the party. I would recommend using Scorpid Sting, this sting will allow your party to hit the mob for more, and also lessen the damage taken by the tank.
You can also sting the extra mobs on the MT with Serpent Sting this will deal a decent amount of damage while generating very little threat.
If you manage to get aggro from the MT, then you can Feign Death(FD) to reduce all the threat and return the mob to the MT, also try and macro it so that it says in party/raid chat that you are doing that so you don't give the priest a heart attack.
If you pull aggro from a squishy character, do not FD, wingclip the Mob and run towards the MT. The tank will pull the mob off you to save your sorry butt.
End Game Hunters get a nifty Spell called Tranquilizing shot, This is where hunters become a necessity for MC. This shot makes really pissed mobs (Berserked) become less pissed and less likely to ruin your furniture.
Ranged DPS/Humanoid CC
Mages are seen as the top of the ranged DPS totem pole, and this is mostly correct, mages can dish out some insane damage while with talents not gaining to much threat. They are also used in taking care of large groups of non-elites.
Crowd Control - Mages love Polymorphing Stuff - little penguins, little sheep, little turtles... Polymorph is able to mez a humanoid or beast for a decent amount of time, this is very useful for reducing the amount of mobs you fight.
One thing to remember, you are in a group, you are not soloing, so you are not trying to do as much damage as possible.
Ranged DPS - First thing you should do is find out how much damage you can do without getting threat, if you are partying with a warrior you party with a lot you usually know this. Once you find this out you can get a feel for what spells to use and how often. Also, remember to target the mob the MT is tanking, you can do this by targeting the tank and pressing the "F" key, this will switch to the mob the tank is targeting.
Frostbolt: This is probably one of the better spells to use in a group. It does good damage and is slows down the enemy, so that if someone gets hate then it will take longer for the mob to get to the enemy. Also Note that most often Fire specced Mages will use Scorch and Arcane Missiles.
If frostbolt doesn't get you hate, you can throw in some of your more powerful spells in there, Fireball is a good spell that deals a decent amount of damage. You can throw in some of your fancy ICs if you want.
Arcane Missile is the damaging spell you will be using in groups with 10 or more people, the reason is that Arcane missile adds no debuffs to the precious 8 debuff limit, and you will still be doing decent damage.
If you manage to get hate, which I am sure you will when you test the tanking abilities, make sure you get right next to the tank, DO NOT RUN AROUND. The tank does not have a ranged taunt, so get next to him.
Also times that you are going to AoE some mobs, make sure you bring them to the tank, and make use you can get a shield from the priest.
Lastly, Mages can make food and water that they can give to the group. This will get your groups appreciation and also lessen the down time between fights.
Main healer: The main healer is the one in charge of keeping the other 4 in your immediate party alive. You do this with Greater heal, Flash heal, Renew and Power Word: Shield
There are a few rules I would like to give Priests:
When in a group, your main priority should be to keep the main tank alive, If the main tank dies then more often than not your party will wipe, and that is bad.
Make sure you let the Main tank (MT) gather some threat before you start healing anyone. Mobs don't like people healing the people that they are trying to kill, just make sure that they are pretty pissed at the MT.
Always keep renew on your main tank, as it gives you almost no threat and heals the tank about the same as a flash heal. If the battle is going generally well, you can rely on Greater heal to keep the tank alive, but if and when you get more adds, you might have to switch to flash heal to keep the tank alive.
If the monster decides that you are next on the feed to self list, then you should just fade, if that doesn't get rid of aggro then add a PW:S to your self, I don't recommend healing yourself unless necessary. Run towards your MT, your warrior will gallantly save you from your measly one mob and you have to still keep him alive with his 3 mobs that are still trying to eat him.
If the monster decides to attack someone else then you should slap a renew and a flash heal on them(and a PW:S if they are squishy), the main tank should do the rest.
DPS(Damage Per Second): When a rogue is invited to a group, it is usually because of the high damage we can put out.
Things to keep in mind: It can be very easy to pull aggro off a mediocre tank. Part of compensating for this is gauging the skill of your tank after a few fights, but there are steps you can take initially:
It is rare that a Rogue will be called on to pull; Paladins and Druids have talented abilities to let them do this, while Warriors can use their own ranged weapons (and will gain threat for the shot, however minimal). However, you should always have a ranged weapon equipped, for the stat bonuses that it brings; and if you use a bow or gun, carry a single stack of ammo with you just in case.
Sap is a very useful form of crowd control for ordinary 5-mans. It is used less often in Heroics, and is practically nonexistent as far as larger raid groups are concerned. However, knowing how to Sap properly is an important rogue skill. See the Sap article for tips on Sapping properly.
Stuns (Cheap Shot, Kidney Shot) are a very useful tool for solo play, and are not without their use in instances. However, you cannot simply use them as they become available; unless your tanks ask you to stun a particular mob, odds are good you should leave them alone. Stunning the tank's mobs will leave them rage- or mana-starved, and that will leave them lacking in threat. Occasionally an enemy will attempt to run away, and will be headed towards another group of mobs; this would be an acceptable case to stun them if you think they won't die in time to prevent a link otherwise. For most cases, however, stun only with instructions to do so or if you know well what you are doing.
Shamans are a lot like Druids where they can fill more than one spot in a group, As a healer they have [[wow spell:Lesser Healing wave, [[wow spell:Healing wave and [[wow spell:Mana spring totem.
Shamans can also self resurrect every 60 mins(or 40 with talents) with a reagent (Ankh) you can purchase these at any reagent vendor, talk to your local guard if you don't know where these are. Shaman can also resurrect other people.
Shamans most often fall in these groups before MC/Onyxia. Here they can lay down stuff like Windfury Totem, which gives melee a chance at having an additional attack, Strength of Earth Totem to increase the strength of the party members.
Shamans can enchant their weapon, Windfury is probably the most common, this will give you up to a 20% chance to get 2 additional attacks. Rockbiter is also used if you need to keep hate.
Shocks: You will often hear about 2 shocks, frost and earth.
Frost Shock will often be your main damage by spell, it deals a decent amount of damage, slows the target and is only on a 6 second timer. Earth shock deals a decent amount of damage, interrupts spells, gathers hate and is on a 6 second timer.
Grounding totem - This is mainly used in pvp, but every now and then, if I'm in a group fighting a mob with a single target debuff, or a single target blast, I'll plunk it down. It will absorb the debuff and survive, or absorb the nuke and die, but either way, thats one less thing that will hit my group mates.
Stoneskin totem/Healing Stream Totem - I dont really use any of these. Only time I break out stoneskin is when im one of the add tank healers in the golemagg fight. I figure, every little bit of extra mitigation helps, so why not.
Mana Spring - This is my bread and butter. I almost always have it down. Its extra mana regen.
Mana tide - This is my 31 point talent in restoration, its 940 mana or so over 12 seconds to everyone in the group. Its great for the long fights, and to speed up mana regen a bit.
Agi. I use this totem mainly when I'm grouped with hunters and rogues, and even then, only if they insist.
Windfury. Warriors LOVE me for this totem, so I drop it whenever I can. Its not bad for rogues either, an extra normal hit may not be ideal, but its better than nothing.
Sentry/windwall. Total crap, I have never once used either.
Other weapon buff totems. Don't use these either, windfury is superior imo.
Strength of earth. When im not using another earth totem I drop this. Its an extra 61 strength and adds on a good chunk of damage to melee.
Tremor. Only use it in pvp and against mobs that fear
Searing totem. When I feel like spending the mana on extra battlespam I will use it, but its mostly for solo use.
Magma totem. Nice to add extra aoe damage as it pulses an aoe nuke for 80 some odd damage a shot. Mana intensive though
Fire nova. I don't use it personally. I never got the talents that make it a decent totem and it produces enough agro that mobs will usually kill it before it goes off.
Resist totems. I use them as needed, but usually only on raids, as an extra 60 fire/cold resist isnt all that impressive for instances, and id rather be using mana stream.
Making group life easier
All classes have roles in a group. The warrior is the tank, the priest/druid is the healer, mage/rogue is DPS, hunters are pullers or DPS, and shaman are DPS or healers. Warlocks do not really fit in any of these categories although they can function as DPS, they are really just support. And the vagueness may be why a lot of groups don't understand warlocks. So how do warlocks support? They use their tools.
Getting the party stoned
First off, your healer (with the possible exception of druids) should be Soul Stoned(SS) at all times. Shamans if they are out of ankhs and you have no priests. Next are your healthstones. Everyone in the party should have one. Encourage their use and keep plenty of shards to keep up with their use. You're not there for DPS, so don't worry about draining soul on all the mobs till you're full of shards. If you're doing any AoE, its handy to be carrying a spellstone. While it does also add to your % crit chance, its really handy for hellfire as well. Between that and a priest's shield and a void's sacrifice, you can pull them off sometimes with no damage to yourself.
My pox on you
Curses are the single most efficient way to aid in the party. Properly used can shift a battle. Watch for what your party needs. If they are dealing damage slowly - throw a curse of elements(CoE0 or Curse of shadow(CoS). Only use shadow if your mage is using arcane. The mage will be doing more damage than you and will benefit more from the curse. Otherwise shamans, mages and you benefit from elements. Be sure to talk with the mage beforehand about the CoE, many times mages are able to border the Threat level and having CoE will push them over that lvl.
Party's best friend. Use them wisely as they are great "situational" tools.
A few tricks left
So what else does a warlock have to do? Damage - use your DoT unless asked not to due to debuff limit. Always keep a curse on though. Throw shadowbolts. Don't run out of mana - use dark pact / life tap to keep up if you get low. Let the priest know not to worry too much about your life unless you get below 50% or so. Drain life as needed. Don't drain mana unless you know you will be able to let it go for the duration or it just wastes mana. If the priest is being attacked and no one is helping searing pain is the fastest way to get a mob on you. Do not try to help a priest with undead. Chances are your searing pain will just hit after his shackle finally is not resisted and break it. That's bad as I have learned
Being a warlock is a fun class to play in a group. Communication with your party is the key to make sure you know what out of your arsenal to use. Also to know when people need stones. A well played warlock can make an ok group really excel and an excellent group top-notch.
Main Tank: The main tank is the person who keeps aggro on most of the mobs.
A tank is the party member that controls aggro on the mobs you are currently fighting, they are built to take very little damage and keep mobs very angry at them. The tank is often the puller of the group and should always be ahead of everyone else, cept a rogue, but they are wierd.
When you pull first make sure you have a ranged weapon, Walking towards the monsters is not an effective means of pulling. When you pull you want to pull the least amount of monsters, to do this you have to learn the link range of monsters, which the only advice I can give to you on this is do it alot and you will learn.
After pulling your immediate concern should be getting as much threat as you can. Thunder clap and Demoralizing shout should be your first action, this will gather enough threat on the mobs that you are not directly attack so they won't run off if someone heals you, after this you should sunder armor, tab, sunder armor, etc. Do this until you have 1 sunder on all enemies and you are back on the original target. Sunder him to full.
Shield block is a nice ability to use if you are done sundering the mob, shield block basically gives you a free block in the next five seconds, This ability is not that important unless you have improved shield block or you have your shield spiked.
If you have extra rage you can throw in a Whirlwind, Whirlwind attacks 4 enemies for weapon damage, this will also keep the hate up on your character.
If for some reason you lose a mob to another player, be it from to much healing or someone attacking the wrong mob, this is where your quick thinking needs to come it. If the mob is going after a squishy (cloth wearer) then taunt it, sunder it and go back to your main target. If it is going after a leather wearer (Rogue, Druid) you just need to taunt and sunder it and tell them to assist you after switching to the main target.
If it is going after your hunter, then don't touch it, Hunters have about 35 million ways to get rid of hate, but pay attention to it. If it goes to the shaman then taunt, sunder and tell them to assist you.
IF THERE IS AN OFF TANK:
Often times there is an off tank, be it a Voidwalker(VW) another warrior or shaman, these people usually only tank 1 maybe 2 mobs, you do not touch these mobs, they are just being tanked to wait for you when you are done with your mobs.