Starting a druid
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So, you're thinking of playing a druid? This page is intended to give a short overview of the class, just to get you started on the right path. If you're looking for more detailed information on the class's abilities, see the main druid page. For more advanced topics, see druid tactics.
Things to consider when picking a druid:
- Do I like the idea of transforming into animals?
- Do I mind not always seeing my character in humanoid form?
- Do I want the ability to fill any role (DPS, tank, or healer) with one character?
For a guide to leveling a druid further, see leveling a druid.
For a more general overview on starting out playing WoW, see the newbie guide.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Race selection
- 3 Early leveling
- 4 Specializations
- 5 Equipment and stats
- 6 Druid flexibility
- 7 Druid quests
- 8 On soloing and grouping
- 9 Useful professions
- 10 Heirlooms
- 11 Long-term goals
- 12 See also
- 13 External links
The Druid is a class so in-tune with nature that they have gained the ability to change their form into that of wild creatures. Like other hybrids they primarily play their active talent specialization, and can switch to other roles mid-fight or mid-raid, to adapt to changing situations. They have a unique set of shape-shift forms they transform into to carry out those roles effectively.
Druids are the ultimate jack-of-all-trades. They are the only class able to fill every major role in the game: melee DPS, ranged (magic) DPS, tank, and healer. Their cat form is similar to a simplified rogue, while their bear form is similar to a simplified warrior. While they are usually not the best at any one role, they can more than adequately do nearly all of them.
Race selection used to be a moot point for druids, as there was only the choice between the Alliance (Night Elves) or the Horde (Tauren). However, in the Cataclysm expansion, Trolls (Horde) and Worgen (Alliance) became playable as druids. For most people, the most important choice will simply be flavor, appearance, and personal preference. Would you rather be a bull-person, a purple elf, a werewolf or a troll? A new race/class combination or one that has been available from the start, with a long history? For many, though, racial traits will be the deciding factor.
- is a stealth ability. It can be useful in aggro management for DPS in PvE and a method for escaping combat. Be aware, the ability only drops aggro temporarily.
- will greatly help your stealth, since this trait stacks with Prowl (druid ability).
- is an increase in dodge and makes it harder for enemies to hit you. This is very useful in tanking.
- minimizes downtime after death.
- grants them a 1% reduction to all Nature damage taken.
In terms of max/min, Night Elves are best for tanking and PvP for the Alliance side.
- gives worgen a +1% chance to crit on all attacks and is wonderful for DPS.
- is a sprint ability with a 2 minute cooldown that can be useful in PvP or PvE. In combination with and , Worgen Druids have the most mobility.
- grants them a 1% reduction to all Shadow and Nature damage taken.
In terms of max/min, Worgen are best for DPS and healing for the Alliance side.
- can stun enemies, making it useful for all specs in PvP and PvE.
- gives a slight health bonus, beneficial for tanks and PvP.
- grants them a 1% reduction to all Nature damage taken.
In terms of max/min, Taurens are best for PvP and tanking for the Horde side.
- will gives you a 20% attack and casting speed buff every 3 minutes, good for DPS.
- reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%.
- increases health regeneration and allows it in combat, giving tanks a slight edge.
In terms of max/min, Trolls are best for DPS and healing for the Horde side.
The easiest way to progress through the early levels is to simply do any and all of the quests you can find. Not only will you breeze through the first 5 to 10 levels, but you'll get useful gear and precious money.
You will spend levels 1 to 5 in your starting town. Between level 5 and 6 you'll find yourself heading off to your second town and a new trainer who can teach you various professions. At the second town, repeat the process - do each and every quest you can find. It's important to keep up with your abilities and your gear.
At early levels, a druid will mostly use their DD spell and DoT spell to kill mobs intermixed with melee attacks. Use as often as possible, when you get it. When you get , hit mobs with that first and cast a few ranged damage spells before resorting to melee combat. Use HoT spell early on to keep your health up and for when you get really low.
Levels 1 - 3
Initially, you're equipped with only a ranged attack. At level 3, you can learn your first healing spell, , a heal over time spell. Use this when you're running low on health.
Begin combat at maximum range with , spamming it until the mob comes into melee range. Since is a missile attack, combat may not actually begin until the missile strikes, giving you the opportunity to cast another bolt while the first one is in flight. While up close, switch to your melee attack. Heal when necessary. For tauren, you can a mob at melee range to stun it, buying you time to cast spells or heal.
For ranged mobs, try to out-spam them at maximum range. If you run out of mana, wait, or run up to engage in melee. If the mob runs out of mana, it will often run to you, giving you the opportunity to engage or increase distance to spam again.
Levels 4 - 5
At Level 4, you can learn , a damage over time spell. Continue to open combat with , throwing in a periodic to land the debuff, walking backwards or strafing to increase distance. Even at melee range, throw in a when necessary, since as an instant cast, it isn't susceptible to spell interruption. is also good at tagging the last blow when a mob is weak or running. Keep the debuff active at all times during combat.
Levels 6 - 7
At Level 7, you can learn your first crowd-control spell, . Continue to open combat with two Wraths and a . When the mob comes running towards you, root it in place. Now, you have many options. You can run away, rebuff yourself, or increase distance to help spam spells. As you fight mobs, try to keep them rooted at all times and away from you. Use to halt runners from calling more mobs.
Levels 8 - 9
At Level 8, you learn six new skills, and some of the druid's versatility is accessible.
You have two options at this level, continue as a spell caster, in which case and will be usful. has a long casting time than , so makes a great spell to open with, but is not as useful in solo combat, when the push back can build up, and interruption will be more common. Use for large, time-critical gaps in health.
is a Direct Damage apility, whereas is a Damage over Time ability. is a Finishing Move, which does direct damage, based on the number of Combo Points you have built up. You accumulate combo points by using skills such as or , up to a maximum of five.
At level 10, you will be prompted to select a specialization: Balance, Feral, Guardian or Restoration. This decision will change the special abilities you get as you level and determine the sort of role your Druid will play in parties. As with any such choices, this decision is not permanent, and you can change it at any time by visiting a class trainer and paying a nominal fee. At level 30, you may purchase Dual Talent Specialization, allowing you to have two specializations which you can switch between while out of combat.
- Balance is the offensive spellcasting specialization. Balance Druids channel the powers of the stars to damage their foes, augmented by the powers of Eclipses and the unique , which are not available to other druids.
- Feral is the offensive melee specialization. Feral Druids focus on mauling their enemies while in , using an ability combo system similar to rogues.
- Guardian is the tanking specialization. Guardian Druids use to augment their armor and empower their defenses with Rage.
- Restoration is the healing specialization. Restoration Druids use the rewnewing power of nature to heal their allies, focusing primarily on healing over time (HoT) effects and strong AoE healing.
Equipment and stats
Druids start in Leather armor, which gives more defense than Cloth. All Druids should wear Leather armor in each equipment slot to take advantage of the stat bonuses provided by Leather Specialization. While all druids can equip any piece of leather gear (unless it is specific to another class or race), the stats on different pieces of gear vary widely, and different stats are of different levels of importance dependong on the specialization you select.
- Intellect is the most important stat for Balance druids, as it directly increases Spell Power and, in turn, the damage their spells do.
- Spell Hit ensures that a target will not be able to dodge the druid's spells. Like other offensive casters, Balance druids receive Spell Hit from Hit and Expertise. Due to , Spirit from gear will also increase Spell Hit for Balance druids, enabling them to easily dual-specialize with Restoration and share gear more easily between the two.
- Haste decreases the cast time of , , and increases the number of damaging ticks for each cast of and . More haste means more casts in less time, causing more damage.
- Critical Strike increases the chance of critical ticks of Moonfire and Sunfire, which in turn increases the frequency of procs. In addition, it increases the chance that spells will critically hit, which in turn increases total damage they deal over the course of an encounter. More Critical Strike means more instant Starsurges, causing more damage.
- Mastery, due to , increases the damage buff from being in an .
- Agility is the most important stat for Feral druids, as it directly increases Attack Power and, in turn, the damage their attacks do.
- Mastery, due to , increases the damage from bleed effects provided by , and Thrash.
- Hit decreases the chance that an enemy will dodge the druid's physical attacks, and thus more Hit will allow the druid to do more damage if the enemy is capable of dodging their attacks.
- Expertise decreases the chance that an enemy will parry the druid's physical attacks, and thus more Expertise will allow the druid to do more damage if the enemy is capable of parrying their attacks.
- Critical Strike increases the chance to critically hit with attacks and special abilities, thus dealing more damage.
- Haste increases attack speed and energy regeneration, allowing the Feral druid to attack and use special abilities more frequently and thus deal more damage.
- Agility is the most important stat for Guardian druids, as it increases their Dodge chance and thus decreases the number of times they are hit by attacks and thus the amount of damage they take. It also increases their Critical Strike chance, which increases the rate they generate Rage, allowing them to use their defensive abilities more often. Finally, Agility also increases a Guardian druid's Attack Power and, in turn, the damage their attacks do.
- Hit and Expertise decrease the chance that an enemy will dodge or parry the druid's physical attacks. A Guardian druid's attacks must always hit their target so that the druid can gain Rage to power their defensive abilities.
- Critical Strike increases the chance that attacks will critically hit and thus generate Rage, allowing the Guardian druid to use defensive abilities more often. Additional critical hits will also increase the damage the druid deals with their attacks.
- Haste increases Rage generation by allowing more autoattacks and thus more opportunities to critically strike. It also increases the number of opportunities to proc , allowing the Guardian druid to use to decrease the damage they take for a short time.
- Intellect is the most important stat for Restoration druids, as it directly increases Spell Power and, in turn, the amount of damage their spells can heal.
- Haste decreases the cast time of the Restoration druid's healing spells and also increases the healing ticks of , and for each cast, increasing the healing they do.
- Spirit increases mana regeneration, allowing the Restoration druid to heal over a longer period of time without running out of mana.
- Mastery, due to , increases the power of the Restoration druid's direct healing spells and, through the buff it provides, the potency of their periodic healing spells as well.
A hallmark of the druid class is extreme flexibility. While each specialization has its own focus, druids have a very diverse set of core abilities that can be used in every spec, and due to and , the even Balance druids can do melee damage in Cat Form and Guardian druids can heal with . At level 90, the talent actually enables a druid, for 45 seconds, to effectively perform a role that their specialization isn't appropriate for, such as a Balance Druid becoming a tank to save the day if the party's tank dies, or a healer dealing extra damage to finish off a boss on the verge of death.
These quests are available only to druids, and offer unique rewards.
On soloing and grouping
Even at very early levels, the soloing druid acts as the versatile character he or she is supposed to be. Typical fights will include Direct Damage spells (), Damage over Time spells (), Healing over Time spells (), and some melee attacks.
The druid is one of the most versatile classes in WoW, because you can be almost any part of a 5-man dungeon/raid. It can be quite hard to learn to play all the roles a druid is capable of, but the versatility and ease of finding a group is worth it. No tank? Use your . No healer? Keep an eye on the party's health bars and heal when they're injured. Need a scout? Use your . Communicate! Ask the others what they plan to do, what they expect from you.
Don't forget your crowd control spells, and ; they can be useful if the group gets more enemies than expected.
If you're DPSing a group, remember to attack the same target as the other DPSers. This is most easily achieved through the /assist command, causing you to target the same target as the one you assist. It might not be all that important at early levels, but its an important habit to get used to for later levels.
If you are the tank, use your , and remind your group to always assist you in battle, to ensure you focus your party's firepower on one mob. They can do this by selecting you (use the F1-F5 keys to target group members) and then pressing "F". This way, mobs will die faster.
The druid is a very versatile class. Especially when acting as a DPSer, you have the ability to offheal, offtank, combat rez and if needed, saving the group from what would otherwise be a wipe. It can be done if acting as a tank or healer as well, but is much harder to pull off.
First-time players will be strapped for cash when first starting out, so it's generally a good idea to start with at least one gathering profession (Mining, Herbalism, or Skinning). Training, larger bags, and a mount can be expensive, but they accelerate your progress.
- This combination will be immediately useful to the druid. Expect to wear a combination of found items and items you make yourself as your leatherworking keeps pace with your level. You'll also be able to produce Armor Kits, which increase the armor value of Chest, Hands, Legs, and Feet armor items.
- Skinning will increase naturally (you can actually max out at 300 while still in your 40's) but you will spend a lot of money levelling your leatherworking skill. Also, a lot of leatherwork items will sell for less than the cost of the raw materials (because there are a lot of other people out there trying to level their skills too and they will flood the market) - it is only when you hit on the niche items that you can make a profit (things like the , , Ironfeather items, etc.)
- The Skinning passive skill, , improves the character's Critical Hit ability, which is good for DPS druids or solo leveling.
- Even though, as a caster, the druid can rely on his own abilities to heal and buff himself, additional potions are always welcome. It is especially notable that night elves and tauren are both particularly suited to a career in herbalism, and thus alchemy as well. Tauren receive +15 levels of Herbalism skill and the elven zones are remarkably abundant in flowers to pick.
- The ability to in can also prove quite useful, as it allows you to search for herbs (or other gathering professions) without having to fight mobs in the area. Note that you will shift out of stealth when you gather, and the cooldown will prevent you from stealthing for a few seconds when you are done, so use with caution. The Herbalism passive skill, , provides a small self-heal without using mana.
- A mix of the two above, this is very good for players who don't care so much for making things themselves, but would rather sell the raw materials for money. Another benefit with this combo is that you can often find a Leatherworker or Alchemist willing to make the item/potion you want if you supply the materials, possibly with a small fee if the recipe is rare.
Start your profession early! It's usually not too expensive, and you want to ensure that anything you create with your skills is applicable to your druid's level.
Cooking is always useful for any class, as it provides food that affects your stats. Fishing supports this profession. As a healing class, First Aid is certainly less beneficial than it is for other classes, but it still has some benefit. Bandaging can help conserve the healer's mana while grouping, and the right bandage can provide a stronger heal over time than Regeneration.
The type of heirlooms items you can use will depend on what spec you would like to level as. All items with resistance are purchasable with or Champion's Seals and PVP gear can be purchasable with honor.
At level 50, Druids gain Leather Specialization, a 5% damage increase if they wear leather in every slot. Well itemized cloth items might cause you to break that bonus.
|Equipment Slot||Feral Combat PVE||Balance/Restoration PVE||Feral Combat PVP||Balance/Restoration PVP|
At high levels it is important to make sure that your gear is correct for your spec. If you switch between two different specs (for example, Restoration and Feral), you will want to have two sets of gear handy: one with intellect to wear while using Restoration, and one with agility to wear while using Feral. Make sure to upgrade your gear as you level: especially at later levels, your gear will provide most of your power, defense, and spell ability.
The best way to find out which roles interest you is to try them out. Each role is very different from the others, so even if you don't like playing your druid one way, you may find you love playing them in another spec.
For more information on specializations, see Druid Talents.