Classes

Druid Guide - Basics

By David Piner -
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Druid Guide: Basics

Druids are the definitive hybrid class in World of Warcraft. They are able to fulfil every role in the game, being able to either heal, tank, or provide melee or ranged DPS. While DPSing they can provide either physical DPS as melee fighters or magical DPS while fighting at range. This makes them capable of doing everything possible and being the most versatile class in the game. You could in theory run either 5 player instances or 25 player raids will only Druid players, now that is a true hybrid.

We’re going to go over the basics of the Druid class, why you should play one, what professions are good for Druids, which statistics Druids need, and more.

Getting Started

Why should you play a Druid?

Druids are the jack of all trades class and in fact they are masters of all of them as well. They can fill all possible roles required making them the ultimate versatility class. Everything is within their grasp and by using talents they can specialize into one very specific role. So if you’re unsure of what you want to play in the game then a Druid gives you the option to choose pretty much anything and change at any time in the future.

  • Druids can be both melee and ranged DPS. In Moonkin Form (Balance) they as casters while Cat Form (Feral) gives them abilities akin to Rogues. Bear Form (Feral) allows a Druid to soak in massive amounts of damage. Finally, the Restoration spec allows Druids to heal and change into a treant form for even better healing ability. The majority of abilities can be used by any type of Druid, so a Feral Druid can heal, but nowhere near as well as a Restoration Druid.
  • Druids are full of utility spells. Their various forms increase their survivability (taking too much damage, switch to beat form). They can also Root, Cyclone, and cast various buffs that help their teammates out.
  • While being a hybrid, Druids are capable of doing as well as any other class in the game, although without the depth or choice that other classes enjoy.
  • Leveling a Druid is relatively easy, Feral Druids operate much like Rogues but are capable of healing themselves and providing a lot of self buffs.

Race Selection

What’s the best Race for a Druid?

There are a limited number of races that can play as Druids. Right now, Druids can be Night Elves, Worgen, Tauren, and Trolls. However, that doesn’t decrease the difficulty in picking the right race since you’re stuck with it unless you want to pay for a race change. Don’t worry though, you can’t make much of a mistake and the various differences aren’t strong enough that you shouldn’t focus on what you find more aesthetically pleasing.

There is a difference between the races in their racial abilities though so if you’re a power gamer be sure to browse what the differences are as they can be substantial.

Picking a Profession

What’s the best Profession for a Druid?

Choosing a profession used to be difficult, but it isn’t any more thanks to normalization of the various trade skills. You get the same bonus with any non-gathering profession; they just come in different varieties and tiers. So the first major stat reward comes at level 70 and at each expansion thereafter.

So don’t overly fret when picking professions, go with the one you know you’ll like. It’s a great idea to check out our Professions portal to browse over what each profession does and what benefit each one has to you.

If you really want to maximize your performance though then you should consider matching your professions to your spec.

For example if you choose to mainly focus on melee DPS as a feral cat druid then getting skinning and leatherworking would be idea. This would grant you the crit bonus from skinning, better wrist enchants from leatherworking, as well as providing usable items.

If you are going to tank as a feral bear then potentially mining and blacksmithing is best. Since it would provide you with extra stamina and extra gem slots.

You can change at any time though and again the professions provide a fairly even stat bonus across the board, it is just a matter of which stat. Lastly unless you are going to raid, and really want to get the absolute most out of the character your choice of profession is not going to break your character.

Druid Specializations and Forms

What spec should I pick for a Druid?

Good question and one easily answered. There are four major specializations a Druid can select from, they are Restoration (Healing), Feral (Melee DPS), Feral (Tanking), and Balance (Magical DPS). Each form / specialization has its own benefits, which you can read about in our Combat (Shapeshifting) section. While there are four types, there are only three different talent trees to chose from. The Feral tree has talents that you select from that work for either DPS or tanking or both but with a different effect based on your current form.

Balance (Caster / Moonkin Form): While in Moonkin form you can only cast Balance spells and you gain the eclipse bar (once you begin specializing in Balance) that buffs of Arcane / Nature spells depending on the order of spells you cast.

Feral (Cat Form): In Cat Form you lose your Mana bar in exchange for an Energy bar and can only use certain feral abilities that pertain to Cat Form. While in this form you gain the properties of an animal and most of your skills act like a Rogue.

Feral (Bear Form): In Bear Form you lose your Mana bar in exchange for a Rage bar and can only use certain feral abilities that pertain to Bear Form. While in this form you gain the properties of an animal and most of your skills act like a Warrior. In addition, you gain more health and can take a lot more damage.

Restoration (Caster / Tree Form): Restoration Druids use various different healing abilities to heal their party and raid, but mainly focus on heal over time (HOT) type healing spells. They can also temporarily transform into a Tree for increased healing ability.

What are the mastery bonuses for each spec?

Once you spec into one of the three talent trees and reach level 80 you also gain an ability to use the Mastery stat which provides some great bonuses. They are different for each spec and are as follows:

Balance - Total Eclipse: Increases the bonus damage from Eclipse by 16% and a bonus 2% per point of mastery.

Feral (Cat) - Razor Claws: Increases your bleed damage by 25.04% and a bonus 3.1% per point of mastery.

Feral (Bear) - Savage Defender: Increases the damage absorbed by your savage defence by an additional 32% and a bonus 4% per point of mastery.

Restoration - Harmony: Increases your direct healing by 10% and provides a 10 second buff of 10% to your HOT healing after casting a direct heal. Each point of mastery increases these bonuses by 1.25%

Character Statistics

What are the best stats for Druids?

There are many different stats that are useful for druids, which is useful for you depends on your spec and will be described in the next section. This section focuses only on what each stat that is useful for Druids as a whole will provide.

  • Agility: Provides 2 attack power in feral forms and 0.003% critical strike chance in cat form and 0.0041% dodge rating in bear form (percentages are at level 85).
  • Strength: Provides 1 attack power in feral forms, however since items usually have strength or agility you should almost never have strength items. The only exception is while leveling and if you had a low level item in a slot with 15 agility and found an item that had 50 strength your could safely use it until you found another item with agility. Remember though that agility also provides critical strike chance so the strength on an item should be at least 2.5x higher than the agility you are replacing.
  • Intellect: Gives you 1 Spell Power for point of Intellect, increases spell critical strike by 0.0015%, and increases the size of your mana pool by up to 17.5 points (with the right talents).
  • Spirit: Increases mana regeneration and gives spell hit at the same rating as hit for Balance Druids.
  • Stamina: Provides 10 health for each point of stamina on an item. When tanking in bear form with the Heart of the Wild talent and Mark of the Wild self buff active a point of stamina will provide just over 19.5 health.
  • Critical Strike: At level 85 you require 179.28 crit rating to gain a 1% crit chance.
  • Hit (melee): You need 8% hit to ensure that you do not miss an enemy that counts as a boss (skull level) with melee attacks. At level 85 you need 120.1 hit rating to gain 1% bonus hit chance. This means that if you are going to raid you require 961 hit rating as melee.
  • Hit (spell): You need 17% hit to ensure that you do not miss an enemy that counts as a boss (skull level) with magical attacks. At level 85 you need 102.45 hit rating to gain 1% bonus hit chance with your spells. This means that if you are going to raid you require 1742 hit rating as a caster.
  • Expertise: Expertise is gained at the same rate as melee hit, and at level 85 you need to get to the soft-cap of 26 expertise to remove the chance for enemies to dodge you when you are attacking them from behind.
  • Haste: At level 85 you require 128 haste rating to gain 1% haste.
  • Dodge: At level 85 it takes 176.7 dodge to gain a 1% dodge chance.
  • Mastery: At level 85 it takes 179.28 mastery rating to gain 1 point of mastery. What this grants you depends on your spec as described above.

Equipping a Druid

What’s the best equipment for a Druid?

Choosing equipment is a complicated issue for druids since there is so many different priorities that all depend on which spec you choose. For example while agility might be an awesome stat for feral DPS druids, it is a completely useless stat if you are a restoration or balance druid. In fact if you are a restoration or balance druid you should never ever have a single piece of gear that has agility on it equipped, and if you do, you are doing something wrong.

Feral (Bear) - As a tank you need to focus on gaining stamina, dodge, mastery, hit, and expertise. Crit and Haste also help out a bit with threat generation, however if you are not having threat issues then focus more on your other stats.

Feral (Cat) - As a melee DPS druid you will focus on agility as your key stat and then also aim to get mastery, crit, haste, hit, and expertise.

Balance - As a caster your obvious key stat is intellect as it provides the biggest boost. You also need to ensure you reach the hit cap by getting hit and spirit. Once at the hit cap you focus changes to haste, mastery, and crit.

Restoration - Again as a caster you key stat is intellect since it provides spellpower, mana, and spell crit. After that you are looking for spirit for mana regeneration, and then haste, mastery, and crit for faster and bigger heals.

Druid Guide: Basics

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About The Author

David "Xerin" Piner
Get in the bush with Xerin every week for his column, Respawn, as he analyzes the hottest trends, buzz topics, and absurdities in MMO gaming. In addition to his ongoing war against early access titles.

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