A Title Goes Here!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you a brief Q&A section specifically for the leveling druid audience.

The level 20 to 30 guide should be posted no later than tomorrow (now that I say that, something catastrophic will happen and it will be delayed) but I wanted to take a minute or two and fire off some FAQ-style questions to clear the air about some issues I couldn’t quite poke into my guides. Shall we?

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1. What spec is best for leveling?! I WANT A STRAIGHT ANSWER.

NO.

Well, fine. Fine. It seems the majority of players cannot stand the “they’re all good just play what you like” answer, so I’ll narrow this down the best I can. For the first few levels, Feral seems to pull ahead. Most mobs die after two Mangles and if they don’t then one more smack of the paw finishes them off. You kill things so fast they don’t have time to deal any damage to you, and if you pull more than you can handle, you can switch into bear form for added survivability. So, for the first…oh, twenty or so levels (that is, from level 10 when you choose a spec until about level 30) Feral really shines.

But after that, Feral and Balance are truly neck and neck. In the hands of a good player, Balance is just as good as feral from the moment you hit level ten. If you’re new or inexperienced, then Feral has more room for error and can take more of a beating, whereas Balance requires a tad more finesse. It’s more about “which spell is best for this situation” where the situation changes every split second, while Feral is more about “RAWR MANGLE SPAM”.

Feral is more about smashing things one by one, where Balance has an arsenal of AoE spells that can take down half a zone in a few seconds.

It’s about playstyle. It’s about preference. It’s about playing two very different roles and playing them well. So the short answer is “feral pulls ahead in the beginning” but the long answer is “both feral and balance druids are effective for leveling”.

2. Is it possible to level as a resto druid?

Possible, yes. Preferable? Hell no. For the first probably ten levels, you’ll do okay. Not great, but not poorly. You’ll spam wrath and things will die and you’ll be fine. But then about level 20 you’ll hit a roadblock. Things won’t die as fast. You won’t do as much damage. Things will hit harder. You’ll spend more time and mana healing yourself than you will killing things. It’s a slow, repetitive, laborious way to level and I don’t recommend it. If you want to heal, you’ll be confined to dungeons until at least level 30, at which point you can purchase dual spec.

3. If I spec Feral, how do I know if I am spec’d for tanking or for DPS?

Read each talent in the feral tree carefully before investing in it. The talents themselves tell you whether they are for tanking or for DPS. Many are for both. If it enhances any bear ability, it’s for tanking. If it enhances any cat ability, it’s for DPS. Because most talents effect both cat and bear forms, it’s easy to build a sort of “hybrid within a hybrid” spec that allows for both DPS and tanking roles. And really, until level 75+ or so, you can tank perfectly fine with a cat spec.

4. What professions are best for a druid?

If this is your first character or your first character on a new server, I recommend grabbing two gathering professions, because the potential to make massive amounts of gold is ripe. Pick two of skinning, herbalism or mining and get gathering.

If that’s not your style, then rest assured that most professions will benefit a druid in some way. Druids wear leather armor so obviously Leatherworking is a solid choice. Inscription, Jewelcrafting, Enchanting and Alchemy benefit everybody. Engineering is iffy, but it does provide some fun toys. Both Tailoring and Blacksmithing offer no benefit for a druid.

For the best benefits while leveling a druid, you’re probably looking at Leatherworking. Kill stuff, skin it, make it into armor you can wear. Not a bad deal, and not outrageously expensive to level like some of your other options. Cough, enchanting and jewelcrafting…cough.

5. What zones/instances should I be leveling in?

Blizzard has done an immaculate job of redesigning the old Azerothian zones to be compelling and interesting, so you can’t go wrong regardless of which zone you choose. Go somewhere you think will be fun, and I guarantee you it will be. I think every zone now has some sort of “epic” quest line that ends in blue quality rewards, so no matter where you go you’ll get something nice.

As for which instance, I can’t really answer that. Each instance has loot that will benefit different specs, so you might have to do a bit of research to determine which instance you should queue for. Or, just random queue and let the dungeon finder decide.

6. Should I be wearing/rolling for cloth armor?

If you are feral, then the answer is no, never. If you’re balance or resto, though, then the answer is kinda muddy.

The reason you will not see a level 85 druid wearing cloth is due to Leather Specialization, a passive skill learned at level 50 that awards you a 5% bonus to your best stat if you’re wearing all leather. But, like I just said, that doesn’t kick in until level 50. So, before level 50, there is absolutely no reason not to wear a cloth item if it’s an upgrade for you. Even after level 50, a massive cloth upgrade may still outweigh the 5% bonus. Note that the bonus is only added, not taken away. You will not receive a 5% penalty for wearing cloth. You just won’t get the bonus. So, if you find a cloth piece in your 60s and 70s that is a large upgrade, don’t hesitate. But in your 80s, stick to leather for the bonus.

Even with the entire world revamped, caster leather is still pretty hard to find. If you earn it from a quest reward, no one cares if you equip it. But if it drops from a dungeon, cloth-wearing players may take issue if you roll on it. My general rule of thumb is this: Do not roll on cloth armor against a cloth wearer. If the cloth wearers in my group pass or roll greed on the item, then I roll need. If they roll need, I don’t. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then kindly get some sort of communication going with your group on the matter.

Personally, I feel that healers of any class should get to roll on cloth, because like I said, caster items of any other armor type tend to be few and far between. Groups want healers, healers make the queue go faster…but they don’t want them to roll on gear that lets them heal. Odd.

7. Should I be taking strength gear as a feral druid? That mace is a huge upgrade…

No, it isn’t, actually. Strength gives one point of attack power per one point of strength; agility gives two points of attack power per one point of agility, plus dodge and crit. You lose by taking strength over agility any time. Leave the strength gear for those who truly need it (Hint: not you) and save your rolls for agility gear.

8. I’m having a really hard time holding threat as a bear tank…why?

Because low level bears are oddly not designed to tank. If you are not yet level 18 and are having issues, then I propose that you wait until level 18 when you get Swipe, which will help wonders. If you’re level 18 and are still having issues, then take a good look at your “rotation”, such as it is at this level.

Pull with faerie fire when you can. It has a damage component when in bear form as well as a boost of threat. Hit the target with Mangle for instant threat. Maul when you have enough rage. Swipe when you have more than one mob attacking you; Swipe should be done before Maul in this case, otherwise mobs will run amok while you regenerate the rage you used for Maul. Buy Glyph of Maul to allow Maul to hit (and thus produce threat) on more than one mob. Some target switching may be in order to build threat on multiple mobs. Growl to taunt wayward mobs back to you.

If you’re doing the above (in other words, if you’re doing more than auto-attacking) and you still can’t maintain threat on a mob, then you may need to talk to your DPS. Even at early levels there is no reason to harass a tank with bad manners (i.e., pulling before the tank does, attacking the wrong target, etc.) so if you find that your DPS are going apeshit and causing a problem, politely mention that you would appreciate it if they could watch threat and let you establish aggro first. If they react like entitled little shits, then that’s why the vote to kick option was invented.

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That’s it. Stick around for levels 20 to 30 and more druid related goodness over the next few days.

You can also join the fun over on Zangarmash (US-H) with the WoW Insider guild, if you want.

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About Sylvestris

Gamer, nerd, book worm, baker.

Posted on May 26, 2011, in Beginner Guides, Tips and Tricks and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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