Druid Leveling 4.1 — 20-30
Hopefully by now you’ve gotten into some sort of groove with your druid. You know your role and you know how to behave in a group. The next ten levels will go by just as fast, with just as much stuff being thrown at you. Ferals especially will see a barrage of new skills they will have to learn to use. Your ability to perform two roles with one spec is dwindling. At this point you should be queuing only for the role you spec’d to play, though you are still capable of filling another role in a tight spot (like, say, if the healer drops group during a pull, you can still toss up heals and be quite effective). This is about the point, I find, where people begin to notice if you aren’t the proper spec, and may say something. If you’re questing to level, then it’s of no concern to you, but be cautious when queuing for a role you are not spec’d to fulfill.
Without further ado, let’s look at the next ten levels.
Nothing new here. Even if you are focusing on questing, I recommend grabbing the level 20 druid quest from a trainer and popping into Shadowfang Keep for an awesome staff.
Feral druids get bombarded with three new abilities this level: Enrage, Ravage, and Skull Bash. Enrage will solve you rage woes in bear form. Hit it before you pull to load up on rage, because if you haven’t figured out by now, rage = threat. Ravage is a kitty ability that packs a punch, providing you are both stealthed and behind your target. There was no reason to be attacking a target from stealth before Ravage, and for the sake of efficiency I will argue that there still isn’t. It’s faster just to run up unstealthed and start Mangling than to creep up and open with Ravage, but if you know you need the element of surprise to kill something (say an elite or a difficult quest mob) then Ravage is worth the time. Lastly, we have Skull Bash, which has both a cat and a bear counterpart. Skull Bash is your basic interrupt, which will stop any spell from being cast and prevent spellcasting for a few seconds. Interrupting a mob’s heal is always a good thing.
Nothing new or interesting here.
Faerie Fire is used in both feral forms as well as in caster forms. While you won’t have the time or the need to apply it while solo questing or killing trash in dungeons, it’s a good idea to toss it on bosses or elite mobs for the extra debuff. Because Faerie Fire also deals damage and threat while in bear form, you will be using it to pull mobs now if/when you tank. You can stack it up to three times.
Remove Corruption is a healer’s dream, since it means you spend less mana healing a player who is taking damage from a curse or magic debuff. As healer you should be using Remove Corruption whenever someone gets cursed. It’s a good habit to get into for the later levels, where not removing a curse can wipe the entire group or raid. Later on you will find a resto talent that adds magic to the mix, and you will need to be on the lookout for both things to cleanse from your allies. Balance druids should also be looking to cleanse their groupmates, especially if a resto druid is not present (or is out of mana). Ferals should cleanse only when it is of life-or-death importance (for example, the curse applied during the Godfrey encounter in Shadowfang Keep) because Remove Corruption knocks them out of cat/bear form…as a general rule, a bear tank should never pop out of bear form for any reason.
Tiger’s Fury is a kitty’s best friend. Use it every time it is off cooldown for maximum effect, especially on bosses. Later talents will improve upon this ability, making it an instant “generate energy” button.
You’ve finally unlocked your first glyph slots, so let’s take a brief moment and talk about glyphs for the leveling druid.
First, it’s important to understand that leveling glyphs are not the same as end-game glyphs. Leveling glyphs focus more on survivability and utility, whereas end-game glyphs focus more on pure DPS output or healing or what have you. Sometimes they are one in the same. Sometimes not. The glyphs you choose now will probably be replaced by the time you hit max level. Don’t fret about choosing the “wrong” glyph. Furthermore, glyphs are not essential right now. If you cannot afford them off the AH (my server is currently selling them at about 60g on average per glyph, which I will guess is out of the range of affordability for most leveling druids), don’t worry. If you do decide to spring for a glyph or harass a friend into making some for you, here are my recommendations:
Minor: Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth by far outweighs anything else at level 25. It means you will always have the ability to battle rez, no “oops I forgot reagents” moments ever again.
Major: Glyph of Maul for the tanking druid is a must-have. It allows your Maul ability to hit one extra target, which is huge in terms of keeping mobs glued to you. Glyph of Rake for kitties prevents mobs from fleeing if you have Rake on them. Useful for preventing a mob from running to gather its friends while questing or instancing. Pickings are slim for casters at this level, but if you want to wait until level 28 then Glyph of Innervate is probably your best bet. Though, personally, I don’t start having to use innervate until later levels anyway.
Prime: Glyph of Insect Swarm and Glyph of Wrath are both excellent for a balance druid. Glyph of Moonfire is also good. Glyph of Swiftmend is a must-have for healers, no exceptions. Glyph of Mangle is the only glyph for ferals at this level, so luckily it’s a good one.
Cower is um…it’s…well, it’s Cower. It’s mostly useless. Kitties who pull threat from an under-performing tank (or kitties who refuse to attack the tank’s target) will find use for Cower. Otherwise, leave it to collect dust in your spellbook. Your action bar’s real estate is too valuable to waste.
Feline Grace is a passive ability that basically means you can launch yourself off higher buildings than anyone else. Have fun.
Dash is a fun little ability that sees the most use when running away from a bad situation.
Nothing new here.
Innervate is a spell that allows you to regenrate a chunk of your mana over a short period of time. If you find yourself in a tight spot with no mana, Innervate yourself. If you’re in a group and the healer runs out of mana during a boss fight, Innervate them. Glyph of Innervate makes this second scenario much more palatable, as the glyph means 50% of the spell’s effect will also be cast upon you.
Soothe is a very situational spell, and likely won’t see much use on your action bars. If a mob or boss enrages, Soothe can usually be used to remove the enrage effect. Very useful for boss fights at higher levels.
Challenging Roar is another “oh shit” button that enables a bear tank to taunt all enemies nearby at once. Good for those moments where all hell breaks loose and you need to get aggro on a ton of things in a split second before they munch on your healer. The three minute cooldown means you don’t have to be too picky about when you use it, either.
At 29 you’ll get the chance to purchase your first “major” spell from your talent trees. Balance druids will finally get their moonkin form, feral druids will get the option to purchase Charge, and resto druids…well, resto druids don’t have anything quite that awesome just yet. While balance and feral druids have a very clear choice for their 11th talent point, resto druids have a couple. Living Seed is okay, but I find myself using rejuvenation 80% of the time to heal my tanks, as they rarely require large bursts of healing such as those that will trigger the seed. Nature’s Swiftness is also okay, though again I rarely find myself in a position where I need to do massive healing, at least not at this level. Fury of Stormrage is gross, don’t touch it. That leaves Revitalize, the main component of which is useless because you dont have Lifebloom just yet. It does, however, offer mana regeneration when you heal with rejuvenation, so if you find yourself constantly low on mana, you might consider this one. Again, nothing too outstanding for a resto druid yet.
You finally get Mark of the Wild. Finally. I cannot fathom the reasons behind giving druids this buff this late in the leveling game, but for whatever reason, you’re getting it now. You will want to keep this buff up on yourself and/or your party at all times. If someone dies, rebuff. If you all die, rebuff. If it runs out (it has a 1 hour duration), rebuff.See the pattern?
You also gain access to dual spec, perhaps the best feature introduced into the game in a long time. It costs 10 gold to activate, and can be purchased from your class trainer. Dual spec allows you to have two completely separate specs at once, and switch between them at your leisure. Both specs have their own action bars and their own set of glyphs. Switching specs will remove any buffs you have on your party, and will also wipe all of your mana, so pick a wise time to switch. It can also not be done in combat.
If you’re leveling as balance, consider going resto (or vice versa). Both resto and balance uses the same gear pretty much until level 85, so you won’t need to gather two different sets. If you want to toss a feral spec into the mix, you will need to gather an agility/stamina set of gear.
The next ten levels will likely take me a short while to write. If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m writing these as I level a new druid, level by level, bit by bit. It’s the best way for me to give accurate information, but it also means that as I get to higher levels, the guides will come more slowly. Rest assured I’ll be filling in the gaps with other helpful tidbits and ramblings and whatnot.