Druid Leveling 4.1 — 60-70
I’m really enjoying my time questing in Outland so far. Admitetdly my strategy thus far in Azeroth has been to avoid quests and rapid-fire myself through as many dungeons as possible, and I had hoped to keep that strategy once I got to Outland. But I realized that questing gave almost better experience (since I was not constrained to waiting on flunkie tanks or idiot DPS or people who drop out without warning in the middle of a pull…) and it also netted me a little bit of guild rep as well. I am also thoroughly enjoying leveling as a solo balance druid. It’s been one big sloppy AoE hurricane/typhoon fest so far and I love it. I pull anything and everything within rang of me with DoTs, then Hurricane it all down and Typhoon if I’m being beaten too savagely. It’s satisfying as all hell. On top of all that, this is the first time I’ve seen Outland from a Horde perspective, and I want to make the most of my time here. Because of this I’ve decided to put dungeons on the back burner and continue my quest-fest until further notice.
Before we dive into the level-by-level break down, let’s take a moment to overview the different specs and how they’re beginning to look at level 60.
A balance druid at this level has almost all of the DPS tools it will need to be successful. Hurricane is a devastating AoE (especially if you DoT things with moonfire/insect swarm beforehand) and can wreak havoc in both solo questing and dungeon environments. Your DPS rotation is still the same as it was a long while back: DoT your target and refresh when they fall off, spam Wrath or Starfire depending on Eclipse state, and watch them die. Add in a Hurricane when there are many mobs (assuming your tank is good on threat; if he has trouble, skip Hurricane). Typhoon is still a no-no in instances unless glyphed. It’s a blessing while questing if unglyphed. Pop your treants to take down a boss or handle a tough trash pull or a large group while soloing. You’re still fully capable of healing an instance in a pinch, if your healer dies or leaves, etc. Everyone has their own opinion on when you should stop queueing for a role you are not spec’d to fill and here’s mine: unless you have dual spec and a resto spec handy, don’t queue for a healing slot as a boomkin. Fill in if necessary, but don’t queue.
Resto druids are still several tools short of a full toolbox, but their healing options have opened up significantly by now. You should have spent talent points in both Efflorescence and Wild Growth (and if you haven’t, rectify that immediately). Both are potent group heals that can see you through the very worst of pulls. Your Swiftmend spell is now doubly significant: it provides a burst of healing on the target as well as a bloom of healing on the ground for all to stand in. Use it often. If you’re having mana trouble, take a step back and reevaluate your healing rotation. You should not be using Regrowth as a primary heal. Use Nourish instead. Keep Rejuvenation up on the tank always. Hit Swiftmend if things look dicey, and the healing puddle will help the group as a whole as well. Don’t spam Regrowth! Keep an eye out for spirit gear and use your Innervate at about 50% mana.
Feral druids are still capable of tanking and DPSing in the same spec and gear. That won’t change until almost level 85. A bear’s AoE threat is sub-standard at this point in time, but a little communication with your group as well as Swipe spam will help that. Glyphed Maul is also pretty much mandatory. Tanking for now is going to be a balance of Swipe spam and tab-targeting to apply Mangle and Maul threat. Kitties will be adjusting to adding Rip to their rotation. Always remember to stand behind your target as a cat, or Shred won’t be effective. Rip at 4-5 combo points if the target is at near/full health; Bite if the target is beneath 50%. Your healing capabilities at this point are less than effective, but if you find yourself in a pinch a cat druid can pop out and heal if necessary. Bear druids should never leave bear form while tanking mobs. They can, however, pop Nature’s Grasp to root a single mob (only works on single mobs) and run away to battle rez or heal or what have you.
Maim. Maim will see good use in PvP but can also be used in PvE if you need the jump on a difficult mob, such as an elite. It is not part of a regular DPS rotation but can (and should) be used to interrupt heals.
Lifebloom is another one of those really important spells that comes oddly late in the game. It stacks three times to deliver a nice HoT effect, and when it expires it delivers quite a punch. The object of the game here is to know when to let it expire. It is more mana efficient to keep it rolling indefinitely, though if your target needs a quick burst of healing under heavy fire, letting it expire may be better. You will want to keep this spell stacked 3 times on your tank at all times.
Lacerate. The bear tank is going to see a few more helpful abilities in these later levels – why they couldn’t get them earlier is beyond me, but whatever. If you’ve ever played a warrior, Lacerate is sort of like Sunder Armor. You stack it three times on your main target. It is a threat boost as well as a damage boost. You can tab-target to Lacerate multiple enemies if you want. You’ll want to keep it from dropping off (bosses, at least) for maximum damage. Because it deals periodic bleed damage, this is (like almost all feral DoTs) something you apply after Mangle.
These points be talented.
Tranquility is hands down your most powerful heal, bar none. It’s channeled (which means you may want to hit Barkskin before you cast it to spare yourself the heartache of it being interrupted or knocked back) and applies both a direct heal every second or so for 8 or so seconds, and then on top of that it stacks a HoT 3 times on all affected targets. It has the ability to bring your group back from the very edge of a wipe. It saves your ass. It saves your group’s ass. The 3 minute cooldown means you shouldn’t be afraid to pop this when you need to. It will be back up by the time the next “oops” rolls around. It’s potent in any spec, so DPS should not hesitate to crank it out if things look bad.
At this point you’re also eligible to head into Northrend. Whether you go or stay is of course your decision. Beginning content in Northrend can be a bit rough on an undergeared level 68. I’m choosing to stay in Outland until level 70 to catch up on dungeons I haven’t yet run.
A talent point. You finally gain access to your end talent payoff. Balance druids get Starfall, a massive AoE barrage; Ferals get Berserk, a nice DPS boost; and healing druids finally get their own form, Tree of Life.
Now that you’ve maxed out your chosen talent tree, the game will allow you to plop additional points in another tree of your choice. This can be confusing for new druids, so let’s take a second to discuss where you should spend your overflow points.
For Balance druids, the natural choice is to pop over to the resto tree. Blessing of the Grove, Natural Shapeshifter (for its linked talent) and Heart of the Wild are all good choices. You will want to aim towards Master Shapeshifter, as well.
For Ferals, neither Balance nor Restoration are optimal trees. Restoration has the edge, though, with Natural (and Master) Shapeshifter talents and Heart of the Wild.
Restoration druids will want to slip over to the Balance tree to grab Nature’s Grace and Nature’s Majesty, as well as Genesis or Moonglow. It’s increased healing vs. decreased mana cost. Your pick.
Yay, congrats. If this were the Burning Crusade, you’d be hot shit right now. That’s not to say 70 still isn’t a nice accomplishment, but you have a ways to go before you’re the big dog on campus. Still, 15 more levels are going to fly by. Take some time to clean out your bags and quest log, because you’ll want to head over to Northrend if you’re still hanging out in Outland.
You’re also eligible to buy epic (280%) flight form now, and you’ll want to pick up Cold Weather Flying too.