Category Archives: Beginner Guides

Guides geared towards beginners.

Minor Glyph Madness!

I don’t see a lot of real information on the web about minor glyphs. Most of what you tend to find is some variant of “use what you think is fun” and that isn’t very helpful to someone who is unfamiliar with their class or their class’ glyphs. And since my main character is a scribe I find it my business to know about glyphs. Especially druid ones. So here is a run down of minor druid glyphs and what I think of them, to better inform people so they can choose the ones they think will best benefit them.

Minor Glyphs:

All minor glyphs are cosmetic now. That isn’t new, but it’s new to this expansion. Minor glyphs used to give you some sort of combat benefit, like removing reagents for spells, but now all they do is change cosmetic things on your character. They’re useless. You can do just fine without ever learning a cosmetic glyph. They aren’t required to raid or to do well in the game. But they’re fun and who doesn’t like a little character customization? This list will be in order from least useful to most useful, starting with number 10. This is all subjective, of course. In the end, you really do have to pick minor glyphs based on what seems cool to you, but hopefully this gives some guidance.

10. Glyph of the Cheetah — Why? Why does this even exist? Who in their right mind wants to go back to looking like a congenitally deformed sausage cat? It gives you no benefit at all. Unless you seriously loathe the new stag travel form and are pining to return to the cheetah-print days of yore, skip this glyph.

9. Glyph of Charm Woodland Creature — This is so useless it’s almost funny. With the advent of pet battles and being able to catch literally any pet available in the wild, why do you need a glyph that does the same thing, but for one hour only? If you find a wee beastie out there that you simply cannot live without, catch it. Don’t waste a spot with this glyph.

8. Glyph of the Treant — Another glyph that really does nothing at all. If you’re one of those who laments the loss of permanent tree form for restoration druids, this glyph will make your day. But if you don’t heal or you didn’t like Rotten Broccoli Form, then skip it.

7. Glyph of the Orca — If you’re sick to death of the fugly sea lion aquatic form, then look no further. Cruise the waters in style as a Northrend-style orca instead!

6. Glyph of Aquatic Form — This glyph sees very limited usefulness, especially since you don’t spend a whole lot of time underwater. Ever. But 100% speed boost while in aquatic form (that’s 50% baseline and then an extra 50% from the glyph) is still nice on the ultra-rare occasion you need it.

5. Glyph of the Chameleon — The real benefit of this glyph is for people like me who adore all the colors of the druid rainbow, and pout when they are confined to only one. I love being a different color every time I shift. It means I can keep my druid’s hair color how I want it (dark blue; absolutely always dark blue) but still see more than the dark blue bear butt I am so used to.

4. Glyph of Stars — One of the more visually interesting glyphs, this is great for those who dislike moonkin form or who simply like their regular form better. Some of the races have neat casting and combat animations that are fun to actually watch, or you might have a great transmog set you despise hiding under your feathers. I just wish the visual effect was more…starry. A faint shroud of mist and a few cascading stars was not what I had in mind when I first saw this glyph.

3. Glyph of the predator — This glyph would rank higher if only it was useful to more than one spec. You can only use track humanoids as a cat, so only Feral druids will see the full benefit of this glyph. However, all druids can shift to cat if need be, so you can still benefit from this if you don’t mind skulking around as a cat. I have never honestly had need to track things that often, but I know others who very much prefer to see potential targets on their minimap. It’s a playstyle thing. It can be useful to locate a hidden quest mob, or to search for rare spawns, or in PvP to keep an eye out on your enemies.

2. Glyph of Grace — This is the only glyph that actually has in-combat applications. In cat form you take reduced fall damage. With this glyph that benefit transfers to any other form. It’s something you don’t think much about until a boss has flung you high in the air, or you accidentally run off the edge of a mountain. This is of no use to Feral druids, of course, but for those of us who don’t see cat form much it’s very nice to have, kind of like an ace up your sleeve.

1. Glyph of the Stag — This glyph ranks as number one purely because it embodies the true essence of druidism: shapeshifting. This isn’t a glyph to give you an extra form. No, it’s to make the travel form you already have actually useful. Druid are all about having a form for every occasion, and this glyph means your travel form now benefits one lucky friend too. It came in first place because I find it absolutely hilarious and wonderful to cart my guild members around on my back. Hi ho silver, away!

So there you go. An actual analysis of minor glyphs. I am using Orca, Stag and Chameleon glyphs on my main. It’s all cosmetic, yeah, but that’s the whole point. Obviously some of these glyphs only benefit one spec, such as Stars. If you’re a Feral druid using Stars, you’re doing it a bit wrong. If you’re a balance druid using Chameleon, you won’t get any effect. Other than some of that, these glyphs are really just a matter of “what do you like?” and “how do you play?” I think Grace and Predator are especially useful in PvP, while Stag is a good all-around glyph for every spec and playstyle. Grace may also be useful in raiding, for those bosses that like to hurl you high into the air. Remember that once you learn a glyph, you know it forever, so don’t be shy about swapping glyphs to fit your current situation.

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Pet Battles: An Overview

Pet Battles are my favorite addition to WoW, as they feed both my long-lost love of the Pokemon “catch and battle” system and my addiction to collecting WoW pets in general. Whether you’re a casual collector picking up one or two favorites or a die-hard fanatic eager to collect every rare, there’s a lot of room in pet battles for individual tastes. It seems highly unlikely to ever fall out of fashion, as each patch adds more new pets to collect and obtain. As such, even the most accomplished collections are never fully “complete”. With over 500 pets obtainable in game it’s hard to know where to begin, so I’ve compiled what I hope is a useful overview guide of resources and tips. Later, I’ll be posting some on the finer points of battling and collecting hard-to-find pets. Without further ado:

Getting Started:

It’s hard to imagine that people still don’t know where to start this late in the expansion, but here it is anyway. If you’re Horde, go find Varzok up on the mesas in Orgrimmar by the flight master. Alliance members should go pester Audrey Burnhep in Stromwind by the Cataclysm portals. Train your character in the elite art of pet battling, and you’re good to go.

Again, I would be shocked to hear someone say they didn’t have one single pet to begin battles with, but if that’s you, these trainers also sell battle pets. Which pet they sell is tied to your race. Now that you have a pet to send into battle, we’ll talk about which pet and why.

Battle Pets

Each pet has a family type, and which type they are directly influences their effectiveness in battle. If you played Pokemon, you understand this concept. If you didn’t, it works like this: each pet has a family type. That type is strong against certain types and weak against others. Flying pets will demolish aquatic ones, but be demolished by magic ones for example. Knowing what type your pet is and what its strengths and weaknesses are is half the battle.

However, pets that belong to one family may have attacks that belong to another. Each attack has its own family too, so a beast type pet may have beast type attacks and attacks of another type. These combinations can make or break a pet battle, because (to stick with our previous example) sending a flying type pet with no flying type moves in against an aquatic pet isn’t going to go too well. It’s worth knowing these combinations if you plan on being successful.

Pet Quality

Battle pets come in qualities just like other items in the game. Poor, common, uncommon, and rare. Poor and common pets are not suitable to battle with. Uncommon pets are fine until you start dealing with master and grand master trainers, and then their lesser stats become an issue. In my opinion, the only pets worth leveling and battling with are rares. Lesser qualities pets are fine to fill out your collection, but I wouldn’t waste my time battling with them.

Lesser quality pets can be upgraded to rare with a Battle Pet Stone. These are items found in daily bags after defeating grand master tamers in Azeroth, Outland, Northrend and Pandaria. The lowest level tamer is 18, so your pets will need to be at least that to take them on. If you get lucky and get a stone in the daily bags, I would suggest using it on a pet that cannot be found rare in the wild, such as pets from quests or vendors.

Battle pets also have something called a breed ID. This is a number that represents its stat allotment. If you just want to casually collect, this means nothing to you. If you’re hardcore in to pet battling, it means a great deal. Battle pets have 3 stats: health, attack power, and speed. The breed ID simply designates which of these stats have the most in them. Some pets have only one ID, and thus only come in one “flavor” of stats. Many pets have several IDs, meaning you can hunt around to find one with the stats you like. Some will have higher speed, higher attack, balanced stats…it all depends on the ID. It may be worth it to find a lesser quality pets with the ID you want and then upgrade it with a stone if that pet happens to be a very hard to find pet.

Get Out There

The best way to figure all of this out is simply to get out into the world and start pet battling. Battle pet levels progress with zone levels, so level one pets will be found in starting zones and so on. A good starter team will consist of one beast pet, one flying pet, and one magic pet. These will be strong against the majority of pets your encounter in the wild for a good while.

Pet Battle Resources

There are a lot of websites out there that will help you while you battle your way across the world. Here are a few of my favorites.

Warcraft Pets. Hands down the best pet-related website out there. Includes info on where pets can be caught, what level they are in the wild, what their attacks are, and so on. Helpful forums for troubleshooting and trading pets. They even have a guild on Madoran (US, Horde) for the pet enthusiast.

Wowhead. Their interactive pet battle maps can help you determine where pets spawn in each zone. The comments section of each battle pet’s page are a gold mine of info if you get stuck. I go here often when hunting elusive pets to see what tips and tricks others have shared.

Pet Breed Database. This website has all the pet breed IDs listed for your perusal. Useful if you’re hardcore in to breed IDs and finding the perfect one for each pet (I’m not) and for determining if a lesser-quality pet is worth upgrading with a stone because if the breed (I am).

Add-ons

PetBattle Teams. Available on Curse. This allows you to create and save teams of pets, so you can swap them easily instead of manually dragging and dropping. Useful especially at max level when you face the daily tamers.

Daily Tamer Check. Also from Curse, this one keeps track of which of the daily grand master pet tamers you have defeated. It’s useful again at max level, though not so much before then.

Pet Breed IDs. From Curse. Tells you a pet’s breed ID. Best for those who are searching for the absolute best breed for each pet.

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That’s about it. Pet battling is best learned by doing, I find. Enjoy yourself. If you get frustrated, take a break. If  a pet isn’t working out, swap it. If a tamer is kicking your butt, get a few more levels and come back. It should be fun, not a chore, so don’t turn it in to one.

Next time I’ll post something about how to find a rare pet or two.

Bear Tanking for Absolute Beginners

Just a quick “overview” style guide for brand new level 1 druids. It isn’t intended to be in depth or mathematical. It’s more of a “how” than a “why” guide. If you need some in-depth answers to high level gearing or spec questions, this guide over at the official forums will answer them. Let’s take a look at the very basics of bear tanking…

First, you have to be Feral spec in order to tank. When you hit level ten, put your first talent point in the Feral tree. Feral Swiftness or Furor are good places to start.

Second, you won’t even get bear form OR the ability to tank until level 15, which coincides with your ability to finally queue for the dungeon finder. However, as I have mentioned before, I don’t suggest you start tanking until level 18. At level 18 you will get Swipe, which makes tanking ten times easier.

Finally, you will want to choose talents that enhance your bear abilities over your cat abilities. Many talents do both. Some talents are exclusively bear-oriented, some cat-oriented. If you’re going to do nothing but chain-run instances as you level then cat abilities are somewhat pointless. If you want to quest in between dungeons, then cat abilities are fine. It’s up to you and your playstyle.

Gear

A new level 1 druid has no real choice in his gear. You’ll wear white crap and like it. But as you progress keep an eye out for Agility and Stamina gear. Agility and Stamina are your two top stats. Avoid intellect, spirit and strength. If you happen across a strength item and it is an upgrade for you from whatever low level white item you’re wearing, take it! But replace it with agility as soon as possible, and never roll on a strength item in a dungeon. A bear tank is best served by two handed weapons such as staves and polearms. Once you have access to them in dungeons, avoid one handed weapons like daggers and never use an off-hander. They only have caster stats anyway. As a final note on gear, steer clear of cloth pieces. Their stats will never benefit you and you lose armor, which is important for tanks.

Enchanting

I would advise a new bear tank to ignore enchanting as he levels up. You replace gear too fast for it to be worth the cost of an enchant, but in the event you come across something free or cheap, enchant for stamina or agility.

Gemming

You wont run across gem slots until you hit Outland, and my advice again is to ignore them since you will replace gear fast enough anyway. But, if you want to gem, slap solid stamina or agility gems in the sockets regardless of what color or bonus is there. Stick to low level gems. Stamina will likely be cheaper than agility anyway.

Glyphs

Glyphs at this level are not required, and I would say don’t waste your time until the later levels. However, as soon as you are able you should pick up Glyph of Maul. It will make your life easier from the get go.

Secondary Stats

As you level you will begin to see things like critical strike and hit on gear. At lower levels it really doesnt matter which of these stats you have on your gear. Bears will generally benefit best from hit, crit and haste. They will gain no benefit from spell power. A high level bear needs dodge; however, you will not find dodge on any bear-appropriate gear. Dodge gear in low level dungeons is meant for paladin and warrior tanks; avoid it.

Your Tanking Rotation

Start by opening up with Mangle on your primary target, then hit Swipe if there is more than one mob attacking you. Use Maul as rage permits. This is the basic level 18 bear “rotation”. Use Growl if a target strays from you and starts hitting another party member. Use Swipe on cooldown if there are multiple mobs. In your 20s I recommend using Faerie Fire to pull initially, and using Enrage to generate rage before the pull. It isnt very complicated and you don’t have a lot of room to wiggle between three basic attacks to hold threat.

A Note on Rage

Rage is your only resource as a bear. You get rage by hitting mobs and being hit by mobs. As such, it is important that you keep threat on whatever it is you are attacking. If the mob runs off to attack someone else, you wont get rage, and if you don’t have rage, you cant attack, which means you cannot get that mob back, which leads you into a spiral of hopeless, ragelessness. This is a problem in low level groups because no one cares to wait for a tank to pull and you’re stuck trying to taunt things.

A Note on Threat

Threat is basically a measure of how much your current target hates you. If it hates you the most, it will attack you. If it starts hating the mage more, it will run off and attack the mage. Your job is to keep that target attacking you at all times. If you are having trouble with this, try marking your current target with a skull to indicate to your group which one to attack. Always use Mangle on cooldown and Maul if you have sufficient rage.

Basic Bear Tanking Stuff

A few key things to keep in mind while you brave the dungeon finder…

1. You should always be the one pulling. If a “helpful” DPS in your group tries to pull, politely ask them not to. Cite your need for rage as a reason if you’d like, but the bottom line is that tanks pull. The end.

2. Never ever EVER allow a mob to attack you from behind. You have no chance to dodge attacks from behind. You want all mobs to always be standing in front of you. Wiggle around to position them correctly.

3. Never at any time shift out of bear form while you are actively being attacked. That’s like a paladin tank taking off his shield and sword. If you shift out of bear form not only do you lose ALL ability to attack (and thus hold threat) but you also lose a huge chunk of your armor and health. That means that if you are attacked it will hurt a lot worse. Your healer will not be amused and when you die neither will your group. There are of course times when a properly timed shift is a good thing, but for beginners remember the golden rule of druid bear tanking: never shift out of bear!

4. You have no ability to silence or pull caster mobs. Get used to it because it doesn’t change. If you find yourself facing a group of mobs where some are melee and some are casters, your best bet is to just drag the melee to the casters so you can Swipe everyone. Later on you may want to control the casters with CC, but since beginning groups dont/wont use it, just be aware that you cannot pull casters to you in any way. You have to go to them.

5. Always carry reagents for your Rebirth (combat rez) spell. Even though you should never pop out of bear form while you’re being attacked, if you have an opportunity to rez the healer and you can’t because you didn’t grab the reagents, you might as well just pop out of bear and let the mobs hit your backside. You’ll die either way.

6. You are quite capable of CC, but only before a pull. Entangling Roots is great for rooting a melee mob (don’t bother on a caster, they’ll just sit and cast anyway even if rooted) and Hibernate later on will take care of pesky dragons or beasts. Do these things before you pull the pack.

7. Know your cooldowns and how to use them. Barkskin and Survival Instincts are your two main damage-reducing cooldowns. You get them both in the mid levels. Barkskin has a quick cooldown and should be used every pull if necessary. Survival Instincts is your “oh shit” button that severely reduces incoming damage for those sticky situations. At low levels, use Demoralizing Roar on melee mobs to reduce the amount of damage they do, and thus the amount of healing you’ll need.

8. Don’t pull faster than your healer can heal, and always pay attention to your healer’s mana. You are a flimsy, delicate shadow of your future self at this level, so abolish any notions you have of being invincible. Learn to pace your pulls so that your healer (who, at low levels, has zero mana regen!) can keep up.

9. Learn to pull small packs, not entire rooms, of mobs. Your upper limit of what you can keep threat on AND not die from is about 3 to 4 mobs. Any more than that and your paultry level 16 quest greens will not save you. If you encounter casters, learn to pull them around a corner so that they have to run to you. When in doubt, always pull back a few yards so that dying mobs wont pull friends.

10. Learn when to leave a group. Normally I don’t advice people to throw in the towel and leave four others stranded, but I have come to learn from my own experiences tanking. Sometimes, you just have to apologize and leave a bad group. Sometimes, people cannot learn and will not close their mouths. For your own sanity, learn to recognize a group of ignorant, rude, incompetent people and politely bow out. Let the next tank who comes try to sort out the mage who runs ahead and pulls ten packs, the healer who tries to DPS, and the warrior who taunts off you every pull. It isn’t worth the headache on your part if you’re just starting out. Tanking can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but you have to take steps to ensure that it is! If you play the game to have fun, don’t hang around people who arent. It’s that simple.

And finally, if you find yourself in a great group, ask if they want to run again.

 

Druid Leveling Guide 4.1 — 80-85

Here’s the game plan for the following five levels:

I am going to run each dungeon once. I’m going to focus on questing because I am jonesing for guild rep. I am going to hit Hyjal, then Deepholm, then head right to Twilight Highlands when I hit 84.

I’m going to continue to address each level as I earn them, but a lot of what is contained in this section of the guide won’t pertain to individual levels. I’m going to do my best to address issues such as item level requirements, dungeon running, and Mastery as they pertain to a first-time druid. This guide was never designed to be a comprehensive look at stat values or rotations or anything raid-worthy, so if you feel you’ve mastered yourself well enough to be needing that kind of info, I will include links at the bottom of this post to direct you to some of that information.

Without further ado, let us start our journey to level 85.

First on the agenda:

Mastery and You: A Beginner’s Guide to the Stat

What is mastery?

Mastery is a stat, like crit or hit, that directly affects your character’s DPS or healing output, or their ability to tank. You’ll find mastery on Cataclysm level gear.

Do I need mastery?

Sure. It’s always a good thing to have. Unlike stats like hit, which only help those who actually do damage, mastery helps all classes, all specs, and all roles.

How good is mastery for a druid?

Mastery is a “good” stat for any druid. However, where it ranks among other good stats different between the specs.

For resto druids in end-level raiding gear, mastery edges out haste for the top stat. For a newly level 80 to 85 resto druid, though, you will want to take haste over mastery until you have hit the haste cap (which is beyond the scope of this guide, see links below for more info).

For a balance druid, mastery increases the damage you do while in an eclipsed state, so of course that makes mastery a useful stat for you. However, don’t neglect haste or crit, because you only spend about 80% of your total rotation in an eclipsed state.

Feral druids have two different masteries that will benefit either the cat or the bear. For the bear, mastery increases the amount of damage you can absorb when Savage Defense procs. Because bears do not have shields and thus cannot block, nor can they parry, dodge and absorbs are the bear’s biggest ways to mitigate incoming damage. This makes mastery a fine tool for surviving bigger hits. For the cat, mastery is a direct DPS increase. Much of a cat’s DPS is tied up in bleeds, and mastery increases bleed damage.

So is mastery a good stat? Yes. It seems to be. Take it where you can but don’t neglect your other stats.

Cataclysm Instances: Not the Same as Wrath Instances

I feel I need to do a public-service type announcement here real quick. I don’t want to contribute to the number of whiny, screaming babies already in the dungeon queue after all. Having just come from Wrath-level dungeons, I am well aware how nearly every pull is an AoE-fest with no regard for kill order or anything of that sort. It works because everyone overpowers the content due to guild perks or heirlooms or what have you. This does not work in Cataclysm. It worked for a little while at the beginning because people were stepping out of Icecrown Citadel in epic gear and could muscle through the content, but it doesn’t work that way anymore. Your average person now is coming fresh out of questing in Storm Peaks and Icecrown, and are bedecked in quest greens from Hyjal and Vashj’ir.

It is at this point where you really need to learn to understand your class and how it functions within a group. You cant just sit and spam Wrath or Mangle or pick your nose and expect to still see things die. You will have to get your rotation down and at the same time be aware of things like crowd control, which I’m guessing you havent used thus far. You’ll also have to figure out how not to die from environmental hazards on bosses, which adds a whole other level to being aware.

With a decent group, Blackrock Caverns and Throne of Tides can be pretty gentle in the initiation of a new level 80 druid, but don’t expect the same treatment in later dungeons. Here are a few tips for a beginning druid to keep in mind while dungeon crawling in Cataclysm:

  • Crowd control is king, and you have a lot of it. Roots are excellent against melee mobs (poor against ranged or casters), Hibernate can take care of dragons or beasts, and cyclone is there if something goes wrong. Don’t let over confident people bully you into running sloppy dungeons. Speak up if you feel CC needs to be used, especially if you’re the healer.
  • A feral cat is still capable of tanking should the need arise. If your tanks dies, don’t hesitate to pop into bear and taunt wayward mobs. You just might save the day.
  • Never stand in anything on the ground ever. If you didnt put it there, get the heck out.
  • If you’re not using your Innervate, give it to a healer. They’ll love you long time.
  • Get used to focusing fire on one mob. AoE is still viable on some pulls, but most of the time (with a competent group, anyway) you’ll be working around CC’d mobs that you really dont want to break. Single target attacks only.
  • If you’re tanking, remember that glyphed Maul hits two targets, which means it can and totally will break CC. This is my biggest issue as a bear tank. I maul the sheep all the time and it makes me sad.
  • Learn to watch your own crowd control timers. Nothing says incompetence like letting a mob’s CC run in the middle of battle and having it wipe the group. There are add ons that can help here but honestly I find just setting my CC target as a focus target and keeping an eye on the debuff works, too.
  • You can and should be interrupting any spell cast you see. Not just heals, either. Some trash mobs and bosses have immensely powerful AoE or other attacks that need to be interrupted quickly, which is a skill you must have in order to tackle heroics.

Now let’s take a quick look at the two starting level 80 zones. Ultimately whichever one you choose to quest in is up to you, and most people end up doing both for the achievements.

Hyjal:

Hyjal is my pick, especially since I’m a druid. It’s doubly important if you ever want to get into the Firelands quest chains and dailies, since you must do a majority of the Hyjal quest line to unlock them. Hyjal also seems to go quicker, in my opinion at least. I love the scenery and I love the fact that everyone there is a druid, or allied with druids, or helping the druids. Druids! Zone bonus: a non combat pet, awarded from the jousting quests.

Vashj’ir:

The underwater zone is one of my favorites, though I think I’m in the minority here. Many people seem to be irritated by the underwater mechanics, and I have to admit they annoy me too at times. The zone is also vast, and multidimensional, which confuses me sometimes when I dont know exactly where that stupid ? is on my map. The underwater topography is often difficult to navigate, but the scenery with the massive reefs couldnt be more splendid. Overall though the quests get tedious and there is one point where you swim back and forth across the zone several times in a row for quests and I always dread that part. Don’t let me dissaude you though; Vashj’ir is fun too. Zone bonus: a seahorse mount awarded at the start of the zone.

And now, on with the leveling.

Level 81:

I’m getting my ass kicked out here in Hyjal. My spells barely dent the mobs and I get pummeled half to death each time I pull something. Always nice to be humbled, I guess. I have found that I need to work Roots into my rotation as well as Typhoon to keep mobs off me. If you’re getting your face bashed in, you might try it as well. You will be awarded Thrash at this level, which ramps up your ability to obtain and keep multi-target threat as a tank. Use it on cooldown.

Level 82:

Another talent point, another level. I’m in far better shape than I was at level 82, much thanks to replacing Wrath-level quest crap with Cataclysm-level quest crap. It’s annoying how little my healing spells help now. If I’m in trouble I’ve learned to just Dash away instead of trying to heal myself.

Level 83:

Toodling around Deepholm, one of my least favorite zones. I think it’s all the monotony of rock. A miner’s paradise, though. I have made a crap ton of gold in just a few days, nearly doubling my coin purse. It’s almost sad, really. My baby project druid almost has as much money as my main druid. Then again, my main druid just spent 29,000 gold on something. Something. We’ll talk about that later. Anyway.

I recommend Deepholm, in case you were somehow thinking you’d skip it. You have to do it anyway to unlock the Therazane faction and the only source of shoulder enchants for non-scribes. Just get it over with.

You get Stampeding Roar here. I…don’t know what to say about Stampeding Roar. It feels so lackluster for a level 83 skill. I want to poke it with a sharp stick just to see if it’s hiding something better inside. It’s just a roar that increases movement speed of party/raid members around you for a few seconds. Possible applications: moving your group’s slow ass out of the fire/lava/ice/thunder/whatever. Okay, sure. But when fire starts spewing everywhere, are you really going to have the presence of mind to hit a button? Probably not. You’ll probably just be running. And the chances that more than one person are within SR’s tiny range is also small. It may be nice in PvP, such as in arenas, but I don’t PvP so I dont know.

Know where I use it the most? When the group wipes are we’re running back through the dungeons. Yeah.

Level 84:

I hit Twilight Highlands immediately upon reaching 84. The gear iLevel is higher which means it gets you closer to running level 85 dungeons and heroics. That said, I thought the opening quests for the Horde side of TwiHi were a lot more fun than Alliance. Even so, the Dragonmaw’s…er…architecture makes me very sad. Dead and dismembered dragons everywhere. Just pushing my way towards 85 as best I can. TwiHi is your best bet if you’re trying to get into heroics right away. The end quests all award iLevel 333 gear. You should also be hitting up Lost City, Halls of Origination, and Grim Batol for gear.

Level 85:

You’ll finally get your Wild Mushrooms here. They’re a huge part of the Balance druid’s DPS, so don’t forget to lay them out every time.

You’re eligible for heroics now, though I doubt you have the iLevel required to queue for them. To rectify that, I would recommend grabbing up the Cataclysm faction rep tabards and running the three dungeons I mentioned above until exalted to purchase gear. Check every rep vendor available to you for upgrades. Get yourself over to the Hero’s Call board in your capital city and pick up the quest to begin your Molten Front assault. The dailies will provide a massive amount of guild rep plus access to high level vendors for gear. If you didn’t play through Hyjal at level 80, you’ll need to go back and do so now if you wish to participate in the Firelands dailies.

Further Reading

I did not intend this guide to include strategy and advice for level 85 druids. It was meant solely as a leveling guide for those unfamiliar with the class. Given that, I’m not going to discuss gearing, gemming, rotations or anything like that here. There is already a plethora of good information around the internet, and I’d feel like I was only regurgitating it. If you feel like you’ve mastered the basics and are ready to truly test yourself, here are some related readings for the heroic-ready druid.

Ah! Bears! Cataclysm Tanking — a stickied thread on the official forums that I use as my go-to reference for everything bear.

Restokin — a druid healing blog with a ton of great guides and information. If you heal, check it out.

Syrco Owl — another druid blog, this time for moonkins.

Shifting Perspectives — always a wealth of information for all of the druid’s roles.

Elitist Jerks — if you have an appetite for numbers and min/maxing, EJ has everything you require to push yourself.

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So that’s it folks. We’ve gone from level 1 to level 85. It took some time and a lot of effort on my part, but for what it’s worth I’m glad to have another level 85 druid. I am going to write a “brief” wrap-up sort of post reflecting on my little adventure here in the next few days, and that will conclude our druidy adventures here. I have a lot more up my sleeve for the future so if you even remotely enjoyed the druid guide, hang around. As always, thanks for reading.

 

Druid Leveling 4.1 — 70-80

Northrend, for some reason, was never really one of my favorite areas to quest. I suppose it may be due to the fact that I leveled the majority of my alts to the cap in Wrath, so I saw every zone at minimum six times. Regardless, I’m putting my effort into questing now because my guild has a lot of rewards for the well-liked, and sitting at neutral just won’t do. Additionally, I’m having trouble locating acceptable caster leather and as such am wearing more cloth than I’d like. I’ve limited myself to just one run per dungeon right now so that I have time to quest thoroughly before departing. Guild rep is my focus for now.

Dungeons will once again award tabard rep, so if you’re still short you can make up for it here.

Regardless of your attitude towards Northrend, know that your stay here will be brief. Perhaps too much so. Heirloom pieces and guild perks etc. will make your time in the snowy mountains quick and relatively painless. Even without heirlooms I’m bombing along faster than I thought I would. Remember that you cannot begin Cataclysm level content until level 80, so you may as well enjoy your stay.

Level 71:

Talent point.

Level 72:

Nothing here, unfortunately.

Level 73:

A talent point.

Level 74:

Cyclone is a crowd control ability that, while short-lived, renders its target incapacitated. I find more use for this in PvP (where you can be horrendously annoying if you want to) but it’s also handy in PvE if you need to quickly get a mob out of your face. It is also one of the few forms of CC that cannot be broken via damage because the target is immune for the duration.

Level 75:

You unlock the last set of glyph spots.

Level 76:

Savage Roar is going to become one of the cat druid’s most important skills. It’s similar to Slice and Dice for rogues: you’ll want to keep it active as close to 100% of the time as possible. I use Mangle to establish one combo point (or two, as the case may be) then Roar to consume them, then get one with my normal rotation. Don’t bother if you’re just out questing, but if you’re in a dungeon or killing elites, it’s a good boost to your damage.

Level 77:

Talent point.

Level 78:

You finally get Healing Touch, the resto druid’s largest heal. It’s slow and it’s expensive and won’t take the place of Nourish for general healing purposes, but if you combine it with Nature’s Swiftness you’ll have a nice “oh shit” button for tough situations.

Level 79:

Talent point.

Level 80:

Congrats! You’re 5 levels away from end game content. You’ve earned the right to benefit from Mastery, which we’ll discuss in the next segment. You’ll want to leave Northrend behind now, because any questing you do there from here on out is not going to net you enough reward to be worth your time. Head to your faction’s capital to get started on your journey into the Cataclysm zones, and good luck.

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.

Balance

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.

Restoration

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

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.

Anyway.

Level 61:

Talent Point.

Level 62:

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.

Level 63:

Talent point!

Level 64:

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.

Level 65:

Talent point.

Level 66:

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.

Level 67:

These points be talented.

Level 68:

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.

Level 69:

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.

Level 70:

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.

Druid Talent Tree Analysis 4.1 — Feral (Level 60)

Here we go with feral, the only “dual spec” tree that doesn’t require two separate specs to accomplish the same goals.

If you really want to, there are plenty of ways to arrange your talents to succeed as both a tank and a melee DPS. On the flip side, you are also perfectly capable of arranging your talents to be “just” a tank or “just” DPS. A leveling druid will likely get more mileage out of a hybrid build while a druid at level 85 will more likely wish to specialize. It’s your call all the way.

Without further ado…

The Feral Tree

First Tier

Feral Swiftness — I am a huge fan of the run speed increase, but the chance to dodge for bear means this is a solid tank talent. As a bear, dodge is one of your only mitigation attributes, so if you can increase it you definitely should. This talent also has a nice PvP clause, too.

Furor — full points in this means you start with an instantly full energy bar when you shift to cat, and a good chunk of rage when you shift to bear. You never want to be caught with either bar at empty, so this talent is a must. Additional mana? Meh.

Predatory Strikes — increased crit chance for Ravage is nice. You’ll only get one Ravage off anyway since it requires stealth, so it isnt great. The healing bit tacked on at the end is moot for bear druids and less than great for kitties. This appears to be more PvP oriented than anything.

Second Tier

Infected Wounds — causes a debuff to slow the target’s attack speed. That means less damage on you and/or the tank. Good.

Fury Swipe — free DPS increase. Take it.

Primal Fury — additional rage is always good. Additional combo points for critical strikes is a DPS increase. The faster you crank out combo points and fill the meter, the faster you can lay down a Rip or a Bite. Simple.

Feral Aggression — increased Bite damage is good. Automatically stacking Faerie Fire means you wont waste global cooldowns to stack in manually, which means less time spent spamming FF and more time spent attacking.

Third Tier

King of the Jungle — more damage to bears is great, but this talent really speaks to kitties. It will refill your energy bar in addition to amping your DPS every time you hit Tiger’s Fury, which means you wont waste a second of that short little damage buff. Good stuff.

Feral Charge — there’s no way to justify not taking this. Charges are all well and good, yes, but you take this talent in order to get its linked partner.

Stampede — increases the bear’s melee speed and removes the stealth and positioning requirement for a cat’s Ravage. Win. This makes charge your opener of choice for both roles.

Thick Hide — entirely a bear talent. If you plan on being a bear tank, plan on taking this talent.

Fourth Tier

Leader of the Pack — endows your group with a crit buff (awesome) and causes your critical strikes to heal you for a small amount. Excellent talent for the solo-enthusiast and always optimal for any druid.

Brutal Impact — all about the interrupts. Great for PvP and PvE alike.

Nurturing Instinct — another talent that is best saved for the PvPer. You will not be popping out to heal as a bear, and even if you decided to as a cat your heals would be next to worthless anyway.

Fifth Tier

Primal Madness — treat it like an instant “energy potion”. Pop it to increase your damage output, sure, but the real reason I keep this thing on cooldown is for the instant boost to my energy bar.

Survival Instincts — THE defensive cooldown for ferals. Bears and cats alike will want this. It is one of two (Barkskin being the other) damage reduction tools in your toolkit.

Endless Carnage — increased duration of Rake means you don’t need to reapply it quite as often. That is nice. Same for Savage Roar and Pulverize.

Natural Reaction — a pure tanking talent. Reduces damage and increases avoidance, plus increases rage gained when you dodge.

Sixth Tier

Blood in the Water — it may take a moment for the effect of this talent to really sink in. As a rule of thumb, you always want Rip to take priority over Bite. If your target is at very low health, however, and Rip would not last long enough to be useful, Bite is the better choice because it delivers a larger dose of damage all at once. So, if you have a target that already has Rip ticking away on it, this latent lets you use Bite to refresh Rip’s duration 100% of the time. If you are a master of proper timing, it means you can keep Rip ticking indefinitely while at the same time punctuating it with large bursts of damage from a 5 point Bite. Pure win.

Rend and Tear — increases damage done by Maul and Shred to bleeding targets and increases Bite’s crit chance on bleeding targets. As a feral druid, you target should always be bleeding.

Pulverize — a massive attack for bear druids. Use after you have applied three stacks of Lacerate.

Final Tier

Berserk — this means Mangle is going to pop off cooldown a lot more frequently. Use it when it does. It also has an on-use effect which basically makes you a rabid, furry killing machine. Use it to grab snap aggro on a large trash pack that may otherwise have blown right past you. Use it to decrease the energy cost of your kitty attacks and get double the damage going. Use it. A lot.

Druid Talent Tree Analysis for 4.1 (Level 60) — Restoration Tree

Here’s the next segment of my talent analysis for the leveling druid: the restoration tree.

Again, this is the type of guide that focuses on the why and the how of talents, so if you just want a cookie-cutter spec thrown at you, look elsewhere.

Because the restoration tree is centered around healing, and healers in general are not solo-effective, I’m not going to discuss talents in the context of “if you solo, then…” because…if you’re trying to solo quest as a healer, you’re probably insane.

Restoration Tree

First Tier

Blessing of the Grove — increased healing to Rejuve is always good. No one cares about Moonfire.

Natural Shapeshifter — meh. Reduced mana cost is okay, but not enough to be incredible, and of course increased duration of Tree of Life (which you don’t have yet at level 60) is hot, but the real reason you take this is to access its linked talent.

Naturalist — decreased casting times is always a must for any healer. It equates to more healing over a period of time and less people dead due to “damnit, I had a heal coming” type things.

Heart of the Wild — another less than amazing talent, but increased intellect is directly related to increased healing, so it is at least viable.

Second Tier

Perseverance — you can look at this from a few different angles, but I tend to just view it as a waste of my talent points. A PvP druid will love it, and a PvE druid will probably pass it by. Again, at level 60 you probably wont be taking enough damage to warrant spending any points on this talent; at level 85, though, you may decide raid/heroic damage is plentiful enough to want it. Your call.

Master Shapeshifter — increased healing by 4% is nothing to sniff at.

Improved Rejuvenation — again, more increased healing. Good stuff.

Third Tier

Living Seed — great for healing a tank. That little bloom of free healing is always welcomed, however small it may or may not be.

Revitalize — you dont have Lifebloom yet, which makes much of this talent kind of worthless, but you do have Rejuvenation, and mana is always a good thing. You can spend points in it now for a little extra mana, or you can wait until you get Lifebloom to spend the points. Your call.

Nature’s Swiftness — I rarely ever use this while healing, even at level 85. It’s an “oh shit” button that you will pretty much always use with Healing Touch (it being your longest cast time and most potent). At level 60ish, you’ll probably not have need for such a thing, since Swiftmend has pretty much the same effect but with added AoE healing. You’ll want it eventually, but not necessarily right now.

Fury of Stormrage — I don’t honestly know what to think of this. Is it intended to help resto druids quest and solo stuff on their own? Is it intended to encourage resto druids to DPS while in a group? Neither of those options is acceptable. If you want to quest, go feral or balance and you should never waste mana and global cooldowns by DPSing when you queued as a healer. No no no and no. This reeks of PvP. Skip it otherwise.

Fourth Tier

Nature’s Bounty — more healing buffs. Yes. It also means your Nourish spell will be quicker to cast if you have Rejuve rolling on three or more people, which can certainly happen if lots of damage is going around.

Empowered Touch — increases healing done by a host of your strongest heals and also grants those heals a chance (100% at two points) to refresh your Lifebloom stacks (which you don’t have yet). The refresh is very important once you have Lifebloom.

Malfurion’s Gift — this one buffs spells you don’t have yet at level 60, but it should be revisited when you do have them later on. Lifebloom giving Omen of Clarity is great for mana conservation and the reduced cooldown on Tranquility (far and away your most powerful heal) is mandatory. Malfurion doesn’t skimp on the awesome when he gives a gift, eh?

Fifth Tier

Efflorescence — we’ve discussed this before and why it’s so great, but let me reiterate just in case you weren’t listening: this is mandatory! The group healing effect is powerful enough to speak for its self here.

Wild Growth — again something we’ve already had words about, but let me briefly restate: this is one of your best AoE healing abilities. It is a must-have.

Nature’s Cure — at the lower levels being able to cure magic is not really a priority. The higher you go, though, the more this becomes handy, to the point where it will be mandatory at the end game level. Being able to dispel magic in addition to poisons and curses makes you far more likely to be able to keep people alive in dicey situations. Magic debuffs can tick for insane amounts of damage, just like curses, so any savvy healer will want this.

Nature’s Ward — meh. The way I see it, if you’re being actively beat on while at or below 50% health, you’re going to be healing yourself anyway. Still, a free and instant HoT cast on yourself that doesnt trigger the global cooldown is a good thing. This is one of those “if you want it” talents, not a “must have”.

Sixth Tier

Gift of the Earthmother — what did I tell you about gifts? Always a good thing.

Swift Rejuvenation — means you can pop out Rejuvenation on more people faster. Good.

Final Tier

Tree of Life — the ultimate in healing druidyness. 15% increased healing plus a host of enhanced spell effects means this is probably one of the best healing buffs available in your talent tree. They don’t call us tree druids for nothing.

 

In a few days we’ll look at the Feral talent tree and its implications for both cat and bear druids. Keep an eye out for the 60-70 chapter of the leveling guide, too.

Druid Leveling 4.1 – 40-50

Level 41:

Nothing but a talent point.

Level 42:

Nothing, again.

Level 43:

A talent point! How exciting.

Level 44:

Hurricane! Finally balance druids are starting to get their arsenal of AoE spells. Hurricane is going to be a massive DPS boost for trash pulls, but it also eats up a ton of mana. Be picky about when you use it or you’ll spend more time drinking than you will DPSing. I don’t recommend using it on non-elite trash packs, as with other class’ AoE they will die too fast for your hurricane to be of any use, and you’ll have wasted the mana.

Level 45:

Another talent point.

Level 46:

Shred is going to become a mainstay in any feral cat rotation, so get used to using it. It requires you to be behind your target. You will want to Mangle to apply the debuff to your target, then Rake for its bleed effect, then spam Shred to fill up your combo points. Positioning shouldnt be an issue, as you should always be behind your target as melee anyway.

Level 47:

Talent point again.

Level 48:

Hibernate is the second of your crowd control options as a druid, the first being roots. Hibernate is useable on beasts and dragonkin, which reduces its usefulness. While questing you can use it to sleep an extra mob. You won’t see much use in instances until the later levels, as lower level groups rarely bother with CC. Off the top of my head, I know it comes in very handy in Grim Batol on the trash packs.

Level 49:

Talent point. Your 21st talent point will allow you access to some really nice spells, so rejoice. Let’s look at where to put it.

For resto druids, Efflorescence and Wild Growth are the top contenders. They are both heavy group heals, their only difference being positioning. Wild Growth hits everyone in the party regardless, whereas Efflorescence creates a healing circle on the ground that people must (but generally dont) stand in. Both are great choices for your talent point. Nature’s Cure is a must-have for end game content, but not so much right now. Nature’s Ward is nice but in my experience while PuG healing at this level it isn’t going to see much use. I took Wild Growth. Whichever one you don’t take, plan on grabbing it with your next talent point.

For Ferals, Survival Instincts sticks out as being the most useful for bear and cat druids alike. It is a damage reduction “oh shit” button that can save your ass. Primal Madness is great for kitties and a solid DPS boost. Natural Reaction is another good choice for bear tanks.I would take Survival Instincts if you tank, Primal Madness if you’re a cat.

Balance druids will likely gravitate towards one talent only: Force of Nature. Three treants to do your bidding on a small cooldown is a huge DPS boost for bosses or for “uh oh” moments when someone pulls to much and all hell breaks loose. The other 21 point talents are nice, but who wants those when you can have treants?

Level 50:

Yay! Congratulations. You’ll gain leather specialization, a passive skill that increases your primary attribute (your best stat depending on what spec you’re in) by 5% provided you are wearing all leather. At level 85, you should be wearing all leather with no exceptions. At level 50, you can still get away with cloth. If at all possible, try to stick to leather, but if you stumble across a piece of cloth that is vastly better, go for it. You’ll replace gear so fast at these levels anyway that fretting over your gear spec isn’t really worth it. Just remember that the higher level you get, the more that 5% will begin to make a difference.

You will gain access to your second tier of glyphs now, so be on the lookout for good auction house deals or crafty guildies to fill those. If you dont have it yet, I highly recommend the Swiftmend glyph for healing druids, as it will make your Efflorescence talent really shine. I also recommend the Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth for all specs.

Level 50 also provides you with your next class-specific quest (the first being at level 20). Head to your druid trainer to pick it up. The quest is called The Breath of Cenarius and I picked it up in Moonglade. It involves killing Pyromancer Loregrain, who is an optional boss in Blackrock Depths. Loregrain has the unfortunate distinction of being part of neither the Detention Block nor the Upper City segments of the instance, so most (if not all) groups will bypass him entirely. Be vocal, and eventually a helpful group will go out of their way to nab him for you. Kill him, loot the artifact from his body, and use it to close three portals nearby.

Druid Leveling 4.1 — 30-40

As you progress through your 30s your rotation will start to look a little bit more like what it will be at level 85.

Balance druids in particular will get a shake-up with the Eclipse mechanic. It’s not truly important to your DPS right now to adhere to Eclipse’s procs, but it will be at higher levels, so practice as best you can. Trash still dies so fast in dungeons I find I only have time to cast Moonfire and Insect swarm and maybe Wrath once before they’re dead. The key to Eclipse is to keep your meter moving as quickly as possible to the opposite end. The tracker will always start in the center. If you cast Starfire it will move towards the sun; casting Wrath will move it towards the moon. Starsurge will contribute to whichever direction the meter was currently moving. When the meter hits either the sun or the moon, you will gain an Eclipse effect. A solar eclipse (meter hits the sun) will empower your Wrath spell, so cast that exclusively (with Starsurge, of course). A lunar eclipse (meter hits the moon) will empower your Starfire spell, so cast that. Again, most things die too fast to really give you a sense of how the meter should work, but on longer boss fights the mechanic really shines. For questing it’s almost moot. Both DoTs and a few Wraths usually kill things for me, eclipse or no eclipse. Typhoon is a fun spell in that it knocks enemies back. Good for solo questing, bad for dunegons (unless all hell broke loose and the tank is dead anyway) because the knockback effect makes tanks very angry. Don’t use it in dungeons.

Kitties have the most abilities, but the simplest rotation for the moment. Mangle to apply the debuff, Rake to apply the bleed, Mangle until dead. Quest mobs and most dungeon trash die fast enough that you will not have time to rack up points for a Ferocious Bite, but for boss fights, you will want to gain four or five combo points to use with Bite. Keep Rake’s bleed up at all times. Swipe if there are multiple mobs in a pull. At this point whether or not you open from stealth is a matter of personal preference. If you choose to stealth between mobs, whether questing or running dungeons, use Ravage to open your attacks. In dungeons, though, groups move so fast and things die so quickly that I find stealth just hinders my contributions.

Bears should be having little trouble with threat right now, with Swipe and a glyphed Maul at their disposal. Charge your target and Swipe immediately if more than two mobs. Establishing threat early is important, as inevitably your DPS have all selected separate targets. Mangle your main target, Swipe on cooldown so long as three or more targets remain alive. Glyphed Maul will hold two targets. If you don’t have the glyph, Swipe is your only option. Maul single/double targets, Swipe three or more.

Healing druids will find themselves in the midst of a dry spell for many more levels. No new spells, no new toys, just three basic heals and one “oh shit” button. And truthfully, we don’t need much more than that. Keep Rejuvenation on the tank at all times (it’s mitigation will keep you from having to spam larger heals most of the time) and use it to top off any DPS who gets smacked around. Regrowth should still be used sparingly when the tank needs a big heal, and its HoT combined with Rejuvenation’s HoT is a powerful force. Nourish will fill in the gaps where Rejuvenation isn’t quite strong enough. If all goes well, you’ll be spending the majority of your mana on Rejuvenation.

Level 31:

Naught but a talent point, move along…move along.

Level 32:

Bash is a bear ability used to stun an opponent for a few seconds. I use it primarily to interrupt spells or heals, but it is nice just to spare yourself the extra damage you might otherwise take. Bosses are generally immune to being stunned, so dont waste the cooldown.

Pounce is fun if you prefer to open from stealth while in cat form. Again, I still feel like it’s more efficient to attack unstealthed while questing and instancing, but you have options now if you would like to creep around in stealth.

Track Humanoids requires you to be in cat form. It works the same way any hunter tracking spell works: the tracked target will show up on your minimap. Combined with prowl, this can be quite useful in locating quest mobs or rare spawns in places like caves or barracks.

Level 33:

Just a talent point here.

Level 34:

Nothing new here, either. You’ll start seeing dry spells like this more frequently as you progress into higher levels, considering you’ve already learned a good chunk of the spells and abilities you’ll learn.

Level 35:

More nothingness.

Level 36:

Swipe (cat form) is the only multi-target attack you’ll get as a kitty.

Level 37:

Nothing at all.

Level 38:

Nothing…again. Sensing a pattern?

Level 39:

Keep moving towards 40.

Level 40:

Ah, at last. It feels like a long haul with so few new abilities, but get used to it…especially if you plan to heal. Level 40 may not be the epic achievement it was back in the early days of WoW, but it’s still no small feat. You’ll earn your epic riding skill finally, and be well on your way to bigger and better things.

The only new skill you’ll learn is actually a passive ability for bears. Savage Defense is basically a damage reduction ability that has a 50% chance to occur whenever you critically hit with Mangle or Maul. Not exciting for level 40, but still better than nothing.

 

Now is a good time to go back and acquire any glyphs you may be needing, rearrange your current talent points if you’ve the need, grab a second spec, etc.

 

I will make the push to 50 as fast as I can. In the interim, I may be writing a guide for your first 16 talent points to fill in the gap.