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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nothing here, unfortunately.
A talent point.
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.
You unlock the last set of glyph spots.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nothing but a talent point.
A talent point! How exciting.
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.
Another talent point.
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.
Talent point again.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Naught but a talent point, move along…move along.
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.
Just a talent point here.
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.
Swipe (cat form) is the only multi-target attack you’ll get as a kitty.
Nothing at all.
Nothing…again. Sensing a pattern?
Keep moving towards 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.
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.
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?
1. What spec is best for leveling?! I WANT A STRAIGHT ANSWER.
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.
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.
Presumably you have reached level ten and spent your first talent point responsibly (you have, haven’t you? Maybe this will give you some encouragement). I’m going to assume you’re rarin’ to get back to the leveling grind, so without further ado, let’s address the next ten levels.
Levels 10 through 20 will help you flesh out your druid in regards to his/her chosen spec. Healers will gain more potent heals, balance druids and kitties will add more attacks to their arsenal, and bears will begin to come into their own on the tanking scene. Though it seems like a long haul, the next ten levels will fly by in seconds, so hold on and try not to get carsick.
No new spells. Whether you decided to spec resto or balance, you rotation still hasn’t changed much. You should be using starfire to pull (recall that its longer cast time makes it difficult to get off when you’re having your face beaten in) and entangling roots to keep mobs at bay. Apply moonfire for the DoT and wrath until dead. Kitties will mangle and rake things to death, using ferocious bite if you have 2-3 combo points and the mob isn’t dead yet. Regardless of spec, things seem to die faster and easier if you’re in cat form. If you find yourself having difficulty casting things to death, give cat a try.
Your utility as a healer just skyrocketed. Both Regrowth and Revive will be handy tools once you begin dungeon crawling (if that tickles your fancy). Regrowth is also a top contender in high level healing, because of its HoT effect, which couples nicely with Swiftmend. More on that later. For now, use regrowth if you’re in need of a fast burst of healing, perhaps if you find yourself outnumbered while questing. Revive’s utility will kick in later, once you begin grouping with others.
Nothing new here, either. Continue on.
Carry on. Nothing here but the final push to level 15, and the dungeon finder.
Oh thank God. Finally. If you’re anything like me, you just spent 14 levels bouncing and twitching and fiddling because you wanted to be running instances, not running around questing. If you’re anything like me, you have a disturbing obsession with leveling via the dungeon finder. If you’re anything like me, you just heaved a huge sigh of relief, mentally high-fived yourself, and blew a big fat raspberry at your quest log.
Level 15 brings with it several very important additions to a druid’s arsenal, most notably of which is bear form. Not only have you unlocked the dungeon finder, but you can also queue as a tank. If you plan on leveling as feral, this is a very happy day. If you don’t, well, you have one more pretty form to fart around in.
But before we start discussing bear form in any depth, let me first advise you this: don’t tank yet.
No, seriously. Don’t. You have a very limited array of abilities afforded to you, none of which offer AoE threat. Your first foray into a dungeon as a tank will be a nightmare (unless you are ridiculously pro, but if you were you would not be reading this). Mobs will peel off you left and right, you’ll fight everyone and their grandma for aggro, and you’ll end up pulling your teeth out within ten minutes. Take a chill pill and put tanking on the back burner until level 18, when you will gain Swipe and your troubles will be (mostly) solved.
But now, bear form. Bear form is the tanking form. If you tank, you will be in this form. Do not touch cat form for tanking. Do not. Any tank who tries to sell you the “cat form is better for trash DPS” or some such line is full of bullshit and should be shot. Got it? Okay. Bear form comes equipped with 3 abilities right out of the box: Demoralizing Roar, Growl, and Maul. Roar is a debuff that affects all targets nearby with a damage reducing spell. It’s key to reducing incoming damage when you’re being beat to death. Growl is a taunt. If something is not attacking you and you want it to be, use Growl. Maul is your standard “threat” attack. Use maul when you have enough rage in order to keep the target focused on you.
It’s all very simple, and as such is quite limited right now. Again, I don’t recommend you queue as a tank until level 18, but if you’re super pro or super brave (or super stupid), you will be using the above three abilities to manage threat and keep people alive. Best of luck.
You also learn the spell Teleport: Moonglade. It’s use is also limited, but a creative druid knows he can use it as a sort of second hearth stone for free and limitless access to northern Kalimdor (which is invaluable in some circumstances).
I’m going to go on a quick tangent here for those of you who are dungeon-hungry and give a brief explanation of what your “rotation” should look like while in a group.
Restoration: Druid healing is about preventative measures, not last minute mega-heals. Keep Rejuvenation rolling on the tank while he takes active damage. If he’s taking more damage than Rejuve can negate, hit him with Nourish. Use Regrowth sparingly; it’s a major mana hog. It should only be used when you need a very fast, powerful heal. Use Swiftmend as an “oh shit” button when someone is about to bite the dust and you need to pop off something instantly. Swiftmend requires the target in question to have a Rejuve/Regrowth HoT on them; and that’s why we keep Rejuve on that tank at all times.
Balance: Keep Moonfire up on the target and spam wrath. That’s…pretty much it. Most trash will die too quickly for your DoT to really take effect, but it’s good practice and doesn’t hurt you. Change it up with Starfire if you want, but Wrath is faster, which is a bonus considering trash will die in seconds. Use Starsurge on cooldown. Want a faster queue time? At this level you’re perfectly capable of healing, and no one in Ragefire Chasm gives a damn if the healer is actually a boomkin.
Bear: Like we talked about above, you’re at a disadvantage in the tanking arena. Most low level DPS don’t give a damn if you have aggro or not, and will pull at random with no regard to your efforts, so be prepared to fight for threat. A bear needs rage to generate threat, but cannot generate rage if he is not being pummeled. Growl to get initial aggro, then use Mangle for quick threat and Maul when you have sufficient rage. Use Roar when you have several mobs on you just to keep their damage down. Pray.
Kitties: Mangle. Mangle. Mangle. Manglemanglemanglemangle. Rake, if it looks like your target will live longer than five seconds. For bosses, apply Mangle, then Rake (since Mangle increases the damage of any bleed on the target, and Rake is a bleed), then Mangle until you have a few combo points, and Bite.
Travel form and Aquatic form. Travel form saw more use in the early days of WoW, back when your first mount didnt come until level 40 and you had to traverse the world on foot. Now it’s a tad less useful, seeing as four levels from now you will purchase your first mount. But that’s still four levels you don’t have to spend running on foot. Aquatic form increases your swim speed, which is marginally useful if you find yourself needing to swim a great distance. It also allows you to breathe underwater, which in my opinion is its greatest asset. I mostly use it as a breath refresh when killing things under water.
Nothing new here.
Swipe! Swipe is your only multi-target threat tool while tanking, and will be for a long time yet. Use it when you have more than one mob attacking you. If you’ve been holding off on tanking since level 15, now is the time to change that. Good luck!
Nothing new here, either. Keep pushing for level 20.
You made it! In addition to getting your first mount, you’ll also earn yourself a few new spells to play with.
Insect Swarm will now be added to the rotation if you’re a balance druid. Keep both Insect Swarm and Moonfire active on your target.
Omen of Clarity is a passive spell that will sometimes trigger from your attacks or spells, allowing you to cast/attack once for free each time. Handy for any spec.
Rebirth is the druid’s signature ability (although now those stinky Death Knights have it too). It allows you to bring a fallen comrade back to life while still in combat. Use it to bring back someone of importance; don’t waste it on a DPS who stood in the fire. If things go haywire and people are dying, a well-timed, well-aimed battle rez can save the group. Tanks and healers should be your priority.
A Journey to Moonglade
Druids receive their first class-specific quest at level 20. Speak with a druid trainer in your capital city to acquire “A Journey to Moonglade” and use Teleport: Moonglade to get there. Speak with Loganaar when you arrive and accept the quest “The Circle’s Future”. You will be required to step foot in Shadowfang Keep if you want to complete this. The rewards are two very nice staves, itemized for any spec. Hit up the dungeon finder and good luck. You will need to kill Lord Walden (the fourth boss) for his elixirs. The sinew can be looted off the undead at the start of the instance, and the wood is found just inside the courtyard area after the first boss as well as inside the kitchen area just beyond.
Because druids have essentially three separate and wildly different roles to fill, and each spec is dedicated to one of these roles, how you spend your first talent point can be a big and rather daunting decision. Remember that you must choose one tree to put your talents in to now, and you will be locked into that tree until later levels. So, making a wise decision now is important if you want to enjoy your druid later.
First off, let’s look at what each spec is capable of and used for.
This is the healing spec. You deal wussy damage and you cannot tank. Druid healing focuses on potent HoT spells and AoE spells that heal the entire group/raid.
This is the tanking or melee DPS spec. Which talents you choose determine which role you fulfill, though at lower levels so long as you are feral, you can fill either role perfectly. A feral tank is a limited-target non-AoE tank (though I should mention some of our AoE threat ability has been restored). A feral cat is a rogue-style damage-dealer that uses combo points to unleash a variety of finishing attacks.
This is the caster, magic-based DPS spec. A balance druid uses nature spells to damage its opponents from far away, and has an arsenal of nature-based utility such as treants, 3 little tree friends which will attack your foes on command.
So really, which tree you choose to spend your first point in is up to your preferences. If you prefer to level via the random dungeon finder, I recommend restoration or feral (tank and healer trees) for faster queue times. If you want to level via mostly questing, I recommend feral or balance (both damage trees) to be the most efficient.
The threshold for dual-spec has been significantly lowered in recent months, so if you would like to perform two different roles, there’s not much stopping you. Consider a damage role for questing and a healing/tanking role for dungeons.
As far as “which spec is best for leveling” and “which spec does most DPS” type questions, the answer is this: both feral and balance druids are capable of doing an obscene amount of damage when played right, and neither has a strict advantage over the other in leveling. Play which ever one you feel will be the most fun.
Before we hop over into the level 1-20 guide, let’s take a look at what gear each spec should be using.
Restoration and Balance druids should be looking for intellect and spirit on their gear. Intellect increases spell power, while spirit increases mana regeneration (doubly important for healers). Agility and strength give no benefit, and stamina is of minor importance.
Feral druids should be looking for gear with agility and stamina on it. While strength isn’t exactly a bad stat, it is nonetheless not nearly as beneficial as agility. Leave strength to the warriors and paladins (unless it is on a quest reward that is a major upgrade for you). Intellect and spirit will give you no benefits while you are a cat or a bear.