the Shape Shifter
- Not to be confused with elven druid.
The Druid is a shapeshifting hybrid class, and is also one of the most versatile classes in the game. As with other hybrids, Druids need to specialize to be most effective in any role. Due to their need to shapeshift to fulfill roles, they can only perform one role at a time; they must switch between the different shapes to adapt to changing situations.
The core abilities of a Druid consist of three single-target and one multiple-target damage spells; four single-target and one multiple-target healing spells; a Cat Form with damaging special moves similar to a Rogue; a Bear Form providing armor and health similar to a Warrior; poison- and curse-cleansing spells; and a range of utility spells like various travel forms, crowd control, and a nice group buff.
- Balance Druids specialize in damage spells and an additional Moonkin Form, turning them into an efficient ranged spellcaster that is somewhere between a Mage and a Shadow Priest in play style, in the equivalent of plate armor. They excel at nuking single targets as well as providing effective off-healing and crowd-control support. With the Wrath of the Lich King expansion providing them effective AoE damage, they are now on par with any of the other casting classes.
- The Feral tree enhances both of the Druid's melee forms, allowing them to tank and melee DPS more efficiently. The Talents in this tree usually enhance both forms; however some talents separate the two roles, and itemization also sees a difference. Feral Druids are effectively a warrior and a rogue with the ability to heal themselves to boot. Lack of downtime between fights and flexibility in their armor and DPS are their strong points. Since they still have all of the core Druid abilities and use very little mana, they make excellent support casters as well, even if they have chosen the path of melee DPS.
- Restoration Druids take points in improving their healing spells and an additional Tree of Life Form. Their resurrection spell Rebirth is the only resurrection spell that can be cast in combat, offset by its 10-minute cooldown. Restoration Druids have by far the best heal-over-time spells of all healing classes, effectively allowing them to continue healing while incapacitated. In addition, the mobility offered by their heal-over-time spells makes them especially effective in PvP. This together with their excellent mana efficiency and in-combat resurrection ability makes them an effective healing class.
For an in-depth look at the talents, please see the Druid talent analysis page.
A properly specced and geared Druid is capable of fulfilling any role. Druid players need to be aware that this versatility also bears a danger — it may be difficult to keep focused when gathering gear. Druids may also encounter doubt from less-experienced players that a class can actually be as flexible as Druids can successfully be, though Burning Crusade and Blizzard's official endorsement of the Druid as one of their 'tapped' tanking classes has helped legitimize the Druid class as something other than a healer. Indeed, it is not uncommon for a Feral Druid in a group or raid to vary their role from encounter to encounter, moving from main tank to off-tank to melee DPS to healing, and do them all successfully. It is even possible for this to happen during a single fight; however, the inability to switch specs or armor in combat means the Druid must usually pick their primary role before each encounter.
The ability to spec to completely different roles makes Druids a smart and flexible class choice; if you are tired of performing one task, you need not create another character to fulfill another role; you simply respec to a new one at little cost and considerably less effort.
Druids used to be quite uncommon because many players found them difficult to level, while others proclaim them the best soloing class in the game. Since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, the Druid population has received a big boost. In order to truly fulfill a hybrid role, Druids require several complete sets of gear above and beyond any resist sets. This is expensive in time, bag space, and gold. Unlike most other hybrid classes, a Druid does not begin with some abilities in each domain; instead they acquire utterly new abilities when they advance to specific levels. Thus a Druid is only complete at comparatively high levels. This can make the very early game for the Druid more difficult than for other classes. However, once mastered, the Druid is one of the most formidable classes in the game with much to contribute to any group, and can be extremely rewarding and enjoyable to play.
Another nice feature of Druids is their ability to travel faster. Druids do not need to buy a flying mount; instead they gain Flight Form through Druid trainers. Artisan riding skill is required to purchase or start the quest chain for the epic flight form.
- At level 16, Druids gain Aquatic Form after completing a quest chain allowing them to breathe and travel at a 50% increased speed underwater.
- At level 20, two Talent points can be put into making the cat form run up to 30% faster than normal running speed (Dash can boost this for 15 seconds)
- At level 30, Travel Form is gained, which is 40% faster than normal run speed. Travel Form can be cast in combat, making it a great escape tool when things go bad.
- Main article: Druid races
The Druid class can be played by the following races:
The Druid class is the most limited class concerning races. Only one race per faction can become a Druid; Night Elf & Tauren
Armor and weapons
- See also: Druid sets
Druids are able to wear cloth and leather armor only. Night elf druids begin knowing how to wield staves and daggers, while tauren druids begin with knowledge of staves and one-handed maces. Druids can fight with:
The Druid's most notable ability is shapeshifting into different forms.
- - Talent only available to druids who spec Balance.
For a full list of Druid Feral form abilities, see Druid abilities.
For all forms, the following applies:
- The Druid is immune to polymorph in all forms except the default, humanoid form.
- Switching from polymorphed humanoid to another form breaks polymorph.
- Shapeshifting also breaks all movement-impairing effects (like Slow or Hamstring) except the 3-second daze that can proc when one is attacked from behind by a melee attack.
- Depending on the form, the Druid is considered either humanoid (Caster and Moonkin), beast (Travel, Aquatic, Bear, Dire Bear, and Cat), and thus is vulnerable (or immune) to different spells. This also applies to being tracked.
- Shapes are not buffs or magical effects, thus they may not be dispelled.
While shapeshifted into Bear, Dire Bear, Cat, Aquatic, Travel, or Flight Form:
- The Druid is considered a beast.
- Mana regeneration still continues at the same speed as out of the form. Mana-reducing abilities such as Mana Burn have no effect while in Bear, Dire Bear, and Cat forms; though Viper Sting will continue to tick. It can however be removed as it is a poison.
- Weapons with a "Chance on hit" effect as well as "Chance on hit" enchants such as Enchant Weapon - Crusader and Enchant Weapon - Lifestealing will now proc. "Chance on hit" effects built into armor pieces (as opposed to weapons), such as the Shattered Sun Pendant of Might's proc also work as of 3.02.
- Weapon DPS and weapon +damage enchants have no effect, however, armor enchants such as the Enchant Ring - Striking enchant, and armor pieces such as the Crystalforged Trinket that boost weapon damage do work. The bonus damage from Weightstones and Sharpening Stones also does work. Weapon enchants that boost stats such as Attack Power and Agility rather than weapon damage also work.
- Items with an "Equip: When hit ..." do work in forms. Some examples of these items are the Naglering and Darkmoon Card: Wrath's damage, Green Whelp Armor sleep and Shattered Sun Pendant of Resolve proc.
- Weapon skill with the equipped weapon has no effect. Instead, the natural weapons always have the maximum weapon skill for their level.
In Moonkin form, the Druid is considered Humanoid and, while still immune to Polymorph and similar spells, can be affected by other abilities targeted at Humanoids such as Sap.
|10||Can tank or off tank the way a Warrior does. Increase in Armor designed to make leather emulate Mail armor.|
|16||Increases swim speed by 50% and allows underwater breathing. Has the appearance of a sea lion or seal. May only be used while swimming.|
|20||Can do Melee DPS and has a stealth mode similar to Rogue class.|
|30||Gives a 40% run speed increase. Looks like a cheetah. May only be used outdoors.|
|40||An improved version of Bear Form that looks the same as the standard Bear Form, but has greatly increased bonuses to armor and hit points, approximating plate armor.|
|40*||A spellcasting form that gives nearby party members an additional 3% critical chance to spells cast. While in Moonkin form, a Druid is restricted to only casting balance spells with the exception of Remove Curse and Abolish Poison.|
Shapeshifting and Disguises
If you shapeshift while wearing any disguise, you will notice that your form buff will remove the disguise buff. This is because of problems caused by the two buffs when they were allowed to stack. Blizzard didn't like the bugs that were made through these effects stacking even though they were used to have fun most of the time. Items like the Noggenfogger Elixir were then changed to not stack with Druid forms so that it would not cause any future problems.
Some players state that the change was because of PvP reasons but there is some conflicting evidence. Here's a post made by Drysc responding to a poster on what it appears to be a deleted thread found on a BlueTracker:
"Quote: If I remember correctly, the nerf for Druids not being able to use noggenfogger in forms was because it was deemed overpowered in PvP."
- Main article: Druid abilities
In addition to healing spells, Druids also have an excellent buff, Mark of the Wild. They also have a number of damage spells and crowd-control spells that can increase survivability.
- See also: Druid talent analysis
Druid talents are split into three categories:
- Balance - for spellcasting damage.
- Feral - for tanking (Bear Form) and melee damage dealing (Cat Form).
- Restoration - for healing.
It is important to note that each Druid talent tree contains some talents which are useful if specializing in one of the other trees. For example, some Feral Combat talents modify maximum mana; some Balance talents reduce the cost of healing spells, while others are helpful for the Feral forms. Finally, some Restoration talents give the Druid rage/energy when he switches into either Cat or Bear Form.
Druids in endgame raiding are stuck as healers due to the ineffectiveness of them tanking or being DPS during raids.
They'll mostly be casting Healing Touch and Innervate on whoever needs more mana.
In PvP, it's a slightly better story for Druids since playing a Cat Form druid in PvP is a viable option, since they have some abilities that rogues have on top of their unique spells and the heals they have, as long as you transform back into human form.
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