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So, you're thinking of playing a druid? This page is intended to give a short overview of what to do over the first 10 levels or so, just to get you started on the right path. If you're looking for more of an overview of the class's abilities, see the main druid page. For more advanced topics, see druid tactics.
For a guide to leveling a druid further, see leveling a druid
For a more general overview on starting out playing WoW, see the newbie guide
Race selection is a moot point for druids, as there is only the choice between the Alliance or the Horde. If you want to be a druid for the Horde, then you will be either a Tauren or Troll. Alliance druids are Night elf and Worgen. Trolls and Worgen were given this class with the Cataclysm expansion.
If you don't care about faction, then looking at the racial traits should give you an idea which to play. Tauren get a 5% increase to total health, which will help druid tanks, and War Stomp, one of the few stuns a druid can get and thus very powerful if used correctly. Night elves get an increase to dodge, Shadowmeld, which can be used as a method for escaping combat, and Elusiveness, which will greatly help your stealth, since this trait stacks upon your Prowl spell also.
The easiest way to progress through the early levels is to simply do any and all of the quests you can find. Not only will you breeze through the first 5 to 10 levels, but you'll get useful gear and precious money. Money is particularly important so you can purchase your spells.
You will spend levels 1 to 5 in your starting town. Make sure you get all the spells you can from your trainer. Between level 5 and 6 you'll find yourself heading off to your second town and a new trainer who can teach you various things. At the second town, repeat the process - do each and every quest you can find. It's important to keep up with your abilities and your gear. Now is also an appropriate time to start training in your chosen professions.
At early levels, a druid will mostly use their DD spell and DoT spell to kill mobs intermixed with melee attacks. Always keep active and when you get it. Outside, when you get , hit mobs with that first and cast a few ranged damage spells before resorting to melee combat. Use HoT spell early on to keep your health up and for when you get really low.
Levels 1 - 3
Initially, you're equipped with a ranged attack and a healing spell. With money, you can learn your first buff, . Keep this active at all times, and feel free to cast it on others as a friendly gesture.
Begin combat at maximum range with , spamming it until the mob comes into melee range. Since Wrath is a missile attack, combat may not actually begin until the missile strikes, giving you the opportunity to cast another bolt while the first one is in flight. While up close, switch to your melee attack. Heal when necessary. For tauren, you can a mob at melee range to stun it, buying you time to cast spells or heal.
For ranged mobs, try to out-spam them at maximum range. If you run out of mana, wait, or run up to engage in melee. If the mob runs out of mana, it will often run to you, giving you the opportunity to engage or increase distance to spam again.
Levels 4 - 5
At Level 4, you can learn and , both effect-over-time spells. Continue to open combat with , throwing in a periodic Moonfire to land the debuff, walking backwards or strafing to increase distance. Even at melee range, throw in a Moonfire when necessary, since as an instant cast, it isn't susceptible to spell interruption. Moonfire is also good at tagging the last blow when a mob is weak or running. Keep the Moonfire debuff active at all times during combat.
Levels 6 - 7
Levels 8 - 9
At Level 8, you can learn your first crowd-control spell, . Continue to open combat with two and a s. When the mob comes running towards you, root it in place. Now, you have many options. You can run away, rebuff yourself, or increase distance to help spam spells. As you fight mobs, try to keep them rooted at all times and away from you. Use Entangling Roots to halt runners from calling more mobs.
Notable early quests
The intention is to link into the Quests page here with a few low-level quests once they are added, with particular emphasis on including quests with nice druid rewards, and any Class-specific quests. No real need to include the very basic starting quests as everybody will see those easily enough -- Goldark
It is interesting to note that there is a druid trainer in Silvermoon City as well as one near the Exodar. It is therefore possible for druids to train in those zones, instead of in their native ones.
A hallmark of the druid class is extreme flexibility. While talents will tailor a druid towards a certain specialization, it is not the only factor to consider. Gear sets specialized for different uses and shapeshifting into the alternate forms can go a long way towards allowing a druid of one talent spec to function in an off-spec role. A feral druid with a set of caster gear will be able to do a fairly competent job of healing or DPS spellcasting in caster form. Likewise, a balance or restoration spec druid in feral form with a feral gear set should be able to DPS or even tank in many cases. This is particularly true at the lower levels where players of all classes have incomplete talent selections making talents less of a factor. As levels increase and talent selections are filled in, the ability to play off-spec will diminish. For example, Moonkin Form becomes available to balance druids with 31 talent points (level 40). This is a game changing talent that significantly enhances the balance druid as a caster over off-spec casting druids.
While it is perfectly possible to level using balance or restoration, you will probably not level as fast as a feral druid. Here is the talent order for a fast leveling feral druid. This build allows for questing and grinding in cat form. Bear form should be used when against 3 or more mobs, tanking dungeons, or emergency situations. As far as gear, this build will allow you to level using only trash gear and gear won from quests.
Levels 10 - 14
Ferocity - Rank 5/5
Reduces the cost of your Maul, Swipe, Claw, Rake and Mangle abilities by 5 Rage or Energy.
Levels 15 - 16
Savage Fury - Rank 2/2
Increases the damage caused by your Claw, Rake, Mangle (Cat), Mangle (Bear), and Maul abilities by 20%.
Levels 17 - 19
Thick Hide - Rank 3/3
Increases your Armor contribution from items by 10%. Very helpful when in bear form, and a extra boost of armor is needed.
Levels 20 - 22
Sharpened Claws - Rank 3/3
Increases your critical strike chance while in Bear, Dire Bear or Cat Form by 6%.
Levels 23 - 24
Feral Swiftness - Rank 2/2
Increases your movement speed by 30% while outdoors in Cat Form and increases your chance to dodge while in Cat Form, Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by 4%.
Levels 25 - 27
Predatory Strikes - Rank 3/3
Increases your melee attack power in Cat, Bear, Dire Bear and Moonkin Forms by 150% of your level and 20% of any attack power on your equipped weapon.
Levels 28 - 29
Primal Fury - Rank 2/2
Gives you a 100% chance to gain an additional 5 Rage anytime you get a critical strike while in Bear and Dire Bear Form and your critical strikes from Cat Form abilities that add combo points have a 100% chance to add an additional combo point.
Feral Charge - Rank 1/1
Teaches Feral Charge (Bear) and Feral Charge (Cat).
Feral Charge (Bear) - Causes you to charge an enemy, immobilizing and interrupting any spell being cast for 4 sec. This ability can be used in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form. 15 second cooldown.
Feral Charge (Cat) - Causes you to leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 sec. 30 second cooldown.
Levels 31 - 32
Brutal Impact - Rank 2/2
Increases the stun duration of your Bash and Pounce abilities by 1.0 sec and decreases the cooldown of Bash by 30 sec. Good cross-over to tanking as well; you'll quickly learn that you can't rely on your DPS to interrupt.
Survival Instincts - Rank 1/1
You have to stay alive in order to level, and this is one of your only survival-oriented cooldowns.
Feral Instinct - Rank 1/3
Swipe will be your frequent companion, this improves swipe and lets you prowl around a little easier in cat form.
Levels 35 - 39
Heart of the Wild - Rank 5/5
Increases your Intellect by 20%. In addition, while in Bear or Dire Bear Form your Stamina is increased by 20% and while in Cat Form your attack power is increased by 10%.
Leader of the Pack - Rank 1/1
While in Cat, Bear or Dire Bear Form, the Leader of the Pack increases ranged and melee critical chance of all party members within 45 yards by 5%.
Levels 41 - 43
Survival of the Fittest - Rank 3/3
Increases all attributes by 3% and reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee attacks by 3%.
Levels 44 - 45
Improved Leader of the Pack - Rank 2/2
Your Leader of the Pack ability also causes affected targets to heal themselves for 4% of their total health when they critically hit with a melee or ranged attack. The healing effect cannot occur more than once every 6 sec. In addition, you gain 8% of your maximum mana when you benefit from this heal.
Levels 46 - 47
Primal Precision - Rank 2/2
Increases your expertise by 5, and you are refunded 40% of the energy cost of a finishing move if it fails to land.
Levels 48 - 49
Feral Instinct - Rank 3/3
Spend 2 points to get further along the talent tree, and improve swipe even further.
Mangle - Rank 1/1
Mangle the target, inflicting damage and causing the target to take additional damage from bleed effects for 12 sec. This ability can be used in Cat Form or Dire Bear Form. Mangle will effectively replace Claw as your bread-n-butter combo attack. It crits more often, and does more damage. It also applies a debuff that makes your Shred ability bleed more.
At this point, you'll take a quick break from the feral tree. Move over to the restoration tree for more talents.
Level 51 - 52
Improved Mark of the Wild - Rank 2/2
The 40% improvement to [Mark of the Wild] applies to all party or raid members, and though the passive 2% bonus to stats applies only to the druid, it is helpful to both cats and bears (all specs actually) and it scales with your gear. Excellent way to spend some points.
Level 53 - 55
Furor - Rank 3/5
Gives you 60% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shapeshift into Bear and Dire Bear Form, and you keep up to 60 of your Energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form, and increases your total Intellect while in Moonkin form by 6%.
Levels 56 - 60
Naturalist - Rank 5/5
Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch spell by 0.5 sec and increases the damage you deal with physical attacks in all forms by 10%.
Omen of Clarity - Rank 1/1
Each of the druid's damage, healing spells and auto attacks has a chance of causing the caster to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the mana, rage or energy cost of your next damage, healing spell or offensive ability by 100%.
Move back to the feral tree for the final talents.
Level 62 - 64
Infected Wounds - Rank 3/3
Protector of the Pack - Rank 1/3
Level 66 - 70
Rend and Tear - Rank 5/5
Berserk - Rank 1/1
Primal Gore - Rank 1/1
Level 73 - 74
Protector of the Pack - Rank 3/3
Level 75 - 77
Natural Reaction - Rank 3/3
Level 78 - 79
Shredding Attacks - Rank 2/2
Improved Mangle - Rank 1/3
Here is the level 70 build. http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=0ZxMGcfrd0eR0IzhZ0gczb
On soloing and grouping
Even at early levels, the soloing druid acts as the versatile character he or she is supposed to be. Typical fights will include a Direct Damage spell (Starfire or Wrath) to start, a Damage over Time spell (Moonfire), a Healing over Time spell (Rejuvenation), and some melee attacks.
As a druid, you should never lose your powerful Mark of the Wild Buff spell. Having this buff on you is like wearing your armor. You would not fight nude, would you? Thorns is a damage shield and should always be visible in your buff list too.
These spells are all available at level 4; Thorns is a available at level 6.
The druid is one of the most versatile classes in WoW, (after level 20) because you can be almost any part of a 5-man dungeon/raid. It can be quite hard to learn to play all the roles a druid is capable of, but the versatility and ease of finding a group is worth it. No tank? Use your bear form. No healer? Keep an eye on the party's health bars, and heal when they're injured. Need a scout? Use your cat form. Communicate! Ask the others what they plan to do, what they expect from you.
If you're dpsing a group, remember to attack the same target as the other dpsers. This is most easily achieved through the /assist command, causing you to target the same target as the one you assist. It might not be all that important at early levels, but its an important habit to get used to for later levels.
If you are the Tank, use your Bear form, and remind your group to always assist you in battle, to ensure you focus your party's firepower on one mob. They can do this by selecting you (use the F1-F5 keys to target group members) and then pressing "F". This way, mobs will die faster.
The druid is a very versatile class. Especially when acting as a dpser, you have the ability to offheal, offtank, combat rez and Innervate if needed, saving the group from what would otherwise be a wipe. It can be done if acting as a tank or healer as well, but is much harder to pull off.
Tip: Don't cast Thorns on someone who isn't supposed to be hit in a fight (generally, everyone but the tank). It causes relatively little damage, and will cause the mobs to generate threat towards them.
- This combination will be immediately useful to the druid. Expect to wear a combination of found items and items you make yourself as your leatherworking keeps pace with your level. Skinning will increase naturally (you can actually max out at 300 while still in your 40's) but you will spend a lot of money levelling your leatherworking skill. Also, a lot of leatherwork items will sell for less than the cost of the raw materials (because there are a lot of other people out there trying to level their skills too and they will flood the market) - it is only when you hit on the niche items that you can make a profit (things like the Gem Studded Belt, Feathered Breastplate, Ironfeather items, etc.) Furthermore, leatherworking allows you to create "Armor Kits" which will increase the armor value of Chest, Hands, Legs, and Feet armor items.
- Even though, as a caster, the druid can rely on his own abilities to heal and buff himself, additional potions are always welcome (
though notably, they can't be used in feral forms). It is especially notable that night elves and tauren are both particularly suited to a career in herbalism, and thus alchemy as well. Tauren receive +15 levels of Herbalism skill and the elven zones are remarkably abundant in flowers to pick.
- The ability to stealth in Cat Form can also prove quite useful, as it allows you to search for herbs (or other gathering professions) without having to fight mobs in the area. Note that you will pop out of stealth when you gather, and the cooldown will prevent you from stealthing for a few seconds when you are done, so use with caution.
- The druid quest Gathering the Cure requires you to gather a bunch of Earthroot - which task is certainly made easier if you can pick them yourself. The spell Soothe Animal also has its use when herb picking, as it can save you the time needed to fight that beast which would otherwise attack you.
- A mix of the two above, this is very good for players who don't care so much for making things themselves, but would rather sell the raw materials for money. Another benefit with this combo is that you can often find a Leatherworker or Alchemist willing to make the item/potion you want if you supply the materials, possibly with a small fee if the recipe is rare.
Start your profession early! It's usually not too expensive, and you want to ensure that anything you create with your skills is applicable to your druid's level.
Cooking is always useful for any class, as it provides food that affects your stats. Fishing supports this profesion. As for First-Aid, it is certainly less beneficial for you than it is for other classes, but not entirely. Not only do bandages not use your mana, they also don't trigger the 5-second rule (even your instant-cast heals stops your mana regeneration for next 5 seconds).
Some of the main abilities of the druid are obtained through quests. These include the Bear Form and Abolish Poison spell (an improved version of the Cure Poison spell). These quests are given to the druid by one of the druid trainers of your capital city (Thunder Bluff for tauren and Darnassus for night elves). The druid trainer will first provide you with a special teleport spell: Teleport: Moonglade. Moonglade is a sacred place for all druids, shared by tauren and night elves. Remember that this spell can also be used as a sort of second hearthstone, providing easy access to northern Kalimdor.