The Druid Class Guide
As master shapeshifters, druids can take on the forms of a variety of beasts, morphing into a bear, cat, storm crow, or sea lion with ease. This flexibility allows them to fill different roles during their adventures, tearing enemies to shreds one minute and surveying the battlefield from the sky the next. These keepers of the natural order are among the most versatile heroes in Azeroth, and they must be prepared to adjust to new challenges on a moment’s notice.
The Druid class is intended to be protector of the wilds, defender of the great balance, and preserver of life, but unless you’re playing on an RP server, I somewhat doubt that you truly plan on doing anything aside from laying some major smack down on everything from mobs, when leveling, to other players in the arena, to bosses in raids.
Let not the (relatively) low population of Druids sway you from your interest. Druids are one of the most fun, inventive, and overall powerful (overpowered?) classes in the game, and for good reason considering how the class is designed.
Updated for Mists of Pandaria, patch 5.2
|This page:||Other Druid Guides|
5.2 Patch Notes for Druids
Here are all of the 5.2 patch notes.
- Cyclone now has a 20 second cooldown for Feral Druids.
Tier 1 Talents:
- Displacer Beast has been redesigned. It still triggers Cat Form, but now grants 50% increased movement speed for 4 seconds after teleporting, and no longer activates Prowl.
Tier 2 Talents:
- Cenarion Ward now grants 100% increased healing. Duration is not changed.
Tier 3 Talents:
- Faerie Swarm can now snare more than one target at a time.
- Mass Entanglement now has a 30 second cooldown (was 2 minutes.)
- Typhoon now has a 30 second cooldown (was 20 seconds.)
Tier 4 Talents:
- The Treants summoned by Force of Nature now deal more damage and healing, and the Force of Nature tooltip will report the capabilities of these summoned pets.
- Soul of the Forest
- Balance: Now generates 40 Lunar or Solar energy upon leaving Eclipse. It was originally 20.
- Feral: Unchanged.
- Guardian: Generates 3 additional Rage per Mangle, for 5 total. It was previously 2.
- Restoration: Now grants 70% Haste on the next spell cast after the Druid casts Swiftmend, it was 50%
Tier 6 Talents:
- Nature’s Vigil now has a 90 second cooldown (was 3 minutes), and now increases damage and healing done by 10% (was 20%.) Other effects are unchanged.
- Rejuvenation now costs approximately 9% less mana, it was 16% of base mana.
- Revive and Mark of the Wild now cost 55% less mana.
- Wrath damage have been increased by 9%.
- Maim had its damage increased by 100%.
- Starfire damage has been increased by 9%.
- Starsurge damage has been increased by 9%.
- Starfall will no longer strike targets that are affected by crowd control effects.
- Mastery: Nature’s Guardian now provides 20% more armor per Mastery rating.
- Tooth and Claw scaling has been reduced by 12%.
- Thick Hide now reduces critical strike chance from all types of attacks made against the Guardian Druid, instead of just melee. Very nice when fighting casters.
- Frenzied Regeneration now scales 10% more efficiently with attack power.
- New: Naturalist: This new passive learned at level 10 by Restoration Druids increases all healing done by the Druid by 10%.
- Wild Mushrooms will now gain 25% of the overhealing performed by the Druid’s Rejuvenation effects, up to a maximum of 35% of the Druid’s health in bonus healing, and growing larger as they do so. When Wild Mushroom: Bloom is cast, this bonus healing will be divided evenly among targets in the area of effect.
- Feral Druid PvP Gloves now also increases the duration of Bear Hug by 1 second.
- Feral Druid PvP 2-piece bonus to 15% movement speed while outdoors for Druids in Bear Form, Cat Form, or Travel Form no longer stacks with the Druid talent Feline Swiftness.
- Feral Druid PvP 4-piece bonus also causes successful interrupts with Skull Bash to reset the cooldown of Enrage.
- Glyph of Cyclone now increases the range of Cyclone by 5 yards (was 4 yards.) This change is probably just to keep it in-line with related effects.
Before Cataclysm the choice of race for a Druid was a “difficult” one: Tauren or Night Elf? Now, there are four races. Cataclysm allowed the Worgen and Trolls to become Druids.
Mists of Pandaria makes no changes to races or racial abilities and there are no Pandaren Druids.
The difference between races is largely visual as opposed to bringing any real advantage to any particular race. Trolls might be the most generally useful, but pick the race that works best for you. If you want to be “efficient,” then here are the details for each race:
- War Stomp stuns nearby opponents
- Increased health (about 5%,) doesn’t seem to scale well at very high levels, but is still a plus. It works out to 10-15k health at 90.
- Good with Herbalism
- Resistant to Nature damage.
- Can periodically move quickly, more movement is always nice.
- Increased crit chance is nice.
- Reduced duration of curses and diseases (Take that, ‘locks and DKs!)
- Increased skinning speed and skill
- Berserking increases attack and casting speed.
- Regeneration doesn’t matter with your heals.
- Damage increased Vs beasts, all 5 million of them, which is nice while leveling and in a few dungeons and raids.
- Ranged weapon expertise is pretty useless for you.
- Reduced duration of movement impariing effects, useful for most, but your shapeshift is a far superior “break free” ability.
- Night Elf
- Shadowmeld has situational use. You fade away, dropping aggro, but must remain stationary. As a Tank you can decide that your grouip is worthless, ‘meld, and let the boss kill them. DPS and Healers can meld if the mob decides to pay attention to you. In PvP it can be used in combat (and then prowl away) or to break incoming spells by ‘melding just as the spell is launched.
- 2% dodge is a nice ability for bear tanks and PvP cats.
- Faster movement while stealthed is nice when prowling
- Resistance to Nature damage
- Wist form for faster movement while dead seems like a singularly useless ability.
If you’re just looking to make some gold, as opposed to crafting items, Herbalism works very well and that won’t change with Mists of Pandaria. Combine this with another gathering skill such as Mining or Skinning. It makes for a mean money maker combo and you’ll likely never be left wanting for more gold, except perhaps to buy that expensive top level purple gear on the Auction House.
Even though you have your own heals the first aid skill can still come in handy from time to time, especially at lower levels. (Never underestimate the benefits of a free heal.) It’s pretty easy skill to level, with all the cloth drops, and it does have the occasional use.
Generally speaking, the crafting skills are very expensive to level. If you have lots of gold already then go for it, otherwise wait until you do.
Tradeskills for the End Game
Mists of Pandaria profession bonuses are in the range of 320 Int/Agility. Depending on your exeact spec, Blacksmithing gives the best “self only” gain of all the professions. it allows you to slot two gems and the gems with secondary stats (eg: Haste) have twice the value, 320 Vs 160, of those with primary stats (Agility, Int.) So this skill will allow 640 Mastery, as an example, instead of just 320 Int or Agility.
Powerleveling any of the professions is expensive, so make sure you can afford to level these skills.
- Engineering: Synapse Springs gives 1942 Int or Ag for 10 seconds with a one minute cooldown. Very useful for those times when you need just a bit more. Flexweave Underlay (a parachute) and Grounded Plasma Shield are further cool engie toys. Watch for engie side effects, they might be “interesting” in a dungeon or raid situation.
- Leatherworking: 500 Int/Agi or 750 Stam to bracers. All Druids wear leather armor so if you’re leveling you might find this skill to be useful. You can also make your starting PvP set and some epic items.
- Jewelcrafting: Make and use nicer gems than the other people get, in addition to useful jewelry. It works out to 320 of any stat over non Jewelcrafters.
- Blacksmithing provides an extra socket each in your wrists and gloves, each of which can take a fine gem. See the note above.
- Alchemy: Mixology will give you better effects from any of your own potions, which works about to about +320 Int/Ag from your Elixir and an extra hour duration. You get about 30% extra stats and an extra hour from all flasks and elixirs.
- Enchanting: +160 stats to each of your own rings.
- Inscription: 520 Int/100 Crit to shoulders. There are similar inscriptions for tanks and Agility. Scribes make all of the shoulder enchants in M of P.
- Tailoring: Lightweave Embroidery sometimes gives 2k Int for 15 seconds. There’s a similar enchant for Attack Power that provides 4k Attack Power.
- Herbalism now gives a haste cooldown via Lifeblood (in addition to the small heal.) At 2880 haste for 20 seconds every 2 minutes it’s rather nice. Haste is useful for every Druid build. A nice plus is that you will occasionally find health and mana spirits.
- Skinning gives 480 crit rating, useful for tanks and DPS, but probably less useful than primary stats, given how things scale in Mists.
- Mining provides minor survivability benefits, 480 Stam, which is useful for Druid tanks and for PvP, but the skill provides no DPS gain.
Druid Forms (Shapeshifting)
Druidic abilities cover a lot of ground. This is exactly where the druid class differentiates itself from all others: multiple trees of abilities designed to be utilized by the various forms. Druids will find their capabilities both enhanced and hindered based upon which form they’re currently using making proper preparation the key to effectively combating various opponent types, whether player or monster.
Overall the experienced Druid gains the instinctive insight of when, where, and how to use his vast arsenal of abilities, making them nigh invulnerable to any combination of attackers and deadly despite any apparent disadvantages. This huge variety of capabilities also makes the class rather difficult to pley well.
Caster Form – Humanoid
The standard caster, or humanoid, form for druids is the form you’ll be using for everything from ranged caster style damage and nuking to playing the healer and supporting everyone else in your party. This form is useful at times, due to not being classified as a beast like all other forms. The beast forms make the Druid vulnerable to Scare Beast and various other attacks against beasts. Humanoid form also allows you to look pretty as opposed to looking like a wild animal. Unless you’re Tauren.
Cat Form – Level 8
Cat form is the Druid’s first step on the road to melee DPS capabilities, giving us a massive increase in burst damage, damage over time, and kill speed efficiency as we gain the ability to grind for lengthy periods of time without stopping for mana. Additionally, this form grants you the ability to stealth, very much like a rogue, as well as possessing a sprint like ability and various stealth-opener attacks that allow you to very quickly burn down the opposition.
Cat form is immensely useful in making the druid a fast leveler compared to the slower speeds granted by the other forms.
Bear Form – Level 8
Bear form represents a large increase in our survivability, massively boosting armor and health to levels matching that of Warriors and Paladins early on.
Gaining this form becomes possible at level 8 and used to require the completion of a specific Druid class quest line gained from your respective trainer at either Thunder bluff or Darnassus. (This quest also opens up travel to the Moonglade, via teleportation, making it a viable stop for training whenever you level.) With 4.0 the quest is completely optional, though you may want to do it for the XP and for the teleport spell.
Travel Form – Level 16
Travel form is an ever useful speed increase that, despite what you might think, is never fully replaced by either the level 30 mount or the 60 epic speed mount, this form being key to any PvP strategy due to its massive increase in maneuverability over normal players. Very prevalent in Warsong Gulch and Eye of the Storm due to the capability to carry the flag while in travel form, much like shamans. However, this remains undispellable, unlike the Shaman’s Ghost Wolf.
Aquatic Form – Level 16
Aquatic form used to be gained from a somewhat long quest line, made available starting at level 16. However, many Druids chose to put this off and complete it at a later time, due to the form’s relative uselessness at most times and the travel time involved.
Currently the quest is optional as the abilitiy is trained like any other ability.
Aquatic Form improves swim speed by 50% and allows for underwater breathing. Pick this up before hitting up areas such as Stranglethorn vale, where underwater quest chains begin to appear.
Flight Form, Swift (Epic) Flight Form – Level 60 & 70
Druids are gain a flight form equal to the flying mount. This form also comes at a fairly cheap trainer price and does not require you to train the flying skill itself to use this. However, to obtain the upgrade form, Swift Flight Form, you’ll need to train your riding skill up to 300.
The upside is that flight forms can be activated while falling, and at any other time, instantly, as long as you’re not in combat, making it somewhat more viable than mounting up.
Moonkin Form – Level 16, Balance spec
Moonkin form is gained by picking the balance tree, gaining the ability to shift into Moonkin much like you would any other form, such as bear or cat form. However Moonkin also has greatly differing abilities: rather than add whole new spells, it instead greatly augments armor and damage casting capabilities. Essentially Moonkin could be considered the mage or warlock form, granting us enough Spell Haste (5% to both us and the entire party) and damage (increased Arcane and Nature) to become a reasonable threat from a distance, whether it be grinding, raiding, or PvP.
Although the uses of Moonkin form for leveling are debatable, it’s become a staple raiding class, commonly there being at least one or two per raid. With Mists of Pandaria it’s also a viable PvP choice, at least in the Battlegrounds.
Tree of Life Form – Now “Treant Form”
Note: For a more in-depth look at leveling a Druid, including builds, specs, and tips, check out our Druid Leveling Guide. For an actual path to get to the level cap fast, with all the “where to go” and “what to do” stuff completely covered, you should see this page.
Leveling a druid varies for every player, unlike many classes. How enjoyable you find the experience is almost entirely based upon personal capabilities at controlling the numerous, and sometimes tricky, abilities and combos that make up a druid. However, when looking for leveling speed, Feral will most definitely come out on top, Balance in second, although gaining slightly at higher levels, and finally Restoration – a distant third, given that it only benefits healing aside from the first talent (furor.) However, if you’re a team plaer and are doing most of your leveling in teams (ie: dungeons, battlegrounds) then Resto is quite viable as a leveling build.
Guardian is the Tank spec and how it levels, via questing, is an open question. Typically tanks do very well rounding up groups of opponents and burning them down and Guardians should do quite well at that. Plus, if you’re willing to be the dungeon tank you will have near-zero wait time for dungeons.
Feral Druid, Cat form
Feral druids are focused on becoming Rogue and Fury Warrior-like in that they burst through mobs in a whirlwind of flashing claws or death and destruction, stopping only to throw on a few HoT’s (Heal over time) before shifting back into cat form and moving onto the next group. Downtime is almost nonexistent the more you progress past 20, firmly becoming nonexistent past 40+, as you gain some of the massively damaging attacks that define feral druid and cat form DPS.
Guardian Druid, Bear Form
With Mists of Pandaria the fourth Druid spec is the Guardian, the tank form. Like most tanks Guardian is fine for leveling, with slightly different tactics. While the cats will go from opponent to opponent and destroy them, one by one, you’ll round them all up and burn the whole group down at once. Probably without taking a scratch, certainly nothing that you won’t be able to heal.
Tanking can be quite an enjoyable experience. Bear form easily gives you the capability to hold threat while whoever you’re teaming with beats the offending mobs down. With near zero wait times for dungeon queues you’ll move quickly.
Leveling as Balance is the second option when setting yourself along the path to 90 (or whatever your goal happens to be.) I personally selected balance as my build of choice when leveling my first druid to 70 (back when 70 was the level cap.) I found it more fun to play a unique hybrid caster as opposed to another rogue clone with heals.
Stacking up as much damage gear, and good gear in general, is key to being viable as Balance. Balance is also good support for a group of players leveling together, giving you the ability to deal out the damage and remain in reserve for heals when needed.
Restoration leveling is an exercise in patience and exasperation, you gain virtually no improved solo capabilities while improving your already powerful healing capabilities to pointless levels, as far as soloing is concerned. Only consider this build if you plan on dedicated teaming.
The upside would be that you provide massive aid to any team you happen to join and, if instancing regularly is your thing, it actually comes in quite handy and sets you apart from any other Druids you might encounter. If you have 1o gold and are level 30+ you can pick up the dual build ability from your trainer and have one build for Feral and another for Resto.
Are Druids viable in PvP? I think enough of us have had our butts kicked by Druids to know that that is a silly question. Druids are very viable in PvP, any PvP.
Gear, Stats, and Numbers
Gearing woes will plague you throughout your career as a Druid. One of these woes will the the idea of maintaining several sets of gear, one for each role that you want to play.
These are the basic stat priorities that you will need. For more info, including builds, gems, and enchants see the pages linked to in the table below:
For PvP for any Druid: PvP Power is as good as, or better than, your primary stat.
Melee DPS, Leveling
The linked pages have much more detail on appropriate stats.
Stamina Note – at low levels we recommend that you stack Stamina until survival is no longer an issue (which will be different amounts for different people.) If you’re doing low level PvP (or any PvP) you’ll want a lot more than otherwise. In a PvE environment, if you’re DPS and have a good tank, then you don’t need much Stam.
Mists of Pandaria Notes for Druids:
- Current Patchnotes, for M of P, can be found here. You will find updates to class abilities there.
- Here’s a preview of all of the Mists of Pandaria Druid abilities, including a guide to the new Symbiosis ability.
- There will be massive changes to the talent system, among other things. WoWhead has a new talent calculator here
- Bliz says, “Druids: This class has always felt as if it had four specs, so now it will.” The four specs will be:
- Balance – Moonkin blasts enemies from range
- Feral (cat) – Rips enemies to pieces with teeth and claws
- Guardian (Feral bear) – The mighty bear protects his allies.
- Restoration – Heal-over-time nature spells
- Take all talent and ability analysis with a BIG grain of salt for now, but here’s what it looks like:
- The Cataclysm talent system is dead.
- All Druids share a core group of abilities, just like before.
- Each spec will be assigned a core set of abilities. Some you get at level 10, when you pick your spec, the rest you pick up as you level, just like any other ability except that they will be for your spec only.
- Some old talents have become abilities.
- There are no longer points to spend in talents or abilities. When you pick one up you get the whole thing, rather than 1 to 3 points in it.
- The new talents, as seen in the video below, are a set of six tiers of three talents each gained at levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90. You will be picking one talent from each tier for 6 total at level 90. Any spec of Druid can pick any of the talents.
Blizzard covers the new Druid builds for Mists of Pandaria, at Blizcon ’11
Mists of Pandaria Druid Talents
These will be different than in the video above, but the video will give you an idea of how the system works.
Any spec of any Druid can pick any one talent from any row, for six at level 90. Talents can be switched easily, just like glyphs, and that can be done while in the raid or battleground. Need to switch a talent for a particular fight? You can easily do it. Your trainer can still reset them all for you.
|Feline Swiftness – 15% movement speed bonus.||Displacer Beast – Activates Cat form, teleports you up to 20 meters forward, and briefly increases movement speed.||Wild Charge – Fly to a nearby Ally’s position. The exact effect depends on your spec.|
|Nature’s Swiftness – When activated various spells become instant, free, and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of the spell is increased by 50%.||Renewal – Instantly heals the Druid. Useable in all shapeshift forms.||Cenarion Ward – Protects a friendly target, causing any damage taken to heal the target every 2 sec for 6 sec. Gaining the healing effect consumes the Cenarion Ward. Useable in all shapeshift forms.|
|Faerie Swarm – Adds a snare to Fearie Fire, reducing the target’s movement speed by 50% for 15 sec. Can snare more than one target.||Mass Entanglement – Roots your target in place and spreads to additional nearby enemies. Affects 5 total targets. Useable in all shapeshift forms.||Typhoon – Summons a Typhoon that strikes targets in front of the caster, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 sec. Useable in all shapeshift forms.|
|Soul of the Forest – Aessina’s blessing grants a benefit which varies by your combat specialization.||Incarnation – Grants a superior shapeshifting form appropriate to your specialization. You may freely shapeshift in and out of this form for the duration of Incarnation.||Force of Nature – Summons treants who’s abilities vary with your spec.|
|Disorienting Roar – Invokes the spirit of Ursol to roar, disorienting all nearby enemies. Any damage caused will remove the effect. Useable in all shapeshift forms.||Ursol’s Vortex – Conjures a vortex of wind at the destination location that reduces the movement speed of all nearby enemies. Useable in all shapeshift forms.||Mighty Bash - Invokes the spirit of Ursoc to stun the target. Useable in all shapeshift forms.|
|Heart of the Wild – Increases Stamina, Agility, and Intellect by 6% at all times. When activated, dramatically improves the Druid’s ability to perform roles outside of their normal specialization.||Dream of Cenarius – Wrath, Starfire, Starsurge, and melee abilities increase healing done by your next healing spell by 30%. Tranquility is not affected.||Nature’s Vigil – Increases all damage and healing for a short time. While active, all single-target healing spells also damage a nearby enemy target for some of the healing done, and all single-target damage spells and abilities also heal a nearby friendly target for some of the damage done.|
Mists of Pandaria Druid Abilities, by spec.
It used to be that the talents defined your specialization (spec,) beyond a couple of core abilities. In Mists of Pandaria it’s the abilities that define your spec, not the talents. The abilities that are shared by all specs can be found here.
(P) = Passive Ability
Now Get Your Druid Leveled Faster
Now that you’re on the way to becoming a lean, mean, killing machine you should consider a full blown leveling guide for your blast to the top levels. Why? It will save you many days of in-game time and will also save a good deal of frustration, even if you already know many or most of the quests. You’ll never again wonder about where to go, what to do, or where to find that thing you’re looking for.
Our recommended leveling guide is Dugi’s Guide. Dugi’s nearly automates the whole leveling path (automatically updating as you complete tasks and quests) and is like having an expert helping you every step of the way. Pick your starting point and the guide automatically updates and advances as you complete quests, sets a waypoint arrow automatically, and includes all the important quest info. If you gain a few levels in the dungeons or in PvP, then come back to the guide, you’re still covered. It’ll figure out where you are and adjust accordingly, allowing you to ignore obsolete quests. Whether you’re brand new to WoW or decked head to toe in heirlooms Dugi will get you to the level cap faster than anything else out there. Grab your copy of Dugi’s Leveling Guide, here.
Like this page? How about recommending it?