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.
Druid Overview Contents
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Druid Race Choice
Before Cataclysm the choice of race for a Druid was a “difficult” one: Tauren or Night Elf? Now, Trolls and Worgen have joined the club as well as those other Humans (Kul Tiran)
The difference between races is largely visual as opposed to bringing any real advantage to Druids. 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:
Horde Racials for Druids
- Your mighty Endurance gives you a 5% increase to base health, which is pretty nice.
- Also useful is War Stomp, usually a PvP ability, but also useful for leveling, that gives Tauren Warriors a crucial short range AoE stun. This can also interrupt trash mobs when dungeoning/raiding, such as when mobs attack your caster/healer form.
- Added Crit damage (not crit chance.)
- Tauren are good with Herbalism
- Berserking increases your Haste by 15% – Generally useful, since it reduces cooldowns and gives you faster energy regeneration.
- You get a 20% XP increase when Beast Slaying. This only applies to beasts, not humanoids or other non-beasts. You’ll be chopping up lots of beasts while leveling, so this is a nice bonus.
- Da Voodoo Shuffle gives you a nice 20% reduced duration of movement impairing effects, such as snares, slows, etc. Not stuns or anything else.
- Regeneration, Mon! Trolls regenerate 10% faster than others and can even regenerate a bit in combat, but your heals will far outshine that.
HighMountain Tauren – Starts at level 20.
- Bull Rush is a short (6 yard) charge forward that knocks those enemies down.
- Being versatile they get +1% Versatility (Mountaineer) and they also take a bit less damage (Rugged Tenacity.) Small, but still nice.
- Your Pride allows you to mine faster and adds 15% to your mining skill.
- Having gone to survival school your philosophy is Waste not Want Not, so you have a chance to gather more meat and fish from appropriate situations.
Zandalari Troll – Starts at level 20.
- Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown.
- Embrace of Akunda – Your healing abilities have a chance to heal their target. A Druid, with healing abilities? (wink)
- Embrace of Bwonsamdi – Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Shadow damage and heal you for 100% of the damage done. Pretty good general ability, especially for melee.
- Embrace of Gonk – Increase movement speed by 5%.
- Embrace of Kimbul – Your damaging abilities have a chance to cause the target to bleed over 6 seconds. This effect stacks up to 3 times. More damage is always good.
- Embrace of Krag’wa – Taking damage has a chance to grant you additional Health and 66 Armor. Good tanking ability.
- Embrace of Pa’ku – Your abilities have a chance to grant you +4% critical strike for 12 seconds. Live by the crit, Ferals? This is for you.
- Regeneratin’ – Regenerate 100% of your maximum health over 6 sec, interrupted by damage. 2.5 min cooldown. A nice add to your spells.
- Pterrordax Swoop – Slows your fall for two minutes. Time for some serious cliff jumpin’.
Alliance Race Choices for Druids
- Your Altered Form allows you to switch between your human and Worgen forms and your Two Forms lets you turn into your currently inactive form.
- Then your Darkflight activates your true form, increasing current movement speed by an additional 40% for 10 sec. Always nice to have an extra Sprint.
- You also have your Running Wild ability, where you drop to all fours to run as fast as a wild animal.
- Flayer increases your Skinning skill by 15 and allows you to skin faster.
- And your inate Viciousness increases critical strike chance by 1%.
- Shadowmeld: Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threat is restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect. You can also S’meld and then Stealth. Against certain spells, if you have really good timing, you can S’meld after it’s cast and then dodge it.
- A bit more Dodge and movement speed (2% of each,) via your Quickness.
- Touch of Elune gives you a bit more Crit by day and Haste by night.
- Transform into a Wisp Spirit upon death, increasing speed by 75%. Hopefully you will only rarely have any use for this trait.
Kul Tiran – Starts at level 20.
KTs can be druids and Humans cannot? Hmm….
- Wind up, then unleash your mighty Haymaker upon your foe. Doesn’t hurt much, but does stun then for 3 sec and knocks them back substantially. (Just picturing this one sneaking up and then SMASH! as the opener…) 2.5 minute cooldown. Knock him back then Charge.
- Brush It Off – Increases Versatility by 1%. When you take damage, heal for 2% of that amount over 4 sec. Every tiny bit helps, right?
- Your Child of the Sea ability lets you swim a bit faster and hold your breath longer than anyone who is not Undead.
- You are a Jack of All Trades which increases all of your Tradeskills by 5. Unfortunately it does not give you free tradeskills, just a boost to the ones you actually learn
Druid Forms (Shapeshifting)
Druidic abilities cover a lot of ground. This is exactly where the druid class differentiates itself from all others.
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 6
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. No longer.
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 20 mount or the 40 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.
Flight Form – Level 58
Druids also 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.
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 and beyond it’s the abilities that define your spec, not the talents. These are the abilities that differentiate you from the other Druids.
The abilities that are shared by all specs can be found here.
(P) = Passive Ability
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:
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.
PvP Note: Warlords did away with Resilience and PvP Power on high level gear. Both still exist on PvP gear that’s level 90 and below. Both are still useful at those levels.
- Resilience reduces damage done to you by other players.
- PvP Power adds to your damage and healing to other players.
What does this mean for gemming and enchanting for PvP? Gem the same as for PvE, for max damage or healing.
Keeping up with the best gear will require gold, and a lot of it. Keeping up with “good enough” gear is much cheaper. PvP gear requires no gold. PvE drops require no gold, but the repair cost is higher and you have to be pretty lucky (or determined) to get a full set. Go here to check out an addon that will help with the gold, otherwise work your gathering skills (herbs, ores, skins) hard until you have the gold.
- Low level: Stack Stamina until you’re happy with your survival chances. You can get it through gear with Stamina, enchants (often very cheap on the Auction House,) Stam scrolls, and foods.
- When your survival isn’t in doubt then start getting gear with your best stat (Ag or Int.)
- Pre-level 70: Do some battleground PvP (any decent guild will help) and accumulate around 2k honor. At 70 buy the “Brutal Gladiator” arena set, even if you don’t like PvP. It’s an epic gear set that will set you up nicely till 77 or so. You can find the stuff from any of these guys.
- At level 81 you can probably find Mists of Pandaria blue titled gear popping up on the Auction House. It will be good until level 90.
- At 90 you can either:
- Do PvP and get the honor gear set
- If you have a ton of gold you might be able to find hot gear on the Auction House.
- Buy the Crafted Malevolent Gladiator PvP set
- Explore the Timeless Isle for better gear
- And go from there.
- 90-100: Grab three pieces of the crafted gear (630 weapon, 640 chest and legs) and keep an eye on your Garrison missions for other nice gear. Any crafted gear can be greatly upgraded with various crafted bits, such as Burnished Essence for your armor pieces.
- 100: Gratz!
- Ashran or the Battlegrounds for Honor PvP gear. Arenas for Conquest gear.
- Raids for drops.
- Tanaan Jungle for ilevel 650 tokens, which can be upgraded to 695 with enough Apexis crystals.
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 player 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 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. For builds and info see our Feral Cat PvP, Resto PvP, and Balance PvP pages.
If you’re just looking to make some gold, as opposed to crafting items, Herbalism works very well .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 keeping a stack on bandages (from Tailoring) and another of healing potions (from Alchemy) can still come in handy from time to time, especially at lower levels. (Never underestimate the benefits of a free heal.)
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.
A nice change in Battle for Azeroth was breaking out each tradeskill into sub-skills appropriate to each expansion. For example, you blast through the levels to 110+ and decide you want to learn Leatherworking. You can buy the skill as Kul-Tiran/Zandalar Leatherworking and not have to level it up form all the other zones. Just start from scratch in the BFA zones. Rather nice.
Of course, if you want all the earlier recipes you will still have to head back to all those old zones to gain and level those skills.
Tradeskills for the End Game
There is some nice gear to be made, though it’s a bit expensive.
- Engineering: Flexweave Underlay (a parachute) and Grounded Plasma Shield are cool engie toys. Watch for engie side effects, they might be “interesting” in a dungeon or raid situation. You can also make rockets and shields and other cool stuff.
- Leatherworking: All Druids wear leather armor so if you’re leveling you might find this skill to be useful. Your garrison Leatherworking minion will let you make tents than increase your stats by 10% for an hour, though in Draenor only.
- Jewelcrafting: Make and use nicer gems than the other people get, in addition to useful jewelry.
- Blacksmithing will let you make mail or plate armor and weapons.
- Alchemy: Make cool potions and trinkets.
- Enchanting: in addition to the Draenor enchants your garrison Enchanter minion will let you make Illusionary enchants, which let you change the look of your other enchants.
- Inscription: Glyphs, some trinkets, and some staves.
- Tailoring: Cloth armor, bandages, nets to catch players, bandages, etc.
- Herbalism for the gold or to fuel your Alchemy or Inscription profession. Gains XP with each herb gathered, if you are leveling.
- Skinning for the gold or to fuel your Leatherworking profession. No XP gain.
- Mining for the gold or to fuel your Engineering or Blacksmithing profession. Gains XP with each herb gathered, if you are leveling.
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 Zygor’s Guide. Zygor 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 Zygor will get you to the level cap faster than anything else out there. Grab your copy of Zygor’s Leveling Guide, here.