Druids harness the powers of nature to help their friends or harm their foes. They can wield magic to harm like a mage or heal like a priest and can shapeshift into animal forms to dive into melee fighting. Like the monk and paladin, druids are a hybrid class that can fill any role in the game they wish: if you play a druid, you have the flexibility to do whatever you please. But are you up to the task of wielding the raw elemental power of nature? We'll take a look at just what druids can do and try to decide if it's the right class for you.
Just what is a druid?
Druids aren't the only class that can fill multiple game roles, but they are are perhaps the most hybrid of the hybrids. In fact, druids are so flexible that they have four talent specializations compared to the usual three: balance (magic ranged DPS), feral (melee DPS in cat form), guardian (tanking in bear form), and restoration (healer). So whatever you want to do in World of Warcraft, there's no question: a druid can do it. Or, at least, a druid can do it with the right talent specialization and gear.
Druids wear leather armor and can wield staves, one-handed maces, two-handed maces, daggers, fist weapons, and polearms -- but a druid's particular abilities lend towards attacking targets using spells or (shapeshifted) claws, so except for those low levels where you might hit things when you run out of mana, your weapon will probably stay holstered for most of your play time. For race choice, though, druids have the most restrictive options in the game: only night elves, worsen, tauren, and trolls can become druids.
Shapeshifting is key to the druid class. In fact, no matter what race you choose, your druid will be spending most of their time shapeshifted into something else. Helpfully for druids who PvP, shapeshifting will clear movement impairments and shapeshift forms cannot be polymorphed. Here's what a druid can shift into:
- Cat Form: At level 6, a druid can turn into a cat, which increases their damage and movement speed. A cat druid is focused on melee DPS and cat abilities use energy -- like rogues and windwalker monks -- rather than mana. Cats also have the ability to stealth, letting them sneak around enemies and ambush them.
- Bear Form: At level 8, a druid can turn into a bear, which increases their armor, stamina, and threat generation. Bear is a tank form and a bear's abilities use rage like a warrior.
- Travel Form: At level 16, travel form lets druids move 40% faster than normal, making it a great way to get around. (At least outdoors, since it can't be used indoors.)
- Aquatic Form: At level 18, a druid gains aquatic form, which is useful for traveling through water. In this form, druids can breathe under water and swim faster. And, if you don't care for the form's seal-like looks, Glyph of the Orca turns your Aquatic Form into -- surprise! -- an Orca.
- Moonkin Form: Available to balance druids starting at level 29, Moonkin Form increases both arcane and nature damage done as well as reducing damage taken. And as a buff to other casters in your party or raid, moonkin druids increase the spell haste of party and raid members within 100 yards of your character.
- Flight Form: For those who long to fly, at level 58, this ability will allow you to instantly shift into flight form. The fact that this is instant cast when using an actual mount would have a cast time makes it the travel option of choice for all druids, as well as the envy of other classes. As a plus, you don't even have to train Expert Riding -- you get it as a bonus when you learn Flight Form.
- Tree of Life Form: Tree of Life isn't a traditional shapeshifting form because, unlike the rest, it is temporary, lasting only for 30 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown. Restoration druids who pick the Incarnation talent at level 60 gain access to this shapeshift, which increases boosts their healing abilities and armor.
- Swift Flight Form: At level 70, druids get swift flight form, which as you might expect, allows for faster flying. However, to gain access to this ability (which replaces Flight Form), you will have to train Artisan Riding, just like everyone else.
If, after reading this, you think druids sound pretty awesome, it's because we think they are. But is druid the perfect class for you? That's a different question. Here's why we think you'll enjoy playing a druid:
- Having a druid gives you options. If you want to tank right now, but want to heal or DPS in the future? You can do that, and do it well, without rolling a new character.
- Shapeshifting is just plain fun, and PvPers will definitely appreciate not being hindered by polymorphs or movement impairing effects.
- Druids are the only class other than rogue that can stealth. While there are some items that offer temporary invisibility, it's not quite the same as a rogue or druid sneaking around in stealth. So if stealth gameplay appeals to you but you're not interested in a rogue, druids are a solid option.
- You can look to druid icon Alamo for life advice. (Though whether you want to is another matter entirely.)
- While a druid's flexibility can be great, it can also be a huge nuisance to collect the right gear and be familiar with all your abilities so you can play different class roles. If you're not interested in playing multiple roles, a class that focuses the one thing you want to do may suit you better.
- If you don't want to be one of the very few races that can be druids, well, you're out of luck.
Want to learn more?
Try these resources:
- Blizzard's official druid information
- Blizzard's druid forums
- Our druid category
- Wowhead's druid class guide
Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.