I’m continuing work on my druid guide for Mists of Pandaria. I’ve completed the introduction; here’s an excerpt. (The full page is here.) I’d love to hear any feedback you have!
If you’re here, you’re thinking about starting up a druid in World of Warcraft. That’s an excellent choice! (Admittedly, I’m biased.) On this page, I’ve got a brief introduction into, well, playing a druid. If you’re looking for more detail on a certain druid specialization, I’ve got separate guides for those, which will follow shortly.
What’s a Druid, anyway?
Well, in real life, druids were a religious group that existed in Britain over 2000 years ago. In WoW, though, druids are those who seek to preserve and protect natural life; from their studies, they learn how to draw on nature’s power to perform many great feats. Druids are most iconic for their shapeshifting abilities, which are unmatched. (See this excellent wowpedia article for more about druid lore and story; the rest of this page will focus on gameplay elements.)
So, what’s this shapeshifting thing?
Druids have several animal forms they can assume at will in order to accomplish their goals. There are six forms that are open to all specializations: Bear, Cat, Stag/Cheetah, Seal/Orca, Bird, and Treant. (Two of those have options via glyphs, hence the slash.) Two more are open to certain specializations (Tree of Life, Moonkin/Astral), which gives us over 10 different options for “Poof! Now I’m a …”
Whoa, wait. Specializations?
At level 10, each character class must pick a specialization, or subclass. This choice determines what role your character will play in group combat (healing, tanking, ranged damage or melee damage) as well as what abilities are available to you. Druids have four specialization options:
- Balance: Uses a mix of Arcane and Nature magic to destroy foes from a distance. Also known as “moonkin,” which is their iconic form. Ranged damage spellcaster.
- Feral: Becomes a panther or lion (depending on race) to destroy foes at close range. Often called simply “cat spec.” Melee damage dealer.
- Guardian: Becomes a large bear to absorb enemy attacks and protect others. New in Mists of Pandaria (previously, both roles were integrated into Feral). Melee tank.
- Restoration: Uses Nature spells to heal friends. Focuses primarily on heal-over-time spells. Can temporarily assume the form of an ancient (large tree-like being) for increased healing potential. Prior to Cataclysm, healed permanently from a treant form.
Druids are the only class in the game to have four specialization options, and are thus the only class that can perform any of the game’s four roles. (All other classes have three specializations, and vary in which roles they can perform.)
Reminder, this is an excerpt. See the full page on my blog here!