Druid leveling guide (under construction)

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The 6.0 Warlords of Draenor leveling guide is available on my blog: http://www.restokin.com/druid-leveling-guide/

This forum post will be updated sometime in the next few days.


Druid Leveling Guide v5.0

Originally, v.1.12 was posted by Jaegor, Feral Druid, Dark Iron<US>
Updated and maintained post-2.1 by: Lissanna, balance/restoration druid, Elune <US>

Druid leveling guide – Feral and Balance are recommended as solo specs for questing.

Introduction:
This guide is for new druids starting out. It is specifically geared towards build construction for PvE leveling.

The first thing to understand is that feral is the most efficient tree for solo leveling, especially now that you get cat form at level 8. Feral druids level in cat form, and attack their opponents up close in melee range using attacks with Energy as a resource and combo points for big finishing moves.

Balance druids can level solo perfectly fine. However, you will have to drink more often. This is still a good option if you enjoy being a caster, where you can root things away from you and hit them with damage spells using mana as your resource.

The expansion split bear tanks into a new specialization called "guardian". If you are leveling up in instances, sometimes you want to be a tank (a guardian druid focusing on bear form), or a healer (a resto druid focusing on using healing spells). Keep in mind that it will be significantly more difficult to solo quest as a resto or guardian druid.

Table of contents (v 5.0)


1. Talents (all specializations) http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119?page=1#2

Feral (cat) Leveling Sections:
2. Feral Leveling abilities & rotations http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#3
3. Feral Glyphs & gear http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#4

Balance (moonkin) Leveling sections:
4. Balance Spells & abilities http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#5
5. Balance Glyphs & Gear http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#6

Restoration (healing) leveling:
6. Restoration healing leveling http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#7

Guardian (bear tank) leveling:

7. Guardian tanking leveling http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#8

8. General FAQ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#9
Edited by Lissanna on 10/13/2014 7:36 PM PDT
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Leveling Talents in Mists of Pandaria:
There is a new talent system which has a set of talents that is shared across all four druid specializations. Choosing your specialization now gives you a bunch of abilities as you level up. Then, you get to choose 6 additional abilities from the talent set. Here, I will briefly explain the sets of options you have and how useful they are to each spec for leveling (your max-level choices may be different). The purpose of these talents is to allow for choice, so I will spend more time explaining what they do than telling you which one to choose.

Level 15 Talents: All specializations choose either feline swiftness or wild charge.
• Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 15% at all times. This is pretty useful for all four specializations.

• Displacer beast: Teleports you 20 yards away and shifts you into cat form. This talent isn't useful for anyone because it is too easy to break you out of stealth. Bad for all specs.

• Wild charge: Gives you a different movement teleport effect depending on your specialization. In caster form, you teleport to the location of your targeted ally. Moonkin bound backwards 20 yards. Travel form leaps forward 20 yards. Swim form goes faster. Cats jump behind your targeted enemy. Bears charge at their enemy and imobilize them for 4 seconds. Good for everyone except resto druids for leveling.

Level 30 Talents: Resto: choose Nature's Swiftness or Cenarion Ward. All other specs: Choose nature's swiftness or Renewal.

• Nature's Swiftness: makes your next healing spell, roots, rebirth, or cyclone instant-cast and usable in all forms. This is useful for all specializations.

• Renewal: Instant cast that heals yourself for 30% of your health. Useful for DPS and tank druids for keeping yourself alive. Less helpful for resto druids where the other options can be used on either yourself or others.

• Cenarion Ward: A buff you put on your target that will apply a HOT to tick down after they get hit. This could be useful for resto druids, but I'd recommend other specs to pick up one of the more burst heals. In addition, this may not heal very much at lower levels, so one of the other talents could be a better healing talent for leveling.

Level 45 talents: Overall, I prefer typhoon. However, for leveling, your choice of crowd control here doesn't matter much.

• Faerie Swarm: Your faerie fire spell slows your target's movement speed. Situationally useful.

• Mass Entanglement: Will root multiple targets in place for a short time. Situationally useful.

• Typhoon: Knocks back your target and dazes (slows) them for a short period of time. Situationally useful.

Level 60 Talents:
Varies by spec (see below). All of these are designed to help your main role, so any choice ends up being potentially helpful for leveling. Each talent does something different for each specialization.

• Soul of the forest: Gives balance more solar or lunar energy when you exit Eclipse (good option because it gets you back into an Eclipse faster). Gives feral more energy when you use finishing moves (not as helpful for leveling if things die fast). For Guardian, mangle generates more rage (helpful for leveling as a tank). For resto, using swiftmend makes your next cast spell faster (not as helpful for leveling as resto). The nice part of this is that your bonus is passive so you don't have to remember to cast it.

• Incarnation: For balance, increases your damage while Eclipse is active (probably better for grouping than solo). For feral, this gives you a couple different bonuses (probably better for grouping or max level than solo leveling). Guardian: Reduces the cooldown on abilities (good for leveling in instances). Resto: increases your healing done and gives you several nice bonuses (good for leveling in instances).

• Force of Nature: Summons treants to fight for you. For balance, treants cast wrath & roots (helpful for leveling). For feral, treants do melee damage and can stun the target (helpful for leveling). For guardian, treants taunt (not as helpful for leveling). Resto treants cast Healing Touch (helpful for leveling).

Level 75 Talents:
Another crowd control tier where it doesn't matter what talent you choose.
• Disorienting roar: Disorients all enemies within 10 yards (your targets won't attack for the duration of the effect, but any damage you do will break the disorient).

• Ursol's Vortex: Will slow the movement speed of enemies in the vortex.

• Mighty bash: A 5 second stun that requires being in melee range.

Level 90 Talents: See end-game guides for recommendations. Heart of the wild's passive bonuses are useful for everyone (though the "utility" benefit is less useful), so you can start out with Heart of the Wild and choose your talent based on the end-game content you want to do. The other two talents are more situational.
Edited by Lissanna on 8/28/2012 2:35 PM PDT
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Feral leveling abilities & rotations (Updated 8/28):

Some key feral lower level abilities:
6: Cat form (you can now shift into a cat, dealing melee damage)
6: Mangle: Your primary damage ability for feral. Does damage, slows your target, and awards combo points.
6: Ferocious bite: Your primary finishing move when you have 5 combo points.
6: Rake: your target bleeds, ticks for damage over time & awards one combo point.
6: Prowl: You move slightly slower but you are hard to see (use when out of combat to sneak around things you don't want to kill. At higher levels, you will have opening moves that only work when prowl is active).

10: Tiger's fury: Increases your damage done and gives you 60 energy. This is a nice cooldown to kill things faster.
16: Shred: Does more damage than mangle and awards combo points. Must be behind your target, so use this in instances instead of mangle, when you can be behind your target.
22: Swipe: Does damage to multiple targets. Use when fighting more than 2 targets.

28: Faerie Fire: Decreases your target's armor. Can be used to hit things that are far away and make them come to you instead of charging up to them.
32: Pounce: Opening move that does damage and stuns your target. Use when stealthed (prowl).
54(?): Ravage: Opening move you can use when stealthed (prowl). Use this if you pick up Incarnation.

Feral rotation:

Level 1 thru 6: Use wrath & moonfire to deal damage to your enemies.

Rotation hints after level 6: Rake your target, then mangle until 5 combo points and ferocious bite. With enough heirlooms at lower levels, you may resort to just spamming mangle and skipping things like rake. Ferocious bite can be used when you have 3 or more combo points when soloing, since most things won't live to 5 combo points. When in dungeons, you want to use shred instead of mangle.
Edited by Lissanna on 8/28/2012 2:37 PM PDT
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Feral glyphs & gear: (Updated for 5.0 on 8/28/12)

Feral Stats & Gearing
Primary stat weighting for cat druids: Agility > Strength > Stamina

• Agility is the primary stat for feral leveling druids. Agility makes your melee attacks hit harder (because it gives you attack power), and agility also increases your critical strike chance. So, look for the highest item-level gear that contains agility whenever possible.
• -Strength will show up mostly on accessories (ie. rings, cloaks, necks). Strength does still give attack power for cat & bear druids, but it is not as good as agility anymore – so take agility options when you can. Strength will be better than intellect for feral if your options just aren’t very good. Strength is also good for bears when you also pick up dodge or high levels of stamina on the item.

Other useful Feral stats:

• Critical strike rating (your spells have a chance to do double-damage) & haste rating (increases the speed of your energy regen)
• Hit rating shows up on some low level items. This reduces the chance for you to miss with your attacks.

What NOT to wear as a feral druid:
Avoid gear with caster stats (Intellect & Spirit), or tanking stats (dodge, parry, or block).

For feral heirlooms, you want to choose the set of Agility leather. http://www.restokin.com/2011/04/the-ever-growing-world-of-heirloom-leveling/

Feral Leveling Glyphs
While glyphs aren’t necessarily required for leveling, they can help boost some of the abilities you use, or provide other utility.

Major glyphs (choose 3 from below):
• Prowl: removes the speed penalty when prowling, so you move faster while stealthed.
• Shred: When berserk or tiger's fury is active, shred doesn't require you to be behind your target.
• Pounce (after level 32): You can pounce your target from farther away.
• Dash: Lowers the cooldown on your dash ability
• Ferocious bite: When you use FB, it heals you for 1% of your health for each 10 energy used (up to 10% of your health)
Edited by Lissanna on 8/28/2012 2:39 PM PDT
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Balance leveling abilities & rotations (5.0 updated 8/28/12):

Balance key lower level abilities:
Level 1: Wrath: Direct damage spell with a short cast time. This is a nature spell.
3: moonfire: Instant-cast spell that does a small initial direct damage and has a damage over time (DOT) effect. This is an arcane spell.
10: Starfire: Direct damage spell with a longer cast time than wrath. This is an arcane spell.

10: Entangling roots: crowd control ability that holds things in place so they can't melee you.
12: Starsurge: a 2 second cast time spell that does a high amount of damage. You should try to cast this whenever it’s off cooldown. Counts as both nature & arcane magic.
16: Moonkin form: Shapeshift form that increases the damage done by your spells. You can use glyph of stars to turn into Astral form instead.

18: Sunfire: A DOT similar to moonfire, but does nature damage. You can have both DOTs on your target at the same time. Moonfire no longer morphs into sunfire. Instead, these are two different spells now.
20: Astral communion: Moves your Eclipse bar to proc Eclipse. You don't need this for leveling.

42: Hurricane (turns into Astral storm when Lunar Eclipse is active): Your primary AOE spell for more than 3 targets.
68: Celestial Alignment: Activates both Eclipse states for 15 seconds. Don't use this when Eclipse is already active.

Rotation 1 thru 9: Mostly spamming wrath as you level up to 10. Use moonfire early, so that the damage can tick over time. When you want to keep something off you, you can use roots to hold them in place. (So, a rotation at level 7 could be: roots, moonfire, and then use wrath until your target dies).

How Eclipse Works
Eclipse is likely the most difficult mechanic to learn as a moonkin. Eclipse puts a bar under your name-plate (if you are using the default User Interface, without any addons). When you cast Wrath, it pushes the bar towards 100. When it hits 100, you get a Lunar Eclipse, which gives you a buff that increases your arcane damage (ie. makes spells like moonfire & starfire do more damage). Then, you want to cast starfire while the Lunar Eclipse buff is active. Casting starfire will push your Eclipse bar further to the other side, where you will proc a Solar Eclipse. Solar Eclipse increases your nature damage (wrath & sunfire) while that buff is active, so at that point, you would switch back to wrath.

See more about how Eclipse works & the moonkin leveling rotation here: http://www.restokin.com/2010/11/how-eclipse-works/

Basic single-target rotation after level 10 on quick fights would be to spam wrath until Eclipse, then spam starfire until Eclipse, rinse & repeat. After level 12, also use starsurge when it comes off cooldown.

More advanced single-target rotation(on longer fights) after level 18 would be to: Use Roots to keep things from hitting you, Cast sunfire and moonfire on your targets early in the fight. Use your starfire to get solar eclipse, use wrath to get lunar eclipse. Use Starsurge on cooldown. Refresh moonfire when you are in a lunar eclipse. Refresh sunfire when you are in a solar eclipse.

For leveling 85 to 90 see the moonkin thread here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/6490460582#12
Edited by Lissanna on 1/4/2013 7:17 PM PST
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Balance stats & gearing
Primary stat weighting for balance leveling: Int > Spirit > Stamina

Intellect is the primary stat for balance druids. It makes your spells hit harder by giving you more spell power. More intellect makes you a smarter moonkin.

Other useful Balance stats:
• Haste rating: makes your spells cast faster. This is a great stat for moonkin.

• Spirit: Gives you more regen out of combat, and there is a bonus for the balance specialization that converts spirit into hit rating. You will end up with some spirit on your gear, which is okay – but you still value intellect a LOT more than you value spirit.

• Critical strike rating: This stat will show up on your gear at some point, and this is a good stat for you.

• Hit rating: You probably don’t need much of this on your gear since spirit now converts into hit rating for you, but you may have to pick up a little spirit and a little hit to make sure your spells don’t miss.

• Spell power is a stat that should mostly just show up on weapons, and this is good for you. There may also still be enchants with spell power on them.

What NOT to wear as a balance druid: Agility & strength are melee stats that are bad for caster druids. You would be better off wearing cloth int gear than wearing agility gear (especially before you learn the armor specialization at level 50). Also avoid tanking stats (dodge, parry, block).

Heirlooms for leveling: You want to choose the leather heirlooms with Intellect on them for balance leveling. However, cloth heirlooms can work okay. For more info on heirlooms for druids, see: http://www.restokin.com/2011/04/the-ever-growing-world-of-heirloom-leveling/

Balance leveling glyphs
There are approximately zero good major glyphs for moonkin leveling. So, you can pick up whatever you feel like. The one minor glyph you may want to look for is glyph of stars, which is the alternative shapeshift for balance druids if you don't like how moonkin form looks (other minor glyphs provide other neat cosmetic features).

Potential major glyphs:
Glyph of the moonbeast: Allows you to use healing touch & rejuvenation in moonkin form without shapeshifting.

Soloing major glyphs include: Glyph of dash, glyph of nature's grasp, or glyph of entangling roots.

If you run instances, glyph of innervate or glyph of rebirth could potentially be useful.
Edited by Lissanna on 8/28/2012 2:53 PM PDT
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Restoration Druid leveling (Updated for 5.0 on 8/28/12):
At level 10, you can choose "restoration" from the list of specializations. You should only use a restoration spec for healing people in instances or PvP & not solo questing.

Spells & abilities:

• Level 4: Rejuvenation – Low mana cost, instant-cast Heal over Time (HOT) spell.
• 10: Swiftmend – Instant direct heal. Requires a HOT to be on your target.
• 12: Nourish - Low mana cost, long cast time, direct heal. Heals for more when there is a HOT on the target.

• 18: Regrowth – High mana cost, Short cast time direct flash heal with a short lasting Heal over time (HOT) Spell. Has a pretty high critical strike chance.
• 26: Healing touch - High mana cost, long cast time direct heal, hits harder than nourish or regrowth.
• 36 - Lifebloom - A HOT that stacks up to 3 times on one target, lasts 15 sec. Put this on your tank. Direct heals from nourish, regrowth, or healing touch will refresh the timer on lifebloom.

We don't get access to our AOE heals (tranquility, wild growth, or wild mushroom: Bloom) until pretty late in leveling. There isn't a set rotation at lower levels. You definitely want to take advantage of all the above healing tools, plus the other utility options you have available as you level.

Stats & Gearing: Intellect is the primary stat for resto druids. Spirit is also important for resto to give you mana regen. (see balance gearing section for more info on gearing a caster druid for leveling).

Major Glyphs: choose from these:
• glyph of Rejuvenation (reduces your cast time on nourish when you have rejuv on 3 or more targets)
• Regrowth (increases your crit chance on regrowth, but removes the HOT component)
• Healing Touch (reduces the cooldown on your swiftmend when you cast HT)
• Rebirth (when you use rebirth, they will pop up with more health and mana)
Edited by Lissanna on 8/28/2012 2:56 PM PDT
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Bear tank leveling: (updated for 5.0 on 8/28/12)

At level 10, you can choose "Guardian" from the list of talent specializations. Your tanking abilities are no longer included in "feral". In addition, guardian druids do not have access to all the cat abilities.

Abilities:

• Level 8: Bear form - This is the form you tank in
• 6 mangle: Your primary damage ability at low levels for holding threat on things. This generates rate.
• 8 Growl: A taunt that forces things to hit you when they are hitting someone else
• 8 Maul: A damage ability that costs a lot of rage. Use this only when you have a lot of rage and nothing is hitting you very hard.

• 10: Savage defense - Spend your rage on this to dodge more (for 6 seconds) and make it less likely that you will die.
• 22: Swipe - An AOE damage that hits multiple targets.
• 28: Faerie fire - It is especially nice because you can target something farther away from you. Also reduces their armor, so it helps the melee DPS in your group if you keep up the debuff.

• 32: Thrash - Hits multiple targets. Your targets bleed and increases the damage of some of your other abilities that benefit from bleed damage.
• 38: Lacerate: Makes your target bleed (stacks up to 3 times), and has a chance to reset the cooldown on your mangle.
• 44: Barkskin: A buff you can put on yourself to reduce how much damage you take for 12 seconds.

Strategy: For AOE tanking, you want to Thrash before you Swipe now, as Swipe does 20% extra damage to bleeding targets. If you're AoE tanking you shouldn't be using faerie fire or lacerate much for AOE tanking.

For single-target tanking, Faerie fire, mangle, and lacerate all generate some threat at lower levels.

Major glyphs for lower levels: There isn't a very good selection at the lowest levels. You can pick up things like these:
Glyph of faerie fire - allows you to cast faerie fire at things farther away
glyph of maul - maul hits one additional target
Edited by Lissanna on 8/28/2012 8:48 PM PDT
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10. Q&A and links to additional resources: Updated for 4.3

Q. How do I find out more about being new to the game in general?
A. There is a good guide for new players on WoW Insider. http://wow.joystiq.com/rookie

Q: Where do I go to level?
A. Here is a list of Cataclysm zones by level. http://www.wowpedia.org/Zones_by_level

Q. Where can I find more information about being a moonkin?
A. The Moonkin repository has a lot of good information. http://themoonkinrepository.com/

Q: Who is ALAMO and how do I learn 2 play Durids?
A: Alamo’s page on wowpedia http://www.wowpedia.org/Alamo

Q: Why not spec x/x/x instead?
A: The guides posted above are merely guides to give you an idea of what I consider good specs and have had success with on the Beta server, but the best spec will always be the one that fits YOUR playing style the best. Feel free to adapt them as needed. The same goes for information about “rotations” for leveling – the important thing is that you find something that works best for you, and that you have fun exploring the world of Azeroth while you work your way to the level cap. Things like rotations and “cookie-cutter” talent builds matter a lot more once you reach max level.
Edited by Lissanna on 8/28/2012 2:59 PM PDT
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reserved
Edited by Lissanna on 8/28/2012 2:59 PM PDT
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80 Night Elf Druid
7245
Reported!

For sticky.

Thank you for writing your guides Lissanna.

There are a bunch of characters that did not show up for me (other than as strangeness). I'm guessing this is a byproduct of copy-paste. I hope you will be able to go back and clean them up.
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yeah, we reported the problem in the forum bug report. However, I can only post 1 post per minute, I'm hungry, and need coffee.
I have to manually go back through each post, change every symbol, and hope that it doesn't revert back to the yucky mess next time I try to touch it...

I'll work on formatting slowly over time. I have TWO guides I have to do this for, so it'll take a long time to fix ALL the formatting in every post.

/sad face
Edited by Lissanna on 11/5/2010 7:10 AM PDT
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90 Night Elf Druid
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Lis you are the greatest. Forums are brand new and you already have a guide up.

Have my shape changing babies.
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80 Night Elf Druid
1480
Awesome thanks, I've been looking for something like this
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85 Tauren Druid
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Thank you Liss. Your guides are always appreciated.
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85 Night Elf Druid
10440
Once again fab job.
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85 Night Elf Druid
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Wow....the narrow posting area is wrecking havoc on readability. I foresee a formatting nightmare.

Regardless, you're a gem Liss. Thanks again!
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Wow....the narrow posting area is wrecking havoc on readability. I foresee a formatting nightmare.
Regardless, you're a gem Liss. Thanks again!

I can't even really edit things because when I try, it just makes it worse. I need them to do some bug fixes before I can really do anything with the format.
for now, you can read the blog version or the old forum version if this one is too hard to read... I will get the editing figured out eventually.
Edited by Lissanna on 11/5/2010 9:33 AM PDT
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85 Night Elf Druid
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good stuff as always liss.
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Okay, changed formatting for the two posts that were horribly broken. I'm waiting until they fix the formatting options before I touch any of the other posts.
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