Druid leveling guide (updated for 6.0)

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

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.

Group leveling:

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.

With the new talent trees, all four specializations now use the same talent tree. So, I just have one page that talks about the talents for all four of the specializations.

Table of contents (v 6.0)

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

Feral (cat) Leveling: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#3

Balance (moonkin) Leveling : http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#4

Restoration (healing) leveling: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#5

Guardian (bear tank) leveling:[/u] http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#6

General FAQ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/969937119#7
Edited by Lissanna on 10/29/2014 6:20 AM PDT
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Leveling Talents in Warlords of Draenor (all specializations):

There is a set of talents that is shared across all four druid specializations, though some of the talents change by specialization. Choosing your specialization now gives you a bunch of abilities as you level up. Then, you get to choose 7 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 will be different). You will have some choice along the way. However, for leveling, I almost always prefer passive talents over active talents due to the short length of most fights.

Level 15: Feline swiftness (due to being passive) will end up being the preferred leveling talent early on. Wild Charge and Displacer Beast may provide some acceptable utility in later levels, depending on what spec you choose (but, these are only helpful if you use them regularly).

Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 15% at all times. This is pretty useful for all four specializations.

Displacer beast (30 sec cooldown): Teleports you 20 yards forward and shifts you into cat form. Primarily used for escape.

Wild charge (15 sec cooldown): Gives you a different movement teleport effect depending on your specialization (see image below).

Level 30: For DPS (feral/moonkin) and guardian leveling, Ysera’s Gift or Renewal will be the better options. For resto leveling, choose Ysera’s Gift or Cenarion Ward.

Ysera’s Gift: Passive heal. Will heal you or a nearby injured party/raid member for 4% health every 5 seconds.

Renewal: Instant cast that heals yourself for 22% of your health. Useful for DPS and tank druids for keeping yourself alive.

Cenarion Ward: A buff you put on your target that will apply a HOT to tick down after they get hit.

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

Faerie Swarm: Slows your target’s movement speed.

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

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

Level 60: In general, force of nature is a pretty good leveling talent. However, for leveling as a tank, I would recommend soul of the forest instead. The other two options have situational leveling uses.

Soul of the forest: 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). Balance receives increased damage to wrath and starfire when they are buffed by Empowerment (you gain empowerment from casting starsurge).

Incarnation: For balance, increases your damage while Eclipse is active. For feral, this gives you a couple different bonuses. Guardian: Reduces the cooldown on abilities. Resto: increases your healing done and gives you several nice bonuses. (for all specs, this is better for running with groups).

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 root the target (helpful for leveling). For guardian, treants taunt and do melee damage (not as helpful for leveling). Resto treants cast Healing Touch and swiftmend (helpful for leveling).

Level 75: Another crowd control tier where it doesn’t matter what talent you choose.

Disorienting roar: Incapacitates all enemies within 10 yards. Your targets won’t attack for the duration of the effect, but any damage you do will break the effect.

Ursol’s Vortex: Will slow the movement speed of enemies in the vortex (better for balance or resto than feral/guardian)

Mighty bash: A 5 second stun that requires being in melee range (better for feral/guardian).

Level 90: This is a utility tier. Dream of cenarius provides passive bonuses, so this is likely the best leveling talent option. None of these talents are designed to improve main-role functionality.

Heart of the Wild: Gives you a buff to your off-role abilities for 45 seconds (6 minute cooldown).

Dream of Cenarius: Gives off-role passive healing to balance druids. Improves effectiveness of heals for feral and guardian. Improves wrath damage for resto (and wrath provides splash healing).

Nature’s Vigil: Heals and damage spells now do splash healing to nearby targets.
Level 100: See end-game guides.
Edited by Lissanna on 10/29/2014 6:05 AM PDT
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Feral Leveling Abilities and Rotations (6.0)
Cat form When you shift into cat form, you now do melee damage and you get a new set of abilities that you can only use in cat form. You can change the color of your cat form by visiting a barber shop in cities such as Orgrimar and Stormwind.

Some key feral lower level abilities:

6: Cat form (you can now shift into a cat, dealing melee damage)
6: Shred: Causes physical damage and awards a combo point. Does more damage if in stealth mode (e.g., used as an opening move). Does more damage if the target is bleeding (e.g., after level 10 when you get Rake).
6: Ferocious bite: Use this finishing move when you have 5 combo points (your combo points now transfer to new targets!).
6: Prowl: You move slightly slower but you are hard to see (Use this before you engage so that your opening shred hits harder).
10: Rake: your target bleeds, ticks for damage over time & awards one combo point.
10: Tiger’s fury: Increases your damage done and gives you 60 energy. This is a nice cooldown to kill things faster.
18: Savage Roar: Another finishing move. Increases your damage done (based on number of combo points). Helpful in longer fights where the buff won’t be wasted.
20: Rip: Finishing move. Puts a bleed on the target that ticks over 24 sec (only helpful for fights where your target dies slowly).
22: Swipe: Does AOE damage to multiple targets. Use when fighting more than 2 targets. Does more damage to bleeding targets.
28: Thrash: Applies an AOE damage bleed to multiple targets. Use before you spam swipe.

Feral leveling rotation:

Level 1 thru 5: Use wrath & moonfire to deal damage to your enemies.

Rotation hints after level 6: Rake your target, then shred until 5 combo points and ferocious bite. You can also use prowl before you attack to increase the damage on your opening move (e.g., you would open with a shred, then rake, then back to shred).

Primary Stats:

Agility is the primary stat for feral druids while gearing up at earlier levels. Most other secondary stats (besides spirit or bonus armor) will benefit cat druids while leveling. In general, you should prefer higher item level things.

Glyphs: coming soon
Edited by Lissanna on 10/29/2014 6:07 AM PDT
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Balance Abilities & rotation advice
You have access to moonkin form at a lower level now (16) and being in moonkin increases the damage done by your spells. You can use glyph of stars to turn into Astral form instead.

Balance key lower level abilities:

Level 1: Wrath: Direct damage nature 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.
10: Starfire: Direct damage arcane spell with a longer cast time than wrath. This is an arcane spell.
10: Eclipse (passive bonus that increases damage done – see below “How Eclipse Works”). When you are in Solar Eclipse, your moonfire turns into sunfire, and your wrath does more damage. When you are in Lunar eclipse, your moonfire and starfire do more damage.
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 in single-target fights when you have charges available. Counts as both nature & arcane magic. Provides a Lunar/Solar empowerment buff that increases damage done by starfire/wrath (so, you should try to follow a starsurge by the appropriate starfire/wrath casts, rather than casting multiple starsurges in a row).
16: Moonkin form: A shapeshift that increases your damage and survivability.
20: Astral communion: Moves your Eclipse bar faster. You don’t typically need this for leveling.
42: Hurricane: An AOE spell doing nature damage. Channeled for up to 10 seconds.
68: Celestial Alignment: Activates both Eclipse states for 15 seconds. Don’t use this when Eclipse is already active.
76: Starfall: AOE damage with a large radius centered around you. Starfall tends to pull unintended targets around you. So, use this instead of starsurge (they share charges).

Moonkin Rotation Advice

Rotation 1 thru 9: Mostly spamming wrath as you level up to 10. Use moonfire early, so that the damage can tick over time. After you get cat form at 6, you can shift into cat and use shred some to help with early leveling (since shred will out-damage casting from 6 to 9, and cat form makes you move 30% faster), until you unlock the Balance specializations at level 10.

HOW ECLIPSE WORKS (level 10 and beyond)
Eclipse is 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). You get Eclipse at level 10, so you can start learning the mechanic early. Do not ignore Eclipse! There is a new Eclipse version again this expansion.

When you start combat, the WOD version of Eclipse makes the bar automatically swing back and forth, even if you aren’t casting anything. The closer you are to the moon (Lunar Eclipse), the more damage your Arcane spells (e.g., Starfire and Moonfire) do. When Eclipse crosses into the yellow Sun side (Solar Eclipse), your moonfire turns into Sunfire. Sunfire does nature damage (instead of arcane damage). Both moonfire and sunfire DOT can be on the same target, if the fight lasts long enough for both DOTs to be available.

WHAT DO YOU CAST IN LUNAR PHASE AS A NEW DRUID?
Moonfire: This is a Damage over Time spell. You want this DOT on your target to tick over time. In the most simple rotation, you can always just cast this once every time you enter a new Lunar Eclipse phase (or refresh it at any point during the lunar phase).
Starsurge (after level 12): This is spell has three charges. The simplest time to cast this is at the start of a new Lunar phase. When you cast starsurge, it buffs the damage of your next two Starfire spells. Avoid casting starsurge when you are about to leave the Lunar Phase.
Starfire is the main ‘filler’ spell you cast during Lunar Phase.

Beginner Lunar rotation Summary: Moonfire -> Starsurge -> Cast a bunch of starfires -> Swap to Solar phase at the zero midpoint.

WHAT DO YOU CAST IN SOLAR PHASE AS A NEW DRUID?
Sunfire: This is another DOT. You want this DOT on your target to tick over time. In the most simple rotation, you can always just cast this once every time you enter a new Solar Eclipse phase (or refresh it at any point in the solar phase).
Starsurge (after level 12): The simplest time to cast this is at the start of a new Solar phase. When you cast starsurge, it now buffs your next three wrath spells in this phase. Avoid casting starsurge when you are about to leave the Solar Phase.
Wrath is your main ‘filler’ spell you cast during Solar Phase.

Beginner Solar rotation Summary: Sunfire -> Starsurge -> Cast a bunch of wraths-> Swap to Solar Phase at the zero midpoint.

CAN I JUST SPAM MOONFIRE ALL THE TIME?
No, learning at least the very basic lunar vs solar distinction is helpful for building the foundation for learning the rotation. Also, now that moonfire turns into sunfire, you only have access to moonfire half the time, anyway. So, everyone who just spammed moonfire should learn the basic rotation described above for alternating lunar and solar phases.
Edited by Lissanna on 10/29/2014 6:09 AM PDT
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Restoration low level healing advice (6.0)

At level 10, you can choose “restoration” from the list of specializations. Resto is recommended for healing in instances but not solo. However, you can’t join dungeons until level 15 (and healing as resto won’t be good until 18 when you get regrowth), so from 10 to 15 you may want to choose balance or feral for leveling instead.

Low level healing 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: Revive – Bring people back to life after they die.
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.
30 Nature’s Swiftness – Makes your next Healing Touch, Regrowth, or Rebirth instant cast. I recommend using this on Healing Touch.
Level 30 talent – I recommend Cenarion Ward for early in leveling due to giving you another ability you can use on people. You can swap this out to something else later in leveling when you have more buttons.
36: Lifebloom – A HOT that you can only have on one person at a time. Put this on your tank. Direct heals from regrowth or healing touch will refresh the timer on lifebloom.
44: barkskin – You take less damage for a short time.
56: Rebirth – Resurrect a dead ally in combat, to return them to the fight.
74: Tranquility – a big area of effect (AOE) heal that helps save your team. 8 minute cooldown. You have to stand still and channel this ability for the duration.
76: Wild Growth – Another AOE heal on a much shorter cooldown. A 1.5 second cast time, this ticks on multiple people over time.
84: Wild Mushroom –This is an AOE HOT that radiates from where the mushroom is placed on the ground. Target this under the feet of people who are grouped up.

Restoration Healing Tips

Healing advice 10 to 18: Right now, until level 18, you only get rejuv (a HOT), and swiftmend (on a 15 sec cooldown). I suggest playing a different spec until 18, and then coming back to healing unless you are leveling with friends. If you pick up Agility gear, your feral cat form should probably be okay for soloing these levels, as well.

Healing Advice 18 – 60: Gaining regrowth now makes you viable for dungeon healing. You should put rejuv on multiple party members, and use swiftmend/regrowth as direct healing when people get low on health. When you have lifebloom, you want to keep it on a tank at all times.

However, we still don’t get access to our AOE heals (tranquility, wild growth, or wild mushroom) until pretty late in leveling. So, druid healing gets better as we get access to more tools.

Stats & Gearing: Intellect is the primary stat for resto druids. Spirit is also important for resto to give you mana regen.

Major Glyphs: Decent glyphs for 5-man healing:

glyph of Regrowth (best leveling glyph)
glyph of Rejuvenation
glyph of Healing Touch
glyph of blooming
Edited by Lissanna on 10/29/2014 6:16 AM PDT
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Guardian spec, Bear Tank leveling:

At level 10, you can choose “Guardian” from the list of talent specializations. This makes you better able to perform the role of tank in dungeons. You will not be quite as good at solo content as a guardian compared to feral cat leveling.

Low level key tank abilities

Level 8: Bear form – This is the form you tank in
8 mangle: Your primary damage ability at low levels for holding threat on things. This generates rage.
8 Growl: A taunt that forces things to hit you when they are hitting someone else
10 Maul: A damage ability that costs 20 rage. Use this if you need threat on a single target more than you need your survival cooldowns. You may use this less at higher levels when you need the rage for more important things.
10: Savage defense – Spend 60 rage on this to dodge 45% more for 6 seconds and make it less likely that you will die.
14: Thrash – Hits multiple targets and applies a bleed effect that does damage over time (DOT).
28: Faerie fire – An ability you can use when you want to generate threat. 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.
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.
48: Berserk: Mangle can hit 3 targets and has no cooldown for 10 seconds.
56: Survival Instincts: You take 50% less damage for 6 seconds.
64: Skull Bash: Interrupts your target if they are casting a spell.
68: Frenzied Regen: Spends up to 60 rage to heal you (try not to use this when you have less than 60 rage).

Bear Tank Strategy Advice:

For AOE tanking, you want to Thrash all the things once you get thrash at 14. After level 48, berserk allows you to apply mangle to multiple targets.

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

Use your survivability buttons! Savage defense, survival instincts, and frenzied regen all help you save yourself from death. Proper use of your survivability buttons is key to staying alive.

You can also use your growl ability on things that are hitting others, particularly if something is eating your healer.
Edited by Lissanna on 10/29/2014 6:17 AM PDT
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Q&A and links to additional resources:

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: 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 10/29/2014 6:20 AM PDT
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Reserved
Edited by Lissanna on 10/29/2014 6:19 AM PDT
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100 Night Elf Druid
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Reserved
Edited by Lissanna on 10/29/2014 6:19 AM 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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100 Night Elf Druid
8210
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
12915
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
12750
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
0


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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