Druid is a shapeshifter class that is fairly unique to World of Warcraft. Their versatility and ability to fill any role (tank, melee, caster, or healer) makes them the true jack of all trades. There are so many different ways to play a Druid that it can morph to a players desired role, that they feel most comfortable with. No matter what your playstyle for Hardcore is, there is a build or style that will likely feel comfortable for you. Don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of skills and abilities! Druid is easy for beginners with a high skill cap, but there is lots of room in between. This is my recommended talent and starter guide for someone new to the class or having trouble surviving in Hardcore.
Feral Druid Leveling Guide
Terms to know
A macro used to exit and enter a shapeshifting form instantly to either use a pot, or remove a snare / movement impairing effect, or to regen energy or rage with Furor talent.
Druid is the master of escape. They can shift out of being polymorph, can shift out of roots and snares, and have many outs in dangerous situations. They are also excellent kiters in the open world, using Bash, Hibernate, Entangling Roots, and Nature’s Grasp. Focus on gear with highest stats overall because every stat is utilized by Druid**
Keeping dangerous enemies at a distance and killing them without taking damage or reducing damage taken.
Skills, Talents & Debuffs
Enters the Druid into a Clearcasting state after a melee attack in any form (Proc). Clearcasting reduces mana, rage or energy by 100% for your next damage or healing spell. Can be learned as early as level 21. Third tier of balance tree. MUST BE CLICKED LIKE A BUFF (10 minute duration)
An instant cast roots that procs after being hit in melee form. Can be anywhere from 35%-100% based on improved talents. One of the most important abilities to escape or control two mobs.
Gives Pounce (cat opener stun) and Bash (bear stun) 1 extra second duration.
Charges an enemy, rooting them and interrupting spellcasting school for 4 secs. (Bear). Can also be used to create space by charging another mob or critter.
Reduces mana cost of all shapeshifting forms by up to 30%.
Improves physical damage in all forms by up to 10%.
Attempts to cure 1 poison, and then 1 more every 2 seconds for 8 seconds.
Removes one curse from target.
Decreases the armor of the enemy by a large percent based on rank.
Increases your Intellect by up to 20% – additionally while in bear form your Stamina is increased by up to 20% and cat form your Strength by up to 20%.
Provides instant 40 energy (cat) or 10 rage (bear) at 5/5 talents.
Increases mana regeneration at 400% over 20 seconds and costs only 28 Mana.
Lowers attack power of target (multiple) while in Bear form.
Class Specific Quests
10 – Speak to the Great Bear Spirit in Moonglade to take on the Trial of the Bear. These Moonkins HIT HARD – it’s easier to be successful closer to 12. – Root and slowly kill to ensure defeat! Try not to go out of mana!
Defeat Lunaclaw and speak to her to gain the strength of heart (Darkshore, Moonkin caves outside Auberdine.)
Defeat Lunaclaw and speak to her to gain the strength of heart (Barrens, just outside of Camp Taurajo)
Level 16 (SO IMPORTANT FOR DRUID!) Shiny bauble in Moonglade Lake. Be careful not to drown!
One piece is in north Darkshore (48,11) and one is in Westfall (21,36) Be careful of reef sharks!
(29.29) First piece, Silverpine Forest and second, (56,8) Sludgen Fen, Barrens
Level 20 – No quest, grab from trainer.
Level 30 – No quest, grab from trainer.
- Alchemy/Herbalism: Single handedly the most important / viable Hardcore profession for Druid. Druid utilizes every stat and elixirs provide INT AGI STR and STAM as well as regen, absorb potions of different schools of magic, elixir of mongoose and more. Mana potions are much more valuable to a Druid than healing potions and alchemy allows you to craft them easily, as these are harder to find on vendors. Druids can pick herbs in form which makes it easy to run around and gather what you need.
- Silver Medal: Engineering
- Train in your Home City. Training in Moonglade is not discounted.
- You can get away with roots rank 1 and hibernate rank 1 until level 60.
- Pick your spells according to what you feel like you will need. You prolly don’t need rank 2+ Starfire unless you intend to solo Eliza or other similar Elites that can use a cheese mechanic.
- Be prepared to be poor. You have a lot of spells to train
Handle stressful situations
As soon as you get Feral Charge (bear) you can actually use it to create space to get away from bad situations. You can charge a nearby critter or a less dangerous enemy to make space between a bad situation and your character. With the furor talent, you will have enough rage to bash instantly or to feral charge as soon as you go into bear form.
Cheetah becomes your get of out jail free card at level 30, but still make sure to use Nature’s Grasp and go bear to mitigate if you are taking heavy damage or getting dazed (especially useful if being hit by melee mobs).
Best to worst mobs to fight as a druid:
- Beasts – Generally the most controllable enemy types in terms of crowd control: Hibernate, Roots, Soothe Animal and can be bled and dotted.
- Melee type enemies – Can be bled, rooted, dotted and due to Bear form, most melee damage can be mitigated and can use Demoralizing Roar to lower attack power.
- Elementals/Undead – Tricky targets because crowd control varies depending on their type. Some cannot be bled, rooted or dotted. Also they have varying elemental resistances, especially nature resistant mobs so you cannot use Faerie Fire, Thorns or Nature’s Grasp.
- Casters – Druid lacks true interrupts until they receive Feral Charge and Bash is on a long cooldown of 60 seconds. Double/Triple caster packs should be avoided, especially ones that heal.
Druids can shapeshift out of every root/slows/nets including those that have damage elements to it. This can be very important for those nasty debuffs that have an attack speed lowering effect and movement speed, you can instantly remove it with shapeshifting.
Solo Druid Build
Your first point recommendation is Nature’s Grasp. This would be followed by Improved Wrath, Natural Weapons and Omen of Clarity. If you are still dying at low level, an alternative is to max out Improved Nature’s Grasp. Between Levels 25-30 you will be respecing if you took Improved Wrath so make sure to save 1 gold.
Learning to use your forms for certain situations is the best way to learn your full toolkit at a young age. Remember once you get your feral forms you are not bound to them, use each form to their advantage and don’t get tunnel vision and forget all the abilities you have in all forms.
Once you respec you will want to likely run a build similar to this. There are variables here in talent points that will be explained. Once you have your 14 points into the balance tree, you will want to max out Furor (5/5) in the tier 1 resto tree. The benefit of this is any time you enter bear form you will always have enough rage to Bash (stun) or to Feral Charge (later on), which is incredibly important for making space in hardcore.
You will want to take 5/5 Ferocity, 2/2 Brutal Impact, 3/5 or 5/5 Thick Hide (Preference for Hardcore, but these points can be swing), Feral Charge, 3/3 Predatory Strikes, 2/2 Savage Fury, Feral Faerie Fire (Quality of Life more than necessary talent) 5/5 Heart of the Wild for your Level 54-58 push when gear gets harder to come by, this will be your power-spike for the final levels.
In this build I have 3 points in Feral Aggression but you can place them anywhere you’d prefer – Primal Fury or Blood Frenzy are great choices as well. Feline swiftness is not a necessary talent for this build, but to be seen more as a quality of life improvement. If you are absolutely speedrunning AND familiar/comfortable with druid, respeccing at 22/23 for run speed in cat form and feral charge are acceptable. However you decide to go down the tree at that point is up to you, but please note you are trading strength for movement speed.
Due to the toolkit being subpar from level 20-36 , Cat form should only be used in single target mobs at level or below that can be bled. Cat form surge of power comes after level 36 when you have the full range of abilities including:
Using cat form to fish for Omen procs. You can then use your Clearcasting to cast a max rank heal, Moonfire or any melee ability. Clearcasting procs are “normalized” (*see weapon progression for clarification) and proc as often off any auto in any form. If you feel spooked you shouldn’t be fishing in cat form. You can always try bear.
Dash – An incredibly important cooldown that should be saved for dire situations where you need to escape. Keep in mind if you need to shapeshift out of Cat once you use Dash, you lose the speed bonus.
Bear – Due to Thick Hide, Frenzied Regeneration, Feral Charge, Demoralizing Roar and other talents, bear is the form you’d be in when you feel unsafe or are fighting multiple adversaries. In a situation where you feel like you need to run, bear form is the default form to use (instead of cat) because of the added health and armor and the ability to create space with bash and feral charge.
Young Druids (Level 1-25) have Improved Wrath, Moonfire and Roots available to help control situations until Bear form becomes stronger. Due to the lack of abilities that create rage generation, you want to avoid face tanking mobs with full health. Many people die at lower levels due to overpulling mobs and not having many outs due to the lack of abilities.
Druids post respec (Level 25-60) lose Improved Wrath, but gain 100% Nature’s Grasp but still maintain Omen of Clarity and Natural Weapons . If you keep up with your weapon skill, you can still do respectable damage while applying hots or roots to a target before swapping back to a feral form.
Innervate – An important cooldown where you have enough mana to shift one more time but will need more mana over the duration of the battle.
Barkskin – Use defensively to ensure no pushback comes through on your heals or when running away in travel form or bear form to reduce the amount of damage you take.
Omen of Clarity – in caster form, it can be used to cast max rank heals, moonfires, or even get you back into bear form.
Weapon Progression doesn’t really “exist” in hardcore druid world, but keep your eye out anything that is high in stats, especially valuing agility, strength, and intellect. Some Dungeon weapons you may be able to win are:
You can purchase Big Stick from vendors throughout the world. Try to prioritize SLOW 2h weapons whenever possible. “Procs in vanilla are normalized so that weapon speed should not effect number of procs. ie. a slow weapon will have a higher proc rate and thus proc things more often per swing than a fast weapon. The issue is this still applies to feral even though we have the same swing timer regardless of what weapon is equipped. If we wear a slow weapon it increases the proc per swing chance in an attempt to normalize the rate and we end up with more procs in total.” [source: JVMES, classic druid discord]. Keep in mind that the difference will be noticeably negligible unless you are comparing two weapons side by side around the same level.
Value of weapon swaps
Druid isn’t incredibly gear or weapon reliant but there is still value to keeping an arsenal of gear in your bags!
For Innervate you can swap to a weapon with a lot of Spirit if you can find one (Spirit will increase the amount of mana your regenerate, and will increase your regen during this time!)
With Natural Weapons, your melee weapon can actually do a lot of damage if your weapon skill is up to par for times you get stuck in caster form. You can also regen mana this way while rolling hots on yourself. (good for going fast at low levels!)
Stamina 1=10 HP
Agility 1=1 Attack Power, Crit, (Cat) / Crit, Armor, Dodge (Bear) Strength 1=2 Attack Power
(These stats are PRE Heart of the Wild!)
Travel form from any form, Aquatic form in the water:
/cast [swimming] Aquatic Form; [noswimming] Travel Form
Consumable use in Bear Form (not spammable):
#showtooltip Greater Stoneshield Potion
/use Greater Stoneshield Potion
/cast Dire Bear Form
Basic Powershift (not spammable) (replace with bear form for bear powershift):
/cast Cat Form
Nug energy / Elvui powerticks – *shows energy and mana regen ticks!
Unitscan/Rare Aware – Alerts you of Rares and Elites in the AREA!
Leatrix/Leatrix Maps – Shows undiscovered areas of map, reduces weather effects, allows faster looting, etc! Amazing addon!
Weakauras – Allows customizable tracking of auras, cooldowns, etc. Check wago.io for classic weakauras
Bagnon/Combuctor/Other bag addon – Makes it easier to find junk, items in bank or inventory, etc
What’s Training? – Tells you what level and how much it costs for new ranks and spells
Questie/Quest XP Tracker – Questing ADDONS for tracking where and how much xp you will get
Classic Beastiary – This addon tells you the abilities of the enemy target.
Having been a feral druid main for 17 years, hardcore was a very interesting challenge for me to face. I am a competitive PVE’r, but I have spent many hours carrying flags in Warsong Gulch. When Classic launched, I leveled not 1, but two druids to 60 (one full feral, one full balance). When approached with the idea of how “not to die” from 1 – 60 it occurred to me that Druid is the master of nature, and is capable of running away from almost any bad situation with a couple tricks up their sleeves. The build I created has been very strong and successful. I truly believe it utilizes everything a druid can bring to the table and gives you a strong backbone to push into higher levels.
I have leveled 6 druids to 60 in classic, 4 hardcore and many more to go.
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