Tobold's Blog
Friday, January 30, 2009
 
50 ways to roll a druid

Well, actually just 3, but I like Simon & Garfunkel. :) So I've been listening to some commenters telling me that if I thought druids were overpowered, why didn't I play one, and decided that playing one might be just the thing. I do value flexibility, being able to change from tanking to healing to damage dealing roles, especially if I'll be able to outperform specialist classes in each of those aspects under some circumstances. So the only question was how. What would be the best way to make a druid?

One option would have been character recustomization. I have an old level 34 female druid on my account, a surplus character of my wife, which we moved because she didn't play him any more, but didn't want to delete him either. Using the new Blizzard service I could have changed that one into a male druid, changed the name too, and have an instant level 34 druid. I ended up deciding against that, because I wanted to level up a druid from the start, to better learn the class, and to revisit some places I haven't been for a long time.

Then I was considering the recruit-a-friend option. I could make a second account (third actually, if you count my wife's account), get a zhevra mount for my main, and dual-box with triple xp, powerleveling the freshly created druid by putting him on autofollow behind one of my high-level characters. After looking at that option closer, I noticed it doesn't work that way. If you group a high-level and a low-level character, the low-level character only gets minimal xp. I tested that out with mine and my wife's account, made a level 1, who got 50 xp from killing a level 1 mob, but only 1 xp from killing the same mob when grouped with a level 80 character. The triple xp only work well if I wanted to level up two characters from 1 to 60 at the same time (triple xp stop at 60). But even then the "triple" xp ends up being only 50% more xp than soloing, because grouping 2 characters stupidly halves your xp in WoW (which is one reason people prefer to solo). The only advantage of the recruit-a-friend option would have been the possibility to gear up quickly by running myself through dungeons. But there are other ways of twinking, and those don't require me to pay for another account. And again the disadvantage of powerleveling would have been that I would neither really learn the class, nor really adventure.

So in the end I stuck with the third option: Just plain simple roll a level 1 druid on the same server and faction as my other characters. I just played him a little while last night, and already got to level 3. It's been an eternity since I last quested in Mulgore. Of course this is the slowest option. But I'm just 1 emblem of heroism away with my main to get the heirloom bind to account leather shoulders, which would give the druid not only a nice stat bonus, but also 10% faster xp gain. And I have various crafters to make gear, and tons of cash to buy gear or anything else the druid might need if ever I feel he levels too slowly.

It's a fun little project, but I'm not ready to ditch my other characters for the druid yet. I'm still raiding with my priest, and getting my warrior up to level 80. But I like having some other projects in WoW, because I think patch 3.1 is still months away, and the Wrath of the Lich King endgame risks getting boring after a while.
Comments:
There is a dual-boxing tip for powerleveling: you DONT group, the low level kill everything, the high level just heals him. So you got your main to autofollow, mass-pull AoE everything and throw a renew on him now-and-then.
 
Why not triple box ? You can use your wifes account to recruit a new account and then use your main account to power lvl 2 lowbies (Wife + new account) in dungeons. Take your mage for instance, he can easily do all instances up to zul'farrak. I did this with my accounts and power leveled 2 characters in about 28 hours played time. The reason you do it with 3 accounts is that you still gain minimum xp for having a high lvl character boost you through the dungeons, but, on top of this you also get bonus xp for being 3 ppl in a group, plus, the tripple xp on top of that. So in the end you gain xp incredible fast, especially with a mage boosting by picking up half an instance and then aoe them down. You can even invite guildies so you get a full 5 man group, this will be even better for your 2 lowbie characters since they will actually gain more xp.
 
Levelling two chars (dual box or not) to 60 will still be faster then soloing either as both characters get a +50% boost.

Two remarks:
-Level 1-3 takes like 10 minutes ;) Druids really only get interesting when they get to lvl 10 or 20 and can go into pet form.
-It's not 10% extra xp. Typically, half my xp comes from quests. The heirloom item only gives extra xp on kills. So it's closer to 5% extra xp.
 
Do you already know how you are going to play it ? Feral or Balance ?
There used to be a day where the question "which spec should I level my druid with?" would call one definitive answer: feral. But since a few patches, Balance is a solid alternative too. My own druid reroll is lvl 37 at the moment and from what I saw:
- Balance is not that funny early on, since it's all about spamming Wrath or Starfire
- Mana is a real problem prior to around level 30. After that, you can kill up to 5 mobs near your level without having to drink

Extra bonus : dancing like an ogre while shouting "hoot! hoot!" is truly unique (can't wait for level 40!)
 
To fully take advantage of Refer a friend with 2 toons starting from scratch you only have to do Kill quest. Don't even bother doing collect quest your gaining so much XP you can afford to pick your quest. I leveled 3 pairs of lvl 60(not counting the toons I gave levels)that way =).

Towards the end I triple box on the last pair for some dungeon runs. I was getting level every SM run when I was in the lvl 28-44 range.

I would say Triple boxing is only efficient on some level ranges. Quest like Cauldron quest at W Plaguelands with your Tripl xp shouldnt be missed as it EASILY gives your 2-3 levels in around 30-40 minutes.
 
Bah, I'm from a country that Blizzard doesn't allow Refer-a-friend from :(
Stupid because I could happily refer anyone when I was on the US servers... why does EU have to be picky?

It was too much bother getting a UK friend to refer me on my 2nd account (since I wanted to dual box characters), so I just left it.

Might have spoiled it for me anyway, since in some ways I enjoy the leveling more than the end game :)

Anyway, good luck with leveling the druid and have fun :)
 
I think you're misunderstanding recruit a friend. While the experience from killing enemies is less, the quest experience is a full three times. I have relatives and friends who have used it to level quickly and the results are ridiculously fast.
 
Yeah, the best part of Recruit-A-Friend is that in triples QUEST experience as well. I got a hunter and a rogue from 1-60 in the week before Wrath came out and that was with very, very casual levelling.
 
I have done RAF twice. The kill XP is not what get you all the XP...it is the quest XP. I was getting 40k XP from turning in ZF quests. Also, if you triple box, you still get the nice XP from dungeons. You get your two other accounts in a group, invite a level 80 and ahve them blast away. Works very efficiently. Got my Mage and my fiance's Druid to 60 in 1.5 days /played.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I wonder if you like the animal forms. Druids are either in tree form or a bear/cat in combat. In fact, you are more beast than man. I prefer the dashing looks of my female human warlock... but for some reason Blizzard likes to push and spoonfed the class which was severely underpowered at the start. Now they got too much goodies. But well, as I no longer play WoW, they can turn it into Druidcraft if they really wish to. Ghostcrawler did not really improve class balance, he made sure the DK is a piss easy winner char and overpowered every class, some to the extreme, some a lot less, which creates even more balance issues in both PvE and PvP.
 
I like Simon & Garfunkel too :D
 
Go feral for leveling. Balance is OK if you stack Nature's Wrath gear (as you found on your mage), but feral druids in cat form are one of the fastest/easiest solo levelers in the game, vying for the spot with BM hunters and Aff locks.

Balance is a great spec at high levels, but early on spell damage gear is too rare and you still have to stop to drink occassionally. Meanwhile, the cat form has NO downtime. If you get low on health, shift out, cast a few heals on yourself, and keep going.
 
On my druid, I played feral until I got to 40 and could get moonkin form. Balance without it is just too hard. No caster gear (my lvl 34 shaman is facing this as well) and without the extra armor bonus, you will be flattened quite a bit. I wouldn't advise going resto until you are actually going to raid or do instances.

Moonkins are great casters but the rotation is boring. It's basically getting eclipse and doing a starfire/wrath rotation depending on which one procs.

Resto druid FTW. :)
 
I think the feral/balance questions can be answered easiest if you know what you want to do with your druid going from 70-80, or even once you hit 80. If you want to give resto a whirl in Northrend, I'd recommend trying balance, as you will have accumulated gear with caster stats that will make the transition from Balance to Resto easier.

If you don't have a particular preference, I'd recommend Feral. Once you get far enough down into the tree to acquire improved leader of the pack, you have almost zero down time in questing!

I would never, ever recommend anyone level resto. I did it from 70-80 but only because I leveled with my significat other and he could mow things down for me. He could literally kill thing 4-5 times faster than I could! =)

Good Luck! I hope you have fun =)

~ Beruthiel

p.s. It's really boring play the first handful of levels, so stick with it! It gets more fun, honest!
 
I'm looking forward to hearing about your leveling experiences with a druid, and whether you'll find them OP either during the leveling process or at endgame.

Since you have 2 accounts already, I'll echo Gevlon's comment and tell you to use a second toon *out-of-group* to follow, buff, and heal your druid. It will help to have Keyclone (google "wow keyclone") and to write a few macros. For example, you could bind "1" to have your druid cast Wrath and the auto-follow priest cast PW:S. I leveled a shaman on my wife's account this way, having my (feral) druid just following, casting lifeblooms. It allowed my shaman to focus exclusively on offensive stats with virtually no stamina.

The heirloom shoulders are a great idea. That, combined with the leveling speed increases, will probably allow you to pick and choose your quests. You'll quickly outlevel zones before completing all the quests in an area. You already have a good working knowledge of low-level quests, but using an addon like Carbonite will augment your memory and make the questing experience much different than the first time you ran those quests.

The #1 enchant to get is minor speed on boots. It's great that vellums now allow you to enchant your alts' toons. And since weapons proc in druid forms now, you may want to stock up a few scrolls of fiery enchant.
 
Well, Paul Simon, at least. The duo had split by the time of "50 ways to leave your lover".
 
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