Starting a Druid
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Druids are a beginner-friendly class with excellent self-healing, good buffs, strong CC, SLAs and offensive spells. Meleeing in animal form is usually not competitive in later game without multiclassing.
There are 2 main styles of druid.
- Wolf: Focused on shape-shifting in winter wolf form. This build will allow you to do fairly good melee DPS and is very survivable and amazing for solo. Usually dumps wisdom in favor of higher strength for DPS. Multiclassing and abusing certain game mechanics can make them extremely strong.
- Caster: Focuses on spells and spell like abilities. Excellent crowd control via Earthquake. Excellent single target damage from spells and spell-like abilities. Can do a bit of melee early with Flame Blade or in Wolf form. Unlike arcane casters, druids lack strong AoE nukes, relying more on single target spells OR AoE damage-over-time spells.
- Str: Main stat for melee druids. Dump stat for casters.
- Dex: If you have points left, this will increase your reflex save. Not a priority. Often 8. More might be needed on Wolf multiclass builds.
- Con: A recommended minimum is 14. The more the better.
- Int: Druids receive more skill points per level than other casters and they can often afford to start with less Intelligence.
- Wis: Start with 18 here on a caster.
- Cha: Dump stat unless you want UMD.
No race has Wisdom as its primary stat, anyway each race offers different advantages (or disadvantages).
- Human: One extra of 2 stats can be nice for one extra Wis and Con/Str. An extra feat is always good, as well as an easy source of healing amplification. Solid choice.
- Elf: Extra Dex doesn't give you much, and less Con hurts quite a bit. You can pick up displacement dragonmark for extra survivability though.
- Halfling: Extra Dex and saves. Bonus sneak attacks even out with Str penalty for a wolf build.
- Dwarf: More Con and save bonus vs spells are good both for tanks and casters. Less Cha doesn't really matter. Solid choice.
- Warforged: More Con and all those good resists. However the penalty to Wis really hurts so it's not a good option for druids.
- Drow: More Dex, Int and Cha, less Con. There isn't much synergy. If you unlocked Drow with 400 Favor, you're better using this race for another class.
- Half-Orc: Good for a melee druid thanks to Str bonus. Less Int can hurt skill points, less Cha doesn't really matter.
- Half-Elf: One extra of 2 stats like human, but without extra skill and feat. Very customizable thanks to dilettante feature. Solid choice.
Humans are often the best choice. Other races can also work well.
As for feat there are a few ways you can go.
- Augment Summoning makes your class pet, summons, and hirelings better. If you plan using those, consider picking up this feat.
- Quicken Spell allows you to successfully cast your spells under enemy fire when Concentration is no longer enough.
- Empower Healing Spell is a cheap way to make your healing spells stronger.
Remember that you can apply metamagic feats to your spell-like abilities for free.
- Spell Focus: Evocation increases the DCs of your main offensive spells and it can be important at epic levels to twist Evocation Specialist (+3 DC).
- Greater Spell Focus and Epic Spell Focus for Evocation increase your DCs even higher.
- Maximize Spell and Empower Spell increase your spell damage.
- Heighten Spell increases your spell DCs. Particularly important if you are using spell like abilities a lot.
- Mental Toughness and Improved Mental Toughness are useful to help compensate for the druid's lower SP pool.
- Spell Penetration is a trap. Druids have only few spells affected by spell resistance.
- Spell Focus: Necromancy is a trap. Druids have strong and cheap single target evocations which can quickly kill.
- You will want to max out double strike chances. For this you will want both regular and greater Shield Mastery.
- Once you hit level 9 you will want to start stacking the Natural Fighting feat for even more double strike.
- Power Attack is also nice for the extra damage.
A leveling order would be: ()
- 1st: Augment Summoning (for fun, will swap later)
- Human bonus feat: Spell Focus: Evocation
- 3rd: Extend Spell (for longer buffs and Body of the Sun, will swap later)
- 6th: Maximize Spell
- 9th: Quicken Spell
- 12th: Empower Spell
- 13th (druid): Wild Shape Fire Elemental
- 15th: Improved Shield Mastery after swapping Augment Summoning for Shield Mastery
- 17th (druid): Wild Shape Water Elemental
- 18th: Heighten Spell
- 20th: Feat Swap Extend for Greater Spell Focus: Evocation any time between L18-20
- If you can craft or can buy from a crafter, get a heavy wooden shield with Invulnerability ASAP.
- Ring of Elemental Essence for early on.
- 3 or 5 piece Goggles of Time-Sensing can be fun for a few levels. and
- House C challenge items: Cloak of Flames, Frozen Tunic, Bracers of Wind are awesome for druid because they cover spell power and crit chance for a druid’s 3 primary elements: fire, cold and electricity, plus they have lots of other goodies like blur, fire absorption, dodge, Heightened Awareness, Haste guard and Freezing Ice. Get heroic versions (starting with L7/8 versions and upgrade them as you level) and epic versions of each.
- Wall of Wood and its Epic versions, both on normal will suffice and easier to find and much more affordable.
- Torc is awesome if you’re a TR and have it. even your caster/healer druid can and should be in the middle of combat, taking lots of hits and generating lots of Sp.
- Vibrant Purple Ioun stone (upgraded) is also very nice for any caster to have big sp at L5.
- A Greensteel lit II scimitar or Alchemical scimitar is very nice to have, if not available other scimitars/sickles/daggers to consider while leveling are Swailing Blade, Thunderstorm Crescent, Royal Scimitar, Flint, Guardian of the Liturgy, Skiver, Threnalian War Dagger, Sacrificial Dagger.
- Caster druids can swing Scepter of Healing (not proficient though) or Forgotten Light (higher level versions require UMD) which use Wisdom modifier for melee damage.
Those are a rough list of items that would be nice to have, but they are not essential, just try to get a non metal light or medium armor and a nice weapon to melee or one with nice spell power bonus. Your pet will be of great help at lower levels so keep him buffed and geared.