Druid Abilities and Talents

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Balance
Your two most-used spells here are going to be Thorns and Moonfire. The Druid is one of the few classes that gets two long-timer buff spells that can be cast on any teammate, and you’re going to want to make sure that everyone gets Thorns on them, and then refresh it every ten minutes or so. Although it may appear to be a minimal amount of damage, it’s effectively free, and it does add up, especially against opponents who attack quickly. You can even cast this on the pets of your hunter and warlock teammates!

Moonfire is one of the game’s best DoTs, in our opinion, if only because it’s an insta-cast effect. While it doesn’t do as much damage as Immolate, its instacastability lets you easily slip it in during any kind of combat, or use it to tap a monster in an area where a bunch of people are fighting for spawns. It makes a great way to open up a fight regardless, especially when an enemy’s a good distance away from you; use it to get their attention, then cast a longer casting-time spell like Starfire or Wrath, then refresh the Moonfire as needed while you engage in melee combat. It does a bit of up-front damage, like the Warlock’s Immolate ability, so you can even use it for a killing blow on an enemy that’s running after losing most of its health.

So far as the talents go, as per usual, you’ll need to decide which are going to be most useful to you based on your own gameplay experiences. We found that things that boosted the above spells were usually the best choice, so things like Improved Moonfire, Improved Thorns, Moonglow, and Moonfury were high on our list of things to go after, but there are obviously plenty of talents relating to other spells in the tree. One easy choice for almost any player is Omen of Clarity, which can easily be recast when it runs out and will occasionally let you cast a spell for zero mana, and all at the low cost of one talent point.

Feral Combat
The Feral Combat spell tree is at least a bit more understandable at a glance than other spell trees, since they’re simple abilities, for the most part, that work with either your Cat or Bear forms. There are a lot of abilities here, though, which will make for some expensive level-ups if you actually tend to use your other forms fairly often. If you can afford to, though, you’ll want to get all of the abilities here, as they’ll make your shapeshifting forms that much more usable.

The Feral Combat talents, though, are where you’re going to have to make some difficult decisions, especially if you find yourself nearly splitting your time between shapeshifted forms for combat and humanoid form for healing in groups. Unfortunately, most of the talents are only applicable to one kind of shapeshifting or the other, with only a few talents (such as Sharpened Claws) affecting both. This may let you specialize in one form or another, if you find yourself using one much more than the other, but it also means that, if you split your talent points more or less evenly, then you’ll only gain the benefits of half of them at a time. Since talent points are so valuable, this is definitely a case of waiting until you get a feel for how you’re most often going to be playing the class before allocating your points.

Restoration
As with most healing trees, the Restoration tree isn’t too difficult to figure out. Instead of emphasizing straight healing, though, druids are going to find themselves emphasizing regeneration abilities (meaning healing spells that heal over time, rather than in one quick burst), such as Regrowth and Rejuvenation. While these aren’t abilities that you want to whip out when your tank is about to die (Healing Touch is better for that, long casting time notwithstanding), but they’re great to cast during the early portions of a fight to staunch some of the wounds that your tanks are suffering from. Rejuvenation is particularly handy for this purpose, as it’s an insta-cast ability and will spread out its healing over 12 seconds, thus lowering the chances that you’ll shift aggro due to its effects.

Although the healing effects aren’t going to rival those of a priest, the mere fact that you have them (as well as a resurrection ability after level 20), will let you act as a decent secondary healer in busy instances. The Mark of the Wild buff here is also useful, even though it has a minor effect on a bunch of different things (to mirror the druid’s overall efficacy) when compared to the buffs of a mage or priest, which have a huge bonus to a single stat.

The Restoration talent tree is rather odd, in that it appears to be a receptacle for some of the shapeshifting talents that there wasn’t quite enough room for in Feral Combat. Those aside, there are some decent talents here that are worth investing in if you spend most of your time healing teammates. There are Improved versions of all of your core healing spells, of course, but don’t overlook Gift of Nature, which gives a boost to all of your healing spells in one fell swoop, and Nature’s Swiftness, which lets you cast a Healing Touch spell with zero casting time once every three minutes.

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