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The spells which allow a druid to shapeshift into his various forms, as well as those abilities which are used in each form, are covered here.
Shapeshifting into the various druid forms has different benefits. Shapeshifting into any form removes any slowing or immobilizing effects on the druid. Druids are therefore almost impossible to prevent from escaping, as any ability that would slow or immobilize them, such as hamstring, wing clip, or root, can be negated through a quick shapeshift. When the only goal is to escape, travel form is usually the best option, as it is substantially cheaper mana-wise to shift to travel form than to bear or cat. Shapeshifting also renders the druid immune to any type of polymorph spell. If a druid is polymorphed, he can simply shapeshift into a form to dispel it, rather than wait for it to wear off like every other class is forced to. Finally, druids in shapeshifted form are considered beasts, not humanoids, which can be a useful distinction. Many classes spells and abilities, such as a priest’s mind control, rogue’s sap, and warlock’s seduce, only work on humanoid targets. Changing to beast form renders the druid immune to these effects.
Bear form and cat form also provide some statistical bonuses when shifting. Bear form increases armor substantially, as well as physical damage and health. Cat form increases physical damage even more than bear form, although there is no armor or health bonus. Essentially, Bear and Cat form allow the druid to act as a warrior or rogue, although without much of the versatility that those classes offer. Of course, neither of those classes can heal or pump out ranged magic damage whenever they feel like it.
It’s important to remember that, like a warrior or rogue, a druid in bear or cat form is very dependent on the quality of his gear.
Taunts the target to make it attack you. Has no effect if the target is already attacking you. 0 rage cost, 10 second cooldown.
The druid equivalent to a warrior’s taunt. Useful to grab a monster’s attention when its attacking someone else, although it’s duration is shorter than the cooldown, so if the person who was being attacked doesn’t do something to reduce their aggro chances are the mob will go back to them.
Increases the druid’s next attack by 128 damage. 15 rage, no cooldown.
Pretty basic, this makes the druid’s next attack do a greater amount of damage. Extra damage is always nice as it builds more threat, making mobs more likely to focus on you. Use it if you have the rage available.
Decreases nearby enemies attack power by 130. Lasts 30 seconds. 10 rage, no cooldown.
Decreasing the enemies attack power reduces the damage you take, which is the point of bear form. If you have the spare rage, use it.
This also can knock rogues and druids out of stealth, so in a pinch it can be effective, as rogues out of stealth can’t use some of their most powerful opening abilities. The range is pretty short though, so it can be tough to time right.
Generates 20 rage over 10 seconds, but reduces armor by 75%
Good for grabbing quick rage when you really need it in combat, or more effectively right before combat starts so the armor penalty doesn’t affect you.
Stuns the target for 4 seconds. 10 rage, 1 minute cooldown.
A great ability, think of this stun as a free heal. If you’re quick, 4 seconds is more than enough time to stun, shift to caster, cast a 2 second heal, and shift back to bear form. With talents this can become a 6 second stun, which is invaluable in pvp and many instances. Don’t count on it 100% of the time though, as it can be dodged/parried, etc.
Swipe 3 nearby enemies, inflicting 84 damage. 20 rage, no cooldown.
The equivalent to a warrior’s cleave, this is a good way to try to hold more than one enemy on you, rather than on the weaker casters and rogues. It is also an instant attack that can happen between your normal swings, so it can be a small, if expensive, amount of burst damage in a pinch.
Forces all nearby enemies to focus on you for 6 seconds. 15 rage, 10 minute cooldown.
An AoE taunt, but good luck holding aggro on all those enemies after 6 seconds. OK to use in an emergency, but the 10 minute cooldown means you won’t be able to count on it most of the time.
Converts 10 rage/sec to health for 10 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
The conversion rate is 1 rage = 20 health, so if you have a full rage bar this will give you back about 2000 health (a little more because the heals can crit). A great ability, just be aware that when you shift to caster you lose all the rage you’ve built up, so if you have a good amount of rage pop this and let your rage get used before shifting out.
Puts the druid into Stealth, reducing speed to 70% of normal.
Prowl allows a druid in cat form to enter stealth, just like a rogue. In stealth you move slower than normal but cannot be normally seen by other players unless you get too close. The two druid opening abilities for combat available in cat form, pounce and ravage, can only be used when stealthed. Barring talent points or gear, a druid is slightly more easily seen in stealth than a rogue.
Claw the enemy , causing 115 additional damage, adds a combo point. 45 energy.
An instant attack that causes a good amount of damage, and builds a combo point. This ability is the bread and butter of what you will be using in cat form to build up combo points.
Rake the target for 58 damage and an additional 96 damage over 9 seconds. Adds a combo point. 40 energy.
Slightly cheaper than claw, but it also does slightly less damage. Another good way to add a combo point, and the DoT (damage over time), prevents a rogue you hit from it from going into stealth for 9 seconds, as the damage will break them out of stealth.
Shred the target, causing 225% normal attack damage + 180 additional damage to the target. Must be behind the target. Adds a combo point. 60 energy.
Does significantly more damage to a target, but you must be behind and it is more expensive than claw and rake, so you will build combo points more slowly. Great if the target is focused on something else, more difficult to use if your target is focused on you (still possible if you’re fighting a player as you can just run in circles around them, but almost impossible w/ a monster, who will turn to always follow you).
Deals damage based on the number of combo points on the target. 35 energy to use…any additional energy is converted to extra damage.
The first of two finishing abilities to use the combo points you build up, Ferocious bite does direct damage. It is mitigated by the enemies armor, so its best used on lightly armored targets like casters.
Deals damage over time based on how many combo points on target. 30 energy.
Similar to Ferocious Bite, but the damage comes over 12 seconds rather than all at once. This is the other finishing move available to druids to use the combo points they build up on targets. This damage is not mitigated by the enemies armor, so rip is superior on warriors and other heavy armor wearers.
Stuns the target for 2 seconds and delivers a small DoT (150 damage total) over a long period of time. Must be stealthed and behind the target. Adds a combo point. 50 energy.
One of two abilities that a stealthed druid can use to open combat. The DoT is quite valuable if you are attacking a rogue, as it will prevent him from entering stealth. In general, pounce is more useful when fighting other players rather than mobs.
Ravage the target, causing 350% damage + 343 to the target. Must be stealthed and behind the target. Adds a combo point. 60 energy.
The druid’s other opening move from stealth, ravage can do a significant amount of damage if a druid is geared appropriately. Superior to pounce for fighting monsters and often superior for PvP, especially on lightly armored enemies.
Lessens fall damage.
This is a passive ability that lets druids in cat form take less fall damage than other classes. Very useful in many situations, if you ever find yourself falling from a great height, be sure to shift to cat, it can save you where anyone else would die.
Increases damage caused by 40 for six seconds. 30 energy.
This will increase the damage caused by all attacks in cat form for 6 seconds. However, since it uses energy, the damage increase is offset by the energy that isn’t being used to claw, shred, or rake. This is a good ability to activate prior to ravaging an enemy out of stealth, as you can afford to wait 2-3 seconds and let your energy regen to full, nullifying the energy loss.
Increases movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds. Does not break stealth.
Good for getting in position for an attack or escaping an enemy. Useful in PvP to catch up to enemies that try to kite you, as it’s far more mana efficient to dash than shift to caster, root them, and re-shift to cat. It does stack w/ armor and talents that increase movement speed as well.
Reveals the position and names of nearby humanoids on the mini-map.
A great ability for druids in both PvP and PvE. In PvE, track humanoids can be used to help you find specific enemies needed for quests, or rare-spawns who can drop better than average loot. In PvP, track humanoids truly shines. Being able to be in stealth and instantly see if any enemies are hiding out of line of sight is invaluable. On a PvP server, get used to using the /who command to query names you see on the minimap when you have tracking up…if it returns that no player is found, its someone from the enemy faction.
Cower, causing no damage but lowering your threat by a small amount, making the enemy less likely to attack you. 20 energy.
This ability is only useful in PvE, where it will lower your position on the mob’s threat list. Cower is occasionally useful for a full feral druid, who may do enough damage in cat form to pull a mob off the warrior tanking it…for a casting or healing druid, however, its almost always better to shift to bear when you gain aggro and mitigate the damage you take until a warrior can pull the mob off you.