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Druid Guide by Geaus
What is a Druid?
A simple question, but one that should be answered before we get started. A Druid is someone who takes the Direct Damage (DD) spells of a Wizard, the healing spells of a Cleric and a few other assorted handy spells, and then taking it all down a notch. Our DD spells aren't as good as a Wizards, and our healing spells aren't as good as a Clerics, but you will have your hand in both, which means your spells are in high demand. A Druid is easily the best soloer in game at earlier levels, as your Damage Over Time (DOT) line of spells and Spirit of Wolf (SoW) will let you kill enemies that almost every other player in the game will be shying away from, even 3 or 4 levels down the road. We are capable of almost every spell or its equivalent in the game.
So now you should know that we can do just about everything with our spells, however our melee skills are not what most people seem to think they are. I have found that that most non-Druids seem to find the Druid somewhere between a mage and a warrior type for melee, however what most fail to realize is that we a much more geared towards the mage side. Even with full buffs, I can usually only do about a quarter the damage that party tanks can do. The bottom line here is that if a mob attacks us, we can take it for a few moments, but won't last long. We might even get a few spells off. When a mob attacks a mage, their hit points are so low they either go into a panic or make it clear that they cant do anything with a mob on them.
How Much Wisdom?
Some people will tell you that you don't need a high wisdom to be a Druid, and this is true. You don't need a high wisdom to be a druid, you need it to be a good Druid. When you spend a few hours camping a mob for a few point addition to your wisdom, or buy a Platinum Ruby Veil for a +7 wisdom, you will be kicking yourself that you didn't put all available points into that score. No other stat will serve you as well as this. Here is a run down of what each stat does for you.
Strength - Your armor weighs so little you will rarely be encumbered, and it wont be long before you have a strength buff anyways. Best to ignore this stat.
Dexterity and Agility - Both combat stats, and since you don't have the armor or weapon selection to do anything above par here, they should be considered secondary at best.
Intelligence - I use one type of weapon, and my spells and my scores stay maxed with the default setting, extra points are moot.
Wisdom - Determines your mana, your lifes blood.
Charisma - Helps change prices, but there is almost nothing for you to buy at a vendor besides spells anyways.
We are one of the few classes in the game that can solo red opponents, and the only ones that can do it with ease and as an xp gaining system. A Shaman may be able to do it once in awhile, but their low Wisdom scores will usually put them one or two spells shy of killing most reds. Magicians and Necromancers, when they get a good pet, have told me that they can solo the occasional red, but this is rare. This can be used to your advantage as well to get items that would not normally be available to you, and can be used to make some very quick cash.
Sadly, we are gipped in Direct Damage spells. Our DD spells are usually the same as an Enchanters, with Wizards and Mages commonly having higher DD spells. In addition, we only get a new DD spell once every ten levels, so we advance slower than others as well. However, there are times when we will win burn wars even against a Wizard when our DOT spells are accounted for.
Which naturally brings us to the Druids Damage Over Time series of spells. My personal favorite line of all our spells, because they are capable of doing more damage than most DD spells their level than for a lower cost. The only trade off is the spell takes about a minute to completely work, which is not a very high price to pay for some of the most mana efficient spells in existence. Here is a little story I experienced first hand on the power of our DOTs. While fighting a level 30 goblin, a high level Druid stumbled across me and my party. He decided to give us a hand, and at the start of the next fight cast Drifting Death, the most powerful DOT we have. Being level 30, this goblin was even with me, so I was casting Combust for 177 damage a cast. I managed to get 2 casts off, but to everyone's surprise, Drifting Death in about 20 seconds managed to out damage me and our everyone else in my party as well. The moral of this story: do not under estimate your DOT line of spells.
Our healing spells are not very useful until level 19 when we receive the spell Healing. Our two spells before that are barely enough to offset the damage most enemies that level are capable of. And our final healing spell (up to 50), Greater Healing is the first spell that is actually capable of saving someone in a tricky situation, with a heal of roughly 270 damage, far more than most mobs are capable of hitting for. In addition, we get a regeneration line of spells, but only at a very high level. At 34 we receive Regeneration, which heals 6 points of damage every 6 seconds, a useful spell when cast on your tanks, but will rarely save yourself or another caster. And our other regeneration spell, Chloroplast, does double that.
Then we have our very useful shield and buff line of spells. The Skin Like Wood line is very helpful in increasing your AC and making you more combat worthy. It will keep you alive longer in combat, and at later levels it will give your tanks the time necessary to get a mob off you, while most other casts would be running in fear. The damage shield provided by Thistlecoat line is almost laughable, but the extra AC is always welcome. I never let either of these spells run out. The next line, Shield of Thistles, grows exponentially more useful as you get higher in levels. At first, the spell lasts so short a period of time, it usually wont even last an entire combat, but higher level versions of the spell will last longer and do more damage. And not just the fact that the damage gets higher, but higher level mobs will hit two or three times a round, effectively doubling and tripling the damage. And even a level 50 tank will be begging for a spell that adds 45 damage a round to their total.
And last, but certainly not least, we have the best low level spell in the game, Spirit of Wolf. This spell basically doubles the speed at which you can run, meaning you can now "kite" enemies, escape Giants and other certain death scenarios. This will also be your most requested spell after you receive it, so be prepared to either go /anon or receive many tells asking for the spell.
With your armor maxing out at leather and your weapons limited to blunt and scimitars, you don't have much of a selection. Since you cant melee very well, I suggest going for items that will enhance your stats. For instance if you want a huge mana reserve, go for wisdom items, agility and dexterity items if you simply must melee, etc. My personal preference is for a larger mana cap, however if you picked a high starting wisdom you can take your items in almost any direction. I have done a little adding with the items on the EQ'lizer, and have found a wisdom of at least 171 possible (not even counting what is in Fear).
Your weapon choice is less than expansive as well. I have found very few decent 1H Blunt weapons, and only a few more good scimitars. Paired off with a good shield though, you can have a very effective stat increasing combo. Staves are probably the better choice earlier on though, as staves will more suit your purpose, and have better stats earlier on.
Other classes have become so upset that we have this ability, they have actually tried to have it banned. Since that probably has your attention, I will explain what the benefits are, and how to accomplish it. First off, kiting allows you to kill mobs that con red, something almost every other class in the game would shy away from. You start by casting SoW on yourself, and then finding a mob you wish to kite. Cast your highest level DOT on him (excluding the useless and often resisted Immolate), and run for the spells duration (usually a minute). Stop, cast again, repeat. Extremely simple, but if done wrong it can still be deadly. What most fail to realize is that a red mob can pick apart a caster very quickly, and casting a DOT takes time. Sometimes its enough for the mob to catch you, sometimes it isn't. You have to find the slower mobs that will not catch you before you can cast.
The benefits of this are obvious, high exp gains, lots of cash, good items. Down time is a little long, but the pay off is the right price, especially if you are strapped for cash, or cant find a group.
1-7 The higher you get, the more difficult it gets, for one reason: you don't have Meditate yet. Your mana will be used up every fight, and you will have to wait to replenish it after every fight, making down time extremely long. A word of advice, invest in Snare. I have found this spell more useful than the level 24 Ensnaring Roots.
8-13 You get Meditate at level 8, and things will get much easier. Though you will more than likely have to group for these levels, they are the stepping stones to a much easier solo life.
14-18 With both your first DOT and SoW in the same spell set, this may be your best level for spells in the whole game. Here you will be introduced to kiting, which usually ranks at least in the top 5 for reasons to become a Druid. If you want to hit a dungeon, Paw, Blackburrow and Crushbone are all good for this area.
19-23 Your first teleportation spells, a new heal and a new DD spell will make this an extremely welcome level. To start with, you will never have to get on a boat again, you heals become useful and you can do up to 122 damage or so. Kiting is still highly recommended at these levels. Clan Runnyeye, and Blackburrow are still fair game.
24-28 A good time to start moving up to higher level dungeons, such as Unrest, Permafrost and Solusek's Eye. And you knew it had to come eventually, its about time to give up kiting and start grouping. I have found that down times become too long, and the pay off not enough. Killing 3 blue mobs is more beneficial than 1 red. Also the ever cool Wolf Form =)
29-33 Dungeons you have been in before, and for the more daring out there, the first denizens of Lower Guk become a viable option. You will also get Combust and have a DD spell for 170 damage.
34-43 Time to start moving into the last of the high level dungeons. Mistmoore Castle, Lower Guk and Nagafen's Lair will be prime hunting spots. In addition, you get the first of the Regeneration line of spells, and a long awaited upgrade to Greater Wolf Form. A well deserved DD spell awaits you at 39, Fire Strike.
44-50 Some VERY powerful spells await you here, and they will serve you well in the Plane of Fear. Time to hunt down the most powerful equipment in the game, and tangle with dragons, and face the mighty Cazic Thule himself.
In conclusion, remember that a Druid has his hand in just about everything, but because of this, other casters will begin to pull away from you in terms of "specialized spells" at higher levels. A few examples such as the Clerics Resurrect line, Enchanters Clarity (mana regeneration) spell, Str debuff and mob enchanting, Wizards massive damage capabilities in the Ice Comet spell, capable of 1120 damage, where you will most likely cap at 600, and Necromancers have been promised the ability to become a Lich in the expansion.
Its simply a choice you must make, high levels in this game represent their class in the extreme. Clerics become so beneficial to a party, you would be crazy not to want one, Wizards become the epitome of DD power, Enchanters become capable of sitting down and watching two giants fight each other, and you become capable of nearly every type of spell in existence.