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Druid Leveling: 1-30 (Resto and Balance)

13 May



When you ask people about leveling Druids the default response has almost always been “level Feral”, and for good reason. Feral is a very solid spec with very little downtime. The damage is high as the style of play is very Rogue like, and with your own healing spells as well as multiple methods of travel it’s one of the easiest and fastest leveling setups in the entire game.

As most people are aware, with the introduction of the random dungeons and being able to queue yourself up it has now become much more common, and perhaps the default, to level instead as Resto using the LFG/LFD tool exclusively for leveling from 15 all the way to 80. Druids are also one of the most mana efficient healers in the game while leveling and the way that their HoTs work it often seems as though nobody ever drops below 90% health which means most tanks love them (I know my DK and Paladin both did for sure). The key to leveling a Resto druid is knowing your abilities and knowing how to manage your mana. From there on the rest is cake.

But what about the red-feathered stepchild of druid leveling? Balance is a fairly “simple” spec to play, much like any other caster in the game. People don’t suggest leveling with it often though because it’s easy to feel that you have mana issues and that you’re constantly stopping to drink and replenish your mana. The key to leveling a Balance druid is to know when to hold back and when to push forward. There’s also another aspect of it that we’ll talk about in the Balance section.

My purpose with this post is to show you how to level as either a Balance or Restoration Druid up to level 30, discussing the specifics of both as well showing you how to embrace your hybrid nature when the time comes so that you make use of your entire skillset instead of a small part of it.

Character Creation and Preparation

Races
If you want to be a Druid then you’ve got only two options: Night Elf (Alliance) or Tauren (Horde). When the Cataclysm expansion arrives that will expand to Worgen (Alliance) and Troll (Horde) as well.

Of the two current choices Night Elves get “better” starting stats than Tauren do, but it really won’t matter in the long run. If you’ve had trouble leveling a Druid in the past, then I suggest you go with a NElf because you’ll have better caster stats for starting out.

Heirloom Items
If you have access to heirlooms then you have a few choices for which items you would like to give to them. Each item slot is listed in the order I would suggest them. For armor pieces the only difference (usually) between leather and cloth pieces is the amount of armor that is one them. You’ll get better armor for the leather piece, but you can use the cloth piece with more classes if you play multiple alts.

Chest: Preened Ironfeather Breastplate or Tattered Dreadmist Robe
Ring: Dread Pirate Ring
Shoulder: Preened Ironfeather Shoulders, Tattered Dreadmist Mantle, Exquisite Sunderseer Mantle, Lasting Feralheart Spaulders
Trinkets: Discerning Eye of the Beast, Swift Hand of Justice
Two-Handed Weapon: Dignified headmaster’s Charge, Grand Staff of Jordan
One-Handed Weapon: Devout Aurastone Hammer, The Blessed hammer of Grace

For the shoulders you can’t really go wrong with any of the four I have listed. The ESM is a bit more Balance oriented with a bonus to Crit chance where the LFS is more Resto with additional Spirit. The first two shoulders (PIS and TDM) are your top two regardless of spec.

Since mana is likely to be your main issue rather than hit points, I suggest a pair of Discerning Eyes over one of each trinket if you can afford them. The Haste from the Swift Hand can certainly help you, especially at higher levels, but since mana is key I suggest the Eyes.

As for weapons you should first decide whether you want to stick with a staff while you level or if you want to be open to using off-hand items that you find as you level. My personal preference is to go with a staff, but it’s your call. There are some good off-hand items in the game, I just prefer to go with a solid weapon I know I can make good use of at any time, regardless of what else may or may not drop for me.

Important Spells
Druids have a huge list of spells available to them because of how versatile they are. They’re the only “true” hybrid class in the game right now, meaning they’re the only ones who can fill every role that the game has to offer. Since you have so many skills available to you it’s important to know which ones matter the most.

Values are based on the highest rank up to level 30, completely unmodified by either talents or gear.

General (All Specs)
Mark of the Wild: Increases a friendly target’s armor by 150, all attributes by 6 and all resistances by 5 for 30 minutes.
Thorns: Thorns sprout from the friendly target causing 9 Nature damage to attackers when hit. Lasts 10 minutes.
Entangling Roots: Roots the target in place and causes 90 Nature damage over 18 seconds. Damage caused to the target can break the roots early.
Nature’s Grasp: While active, any time an enemy strikes the caster they have a 100% chance to become afflicted by Entangling Roots (rank 3). Three charges, lasts 45 seconds.
Teleport: Moonglade: Teleports the caster to the Moonglade.

Mark of the Wild (MotW) is your signature buff spell. Have it up at all times and spread it around any groups or battle grounds that you happen to get yourself into. Thorns is another buff you should probably have up on yourself when you’re soloing, and on your tank when you’re in a group (or everyone in a BG). Entangling Roots (ER) is the key to the “Root & Nuke” play style and is your primary source of Crowd Control; just remember that you can only have it cast on one target at a time. Nature’s Grasp is sort of like a Shaman’s Lightning Shield ability, except that instead of dealing damage for each charge it casts Entangling Roots on them. Nature’s Grasp can root 3 individual targets at the same time in addition to a target that you’ve actually cast ER on.

Teleport: Moonglade is how you teleport yourself back to Moonglade for training and most of your class quests. If you’re a Night Elf then lucky for you the flight path from Moonglade back to Darnassus is about a minute long. If you’re a Tauren, then I hope you have something to do during the 12 minutes it’s going to take you to fly from the top of the flipping continent all the way down to Thunder Bluff.

Druid Forms
Bear Form: Shapeshift into bear form, increasing melee attack power by 30, armor contribution from cloth and leather by 180%, and stamina by 25%. Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects. Shapeshifting frees the caster from polymorph and movement impairing effects.
Aquatic Form: Shapeshift into aquatic form, increasing swim speed by 50% and allowing the druid to breathe underwater. Also prevents Polymorph effects.
Travel Form: Shapeshift into travel form, increasing movement speed by 40%. Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects. Shapeshifting frees the caster from polymorph and movement impairing effects.
Cat Form: Shapeshift into cat form, increasing melee attack power by 40 plus Agility. Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects and allows the use of various cat abilities. Shapeshifting frees the caster from polymorph and movement impairing effects.

Bear Form is what you would tank in if you were the tank. But you’re not the tank, you’re a healer or a deeps. Use this if you’re out of mana, below level 20, and something’s kicking your butt. Use it, and then run away with it. Aquatic Form is how you get around in water and how you never worry about drowning again. Travel Form is your mini-mount, allowing you to move 40% faster on land without having to use a mount. Cat Form is your melee DPS form which you’ll use if you’re out of mana, at least level 20, and want to kill things while you’re out of mana.

Restoration Spells
Healing Touch: Heals a friendly target for 490 to 594.
Rejuvenation: [Instant Cast] Heals the target for 305 over 15 seconds.
Regrowth: Heals a friendly target for 318 to 360 and another 343 over 21 seconds.
Revive: Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 150 health and 260 mana. Cannot be used when in combat.
Cure Poison: Cures 1 poison effect on the target.
Rebirth: Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 750 health and 1200 mana. Can be used in combat.
Remove Curse: Dispels 1 Curse from a friendly target.
Abolish Poison: Attempts to cure 1 poison effect on the target, and 1 more poison effect ever 3 seconds for 12 seconds.
Tranquility: Heals all nearby group members for 351 every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. Druid must channel to maintain the spell.

Healing Touch is your “big” heal with a fairly big cast time to go with it. Rejuvenation is one of your two primary heals with Regrowth being the other. Both of these are heal-over-time (HoTs) spells and what you’ll be using most often. Revive is your typical resurrection spell similar to what all the other healing classes have, while Rebirth is the game’s only “combat rez”, allowing you to bring someone back while still in combat. Cure Poison is just that, but you’ll mostly likely end up using Abolish Poison for that purpose in the end anyway. Remove Curse is another no brainer. Finally you have one of the largest heals in the game, Tranquility which restores massive amounts of health over time to all nearby party members.

Balance Spells
Wrath: Causes 130 to 148 Nature damage to the target.
Moonfire: Burns the enemy for 61 to 73 Arcane damage and then an additional 124 Arcane damage over 12 seconds.
Starfire: Causes 189 to 231 Arcane damage to the target.

Outside of talent tree spells this is your toolbox as a Boomchicken. Wrath is your primary nuke, Moonfire is your primary DoT (until Insect Swarm), and Starfire is your super nuke used for pulling mobs when solo or for opening a boss fight in a group as your tank closes in.



Leveling as Balance
Root & Nuke Pre-20: Wrath, Entangling Roots, Moonfire, Wrath x2, Entangling Roots, Wrath spam
Root & Nuke Post-20: Starfire, Moonfire, Entangling Roots, Insect Swarm, Starfire, Wrath spam
Level 20+ Rotation: Starfire, Insect Swarm, MoonFire, Wrath spam

Root & Nuke is your safest method of leveling because you’re constantly using crowd control in addition to your DPS to make sure your target doesn’t get close to you. Sadly, you don’t have any AoE spells until you reach level 40 so you are pretty well stuck in a single target role until then unless you want to juggle DoTs and roots on multiple mobs which can get pretty hectic and very draining on your mana.

When using the R&N method you need to remember that damage will break the effect of your roots early. Because of that you want get as much uptime on your roots as you can, without wasting time, before going back to nukes. What I mean by that is that once your ER spell has been cast, or your NG charge has gone off to root the mob in place, cast one or both of your DoT spells on the target and then back away to put distance between you before you start spamming Wrath. The first thing this does is it gives time for the roots’ DoT effect to deal some damage, and second it gives you more safety by keeping you out of harm.

If you don’t want to R&N then your next best option is to just lay right into them. In cases like that start off with Starfire if you have it or Wrath if you don’t, then get at least one of your DoTs up (both if the target has a lot of health), and then spam Wrath after Wrath until the target is dead.

The key to conserving mana as a Balance Druid is letting your DoTs do their job. You’re only wasting mana if you cast Wrath on a mob with 30 hp left when you know your DoTs have over 100 damage left to deal. Be aware of how much damage your DoTs do and make use of them.



Leveling as Resto
Questing Rotation: Wrath, Entangling Roots, Moonfire, Wrath, Wrath, Entangling Roots, Wrath, Wrath
Healing “Rotation”: Regrowth, Rejuvenation, Healing Touch (if necessary)

If you’re leveling as a Resto Druid, meaning that your talent points are spent in the Restoration Tree more than any other, then you’re going to find questing to be a bit harder than if you took one of the other specs. You’re basically a Balance Druid without talent points to increase your efficiency.

Your best bet for leveling as Resto is to get to level 15 using the Balance play style of Root & Nuke that I just talked about to keep mobs away from you while you burn them down with Wrath spam and the occasional Moonfire. Once you get to level 15 forget the whole R&N business and queue yourself up for some dungeon runs (random or specific, doesn’t really matter). Be sure to select the Healer’s role in the LFD tool, and I wouldn’t bother signing up for extra slots unless you’re actually looking to fill them. Your best bet as an off-spec role is going to be DPS. Please don’t queue as a tank if you’re not used to tanking or do not plan on being a tank, or else I may be forced to shoot you.

As far as healing goes you want to keep an eye on the damage that people are taking. If their health is barely moving, but you know they’re getting hit (because it’s the tank, right?…Right?) then you can start off with a Rejuv since it’s instant cast and only heals over time. Regrowth has an initial heal effect in addition to its HoT, so it’s better when you see that there’s actually a gap in their current health versus their total health. If they’re taking a lot of damage then Regrowth, Rejuv, and then Healing Touch to get them back near full health. When incoming damage is low, stick to your HoTs and don’t bother wasting time with HT unless you really need to. If damage is moderate, then make sure both of your HoTs stay up on the target and feel free to pad it with an extra Regrowth if needed. If damage is high then get at least one HoT rolling and then Healing Touch for the big heal.

Your healing rotation isn’t so much a rotation as a priority list, but it also changes based on your glyphs. You can get glyphs that make Rejuv heal more when the target is lower on health, one that makes Regrowth heal more if Rejuv is already on the target, or one that cuts the cast time of HT by 1.5 seconds (huge) though it also cuts the heal in half as well. For now you only have the three heals to keep track of so learn them well and consider your glyphs based on your needs. More details on glyphs down below.



Embracing the Hybrid
Your true strength as a Druid is your versatility in being the only complete and true hybrid class in the game, capable of filling any of the four roles (tank, heals, ranged dps, melee dps) at any given time. If you’re out questing and some extra mobs were pulled so that you’re now out of mana and facing one more mob with full health you could either attack it with your melee weapon, you could run away, or you could drop into either Bear (level 10) or Cat (level 20) form and maul its face off.

The final example there is what embracing your hybrid nature is all about. The best way to do that is to keep a weapon on you that has DPS-related stats on it that you can switch to when you run out of mana and then shift into a melee form and fight with your paws/claws.

The best weapons for you in this case are ones that have +Agility and/or +Strength stats on them, or ones that have proc abilities such as “Chance on hit: Deals 40 Fire damage to the target.” so that you can deal additional damage with the weapon even though your stats and gear help your spell casting instead of your melee abilities. If you don’t have access to weapons like that it’s not really that big of a deal, just use whatever you have instead. Your damage in Bear and Cat form is not based on your weapon, so even a weapon that does 0-1 damage will hit just as hard in those forms as any other.

There are two weapon enchants that are especially useful for doing this, though they aren’t necessarily cheap. The first one is Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon which generally costs 25-40g on most servers. It has a chance to deal 40 Fire damage when you attack, procs very frequently, and the damage can crit for 60 or 80 Fire damage as well. When you’re in Bear or Cat form the weapon damage does nothing for you, only stats and proc abilities count for you, so you can put this on any weapon you can equip and get the benefit of the enchant.

The other enchant is Enchant Weapon – Crusader which will cost anywhere from 125-250g, but has a proc ability that gives you +100 Strength for 15 seconds and heals you for 75-125 health, and this proc is also capable of being a critical heal for up to 250 health. This option is more expensive than Fiery, but the heal proc gives you a method of healing that does not require mana, and 100 Strength = 100 Attack Power which means you’re going to hit like a truck for those 15 seconds.

If you don’t have easy access to either the enchants or the mats for the enchants, then I suggest you either get Fiery weapon or ignore enchants all together and just use whatever weapon you already have. The enchants are not in any way critical, they just help when/if the time comes. Since my main character is almost always an Enchanter I keep at least one of every non-polearm weapon in an alt’s bank that has the Fiery enchant on it and can be used low level characters, so I always have something on hand for low level toons.

Resto Spec and Glyphs



Improved Mark of the Wild 2/2: Increases the effects of your Mark/Gift of the Wild spells by 40%, and increases all of your total attributes by 2%.
Nature’s Focus 3/3: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Healing Touch, Wrath, Entangling Roots, Cyclone, Nourish, Regrowth and Tranquility by 70%.
Subtlety 3/3: Reduces the threat generated by your restoration spells by 30% and reduces the chance your helpful spells, Moonfire, and Insect Swarm will be dispelled by 30%.
Naturalist 2/5: Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch spell by 0.2 seconds and increases the damage you deal with physical attacks in all forms by 4%.
Omen of Clarity 1/1: Each of the Druid’s damage, healing spells and auto attacks has a chance of causing the caster to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the Mana, Rage or Energy cost of your next damage, healing spell or offensive ability by 100%.
Intensity 3/3: Allows 50% of your Mana regeneration to continue while casting and causes your Enrage ability to instantly generate 10 rage.
Naturalist +1 (3/5): Reduces the cast time of your Healing Touch spell by 0.3 seconds and increases the damage you deal with physical attacks in all forms by 6%.
Tranquil Spirit 5/5: Reduces the mana cost of your healing Touch, Nourish and Tranquility spells by 10%.
Nature’s Swiftness 1/1: [Instant cast, 3 minute cooldown] When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 seconds becomes an instant cast spell.

Resto Glyphs

Major

  • Glyph of Regrowth: Increases the healing ofyour Regrowth spell by 20% if your regrowth effect is still active on the target.
  • Glyph of Rebirth: Players resurrected by Rebirth are returned to life with 100% health.
  • Glyph of Healing Touch: Decreases the cast time of your Healing Touch by 1.5 seconds, the mana cost by 25%, and the amount healed by 50%.
  • Glyph of Rejuvenation: While your Rejuvenation targets are below 50% health, you will heal them for an additional 50% health.

I list these in order that I prefer them while leveling. Regrowth is my go-to heal in most cases while leveling as Healing Touch is usually too big of a heal with too big of a cast time, and this glyph makes up for any difference there might be. Rebirth is useful, especially with so many tanks these days not actually using tanking specs. That usually leads to either the tank himself dying or a lack of threat generation which leads to other people dying instead.

Healing Touch is a decent spell, and this glyph significantly cuts down the cast time and cuts the mana cost by a fair amount as well. I’m not a huge fan of having the healing cut in half though. I don’t often find myself in enough of a bind that I need a super-fast heal for a somewhat mediocre amount. Rejuvenation is one I’ve messed with several times and just never grew to like.

Minor

I’m a big fan of not having to waste bag space with stupid reagents, and the Druid is the freaking king of stupid reagents as not only do they have several spells that need them, but they also need new reagents for each individual rank of the spells too. For that reason, I like to have Unburdened Rebirth as my first minor glyph for Resto. I’m also a huge fan of being able to move quickly, so Aquatic Form is always in my list of Druid glyphs somewhere.

Playing as Resto
Resto is not the most entertaining spec for me. It is the most enjoyable spec for me, but it’s also quite boring at times. If you’re running through a random dungeon and your tank is in heirloom gear and taking almost no damage at all than you’re literally going to slap a HoT or two on him and then do nothing for the rest of the fight from a healing perspective. Because of this I’ll often drop into a mediocre DPS role sometimes that happens by using Moonfire on fleeing mobs who are low on health, and sometimes it by dropping into Bear form and offering some horribly low AoE damage with Swipe spam, or after 20 it may be kitty claws just because. If you want to save mana then use your Feral forms, otherwise either use Balance spells or just stay out of combat like a good little healer.

At the same time, during low levels in particular, you’ll also find groups where everyone ignores their designated roles and just go crazy killing things. In terms of end game play this is absolutely stupid, but for low level it’s pretty well the norm these days. That doesn’t make it alright or acceptable, it’s just the way things often turn out (looking at you in particular, Hunters). In times like those you’ll often find that you’re healing everyone in your group, including yourself. Inevitably someone will pull something but nobody will bother tanking it so your heals make you the target. Remember your Roots when things like this happen.

Balance Spec and Glyphs



Starlight Wrath 5/5: Reduces the cast time of your Wrath and Starfire spells by 0.5 seconds.
Moonglow 3/3: Reduces the Mana cost of your Moonfire, Starfire, Starfall, Wrath, healing Touch, Nourish, Regrowth, and Rejuvenation spells by 9%.
Nature’s Majesty 2/2: Increases the critical strike chance of your Wrath, Starfire, Starfall, Nourish, and Healing Touch spells by 4%.
Nature’s Reach 2/2: Increases the range of your Balance spells and Faerie Fire (Feral) ability by 20%, and reduces the threat generated by your Balance spells by 30%.
Nature’s Grace 3/3: All non-periodic spell criticals have a 100% chance to grace you with a blessing of nature, increases your spell casting speed by 20% for 3 seconds.
Celestial Focus 3/3: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Starfire, Hibernate and Hurricane by 70% and increases your total spell haste by 3%.
Vengeance 2/5: Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your Starfire, Starfall, Moonfire, and Wrath spells by 40%.
Insect Swarm 1/1: [Instant cast] The enemy target is swarmed by insects, decreasing their chance to hit with melee and ranged attacks by 3% and causing Nature damage over 12 seconds.

Balance Glyphs

Major

  • Glyph of Wrath: Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting your Wrath spell by 50%.
  • Glyph of Insect Swarm: Increases the damage of your Insect Swarm ability by 30%, but it no longer affects your victim’s chance to hit.
  • Glyph of Moonfire: Increases the periodic damage of your Moonfire ability by 75%, but initial damage is decreased by 90%.
  • Glyph of Starfire: Your Starfire ability increases the duration of your Moonfire effect on the target by 3 seconds, up to a maximum of 9 additional seconds.
  • Glyph of Entangling Roots: Increases the damage your Entangling Roots victims can take before ER automatically breaks by 20%.

Nothing sucks for a caster more than pushback (except for Silence, of course) so I like to nip that straight away with Wrath since Wrath is our primary nuke. At level 30 we get Insect Swarm and as I mentioned up above one of the keys to our DPS as Balance is maximizing our DoT effects. We’re not worried so much about getting hit as we are killing things, and 30% is a pretty big boost to our damage.

If you’re a huge fan of using the Root & Nuke method then you might want to consider Entangling Roots for one of your glyphs. I’ve never been a fan of this type of glyph myself, even for a Frost Mage with my obsessive AoE grinding; it just doesn’t appeal to me. However, it will help if your a R&N fiend. Moonfire and Starfire work really well also, especially if you pair the two of them up. I don’t take these two myself because I like to take advantage of the burst damage from Moonfire as a finisher and as an instant cast mini-nuke. However, 75% is big boost to DoT damage and using Starfire to increase its uptime can add up a lot over time. The problem is, not a lot of mobs are going to last long enough through a Moonfire/Starfire barrage for the extra time to count for anything.

Minor

We have the same situation here as we did above in the Resto section. The only difference is that I don’t find myself casting Rebirth quite so often when I’m playing DPS as I usually focus instead on killing whatever’s around us. So I start off with Aquatic Form when playing balance and then add Unburdened Rebirth when the next slot opens up at 50.

Playing as Balance
Balance is an evolving spec. When you first start out you’re mostly a Wrath-spamming nuker. As you go along you add Moonfire into the mix for some DoT damage, then you bring in Starfire for heavy nuking, and then Insect Swarm for more DoT damage. The key to playing it successfully is knowing your spells’ potential, most important in that area are your DoT spells.

If a mob has 150 HP left and you know that your DoTs can do that much, then you don’t need bother with a Wrath. Similarly, if you know your DoTs aren’t going to be enough to bring them down then you know you need another spell; Wrath or maybe just another Moonfire. Also remember that Entangling Roots has a DoT effect to it as well. It’s not a big one, but it’s there. It’s not a bad idea to Moonfire > Roots > Swarm, and then just walk away and let the mob die while you start killing his buddy. Just don’t forget to loot them all when it’s over if you go with that route.



Gearing Your Druid
During this stretch of levels your gear selection is going to be a bit different than it will as you get higher in level. Since both of the specs we’re talking about here are caster specs then some general rules apply regardless of level, such as Spell Power being important. As you’re leveling though, you need to find a good balance between Spell Power and Intellect to reduce your downtime.

Intellect >= Spell Power > Spirit

As Resto you’ll want to put a slightly higher priority on Intellect while not ignoring Spell Power. You need your spells to restore a solid amount of health, but you also need to be able to heal through an entire fight. If you’re running out of mana a lot then you could probably use more Int to fuel more heals, but by the same token if your heals are stronger because of your SP then you wouldn’t have to cast as many of them so your mana would be fine. It’s a bit of a balancing act between the two, so just use your best judgement.

Resto wants more mana so that they can heal for longer periods of time. Boomkins want more SP so that they can kill faster. What you’ll find in actually playing though, is that Resto tends to stay high on their mana because their HoTs make them cast fewer heals overall, and Boomkins run out of mana all the time so even though they save time in combat they more than make up for it in drinking.

Personally I say you rank Intellect higher on the priority list, but pick up Spell Power whenever you can. If you have a choice between an item with +10 Int and one with +6 Int, +4 SP then grab the second one. However, if I had a choice between one with +10 Int and one with +10 SP, them I’m most likely going to go for the Int item if I’m Resto and the SP item if I’m Balance.

Enchants
The enchants that you want to look at for this level should be ones that can increase either your Intellect or your Spell Power. If you don’t have heirloom items then either skip enchanting while you level or go with cheap enchants.

Enchanting on the Cheap
Enchant 2H Weapon – Lesser Intellect: Permanently enchant a two-handed melee weapon to increase Intellect by 3.
Enchant Chest – Greater Mana: Permanently enchant a piece of chest armor to give +50 mana.
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: Permanently enchant bracers to increase Intellect by 7.
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: Permanently enchant a two-handed melee weapon to increase Intellect by 9.
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: Permanently enchant a piece of chest armor to increase mana by 100.

There aren’t any “cheap” options for permanent Spell Power enchants, but one option that you have open to you if you aren’t using an Heirloom weapon is Wizard Oil. Minor Wizard Oil requires you to be at least level 5 but gives +8 SP for 1 hour, and Lesser Wizard Oil requires level 30 but gives +16 SP for 1 hour.

Heirloom Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Spellpower: Permanently enchant a melee weapon to increase spell power by 30.
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: Permanently enchant a melee weapon to increase spell power by 29.
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: Permanently enchant a melee weapon to increase Intellect by 22.
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: Permanently enchant a piece of chest armor to increase mana by 100.

While you could put a +4 Stats enchant on your chest, I’m going to suggest +100 mana instead, regardless of spec. If you would rather get the stats enchant, then by all means go right ahead and do it. As for the weapon enchant, you now have the option of Spell Power or Intellect. I’m currently running with the +22 Int enchant on my weapon which is an extra 330 Mana. I used to have the +30 SP enchant on it which worked just fine, but I find the extra mana to be especially useful in lower levels so I’m sticking with +Int for mine. Again, the choice is yours.

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21 Comments

Posted by on May 13, 2010 in Caster, Class, Druid, Guide, Leveling

 

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21 responses to “Druid Leveling: 1-30 (Resto and Balance)

  1. Ignito

    May 13, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    Excellent intro to the caster side of druids! I have a balance druid parked in the mid 30s (another alt, I know, I know), and found the playstyle to be so much more fun than feral. I tend to like casters more than melee, that could be a big part of it :-D

    Very much looking forward to the next installment sir!

     
    • Psynister

      May 13, 2010 at 1:13 PM

      Thanks, Ignito.

      I’m a big fan of casters over melee as well. It seems at times that the Balance druid’s casting is a bit buggy compared to other casters, where chain casting spells doesn’t work quite so well. That is the one thing that bugs me enough to consider dropping Balance in favor of Feral. But having hit level 60 on my Druid last night, I’m not going to drop Balance before I give Starfall a try.

      I did like feral from previous druids, but they’re sort of like rogues without all the cool things that make rogues fun to play. I’m giving a lot of thought to trying out a Bear AoE build though, so you might see that one in a future version as well.

       
      • Ignito

        May 13, 2010 at 1:30 PM

        My issue with feral was pretty much the same, it felt like playing a handicapped rogue. And I never felt like I had a good handle on the rotation. Perhaps if I gave it more time hehheh.

        I haven’t noticed the buggy casting yet, does it feel like the spells just don’t flow right? I have not played my druid in a while, I might have to later tonight to see what you mean.

        On a side note, I have been following your mage guide, dual specced frost for soloing and arcane for randoms/dungeons. Doing 1500+ DPS at level 71 is good fun, usually outpacing similar level people by 400-500 DPS. And frost for solo is great too. I don’t have the AoE pattern down as well as I would like, but I am getting there :-D

         
        • Psynister

          May 13, 2010 at 1:40 PM

          On my mage for instance, using Quartz, I know exactly when I can chain queue my next spell cast, so I can start casting the next spell before the first one actually finishes. I can’t do that with Wrath very often, the next spell just doesn’t queue up at all. I have to wait for the current spell to be completely done and then cast the next one.

          It doesn’t happen every time, but it happens a lot, and only on a Druid. Every other caster I’ve ever tried I can chain queue without a hitch, but the Druid just doesn’t flow from one cast to another right for some reason.

          Keep working on the Mage AoE, it takes a lot of people a fair amount of testing before they really get it down. I’m a bit of a natural, boasting aside, when it comes to AoE so it just fit for me. I heard someone mention it so I hit up YouTube to see how it was done, I watched three different people do it, each one a little different than the others, and then went with my own interpretation of it which works out a lot better for me. I’m not one to play it safe, once combat starts one of us is going to leave here with loot and the other one is going to see the spirit healer; end of discussion. So I’m a bit more ballsy in my offense where everyone else is talking about using mana shield and all this other crap for safety.

           
  2. chckenmcbndy

    May 13, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Having both a rogue and feral kitty at level 80 with signicant play time on both I disagree. The only major abilities (from my view) the rogue has over the kitty are vanish and a reliable interrupt.

    Who needs vanish when you have bear form and we’re getting our interrupt in cata. My thing is druids have such a huge toolbox. If you tunnel vision “I’m a kitty rawr!” then yes it’s a gimped rogue.

     
    • Psynister

      May 13, 2010 at 2:47 PM

      Thanks for the comment, chckenmcbndy.

      From a solo leveling perspective you’re also missing things like Sap and Gouge. Druids do have a huge toolbox, and that’s what I love about them more than anything else. Having so many tools to pull from though, you do have to know a lot more about the class than just a single action bar worth of abilities which makes it a bit tough.

      When things get tough you either jump out and heal or you switch over to Bear, both of which essentially turn you into a different class during that time and rob you of your resources; you were a rogue, but know you’re a priest, and now you’re a warrior, and now you’re a rogue again. That’s pretty freaking sweet from a versatility perspective, but there’s a lot more to it and you need to be able to put yourself in the mindset to switch from one to another like that if you don’t want to be gimped.

      My previous druids never did a lot of switching back and forth, if I was a cat then I was a cat unless I needed to heal, same with the bear. It wasn’t until this time around that I decided to fully embrace the hybrid nature of the class that I found out just how powerful it could be. That’s why this post is Resto and Balanced combined, and Feral gets a post all to itself. I’m going to start up a new druid for the Feral aspect though since this time around I didn’t bother with Feral much at all after my mid 20’s and it’s been a while since my last druid was leveled.

       
    • Ignito

      May 13, 2010 at 3:45 PM

      I think that was my problem chcken, I would get that tunnel vision, forgetting other forms and all the other tools druids have at any given time. It is a different mindset to be in, especially when compared to almost every other class.

      I will experiment some this weekend and try to change my perspective as far as all of that goes. Will report back Monday! :-D

       
  3. deyndor

    May 13, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Great as usual Psyn. Also wanted to let you know that your link for the Tattered Dreadmist Mantle is leading to the Seven of Lords.

     
    • Psynister

      May 14, 2010 at 9:14 AM

      Me no likey broken linky! >8(

      Crap, off by one digit. Stupid fingers…

      Thanks for catching that, and for the comment, Deyndor!

       
  4. Delerius

    May 14, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    I still love feral leveling :)

    And 1,000th!!

     
    • Psynister

      May 14, 2010 at 1:07 PM

      You got it by a matter of seconds. :P

       
  5. Shammy

    May 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    I laughed my balls off at the images.

    I like the amount of thought you put into the entirety of the post. Very informative and helpful.

     
    • Psynister

      May 14, 2010 at 1:10 PM

      Thank you, Shammy.

      I like details when I’m reading about how to do something so I try to give them when I’m writing as well.

       
  6. Saga

    May 15, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Nice introduction :) I’ve been thinking about levelling a druid through LFD just to check it out – but I was thinking of going tank – mainly because at high level I always seem to lack a tank – but maybe when levelling a healer is just as useful? I don’t really know :)

     
    • Psynister

      May 17, 2010 at 8:14 AM

      Why not give them both a try?

      Healing your way through LFG on a Druid is very easy because of how your heals work. I got my Druid up to level 67 over the weekend using LFG for almost every level. I did run a few Alterac Valley battlegrounds in my upper 50’s to powerlevel the last few levels before Outlands, but I healed in those as well.

      After I got to about 62 or so I dropped my Balance spec to give Feral a shot just for the sake of trying it out. I managed four instance runs with very little threat problems and had never tanked anything at all as a Druid before.

      One thing you’ll notice about the druid in all three specs though, is that the class really does get more and more fun to play the higher you get in your levels. If you want easy leveling through LFG, then go Resto. If you want easy leveling through LFG with a few frustrations now and then from people not knowing/following their roles, while also being able to burn through quests quickly, go Feral.

       
  7. imtooyoungtodie

    May 16, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    Nice article! And timely too.
    I’m about to level a druid for the purpose of filling a healer spot in my guild (they’ve stated “no more priests or pallys” and i know that there’s a capable shaman who’s just dinged) and was always interested in Druids…
    So given that I want to be practicing my healing in dungeons, is it feasible to heal in balance until 40 when i can dual spec? I’m reading that you tend to grab more aggro like that -is that correct, and what other draw-backs might there be?

     
    • Psynister

      May 17, 2010 at 8:27 AM

      You are going to draw more agro that way because you’re not taking the threat reducing talent in Resto. The only threat reduction from Balance strictly applies to Balance spells.

      Having said that, it’s still easy to heal your way through level 40 with a Balance spec. You’ll use a bit more mana than Resto and your heals won’t be quite as fast or quite as strong, but we’re already falling asleep up to level 40 as it is so spicing it up with a little button mashing wouldn’t hurt.

      The problem you’ll run into is cast times. Since you have to watch your threat a bit more you need to be able to let your HoTs do their thing. If the tank decides to do a big pull though, you need to lay off the heals for a second until he gets agro. During the time he’s getting agro he’s taking damage that you aren’t healing that you’ll likely be forced to pick up with Healing Touch which has a long cast time, and when that big heal does go off you’re going to generate all of that threat on every mob he has around him.

      To get around that, I suggest you use the Glyph of Healing Touch. The cast time is significantly reduced, the mana cost is lowered, and the heal is cut in half. That should hopefully give you enough padding on the threat buffer that the tank can generate additional threat before your next heal comes in. If you’re a Night Elf then you have the benefit of using Shadow Meld to temporarily drop agro (but not threat) which is something I use to my advantage a lot. If you’re a Night Elf go ahead and hit the tank with your big heal, throw both of your HoTs on him, and then Shadowmeld if you do draw agro. Then sit in stealth watching everyone’s health and don’t come out until you need to heal or you see your threat back under control. If you’re a Tauren, run to the tank when you get agro, do your cow stomp to stun, and hope your tank has sense enough to taunt off of you.

       
  8. Bryterside

    May 17, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    A while back I wished there was an Elitist Jerks for leveling. You sir are that, and more.
    Another awesome guide. Thanks for your hard work!
    I’m working up enough badges to buy the staff and a second trinket and then I will give the balance route a try.

     
    • Psynister

      May 17, 2010 at 11:39 AM

      That is quite the complement. Thank you.

      I actually had a lot of fun as Balance, especially in Outlands where everything dies from three spells and you can chain pull similar to a Warlock as your DoTs finish everything off.

      Talent points do take the play style for a bit of a twist as you’ll find in the next level bracket’s post, but only for boss fights really since everything else will be dead long before it would matter.

       

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