Feral PvE Build – First 20 Points
For all of you lower level Druids out there (if there still are any), I’m starting a 4 part series on building a feral druid from the ground up. My pre-BC post “How to Build a Druid” still gets quite a few hits and it really needs replaced. In fact, the talent build link in it doesn’t even work since BC came out and all the talent calculators got updated. That’s just embarassing.
So I guess it is time to tackle this one. Instead of just spew out my talent build and why I chose it, I thought I’d approach this in four chunks: first 2o talent points, second 20, third 21, and post-70. As I was thinking through what I wanted to say (and looking at my own build), I think there are some interesting decisions points throughout the 61 point spectrum that makes sense to discuss separately. Then once you hit 70 and start thinking about end-game, you look at your talent build again with a different set of criteria.
Starting out as a Druid can be pretty exciting. During your first 29 levels you learn Bear form (level 10), Cat form (level 20) and Aquatic form at level 16 (if you do the research and survive the dangerous trip to distant zones to recover some quest items). You also get some introductory skills to go along with Bear and Cat that introduce you to the flavor of both of these forms. And since the forms are new to you, you’re probably still fighting a lot with weapons and spells – levelling your weapons and getting used to your spells and forms. All in all, a very fun time as a Druid with something new every couple of levels.
At level 10 when you get your first talent point, if you were like me, you probably were so excited you just clicked the first thing that sounded good. However, that first point should be given some thought (along with the 10 or so that follow) as there are some real choices to be made even just starting out as a feral Druid.
What I would really advise you to do is to flip over to your favorite talent calculator (I currently like WoWHead’s) and check out the talents you can choose. And not just the first couple tiers – take a look well into the talent trees. There may be a talent down in there you really want to get to fast – if so, make sure to select the talents above it first.
Also, please keep in mind that my posts represent just one opinion. There is no “right” build – just choices and tradeoffs. So while this is a fun exercise to go through as I need to re-build Amanna’s talent points, use your own brain and make your own decisions.
Well, the first big decision comes right off the bat with your first talent point. There are a couple great talents in our first tier, and some real tradeoffs.
Things aren’t too bad in the Feral table – you just have a choice between Ferocity, which reduces the rage/energy cost of your feral form special attacks by up to 5, and Feral Agression, which not only reduces your enemies attack power, but increases the damage of your Ferocious Bite.
Over in the Resto tier, you have a choice between Improved Mark of the Wild and Furor. Improved Mark of the Wild, increases the effects of your Mark of the Wild and Gift of the Wild by a percentage, and Furor gives you a chance to gain rage or energy when shifting into Bear or Cat.
Here’s where looking at the next tier of talents and having somewhat of a plan can come into play. You’ll get your first twenty talent points on the way to level 29. I don’t know about you, but during that timeframe, I was still learning a lot about being a druid and trying to stay alive. I was also doing a lot of mixed form attacking: I’d root the enemy, hit them with a couple spells, let the root do some damage, then shift to bear or cat when the root gave way to finish them off.
So looking at the second tier of talents at this level, I’m looking for talents that either help me stay alive or finish off enemies more quickly. There are a couple talents in Tier 2 that can really help both of these goals.
Thick Hide in the Feral tree, gives you a percentage bonus to armor from you gear. The nice thing about this talent is it will scale with your gear, so the benefit will just keep getting bigger as you get better gear.
In the Resto tree, you’ll find Naturalist and Nature’s Focus. The Naturalist talent is one that gives you two benefits – it reduces the time it takes to cast Healing Touch, and it increases the damage you do with physical attacks in all forms. Nature’s Focus, in my mind, is an indespensible talent for all levels and is one of our panic buttons. It reduces the chance of interruption due to damage while casting our most popular healing spells. So when your in Bear or Cat form, and you’re getting the crap beat out of you, you can shift out and get a healing spell off a lot more quickly with this talent that without.
Feel free to research the other talents in Tier 1 and 2, but I think these are the best talents for you with your first 20 talent points.
Now, how to distribute them?
In Tier 1, I would put 5 points into Feral Agression in the Feral tree to lower the attack power of my enemies as much as I can with Demoralizing Roar. The nice thing about Demoralizing Roar is it affects all nearby enemies, so if you’re getting attacked by multiple mobs, the attack power of all of them are lowered. I wouldn’t choose Ferocity this early as I feel you will still be learning your forms and probably fighting in caster form with spells and weapons a lot also. I just feel the other talents offer more benefit at this point.
Over in Resto, I’d put 5 points into Furor, to guarantee a decent amount of starting rage/energy when shifting into Bear or Cat. As I said above, during these levels I was rooting and casting a lot before directly attacking a mob, so without this talent I would have been starting with no rage or energy. Having a kickstart was great. I haven’t really done that math, but most feral discussions I’ve read about talents generally pan Improved Mark of the Wild as not offering enough payback for the talent points. At early levels I agree, although I plan on revisiting that argument now that I’m level 70 – I think the payback may be there.
Moving to Tier 2, the first priority at this level is to get 5 points into Nature’s Focus. This is the “save your butt” talent, so take all 5 points and take them early. After that, I’m going to split my last 5 points between Thick Hide and Naturalist – I’m going with 3 points into Naturalist for extra damage, and 2 points into Thick Hide for an armor bump. Your armor isn’t going to be that great at this point, but it’s all relative right? The mobs you’ll be fighting won’t have much better armor either. So this little bump will give you an edge on most mobs, and help draw you even for boss fights or higher level mobs.
Over in Feral, there’s no need at this point for Feral Instinct as you’re probably not looking to generate more threat yet, and it’s just too much to pay for increased prowling. Brutal Impact gives you a longer duration to your stun effect of Bash – but again, too little bang for the buck in my book. Over in Resto, the only other talent is Natural Shapeshifter, which reduces the mana cost for shapeshifting. You will probably being doing a lot of shapeshifting, so this may sound interesting, but again, I don’t think it is worth it at this point.
Here’s how I’d approach assigning those 20 talent points: 5 points in Feral Aggresion first to go along with getting your Bear form. After that, I’d pick up the 2 points in Thick Hide, then move on to 5 points in Furor. Reverse those two if you want the free rage earlier, but I’m going with the armor bump as soon as I can get it. After those two, I’m putting my 5 points in Nature’s Focus to be able to heal myself, then finish with the 3 points in Naturalist. If you don’t find yourself getting into trouble a lot, then feel free to take Naturalist for the extra damage first, or flip-flop points between the two.
Here’s the first 20 point build on the WoW Head Talent Calculator. Good luck.