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WoWJul 12, 2016 5:00 pm CT

Shifting Perspectives: Best Druid talents for leveling and 5-mans in Legion

Druids are in a good place in the early game of Legion. I say that from a place of having played them solo and in normal 5-mans in beta using all four specs. They’re fun, perform well, and have just enough abilities make you feel engaged but not overwhelmed in combat. Below I present talent build suggestions that will get you through the leveling process with some alternate suggestions for normal 5-mans you’ll be running while questing to 110 and beyond.

If you are reading this as patch 7.0 lands, realize that the class Artifact is what ties the Druid’s abilities and talents together — and those aren’t coming in patch 7.0. Your Druid may feel a bit underpowered until Legion launches and you complete the artifact quest. Don’t panic. The Artifact is such a big boost to your power that without it, the rest of your kit isn’t quite up to par.

EDIT: Not an hour after this post went live a new build went up on the beta servers buffing Balance DPS (specifically through the Balance artifact) and nerfing Guardian DPS. Though I recommended below leveling through Legion as Guardian above all other specs I’ll have to reevaluate again when I’ve had a chance to try out the new changes.


Balance Druid talent choices

The good news, of course, is that the dreaded Eclipse mechanic is gone. We now build up Astral Power through our Lunar Strike and Solar Wrath nukes (and the first Artifact ability) and spend it with Starsurge which then empowers LS and SW to hit for more damage. Moonfire and Sunfire DOTs contribute a small amount of Astral Power upon initial cast. Hurricane is gone, but Sunfire and Lunar Strike are AOE (though not as large radius) and we still have Starfall which is another big Astral Power spender.

You can check out the full talent tree at the Wowhead Balance Druid Legion Talent Calculator.

Level 15: Force of Nature is like having three tanks on call. Great for leveling, though you are pretty tough as a giant bird-chicken and have a built-in defense mechanism with the Owlkin Frenzy (your next damaging spell is instant cast) passive. However, if you are going to be doing a lot of normal 5-mans while leveling, you may want to consider Warrior of Elune not only for two insta-cast Lunar Strikes but for the quick build up of Astral Power firing off those nukes grants. Also note that the Force of Nature treants will only taunt trash mobs in 5-mans, not bosses.

Level 30: Renewal is no brainer. Instacast self-heal will be crucial for both soloing and grouping. Don’t be tempted by the movement talents. Remember you still have access to Dash if you have to move quickly during a fight. Put it on your hotkey bar.

Level 45: Restoration Affinity not only for its passive heal, but for the extra healing spells it grants you. Realize though that you will shift out of Moonkin form when you cast these spells, losing your 10% spell damage bonus and your 200% armor bonus as well so heal mid-battle wisely. That being said, it makes soloing a breeze because you can minimize recovery time between fights.

Level 60: You can choose any of these and do well. I prefer Typhoon.

Level 75: Soul of the Forest for the steady damage bonus from your two nukes. While Stellar Flare is a hefty DOT, it takes a long time to play out and it takes a good chunk of Astral Power to use that could be spent on a Starsurge that will in turn empower your nukes.

Level 90: Astral Communion is popular since it takes a while to build up Astral Power in a fight. It can also be used to feed the beast that is the level 100 talent, Fury of Elune. For grouping though, consider Blessing of the Ancients, Astral version, which gives you a steady increase in Astral Power instead of a big burst.

Level 100: Fury of Elune is the big showy Moonkin Legion talent we love to hate. It calls down a column of celestial energy that does massive, continuous damage in a very small radius until your Astral Power runs out. You can keep it going by activating abilities that generate Astral Power like pressing Astral Communion, firing off your nukes, or using your Artifact moon trait. The downside of this trait is that targets often move and by the time you retarget this ability, you run out of Astral Power and half the duration has been wasted. Still, while soloing it will allow you take down elites and in groups will make you shine.


Feral Druid talent choices

Feral Druids got some needed AOE functionality in Legion, but they take more damage while soloing than they did in WoD, which I found annoying. Other than that, they’re largely unchanged.  You can check out the full talent tree at the Wowhead Feral Druid Legion Calculator.

Level 15: Predator comes in handy giving you a steady stream of Energy especially with the packed trash mobs you get in dungeon runs. Just remember to keep everything Thrashed so there’s a bleed effect on all mobs at all times. It also helps soloing when you get too many mobs on you at once.

Level 30: Wild Charge will help you in mobile boss fights. I would normally say Renewal, but your Predatory Swiftness passive Feral ability will be giving you a steady stream of free instacast Healing Touch spells as it is.

Level 45: Restoration Affinity to reduce your downtown with healing spells while soloing. You may be tempted to go with Guardian Affinity to off-tank while grouping, but I found very little reason to do so. Most groups wanted my DPS in bad pulls, not my ability to tank through it.

Level 60: Mighty Bash is my preference. Having a second stun is always handy when facing a spell casting mob.

Level 75: Savage Roar is still a favorite even though its duration has been nerfed dramatically in an attempt to make the other choices look good.

Level 90: Elune’s Guidance will get you right into the fight.

Level 100: Brutal Slash replaces Swipe and helps us boost our AOE damage. I’m not saying it makes us competitive with other classes, but it helps. Make sure you have Savage Roar up as well as Tiger’s Fury for maximum impact.


Guardian Druid talent choices

I found Guardian to the be the best spec to solo with in Legion beta. I could easily take on elites, bad pulls, multiple mobs, etc. High survivability and solid damage output with little downtime make for a soloing machine. You can check out the full talent tree at the Wowhead Guardian Druid Legion Talent Calculator.

Level 15: Brambles has a great defense/offense component that takes care of itself once you activate it. If you are leaning towards tanking normal 5-mans, Bristling Fur’s Rage generation can be turned into extra Ironfur and Mark of Ursol applications faster than Brambles.

Level 30: Wild Charge not only for its charge mechanic, but for the immobilizing function on the target when you get there.

Level 45: Restoration Affinity is the way to go, surprisingly. You’d think I would be recommending Balance or Feral Affinity for damage, but you’ll find that your damage as Guardian is quite good and your survivability is far better. The Restoration spells you get will reduce your downtime and the passive healing will help in groups.

Level 60: Mighty Bash is the obvious choice as having more stuns is always better as a tank.

Level 75: Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc is solid for Rage generation and burst damage which works in both solo and group situations. You’ll use this to both solo elites and take down bosses.

Level 90: The talents in this row all have situational advantages, but for leveling and normal 5-mans, Guardian of Elune is an all around solid pick.

Level 100: Rend and Tear is the clear winner here. Lunar Beam may look appealing, but the long cooldown means less overall benefit than Rend and Tear.

If you’re interested in the math behind these talents, check out the wonderful post at The Inconspicuous Bear.


Restoration Druid talent choices

It’s possible to level as Resto Druid if you want, but it’s far faster to get a second Artifact at level 102 (or third or fourth) and quest in that spec instead. If you queue up to heal in a dungeon while questing in another spec, you’ll automatically be switched into your Resto spec when you’re transported to the dungeon and back into your other spec when you’re done. That being said, here’s a talent spec that will work for both solo and grouping.

You can check out the full talent tree at the Wowhead Resto Druid Legion Talent Calculator.

Level 15:  Cenarion Ward is a very powerful HOT and with a 30 second cooldown it can be used once in every fight, sometimes twice. Plus it synergizes with your Mastery, your first Artifact trait, and your level 100 talent Flourish. I like to open with it to buy me time to set up my other HOTs or heal other party members if I’m in a group.

Level 30: Renewal will save you when pulls go bad. As a healer you won’t need the mobility advantage of other choices as much as you’ll need an instacast self-heal.

Level 45: Guardian Affinity for its flat 10% damage reduction. While the other two options may look appealing, especially Balance Affinity for its extra damage spells, realize you’ll have to shapeshift to utilize those additional abilities.

Level 60: You can choose any of these and do well. I prefer Typhoon.

Level 75: Cultivation gives you a boost to Rejuvenation when you really need it. Soul of the Forest is also a great emergency talent, but is only worth taking if you get a second charge of Swiftmend via the level 15 talent Prosperity. Incarnation: Tree of Life is another solid emergency talent and you may want to experiment with swapping it out for Cultivation.

Level 90: Germination allows you to apply a second Rejuvenation to a friendly target and is so popular among Druids that many want it to be a baseline ability. It allows you to spread more HOTs to your group which will come in handy when a fight goes bad and hit your panic buttons to turbo charge your running HOTs to heal for more and longer. It also helps feed into your Mastery which requires you to stack three HOTs on one target for maximum heal bonus.

Level 100: Flourish is the clear winner by extending the duration of all your running HOTs by 6 seconds. Combine that with your Artifact base trait emergency button and you have some crazy healing that makes Tranquility look wimpy by comparison. Just make sure you have plenty of HOTs running on yourself and your team.

As a final note, remember that you will be able to rearrange talents any time at no cost when you are in a place where you get rested experience (i.e. cities, taverns, your class order hall, etc.) So feel free to experiment and see what works for you!

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