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Druid > WoWJun 26, 2018 4:00 pm CT

BfA’s new Druids are delightful examples of nightmare-fueling design

We’ve covered a lot of the Druid forms coming for Kul Tiras Humans and Zandalari Trolls in Battle for Azeroth. Look, we like awesome dinosaur-inspired things, and we also like strange wickerpunk horror aesthetic things. These two upcoming playable Druid options have the most unique and distinctive Druid forms ever. 

So let’s round them all up and stare at them and be all “oooh” and “aaah” because we should. The images here are courtesy of the folks at Wowhead, so make sure to look over there for all their datamining.

Zandalar Trolls and their dino forms

As soon as the Zandalari Trolls were announced as a playable race I started to hope for Dinomancers, the strange shape-changing Zandalar we saw in Mists of Pandaria who could summon and even become dinosaurs. Because dinosaurs.

The Zandalar Druid doesn’t have a Moonkin form at all. Instead, they have this Pterrordax inspired caster form, which combines the skeleton for Arakkoa from Warlords of Draenor and a Pterrordaxian-skin to create a real monstrosity. It’s quite interesting and very distinctive compared to other Druid caster forms. They kind of remind me of The Dark Crystal.

Zandalar Druids will also have this form as their Guardian for tanking, and it’s fascinating for having certain elements from snapping turtles and Ankylosaurs. I absolutely love the gold adornments on the front limbs and the tusks. It gives the form a touch of elegance you don’t normally see in enormous reptiles with spikes growing out of their shells. It’s clearly built over the same skeleton as a typical Bear druid, but the skin is just fantastic.

I can’t really say anything negative about this form. It looks powerful, dangerous, heavily armored — the perfect tanking form. That pointed beak and those huge tusks make you definitely not want to be stuck in front of it.

The Zandalar Travel form is just brilliant. While I wish it had more feathers, I do love it and frankly I’m a little sad it’s just a travel form. I get why they went with more conventional bear and cat skeletons for their Guardian and Feral forms, but I still find myself looking at this and wishing they’d put in a glyph to use this as their Feral or Guardian forms. But there’s a lot of animations designed to work with the basic bear or cat skeleton, so I’m not holding my breath.

Flight form is a Pterrordax, the WoW version of a pterosaur. It’s another form I almost wish wasn’t just for travel. Frankly I think, as cool as the caster form is, this is a superior one and I’d love to see it used as a caster. I get why it’s not, but I do love this form — both of the Zandalari travel forms have excellent detail. The harness-style garb around their limbs and necks really work well for me.

When we first featured the Zandalar Feral form, it hadn’t been datamined to have its animations included, leaving it standing like that. It’s a beautiful form, but that image doesn’t really capture what the form will look like in motion quite like later datamining revealed.

You can see that it prowls and moves much more like a cat. Ironically, the combination of feline and reptilian features makes it seem a lot more like a therapsid (what we used to call mammal-like reptiles) than a dinosaur. That’s fine by me, I love therapsids. These mixtures of cat and crocodile are definitely not particularly dinosaurian, but I love them all the same.

That’s all the Zandalar forms we have to look at — we haven’t seen their aquatic form yet.

Kul Tiras, home of wickerpunk Druids

Something really special happened when Blizzard designed the Kul Tiras Druid forms.

They made them creepy. They made them sinister and unlike anything we’ve ever seen in WoW. There’s a lot we have yet to learn about the Drust people of Drustvar and their connection to Druidism (and what we do know I’m not going to share because spoilers) but one thing is clear — Kul Tirans have an approach to Druidism that’s unlike any other Druids on Azeroth.

I love their Guardian form. It’s at once more familiar than the Zandalar form — more obviously bear inspired — and yet it’s a completely out there combination of inorganic and organic parts, with a mix of bones and wood and stone. It’s really cool and sinister. It’s representative of all Kul Tiras Druid forms and their origin as Drust Druidic arts.

The Feral form for Kul Tiras Druids is pretty similar to the Guardian and other forms. One way that the Kul Tiran Druids stand out is how unified and thematically akin each of their forms is. I think that this form in particular does a great job of being a bridge between a living animal and a constructed thing made of bones, sticks and foliage.

I really like how the skull almost looks like it’s been carved from wood instead of an actual animal skull. It gives the whole form a continuity with their origin I find deeply pleasing.

There’s something about the way the flippers and body of this particular form almost look like driftwood that I very much appreciate. Kul Tiras Druids have an aquatic travel form, and it’s very detailed and well made. All of these Druid forms have a constructed feel to them. They manage to contain nature in both its life and death aspects. That’s something Druids have needed in WoW for a long time. All that talk about balance is great, but these Druids embody it in their forms.

I really have no better words for this travel form than I did the first time I wrote about it. It’s a creepy skeletal Druid travel form, it knows it is, and it’s perfect at it.

The last form we have for Kul Tiras Druids is their flight form.

It combines the skeletal and carved wood feel of the other forms. But that skull head in particular really feels like it captures the entire aesthetic all of these forms are going for. Both their stag and flight forms feel almost like they’re mocking other Druids for how they’ve been so focused on nature as a force of life and blossoming and growth that they’ve missed out on how nature also contains rot and decay and death within itself. You can’t have the one without the other. Kul Tiras is a place that knows this, and so do their Druids.

Who’s the winner?

If I have to be honest, as much as I love dinosaurs and love the Zandalar Druid forms, I feel like the Kul Tiras Druids have a better overall look and feel. They lack a caster form as yet, but they just look like what they are — sinister Druids who see themselves as balancing life and death within nature.

The Zandalar Druid forms are awesome, but their travel forms are more faithful to the idea of Zandalar Druids as Dinomancers than their turtle/Nodosaurid/bear Guardian form or their Therapsid/cat feral form. Every Kul Tiras Druid form looks cohesive and like it belongs together. Half the Zandalar forms are strange hybrids of existing creatures and new dinosaurian skins, while the other half are straight up dinosaurs.

It hurts me deeply to pick a winner here, but if I gotta, I gotta go with the Kul Tiras forms for unified style and a common aesthetic. However, if I were rating these on a scale from 1 to 100, the Kul Tiras Druids would have gotten a 95 and the Zandalar Druids a 93. I think both look really awesome — I may well have to level a Horde Druid so I can have a dino Druid at long last.

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