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Diablo > Diablo 4May 30, 2023 12:30 pm CT

How to get started with the Druid in Diablo 4

The Druid is the master of shapeshifting and the wielder of natural forces in the Diablo franchise. In Diablo 4, the Druid is a powerful hybrid class that can shapeshift into ferocious beasts and call forth the winds, earth, and rain to decimate enemies in their path. Druids have more gameplay styles than any other class in the game, giving you ultimate flexibility in playstyle.

But that flexibility can also make this class a difficult to get started with. So where should you begin with your Druid in Diablo 4? If you’ve never played a Druid before or haven’t touched one since Diablo 2, looking at the class skill trees may feel overwhelming, but let’s take a look and see what kind of starting build is possible.

Here’s how to get started with the Druid class.

Diablo 4 Druid basics

The Druid’s class tree is divided into distinct abilities that allow players to choose their playstyle and stick with it as they level. When starting off, it’s important to decide what kind of Druid you want to be. Do you want to focus on Shapeshifting, or do you want to wield earth or storm spells and abilities? Choosing your playstyle will help in the long run, and if you don’t like how your Druid plays, you can, fortunately, refund your skill points and rebuild.

There are a few playstyles to choose from:

  • Earth-focus
  • Storm-focus
  • Shapeshifter-Werewolf
  • Shapeshifter-Werebear

You can mix and match these skills however you’d like, though sticking to no more than two of these focuses is recommended so you don’t spread yourself too thin, and some of them pair well together better than others in the long run. As you level up, you’ll want to invest in additional ability ranks and enhancements to improve them, as well as passive abilities that buff certain types of skills. If you’re all over the map, it can be more difficult to take advantage of these buffs.

Druids also have a decently wide range of weapons to choose from, including:

  • One-handed Maces
  • One-handed Axes
  • Totems (off-hand only)
  • Two-handed Maces
  • Two-handed Axes
  • Staves (two-handed)

And you’ll also be equipping armor, amulets, and rings — armor types are generic, so most classes can equip the same types of armor.

When deciding on your gear in the early levels, it’s entirely up to you. You can duel wield a one-handed weapon with a totem or equip a two-handed weapon of your choice. Totems give stat bonuses and increase DPS, making it a perfect complement to a one-handed weapon. As you level up, focus on gear that increases your Attack Power because you will want to inflict as much damage as possible — if the number on your character sheet goes up, you’re going to be more powerful.

You’ll find a lot of different stats on your gear, but these are the four primary stats to pay attention to:

  • Strength increases armor
  • Intelligence increases resource generation and resistance
  • Willpower increases skill damage, healing, and overpower
  • Dexterity increases critical strike chance and dodge chance

At higher levels you’ll want to focus more on synergizing powerful legendary effects, but for now just focus on gear that increases your damage.

Use Spirit Boons to boost your power

Along with gear and skills, Druids also have Spirit Boons, which you can unlock starting at level 15 — and you should unlock them right away. Spirit Boons are a series of buffs tied to specific spirits and are available at level 15, but you must clear the Túr Dúlra Stronghold in Scosglen to unlock them. After clearing the Stronghold, you’ll be able to pick up the Spirits of the Lost Grove quest to unlock your Spirit Boons.

Since these buffs are tied to specific spirits, you have to make offerings to the spirits to unlock each one. The offerings are called “Druidic Spirit Offerings,” and they seem to drop from anything at a reasonable rate — just keep playing as usual and you’ll keep collecting offerings.  You need 400 to unlock the entire system, and they’ll start dropping as soon as you level hit 15. There are four spirits — deer, eagle, snake, and wolf — each one has four boons you can pick, which can give you buffs like bonus crit damage or reduced damage from elites.

You can initially equip one boon from each spirit and can swap them from your character screen at any time, for no cost, once they’re unlocked. Once you fully unlock the system, you can choose to bond with a single spirit and get an extra boon with that spirit; however, unlike your boons, you will need to briefly visit Túr Dúlra to change which spirit you’re bonded with.

Getting started with the Druid skill tree

Druid skills fall under  the following categories:

  • Basic
  • Core
  • Defensive
  • Companion
  • Wrath
  • Ultimates
  • Key Passives

Basic Skills are the spirit generators that Druids use to power up their core skills, defensive skills, companion abilities, and ultimates. Core Skills are primary offensive skills. Defensive Skills will protect you either by giving you armor or a way to disengage from a fight. Companion Skills provide creatures that will fight alongside you. Wrath Skills are elemental skills that cause significant damage. Ultimates are skills that cause significant effects, whether area-of-effect damage, massive crowd control, or powering up your shapeshifting. Key Passives provide enhancements to elemental skills and shapeshifting forms.

Druid Basic skills

  • Earth Spike
    • Enhanced Earth Spike
      • Fierce Earth Spike
      • Wild Earth Spike
  • Wind Shear
    • Enhanced Wind Shear
      • Fierce Wind Shear
      • Wild Wind Shear
  • Storm Strike
    • Enhanced Storm Strike
      • Fierce Storm Strike
      • Wild Storm Strike
  • Claw
    • Enhanced Claw
      • Fierce Claw
      • Wild Claw
  • Maul
    • Enhanced Maul
      • Fierce Maul
      • Wild Maul

These skills are broken up into Earth, Storm, Werewolf, and Werebear. Depending on your preferred style of play, any of these options are good as they provide base damage and generate Spirit. One powerful option for any build is Storm Strike, which chains damage to 3 enemies after your initial target and provides you with an invaluable damage reduction buff for 3 seconds after each use.

After choosing a Basic Skill, you then have the option to enhance it, strengthening the skill and provides an additional perk. For instance, Enhanced Storm Strike has a 15% chance to Immobilize all enemies for 2.5 seconds.

Whichever Basic Skill you choose, you should definitely enhance it to bulk it up from the start. Once you enhance a skill, there are two additional upgrades (Fierce and Wild) that add another modifier to your Basic Skill. You can choose only one, so this is another preference. For example, Storm Strike gives you the option between Fierce Storm Strike and Wild Storm Strike. Fierce Storm Strike gives Storm Strike a 50% chance to make enemies vulnerable for 3 seconds. Wild Storm Strike allows Storm Strike to chain two additional enemies.

Diablo 4 Druid Basic Skills

Druid Core skills

Core Skills are also divided into Earth, Storm, Werewolf, and Werebear. While Basic Skills generate Spirit, Core Skills spend Spirit. You can choose multiple Core Skills to add to your bar, but one will be your main.

  • Shred
    • Enhanced Shred
      • Primal Shred
      • Raging Shred
  • Pulverize
    • Enhanced Pulverize
      • Primal Pulverize
      • Raging Pulverize
  • Tornado
    • Enhanced Tornado
      • Primal Tornado
      • Raging Tornado
  • Lightning Storm
    • Enhanced Lightning Storm
      • Raging Lightning Storm
      • Primal Lightning Storm
  • Landslide
    • Enhanced Landslide
      • Primal Landslide
      • Raging Landslide
  • Predatory Instinct (Werewolf/Werebear)
    • Digitigrade Gait (Werewolf)
    • Iron Fur (Werebear)
  • Heart of the Wild
  • Abundance
  • Wild Impulses

I recommend sticking to a single focus while you’re getting started with the class, because that guarantees your skills will complement each other and any passive buffs you acquire will improve both. So if you chose Storm Strike as your Basic Skill, then you would choose Lightning Storm as your Core Skill. Remember: you can refund your talent points at any time, so if you find you don’t like what you’ve chosen, you can swap it for something better.

Each Core Skill also comes with an enhanced upgrade. Lightning Storm costs 15 Spirit per strike and conjures a growing lightning storm as you channel it — the number of strikes increases as you channel, with up to a maximum of five lightning strikes. Enhanced Lightning Storm preserves the size of your Lighting Storm for 4 seconds after channeling it, which is a pretty big buff.

Similar to basic skills, there are two upgrades for each enhancement: Primal and Raging. Primal Lightning Storm gives Lightning Storm an 8% chance to Immobilize enemies hit for 3 seconds while Raging Lightning Storm gains 1 additional lighting strike.

There are also two passive branches on this talent node that provide buffs to your other skills, focusing on either magic or melee combat.

  • Heart of the Wild increases your maximum Spirit by 3, and this can be upgraded 3 times. Once unlocked, you have access to Abundance (Basic Skills generate 6% more spirit per rank) and Wild Impulses (Core Skills cost 3% more per rank but do 5% more damage per rank). Abundance is especially useful once you find the spare talent points for it, as spirit management is a constant thing for druid builds to content with from levels 1 to 100.
  • Predatory Instinct increases the Critical Strike chance against close enemies by 2%, which is helpful in Werewolf and Werebear forms. Once this is unlocked, you have access to Digitigrade Gait, which provides a 3% increase in Movement Speed while you’re in Werewolf form, and then it persists for 3 seconds after leaving Werewolf form. Iron Fur grants you 3% Damage Reduction while in Werebear form. This bonus persists for 3 seconds after leaving Werebear form.

Diablo 4 Druid Core Skills

Druid Defensive skills

Defensive skills provide a way to protect yourself either by providing a barrier, reducing damage, healing yourself, or knocking back enemies.

  • Earthen Bulwark
    • Enhanced Earth Bulwark
      • Preserving Earthen Bulwark
      • Innate Earthen Bulwark
  • Cyclone Armor
    • Enhanced Cyclone Armor
      • Preserving Cyclone Armor
      • Innate Cyclone Armor
  • Blood Howl
    • Enhanced Blood Howl
      • Preserving Blood Howl
      • Innate Blood Howl
  • Debilitating Roar
    • Enhanced Debilitating Roar
      • Preserving Debilitating Roar
      • Innate Debiltating Road
  • Ancestral Fortitude
  • Vigilance

Debilitating Roar is your best option if you mainly use your Werebear form. In Werebear form, you bellow a mighty roar, reducing nearby enemies’ damage dealt by 60% for 4 seconds. If you prefer Werewolf form, then Blood Howl is your best option. In Werewolf form, howl furiously, healing 20% of your maximum Life. Cyclone Armor is a passive defensive skill that grants 10% non-physical damage reduction and does a knockback around you when actively used. Earthen Bulwark creates a rock barrier that absorbs 45% of your base life (18) in damage.

Each of these Skills also has an Enhanced upgrade. Cyclone Armor provides a knockback, but Enhanced Cyclone Armor also slows these enemies by 70% for 2 seconds. For Enhanced Blood Howl, each kill reduces the cooldown of Blood Howl by 1 second. Enhanced Earthen Bulwark makes you unstoppable while active.

Once a skill has been Enhanced, there are two additional upgrades: Innate and Preserving. Only one upgrade can be chosen depending on your desired bonus. Innate Cyclone Armor makes knocked-back enemies Vulnerable for 3 seconds, while Preserving Cyclone Armor causes Cyclone Armor to intensify, causing incoming damage to grant you 30% Damage Reduction to 2 seconds.

Which Defensive Skills you pick are primarily a personal choice, and frequently can differ from what you’ve been using so far — for example, you might primarily be leveling using Storm skills like Lightning Storm, but you’ll find the on-demand heal and bonus spirit from Blood Howl with Innate Blood Howl incredibly helpful. This tier is where you really start to feel the mix-and-match aspect of the Druid kick in, as your choice of defensive skill can often be different from your Basic and Core skills.

There are passives on this talent node also, including Ancestral Fortitude bonus which increases your Non-Physical Resistances by 5%, and Vigilance which grants you 5% Damage Reduction for 6 seconds after using a defensive skill.

For Defense, it’s best to choose one skill that you will use frequently and then include both the Ancestral Fortitude and the Vigilance skills to provide more resistance and defensive support. As you hit higher levels, you’ll need that defense, so invest points as soon as you can.

Diablo 4 Defensive Skills

Druid Companion skills

Necromancers and Druids are unique in that they can have minions… though the Necromancer conjures them up from the ground while Druids look to nature to provide assistance. These companions fight alongside the Druid and each has a passive and active ability: the passive is the simple fact that your companions are there with you, while the active is a specific attack they do on command.

  • Wolves
    • Enhanced Wolf Pack
      • Brutal Wolf Pack
      • Ferocious Wolf Pack
  • Poison Creeper
    • Enhanced Poison Creeper
      • Brutal Poison Creeper
      • Ferocious Poison Creeper
  • Ravens
    • Enhanced Ravens
      • Brutal Ravens
      • Ferocious Ravens
  • Call of the Wild
  • Nature’s Reach
  • Clarity

Choosing your companion — or passing over companions completely — is up to you. These companions are not tied to any Core, Basic, or Defensive Skills, so they won’t disrupt (or add to) any synergy you’ve been building so far. If you want your companion to do damage over time, then Ravens is your choice. If you want them to attack a single target for base damage, then you choose the Wolves. And if you want to do poison damage over time while also immobilizing a target, then you choose Poison Creeper.

Each of these Skills has an enhanced version. Enhanced Ravens grant you a 5% Increase Critical Strike chance against enemies for 6 seconds after they are hit by Ravens. Enhanced Wolf Pack grants wolves 20% increase damage to Immobilized, Stunned, Slowed, or Poisoned enemies. Enhanced Poison Creeper increases Poison Creeper’s Immobilize duration by 1 second.

After enhancing an ability, there is one additional upgrade: Brutal or Ferocious. Brutal Ravens grant 2 additional Ravens that periodically attack enemies, Ferocious Ravens make enemies Vulnerable for 3 seconds if they are inside the Swarm of Ravens.

In addition to the Companions, there are some good passive options at this tier to buff shapeshifting, ranged attacks, and companion damage. Call of the Wild allows your companions to deal 10% bonus damage. Nature’s Reach increases damage to 3% versus Distant enemies. This is doubled if the enemies are also Slowed, Stunned, Immobilized, or Knocked Back. Clarity grants 2 Spirit when transitioning back to Human form; this is fantastic for builds where, say, you’re using a shapeshifting Core skill like Pulverize or Shred paired with a human-form Basic skill like Storm Strike.

Diablo 4 Companion Skills

Druid Wrath skills 

You’ll initially gain access to Wrath skills around level 19, letting you pick what are essentially supercharged Core Skills with no spirit cost but with a cooldown. Each of these skills has complementary bonuses to choose from that will enhance their effectiveness (apart from the Enhanced and Upgraded versions of these skills).

  • Hurricane
    • Enhanced Hurricane
      • Natural Hurricane
      • Savage Hurricane
  • Boulder
    • Enhanced Boulder
      • Natural Boulder
      • Savage Boulder
  • Rabies
    • Enhanced Rabies
      • Natural Rabies
      • Savage Rabies
  • Trample
    • Enhanced Trample
      • Natural Trample
      • Savage Tramples

If you have been using the Werewolf form, then Rabies is your default choice. If you have been using Werebear, then Trample is a good choice. If you are partial to the Earth Skills, then Boulder is a great option, but if you want a Storm skill, then Hurricane it is. Trample also pairs well with the caster (Earth and Storm) skillsets, which can lack mobility at times.

The Enhanced versions of these skills provide additional bonuses. Enhanced Rabies increases Rabies poison damage over the lifetime of the disease, dealing 30% bonus damage at max duration. Enhanced Boulder slows enemies by 30% for 3 seconds unless the Boulder is Overpowered, then enemies are Stunned for 4 seconds instead.

Each of the enhancements has upgrades: Natural and Savage. With Natural Rabies, Rabies spreads 100% faster. With Savage Rabies, Rabies deals its total poisoning damage in 4 seconds instead of 6.

These are all preferences as to what kind of damage you want to inflict. However, these skills also have complementary bonuses that also affect your Basic, Core, and Defensive Skills.

  • Neurotoxin 
  • Envenom
  • Toxic Claws

Neurotoxin is a complementary bonus that enhances any abilities you have that apply poison, such as upgraded Werewolf abilities, the Poison Creeper, or Rabies. This adds a 7% slow to poisoned enemies, thereby turning your poison into a form of crowd control as well. Toxic Claws enhance Werewolf skills, causing critical strikes with Werewolf skills deal 8% of their base damage as poisoning damage over 4 seconds. Envenom provides additional 10% Critical Strike damage to poisoned enemies.

  • Crushing Earth
  • Safeguard
  • Stone Guard

Crushing Earth is complementary to Earth skills by granting 5% increase damage to Slowed, Stunned, Immobilized, or Knocked Back enemies.  Safeguard allows Critical Strikes with Earth skill to Fortify you for 2% base life. Stone Guard grants your Earth skills 4% increased damage while you have Fortify for over 50% of your Maximum Life.

  • Elemental Exposure
  • Charged Atmosphere
  • Electric Shock
  • Bad Omen
  • Endless Tempest

Elemental Exposure is complementary to Storm skills, granting a 10% chance to make enemies vulnerable for 1 second. Charged Atmosphere causes a Lightning Bolt to hit a nearby target for 15 damage every 18 seconds. Electric Shock grants a Lucky Hit where dealing lightning damage to enemies has up to a 5% chance to Immobilize them for 3 seconds. If they are already Immobilized, then the damage they are dealt is increased by 5%. Bad Omen grants a Lucky Hit where a Vulnerable, Immobilized, or Stunned enemy has a 10% chance to be struck by a Lighting Bolt for 18 damage. Endless Tempest increases the duration of Hurricane and Cataclysm (Druid Ultimate) by 5%.

  • Mending 
  • Provocation

Mending is complementary to Werebear skills. While in Werebear form, you will receive 5% additional Healing from all sources. Provocation grants Overpower to your next Skills after your remain in Werebear form for at least 30 seconds — this can be hard to do while you’re leveling, but becomes easier at higher levels, especially with the aid of certain unique items.

Hopefully we’ve helped you sort through the starting Druid options. Now we’ll see you in Sanctuary!

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