My Druid Review
I recently finished leveling up my Druid. She is now level 22. I chose Half-orc as a race, and went STR based.
Past Lives: Fvs (x2), Wiz, Monk
18 STR (all level ups went here)
Had a complete set of +2 Tomes
Toughness, Augment Summoning, Shield Mastery, Natural Fighting, Improved Shield Mastery, Natural Fighting, Improved Critical
Relevant Gear while leveling:
Lit 2 Scimitar
Triple Pos Scimitar w/30% Healing Amp on last tier (So holy + good burst)
Concord Opposition SP GS Goggles
Ooze Guard HP GS Belt
Boots of the Innocent (+5 resistance)
Archmagi Hat switched out for Minos Legens after buffing.
Bloodstone (until I found a Seeker +10 shield)
Since I had no collection of shields or leather armors I just used the best random loot gen I could find. Once I acquired a Rakshasa Hide from Lords of Dust that was my main Armor until epic levels when I acquired a Terrorweb Chitin Breastplate. I mostly used a Seeker +10 shield.
I exclusively melee-d in Wolf form using a shield and a scimitar.
Low level content was a breeze, which was to be expected. I frequently led the kill count or came close. Reaver's Roar is very powerful in content level 12 and under. Levels 1-10 isn't really a challenge to any player who is familiar with the quests and follows even the roughest of leveling plans. The buff to the Wolf companion was not in effect while I was in low level content, that occurred around level 10 or 11.
The real trouble began at level 12 when my melee power stayed static while the DPS of full melee classes greatly increased. From level 12 on I only led the kill count if I was soloing. If I was in a group I was always out performed DPS-wise by either a Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger, Monk or Wizard, Sorcerer, FVS. Around this time the Druid Preview weekend occurred and coincided with a buff to the Druid's Wolf Companion's DPS. He began hitting for around 70 damage a strike. From the release notes I've seen that this buff is going to be toned down, but from my perspective that isn't really necessary. Even as my own melee DPS stayed static, I would still out perform my Wolf in kills and melee power. The only time my Wolf could out perform me is if I was standing still and didn't attack anything, he moves that slowly.
At level 12 I switched from the Melee-oriented PRE to the Spellcasting PRE. My logic was that I wasn't getting the full benefit of sneak attack damage anyway, and since I was going to be facing a lot of Undead in the desert and the orchard, which are immune to sneak attacks, it would be a better AP investment to go Season's Herald and take the Crown of Summer - which I did.
Crown of Summer & Spring's Resurgence are GREAT enhancements for the Druid. They actually benefit a STR based character more than a WIS based, casting character. It would be nice if these abilities weren't locked into a certain PrE, they are one of the greatest benefits to the class.
Also - the Nature's Warrior enhancement line is supposed to add an extra 1d8 vs. enemies below 50% health. This rarely occurs, and most of the time when it does come up it shows the mob as being "immune" to the extra damage.
At end game, 20+, in eveningstar, I have so far mostly soloed the new quests on Epic Normal. This is mostly due to my play schedule and not having the time to wait for a full group, and I also wanted to explore the quests at my own pace first since they were new to me. While I am able to mow down epic mobs, it takes an awful long time, and feels more like chewing them down rather than mowing them down...
Even with relevant gear and buffs, I consistently only hit for 20-30 damage per swing + magical effects. My critical hits were anywhere from 100-300 damage. This was from level 12 onward...till today...at level 22...where I STILL only hit for 20-30 damage on a regular hit, sometimes if I'm really lucky it goes up to 40-60 per swing, which may be a sneak attack. Best critical hit I got was 1,000~ damage against a Red Named Drow Scorpion in CR 21 Colossal Crystals under the effects of Adrenaline.
At level 22 with Fury of the Wild Epic Destiny + Buffs + Heroic AP enhancements I have a sustainable 50 STR. And I only hit for 20-30 most of the time in wolf form. Is this WAI? If I am in human form my base damage goes up to 70 per swing. The way it is now if a player wants a STR based Druid they are better off going Elemental Form, Season's Herald PRE, and skipping wolf form entirely. This is highly counter-intuitive and doesn't seem to be the intended outcome of the class.
My Suggestion would be to give Druids increase die step for Animal Forms. 1d10 at level 22 with 50 STR is pitiful. It should either be part of a Druid-focused Epic Destiny which will hopefully be released soon, or just make it part of the capstone.
Example: Upon taking the Druid Capstone your base die step in Wolf or Bear form is increased from 1d10 to 2d10.
Tie to the PREs and you get .5(1d10) @ lvl 6, 2(1d10) @ lvl 12, and 2.5(1d10) w/the Capstone.
As has been stated many times, but is worth repeating, the Form-specific Wolf and Bear spells should really be SLA's and not actual spells.
There is also room for a level 9 spell that increases the BAB of the character to that of a Fighter of the same level. Like a nature-themed version of Divine Power.
The Druid would benefit from a Life Magic enhancement line. Clerics, FVS, Bards, Paladins, and even RANGERS all have a Life Magic enhancement line: 20 Devotion Spell Power for 1 AP, with a Max of 80 Spellpower for 4 AP at the fourth tier.
The biggest strength to me is the Druid's ability to heal other players. I was able to solo heal 6-man heroic hard & normal quests no problem. At-level heroic elites were ok until around level 16-17, at which point the damage coming in exceeds the healing going out. I could still pull off being the only healer in the group, but it was much more difficult (specifically in the Harbringer of Madness chain, and DD/IQ elites). The healing over time effects of Greater Vigor & Regenerate have a hard time against high burst damage. Spot healing w/the Heal spell is great but any and every healer knows that Masses are the way to go to keep your party up. Unfortunately the only Masses the Druid gets don't quite cut it when they are needed most.
The situations where the Druid's healing ability really shines is when the Druid is providing back-up heals to a primary healer Cleric or FVS. I haven't yet tried a Druid-Bard healing combo, which may also be successful and quite powerful with the right players.
Spring's Resurgence was literally a lifesaver in the mid levels, though the duration seems a bit short. In a perfect world it would have a Permanent Duration. It takes a long time to cast it on 11 other players before a raid Boss Fight and then spam it again 5 minutes later. If a permanent duration seems overpowered it could even have a 5 minute Duration at level 12 and then gain an additional 1 minute per 2 caster levels afterwards.
Solo-healing a raid as a Druid is going to be nearly impossible without any Mass cure/heal. Mass regenerate will not provide enough damage mitigation to allow a Druid to solo or primary heal a difficult Raid. I don't even foresee 2 Druids being able to heal raids either. It's in the realm of possibility, but falls closer to "more trouble than what its worth" rather than "totally doable."
I really enjoy playing a Character who can provide heals and do not want to be a Blade Barrier machine. The Druid could be a competent healer with a few minor tweaks.
SOLUTION: Mass Cure Moderate Wounds & Life Magic enhancements.
The scroll for this spell is available in House K, and lists as it requirements for use a Level 15 Druid, yet the spell is not on the Druid Spell List. Please consider adding this to the Druid Spell List. It would make the class much more useful in groups and more pleasant to play.
Life Magic Enhancements. Worth repeating.
From the get-go I wanted to play a Melee-focused Druid and wasn't very interested in Casting offensive spells. There are a few things of note:
The AP cost for Spell Power enhancements on Druids is too high and out of balance. I can appreciate the developers wanting to ensure the class wasn't over powered but this feels more like an intentional handicap gone awry. Spell power enhancements cost twice as much but deliver half the effect of the other classes. Tieing 2 elements together is a bit clumsy when trying to build your character.
Please give us Life Magic enhancements.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, form-specific spells should be SLA's rather than spells. They should also all be given the same spell school so players who want to focus on one form over another can so successfully.
For Example: The Wolf form
Your main wolf spells are: Takedown (Innate Attack), Baiting Bite (Innate Attack), Jaws of Winter (Evocation), Howl of Terror (Enchantment), Snowslide (evocation).
Jaws of Winter, which does 6[W] + a chance to freeze the target, has an Evocation Save. If the Target makes the save, he not only isn't frozen solid but takes NO damage from the attack. Many a time I've cast this (and by many a time I mean always when I'm fighting) and I have seen "Save + # + # + #" with the #'s being damage from lightning, good, etc.
So we have 3 different schools across 5 spells. Worse things have happened, but its still annoying.
The Wolf Companion
The Wolf pet was one of the biggest selling points to me. I was always a little jealous of Artificers and their Iron Dogs but have no attraction to the mechanical aesthetic.
The Wolf, in reality, is not a great boon to the class.
I consistently had my Wolf summoned in almost every quest as I leveled up as I wanted to test his abilities.
He attacks very slowly. Very slowly. He is also quite fond of intimidating everything around him, thus drawing lots of aggro, and dieing quickly. He does this even without Wolf intimidate trained and going Full sneak-attack + evasion line. WAI?
Even with Augment Summoning, my wolf shows as having 0% Fortification in the character sheet, which may or may not be a display bug. If I equip him with Moderate Fortification, it goes up to 100%, and if I equip him with Heavy Fortification, he stays at 100%.
The wolf is only useful in low level content. Once I got into Gianthold he died so frequently it was like having a -10% SP pot active. I had to either ignore him and let him die or waste SP keeping him alive. I stubbornly kept him summoned in almost every quest (with the exclusion of raids) because I was steadfast in my desire to see how he performed at all levels of content.
The Wolf also has a Howl enhancement which is supposed to do STR damage to the targets in hearing distance as well as provide a movement speed debuff. I've seen my wolf Howl a lot, but haven't yet seen a mob under the effects of his howl debuff. I'm not sure if this is a display bug or just a bug-bug. Examined mobs show no Howl debuff upon examination.
In Epic content I would have both my Wolf and my Onyx Panther companion active at the same time. The Onyx Panther, even though he has less HP than my wolf, is far more survivable and powerful. This is probably by design on the part of the Onyx Panther's strength, but the Wolf is weak at mid game and very weak at end game.
His greatest asset is hitting levers, switches, or runes.
In Conclusion or TL/DR
While leveling up the class I was frequently frustrated by design mechanics (listed above in their relevant sections) that seemed to be in place as intentional handicaps to prevent the class from being over powered. The Druid may have been designed to be a jack of all trades, master of none, but Bard did that first and does it better. As of this writing the Druid is a pay to play class, and the most expensive of all pay to play classes at 1495TP. It does not warrant such a high price tag.
I agree it's a gimp class. Even with 3x wiz and 3x sorc past lives spells do land, but are weak.
To little mana to be a pure caster.
Call lightning storm got nerfed beyond all recognition. It's a junk spell. Before U14, I had a dragonmarked Artificer with max and emp on. It hit for about 500 at level 20. Now, the spell itself is weak. I don't even use it. Shame they nerfed it. It should've been a fun spell.
I recently capped a druid build very similar to the OP's and have similar views on the class as a whole. The lack of damage-die advancement is just crippling for high-level content, almost guaranteeing a slide toward the back of the pack for DPS. And at about the same time, their healing shortcomings (such as the lack of mass cure spells) kick in, ensuring druids can't transition into a healer role as clerics so often do.
Issues with form-shifting are a problem too. Because the devs elected to make them spells rather than SLAs, you can't change form on the fly as circumstances warrant and still be a meaningful contributor to the party, which is what I think people hope to do when they envision playing a druid. The implementation of natural fighting exacerbates the issue by forcing close-combat characters to choose whether to play a melee-animal character or a melee-elemental character. I can understand people who say druids shouldn't be able to simultaneously be a top-notch caster and a top-notch melee, but what's the rationale for saying they have to be subpar even within the melee role unless they stick to one particular form, especially when we're talking about a class whose claim to fame is shapeshifting? I don't follow the thought process behind this and suspect it is a key reason why so many people who can currently access the druid have become disenchanted with the class -- they want to shift but get hammered whenever they do.
To sum up, there are a lot of good ideas in the druid class but those ideas are obscured by some poor design decisions at present. Luckily those decisions are easily reversible -- change the animal form spells to SLAs, add mass cures to the spell list, let the animal-form damage type improve over time, etc. With changes like these, I think the druid may potentially become one of the most popular classes in the game, rather than being the one that conjures a lot of initial excitement that tends to fade over time as one's hopes clash with the current implementation of the class.
This was an obvious bait and switch tactic used by turbine. It was already called by players in an earlier post that the pet damge would be "fixed" soon after druid preview was over . The class is broken and riddled with bugs. Buffing the pet for the preview weekend to make druids seem a little bit better was obviously easier for them to do than bothering to fix any of the bugs that have been reported and reported and reported and reported.
Originally Posted by HalfOrcBeautyQueen
They haven't fixed any of the bugs that plague the druid but they managed to easily change the pet damage down...how convenient for them.
Natures warrior as well as being bugged how you mentioned is also bugged so that the second tier which is supposed to do 2d6 only does 1d6. It also only odes this damage occasionally.
Baiting bite the only actual bug that they claim to have fixed (previous patch) is still bugged you have to stop attacking click the spell then wait a second before taking any other actions or it doesn't cause the bluff check. Slightly improved over not working at all but still not working correctly.
Seasons herald still can be dispelled (requiring you to wait for the switch season timer to be ready before you can re activate it) and also if you die within 20 minutes of activating it or switching seasons you have to wait for the timer before you can get any use of seasons herald. The fact that you have to use your twenty minute timer to even start it of is just plain retarded in the first place. Oh and its rubbish even when working. ;-p
Switching form bugs out some items and weapons and they have to re-equip them to get them to work correctly.
Some weapons don't function correctly at all while in wolf form (poly curse dagger for example). I suspect there are others and items too.
Monk splash reduces the damage die while in wolf form.
Very seriously the cold dot spells cancel out sorc and wizards niacs biting cold spells. Even though more than one wiz or sorc can stack the spell the druid greater creeping cold which is a different spell all together stops niacs from working.
There have been pages of complaints about druid balance and AP cost with no comment from the devs at all. But hardly surprising if they completely ignore bug reports and forum posts about the bugs I very much doubt they give a damn about the rest of the sorry mess.
Good thread, glad someone took time to do this, thanks for the post from Lamma Land.
Thank you for your thoroughness. This sort of info is exactly why I am sitting on a level 20 wiz with a cleric past life, who won't reincarnate until the druid becomes playable. I can just hope all that time and effort don't go to waste.
The devs should print out your post and tack it up in every cube. Especially for the managers; this decrepit state of a long promised core class represents a failure of coherent leadership above all.
The big issues for me is that DDO needs to dump the Natural Fighting feats and stop giving druids the worst of both worlds with the spell power enhancements.
For Natural Fighting they have a few options. But I think the strongest is to either integrate the 6% Doublestrike into Nature’s Warrior and then implement a Full BaB spell for wolf/bear form. Or just make a wolf/bear form spell that grants full BaB + a doublestrike bonus equal to half the caster level. Melee Druids have more than enough feats that they need to choose from without adding in nonsense like the Natural Fighting feats. (ex. Overwhelming Crit line for DPS, CE + Shield Mastery for tank builds.)
I leveled a Druid to 20, and here are my thoughts:
I agree with a lot of what was said here, but I don't think it is as bad.
Call Lightning Storm is a wasted spell atm. Never bother memorizing it.
Many of the animal attack spells do not work properly. I only use Takedown and the one that acts like an abundant step.
I had no idea that Greater Creeping Cold nulified Niacs. That is a very serious bug, and should be fixed ASAP. Greater Creeping Cold is one of the best Druid spells available, and if it is unusable in raids... OMG the injustice.
Not having Mass Cures on a divine class is just plain stupid. Druids can use Mass Cure Critical Scrolls, and I can only hope that they will be given Mass Cure spells in the future. Currently, even a Bard without any investment in healing enhancements or a devotion item can provide more healing in a raid situation; This is just criminal, and I can't see it staying that way forever.
The casting time on Reincarnate is about 100,000 times what it should be. Ok, that might be a slight exageration, but not by much.
Where are the Druid's wands and scrolls?
Rogues get wand and scroll mastery enhancements, but Druids do not? Are you F...ing kidding me?!
The only reason to take the broken Season's Herald prestige is Crown of Summer. Unfortunately, it is enough of a reason to prevent you from taking the broken animal one.
The penalties for using spells outside your elemental form are too steep, and neither should provide a penalty to anything but the opposite element.
I have found the wolf companion to be much better than the previous posters. It does get suicidal if you put it into attack mode, but does just fine in regular mode. The wolf is usually much more survivable and has more than double the kills of most Arty dogs it runs with. Occasionally, I will have to pop him a heal, but usually not that often. The damage is good, but the attack speed could be increased a bit. In the early mid levels it does seem a bit too squishy though.
Druids are supposed to be the best summoners, but really are missing a strong level 9 summon. What is up with the Dryad? It seems to do nothing worthwhile. Make it a healing capable summon, and it would correct many issues currently associated with Druid summons and healing capacity. Since Summon Elemental Swarm was not implemented, Summon Nature's Ally IX should actually be useful.
18 seconds on the regen spells is too short. Give them at least 30 seconds, especially if they are your main/only source of mass healing.
If Druids do not get mass cures, then the regen/vigor spells really should stack.
All in all it was a fun class to play and level, but the bugs are frustrating.
I made mine a wisdom based caster with some melee feats, and it worked out very nicely for me. I took Shield Mastery, Natural Fighting, Emp Healing, Empower, Maximize, Toughness, Mental Toughness, and Imp Mental Toughness. I plan on taking Imp Shield Mastery, and Epic Mental Toughness as epic feats. Even though I did not take focus feats or have any past lives, I find that my spells are still effective; I just have to use the right spells for the situation. Base damage is not the way to go, rate of fire is; of course this requires gear, and I have found cacophonic weapons to be very useful in wolf form.
One good thing about Druids is spell components. I don't think I have to carry anything past level 5. Just get a true seeing item or scrolls.
Playing the Druid really felt like playing a Druid. I know there are some kinks that need to be worked out, but it was fun to play. I think if you play a druid as a pure melee or a pure caster, you will be dissapointed, but if you play it as a Druid, you will have a lot of fun.
I have high hopes that the new enhancement system will correct a lot of the things that are wrong with the Druid. Remember that the Druid was originally intended to be released with the enhancement pass, but had to be released seperately. I've always thought it would be very easy to make Druids overpowered, but very hard to make them balanced. It seems to me that with a little tweaking, and ironing out the bugs, they will get it right.
My Druid won't be on as much now that I am about to TR my main again, but I will still play it.
So does this mean STR does not affect damage in wolf-form?
Originally Posted by HalfOrcBeautyQueen
I was planning to make a STR-based wolf-druid, but reading this kinda puts that whole project on hold. I would think this must be a bug, but I've not seen it on Turbine's "known" bug list nor on the player compiled bug lists either.
No, wolf-based damage is STR based. Or at least it's supposed to be.
Originally Posted by ddonoobgamer