Gingerspyce and faithful companion Snarl from Sarlona here. Hail High Lords! I’ve had several people ask me about my pure druid caster/healer/quasi-tank build lately so I thought I’d post it because it doesn’t seem like there are very many druids out there and many that aren’t playing them to their potential. Also so I don’t have to type it all up each time in little chat-sized bits! I get the impression from a lot of DDO’ers that they think druids are rather hum drum, when I think they’re just not realizing how to get the most out of their nature-loving avatars.
For 5 years I’ve exclusively played casters and healers. Across 5 toons I’ve played cleric radiant servant to cap, favored soul to cap 6 times, sorc 8 times (including all savants), wizard to cap 4 times and a bard healer to cap 3 times. I’m on my 8th druid life and it has turned out to be my favorite caster and healer class by far! Built properly, a caster/healer druid can solo heal any quest and any raid, perhaps with the exception of EE endgame raids (I haven’t tried), can crowd control nearly any EE end game mobs, and can tank many raid bosses, including elite Horoth and HOX, EEDQ, EE chrono, EELOB, EHFOT, EHFTP, EHTOTD (haven’t tried tanking FOT, FTP, TOTD on EE yet). This build is great for soloing all elite heroic quests and solo epic hards with no problem and most EE’s. So here’s my build which is designed to be an exceptionally valuable part of an EE questing or raid party, as it provides excellent healing and crowd control, good casting dps, front line supportive melee dps and moderate tanking ability (read: very durable and versatile). This is a very newbie-friendly and first-life friendly build and I’ve included a bit of how-to for players that are newer to druid, and I have a Youtube channel with dozens of videos that are dedicated to supporting the build
GEAR (end game)
Goggles: Epic Glimpse of the Soul (slotted with protection +8, green slot TBD)
Head: Greensteel Mineral II +45 hp helmet
Neck: Epic Torc of Price Raiyum de II (slotted with insightful wis +2)
Trinket: Epic Litany of the Dead (slotted with Golem's Heart, strength +8)
Cloak: Epic Cloak of Flames (slotted with good luck +2, charisma +8)
Belt: Greensteel Concordant Opposition +150 sp, +6 cha skills, blindness immunity, proof against disease +6
Quiver: Quiver of Alacrity
Ring1: EE Ring of Shadows (slotted with spellcraft +15)
Ring2: Circle of Malevolence (slotted with Golem's Heart, green slot TBD)
Hands: Gauntlets of Immortality (slotted with Globe of True Imperial Blood, Greater Evocation)
Bracers: Dumathoin's Bracers (with Eldritch Resistance and slotted with con +8)
Boots: Halcyon Boots (slotted with ff, insightful con +2)
Armor: Shadow Dragonplate Shadow Guardian 30/60 DR (with Alchemical Eldritch armor ritual, slotted with power 250, False Life 40)
Shield: Dethek Runestone (with Eldritch shield ritual, slotted with magnetism 138)
Weapon: Thunderforged Scimitar with Evocation +6, Glaciation 150, 17% universal spell lore (slotted with Meridian Fragment, insightful cha +2)
Heavy wood shield w/invulnerability ASAP. Ring of Elemental Essence for early on. 3 or 5 piece chrono set and Goggles of Time Sensing can be fun for a druid for a few levels. House C challenge items: Cloak of Flames, Frozen Tunic, Bracers of Wind are awesome for druid because they cover spell power and crit chance for a druid’s 3 primary elements: fire, cold and electricity, plus they have lots of other goodies like blur, fire absorption, dodge, Heightened Awareness, Haste guard and Freezing Ice! Get heroic versions (starting with L7/8 versions and upgrade them as you level) and epic versions of each. Wall of Wood and Epic Wall of Wood (you won’t keep these at endgame so normal versions will suffice and easier to find and much more affordable). Torc is awesome if you’re a TR; even your caster/healer druid can and should be in the middle of combat, taking lots of hits and generating lots of SP! Vibrant Purple Ioun stone (upgraded) is also very nice for any caster to have big sp at L5! A Greensteel lit II scimitar or Alchemical scimitar is very nice to have, if not available other scimitars/sickles/daggers to consider while leveling are Swailing Blade, Thunderstorm, Royal Scimitar, Flint, Guardian of Liturgy, Skiver, Threnalian War Dagger, Ornamental Dagger, Sacrificial Dagger, Icerazor. Some of these old school weapons have been updated with slots and can be augmented to make decent for their levels. At L14 use medium white or blue dragonscale armor for bigger AC and PRR and for cold spell power use a crafted item or slot on weapon. Agony dagger from web and Planar Focus of Prowess con +3 is a nice set bonus until endgame.
For more suggestions about first-life heroic leveling gear, see my video series: A Beginner's Guide to the Gingerspyce Pure Druid Caster/Healer/Quasi-tank Build on my Youtube channel, or click on the graphic below.
I'm including a special section for shields because druids can only use non-metal shields and there are only about a dozen named shields that are not metal. Here are some that don't suck: Wharfrat's Plank, Carved Bone Shield, Death's Door, Alchemical shields (crystal version), Wall of Wood, Epic Wall of Wood, Kobold Admiral's Tiller, Madstone Aegis, Dethek Runestone. A few more are listed on DDOwiki HERE.
1st: Augment summoning (for fun, will swap later)
Human bonus feat: Toughness
3rd: Extend Spell (for longer buffs and Body of the Sun, will swap later)
6th: Maximize Spell
9th: Quicken Spell
12th: Empower Spell
13th (druid): Wild Shape Fire Elemental
15th: Improved Shield Mastery. Feat swap Augment Summoning for Shield Mastery any time between L12-15
17th (druid): Wild Shape Water Elemental
18th: Completionist (or Heighten Spell)
20th: Feat Swap Extend for Spell Focus: Evocation any time between L18-20
21st: Epic Toughness
24th: Empower Healing
26th: (Epic Destiny Feat): cold spell power
27th: Heavy Armor Proficiency
28th: (Epic Destiny Feat): Elusive Target
Self buffed and ship buffed, this gear and feat set, along with past lives, gives 1398HP in Stand Against the Tide stance (1578 Vigor of Battle stance), 2933SP, 178AC, 186PRR, 90MRR, 58 standing Earthquake DC (with +6 tome, not counting -4 to saves from Mantle of the Icy Soul), 102 intimidate, 374 sustained cold spell power (in winter season)
Druids must be some form of neutral and there isn't much advantage of one form of neutrality over another. I usually just go true neutral. If you are splashing monk in a druid build then you must be lawful neutral.
Starting: STR 8, DEX 8, CON 18, INT 10, WIS 18, CHA 10. Increase wisdom every time when leveling. For a 28 pt build just start with int 8 and cha 8.
Max out Spellcraft, Heal, Intimidate, Concentration, UMD at least high enough for no fail raise scrolls, remaining points in balance.
Racial (human): Human Versatility: Spell Power Boost, Heroism, Greater Heroism, Focused: Conc+intim (maxed), Self-Sufficient: Heal+Repair (1/3), Skill Mastery, Human Adaptability: Wisdom, Human Greater Adaptability: Constitution, Human Versatility: Save or Defense Boost, Improved Recovery line to top.
Druid: Only spend points in Season’s Herald. Start with Beguile and Wax and Wane lines and work all the way up, maxing out both lines. Strength of Solstice, Crown of Summer, Spring’s Resurgence (maxed), Season’s Greetings 1/3, wisdom x2, Negotiator (maxed), inherent line at bottom to Hierophant, Efficient Metamagic: Maximize, Autumnal Susurrus (maxed). Alternatively, at low single digit levels you will mostly be meleeing so can spend points in Nature’s Warrior side and respec to Season’s Herald at about L5. If you like using Season's Greetings regularly and want to max it out then draw points from Negotiator.
Click on the enhancement graphic to see notes about why not to take the other Season's Herald enhancements.
Sorc, Sorc, SORC!! Best past lives for caster druid are sorc for bonus to evocation spells and extra sp. Most druid spells or at least the ones you care about most are evocation. Don’t waste time getting past lives of druid. I have 3 past lives of Druid (each giving summons and wolf +2 to all stats for a total of +6) and even with Augment Summoning (making it +10 to all stats) the wolf is not viable for endgame EE content (BOOH!!). Although I will say it was a blast leveling a wolf with +10 to all stats… he was getting intelligence runes lol. But it makes me very sad that I can’t have my wolf out for EE content or raids. Elite Shroud is the highest level raid I will bring my wolf out for. Wolf is fine to have out for EN and EH questing. Check out my Solo EE Maze of Madness video to see how the wolf performs in EE content. My current PL's are 3 sorc and 3 druid plus 1x all the rest for completionist.
EPIC PAST LIVES
4 stances: Colors of the Queen, Energy Criticals, Brace and Skill Mastery. Focus on getting 3 each of these EPL's first, which will grant Epic Completionist and open your 4th twist of fate! After you get these, focus on additional martial epl's for bonus AC. My current EPL's are 3 Colors, 3 Energy Criticals, 3 Brace, 3 Skill Mastery, 3 PDK, 2 Shadar-kai plus 6 additional martial, 2 additional primal and 1 additional divine.
ICONIC PAST LIVES
Stance: Shadar-kai. PDK Iconic Past lives are great for added PRR and Shadar-kai for dodge and auto-incorporeality at low health! I am currently working on my 3rd Shadar-kai past life for a total of +3% dodge.
Unyielding Sentinel! I originally used Shiradi Champion when druids first came out. I switched to Primal Avatar when it was released because it was a little better for the tanky style of play and I would switch to US when tanking raid bosses. With the U21 changes to US, it's pushed me over to use it all the time. The updates to Sentinel give +20% bonus to HP, Renewal, +150% threat generation (w/melee attacks and spells!), bonuses to con and AC and you get immunity to being knocked down while using Stand Against the Tide stance.
TWISTS OF FATE
1. Draconic Incarnation Energy Burst (cold)
2. Magister Evocation Specialist +3 to DC
3. Rejuvenation Cocoon
4. Exalted Angel Endless Faith for +250ish SP
For endgame Antipode and Flawless White Dragonhide armor (go light armor for evasion wolf) or Thunderforged Wraps and Flawless Shadow Dragonplate with Shadow Guardian 30/60 DR. For leveling use leather armor with Invulnerability ASAP, can use heroic white dragon armor later as an option. For collars, nice options are Vampiric Stonedust Wraps (L12), Tharaak Wraps (L18), Grave Wrappings (L20). It seems a lot of players aren’t aware that you can easily convert handwraps to a collar at a Device Workstation (now located in House C and Eveningstar).
Traditional healers may find an awkward adjustment when healing on a druid. Other healers wait for the damage to occur and then heal their party. Druids are a little different with their heal-over-time spells (vigor and regeneration). In a sense, you are healing in front of the damage instead of after the damage. You don’t wait for your party to be half down like you might with Mass Heal. Instead, you wait for a smaller amount of damage, then throw Mass Regenerate, which will tick for 250 on a non-crit with this build. At first I was upset that druids didn’t get mass cure spells like cleric and favored soul (they have in pen and paper D&D), but I have come to love healing on a druid so much better than cleric or favored soul, as the HOT spells are amazing for filling in the gaps that are between a traditional healer’s spells. Druids do however get all the single target healing spells Cure Light Wounds through Heal, as well as all single and mass target HOT spells. Unmaximized and unempowered vigor can be very efficient low-cost healing during heroic levels, just have to be proactive and stay ahead of the damage. Use cure spells and Heal for bigger burst of healing as needed. Spring’s Resurgence is also huge at lower levels, as it gives an immediate burst of healing as soon as a player falls below 50% health. It’s cheap to cast and can be a lifesaver in traps or against hard hitting mobs. Get used to regularly casting this on yourself and party members. When tanking groups of mobs or torc’ing up you can effectively use Spring’s Resurgence to keep yourself healed. Useful in epic levels as well. With cocoon twisted in and Renewal from US destiny, you can do a lot of your healing with these SLA's and save most of your mana for offensive casting.
SPELLS (an overview of some druid spells)
Druids get 6 offensive spells as spell-like abilities, which is a major sp saver. They have a SLA for each element (fire, cold, electric and acid) as well as a SLA that does light damage and another that does damage based on alignment (Word of Balance). In addition, this build uses Rejuvenation Cocoon and Renewal, which saves even more sp on healing.
Produce Flame slow to reach its target and not efficient to maximize and empower, but for 6 sp, an unmaximized, unempowered Produce Flame does decent damage when you want to spam! Produce Flame is also an SLA now so max and empower the SLA version for free! Regular spell has cooldown time of 1 second so blast away!
Creeping Cold and Greater Creeping Cold are the best damage-over-time spells in the game, imo, because they are a lot faster than arcane and divine DOTS. With only a 3 second cool down time you can rapid fire them on multiple mobs. While leveling, keep your cold spell power maxed (easy with Frozen Tunic or ruby of glaciation) and cast on a mob then run off, knowing it will be dead in about 8 seconds. Druid DOTS don’t triple stack as traditional DDO DOTS, but both Creeping Cold and GCC stack with each other. Sadly they do not stack with other druid DOTS (don’t know if this is working as intended). Use water elemental form (take at L17), with Mantle of the Icy Soul (a 9th level buff that slows and debuffs mobs that are hit by your cold spells).
Call Lightning at low to upper teen levels you can one-shot mobs. You get Call Lightning as a 6sp spell-like ability now so even better! The regular spell has a 2 second cool down time so can rapid fire and can one-shot many heroic mobs faster than casters can instakill them! Faster casting than wiz/sorc Lightning Bolt and strikes from the sky so never misses due to a mob moving out of the way. Keep your electric spell power maxed, easy with Bracers of Wind.
Body of the Sun WOWOW! This spell is like a dream come true and at L13-19ish is fun and extremely powerful, as it basically turns you into a walking firewall! Doesn’t maximize or empower and does about as much dps as a firewall for less SP and moves with you. To add gravy on top of that, it’s a buff so can be extended! Make sure to take fire elemental form first at L13 and take water elemental at L17. As with firewall, BotS loses effectiveness at higher levels. For sick dps cast firewall and BotS!
Wall of Fire and Ice Storm a druid can do nearly as much dps as a cold or fire sorc! In water elemental form, Ice Storm will have an added debuff and slowing effect on your enemies if using Mantle of the Icy Soul buff.
Freezing Spray cast on mobs so they take 25% more damage from cold spells- great for named and raid bosses!
Sleet Storm not a uniquely druid spell but deserves a special mention. This is an excellent crowd control spell but is exceptionally annoying to your party if they don't have Freedom of Movement. Druids are the only class that has both Sleet Storm and FOM on their spell list so just give your party FOM and learn to love Sleet Storm!
Earthquake (evocation) provides some of the best EE crowd control in the game. It is a L8 spell, so you get at L15, just in time for Gianthold elites. Great for kiting or intimidating large groups into and coupling with Ice Storm. For very large or tough groups of mobs, throw Earthquake, Ice Storm and Sleet Storm (give your party FOM or they hate you) and watch your enemies trip, stumble, fall, or slow to a crawl (from Mantle and Beguile) as you and your party obliterat them. Throw Storm of Vengeance (a SLA now!) on top of that to provide more AOE dps. Use Sunburst SLA to blind them too! Sunburst is also evocation, so the blinding effect hits a lot on druids with good evocation DCs. Turn off Maximize and Empower for Earthquake. The extra damage isn’t worth the extra sp cost, it’s the knock down ability that you care about most. An Earthquake DC of 50+ at endgame is good enough to be effective. I run at 58 and can bring down most mobs almost no-fail except EE Shadar-kai Assassins, evasion archers and winter wolves. See What Makes an Effective Earthquake DC? for more information.
The way I like to play this build is to run ahead of the party, grabbing agro of a bunch of mobs at once, laying down Earthquake, Ice Storm, Sleet Storm (and SoV and Sunburst too if the occasion calls for) and hack away from inside your own personal hurricane! Cast Mass Regenerate to keep you and party healed, or rejuvenation cocoon for self. If it gets too intense just turtle-up with your shield for a few seconds while your AOE spells and party chew them up or jump out of the fray if needed.
Finger of Death don’t do it, it’s a trap!! As casters we see FOD and go “OOOOH I NEEDS THAT!!” But on a druid it doesn’t make sense to spend resources to try to make FOD effective. Stick with Call Lightning at low to upper teen levels and Creeping Cold and GCC at higher levels. Don’t spend any resources on necro or spell penetration on ANY druid build. Druids only have 2 spells with spell penetration checks: FOD and Word of Balance. Neither are important enough to invest in spell penetration.
Fires of Purity druids get a weapon buff! Great for party members if no arti is present. Don’t cast on yourself unless fighting mobs that are vulnerable to fire because it overrides Crown of Summer weapon buff (from enhancement line). Must be in fire ele form to cast, so cast on party first, then switch to water ele and buff self.
Mass Regenerate best mass healing spell in the game!! Use it and love it!! Heals stat damage and neg levels too! Endgame ticks for 250ish on a non-crit. Fast casting so already ticks twice by the time a Mass Heal would finish casting. If your entire party needs a bigger burst than that, throw Mass Regenerate and Mass Greater Vigor back to back.
Snowslide sprint attack spell that freezes your enemies. Use in winter wolf form when you need to get somewhere fast! Does a burst of movement 2x as far as a favored soul’s wings plus 8 seconds of super fast movement. Great for leaping over long distances. Also lets you pass through mobs so great for getting out of crowds when trapped.
Storm of Vengeance 9th level AOE spell that does electric and acid damage. No save for acid damage. Long cooldown of 1 minute, but you get an SLA version too at L18 so helps to make cooldown less of an issue. Excellent to chew down large groups of mobs.
Starting at L20ish, water elemental should be default form. Keep Mantle of the Icy Soul on you at all times. Sadly this is lost when switching forms, but it’s easy to stay in water ele form for more effective cold spells! In addition to buffing your spells (and debuffing the opposite element spells), ele forms provide +100% racial bonus to fortification and natural poison immunity (+10 resist to magical poison), immunity to sleep, paralysis and stun. Druid elemental forms are the same as sorcerer elemental forms.
This build provides moderate self-healing tanking ability. Use cold DOTS to generate hate. Use intimidate to pull back mobs and bosses if they are pulled away from you. Not good for tanking raid bosses that are resistant to cold such as Suulomades in Vision of Destruction and Tower of Despair. Good for Stormreaver and Truthful One in EHFOT (haven't tried EE yet), EELOB, EEDQ and TOD bosses except Sully, HOX, and can tank FTP and TOTD on at least EH (haven't tried EE yet). Can tank heroic elite at-level demon queen and Stormreaver.
Temple of the Deathwyrm: can tank dragon and kuldjarghs simultaneously on EH. Kuldjarghs will keep you torc'ed up enough to spam your spells on the dragon. Tank TOTD in fire ele form with Body of the Sun. If someone pulls the dragon too far away from you, quickly change to winter wolf form and use Snow Slide to burst through the kuldjarghs and chase the dragon down and pull back. To hold aggro, use Body of the Sun, Wall of Fire, Storm of Vengeance, Sunburst, Word of Balance and Produce Flame. During final beatdown, stay in winter wolf form so that you can quickly move around with Snow Slide as needed to keep the dragon centered.
Soloed with this build: elite Shroud, EE What Goes Up, EEDQ, EE Chronoscope, elite TOD
Have fun building your caster/healer druid, I hope you enjoy this build and feel free to send me a tell if you’re on Sarlona!
Demonstration of build solo EE Don't Drink the Water with narration (now in HD!)
I now have an entire video series to demonstrate the first-life effectiveness of the build. All the videos are narrated and in each video I go over what the gear, spells, feats and enhancements look like for the level range I'm doing. This series will be valuable for anyone that is new to druid and interested in any kind of druid caster/healer. For the project I made a new toon "Scaryspyce" and through level 20 I solo everything on elite, including some of the most difficult heroic content, without using any ability tomes, store pots/buffs, hirelings, green steel or raid loot (except low level chrono gear, which is bta).
Check out the series on my Youtube channel at: A Beginner's Guide to the Gingerspyce Pure Druid Caster/healer/Quasi-tank Build
Solo EE Breaking the Ranks
Solo EE Maze of Madness
Solo Elite TOD
How to get to Garamol in the Subterrane
How to get to and Solo N Hound of Xoriat (legit)
How to lead an Abbot raid (with explanation of goggles puzzle)
More videos at my DDO Youtube channel