I made a Druid

I decided to make a druid.

Hunters are Okay

I like my Hunter. I think Hunters in general are … in a decent place right now. I’m not jumping up and down over the class, though. I think it’s unfortunate that Marksman is hands down the best spec for raiding. I don’t understand why all of the specs can’t be equally viable with the only difference being their play style.

According to the sims and theorycrafting, I should be at the bottom of the dps list, but that’s in a vacuum. In practice, I’m typically in the middle or edging toward the top.

Anyway, my reasons for making a Druid reach beyond my Hunter’s viability.

The Need for Options

I like the idea of having a tank class with a healing offspec. Our raid group / Mythic+ team could use a quasi-dedicated tank. Right now we rely on one main tank to be there for just about everything, and that’s not sustainable or realistic given our casual nature as a group. We need a backup.

Having enough classes to run a second Mythic+ is also on my list of to-dos.

I named my Druid after the new pokemon: Bewear. He fights with hugs.

Druids are Pretty Cool Right Now

There’s also the bonus that Druids right now are pretty fun. Tanking is back to being sorta what it was in WotLK. I Bear-tanked that expansion and loved it. Probably my favorite class. Swipe spam is totally back.

Tanking in Legion is really, really good right now for all classes. Druids are especially in a unique position where their stats seem rather unique. They prioritize Versatility >= Mastery > Haste > Agility > Crit. Having the primary stat so much lower is unusual for me.

Bear tanks rely on armor and health vs. avoidance like several other tanks. They also don’t have the Warrior “I Win” button, but isntead keep stacks of ironfur up throughout the fight. I don’t think that makes them any better (probably the opposite), just different.

Add in a healing offspec (always nice), a cool story/class order hall, and awesome looking gear… makes for a good package.

Legion is NOT Alt Friendly

Herein lies the problem. In Legion, the game punishes you for playing alts.  Your main character has a HUGE mountain to climb. In the beginning it’s wanting to get rep to unlock more dungeons, but that’s only the beginning. Then there’s the RNG gear grind, and ultimately the Artifact Power grind. It’s the AP that makes alting feel impossible. Heck, it makes alt-specs feel impossible.

I can dedicate at least an hour a day M-Th to my Druid. Maybe more. Then on Fri-Sun I can dedicate even more.

Now technically my Hunter is at a place where I can only ‘progress’ with my group of friends. That means raiding 2x a week and Mythic+ dungeons a few nights a week. But it’s the AP grind that makes me feel like I have to be doing more to unlock more ranks in my artifact.

The entire debate is entirely over opportunity cost.

Druid or Hunter Main?

I’m torn. I really like my Hunter, but I really like the Druid. I like the options a Druid presents. I like the necessity of tanks/heals vs. being just another DPS.

My current plan is simply this: Keep playing my Hunter as normal, but take every opportunity to catch my Druid up. If my druid ever catches up or gets close enough to participate in group events… I might make that change.

  • I went Boomkin on my main wayyy back when they first released the Moonkin transformation. 🙂 I’m very fond of the druid class as, as you said, so much variance to how you can play it. I can still hear the cries of “chain pull chain pull! Follow the bear!” as we raced after our main tank while raiding. 😀 You should totally go Druid! Hopefully all these hours will push you past your three month mmo span. 😉

  • Ill have to agree with you on Hunter, as a dps I cant ever seem to get a regular mythic dungeon no matter what.

    I Have a DK tank ive been working on and have pretty much given up on the hunter for now. It just seems so much easier to get a mythic group as a tank.

  • Do you know if artifact knowledge work orders get faster the farther you are behind? If a couple of those complete in a week you can get a good amount of artifact power pretty quickly. I’m switching characters myself but not 110 yet on the new one.

  • Play both and whichever gets a legendary first is your new main!

    In all seriousness, its not so bad playing an alt especially when your main is at the point it is like you said. You can even “ignore” your main for a day or 2 and not miss out due to how the emissary quests work.

    Gear grind isn’t so bad, that was always present in every expansion.

    Being behind in AP, and more importantly AK, sucks. I think the AK catch-up is a bit undertuned. Your first one may take 2 days then the rest are back to the normal 4 or 5 or whatever it is and then you’ll always be behind.

    Worst part IMO is the nightfallen rep grind just to unlock 2 dungeons (and maybe a raid later on?). Needs a catch-up mechanic or to be account wide.

  • @Sigmoneous they do but its not as fast as you’d probably like. I think if you were to hit 110 today and start the work orders the first one might be 1 or 2 days but then the rest would be normal or 1 day shorter. I would have hoped that it would catch you up eventually over a long period of time but that doesnt seem to be the case.

  • Bear, Cat, Boomkin, or Tree, oh my!
    Druids FTW!

    I like you had a hunter. Great for everything but they’re just boring over powered. I love the fact that I can change my mind and play a different spec on a whim. Yes artifact power is a pain, but we’ve only been playing about a month into the expansion. I’m sure through time, it will get easier especially as the artifact research is being done in the order hall. You’ll tank/heal into AP quickly.

  • I love druids, I have been highly debating one as well, but for me it would be as an alt. I love my Enhance shaman too much to switch over completely, but have been looking at a “main” alt as well. Torn between Druid/DK/DH/Priest at the moment. I really want to play mage but I hear horrible things about frost even after the recent hotfix buff and that would be the type I wanted to play. If I went druid I would most likely main spec Boomkin Offspec Guardian as well (I hate healing unless it’s a disc priest).

    Right now my main alt is a Vengeance DH and I do like it, quite a lot. I will say as much as I love my Shaman, it feels so much better even at only 106 to do quests and world stuff as I am not teetering on death all the time with multi pulls like on my shammy who has just enough self healing to pull it off, but not enough to feel comfortable with it.

    Plus I love the tanking playstyle and how easy it is to spot a bad DH tank from a good one. Bad ones don’t use leap for AoE only distance despite having 2 charges, don’t keep a charge of pain spikes rolling, don’t use all their sigils which when used properly gives DH tanks 3 ways to interrupt, don’t don’t use immolation on CD, etc. It’s amazing how much difference there is between a good DH tank and a bad DH tank and it makes me love it. Not sure if they still can do it after the nerf recently to mitigation / healing but before that I solo’d normal eye of azshara for the quest on my DH tank.

  • My main is BM hunter. My dps in dungeons and solo has been great. I just finished emerald nightmare raid and my dps on bosses is pretty low. Unfortunately I’m going to have to try MM for raiding and play both. I love alts but I don’t have time for all the grinding. I don’t like how there are several classes that can’t compete dps wise even though you have the item level and hit your rotation perfectly. You getter booted even when you did everything right.

  • @Sleepysam: I would do it. 🙂

    @Maddogn: I’m in the same boat. Mythic+ my DPS is great. On trash my DPS is almost the best. On raid bosses… ick. I too much have to try Marksman.

  • @Maddogn: There are only a couple of specs that can’t compete DPS wise and ever class has at least one spec that can.

    Looking at logs for normal EN, only counting people who are at least average or above (so 50th percentile or above for their class), the average DPS for BM hunter is 182k, where as the average for the top spec is only 219k, which is only 37k DPS which isn’t a huge difference. The bottom spec (Frost Mage) is at 146k which is an outlier as the next lowest (arcane mage) is 170k. The top is a slight outlier as well (Enh Shaman) at 219k vs the next highest (assassination rogue) as 211k. The top ranged spec is MM hunter at 208k as well but I’ve never seen people kicked for being the wrong spec. And there will always be rankings but the difference between in your case BM and the very top is only 16% which isn’t horrible and can partially be made up for in skill.

    Even if you do the rotation correctly as well, the neck enchants/artifact traits/trinkets play a HUGE part in DPS.

    For example, the optimal neck enchant for my class (mark of hte hidden satyr for enhance) alone adds 10k DPS. My 2nd golden trait (Unleash Doom) is worth another 10-15K DPS depending on procs. Moving from an 840 Agi/Mast trinket (best non proc tinket) so an 845 Plaguehive off LFR Nyth… was worth about another 5k DPS just from a trinket. Moving from an 840 Corrupted Starlight to an 835 Devilsaur Shock-Baton was about a 7k increase in DPS for me as well because of how much better the proc off DSB is than the corrupted starlight. We have a BM Hunter in our guild who consistently pulls ~200k DPS on bosses, and is usually within the top 4 out of a 20 man raid and was Ilvl 848 as of Thursday.

    Yes some specs will be better, some classes will be better, but looking at logs there isn’t a huge enough difference that you shouldn’t be able to pull your weight in raids (unless your a frost mage) which should be all that matters to raids that aren’t in full on progression mode.

  • I just hit 110 on my druid as my first alt. It’s been incredibly fun, although amusingly enough I went in thinking guardian was my spec, with resto offspec and neither balance or feral feeling that fun to me. That has really changed as I leveled to 110, with guardian feeling very eh compared to the fun I have on my blood DK, balance being the spec I am enjoying the most, and feral actually being surprisingly playable even if there are some aspects to it I still don’t like. And I may very well just stick to resto now anyway, I still haven’t committed!

    I’m sort of getting all 4 of my artifacts up to the big leap in AP needed at 13, and then I will decide which to pursue further. And in the end, I may just start leveling my warrior instead and let AK tick up on the druid while slowly gearing up just doing emissary world quests!

    Still having a lot of fun.

  • I think you and I like the same thing. How to take a pounding and heal ourselves while keeping the raid alive. I haven’t played wow in years but I remember those dps trackers and thought those were terrible for mmos. Sounds like you are seeing that now.

  • @keen: When you talk about bosses who have 500,000,000+ its not that much. I will agree people kicking just because of a spec is dumb. Our guild cleared all of normal and part of heroic EN with most our dos bein in the 20th percentile or lower on dps compared to the same ilvl bracket so optimal dps isn’t even needed outside of mythic EN progression. And aside from the outliers the classes and even specs are closer than they have been in a long time if ever. Especially as you start looking at comparing at higher percentiles where there’s less loss from errors.

  • @Drathmar: Well until this expansion I didn’t go beyond LFR and heroic dungeons. I guess I’m not used to how fine tuned the harder stuff is.
    I was talking about getting kicked for low dps. Not the wrong spec. My wife plays unholy deathknight. Her dps was low. She followed the spec and rotation correctly and was i846. 20 points in artifact. She changed one talent and saw 30k increase. We play a lot and have not had a legion legendary drop yet. It feels a little too tuned and cookie cutter. We haven’t bothered with enchants yet either.
    Oh and she didn’t even want to play unholy. She has always been frost but the dps was lacking. Also if everybody is so close in dps then I wonder why I’m the only ranged dps in these raids.
    I guess I just want more freedom to choose my spec and talent tree and not feel bad for underperforming.

  • @Maddogn: I am actually agreeing on it being stupid that people are kicked for low DPS, as unless its like lower than 150K DPS or so on Heroic Raids it shouldn’t matter, or lower than 100K on Normal raids. The thing is the raids aren’t fine tuned or much harder, at least emerald nightmare. As I mentioned, 95% of the DPS in our raid (all but like 2 of us) were doing so bad DPS wise we were worse than all but 20% of the people playing and still were able to clear heroic nyth, dragons, and ursoc.

    The funny thing about you mentioning it being cookie cutter is it’s currently the least cookie cutter I have seen it for most classes, including unholy DK. Just looking at guides for UH DK and only 2 of the levels have a cookie cutter much take this talent. Every other tier has at least 2 choices and a couple of the tiers all 3 choices are viable. However you mentioned Frost as well which is mostly cookie cutter at the moment. I’ve looked through the specs and about 50% are cookie cutter 50% aren’t and have real choices at almost every tier if not every tier (Balance druids have an amazing talent tree for being able to choose what you want). I know there has been mention that they are looking to better this starting in 7.1 as well, they just can’t do anything other than pure number changes with a hotfix instead of a full patch.

    Also while yes Frost is worse than Unholy that doesn’t mean you have to play Unholy. If she wants to play Frost the spec pulls enough DPS to clear at least through heroic raid content. Unless someone is pushing for Mythic raid progression then no one should be kicked for playing a spec. I’ve ran with frost DK’s and they are completely viable as of Tuesday.

    Which is my point. There is only one spec at the moment that is so low that it isn’t completely viable to play up through heroic raids, which is Frost Mage even after the buffs on Tuesday. If anyone is telling you different then they are elitist as no one should be making a big deal out of it below either Mythic +6 dungeons or Mythic Raids.

    As for DPS lacking with Frost she might want to try it again. Its in a better place after the hotfix last Tuesday (26th) where they got some pretty significant buffs:

    Remorseless Winter damage increased by 50%.
    Obliterate damage increased by 19%.
    Frost Strike damage increased by 12%.
    Howling Blast damage increased by 10%.
    Frostscythe (Talent) damage increased by 13%.
    Frozen Pulse (Talent) damage increased by 11%.
    Breath of Sindragosa (Talent) damage increased by 17%

    Before then Frost DK was definitely an outlier as well that you are right, was lacking. But as of now it is not top but it is definitely more middle of the pack which means completely viable. Frost DK’s are averaging 203k DPS in heroic emerald nightmare, compared to 213K with Unholy… so it’s not a huge difference.

    And you mention being the only Ranged in your raids. In mine there is usually 2 – 4 DPS max with the majority being ranged, with them being 3 mages (one arcane), 2 hunters (one BM, one MM), 1 Warlock (who destroys everyone in DPS despite most people saying all 3 specs are middle of the pack at best), 2 balance druids who are pretty high despite them being low middle of the pack, and a shadow priest.

  • Legion “seems” alt UNfriendly because it has a HUGE wall blocking mechanic called artifact power, but gaining artifact power scales insanely with getting ranks of artifact knowledge. Just visit wowhead and check out the AK ranks and you will notice that unfortunately you only need to wait for your rank to ramp up (every FIVE days) and you will notice that artifact power is a piece of cake.

    WoW players on the other hand are not used to such a thing and are indeed burning out on AP stacking. I have yet to find a golden rule myself tbh.

    The only thing that is absolutely true is that 100 AP at the start (0 rank) is gonna be yielding 25000 AP on level 25 rank (25*5 = 225 looooooooong DAAAAAAAYS or approx. 7,5 months). Although to max out 1 artifact you need 5 MILLION AP and if you take into account 20 bonus ranks after the traits you need a whopping 65 MILLION AP, so at this time you can ONLY wait it out (or burn out).

  • The research only benefits the character it’s on, correct?

    So my hunter does research to make gaining AP easier, but that doesn’t help my Druid at all. I have to do the research on my Druid too. Then there’s the actual act of gaining the AP, researched for improvement or not.

    Technically, Legion becomes less and less alt friendly the longer you wait to start your alts. If you started both characters on day one and managed to get them to the point of research then perhaps it’s a different story.

  • AP research grows short the more time has passed since release, so there is a sort of catch-up. Even so, it is pretty easy to keep up with AP, especially getting to somewhere in the mid twenties is very doable (and will go a lot faster on later created alts), en the power gains afterwards are rather minimal.
    I think the most unaltfriendly is the suramar rep grind to unlock the dungeons. The AP grind is something that feels and looks massive, but it really is not, and impact is relatively small.

    About the rest of the article.

    Yay Druids! I main my guardian as well, and benched my hunter due to not liking how clunky the gameplay feels.
    Regarding offspecs, I understand the need for options, but if you want to consistently use the druid, have a dps spec as offspec. Switching between tank and healer is rarely a good fit for raidteams.

    Regarding tanking, guardians are in a great spot, and keeping the armor buffs up makes us a rather consistant and non spiky tank. We don’t have warrior tank I-win button, but no spec does at the moment, warriors are hands down the strongest tank.

    I have no idea why you say tanking is alike to wotlk, as I can’t imagine it being farther away. Wotlk was all about mangle and maul spam to gain aggro. No active mitigation existed. Now maul isn’t even on the bars, you just do your 4 button dps order, and skill comes from active mitigation usage.

  • 15-16 traits are easily obtainable. After that it does not “worth” to bother to grind artifact power before you reach at least level 4 knowledge…

    I better play my alt, rather than spend hours to get to ~10-20% of my next trait.. When the Artifact Knowledge kick in, I will reach that trait in a game session or 2…

    I think 15-16 traits are more than enough for mythic+ dungeons. I do them with my Paladin(Holy/Tank) and Warrior(DPS / Tank) and managed to get to +8. Both my characters have max 14-15 traits in their role.

  • @Caldazar: I’ll have to talk to my raid team, but I’m pretty sure they’d need me most as Tank with heals off-spec.

    The reason I feel like tanking (for Druid) is back to WotLK is Swipe spam. 😛 They removed it in Cataclysm (or even toward the end of WotLK? I can’t remember).

    I feel like Druid definitely have that DPS tank feel again.

    @John: I think this is something I have to get past mentally. I feel like the opportunity cost is huge if I’m not progressing all of my characters in AP every day… but you’re right. Waiting then doing it when it’s faster is only a slight decrease in immediate gains/performance. I could wait, then do it quickly and be caught up. The result is that I burn out less on a grind and have more fun in the moment.