MOP Druid leveling guide preview: Talents

With the new talent system being released with the 5.0 MOP pre-patch, I have started working on the newest version of my leveling guide. With the talent changes, I am doing one talent section that covers info for all four specs, since there is a lot of info that would have been redundant if I did one for each of the four specs. Since I spent all day working on the guide, I thought I’d release the talent section early. Please note that it’s subject to change if Blizzard changes talents. Also, keep in mind that the leveling guide is targeting people level 1 to 89, and when you hit 90, you should be looking at end-game guides for talent advice. I’ll have end-game talent suggestions for moonkin & resto druids closer to MOP’s patch day.

Druid Leveling Talents in Mists of Pandaria (patch 5.0):

There is a new talent system which has a set of talents that is shared across all four druid specializations. Choosing your specialization now gives you a bunch of abilities as you level up. Then, you get to choose 6 additional abilities from the talent set. Here, I will briefly explain the sets of options you have and how useful they are to each spec for leveling (your max-level choices may be different). The purpose of these talents is to allow for choice, so I will spend more time explaining what they do than telling you which one to choose.

Level 15: All specializations choose either feline swiftness or wild charge.

  • Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 15% at all times. This is pretty useful for all four specializations.
  • Displacer beast: Teleports you 20 yards away and shifts you into cat form. This talent isn’t useful for anyone because it is too easy to break you out of stealth. Bad for all specs.
  • Wild charge: Gives you a different movement teleport effect depending on your specialization. In caster form, you teleport to the location of your targeted ally.  Moonkin bound backwards 20 yards. Travel form leaps forward 20 yards. Swim form goes faster. Cats jump behind your targeted enemy. Bears charge at their enemy and imobilize them for 4 seconds. Good for everyone except resto druids for leveling.

Level 30:  Resto: choose Nature’s Swiftness or Cenarion Ward. All other specs: Choose nature’s swiftness or Renewal.

  • Nature’s Swiftness: makes your next healing spell, roots, rebirth, or cyclone instant-cast and usable in all forms. This is useful for all specializations.
  • Renewal: Instant cast that heals yourself for 30% of your health. Useful for DPS and tank druids for keeping yourself alive. Less helpful for resto druids where the other options can be used on either yourself or others.
  • Cenarion Ward: A buff you put on your target that will apply a HOT to tick down after they get hit. This could be useful for resto druids, but I’d recommend other specs to pick up one of the more burst heals. In addition, this may not heal very much at lower levels, so one of the other talents could be a better healing talent for leveling.

Level 45: Overall, I prefer typhoon. However, for leveling, your choice of crowd control here doesn’t matter much.

  • Faerie Swarm: Your faerie fire spell slows your target’s movement speed. Situationally useful.
  • Mass Entanglement: Will root multiple targets in place for a short time. Situationally useful.
  • Typhoon: Knocks back your target and dazes (slows) them for a short period of time. Situationally useful.

Level 60: Varies by spec (see below). All of these are designed to help your main role, so any choice ends up being potentially helpful for leveling. Each talent does something different for each specialization.

  • Soul of the forest: Gives balance more solar or lunar energy when you exit Eclipse (good option because it gets you back into an Eclipse faster). Gives feral more energy when you use finishing moves (not as helpful for leveling if things die fast). For Guardian, mangle generates more rage (helpful for leveling as a tank). For resto, using swiftmend makes your next cast spell faster (not as helpful for leveling as resto). The nice part of this is that your bonus is passive so you don’t have to remember to cast it.
  • Incarnation: For balance, increases your damage while Eclipse is active (probably better for grouping than solo). For feral, this gives you a couple different bonuses (probably better for grouping or max level than solo leveling). Guardian: Reduces the cooldown on abilities (good for leveling in instances). Resto: increases your healing done and gives you several nice bonuses (good for leveling in instances).
  • Force of Nature: Summons treants to fight for you. For balance, treants cast wrath & roots (helpful for leveling). For feral, treants do melee damage and can stun the target (helpful for leveling). For guardian, treants taunt (not as helpful for leveling). Resto treants cast Healing Touch (helpful for leveling).

Level 75: Another crowd control tier where it doesn’t matter what talent you choose.

  • Disorienting roar: Disorients all enemies within 10 yards (your targets won’t attack for the duration of the effect, but any damage you do will break the disorient).
  • Ursol’s Vortex: Will slow the movement speed of enemies in the vortex.
  • Mighty bash: A 5 second stun that requires being in melee range.

Level 90: See end-game guides for recommendations once they’ve been released. Heart of the wild‘s passive bonuses are useful for everyone (though the “utility” benefit is less useful), so you can start out with Heart of the Wild and choose your talent based on the end-game content you want to do. The other two talents are more situational.

5 Comments

  1. Daniel
    Posted August 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I understand the lack of love for Displacer Beast at max level but I think it’s a decent leveling talent in PvE questing. It’s a quick flight mechanism. Pop DB, pop travel form, and boom you can run away from anything. Especially useful when Shadowmeld is on CD.

    I don’t think it’s a question of situations so much as play style. I level as cat. Wild Charge holds no interest for me because I don’t often play cat with an opener. I do have a habit of pulling more mobs than I can handle sometimes which is where DB would shine.

    Feline Swiftness is good, though, which makes for a tough choice. Moving 15% faster is always welcome.

    • Lissanna
      Posted August 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Travel form actually gets the 20 yard jump forward as the Wild charge mechanism. You don’t even have to waste time shifting back out of cat form.

  2. Treeboi
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Shouldn’t the first rule of druid leveling be: don’t level as a resto druid?

    I’d even go so far as to say, don’t level as a guardian druid either. Only level as feral or balance.

    If you want to do a dungeon run as a healer or tank, dual spec into resto or guardian, which ever one you have the right gear for.

    Leveling as a resto or guardian is like taking a cross country trip on your bicycle, even though you have a perfectly fine car in the garage.

    • Lissanna
      Posted August 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      There are a significant number of people who level as resto & guardian by only running instances & never questing (along with having a pretty low level at which people can dual-spec). I had a number of requests in Cataclysm for including resto & guardian in leveling stuff. The larger guide (the talents are 1 out of probably 8 or 10 sections) say that you shouldn’t solo quest as resto or guardian.

  3. Treeboi
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    If you are leveling on a PvP server, choose PvP talents. You’ll need them. Especially since outdoor settings will become merged cross-server environments.

    15: Wild Charge, for immobilizing charge.
    30: Nature’s Swiftness, for instant cyclone.
    45: Typhoon, for knockback/daze.
    60: Force of Nature, for the roots or stun.
    75: Disorienting Roar, for the AOE disorient.

    These talent choices assume that you will be defending against the inevitable PvP attack, not initiating it.