For leveling 100 to 110 in Legion, the artifact weapons have a large impact on your leveling choices. If you want to see what traits to pick up for your resto weapon, see my Resto end-game guide. You get your first artifact weapon at level 100 and then you can pick up all of the other 3 druid artifact weapons at level 102. For leveling, you basically have 3 options:
- Resto artifact weapon at 100 -> Pick up DPS (balance/feral) artifact at 102.
- DPS (balance/resto) artifact at 100 -> Pick up Resto artifact at 102.
- Stick with resto from 100 to 110 & ignore off-spec artifacts entirely.
Any of the three above approaches are viable for early leveling, depending on your particular situation. Keep in mind that if you go with a DPS artifact first, you won’t be able to heal dungeons for the first two levels. It’s almost always worth doing the quests to unlock all 3 of your off-spec weapons just because you get experience and really awesome looking weapons out of the quests, with no side-effects simply for owning an off-spec weapon. Ultimately, there are several questions that you will want to think about as you are leveling.
Can you solo quest level as resto?
Yes, restoration with one of the affinity talents is perfectly fine for leveling in Legion. In fact, resto druids get talents that allow for the fastest leveling speed for healers. You get a pretty good DPS toolset for your off-spec. There is no reason you should HAVE to level as a DPS spec if you want to level resto, given how strong the Affinity talents are. The rotations are also simplified in your Affinity spec, so you won’t have to learn overly complicated rotations for leveling as resto with an affinity spec.
Also, with the new shared mob system tapping, you can always tag things other people are attacking and follow people around some to speed up questing.
Is DPS leveling faster?
DPS leveling with artifact > Healer leveling with artifact > DPS leveling with NO artifact (See relevant testing from Healiocentric). This means that you need the DPS artifact weapon to be able to DPS level. If you pick up the DPS weapon first, then you can’t heal for the first 2 levels. So, if people are relying on you for dungeons on Day 1, then you are far better off starting resto & picking up DPS specs later on. You can always pick up a DPS weapon or go guardian for leveling at 102, even if if you start as resto. There isn’t much of a punishment if you want to change your mind and level as DPS after 102.
Overall, if you want to be able to heal dungeons at level 100, or if you are leveling with a group you are still far better off starting as resto & simply focusing on your resto artifact as you level.
What if I really want to level guardian?
Guardian has good survivability and does decent damage, so if you pick up a guardian artifact, then you are welcome to try guardian leveling. Some people seem to enjoy guardian more than resto or a DPS spec, particularly since you can survive having multiple things beating on you while you AOE them down in bear form as guardian spec. The increased survivability while pulling groups of mobs at a time can be effective (but likely less effective if you only pull 1 thing at a time). Basically, you can be a fluffy bear all you want if it works for you. The nice thing about having access to all 4 weapons at level 102 is that you can try any spec you want.
What about relics for my artifacts?
You want to equip whatever the highest ilevel relics you can to a weapon, even at max level. In the words of Spoonzilla, “Traits only matter if it’s within 5ilvl… maybe 10 if it’s a really good trait versus a really bad one. But weapon ilvl is uber important.”
For quest rewards, you can change your loot setting to get relics for the appropriate spec you want relics for (e.g., if you want resto relics while leveling balance, set your loot spec to resto). If you start leveling as DPS, it’s fine to put your first few relics into your DPS weapon to make leveling faster. You get at least one relic per zone when you clear the main story questline. There are also relics from dungeons and some can be crafted via professions, so you can buy relics from the Auction House if you get desperate. It’s only around level 107+ that you need to worry about prioritizing relics for your main weapon for getting end-game relics. When you add a new relic to a weapon, it will delete the previous relic and replace what trait is equipped to the new equipped weapon trait. Keep in mind that you will unlock the third relic slot towards the end of your artifact campaign at max level. When you get towards the end of the campaign, try to hold onto a spare Life relic to slot in your 3rd relic slot.
What about traits for my artifacts?
As a resto druid, you should be prioritizing artifact traits for your “main” resto weapon. However, artifact power (AP) is applied to whatever your equipped weapon is. Most artifact power comes from items that you have to click on to apply power to your equipped weapon. If you level balance, you can save up the AP items and apply them to your main resto weapon any time you want.
You can put 13 points into the traits of an off-spec weapon without hurting your main-spec artifact much at all. So, early on, it won’t hurt you to invest some traits in an off-spec weapon. Beyond the 13 point, there are big trade-offs as to how far you might choose to go for multi-spec for artifacts if you want to dual-spec in raids at max level. After 13 traits, you want to finish your main weapon & then come back. Be careful though, because whatever weapon you have equipped is the one that the AP applies to. On beta, I accidentally used AP items on the wrong weapon from time to time – which slowed down my artifact leveling.
What about trinkets as I level?
Keep in mind that crafted trinkets or dungeon trinket drops will typically be fairly strong for starting out with 110 raiding. So, if you end up with a few DPS quest trinkets as you level, it won’t hurt you all that much. Dungeon trinkets will also end up being better than leveling trinkets for your raid prep. So, taking a few off-spec DPS trinkets from questing early on won’t matter all that much. You can also set your loot spec to resto at higher levels if you level/solo as a DPS spec and don’t want to grab DPS trinkets or other DPS gear.
What about legendary item drops when soloing at 110?
You can always set your loot spec to resto if you are soloing as a DPS spec, even for wold quests at max level. You will want to equip whatever world drop legendary items you get first, since you won’t get a lot of choice early on. I haven’t yet seen a single legendary item in beta. The wowhead resto guide has artifact advice if you end up being lucky enough to make choices.
If you want to pick up Resto and stick with it for all your soloing needs, then your Affinity talent will be perfectly sufficient. Your resto artifact increases your Affinity DPS enough that your artifact (with relics slotted to increase your weapon ilevel) is uber important. Do your leveling & solo questing as whatever spec you want. Enjoy Legion!