So, I wanted to take a break from my regularly scheduled crying about how frustrating high level healing is on Beta (especially with the 84 & 85 quests not itemized) to talk about something much more exciting – druid leveling from 1 to 20!
So, now we have 4 different races to choose from when leveling a new druid, which gives us 4 starter zones: Night Elf & Worgen for the Alliance, and Tauren & Troll for the Horde. Trolls even have a new level 1 to 5 starter experience that I tried out a couple times and have had a lot of fun with.
The new talent trees are actually better for people who are new to the game and starting out leveling, since it will be harder to make the wrong decision (like going and putting 10 points in each talent tree at the start), as there should be fewer bad talent traps for people to fall in.
The biggest improvement for druids, however, is the level at which we get early abilities in the 1 to 20 level range.
Leveling 1 to 20 as feral in Cataclysm:
- You still have to caster level from 1 to 8, which shouldn’t be that bad, given the staring area questing improvements and having pretty much unlimited mana.
- At level 8, you get: Cat form, claw, Rake, & Ferocious Bite.
- At level 10, you get mangle
- At level 15, you get: bear form, maul, growl, & demo roar (engough tanking abilities to start tanking).
Leveling 1 t0 20 as balance:
- From 1 to 8, you pick up: wrath, moonfire, thorns, roots & starfire.
- At level 10, you get Starsurge from the talent tree.
- At level 20, you get insect swarm.
So, both feral & balance druids have enough spells & abilities to level fairly quickly up to 20 and beyond!
For feral, getting cat form at level 8 is a HUGE quality of life improvement, and you still get bear form at the level where the random dungeon system opens up and you can start tanking. I have had a lot of fun leveling a lowbie troll kitty druid up to the mid/late 30’s just because cat form has been so much fun for leveling through all the new & improved quest zones.
Balance druid leveling hasn’t been changed that much, with the biggest improvement for leveling coming from having starsurge as our level 10 balance spell. The knockdown effect helps with survivability, since it reduces the damage you take. As a cooldown ability, starsurge has higher burst damage and will help to break up rotations so that they feel less spammy. They also gave us starfire earlier. In addition, insect swarm is trainable now, rather than a talent, which means you actually get Insect Swarm earlier now than you used to, as well.
They seem to be front-loading a lot of our damage abilities so that we have access to more buttons sooner for feral & balance. An earlier cat form means that feral druids can now actually be feral druids sooner, and overall the changes to leveling design will make druids actually fun to level from 1 to 20, rather than the first 20 levels being what you wanted to get past so that the fun could start.
So, at the very least, I’m excited to start my new worgen druid when Cataclysm comes out in a few months. I’ve even avoided doing alliance leveling quests from level 15 to 60, so that I could have some fun surprises in store for me when I started on my leveling adventure. This is the one thing I am really excited about.