wotlk classic druid leveling guide
  • Author: Oxykitten
  • Date: September 7, 2022
  • Expansion: WotLK Classic

Welcome to our Druid leveling guide for WoW: Wrath of the Lich King Classic! Druids are one of Azeroth’s most unique classes, using their shapeshifting abilities to suit the needs of their group. Shapeshifting allows them to deal damage, tank, or heal; this versatility is great for leveling with others and makes the class a lot of fun to play.

The best talent specialization to level in depends on how you choose to level. Balance is a strong spec for group content, but finding groups as a DPS player can be challenging if you don’t have a group planned already. For joining random groups or leveling on your own, Feral is the way to go. Therefore, this guide will cover the playstyle, talent builds, and stat priorities for solo leveling as a Feral druid.

NOTE: If you are already a level 70 Druid and just want to know the best way to get from 70 to 80, read the tab below as a tl;dr for WotLK leveling.

There are two main ways to level from 70 to 80: either spam dungeons, or quest in the open world. If you prefer to spam dungeons, this is best done with a group of people you know (guild members, for example) who you will stay grouped with until you reach level 80. In this case, you can level as whichever spec the group needs you in; Feral to tank, Balance to DPS, or Resto to heal. If your group is flexible, I would say that Balance is the best druid spec for group leveling due to the high AoE damage it provides from level 70 onwards.

If you do not have a group of people you know, but wish to level in dungeons, I recommend going Feral to tank. Tanks are generally in short supply and therefore find PuG groups relatively quickly and easily. Additionally, well-geared feral tanks can solo dungeons to level (albeit rather slowly, making the overall experience gains similar to group content).

If you wish to level on your own through quests, I recommend going Feral as well, and this is what this guide focuses on. Feral has very little downtime as it does not use mana as a damaging resource, allowing you to heal yourself between pulls and virtually never stop to eat or drink.

Additionally, the increased movement speed from Feral Swiftness and the 4-piece level 70 Arena gear bonus (Feral Move Speed Increase, which I very highly recommend getting and using) allows you to move at near mount speed at all times and get quests done quickly. Refer to the rest of this guide for specific information on talents, glyphs, etc. But, effectively, running around as a cat and spamming Mangle (Cat) on mobs you need to kill for quests is a fast and effective way to level on your own.

Pros to Leveling a Druid

  • Easy to level.
  • Low downtime leveling — low mana usage and ability to self-heal means no stopping to eat and drink between encounters.
  • Feline SwiftnessTravel Form, and Flight Form increase movement speed between mobs and objectives without needing to mount up — particularly good when paired with the 4-piece arena set bonus.
  • Excellent soloing capabilities thanks to Bear Form and self-healing.
  • Able to fill tank, heal, or DPS roles in groups.

Cons to Leveling a Druid

  • First 10-20 levels can be tough without Bear Form and then Cat Form.
  • Lower damage output than pure damage-dealing classes when attacking from the front, as you cannot use Shred.
  • Feral DPS is quite weak in dungeons before level 80 — you will likely need to tank or heal to get into groups.

General Leveling Tips

Leveling is no small feat, and you will spend a significant amount of time getting to level 80. You can shorten this duration with some of the following tips, but your biggest focus should be on having fun. This ultimately comes down to picking the right class for your desired gameplay, but it also means taking time to enjoy the journey.

Here are some helpful tips to make the leveling process simpler and hassle-free:

  • Try to fight enemies one at a time. It can often take you several seconds, or even a minute or two just to kill one enemy. When you throw another into the mix, you’re receiving double the damage while having double the health pool to clear through! This is a quick recipe for death, so pull slow and steady!
  • Make sure to fight enemies and do quests that are close to your level. Too low of a level and they will give few experience points; too high of a level and they will be too difficult to beat in good time.
  • Grouping up is almost always beneficial. Even though Druids make fantastic soloing classes, they’re perfect for any group. Grouping up will allow you to tread into much more dangerous areas and quickly dispatch targets with focused fire from multiple characters.
  • Don’t run out of food and water! While Druids can usually get on without stopping for a drink, you should always have food and water in your bags in case you do run out of mana.
  • AddOns like Questie help you find quest objectives; these are very helpful to level faster but can also feel less immersive than finding things on your own.

Druid-Specific Gameplay Advice

  • Druids have two buffs they can use: Mark of the Wild increases your armor, stats, and spell resistances, while Thorns deals damage to anyone that attacks you. Both are helpful and should be kept up at all times.
  • Use your mana sparingly; heal yourself between encounters and stay shapeshifted to deal damage while regenerating your mana. The more mana you regenerate, the less downtime you’ll have from stopping to eat and drink.
  • When traveling between locations, quests, or even monsters, you’ll always want to use Travel Form for quicker movement speed. If you know you can benefit from the full 15 second duration, use Dash whenever it is available for even quicker traveling!
  • If you only want to pull one enemy, but there’s another nearby, use Entangling Roots or Hibernate to keep one at bay!

Stat Priorities and Gearing

Although stat priorities are not ideal for determining what the best gear is at level 80, gear while leveling is simpler, and you can’t go wrong by picking up any gear upgrades with the relevant stats for your class. The stats for a Feral druid are ranked and described below:

Your strongest stat. Agility increases your attack power in Cat Form, and your critical strike chance in all forms. It also increases your self-healing through Nurturing Instinct, as well as increasing your dodge chance.

These stats all increase your damage output and are very similar in value. Note that attack power is about half as valuable as the rest, but items have twice as much attack power as other stats to balance this out.

Your next best stat is going to be stamina. This increases your max health, allowing you to soak more hits and giving you extra time before needing to cast a heal.

This will increase your out-of-combat health and mana regeneration, which means less downtime eating and drinking. This indirectly increases your leveling speed.

You’ll also want intellect, but it isn’t as important as any other stat above. This will increase your maximum mana pool, allowing you to cast more spells. Most of your time will be spent in Cat Form, making mana much less important.

NOTE: Keep in mind that stat 1 through 3 are all very similar in value; for example, you should use 2 Strength over 1 Agility.

Armor and Weapons

Armor: For the most part, simply use leather physical DPS gear with the highest item level you have access to and you’re good to go.

Weapons: Note that in WotLK, all weapons provide Feral Attack Power based on weapon DPS; always use the weapon with the best overall stats, including this attack power. Druids can use staves, maces, polearms, and daggers, but Ferals will basically always want to use a two-handed weapon for more Feral attack power.

Rotation

Caster (level 1-10):

  1. Cast Wrath until your target dies. Engaging gameplay, I know.

Bear (level 10-20):

  1. Pull with Faerie Fire (Feral).
  2. Maul.
  3. Swipe if you have multiple enemies at once, or if you have excess rage.

Cat (level 20-80):

  1. Pull with Faerie Fire (Feral).
  2. Berserk (from level 60 onwards).
  3. Tiger’s Fury when low on energy (from level 51 onwards).
  4. Maintain Savage Roar (from level 75 onwards).
  5. Maintain Rake if using Glyph of Rake.
  6. If at 4 or 5 combo points, use Rip if your target will take over 12 seconds to die, or Ferocious Bite if your target will take under 12 seconds to die.
  7. Claw (before level 50) / Mangle (from level 50 onwards).

NOTE: The above priority order may seem complicated, but effectively you’ll just use Claw / Mangle until you reach high combo points, and then usually use Bite to finish off your target.

Talent Path

The talent tree shown below is an example of a purely solo-leveling focused spec. If you do any Feral DPS in group content, you should pick up Shredding Attacks and Rend and Tear, and if you do any tanking, you should pick up Protector of the Pack and Survival Instincts. Alternatively, you can level just fine in either of the PvE tank or DPS specs, or a mix of the two. I personally will be leveling with a spec closer to this, with a mix of solo leveling and occasional tanking within the same spec.

feral levelling spec wotlk 1
feral levelling spec order wotlk 2

Glyphs

There are a few glyphs to choose from while leveling as Feral. These too will be affected by whether you choose to solo level, or do group content.

Major Glyph 1

  • Level 10-20:
    • Glyph of Maul: This glyph is great while leveling from 10-20 to take on multiple enemies at once, but is only useful after that if leveling through tanking.
  • Level 20-50:
    • Glyph of Claw: This glyph is recommended for solo leveling before getting Mangle. After that, you no longer use claw.
  • Level 50-80:
    • Glyph of Mangle: This glyph is recommended for solo leveling and tanking group content.

Major Glyph 2

  • Level 30-75:
    • Glyph of Rake: Convenient for solo leveling, but not hugely valuable so can be swapped out for anything else.
  • Level 75-80:

Other Major Glyph Options

  • Glyph of Maul: This glyph is recommended for feral tanking in group content, but is unlikely to be useful for solo leveling once cat form is unlocked.
  • Glyph of Shred: This glyph is recommended for Feral DPS in group content, but is unlikely to be useful while leveling.
  • Glyph of Rip: This glyph is recommended for Feral DPS in group content, but is unlikely to be useful while leveling.

Minor Glyph 1

Minor Glyph 2

Minor Glyph 3

  • Glyph of Thorns: Thorns is a fine buff to keep up, and refreshing it every 10 minutes can be a pain.

Other Minor Glyphs

Abilities to Train

Everything! While you can function with only the abilities listed above for solo leveling, a Druid’s greatest strength is their versatility and toolkit. Make good use of it and train any ability you can afford and think you will use.

Professions

Don’t worry too much about professions while leveling — they tend to slow your progress and are faster to level once you reach level 80. That said, they can be fun to level and provide a break from the grind, so do what makes you happy! For a rundown of what professions provide at max level, check our PvE Druid guides: Feral Tank / Feral DPS / Balance / Restoration.


Thank you for taking the time to read our Druid leveling guide for WotLK. I hope it was helpful, and if you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment below, or find me as Oxy on the Druid Classic Discord.

 

About the Author

Oxykitten

I've been an avid WoW player since Vanilla. At 6 years old, I was slowly progressing through Blackfathom Deeps and levelling up with my brothers. Since Classic Wow launched, I've found a new way to enjoy the game; participating in Feral Druid theorycrafting communities and performing well in an underdog class has been a fun challenge. I hope to be able to share all I've learned with anyone who shares that interest!
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