Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Worgen Druid Starter Kit

One of my concrete plans for Cataclysm is to roll a new toon. I mentioned it in passing yesterday, but I wanted to talk about it more in-depth today.  The decision is simple, obviously, and certainly not unique.  They're going back and redoing all of the early areas, so of course a lot of folks are going to want to experience that.  I'm no exception.  I've never been a big alt guy (I only have two max level toons in 3+ years of playing), but give me fresh content and I'll give it a shot.

As an aside: I do have several low level toons of each different race just to get a feel for the starting areas, but I never stuck with it once I hit the spot where I was revisiting areas.

In any case, I was easily convinced by the promises of Cataclysm to roll and alt.  The question then becomes: what class?  I could debate over race too, but with new races being added, it made that easy.  If you're Alliance, of course you want to at least try a Worgen. 

Back to class.  At first, I really thought I wanted to play a Shaman, but that isn't an option for Worgen.  One of the keys for my future alt was that it have the option to heal.  I have a straight DPS toon in my 'lock and a tank option in my DK; a healer option would round out my corps.  My current toons also represent a clothie and a plate wearer.  Really, in the absence of a Shammy option, leather seemed the way to go, which obviously meant Druid.  Simply, it was the class that met all my criteria. 

So, once I'd decided on rolling a Druid, it only made sense to investigate what sort of heirloom gear I could deck it out with in order to expedite the leveling process.  Not that I don't want to see the sights, just that I don't want to have to worry about experience gains.  I should get more than enough with a 20% boost.  Plus, I'm not doing this for the challenge of leveling or anything.  Being a bit OP isn't a big deal.

My planning consisted of two parts.  First, I asked Fuu to generate me a shopping list of heirloom spellpower leather gear.  She'd already done the heirloom thing, so it was familiar territory for her.  Plus, she's a gear list champ.  (Tanks... amirite?).  Second, I threw up a few questions I had yesterday to you, dear readers.  I got some great responses, so thanks for all that. Based on feedback, here's what I see to be the popular wisdom out there right now, and/or some tips that could help you if you're thinking of going a similar route.
  • I'm going to level with as much of a balance spec as I can muster with the new tree system.  I will give priority to healing, but look to enhance my spell DPS as well.  Conventional wisdom is that Feral is probably the easiest leveling spec, but balance isn't bad either.  It's important to remember that my leveling is predominantly in a duo with Fuu; I rarely solo.  Thus, it won't be as bad for me to level a healer as if I were trying to do go it alone.  I think eventually I'd like to dual spec feral/resto, but that's not going to be for many moons.
  • If you're going to the spellpower route, it may make more sense for you to pick up the cloth heirloom gear.  It's still got great SP stats and can be reused for a lot of the other caster toons.  I'm going leather because cloth bores me.  I've done the cloth thing, and like I said, I'm not really an alt guy anyways.  I doubt I will be rolling more toons with the intention of taking them to max level.
  • I'm still not sure what happens to heirloom gear after they consolidate our currencies.  From what I've heard, heirlooms will clearly still exists, and probably be available for the new "Justice Points" or whatever they end up being called.  The issue I have here is what about things like Crusader's Seals vs. Emblems?  Right now you can get the same gear for different prices.  They're roughly equivalent in effort, but how does that get reconciled when the currency fix gets implemented.  How are Stone Keepers Shards taken into effect?  I'm worried that I'll get a bunch of gold from these things, but then have none of the currency needed to heirloom my baby Druid.  Thus, I'm trying to buy now, at least insofar as what I already have in the bank.  
  • If you fish or PvP a lot: don't forget there is gear available through those routes.  I'm focusing primarily on PvE (though I imagine there will be some BG runs).  I will get a piece of BG gear just because I have the Stone Keeper's Shards, but otherwise I'm not too concerned about it.  I'm not a max level fisherman anywhere either (my 'lock is somewhere around 400), but if you are you can net yourself a nice heirloom ring.
  • Don't forget the enchants!  I haven't gotten there yet, as I'm just now shopping for the gear, but you can get some solid enchants on any and all of your heirloom pieces.  
  • Rumor has it that there will be a couple new heirloom pieces as part of the guild leveling system in Cataclysm.  Keep your eye open for those when it drops.  I believe my entire guild intends to re-roll, but we're smaller too, so who knows what this will make available to me.  I'm certainly not switching guilds, but I'm sure there will be a lot of pure leveling guilds popping up or reviving in the early days of Cataclysm.  Look for one of those if you're interested. 
Some good tips, and pretty much all thanks to some great comments left here yesterday (I did go back and try to look a few things up as well, but I think everyone was pretty much spot on).  I'd like to leave you with the shopping list that Fuu provided me.  I've split it up based on current currency and have bolded what I intend to purchase.  My budget is 900 Stone Keeper shards, 120 Emblems of X, and 40 Champion's Seals.  That's just what I happen to have on me, and I don't really want to farm for a complete set of heirlooms.  Just wanted to use what I have.  Because of how it worked out, I will be farming up 20 more Champion's Seals, just so I can make good on those and use the other currency elsewhere.  I think you'll see it makes sense, and will give a solid leather spellpower starting kit.

Shopping List provided by Fuu:

Stone Keeper's Sharded Gear
Emblematic Gear
Champion of Clubbin' Baby Seal Form Gear


  1. One thing to keep in mind is that at some point in the leveling process, I can't remember at what level exactly, you'll receive an armor bonus for wearing the "correct" armor type; in your case leather. It gives a 5% bonus to your major stat (agility, intellect, spirit, etc), so choosing leather gear is definatly the way to go.

    When I first started collecting heirloom gear I went the Crusader path. Then I learned that I could get them with emblems as well. I don't know about absolute time investment, but it always felt easier to get heirloom gear via dungeon emblems. There is a cap on the number of seals you can get per day, but the only cap on emblems is 'how many dungeons can you run before you decide that eating and sleeping are life options as well'?.

    The shopping list looks great, though. Remember, if you want you can use two of the same trinket (two haste or two SP) - haven't done it myself, but I've seen it on other people.

  2. One note, in Cataclysm, gear will no longer have spell power, only on weapons. Healers will want to stack Spirit, DPS will want to stack Int.

    It may not play a big deal in your over-all gear selection, but you may want to have a few off-tier pieces in your bags, depending on your role.

  3. @ Elkagorasa

    Yeah, I was thinking about that too when I wrote up the list. I kept an eye on the ones that had Spirit on them and the ones that had +Hit on them. Obviously the ones that have Spirit will be "healer" friendly Heirlooms and the +hit will be "DPS" Friendly. What about the vague items? Do you feel that they will remain to be vague or do you feel that blizzard will change the stats so much that each of these pieces will be very identifiable?

    Regardless of the changes, Ful wanted to be capible of both roles (leaning towards Resto) so I dont feel that even if these pieces do change to be more "Healer" or "DPS" centric, he wont really be at a loss. He may need to actually pick up a few none BoA pieces to fill in the gaps if needed ;-)

    On a completely side tracked note: Why are there no BoA Tanking items? WTF Blizzard! Hell, a BoA Shield would do wonders for a leveling Tank.

    Work that out!

    <3 Fuu

  4. I leveled a druid quite recently. My plans were to ultimately be dual spec'ed in forms that start with a "B"... so I leveled that way :

    Feral kitty + feral bear until I got boom, then boomer + bear.

    I have to say that when I transitioned from kitty to 'kin my leveling speed increased drastically*.

    I found that I was able to easily solo elites that were within my level range. I could pull three or four level appropriate mobs and burn them all down... with a few CC options if needed.

    Leveling boom is great.

    * I was wearing copious amounts of heirloom gear in both feral and caster forms, so gear didn't have much to do with the equasion.

  5. Great comments guys.

    -Mastery is clutch, I totally forgot about that.
    -I should have mentioned the trinkets are non-unique. That seems odd considering how many others are unique, but there it is.
    -I think in Cat the gear will be transitioned appropriately... especially since I'm going the leather route and not cloth.
    -I'm excited about the possibilities of Boomkin leveling as well. I mean I can't be tree all the time :-).

  6. I do have to say, even not in BOA gear, the Worgen area is a lot of fun. Approximately each 3rd quest had a new gear drop that fit nicely with my worgen druid. You might want to avoid the heirlooms until you finish the starting zone, just so you don't level out of something too quickly. In many ways, I felt OP for it. On the otherhand, maybe it has changed since I played back in August.

    Oh the tragedy that those reclusive Gilnean's face..

    @Ful - True, and if it's not changed the way you want, there is always reforging. Great way to convert all those current end-game pieces you have..

  7. Oh yeah, reforging is another good point... :-)