Druid

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Druids are a divine magic based casters with a huge variety of spells. There are many types of play styles, whether it be party support and crowd control or focused on instant killing and massive damage. There is also a melee based druid variant.

Contents

HG Customization

  • Languages: Druids can speak Animal and Druidic.
  • Wisdom AC Bonus: At Druid 31, characters with at least one Monk level receive (Wisdom modifier * 2/3) while wearing light armor and a small or large shield, this can give a significant boost to your AC putting you in the range of some of the highest AC builds possible when geared correctly. NOTE:This puts 'pure' Druids at a huge disadvantage from an AC point of view to the point at which making one is not justifiable to make one especially as an item with the Druid +1 caster level Ego can return your spell casting to full power.
  • Shape Shifting: Unarmed weapon focus feats now benefit unarmed forms while shifted.
    • Characters with the Wild Shape feat may take Weapon Specialization and Epic Weapon Specialization in creature weapons in legendary levels.
  • Nature's Allies: At Druid 21 or Ranger 21 and at least 25 character levels, characters can acquire the ability to summon natural allies. The Animal Empathy skill determines the power and shape of those allies.
  • Dragon Shape: Dragon Shape now offers White Dragon and Silver Dragon with HG Enhanced.

Druid Types

Nearly all druids are casters, but there are some lesser used variants that have unique abilities and strengths.

Casters are the most common type of druid. They have a massive variety of spells and epics that accommodate a wide range of play styles and tactics. One of the most important spells expected of Caster Druids is Nature's Balance, which substantially lowers enemy SR so that other casters can successfully land their spells on enemies. Most caster druids have a Monk level for the wisdom AC bonus (see above) and the ability to splash both Discipline and Tumble skills at level 40, in fact if you want to make a survivable Druid build this is considered mandatory leading to an almost total absence of pure druids in HG. Taking only one splash class level enables full caster level through an Ego item giving this bonus.

These are DEX focused melee druids. The spell Storm of Vengeance has been modified to work as Divine Power so Stormlords could achieve decent AB, as well as additional attacks. Nature's Balance has also been modified to give an aura effect SR drop with no save making Stormlords very effective when in the middle of a mass of creatures. Due to their usually low damage output, they are not very common, although they do function as a utility tank with a nice range of buffs and epics.

These builds utilize Dragon Shape, which can achieve extremely high defenses and stats. They have the ability to shift between dragon colors, so have a range of easily accessible damage types. Often they also have a number of Druid epics such as Elemental Shunt and Shroud of Nature for defensive purposes and the Veil of Mists Epic provides shape shifted Druids with immunity to Amnesia while active.

Spell Foci

For druids, like most of HG, have a use for nearly every spell school.

  • Transmutation: The staple of all druids, Transmutation increases the DC of some of your most effective spells such as Cast in Stone, Crumble and also changes Drown from a single target spell to have a radius of effect as per the Implosion spell. Also, having Epic Spell Focus: Transmutation unlocks the HG Epic: Elemental Shunt. Nature's Balance is a staple druid spell but has no saving throw but it's sr debuff is increased by Transmutation Spell Focus Feats. Whilst it is worth taking Transmutation to Paragon Spell Focus to improve your offensive DC the paragon spell is NOT worth taking (it might sound fun but chasing a tiny fast object and trying to kill it before it reverts to its original form is not fun!).
  • Conjuration: The Conjuration focus is very nice if you're looking for lots of crowd control spells. It includes some spells such as Grease, Stonehold, and Vine Mine. It also includes the HG Epic: Shroud of Nature.
  • Abjuration: The abjuration school is mostly used for buffs and debuffs. It's spell selections include Energy Immunity, Greater Dispelling and open up the HG Epic: Nature's Frailty. If you take this school it is worth going to Legendary focus to increase the size of font type spells to huge which will make any tanks in your party extremely happy when fighting in areas with environmental penalties. The paragon spell Rejuvination Field is very handy to keep people active during particularly hard fights.
  • Necromancy: This is probably your most outright offensive spell school for druids. Finger of Death, Infestation of Maggots, Slay Living, Pesticide, Defoliate and the HG Epic: Dust to Dust are all included. Whilst the Paragon spell Stolen Lifeforce is good for the entire party it is debatable whether it is worth taking this over dome of the other Paragon spells.
  • Evocation: This spell focus has many offensive spells. Among these are Earthquake, Sunburst, Fire Storm and Fissure. The HG Epic: Immutable Force is fantastic and considered a must have for druids.
  • Enchantment: A very underused school for druids in HG, this spell school doesn't offer much of anything, including the HG Epic: Summon Earthchild, which is sadly lacking.
  • Illusion: This school is very rare to be seen on caster druids, and is more often seen on Dragon Druids or Stormlords. It's two most notable uses are the increase in %vuln on physical infliction by Creeping Doom and the HG Epic: Veil of Mists.

Play Guide

Staying alive is a difficult part of playing a Druid. Despite having very high AC, this AC is lost when flatfooted. Hence avoiding flatfoot is very important, and is best achieved by always casting spells (always queue spells up in advance, cancel them using the 's' key when they land) and using defensive casting. On top of this, caster Druids have no ability to make STR or DEX checks and hence can be very easily disabled. Since a Druid is always required at the front of spawns for Nature's Balance, avoiding KD checks is hard to achieve, but staying within the Bard's inner UUU radius gives you a good chance. Foundation of Stone can also help in this regard, although it is not without penalties. Foundation immobilizes and roots your feet to the ground, making you immune to knockdown. Unfortunately it also flatfoots you for the duration of the spell, making you very vulnerable. It is a good idea to quickslot or voicebind '/t "Character Name" !cancel 2076', this cancels foundation immediately so you can make good your escape.

The abilities and epics available to Caster druids are endless. The most important among these is Nature's Balance. Due to the large SR drop it offers, many other casters in the party will be relying on enemies to be hit with this. As such Nature's Balance should be the first few spells you queue up when entering a spawn. Make sure tough enemies such as Pit Fiends and Malebranches are NB'd (they turn green) before you move onto other spells. After NB druids have a lot of options available:

  • Bombardment: AOE divine damage. Unfortunately it is lootbreaking so needs to be aimed carefully. Very useful in the asmo fight.
  • Cast in Stone: Petrifies enemies in a cone radius, excellent for crowd control (especially Infernal Machines and Kocrachons).
  • Creeping Doom: Does fantastic Phys vulnerability infliction and damage, although best kept for boss fights since it is slow to take effect. With Illusion focus this is especially powerful.
  • Crumble: This is a quick way to instant kill enemies that have been stoned and a few creatures that are specifically vulnerable to it even when not petrified.
  • Drown: With this you can instant kill enemies in a medium radius, it is very effective at destroying lesser spawns quickly. This spell will often be a priority to cast on Kocrachons, as it is one of the effective ways of stopping their healing ability.
  • Elemental Swarm: Elemental damage to all enemies in a collosal radius. Since the elemental damage type switches to whichever type enemies are most vulnerable to, this spell does a lot of damage.
  • Finger of Death: With necromancy focus this is great for killing drown immune enemies such as Advespa, Dogai, Saughin and Osyluth. Lacking Necro focuses it still does decent Ne damage.
  • Grease: Good for casting before spawns, so that enemies are slowed and possibly knocked down when pulled through the cloud.
  • Heal/Mass Heal: Throughout runs party members will receive festering wounds that slowly kill them. +41 CL heals from either a Druid, Cleric or item are required to remove these.
  • Infestation of Maggots: Good to target on Mammon's Tears, Amnizu, Cornugons and Gelugons.
  • Stonehold: Similar to grease, except it immobilizes enemies.

See Also

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