Are druids not for new players?

| Thursday, March 18, 2010
On Tuesday I suggested that dual spec be lowered in level and cost so that new players could pick it up. Somehow my incredible brilliance was not recognized by all. The opposition to dual specs seems to mostly consist of "It's too complex for new players." There are also the not-in-favor opinions such as "it's unnecessary", but that can be applied to 90% of 90% of anything. The complexity argument seems somewhat compelling. I mean, new players can get overwhelmed.

But then why are druids available to new players? I won't claim they're more complex in any given role (shut up kitties, this isn't about you) than any other class. But the class overall is complex. They have dual spec built right in. What? Shapeshifting!

When my lowbie ret wants to tank, he throws on a shield and turns on RF. No new spells or anything. Tanking is effectively the same as DPS. DKs are even simpler; switch to frost presence, no need for a shield even. Warriors have stances, but many abilities are shared across them and the general concept of "hit in face/back of the head and use rage" remains. Then there are druids.

Shift into bear form and suddenly you have entirely different abilities. These aren't the handful of stance-specific abilities of a warrior. Oh no, every single ability works in only that form. Okay, you can cast spells in caster/moonkin/tree, but kitty and bear are completely distinct. They even have their own version of faerie fire. Which doesn't even have the exact effect in bear form.

The resource systems aren't even the same. Kitty is energy, bear is rage, and other forms are mana. These regenerate in different ways and are spent in different ways. Only kitty has combo points.

Druids don't have dual spec or even tri-spec. They have tri-class. Should they even have talent points? Can you imagine the confusion of a new player trying to decide whether to spend points on that cool bear or the cow form or maybe they heard rumors of a kitty and oh my god what is this moonkin and tree of life thing?

It is clear that death knights and druids should be switched, with the complex druid class only being available to experienced players. Unlike DKs they won't start at level 55. It's bad enough getting 10 talent points every five minutes and a new ability every ten minutes; now do that for caster form and two shapeshifts. DKs will also start at level one, to more accurately reflect the fact that they are rerolls of bored hunters who think complex gameplay means sometimes maintaining a sting.


Shintar said...

Hm, actually druids don't strike me as that complicated for a newbie to learn. Gaining the different forms and learning new abilities for them goes very slowly (a newly minted bear has like, one special attack and a roar in total?) and since the abilities are form-specific it's easy to just focus on the form you like most and not get too distracted by any other spells you learn.

Quicksilver said...

lets be serious, the only place druids will be forces to powershift and use abilities from multiple forms in one battle is serious, high-end pvp.

for all other tasks you just pick your favored form and stick in it.

Harder to master but not much harder to learn.

Tesh said...

Druids are far more interesting to me than any other class, precisely because they are packing a lot under the hood. Everyone else has such an agonizingly slow learning curve that I get bored of them far too easily, and the Grind sets in.

If I had to grind up a nonpreferred class to 55 before getting a Druid, I'd never bother with playing at all.

Klepsacovic said...

I think I failed with this post. I was trying to equate switching talents, and the corresponding role shift, with druid shapeshifting.

Hana said...

I think if a new player has the right perspective (or amount of ignorance) the druid is a perfectly fine class to play. As a high level player it's easy to overthink the druid. After all, what other class can fill the roles of melee dps, tank, caster dps, and healer?

But the truly new player probably isn't thinking of what role they want. They might not even have the proper perspective of what a tank is in WoW. (WoW was my first MMO and I came from a console RPG background. A tank character to me was the big buff guy who moved slow, not a character who held enemies so that the rest of the party wouldn't get hit.)

A new player is probably looking for something fun, and if they pick a druid it's probably because they want to shapeshift. What they are doing in those forms matters less. They just want to have them.

Rage and energy operate somewhat differently from the mana bar, but the basic principle is same. When the bar isn't empty, you can do stuff. :)

Granted a new player might not be a very effective druid (Hana died more than any other character I've leveled, though how much of that was due to being my first character vs. being a first time druid on top of it I don't know), but it's a class that a player learns with time, much like I suspect is the case with any other.

The learning curve might be steeper, particlarly if that player wants to master every aspect of the class, but they don't have to. I hardly ever used Hana's bear form until WotLK. There just wasn't a need or desire to.

SlikRX said...


I think any class and spec can be rather involved, but as you point out, this is highlighted to an enormous degree with druids.

And any player can get as in-depth as they chose or as superficial as they chose.

Except you can't do that with dual spec. You gotta wait, and you gotta pay. (through the nose) Why?

A newbie won't know what it's for and won't bother. (and if they DO care and DO learn and DO want to, why stop them?)

I still think we need tri-spec. A PvE dual spec, plus a PvP option. I really don't feel like levelling (and gearing) 2 pallies just so I can have a tank, DPS and PvP spec. (if I so chose)

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