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On my 4th playthrough now, which is my 2nd POTD one. I´ve decided to roll a druid (which i never really had much playtime with) and was wondering what peoples experience is with his shapeshifting form. I´m aware of the old argument that SS is really good early game, rather weak lategame. But still, which is your preferred form?

 

My idea is to use my Druid mainly as a caster, with dual weapons for the faster cast speed, and mostly resort to SS for defensive purposes. Cat form seems the most promising, since it attacks much faster than the other classes. Probably a good way to dispose of the immediate threat. The bear felt really slow, and the active very weak. Wolf looks interesting, but knockdown is per rest and druid has low accuracy, and I wont be running towards things, but from them (and disengagement doesn´t care about how fast you run). Boar alright, since I dislike per rest abilities in general. Stag is probably also out of the question since we won´t be engaging large groups in melee as a druid, but rather finish off the stragglers that get past the tank quickly. I guess I´ve answered my own question.

 

Which form do you prefer, and why?

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Bear has a lot of DR bypass on its attacks, and the Roar make it a decent backup tank if guys run past your tanks and get into your back line. Several spells such as the small AoE HoT and the melee drain DoT are great in bear form. 

Boar is cool if you have the luxury of hitting multiple monsters to get the dots rolling, Wolf gets a knockdown which is useful if you have a Rogue around if nothing else, and Cat has really fast attacks and if you take Weapon Focus: Peasant you can get really good DPS for your 12 seconds per encounter.

I found the Stag to be the worst. Their Carnage ability is not an always-on passive the way it is with Barbarians.

All in all, if your Druid is going to be built as a primary caster, then Bear form is probably the best, give them a bow and have them hang back. Otherwise, there are pros and cons to each of the other forms in comparison to the Bear, and Stag sucks ass and needs perma Carnage, at which point it'll be in the 2nd tier with the others behind Bear.  

Edited by Infares

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They are all fairly similar, but I think the thing to keep in mind is how shapeshift scales with level (or rather how it does not scale much).

 

At the start of the game shapeshift (and the bear in general due to higher DR) is downright gamebreaking because almost nothing will do more than minimum damage to you (whiel you have relatively huge damage output).

 

As the game goes on however, that DR that used to be so high relative to enemy strenght will become very mediocre at best - and not suited to tanking. That's why if you are willing to sacrifice a little power at the start for a little power later on I'd rather recommend one of the forms that have some sort of active ability that can help CC or debuff.

 

Even in shapeshift form you will want to avoid melee against powerful enemies late-game and focus on casting, so I think that wolf makes a lot of sense because that knockdown will give you a great escape-mechanism if you get engageed. Just knock them down and then get away. I think this is probably a better ability to have than the other ones that you can have because by this point you will have so many debuffs and other such things to work with anyway that a bear-roar just isn't going to be doing a while lot for a batter. Better to have that oh-**** button to keep your druid alive when an engagement goes sour and the tanks fail to pick up all the aggro.

 

In general I think shapeshift needs some rebalancing. It is way too powerful early, but then becomes very "meh" later on. For being such a core feature of a class (with talents tied to it and all) It needs to scale way more simply put to stay relevant.

 

-Stigma

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They are all fairly similar, but I think the thing to keep in mind is how shapeshift scales with level (or rather how it does not scale much).

 

At the start of the game shapeshift (and the bear in general due to higher DR) is downright gamebreaking because almost nothing will do more than minimum damage to you (whiel you have relatively huge damage output).

 

As the game goes on however, that DR that used to be so high relative to enemy strenght will become very mediocre at best - and not suited to tanking. That's why if you are willing to sacrifice a little power at the start for a little power later on I'd rather recommend one of the forms that have some sort of active ability that can help CC or debuff.

 

Even in shapeshift form you will want to avoid melee against powerful enemies late-game and focus on casting, so I think that wolf makes a lot of sense because that knockdown will give you a great escape-mechanism if you get engageed. Just knock them down and then get away. I think this is probably a better ability to have than the other ones that you can have because by this point you will have so many debuffs and other such things to work with anyway that a bear-roar just isn't going to be doing a while lot for a batter. Better to have that oh-**** button to keep your druid alive when an engagement goes sour and the tanks fail to pick up all the aggro.

 

In general I think shapeshift needs some rebalancing. It is way too powerful early, but then becomes very "meh" later on. For being such a core feature of a class (with talents tied to it and all) It needs to scale way more simply put to stay relevant.

 

-Stigma

I agree, especially if we get expansions that eventually raise the level cap closer to 20, at its current scaling, Shapeshift is just poorly balanced. 

 

A fox or crow/owl form that supercharges your spellcasting would be great, as well as buffing the melee-centric forms needing much-needed buffs to allow for a greater number of possible endgame builds, which is half the fun of the game.

 

DPS wise I think you're expected to take several of the Wildshape damage talents, since each one does buff your melee dmg by 20%, stacking three or four of them would make you pretty mean along with WF: Peasant and the melee DR/DPS boost talents. 

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You make a very good point about expansions... I heard about potential expansions up to 20, and i that is the case then shapeshift with current scaling will continute to drop down in usefulness from "meh" to "near-useless".

 

There is a lot of wonky balancing left to be done - but it's not unexpected for such a new system. D&D was refined over decades after all. They will probably tweak a lot of systems in time for an expansion. They have a lot of freedom to do what needs to be done after all considering they are making up their own rules and not adapting an existing set - so that's one benefit of it I suppose.

 

(I still kinda wish this game was D&D based but oh well..)

 

-Stigma

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They are all fairly similar, but I think the thing to keep in mind is how shapeshift scales with level (or rather how it does not scale much).

 

At the start of the game shapeshift (and the bear in general due to higher DR) is downright gamebreaking because almost nothing will do more than minimum damage to you (whiel you have relatively huge damage output).

 

As the game goes on however, that DR that used to be so high relative to enemy strenght will become very mediocre at best - and not suited to tanking. That's why if you are willing to sacrifice a little power at the start for a little power later on I'd rather recommend one of the forms that have some sort of active ability that can help CC or debuff.

 

Even in shapeshift form you will want to avoid melee against powerful enemies late-game and focus on casting, so I think that wolf makes a lot of sense because that knockdown will give you a great escape-mechanism if you get engageed. Just knock them down and then get away. I think this is probably a better ability to have than the other ones that you can have because by this point you will have so many debuffs and other such things to work with anyway that a bear-roar just isn't going to be doing a while lot for a batter. Better to have that oh-**** button to keep your druid alive when an engagement goes sour and the tanks fail to pick up all the aggro.

 

In general I think shapeshift needs some rebalancing. It is way too powerful early, but then becomes very "meh" later on. For being such a core feature of a class (with talents tied to it and all) It needs to scale way more simply put to stay relevant.

 

-Stigma

 

In general I love the concept of druids, but in games where they're playable I've usually loathed the way they play except for one game: WoW. The diversity of the class around the lich king/cataclysm expansions was awesome. They could turn into a tree and cast spells, or they could go cat and dps, or go bear and tank. Especially the old feral tree there was great, and mostly relevant to this topic. If a druid was in feral dps spec and then the tank suddenly died in the middle of a fight you could go into bear, pick up aggro and make sure you survived the encounter. Or if tank specced, you could still dps a bit in cat form when needded. Or skip the forms and cast some spells in between only to go back into an animal form.

 

Now having that kind of diversity for PoE isn't very realistic, gameplay in WoW and PoE are quite different, but some aspects of that class construction could still be used. First: have the shapeshift form available at will, no restrictions. Make sure bear and preferably one other form are viable for tanking (that is: lower damage, higher resistances/deflection), then the rest for dps for a full encounter. Add talents for additional shapeshift abilities to use depending on dps or tank form to make it interesting while also make sure that resistances and damage scale properly either with level or equipped items. Then allow druids to either focus on their spellcasting or shapeshift form so they can still use both, but only excel in one, or be average at both. Or allow a druid to sacrifice say 1 spell cast/spell level per rest in exchange for better shapeshift form to avoid making them OP. 

 

There's so much fun stuff a game can do with druids but WoW is the only game for me that's come close to make them completely awesome from a gameplaying point.

 

*edit: awful grammar mistakes :-P

Edited by Kai

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In my opinion the best thing about spiritshift is that the 8-10 DR it provides doesn't have a recovery penalty. Since Druids are best used as casters, even while shifted, this is a fairly strong "free" defensive buff. Burst survivability is the way I understand the ability as currently implemented. With that in mind, Stag form also grants +7 to all Defenses while shifted.

 

Even these benefits decrease in value over time though because eventually the Druid will be wearing so much good equipment in humanoid form that the opportunity cost of losing all the gear bonuses while shifted outweighs the benefits.

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Exoduss, on 14 Apr 2015 - 11:11 AM, said: 

 

also secret about hardmode with 6 man party is :  its a faceroll most of the fights you will Auto Attack mobs while lighting your spliff

 

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I was very unimpressed with SS, but I only tried druid briefly twice (my first two attempts to play were Average Trial of Iron with druids, and wandering into the wrong areas ended them very early on).  I'm sure I'll try druid again later, but I won't be expecting SS to be an important part of my character.

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They're useless for anything remotely challenging, so the only use I get out of them is taking down weak enemies without using a spell so it's Cat for me.

 

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Note that boar form is the only one that deals Piercing damage. The others deal Slashing.

 

Stag and Wolf use Piercing as well. Their weapon icons look like claws, but are actually horns and teeth, respectively.

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Exoduss, on 14 Apr 2015 - 11:11 AM, said: 

 

also secret about hardmode with 6 man party is :  its a faceroll most of the fights you will Auto Attack mobs while lighting your spliff

 

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Note that boar form is the only one that deals Piercing damage. The others deal Slashing.

 

Stag and Wolf use Piercing as well. Their weapon icons look like claws, but are actually horns and teeth, respectively.

This isn't aimed at you specifically, but for anyone wondering how we're seeing this info, you can open up your equipment or item screen while spritshifted and see their stat mods and the specific stats on the Spiritshift-specific equipment they're given while shifted.

 

This brings me to another point, we have the precedent for unarmed weaponry thanks to Spiritshift, why not include something like it for Monks? Give it no base damage on its own but allow monks to enchant it like any other weapon.

Edited by Infares

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This brings me to another point, we have the precedent for unarmed weaponry thanks to Spiritshift, why not include something like it for Monks? Give it no base damage on its own but allow monks to enchant it like any other weapon.

 

Monks have something similar to an enchant system already, in that their Unarmed strikes increase in Accuracy and damage every few levels automagically through the Transcendent Suffering ability.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if in the expansion some kind of glyph or tattoo system were introduced to give Unarmed strikes more options. E.g. "Glyph of the Rising Dragon: the Monk deals +25% Burn damage with his primary Unarmed weapon."

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Exoduss, on 14 Apr 2015 - 11:11 AM, said: 

 

also secret about hardmode with 6 man party is :  its a faceroll most of the fights you will Auto Attack mobs while lighting your spliff

 

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IMO the best form is bear, but it really depends on how you've built your druid. The druid in my group is built to be an AoE bomber, so min con, high might, int and dex, so I chose bear form just so that if someone managed to break past my two tanks, that my back lines wouldn't get demolished before I could retaliate. I'd strongly recommend not putting any points into shapeshifting, it has horrid scaling and the druid primarily excels at being an AoE nuke.

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I went ahead and took your advice on bearform. Made it to level 4 and....nope, just nope. It was too slow. Then I went ahead with the cat, and fared much better. Was able to solo the first wolf camp(impossible with bear, atleast for me) on POTD by bursting down the big wolf, and use sunbeam on the other three.

 

So cat it is...

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As an aside, and really this works for everyone... but if you want your Druid to be in melee range more often I'd definitely take a Psion and a Priest with you. Pain Block and Armor of Faith combined will get your DT in form over the 20 mark. Makes them a little more manageable, but still garbage compared to every other class in melee or even you just with armor on. But hey, 20-ish DT with that attack speed and base dmg isn't half bad if your not the focus of attention, it'll definitely let you do a 1 v 1 if need be.

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Def Con: kills owls dead

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It's extremely powerful at levels 1-4 or so, but by end of Act 1 it becomes irrelevant. The benefits of, say, the bear's recovery-free DR is not worth it when it takes you a full turn to initiate shapeshifting.

 

I'd say the bear is the best, though it depends on the character.

 

Having lost several ironman druids, I can also tell you that shapeshifted druids can't drink potions.

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Shifting doesn't take a full action. Yes, you need to have finished recovering from your last action, but after you shift, you can immediately act to attack or cast a spell.

 

Also, I don't think Stag gets enough respect. Avoiding critical spells and attacks can save you way more health and other nasty effects than a couple points of DR. Doesn't suffer from bear's sluggish attack speed, either. I don't even care about the AoE ability.

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