Today I have decided to share with you a quick beginner’s guide to Druids in Dungeons & Dragons Online. I will also share some thoughts about a perfect Druid build in DDO and everything else I can think of that will make playing this class more appealing.
Let me start by saying that the Druid Class in DnD has never been meant to be a complete generalist and the DDO Druid incarnation is no different.
Just like other classes with multiple specialization areas, the DDO Druid can either be very effective in one role, or epic level garbage in all of them. You are either a healer/buffer/cc caster or a DPS caster or a melee or a summoner.
Trying to focus on more than one of these roles means spreading your available points too thin to be effective in any of them.
This guide, therefore, will help you decide on what specialization to choose (based on my own experience) and how to create that awesome Druid character that you will love in DDO. So let’s get this started!
The DDO Druid Build
First and foremost, it’s important to know what role you want to fill before a single point is allocated on your digital character’s sheet. This is definitely the most important part and it has to be done before you actually start playing. It’s not the type of thing you’ll figure out on the road.
Since there is no race currently playable in DDO that has an inherent bonus to Wisdom, the different races are fairly interchangeable as far as casting is concerned. That said, there are melee benefits to all of them.
Humans get an extra feat, dwarves get racial bonus to constitution, half-orcs get strength and racial enhancements to two-handed weapons (great for that quarterstaff enhanced with shelaighlie), and elves get a bonus to Dex for armor class and racial enhancements to scimitars.
The choice is really yours, and I’m not going to tell you one race is better than another, because there are synergies with each of them and good arguments both for and against each race that are all valid.
So at least in this area, you can decide based on your personal preferences and not strategic thinking and analysis.
DDO Druid Build: Abilities
Stats, ability scores, whatever you call them… this is going to be the frame work of your build. You can skip this bit if you’re an experienced character builder.
Since Druids are a divine spell casting class, the effectiveness of their spells is governed by their Wisdom score.
If you plan on being either a support caster or a DPS caster, you’re going to want a starting wisdom of at least 18.
On the other hand, if you’re going to be a melee or summoning build then you’re going to want to start with more points in your physical stats.
No matter what you choose to run as, there is no reason to start any character with a constitution score lower than 16 (or 14 if you’re an elf).
This plays a role in everything from resisting poisons to additional hit points as you level. If you feel like you can get away with a lower Constitution score… good luck, but chances are you will realize that you were wrong.
With the Druid, this is still true, and they also can benefit from the augmentation effects of their animal forms. More on that later…
For a Melee build I’d probably build it the same way you might want to put a Melee focused Favored Soul together. Here is how I would do it:
Those numbers are fluid. Remember, racial choices may raise or lower the physical abilities depending on what you want to play. On the other hand, if you’re playing a caster role, I’d max Wisdom, leave Constitution alone and dump Strength first.
Once again, your preferred role matters. Here, each one is different. If you’re a support caster who is using healing spells on a party, put points into Concentration first, Healing second, and anything else third.
On the other hand, if you’re a DPS Caster, you’ll still want Concentration first, but Healing should be tertiary to Diplomacy (which is a class skill) so you can shift enemy focus away from you.
For melee DPS characters, your focus should be on getting the focus ON you, so intimidation is good and if you’re going to be out in front you’ll want your spot skill high also so you can see enemies and traps before you’re killed by them.
DDO Druid Build: Feats
Since none of the prestige enhancements are tied to feats, you’ve got a lot of freedom here to pick the feats you want for the role you’ve chosen.
I always take Toughness at level one unless the prestige line is so feat hungry it prevents me from doing so.
You get one feat every 3 levels, for a total of 7 (8 if you’re human). So, your feat progression as a melee role might be: Toughness, Dodge, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Improved Critical, Stunning Blow and one other of your choosing.
For a DPS Caster you’ll want to change out everything but toughness and take Maximize, Empower and Enlarge (since most of the Druid’s damaging spells come from AoE).
If you’re a summoner, you’ll also want Augment Summoning.
For Support Casters you’ll want Extend, Empower and the Spell Penetration feats (yes, both!) as well as spell focus for the school of magic you’re using.
You might move some of that around or ignore it completely, but remember to pick feats that fit your role.
Melee fighters don’t need casting feats. DPS Spellcasters have no use for weapon feats.
At level 2, 5, 8, 15 and 16, you’re given a selection of wildshapes to choose from as free feats. At 2 and 5, your choices are bear and wolf. At 8 and 15 your choices are Dire Bear and Winter Wolf and finally at 16 your choices are either Fire Elemental or Water Elemental. The idea is that you’ll end up with 5 possible shapes out of the 6 options.
DDO Druid Build: Enhancements
So, you’ve been adventuring for a while and you’ve got this weird black and gold symbol at the top of your screen that’s telling you you have Action Points.
Use them, but use them wisely!
Once again, your chosen role is important because there are some Prestige Enhancements to consider. Nature’s Warrior focuses on combat, while Season’s Herald focuses on spell casting. Once you’ve met their prerequisites, you’ve got a lot of freedom.
For spellcasters, you have lines of enhancements for each of the different elements (less force/repair), both raw damage and critical damage/% chance.
For melee roles, you have a number of mini-buffs that enhance either you directly or your minions (hirelings, pets, summons, charms, etc) or both. Everything from stances that improve saves to 20 second group hastes, to 6 second Damage Reduction (up to DR 8/-).
Take your time here, and don’t get frustrated if you pick something you don’t want. Resetting enhancements only costs platinum in game, so it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t do this right on your first try.
DDO Druid Build: Gear
The way items impact your performance here is a little different. Armor still works the same as with all other characters, magic augmentation still works, but weapon damage is weird with the different forms.
Humanoid is humanoid and nothing new is going on there, but animal shapes have natural weapons, right?
So it doesn’t matter what the base damage of your chosen weapon is, your base damage is now coming from claws and paws. The only effect your weapons have on this damage is from enhancements.
So, a +4 flaming weapon of wounding would give you the +4, the fire damage and the wounding effect, but the damage die from the weapon itself wouldn’t matter. These effects would be applied to every attack.
And this would be it! I hope that you have a better understanding on how to build a great Druid in Dungeon & Dragons Online.
And if you still feel like playing the classic board game every now and then since nothing really compares to that experience, I wrote an article about the best dice set for DnD – make sure to check it out as well.
Also, if you have any additions to make – or different routes to recommend to fellow DDO players who want to build an awesome Druid, feel free to do so by commenting below.