I will lay out my idea for an interesting Druid build to play, and I would also love to hear other ideas ya'll might have that isn't a straight up cookie cutter that we have all played so many times.
The build started to come to me when I thought about how useful it might be to use a runeword and/or unique to save some precious skill points and allow a little variety with combining the different Druid skill trees. The first obvious choice was Beast r/w, and I used that as a base (and an estimate of around +10 to all skills from items, even if it takes a few cheap skiller GCs) and started plugging points into a skill planner. Here is what I have so far, for ya'll to critique:
20 Firestorm (30 after +skills)
20 Molten Boulder (30)
20 Volcano (30)
20 Armageddon (30)
1 in the Elemental pre-reqs
1 in Werebear (14 after), and Maul, in order to get down and place 1 pt into Shockwave (11)
13 in Lycanthropy (no natural points, just Beast and +skills)
10+ remaining points into Oak Sage. (22)
This build is tentatively finished at cLvl 90, and could be a fairly defensive Beast (pun intended). Notables are playing as an Elemental caster with fully synergized dmg (albeit with a sacrifice to spell time length in order to save points), the potential to go max-block if wished by making Beast in a one-hander, an admittedly fairly small Cyclone Armor but one that is helped by your +skills and can be re-cast at will, the huge added +Life from Oak Sage and Werebear form (and some +Lycanthropy from Beast and enhanced by +skills), and even further defensive moves like Maul and especially Shockwave.
Grab a Druid Pelt with +Grizzly Bear if you like, make it into either Lore or Delirium, and you could be even more defensive. Along with a strong Act2 Merc (or even Act5 Barb with Lawbringer/Azurewrath and Gaze+Glad Bane), and you should have enough tools to deal with any Fire Immunes. Anything else will roast in your Armageddon flames while being helplessly stunned with Shockwave.
Any thoughts, errors in the plan, or similar/better ideas out there? Feel free to spill your beans!
p.s. Does anyone have experience with the Druid r/w Rain? Will it's ctc Cyclone Armor still cast while you are in Werebear form, or does it fail to cast? This armor might be a cheap and easy way to get some nifty stats and +2 all skills.
Have you read the Earth-shifter Druid Guide? Similar Idea... Sort've.
Your attack speed will be pretty slow due to just using 'Beast' but you'll have Armageddon providing some nice damage if it ever hits anything Maybe it would be better to Shift to a bear, then substitue a better weapon for 'Beast'. Like a bear-sorc sorc does (builds that are crazy fun!) I haven't checked the speed calc, but that might be something to look at. You'd obviously want something better than a 6x Shael'd PB since your melee damage won't be elemental.
Yea Trionth, Beast isn't there to provide any real melee dmg, it's just there to save some points from Lycan and Werebear... allowing those extra points to go into trying to get Shockwave.
As for Omg's question #2, I really don't have an answer. I've played with Shockwave a little bit, but I didn't realize Immunes would be that huge an issue. If I had Grizzy and a strong merc, would I still have probs with being swarmed by Shockwave Immunes?
p.s. Here is another theorycraft question for you: If you made a mostly regular Fury druid, but put 20 into the 2 synergies for Twister and used a Carrion Wind, Rain, and a Windhammer.... wouldn't the massive amount of Twisters still get benefit of being synergized when they launched? My first instinct is that they would, but I am unsure.
Selective reading I guess, sorry 'bout that. I was thinking you would be meleeing the fire immunes (of which there are a lot, even an 'Infinity' Merc isn't much help) and was thinking normal attack. Then 'Beast' would be used to save from investing any skill points at all into the shapeshift tree. To get a druid attack though, you would already be placing points into the shapeshift tree as prereqs
I'll leave any further answers to the experts and just read to learn.
Those links (and the youtube vid I ended up getting directed to) have some very interesting ideas.
I will say one thing real quick, that might help people understand why I asked about the build in the first post. I don't have any specific requirements for characters I play, like "must be able to solo Hell all Acts all quests". These days D2 is different for me, and I fully assume I will be getting rushed and participating mostly in Hell Baal runs for xp.
So a build with a great party skill (like Shockwave) really tempts me, instead of one that spends points in the build trying to make soloing easier. Heck, my most beloved and fun to play char is my max-block max-resists all absorbs PDR ES Sorc, and she pretty much has to tele past Stoneskin PI Fire+LI Immunes that would take her merc forever to kill.
All in all, being a solo'er don't mean as much to me. Standing in the middle of Hell Baal minions waves without blinking, and entering a tp full of Souls and laughing while 2-4 other players instantly die, is WAY more satisfaction to me. I would rather my chars be defensive and tough, over being high dmg glass cannons.
It's a mini guide by Jary that never really became a full guide, though I'd love for him to make one. I should try out the build on SP sometime.
Knarl: Hungry Hurricane can tank elementals all day without batting an eyelash with near infinite CA procs >.>. Still gives you SW if that's the skill you're looking to use as well as Nado procs left and right for more stunning.