I haven't posted in this section before now, and in fact I'm playing my first druid at the moment, un-twinked on ladder. I've been planning a PvM fire melee druid using the Passion runeword for zeal, with points in summoning for support. Similar to the hunter builds, I want something that lets me be active while waiting for spells to come off cd - I just find melee more fun and it goes well with armageddon/hurricane. I've found next to nothing about such druid builds, so I've had to plan the character myself. :P
My druid is currently only level 47, in nightmare, but this is the build I'm going for: fire zeal druid. (I picked oak sage on my druid, but I think HoW would've been a better choice)
So far it's been a blast. Running into a group with armageddon and hurricane (for slow) up, and spamming fissure and fighting makes you feel like a real force of nature. My melee is quite weak atm, but that's because the gear I have is bad. Still, it's great fun. But I'm starting to wonder if wind would've been a better choice?
Hurricane is really helpful so far, even with no synergies. Armageddon is only lvl 1 on my druid so far, with around 10 points invested in fissure and volcano each - and geddon isn't doing much at all. Will it get better? On the other hand, fissure is incredible and clears whole packs in seconds. I also can't fire and forget tornadoes like I can fissure, so points in tornado would only be useful for the dmg bonus to hurricane. Wind also requires a much larger skill point investment, which weaken my summons. Any suggestions?
I'd also like to hear what you think of the gear I'm aiming for. Note that since I'm playing untwinked, this is pretty cheap stuff. Weapon - Passion (flail or berserker axe? not sure), Demon Limb for switch Shield - Spirit Armor - Duress/Fortitude Helm - Shako or Guillaume, maybe Ravenlore despite its ugliness Gloves - IK gauntlets (+25% IAS with IK belt) Belt - IK belt Boots - War traveler/Gore Rider Rings - Ravenfrost and life leech ring Amulet - Highlord's Wrath
I need some +skill for zeal, but beyond that, I'm a little clueless
As for merc, I'm thinking holy freeze if I go fire, and might if I go wind. With Insight poleaxe allowing me to spam spells.
I made one of these and the writeup is here. I used Oath runeword rather than passion, for HoW and increased damage. Personally, I would say- don't bother. It's a weak fire-melee-summon combo that ends up being mediocre at all three areas.
Instead, I would suggest giving up the meleeing and go full out on +skills, which help both summons and fire. Or go pure fire, relying on volcano physical damage and/or infinity runeword.
Shako/Jalals/Delirium in suitable helm
Mara's Kaleidoscope/ +2 druid ammy
Rain body armor or SOVM
Any rare boot with frw/resists.
ofcourse a lot of this is not obtainable in untwinked, but it gives you an idea of what to aim for.
Oh, and armageddon is flat out terrible. 1 point only for the cool meteor shower visual effects.
Probably the reason you haven't found any builds such as this is because the fury skill offers much more than zeal and doesn't limit your weapon choice at the same time. Although this is an interesting build I fear that your physical damage may be on the low side since Passion has such a low ED% even on a high end roll.
Depending on how much you use fissure and volcanoe, you may find that you will spend more time casting then actually fighting in which case you are just limiting your effectiveness in one or the other. Armageddon however is more of a cast and forget type of skill, the reason it probably seems ineffective is because the meteors that drop are very difficult to control, for every 10 that drop, maybe only 1 or 2 actually connect making it seem very underpowered. Fissure on the other hand is almost gaurenteed to hit, and if its a large enemy can actually hit with multiple patches at the same time creating large damage outputs. I do have a hunter type build something similar to what you have here, I used hoto/spirit (could easily substitute with dual spirits) on one switch and a harmony bow on the other, I pumped dire wolf/grizzly, volcanoe/fissure, rest into armagedon, I found that over 75% of the time if the enemy wasn't fire immune I wasn't firing arrows unless I was waiting for the casting timer to run out and my summons were normally able to take them out before I did any substantial damage (summons included the valk from harmony as well).
If you really want to focus on armageddon though I would suggest dropping the passion and using the fury skill in Werewolf form. Then instead of maxing additional wolf skills, max out armagedon and its synergies. Since Armagedon/Hurricane can be cast while shapeshifted it gives you the use of both elemental skills and physical damage without much additonal thought.
Hey zaphodbrx, thanks for your input. I did actually find your writeup at one point, but somehow lost it again. You're probably right, but where's the fun in that? You said it yourself, "[...] it would be a lot more boring to stand around waiting for skill cooldowns and no fun ctc firestorms and meteors. Pure fire would have been even worse [...]" Incorporating melee into a fire build makes a lot of sense. So since I'm not quite ready to give up on the idea yet, a few questions...
- How come you specced into grizzly instead of, for instance, armageddon?
- The gear you chose seem to lack a few useful melee affixes, like life leech and crushing blow. Wouldn't focusing more heavily on proper melee gear improve your staying power in combat? Zeal would allow you to get a good number of attacks per second, too.
Edit: Pyrotechnician - Good points. I agree that the dmg of passion could be a problem. I am already spending much more time casting than fighting, but that's also because I'm squishy and have to spend time doing evasive manoeuvres. I assume that with better gear, I will be able to go in and hit stuff rather than run around. Still, it's certainly problematic if my damage is so low; perhaps something like Crescent Moon with its static field ctc would be a good alternative?
-Spec into grizzly is necessary because otherwise wolves/bear will do no damage at all.
-My gear was chosen with focus on three points- fire, wolves and melee. So I had to give up on some attribute somewhere. Another thing, I didn't have that much gear at that time as I do now, otherwise I might have reworked it with String of Ears, Highlords, Gores, etc.
Yes, do play this build if you want to. Be aware though, that it isn't anything like pvm ownage. Not even close.
Cresent moon has the same ED problem that Passion has, however, what cresent moon has is both the ctc static and ignore target defense which are two key elements in a build like this. The static will help lower groups of enemies health down to half and then your fire skills and summons can take care of the rest. The ignore target defense will allow you to hit non boss/champions with ease and eliminates any AR problems you may have. Your only difficulty will be boss backs at this point and it even brings in another source of damage other than fire/physical.
This however still will not really improve your survivability (other than the theory a good offenses is the best defense). Is it the physical hits that are causing you trouble or ranged elemental attacks while trying to rush in?
I am actually thinking of rebuilding my druid with the following changes.
>I will max fissure and fireclaw, having fireclaw as my melee attack in bear form, also shockwave. Fissure as a ranged attack when unshifted ( against dolls, say ).
>20 points in grizzly and wolves of course.
>Will use Beast and Oath on switch. Oath only for level 14 HoW, as druids can retain that summoned HoW even when switched back. Between fanaticism, HoW, might ( merc ), and shockwave support, my summons should own. Beast will boost Werbear/lycan ( that I'll have only one point in ), and it's not half bad as a hitting weapon. Reapers on merc ( decrepify ).
>Fire abilities will deal with PIs.
>Go bonkers on +skills, specially for summons. Trainers GCs, +3 amulet, spirit shield, etc.
Ofcourse it helps that I now have all that equipment ( which I didn't back then ).
If you don't want to shift but wants summons, fire spells, and something to do in between, might I recommend Fire Huntermentalist? It's a Hunter variant designed to lay down AoE fire support for the summons and attack with a Bow. By far my favorite Druid build as you're literally never sitting there doing nothing.
Hey everyone, thanks for the replies. It's been a while, but I didn't want to reply before I had time to experiment, level and play a little more with my druid.
So here's a status update on the druid. He's level 71 now and I just respecced him. As I mentioned earlier, he was basically a fire druid and the melee part wasn't working (although I didn't get to try zeal, I don't think it would've made a difference).
So I've scrapped the entire fire part and switched to wind, I also put points into werebear and maul, while maintaining some points in summons. It's based somewhat on the Kodiak build. It isn't pretty, but it looks like this: Druid build [lvl 85]
Having to shift to cast hurricane is slightly annoying - I actually didn't know the delay from hurricane applied to shapeshifting :( Regardless, it's pretty cool so far. My kill speed went up a lot and my melee attacks do something.
I'm quite stretched for skill points. I don't know if the points in dire wolf are worthwhile - they and the grizzly have been really helpful so far with the fire build, but having more synergies with hurricane would be nice too.
I'm just starting hell, and there have been a lot of cold immune zombies and yeti, which take a while to kill. I'm using Aldur's weapon so my maul only hits for 500-900 dmg and is quite slow; I only have an um rune, so not sure what to upgrade to.
I currently have a Town Dump Werebear (following the guide by safetypro) in the works, and I have to say it's been a blast playing him. While my druid may not be a heavy elemental based build the early on (relying purely on Tiamat's Rebuke shield for ele dmg), he does end up bashing his way through hell right now due to the heavy elemental dmg & crushing blow mods granted by IK maul and the rest of the IK gear recommended in the guide. I have yet to encounter a mob he is unable to kill, and you may want to take at guide to see if it gives you any form of inspiration to tweak your character further.