The druid's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Shape-shifting allows for extreme versatility, allowing you to fulfill any role and react well to any situation, but it often makes what you are about to do next very obvious to the enemy. Expect this, and be ready to change your plans at a moment's notice.
Almost always, you will want to start the fight prowling and use a Ravage. or a Pounce with Mangle or Shred. Always incapacitate the enemy when you are healing yourself: before you shift out to heal, Maim or Bash (Brutal Impact helps). If they break the stun, use Cyclone or Barkskin. If you're running low on mana, use Innervate. How you fight will depend on your opponent.
Pro Tip: A player or mob/NPC that is sitting or lying down results in an automatic critical strike from your first attack. Ravage is thus generally the superior opener against drinking/afk/sitting players, especially against squishies like Mages, Priests and to a lesser extent, Warlocks. YMMV against Plate-wearers, and depending on your opponent if you expect the opponent to be expert in counter-attacking or getting out of melee range before you manage to land a second and/or third attack.
In Wrath of the Lich King, 1 on 1 Feral vs Melee situations, you will generally stay in cat form unless they severely outgears you. When you are low on health, make sure you insta-cyclone them or bash them before you heal, you can also use an inferior Entangling Roots on melee classes.
Below level 62, Cat Form fares poorly since the druid lacks stunlock capabilities.
You will spend most of the fight in Cat Form, as the armor from Bear Form makes no difference against casters. Keep it up close and personal. Get in their face. Most casters will do anything to keep their distance, and will slow you down in all kinds of ways. Almost ANY movement impairing effect can be done away with by shifting, notable exceptions being a Paladins Seal of Justice and a Hunter's Frost Trap. Keep a powershift macro handy as you'll want to use it often for any slows/roots that get thrown at you.
Bear Form does have its uses against casters. If you have the furor talent, a quick Bear Form > Bash can buy you time to heal or cast a cyclone for a re-opener in cat form.
Take account of the value of Moonkin against some classes.
In the world of resilience, the ability to heal yourself outweighs the extra crit given by Moonkin Form, and as such you should only use Moonkin when the extra armor is necessary or you need protection from Polymorph. Going into Moonkin Form against casters such as shadow priests, warlocks or elemental shamans is going to use some mana and you won't be able to heal yourself with anything other than bandages during this time. That said, starting from Shadowmeld in moonkin form is the best way for Night Elf Druids to open against any class.
Moonkin truly shine in PvP. Starfire and Wrath can quickly chip away at an enemy's health while the DoT from Moonfire finishes off anyone who runs away. One thing that should be taken to heart: Moonfire spam is fun and ticks a lot of people off but absolutely destroys your mana supply. Moonfire spam should only be used to finish off a fleeing opponent, or as a last ditch effort to survive. Also, by spamming Moonfire, you never allow its DoT to run its course, because every time you cast Moonfire, its timer resets. If you insist on spamming Moonfire, cast your highest rank first then switch to your second highest. This still deals massive damage but it also allows your DoT to run its course. Also, Insect Swarm does decent damage per point of mana and its marginal reduction in hit chance isn't too shabby. Entangling Roots, unfortunately, is becoming less useful as time passes because more and more classes are being given ways to escape snare effects. If anything, it still delays a player from reaching you, which usually will give you the time to cast a Starfire/Moonfire combo.
Most players will suggest beginning fights in Cat Form, which adds surprise to your openers. If you are a Night Elf (and patient), simply shadowmeld and wait for your target to come in range then surprise them (hardly anything more surprising than a Moonkin appearing literally out of nowhere, then nailing you with a Starfire). Attacking from a feral form is quite a risky business however, as there is a large chance to miss the target without feral gear, and you will do very little damage. Try opening a fight with treants and/or starfall. Then root them, and nuke. Do not start by using moonfire, as tempting as that is, as it will detract from initial burst damage. When fighting a stealther, Typhoon is a great spell to knock them out of it if you know their general location.
This guide assumes you pvp with a dps partner or with other people in general, there are few instances where you can solo anyone.
Prior to Improved Tree of Life your best option when being attacked is to use travel form and hots, round corners to break line of site and throw instant cast heals when possible. Once Improved Tree of Life is attained sometimes it is best to heal through melee damage rather than trying to out run it. Remember Improved Tree of Life does nothing to mitigate magical damage.
Some good healing tips/combos.
1) "Stun Locked": Cyclone then Regrowth. If you can spare time to cast anything, but you're worried about damage burst or kicks, cast Cyclone (but try to be out of range for kicks) first because it's a faster cast time than regrowth. Once your opponent is trapped by cyclone, you can get away with casting 2 regrowths (one on yourself and one on a partner). If you want, you can save some time to recast cyclone on your opponent. Cyclone is affected by diminishing returns if recast, so you'll have less time to cast heal spells the second time.
3) Don’t forget your feral abilities. When defending stealth as cat to avoid being attacked and to track opponents. Pounce and Bash are still quite usefull.
2) Bash/Maim: It's best to use these in order to give yourself time to cast your longer cast spells, especially when you're worried about being kicked/spell locked. Bash/Maim are instant cast so there's no stopping them (besides miss/dodge/parry).
Vs. Melee. Melee Damage is highly unstable. You want to avoid getting hit by it as much as possible. You must try your best to keep melee cc'd and still manage to keep your health up through blows. If it is unavoidable, hopping into Improved Tree of Life form will reduce the damage you take and (especially when talented into Master Shapeshifter ) increases the power of your heals. If you don't need to put any heals on other people or yourself, it's best to stick in bear form till your services are needed.
Vs. Casters. Casters are tricky because you don't have much in the way of stopping them from casting spells on you. Line of Sight is your best friend against casters. You can cast HoTs on the move, while almost all high damage spells need the caster to stand still, so abuse pillars and tight corners to break their spellcasts. In most caster cases, you can cyclone them to keep their outrageous damage outputs down while waiting for a dps partner to kill their target. Mages and to a lesser extent Shamans and Warlocks with Felhunters are the exception because if they counterspell you while casting cyclone, all of your major survival spells and abilities are locked down. The best thing to do while in a lock down is go Bear Form or travel form (if you are near something you can line of sight with). Use instant casts as much as possible, use your instant hots to heal yourself and others. But if there is no mage or felhunter, go ahead and freely cast regrowths, roots and cyclones.
Rogues and Warlocks. If you know there's a stealth opponent close by try to stay in Tree Form since then a rogue can't sap you since you wil lbe a elemental. For warlocks stay out of Tree of Life forum since they can Banish you and basicly comepletly cc you if you stay in it.
Controlling Healers. If you start the fight stealthed, a good high stream of CC is this simple combo: Pounce. 2xClaw (add in a Rake if you desire), Maim. (Go bear form, wait for maim to end use Enrage if you don't have Furor ) Bash. (Wait for bash to end) Cyclonex 3. You can throw in a feral charge if you have it, and have longer cc's and shorter cd's if you have Brutal Impact. Lots of control from that. If you are having a problem killing a healer and you're having a breeze with the healing, charge up a Starfire and hit Moonfire right at the end for maximum burst and some dot damage afterward.
Healing for a DPS partner. You can do all the tricks in the world, but you gotta make sure your dps partner can do his job, because no matter how geared you are, you're not likely to solo anything (and be keeping yourself alive at the same time). If you can keep your hots rolling you can free yourself some healing time and use it offensively.
Healing in Battlegrounds. The most important thing in BG is to not attract attention. An unmolested druid healer can easily turn the tides of nearly any battle, but if two or three opponents start attacking you, and silence/CCing, your won't survive long. When not immediately engaged in battle avoid tree form, either stealth as a cat or use bear, this will prevent attackers from immediately targeting you as a healer. You may want to avoid tree form while in battle as well, as a giant walking tree is far more attention grabbing then an elf-or even a giant cow-running around casting instant cast spells. Tree of Life is very useful when a melee opponent has figured out your a healer and started attacking you, as it significantly boosts your melee damage mitigation and provides extram healing to you and your party. It will take some practice to determine when to trade the healing power and survivability of tree of life for the subtle of caster form. In BG such as arathi basin there are many patches of grass which a tree can hide in to help attract less attention (you would be surprised how well this works). HoTs can be powerful here, opponents are less likely to notice slow stead heals then they will if you land a healing touch and take their victim from 5% hp to 80%.
The use of healing addons like Xperl and healbot can be extremely useful in smaller scale battles. Properly configured these addons can tell you who is in range of heals and allow easy targeting and healing of allies not in your group. In larger scale battle grounds these addons can take up a good amount of screen space, but once again proper configuration of addons can minimize this annoyance. It helps to disable the group panels while in battlegrounds.
Even if at full health it can be useful to keep rejuvenation up at all times. If stunned or feared the Hot will provide extra healing through the CC, and allows instant use of swiftmend once the CC wears off. Don’t be afraid to waste mana on inefficient heals on occasion, often a battle for a flag will be over (one way or another) before you have a chance to run out of mana anyways, besides a dead tree with full mana never helped anyone. Of course if fighting opponents with mana drain or while Innervate is down one should switch to more conservative usage of mana.
In Strand of the Ancients a restro druid will generally want to main towers or seige engines through the fight. Healing is all but worthless during offense (as all dps is focused on Siege engines which can not be healed) and has limited use even on defense. By taking one of the seige
engines or turrents you can still be effectively contribute to the battle. Note: it can be useful to spam Remove Corruption on seige engines when attacking. This counters many CC effects and can help a zerg.
Rogues can be tough to beat if they get the opening move. If you see them before they see you, immediately drop a DoT. Doing this will eliminate stealth and most of their high DPS moves. Although Vanish can break things like snares, faerie fire will eliminate that, so cast it quickly. They can use Cloak of Shadows to remove faerie fire and go back into a vanish, so if you can try to slip a bleed on them as well.
This fight primarily goes in one of two ways; either you open on the rogue, or he opens on you. How you fight the majority of the battle depends on that.
If you can get the opener on the rogue, your best bet is to open on him with pounce which not only stuns him, but puts a long duration bleed on him so if he vanishes and tries to run off, he'll shortly come back out of stealth. If he tries to run off with Sprint and Cloak of Shadows up, immediately go Bear Form and Feral Charge. and lacerate him once to keep an extra bleed dot up, go back into cat form and continue tearing into him. If he turns around to fight you, it's generally safe to stay in cat form unless he pops Evasion. If he does, go bear form until it has run out. If he outgears you, you probably want to stay in bear form for the remainder of the fight. If not, you can finish him off quickly in cat form.
If the rogue opens on you, or if the rogue vanishes right away and you think he is going to try to re-open on you after you've opened on him, go bear form and after he opens on you pop Barkskin. You can typically remain in bear form for the remainder of the battle and win.
For duels, your best bet is to just go bear form the entire fight. It's usually not worth playing the "find each other in stealth" game, because if he opens on you in cat form your chances of winning aren't very good, however if he opens on you in bear form and you remain in that form you'll probably win.
As a general rule, save your trinket for their Blind ability. They usually hit you with blind before running off to bandage and later re-open on you. Deny them this opportunity.
If you are trying to find a rogue but you want to stay in cat form (and you have Furor ), keep going back and forth between bear form and cat form and every time you are in bear form use Demoralizing Roar. If the rogue is close enough you will take him out of stealth with that.
Warriors are not one of the more challenging classes for a druid to face. Unlike most melee, Warriors are very susceptible to roots as their only way out of it is to use their PVP trinket. Use this to your advantage.
Feral Druid's can easily bring down Warriors. Given that Warriors are a plate class, direct damage isn't ideal. Your best bet is to use your bleeds to their fullest since they completely ignore armor. Don't bother opening on them with ravage as it does very little damage to them. Open with pounce, keep rake up, and get combo points as quickly as you can to use a 5 combo point Rip. Once you've landed your rip, go bear form and stack lacerate. After your rip has run out, go back to cat form and do it again.
If the Warrior outgears you or is otherwise doing a lot of damage to you and you find your health dropping, pop Nature's Grasp and run off in travel form, hot yourself up, re-stealth, and go back at him again. Rinse and repeat.
For a balance druid it will be approximatly 50-50 chance win its mostly whoever gets the most burst on the other one. but there are ways around this such as entangling roots and cyclone then try keeping away from their melee range and just inside their charge range if you want you can try to shift into travel form and then get out of his charge path and use your usual rotation but if you get in trouble cyclone run around a corner and heal as he wont be able to charge you if your not in LoS
Nothing yet! Unless of course, you count spamming Healing Touch and running as fast as you can away.
Unless you are a very well geared Feral Druid there is little to no hope of damaging the priest faster than he can heal, so to beat the priest you will have to exhaust his mana. Feral Druids have the definite advantage in this fight since they have much higher Melee DPS which will allow the Druid to do his damage without wasting mana. However, a fully Restoration focused druid may find it difficult to do damage faster than the Priest's mana regen, in which case the fight is almost certain to last until one party or the other gets bored. Because of this Shadow Priests are much easier for a Druid to kill since they are likely to waste much of their mana inefficiently nuking, and have much less mana efficient heals.
Tips by spec
Balance druids will find it very hard to kill discipline or holy priests, they can heal themselves far faster than they can be damaged. Discipline priests will also be able to do a decent amount of damage and healing, but your mana may outlast theirs by way of Innervate. Shadow priests are less stellar healers and if in shadow form they can't heal themselves, try to nuke them early to force them out of it.
- Heal Early. If you are fighting a Shadow Priest he will be capable of some serious bursts of damage and a good priest will be saving Silence and or Psychic Scream for when you allow yourself to get low.
- A smart Priest will regularly use Dispel Magic to remove the HoTs from your healing spells. Whenever possible use Lifebloom to save mana. Lifebloom can be dispelled, but doing so only does you a favor as it triggers the "bloom" component which is the major portion of the heal. Use it as much as possible. Priests that don't know what they're doing probably don't know any better, it costs them 14% of their mana to do so, and you get half the mana cost of lifebloom back when it terminates.
- Try to get him to blow his Psychic Scream early. Once used, root him with Entangling Roots and cast Force of Nature on him. Remember to cast Faerie Fire and Insect Swarm to maximize damage.
- Interrupt heals whenever you can, make sure you can follow up the interrupt with a big burst of damage. Typhoon will interrupt a cast straight away and Cyclone will cast faster than a large heal. Force of Nature may give you enough hit interruption to make time for some extra damage.
- If the priest is able to consistently Mana Burn you, you will definitely run out of mana before he does, and being in feral form prevents mana burn.
Feral druids have become very adept at killing priests as of patch 3.0.2. You must have Berserk specced to make this work, but start the fight in prowl if at all possible.
- Begin the fight in Prowl. you want to be able to stun him with Pounce, you need the time it gives you to recover energy with Tiger's Fury. then use your combo point to activate Savage Roar and blow Berserk to become immune to fear. Priests will almost invariably mash Psychic Scream when attacked in this way. You now do about triple your normal damage so spam as many attacks as possible.
- Save your combo points for Maim. Wait for the priest to cast Power Word: Shield and then maim him immediately, the damage will be absorbed, but the incapacitating effect will still be applied. Use the time it gives you to burn down his shield, hopefully he will have used his shield after his fear has failed. If you fail to destroy the shield, he will heal and you'll have to start all over again.
- Shadow priests will die rather quickly to your attacks if you can catch them in shadow form and unable to heal. However, beware their DoT spells, Feral druids lack the mana or spell power gear to heal economically and you may blow thru your entire mana supply healing through the DoTs.
- Cat Form has a 1.0 attack speed which can be very effective for slowing a priest's spells dramatically due to interruption. If you are level 62 or above allow him to continue casting and uses Maim against him as the heal is about to go off, if you have enough combo points this gives you enough time to cast a heal of your own.
- Mind Flay is a movement impairing effect, you can shift out of its effect and damage but most priests will continue casting what has become an ineffective spell for it's full duration, use this to your full advantage.
- If the priest allows himself to get low on hp, drop into Dire Bear Form and Bash him to interrupt his heal. This is especially effective if you have Furor.
- If you have it, Feral Charge can also be used to interrupt a heal, though the smart priest won't let you to get the necessary distance to use this ability.
- In real world PvP and in Battlegrounds harassing the priest can be just as important as killing him.
Restoration This battle can be tough if not impossible against a well played priest, but if you play as well as he does it will either be a never ending battle or you can possibly win. Your best bet is to spend most of your time in cat form. While in cat form you cannot be mana burned and your damage dealing doesn't eat up your mana pool.
Keep a rake dot on him while using claw to get combo points, and when you need to come out to heal yourself, maim before doing so, and if you have plenty of mana go ahead and hit him with moonfire and insect swarm if you have the talent. You don't want to be caught out of cat form while feared or else he'll mana burn you down to nothing. If his psychic scream is on cooldown use rip for extra damage.
Defeating a Warlock can be a really mixed bag, as the fight depends heavily on your spec and his. In general, you want this battle to be as short as possible, as the longer it goes on, the worse your chances of winning are.
Most warlocks tend to be easy to defeat as a feral druid. You want to avoid allowing him to cast as much as you can, so your best chance is probably to open on him with pounce rather than ravage. Save your PVP trinket for his Death Coil. Try to melee dance as best you can to avoid his direct damage casts. Use skull bash to interrupt his fears. Save your Berserk for when he actually does manage to land a fear on you.
If he has a Felhunter out, don't bother trying to cyclone him to heal yourself as he'll probably spell lock you. Instead save your Predator's Swiftness procs for an instant Healing Touch.
If he has a Voidwalker out, beware of his Consume Shadows ability which allows him to see you in stealth at a much greater range. You'll know when he is casting it because the Voidwalker must channel the spell.