Druid Leveling Guide

Druid Leveling

Introduction

The Druid Leveling Guide provides you with all the necessary information to get your favorite Character started!
Not every Skill is suitable to be used during early leveling for three reasons:

  • Only a number of Skills work well without any previously farmed gear.
  • A lot of builds lack damage during the leveling phase. It can become a big struggle or even straight up impossible to progress, starting with an end game build.
  • Some builds have a hard time transitioning into hell due to Immunities.

We provide you with step by step Skill trees and easily accessible items that help you in your play through. Additionally, you get tips and insights on how to deal with Immunities and the more difficult fights.

Gear used in this guide
Fissure
Tornado
Shock Wave
Oak Sage

At the end of this guide you'll have a Level 75 Druid that used 1 out of the 3 respecs the game provides. You can use these to transition into your build of choice.
If you like the build at the end of this guide, check out the Tornado Hurricane Druid Guide, which continues it to the end game.


Skill Trees

The Druid Leveling Guide utilizes Firestorm, Molten Boulder, and Fissure in Normal.
In Nightmare, he has 2 options, depending on the situation:

  • Tornado + Hurricane: Damage build, strong in solo play - mediocre in Multiplayer, requires some Levels to get going
  • Shock Wave + Werebear: Support build, group play only!

Hint: Below the Skill trees you have a slider which you can move around to see the Skill progression!

Level 1-33 - Firestorm + Molten Boulder + Fissure

Since the Druid only uses one Skill Tree until he respecs, the Skill Point allocation is very simple:

  • Level 2-5: Firestorm
  • Level 6-7: Molten Boulder
  • Level 8-11: Firestorm
  • Level 12-31: Fissure
  • Quest reward Skill Points: Firestorm
  • Level 32-33: Firestorm

Fissure is an extremely powerful Skill that can carry you all the way to Act 4 Nightmare. We recommend respeccing before you start Act 3. The Crowd Control, and additional Utility provided by the follow up Skill builds are well worth it.

Level 33-75 - Tornado + Hurricane (Solo or Group)

Using Tornado, Hurricane, and some Summons, the Druid increases his defenses while still dealing significant damage. The respec at Level 33 is straight-forward:

  • Oak Sage - 1 Skill Point
  • Raven - 1 Skill Point
  • Summon Spirit Wolf - 1 Skill Point
  • Summon Dire Wolf - 1 Skill Point
  • Summon Grizzly - 1 Skill Point
  • Arctic Blast - 1 Skill Point
  • Cyclone Armor - 5 Skill Points
  • Twister - 1 Skill Point
  • Tornado - 10 Skill Points
  • Hurricane - 4 Skill Points

Note: We are not going to use every Skill Point we have at the respec. This is not a mistake! It allows you to put Skill Points into Hurricane and Tornado simultaneously while you are leveling up! Put additional Skill Points, gained from Quests, into Cyclone Armor.

Skill Point allocation after respec, in order:

  • Tornado until maxed out (20 Skill Points allocated)
  • Hurricane until maxed out (20 Skill Points allocated)
  • Cyclone Armor until maxed out (20 Skill Points allocated)
  • Twister until maxed out (20 Skill Points allocated)

Hardcore players: For more safety you can max out Oak Sage before starting to put Skill Points into Twister. Be aware that this is a noticable damage loss throughout Hell!

Level 33-75 - Shock Wave + Werebear (Group)

This version does not deal damage on its own. You become a tanky Werebear that stuns everything in front of you. The respec:

  • Oak Sage - 20 Skill Points
  • Werewolf - 1 Skill Point
  • Lycanthropy - 3 Skill Points
  • Werebear - 1 Skill Point
  • Maul - 1 Skill Point
  • Shock Wave - 10 Skill Point

There should be no Skill Points left after this respec is completed. Going forward allocate your Skill Points:

  • Level 34-37: Shock Wave*
  • Lycanthropy until maxed out (20 Skill Points allocated)
  • Raven - 1 Skill Point
  • Summon Spirit Wolf - 1 Skill Point
  • Summon Dire Wolf - 1 Skill Point
  • Summon Grizzly - 1 Skill Point
  • Summon Dire Wolf until maxed out (20 Skill Points allocated)
  • Werebear - remaining Skill Points

*At this point Shock Wave reaches the maximum Stun duration, even though the tool tip shows increasing values.

As this Skill Build is not meant to deal damage, we simply beef up our Summon Grizzly to become an additional tank.


Playstyle

During the leveling process, the Druid Leveling Guide employs different playstyles depending on the Skills he has access to. This section describes the playstyle for each Skill set.

Level 1-33 - Firestorm + Molten Boulder + Fissure

Until Level 6, use Firestorm to burn down your enemies. This Skill shoots out 3 lines of Fire. Try to hit monsters with as many of them as possible to deal optimal damage. The best way to achieve this is to get really close to your enemies, especially for single targets.

When fighting a big group of monsters, shoot backwards while kiting the monsters around. Due to the low Life pool, you have to be careful with ranged monsters and Rakanishu. Fight these from a distance!

At Level 6, you start to destroy anything that comes across you with Molten Boulder. Try to line up multiple monsters before casting Molten Boulder towards and through them, hitting everything in a straight line. While this strategy works on most monsters, however, be aware of the "Wendigo" monster type (Gargantuan Beasts, Brutes, and Yetis). It is better to use Firestorm against them because Molten Boulder instantly explodes when hitting them, dealing significantly less damage.

While farming The Countess for your Stealth and Leaf, an explosion of the Molten Boulder can be a wanted outcome, as it damages monsters in a large radius. Simply aim at a wall if the doorway is blocked by annoying Devilkins.

Fissure gets unlocked at Level 12. It is arguably the strongest leveling Skill for quite some time (Next to the Assassin's Wake of Fire). Apart from 2 Areas (Maggot Lair, and Arcane Sanctuary), the gameplay can be trivialized to 2 Buttons: Left click for moving around, and right click to cast Fissure. This is true all the way until you respec.

Maggot Lair:
Use Molten Boulder in corridors that are filled with Beetles and Ichies. They will melt almost instantly from it. Against the Maggots you should use Firestorm. Similar to the Wendigo monster type, Molten Boulder explodes immediately on them, reducing your damage output.

Arcane Sanctuary:
Fissure is horrible at fighting monsters that stand on the stairs in Arcane Sanctuary. Try to lure monsters down the stairs onto the flat ground to fight them, or try to aim Molten Boulder up the stairs. Both can be very tricky, making this area an annoying place to get through.

Tip for Diablo and Baal:
Since these 2 Act bosses don't move around very much, Firestorm is a lot more effective in killing them. Getting close does increase your chance of Death, especially on Diablo!

Level 33-75 - Tornado + Hurricane (Solo or Group)

After the respec the gameplay becomes a lot more engaging again. Keep up your Oak Sage, Cyclone Armor, and Hurricane at all times.

To fight enemies, use Summon Grizzly in front of you. The bear is going to tank the damage, allowing you to start casting Tornado. This Skill is a "treat" to use... Get used to Tornados flying off in wild directions. When this happens, play around with your Character placement and subtle cursor movements. When you are holding your position and the cursor in place, the Tornado movement pattern stays consistent.

A way to guarantee hits from Tornado is to really get close to your target. The Tornado has no chance to "dodge" your target if you cast it on top of them.

With a mix of Physical Damage (Tornado) and Cold Damage (Hurricane) there is close to nothing that stands in your way. When you encounter the rare Elite Group that actually is immune to both monster types, simply skip it. Use Summon Grizzly on top of it and run past it. This should give you enough time to get out of aggro range.

A Mercenary using strength is a huge asset against Act bosses. Use the Mercenary Bug to make him untargetable, and position yourself on the other side of the boss. Since most boss attacks only go into one direction, he is kept alive easily save to stay alive and deal massive damage with Crushing Blow.

Level 33-75 - Shock Wave + Werebear (Group)

This Skill Tree doesn't allow you to deal any significant damage in your group - You are a pure Support Character.
The job is simply:

  • Stay alive and in Werebear-form.
  • Keep Oak Sage up at all times.
  • Be in the front line to tank damage and stun everything in Shock Wave-range. Use your Summon Grizzly as additional damage sponge.
  • Be the first in spicy Town Portals to give your team a chance at survival when they enter it.

Snag all the Rejuvenation Potions. They are a lot more effective on your massive Life pool than under powered Healing Potions.


Miscellaneous

Assembling the Build

This guide only uses items you can easily get during your playthrough. In this section, we show you where and why you get the items that are used.
Warning: When we are talking about Socketed items for Runewords, be aware that the vendors can sell magic items with 2 Sockets. Runewords do NOT work in Magic Items!

Stealth:
Where?
- Buy a 2 Socket Body Armor from Charsi in Normal Act 1.
- Find the Runes from The Countess in Normal Act 1, The Forgotten Tower (Black Marsh).
Why?
- Stealth is arguably the strongest Runeword, as we are using it on literally every Leveling guide.
- 25 % Faster Run/Walk and 25% Faster Hit Recovery bring significant Quality of Life, and this Body Armor should not be replaced until the end of this guide.

Leaf Short Staff:
Where?
- Buy a 2 Socket Staff from Akara in Normal Act 1.
- Find the Runes from The Countess in Normal Act 1, The Forgotten Tower (Black Marsh).
Why?
- Due to the +3 to Fire Skills Stat, Leaf provides a massive damage boost until we respec at Level 33.

Ancients' Pledge Kite Shield:
Where?
- Buy a Kite Shield from Farah in Normal Act 2.
- Receive the Runes from Quahl-Kek after completing Quest 2 in Act 5 Normal.
Why?
- Ancients' Pledge Kite Shield provides a large amount of Resistances.

Lore Pelt:
Where?
- Buy a Cap or Skull Cap from Charsi in Normal Act 1, or find a Druid Pelt (Any Druid Pelt with 2 Sockets and Skills).
- Find the Runes from The Countess in Nightmare Act 1, The Forgotten Tower (Black Marsh).
Why?
Lore provides +1 to All Skills as well as Lightning Resist +30%, which makes this Helmet a strong offensive and defensive option for this item slot. The +2 Mana after each Kill helps in managing the Mana costs from our Skills.

Gnarled Staff of Teleportation:
Where?
- Buy the Staff of Teleportation from Ormus in Normal Act 3. A minimum Character Level of 19 is required.
Why?
- A Staff of Teleportation provides us with higher mobility. We utilize this to get past physical blockades as well as difficult monster groups we cannot easily kill.
Tip: Buy the Staff of Teleportation before you hit Level 24. The Staff has a Level requirement of 24 which means they appear with a red background in the vendor screen. This speeds up the process of shopping for it a lot!
Hardcore warning: When you switch to the Weapon slot with the Staff of Teleportation, you lose a lot of Resistances and your Chance to Block.

Spirit Crystal Sword:
Where?
- Find a Crystal Sword in The Secret Cow Level and use the Sockets reward from Act 5 Quest 1.
- You can find the Runes from The Countess in Nightmare Act 1, The Forgotten Tower (Black Marsh).
Why?
- Spirit provides you with +2 to All Skills, Mana, Faster Hit Recovery and Faster Cast Rate.

Ruby Heavy Boots of Speed:
Where?
- Buy Boots with 20% Faster Run/Walk and Resistances from Charsi or Gheed in Nightmare Act 1.
Why?
- Great mobility for leveling and progression.
- Resistances help you stay alive easier. Lightning and Fire Resistances are your priorities!

Garnet Demonhide Sash of Stability:
Where?
- Buy a Belt with Faster Hit Recovery and Resistances from Charsi or Gheed in Nightmare Act 1.
- Alternatively buy a Belt with Life and Resistances from Charsi or Gheed in Nightmare Act 1.
Why?
- Resistances help you stay alive easier. Lightning and Fire Resistances are your priorities! 24% Faster Hit Recovery allow you to hit the Breakpoint at 99% FHR.

Coral Heavy Gloves:
Where?
- Buy Gloves with Resistances from Charsi or Gheed in Nightmare Act 1.
Why?
- Resistances help you stay alive easier. Lightning and Fire Resistances are your priorities!

Strength Spear:
Where?
- Buy the Spear from Charsi in Normal Act 1.
- Find the Runes from The Countess in Nightmare Act 1, The Forgotten Tower (Black Marsh).
Why?
- Using the Mercenary bug (he becomes not targetable) this Runeword increases your Kill Speed of Diablo, the Ancients, and Baal.

Attributes

Strength
In the Druid Leveling Guide, we only allocate enough Stat Points to Strength to equip all of our gear.

Vitality
After you put your points into Strength and Dexterity, make sure to check if it is recommended to put Stat Points into Energy. Meet the suggested amount of Energy and put any remaining Stat Points into Vitality.

Dexterity
The Druid Leveling Guide requires no additional Dexterity.


Energy
In the Druid Leveling Guide we don't recommend putting any Stat Points into Energy.

Breakpoints

For more information on the mechanics involved, check out our in-depth article on Breakpoints.

All builds rely on specific Breakpoints for effectiveness throughout the game. Meeting Breakpoints for Cast Rate, Hit Recovery, and Block Rate increases the rate of casting spells, recovering from big damage, and block by 1 Frame per Breakpoint.


Faster Cast Rate (FCR)
While using Fissure, the Druid requires no Faster Cast Rate. After the respec to Tornado we aim for 68% Faster Cast Rate.

Cast Rate Breakpoint

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)
We do not target a specific Attack Speed Breakpoint. We do not rely on attacks to deal damage.

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)
Faster Hit Recovery controls how fast our Character finishes the Hit Recovery animation. Stealth and Spirit grant a total of 80% Faster Hit Recovery. With additional % Faster Hit Recovery on gear, like Belt, Boots or Charms, we can reach even higher Breakpoints.

Hit Recovery Breakpoint

Faster Block Rate (FBR)
We do not target a specific Block Rate Breakpoint. We do not rely on Chance to Block in this build.

Faster Run Walk (FRW)
There are no Breakpoints for Faster Run / Walk. With the recommended gear, you reach 45% Faster Run / Walk. Please refer to Run / Walk Mechanics for more details.

Mercenary

During the leveling process, the Mercenary rarely has any use. It is very hard to keep any of them alive. Using the Mercenary Bug give you a bigger uptime on him.

Insight can feel amazing while playing through the game.

Equipped with a Strength, the Mercenary becomes a big asset in boss fights, especially in Hell difficulty. Crushing Blow reduces the duration of fights against Diablo, the Ancients, and Baal dramatically in solo play.

To help survive various scenarios, remember you can drag Healing Potions onto the portrait, or shift + 1/2/3/4 to directly feed them a Healing Potion from your belt. The Mercenary also gains bonus Resistances from Thawing Potions and Antidote Potions, which is primarily useful in fights against Act bosses.

If your Mercenary dies in battle, you can revive them from any of the Mercenary NPC in any Act. This does come with an increasing cost, capping at 50,000 Gold. So keep that in mind and decide if the Mercenary is currently worth the cost.

Hardcore

All of our Leveling Guides are viable for Hardcore.
Changes to consider:

  • Over Level before you enter Nightmare / Hell. Suggested Target Levels are ~38-40 for Nightmare and 65+ for Hell.
  • Make sure to have your Cold, Fire, and Lightning Resistances capped at 75% when you enter Nightmare and Hell. The easy way to check this is to enter the difficulty you want to play and open your Character screen.
    • We recommend farming Flayer Jungle or The Secret Cow Level in Nightmare for Charms. They make it easy to cap your Resistances.

Gear Options

With a shared stash now available and the fact that this might not be your first Character we want to give you some gear options that can improve your Leveling experience a lot!

  • Spectral Shard, and Suicide Branch are great alternatives to Spirit Crystal Sword.
  • Skin of the Vipermagi is the best Body Armor you can equip on any caster for Leveling.
  • Magefist gives you 20% Faster Cast Rate which helps to improve your Cast Rate for Tornado. +1 to Fire Skills increases the Skill Level of Fissure.
  • A rare Amulet with +x to Druid Skills or +x to Elemental Skills is very powerful. Unique options for the Amulet are The Eye of Etlich and later a Maras Kaleidoscope.
  • Hsarus' Iron Heel and Sander's Riprap are strong options for the Boots slot. Both provide you with Faster Run/Walk and are very common drops.
  • The Stone of Jordan provides you with +1 to All Skills, which scales our damage up significantly. It's a rather expensive option, but if you have one, put it on!
  • Splendor or Lidless Wall[/d2planner-skill] can be a really nice option if you can get high Resistances without the help of [d2planner-item]Ancient's Pledge.
  • Jalal's Mane is a very powerful Druid Pelt. With +2 to All Skills, +30% Faster Hit Recovery, and All Resistance +30, it gives huge Utility. A Lore Antlers or an amazing Rare Pelt can provide more damage though.

Farming Spots at Level 75+

The areas below are well suited for this build to farm efficiently. While this build can also farm other areas, we’ve selected these specific areas to make the most use of the build’s strengths. Please take special note of the danger level, clear speed, item types, and Immunities that define these areas.

Act 1:

AreaDangerRewardsImmunities
The Countess
(Forgotten Tower Level 5)
MediumRunes
Key of Terror
Fire, Cold
The PitMediumAll item types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Fire, Lightning, Cold
Andariel
(Catacombs Level 4)
LowUniques
Sets
Jewelry

Act 2:

AreaDangerRewardsImmunities
Summoner
(Arcane Sanctuary)
LowKey of Hate

Act 3:

AreaDangerRewardsImmunities
TravincalHighGearing
Runes
Charms / Gems / Jewels
Gold
Fire, Lightning, Cold
Mephisto
(Durance of Hate Level 3)
MediumUniques
Sets

Act 5:

AreaDangerRewardsImmunities
Eldritch the Rectifier
(Frigid Highland)
LowGearing
Gold
Leveling
Cold
Shenk the Overseer
(Bloody Foothills)
MediumGearing
Gold
Leveling
Cold
Worldstone Keep / Throne of DestructionHighAll item types
Max Area Level
Leveling
Physical, Magic, Fire, Lightning, Cold, Poison
(Depends on monster spawns)
Baal / Waves
(Worldstone Chamber /
Throne of Destruction)
HighUniques
Sets
Max Area Level
Leveling
(Baal for Level 97-99)
Magic, Fire, Cold, Poison
(on Waves)

Gear Progression

Level 1-33

Early on the Druid doesn't require any gear to destroy the evils of Sanctuary. Shop for a Staff and a Body Armor with 2 Sockets and farm The Countess for the Runes needed in Leaf, and Stealth. Equip these when you reach the appropriate Levels.

Pick up every Druid Pelt you come across and check them for Skills that you use, like +x to Fissure, or +x to Tornado.

Pick up all Rings and Amulets and look useful stats are Life, Resistances, Magic Find, and Mana. Also look out for Faster Cast Rate, which you need after the respec at Level 33!

During the early Levels, you need to keep an eye on your Stamina usage. Make sure to always have some Stamina Potions in your inventory. They give you infinite Stamina for 30 seconds. This duration stacks, so you can drink multiple Potions before heading out on long runs. You lose the duration on death or when using Save & Exit.

A Helmet with Ral Runes helps to survive the primary damage type in Act 4 and stays useful until you get to Nightmare.

Keep a Tome of Town Portal and Tome of Identify in your inventory for the full Leveling process.
Allocate your Stat Points to reach these Attribute values at Level 33:

Level 33-75 (Solo or Group)

Shop for gear at the start of Nightmare Act 1. Shop for Coral Heavy Gloves, Ruby Heavy Boots of Haste, and Garnet Demonhide Sash of Stability.

Start farming The Countess and equip yourself with a Lore, ideally in a Druid Pelt which grants +x to Tornado. In Single Player, shop for a Coral Wand of the Magus. In Battle.Net, farm for a Crystal Sword in The Secret Cow Level, use the Quest reward from Larzuk in Act 5 Normal, and create your Spirit Crystal Sword.

Keep the Gnarled Staff of Teleportation in your secondary Weapon slot. This item grants you a massive mobility boost.

Useful Rings and Amulets are not easy to come by. Especially since we are aiming for 68% Faster Cast Rate (FCR), which requires FCR on all 3 Jewelry pieces. Use anything that gives you Faster Cast Rate, Life, Resistances, Magic Find, or Mana.
Insight on your Mercenary greatly increases our Mana Regeneration. This Runeword is only available for Ladder Characters. Equip him with a Helmet and a Body Armor with +xx% Resistances to give him the best chances of survival.
Note: Don't bother with a Mercenary in Single Player, apart from the 3 boss fights against Diablo, Ancients, and Baal in Hell difficulty. Utilize the Mercenary Bug for those and equip him with Strength.

Allocate your Stat Points to reach these Attribute values at Level 75:
Note: Use more Strength (Less Vitality) if you find good replacements for the items you bought at the start of Nightmare! Don't go past 60 Strength!

Level 33-75 (Group)

Shop for gear at the start of Nightmare Act 1. Shop for Coral Heavy Gloves, Ruby Heavy Boots of Haste, and Garnet Demonhide Sash of Stability.

Get yourself a Wand with 20% Faster Cast Rate if you don't get a White. A Spirit Crystal Sword is a better alternative, if available. Use Ancient's Pledge and put a Helmet on that provides you with some X Resist +x%.

Useful Rings and Amulets are not easy to come by. Use anything that give you Faster Cast Rate, Life, Resistances, Magic Find, or Mana.

You can be the player that uses an Insight on your Mercenary, but be aware that he might die quite frequently. Another option could be to use Insight in a Gnarled Staff on your Druid. Then you don't have to worry about keeping your Mercenary alive. But you lose the Resistances from Ancient's Pledge while using it.

Allocate your Stat Points to reach these Attribute values at Level 75:


Video Guide

Coming Soon.


Summary

  • Destroy your enemies early on with the Fire Skills Firestorm, Molten Boulder, and Fissure.
  • After respecing keep your buffs and Summons up at all times:
    • Cyclone Armor (Buff)
    • Oak Sage (Summon / Buff Aura)
    • Summon Grizzly (Summon)
  • Remember to cast Hurricane any time it runs out. You can't activate it in town!
  • Play around with the pathing of Tornado. It can feel a little clunky, but you can get used to it. If you struggle to hit an enemy, change your position.
  • If you play the Support role, be the first in every fight so enemies are stunned when your team arrives!
  • Farm The Countess in Normal and Nightmare for the key Runewords. Be careful with the item bases you buy from the vendors. Runewords do NOT work in Magic Items!
  • Pick up all Druid Pelts for Skills used in this guide. (Mainly Fissure, Tornado, and Hurricane)
  • Buy a Gnarled Staff of Teleportation before Level 24.

Guide by Teo1904

We hope the Druid Guide helps you to get to your endgame build of choice. While Fissure is the destroyer of worlds in Normal, and early Nightmare, Tornado, and Hurricane can feel a little clunky at times.

Good luck!