My Feral Troll Druid has reached level 20, and that’s cause for celebration!

Namely, I get to ride a lizard now instead of dashing about as a kitty.

Here are a few of the Troll Druid specific impressions I have from leveling to twenty.

The Troll starting area is really on rails, mon. Neat, love the layout, and even on patch night it flowed well, only two choke points (top of hill waiting for one NPC to kill, and off on an island waiting for some animal to spawn for me to lasso and ride). Very smooth moving through that zone, and I enjoyed the story a lot. Only downside was, it felt desperately short compared to some other starting zones, like the Human one or the Blood Elves. But maybe I’m just remembering them wrong.

The addition of flight points scattered, well, everywhere feels like cheating. More than any other change in World of Warcraft, the concatenation of flight points is the one thing that brings the grumpy old school Bear out in me. “In MY day, we had to RUN from the troll village to Orgrimmar and back! Uphill! Through the snow! BOTH WAYS! You young whipper snappers with your flight points every fifteen feet don’t know how easy you’ve got it!”

It’s very nice, it’s just jarring. Sure, Elwynn Forest slapped me in the face with its flight point out at the logging camp, but somehow putting a flight point at the troll starter village felt more distinctive. And yet, the second we dinged twenty out there in Northern Barrens, did you hear us complain that we could now FLY directly to get our riding training and buy a raptor mount? No, you did not. You heard only a massive sigh of relief that we didn’t have to run it.

Having to play as a caster until level 8 before getting kittyform, after playing so many alts in the days since patch 4.0.1 revamped classes, hurts EVEN WORSE. I don’t want to be a caster. I want to be a kitty or a bear. All I’ve got are caster tools in my toolbox until getting kitty form, so instead of feeling like a Feral Druid in training, I feel JUST like I used to with a new Druid… playing a character through a story where I’m only playing as a fill in, not as my real character. Eight levels that don’t really count as Druid time.

Intellectually, I grasp the concept that understanding and utilizing my casting abilities is very important in having a balanced appreciation for my Druid’s capabilities. I’m supposed to be a hybrid, flexible, shifting force of nature to be reckoned with, able to weave Roots and Insect Swarms and Moonfire dots and Thorn self-casts (grrr) into kitty Rakes and Mangle bleed debuffs and bear Bashes and Growls and damage sponging greatness.

Doesn’t mean I can’t wish I had kitty form at level one, though, does it? I wanna claw face naow!

Moving on, once you get kitty form, AND ding level 11, you’ve got your Feral Tree open to select, PLUS two talent points.

I’ve found that placing two points by level 11 into Feral Swiftness is kind of OP. I get 30% increased travel speed at level 11. That’s…. well, that’s a lot. You don’t get Dash until level 26, but a 30% speed buff all by itself is pretty sweet. Shaman get their Ghost Wolf not long after, so we’re not alone in our speediness, but wow that feels nice to blast across the dusty road.

On the subject of Cat Form.

Keeva wrote a beautifully detailed and artistically styled guide on how to pick your Troll Druid’s form colors based on hair color. It’s indispensible for getting just the flavor of gummybear that you desire.

My favorite ‘flavor’ style in Cat Form is how the color of your mane is shared in the tufts of fur along your legs, starting on the bottom of the pads on your paws and running up the backs of your legs. My coloring is bright orange mane hair with a light green body fur, and so I see a strong contrast, what with the red hair running up the backs of the green kitty legs. That sounds so wrong to say.

Here’s why that has really grown on me.

Each Druid, to me, looks different in style when in forms and that style really matches my impression of the race itself.

With the two we’ve long been used to, Tauren and Night Elf, the Tauren forms have felt strong and massive, beefy if you will, while the Night Elves have felt smooth and precise. Tauren are Feral Sledgehammers battering their opponents to death while the Night Elves are slim Rapiers piercing just that perfectly positioned point above the aorta.

The Troll Druid, with these crazy tufts of vibrant fur sticking out here and there, and those manes and the tusks, have in my opinion a wild, chaotic and in-your-face brashness to them.

To continue with the weapon analogy, the Troll Druid feels akin to having a roll of  quarters in your fist and a steel cap on your knee, then swarming over your opponent, smashing them surprisingly hard in the face, crushing in their nuts while they’re dazed, and leaving them battered and bleeding on the ground, confused over what just happened there. Maybe a little Mike Tyson styled gnawing on the ear tossed in for good measure.

Kinda all over the place nutso berserker-ish. Oh, hey, what’s that Troll racial ability called again? Huh. Go figure.

On the down side, while you’re a crazy kitty chainsaw as you quest, the bear side is lacking a situation to feel needed. Sure, if you get in big trouble you can go Bear, but… I never saw anything even remotely like a difficult situation while questing, and have yet to feel like I need bear form in any way, not even for ‘named mob’ battles.

Since I did not run any instances as tank before 20, and I didn’t do any PvP, I can’t speak to how effective the Bear tools are in those areas, but for questing, the form itself is definitely superfluous.

We’ll see how it goes. I intend to spend much more time getting into instances between 20 and 30 as the tank. And I do NOT want to wait until Swipe or some other AoE threat crutch is available. We’re supposed to be able to do this without AoE just like in the old days, and I want to see it happen.

Self-casting Thorns right before the run in is probably going to be a big initial threat grabbing move, but right now I’m just incredibly sad that I have no Feral Faerie Fire for ranged pulls or threat grabbing, and no Feral Charge. Without those, I’m left with Growl to try and get the mobs as tank before any ranged fires into the crowd I’m running towards, and that’s in my past experience a prescription for disaster.

All in all, though, I’m really enjoying my Troll Druid.

I have one quibble, non-Druid related, and it’s a big one.

They added XP gain from Herbing and Mining. That’s nice. I didn’t ask for it, but you gave it to me, so thank you.

When it was first released, everyone in your party shared that XP gain from an Herb or Ore node. That was nice too, and made a to of sense, since I was leveling a Mage with my wife the Bear Tank. Sharing the XP from gathering while we quested kept us together as we intended.

With the new patch, that vanished. ONLY the person doing the actual Herbing, at least, gets the XP.

I cannot express adequately how incredibly frustrating that is when your entire goal is to level with someone else hand in hand.

I quickly went almost a level past my wife before we hit 12 just by running across the occasional Herb, because she isn’t gathering, she went with Tailoring/Enchanting.

I do not need a 10% plus enhanced XP gain over my wife when we’re leveling together, okay?

It either needs to be changed back to be shared across the party, or give us a tool to shut it the heck off. We’re now having to either NOT Herb, which kinda makes it hard for me to be able to level Inscription at all, OR plan for when she’s going to have to go off for a while grinding solo so she can catch up, which is just soooo exciting and fun filled.

All in all, the experience has been very fun, and I never thought I’d say that about questing in any part of Barrens.

I hope that your own experiences in the new zones and with the new class combinations has been equally rewarding!

25 Responses to “Troll Druid impressions – levels 1 to 20”
  1. Felkan says:

    Like you, I started a Troll Druid. In my case, mostly to kill time. It has been a blast. And I would highly recommend everyone run to the goblin starting area once they reach level 10-11. It has been lots of fun. And the rocket roller coaster is a really neat idea.

  2. Darth Solo says:

    Nice, are you also going to try a worgen druid?

    My first druid ever will be a worgen.

    I can’t believe how much XP you can get from herbing/mining! At level 48 I’m getting 1680 XP from certain herbs. That’s insane!

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I’m not going to level a second druid, instead I’m converting my main level 80 Druid to Worgen.

      • Shane says:

        Noooo, you must stay horde! and after checking out the druid forms, worgen bears look rabid, downright rabid. Cant trust them!

        I will make a worgen druid myself though just to check it out, but its the alliance and after last nights pvp I always come away from pvp with “I hate the alliance!” mantra in my head cause they keep killing me or they do sucky stuff! (like ganking me or killing me)

        I wanna try a troll druid but I havent the char slots, I already moved the contents of a bank and had to delete it to make a tauren pally. I might have to go off my server :( for both worgen and troll.

    • KJP says:

      Yes, I’ve said this elsewhere, but gathering XP definitely seems a bit excessive, much like the dungeon quests were. Leveling an herbalist through the undead progression (with no dunegon running) I wound up skipping all of Tarren Mill in order to do Stranglethorn at level.

  3. Minos says:

    The day-glo Troll Cat looks like a bolt of lightning when it does Cat Charge.

  4. Tim says:

    Here’s a suggestion for you (take it or leave it). Assuming that she gets xp from enchanting/tailoring in some manner. Grind w/ her on cloth dropping mobs. Give her all the cloth you find so that she can lvl her proffs, and gain xp as well.

    Tim

    • bigbearbutt says:

      Unfortunately, she doesn’t get any XP from enchanting or tailoring. Only the actual gathering item professions, herbing and miing, give bonus XP. Skinning a mob does not.

      It’s a good idea, and of course she gets all of my cloth drops, and greens and stuff, but there is just a disparity in XP if I herb.

      Now, if there were class specific quests in the game, she could do her quests and I wouldn’t, and then she’d pull back even, and the group quests we’d do together.

      As it is, well, I’ll probably have to buy my herbs from the AH while we level to boost Inscription, and leave herb leveling until I hit 80.

      • Steevee says:

        Are you wearing any XP bonus gear (shoulders/chest)? If so, you can take off one or both pieces until she catches up. Just a thought…

  5. Shintar says:

    I was very annoyed with the gathering XP change as well. I saw some comments on the forum that claimed that the original implementation was a bug and that this is Blizzard’s “fix”. Either way I’m not the only one who has posted on the forums about disliking the change, so maybe the devs will reconsider their stance.

    In the meantime I’ve settled for occasionally doing the low-level cooking and fishing dailies when levelling with my better half (whose alt is a miner). It’s a comparatively quick and painless way of keeping up with him.

  6. Catal says:

    I’ve been leveling a troll druid, and I did tank once or twice prior to any real tanking abilities. And I healed several times prior to that too. While it’s not undoable, it _is_ tricky and I wouldn’t recommend it as a player’s first tank. Pick something with a little easier control to learn how dps players and aggro work first, then have fun with the feral.

    Healing I tended to dread bear tanks. No cooldowns, no stam increasing talents, a strong tendency to be new players learning to tank… squishy, and able to hold just barely enough aggro for that to be a problem.

    On the other hand, most dps (even at really really low levels) seems to be behaving now, so as long as I was paying attention, I didn’t do too badly as bear. I still don’t like having to depend on the dps behaving in order to tank, but it seems like most of them are paying attention. The biggest difference in my tanking was at 25, the maul glyph. I went from a constant state of “AAAH!” to “Ok, I can do this.” Maybe in Cata dungeons I’ll have to swap it for something that won’t break cc, but so far we’ve been able to cc far enough away I don’t break it with maul. Fairy fire was also an improvement, but not as much of one as maul. Swipe’s nice, but maul was better.

    And my druids are black with red hair and white with purple. I LOVE my tusks!

  7. Ben says:

    Maybe she could wear one peice of heirloom gear to even it out? Or you could wear one less peice if you guys are already rocking the boa’s :)

    • bigbearbutt says:

      That’s a very, very good idea. I can just drop the shoulders while we roll.

      • Drew says:

        Or drop the heirlooms altogether. For me, running the newly revamped old world isn’t so much about leveling a new toon to 80 (I barely have time for the two 80s I have on the realm I play most often, and no time sadly for my 80 Alliance rogue) as it is experiencing the content, and I’ve found that not only is the experience gained from questing more than sufficient for taking on the zones in order, but also that the gear and weapons rewarded are as well (and it all has a fresher look, to boot). So don’t be afraid to let go of those Stained Shadowcraft Spaulders you’re probably tired of looking at anyway. :)

  8. Staris says:

    I have lvled a troll to 8 to get the kitty, but I have to say I am disappointed with how masculine the kitties look. I don’t understand why they can’t make them look like male and female lions, tigers, and bears. If I WANTED to play a male kitty, I would create a male toon.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I keep hoping that, sooner or later, a male and female specific set of forms will be introduced… but I’ll be honest with you, I’m not holding my breath. We’ve gone 6 years so far, and I’d say we should consider ourselves fortunate they made new versions of the base forms.

  9. aliasundercover says:

    I’ve been rolling toons to try out the new starting areas, I’ve done troll, gnome, dwarf, nightelf, tauren and bloodelf to lvl 10-12ish but none of them compares to the awesomeness that has been the new undead starting areas. My undead is lvl 30 now and I’ve just finished Tarren Mill (Heirloom Gear + 3-4 instance runs). I was feeling very ho-hum about leveling to 85 on my main but if the undead leveling areas is any indication of what to expect from Cata quests, I just can’t wait!

  10. Kaiddi says:

    I thought the troll forms were a bad joke when first I saw them, but now that my baby troll just got cat form I find myself rather liking it.
    The model itself is great. The colours though…I just wish they were slightly less contrasty. Just a little. Especially the tattoo.

    And I can’t work out the belt thing at all. It looks somewhat like a poorly concealed trollish-designed zipper on a pantomime lion costume. It fills me with the urge to prance about a stage assuring easily frightened ladies in the audience that I’m really Snug the Joiner and not a real lion at all.

  11. Tsudrats says:

    I can’t believe that Bliz has been so nice as to give me more perfectly good excuses to run up yet another druid :D

  12. Drew says:

    The herb experience is indeed substantive – my warrior dinged at least 5 times on her route to 60 from gathering herbs, and in zones like Western Plaguelands and Swamp of Sorrows, you could probably *grind herb gathering* to speed level. It’s insane. On top of that, the skill points for gathering old world herbs don’t stop at 300 – my Herbalogy skill was 366 after finishing Blasted Lands and crossing the Dark Portal. Crazy!

    Having hit 60 on my belf warrior who stuck strictly to EK questing, I’ve now turned to see what Kalimdor has to offer. I finished Durotar and am probably halfway through the Northern Barrens. I for one am glad for those new FPs. Questing in Durotar seemed kludgy enough – the sweep out for the chain of four quest givers along the northwestern side of the zone was a little awkward – and it seems like now in the Barrens there’s running enough. More than that, though, the zones lack the narrative power of Tirisfal and Silverpine – I think the Forsaken just have much more of a story to tell.

    So I encourage you to check out EK for questing, BBB – having experienced it, I cannot recommend it enough. Not to mention the fact that it lacks the troglodytesque “Barrens Chat,” which seems to have infected Durotar as well. Yesterday I saw at least 12 of my fellow players’ toons with names reflecting some aspect of male or female genitalia. Where are these peoples’ mothers?

  13. Mama Druid says:

    My tauren pally has mining and herbalism. She has 0 heirlooms, has done 3 dungeons, and a handful of quests in The Barrens. She’s level 20 already and almost all her quests are in the green.

    I chose to not use heirlooms because I didn’t want to outlevel the content/zones. Doh!

    Not a fan of gathering xp…

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I know! My human hunter is in the Cape of Stranglethorn now at level 36 or 37… and just started the zone. I haven’t even done any instances, and nearly everything is green and some mobs are gray. I took my shoulders off early into Northern Stranglethorn, and now I’m thinking I might have to drop the chest if I intend to still feel like I’m getting some xp out of questing the zones to 100% complete.

      Which is great if you’re looking for fast leveling, but silly when you’re trying to be a completionista.

      • Tesh says:

        I’ve done plenty of low level quests for minimal XP and vendor trash. The story is the reward at that point. Of course, I could also just read that on Wowpedia or whatever. *shrug*

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