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!