In role-playing games, a druid is a character class that is generally portrayed as using nature-based magical abilities who strive to protect nature from civilized intrusion. Most druids have abilities that involve healing, damaging spells, summoning animal allies, and shapeshifting. In many games they can play a huge varieties of roles, sometimes more role at the same time, thanks to their kalidoscopic abilities.
Dungeons and Dragons
Druids in Dungeons & Dragons are spellcasters of neutral alignment, who gain divine magic from being at one with nature. Unlike clerics, druids do not have special powers against undead and cannot use metal armour. Druids have the unique ability to change into various animal forms, or are known to have an animal companion or pet.
In EverQuest II, Druids are a priest class divided into Wardens and Furies. They are neutral and can come from cities of either alignment. They specialize in healing spells, particularly their heal over time (HoT) spells. They are restricted to cloth and leather armor.
World of Warcraft
In World of Warcraft, only Night Elves and Tauren can become druids (with the addition of Trolls and the Worgen in Cataclysm). They are spell casters (healer/damage dealer hybrids) in their humanoid form, but they gain the ability to shapeshift into different forms as they progress through the game. The basic forms that every druid can have, sorted by the order they become available, are: Bear, Aquatic, Cheetah, Cat, Dire Bear, Stormcrow and Swift Stormcrow. Depending on how a player distributes their talent points two additional forms may become available: Moonkin and Tree of Life. The forms let druids assume a specific role in a group or they provide utility functions such as improving travel speed. They have spells that seem to be very close to nature in their name and function, like Regrowth, Tranquility, Living Seeds, Barkskin or Eclipse. In their feral forms they have ferociously sounding abilities that resemble animal actions like Prowl, Bash, Pounce or Growl.
Druids take less damage and appear to be more threatening to monsters while in Bear or Dire Bear form, and they can use relatively low damage but high threat physical abilities like Maul or Lacerate, or they can Swipe multiple targets to generate threat on all of them, making Bears suitable for tanking. Cat form is the opposite, but also builds on physical damage abilities, with gameplay mechanics similar to that of rogues, including stealth and alternatives for most of their offensive moves; Cats excel in damage dealing so in cat form the druid assumes the melee damage dealer role. The Cheetah form gives extra running speed so it is useful for escaping or traveling. The Aquatic form is the same except that it's only usable while underwater, but it provides both extra swimming speed and unlimited breath. The Stormcrow and Swift Stormcrow (or Flight Form and Swift Flight Form) gives the druid the ability to fly at the same speed that of the level-appropriate flying mounts in the game, with the same restrictions of course. The druids specialized in Balance can shapeshift into a Moonkin, which will enhance the druid's and their group's offensive spells, making them viable as ranged damage dealers and support. Finally, Restoration druids can assume Tree of Life form, which will increase their armor and their healing power, and also the healing done on their group by other healers, making "Trees" be a viable choice as healers.
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