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Diablo 2 Fallen Strategies #4: Druid Shapeshifting Guide

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Diablo 2 Fallen Strategies #4: Druid Shapeshifting Guide
 
This guide describes how to understand and use the Druid's two shapeshifting forms successfully.
 
 
 
Werewolf vs. Werebear - Side by Side:
 
Basic:
  • Duration is 40 seconds. Duration increases by 1 second every 10 CA levels.
  • Cooldown is 10 seconds and does not change. Cooldown does not begin until the Druid shifts back to human form.
  • Damage inflicted is pure physical damage unless modifications are taken.
  • It is highly recommended to turn on Expert Touch when creating a new character if you are focusing exclusively on shapeshifting/Primal Magic.
 
Attributes and Bonuses:
  • Werewolf has higher base Dexterity. Werebear has higher base Strength. All other attributes equal.
  • Werewolf has a bonus to Attack Rating + X. Werebear has a bonus to Defense Rating + X.
  • Werewolf has signifcantly higher movement speed and attack speed. Werebear has higher base physical damage and higher base hitpoints.
  • Both forms have +X% scaling bonuses to Attack, Defense, Evade Chance, Damage Mitigation (all types) and Hitpoint Regeneration. The Werebear has slightly higher values for hp regen and damage mitigation. The Werewolf has higher evade chance.
  • Both forms have identical bonuses to Physical Armor +X, All Combat Arts +X, and Chance for Critical Hits +X%.
 
Both forms have the following Skills:
  • Tactics Lore
  • Primal Magic Focus
  • Primal Magic Lore
  • Toughness
  • Spell Resistance
  • Alchemy
  • Enhanced Perception
The Werewolf addtionally has this skill: Speed Lore
The Werebear addtionally has this skill: Constitution
 
Since both forms have the Alchemy skill, they enjoy longer potion durations and can use Alchemy Charms. Unfortunately the potion quick slots disappear when shapeshifted so you either have to use hotkeys or open up the inventory to use the charms. It will be worth it though. Speed up your Werebear with a Charm of Acceleration. Gain Regen per hit by using a Charm of Regeneration. Charm of Concussion can give a massive boost to Chance for Critical Hits. Try to make use of Alchemy Charms to boost your build's power!
 
As of CM 1.60, both forms also have the Concentration skill, which allows them to use up to 2 buffs while shapeshifted.  This means Heart of the Wolverine, Dire Wolf, Grizzly, and Cyclone Armor are all viable options for the Werewolf or Werebear.  You can choose to have an army of summons, buff your resistances, or increase your offensive power.
 
It's important to remember that the shapeshifting forms do not inherit the Druid's attributes, skills, or item bonuses. The forms exist largely as separate creatures with their own unique attributes and skills.
 
With this in mind, you may think, "well in that case it really doesn't matter what skills or attributes I choose for my Druid!" But that's not entirely true.
 
 
================================================
Useful Skills:
 
Unlike the Dragon's Mage's forms (which had massive 60s cooldown but negligible regeneration time), the Druid's forms have a modest 10s cooldown, but a steep regeneration penalty as the CA levels up. This is an incentive to make use of any and all attributes, skills, and item bonuses which improve regeneration time.
 
With that in mind, these are some skills that would be useful for a Druid exclusively focused on shapeshifting:
  • Primal_magic_focus.pngPrimal Magic Focus - lowers regeneration time, increases max level of Werewolf and Werebear without regen penalty, grants modification points
  • Primal_magic_lore.pngPrimal Magic Lore - increases the speed of the transformation, most importantly grants modification points
  • Concentration_d2f.pngConcentration - lowers regeneration time of Werewolf and Werebear, allows you to equip more buffs in your human form downtime
  • armorlore.gifArmor Lore - lowers the regeneration penalty from armor, increases your run speed and survivability in your human form downtime
  • divinedevotion.gifDivine Devotion - This is one skill that carries over from the Druid's human form to his animal forms. You can still use your divine gift while shifted. Choose your god wisely and invest in this skill to lower its regeneration time so you can use it often!
  • bargaining.gifTrading - Useful for shopping for better equipment +Skills and +Combat Arts will be useful modifiers to have. You will also get better quest rewards when mastered.
  • blacksmith.gifBlacksmith - Be your own blacksmith. Get better bonuses from your socketed items and gain a chance to unsocket without losing items
  • constitution.gif Constitution - these last 3 skills are just example defensive skills that will help your survivability while you are in human form. You don't want to suddenly become a helpless weakling if you shift back during battle.
  • spellresistance.gif Spell Resist Lore
  • combatreflexes.gif Combat Reflexes

If you want to use buffs while shapeshifted, then I recommend choosing at least one aspect skill (Focus or Lore) from that aspect (Elemental Magic or Nature Summons) so that you can make use of modifications and get the most power from the buffs.

For Attributes you would probably mainly want to go with Stamina to keep the regeneration time down and Vitality to improve your survivability during your human form downtime.

 
This are just suggestions. If you wanted to expand your build to include the entire Primal Magic aspect, you could easily swap out Blacksmith, Bargaining, or Combat Reflexes for Ancient Magic and Combat Discipline, invest in some Intelligence, and you would have a versatile spellcaster who could switch to melee combat via shapeshifting if needed. The beauty of the Druid's animal forms is that they can go on top of virtually any build.
 
 
================================================
Choosing a Deity
Remember your shapeshifted Druid has a very valuable asset in the form of his divine gift! Choose wisely and make good use of it. Remember that choosing the Divine Devotion skill will improve the god spell even when shapeshifted. This can lower the huge 400s cooldown to a mere 60s at high levels of mastery! Not to mention it acts like an Asepct Lore skill by increasing the power, casting speed, and max level of your divine gift.
 
T2wu5qZ.pngChoosing Bul-Kathos for his divine gift Might will turn your shapeshifted forms into boss-shredding machines. This melee buff is the premium choice for an offensive-minded shapeshifter.
UowB6cj.pngShadow-path Druids may want to consider Rathma's divine gift Carrion Vine for its rooting effects, heavy damage, and Leech Life%.
 
Really though, any Divine Gift will serve you well, especially with the Divine Devotion skill.
 
 
Now let's focus on modifications...
 
 
================================================
Werewolf modificatons:
 
MODicons_12.gifBronze choice:
  • Lycanthropy - Each successful hit now recharges shapeshifting duration by 0.5 seconds.
  • Agile - Adds a chance to evade enemy attacks (15% + 0.5% per level).
Lycanthropy may seem the obvious because of the extended duration. But remember the Werewolf has no access to any evade chance modifiers and may suffer heavy damage at higher difficulties, so Agile could be the option for more defensive players.
 
MODicons_10.gif Silver choice:
  • Rabies - A portion of physical damage is converted to poison (35% + 0.5% per level).
  • Ruthless - Adds a chance opponents cannot evade attacks (25% + 0.5% per level).
Shapeshifted damage is pure physical, so Rabies is the only chance for the Werewolf to gain another damage type (and Chance to Poison secondary effect). Other players may prefer to hit enemies more reliably, and Ruthless will eventually get the chance to hit past 100% against almost all foes.
 
MODicons_08.gif Gold choice:
  • Hunger - The Werewolf's attacks inflict life leech damage (0.1% + 0.1% per level).
  • Eviscerate - Adds a 30% + 0.5% per level chance to cause Mortal Wounds (bleeding DOT plus 10% reduction to opponent's base hitpoints).
LL% from Hunger is a prized modifier because the effect scales with the opponent's hitpoints, allowing even bosses to take heavy damage from it. However the value is low to moderate, and the other option is also appealing. Mortal Wounds (Serious Open Wounds) has a dual effect of reducing enemy hitpoints plus bleeding damage.
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Werebear modifications:
 
MODicons_12.gifBronze choice:
  • Lycanthropy - Each successful hit now recharges shapeshifting duration by 0.5 seconds.
  • Bristly Fur - Chance to reflect close combat attacks (20% + 1% per level).
Lycanthropy is appealing for the extended duration, but those building a tank-like Werebear may prefer Bristly Fur. The shapeshifted forms have no access to any Block or Reflect modifiers so opting for survivability may turn the tide of battle.
 
MODicons_10.gif Silver choice:
  • Fire Claws - A portion of physical damage is converted to fire (35% + 0.5% per level).
  • Deadly Strike - The Werebear inflicts double damage when enemy health falls below 25%.
Shapeshifted damage is pure physical, so Fire Claws is the only chance for the Werebear to gain another damage type (and Chance to Burn secondary effect). Other players may prefer to opt for the sheer damage boost to wounded enemies provided by Deadly Strike.
 
MODicons_08.gif Gold choice:
  • Hunger - The Werebear's attacks inflict life leech damage (0.1% + 0.1% per level).
  • Ravage - Adds a substantial chance the Werebear's attacks will bypass enemy armor (50% + 0.3% per level).
LL% from Hunger is a prized modifier because the effect scales with the opponent's hitpoints, allowing even bosses to take heavy damage from it. However the value is low to moderate, and the other option is also appealing. Ravage gives a very good chance that the Werebear's attacks will completely ignore the enemy's physical resistance (and fire resistance if Fire Claws mod is taken), thereby inflicting full damage.
 
 
================================================
Special Combat Arts
Both forms get two special combat arts that are exclusive to them. Each gets one temporary buff and one attack CA. The player will likely want to make use of them all as much as possible.
 
NR0AwBe.pngFeral Rage (temp buff)
When in wolf form, the Druid using this ability enters a frenzied rage, viciously tearing into foes and becoming more ferocious with each consecutive kill. The more damage sustained by the Druid, the higher his damage output.
  • Duration: 20 seconds
  • Wounds Increase Damage Dealt (max damage boost at 35% health)
  • Each kill charges attack rating: 45% +5% per level
  • Each kill charges attack speed: 25%
  • Attack speed cap raised by: 20%
  • Movement speed: +20%
 
HzopJ9x.pngFury (multi-hit attack)
The use of this ability drives the Druid into a bloodthirsty frenzy, allowing him to attack many foes simultaneously with a raging fervor.
  • Life Leeched per Hit: 10 + 10 per level
  • Chance for Bleeding: 30% + 1% per level
  • Chance to hit additional opponents: 50.0% + 1% per level
 
Like all other melee Combat Arts, Fury has boosted base damage and attack rating. It can hit many nearby opponents at once, and the bleeding and life leech apply to all opponents hit.
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
zxjlKuk.pngMaul
A Druid in Werebear form uses his mighty paws to rend brutal gashes in the flesh of his enemies. Using this ability, the fury of his assault increases with every blow he lands.
  • Each hit charges up damage: 15% + 0.5% per level (burst is Physical Damage)
  • Chance for Critical Hits: 15% + 0.5% per level
  • Life Leeched per Hit: 5 + 5 per level
  • Duration: 20 seconds
 
Maul charges up and releases damage novas like the Shadow Warrior's Killing Spree. The chance for critical hits and life leech apply to the damage novas, not the Werebear's attacks directly.
 
M1lBjsQ.pngShockwave
With a tremendous roar, the Druid shakes the earth, stunning any enemies in the surrounding area with the resultant tremor.
  • Causes Physical Damage
  • 100% Chance to Stun and Disarm Enemies
  • Slow Enemy Movement Speed: 20% + 0.5% per level
  • Range: 5 meters
  • Duration: 4 seconds
 
Shockwave is a nova-like attack that hits all enemies in a radius around the Werebear. It causes stun and moderate physical damage. While it may not kill enemies directly, it has devastating debuffs that leaves enemies as harmless and helpless sitting ducks. The debuff to enemy speed actually applies to movement, attack, and cast speed. The disarm property makes armed enemies attack bare-handed.
 
 
================================================
Conclusion:
The Werebear is all-around slower but hits harder. Since the Werebear can absorb more damage and has two nova-like attacks, a good strategy would be to let as many enemies swarm as possible so that they can all be hit by Shockwave and Maul's damage bursts. The Werewolf hits faster and more reliably but cannot take as much damage so it may be better to rely on his superior speed and agility to pick enemies off as soon as possible, avoid getting swarmed, and flee to safety if needed.
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Hi! I am new to the forum so bear with me please :wacko: I am currently playing a shapeshift Druid, and I am slightly confused by the skills Tactics Lore and Speed Lore when it comes to wolf/bear - they do not directly influence damage according to the guide. What are their respective impacts on the 2 forms?

The other thing I would like to ask is this: my special skills' (fury, shockwave etc) regen times seem to increase as I gain levels/ca levels instead of decreasing (e.g. from 4.1 at character level 1 to now 5.1 at character level 17/ca level 8.0, for the fury "spell"). Is this normal? I have only read 1 rune into the respective forms and wondered if I should eat more or just leave them at level 1?

Any help would be most appreciated. Thank you for this superb mod! The animations and playstyles are just wonderful! :)

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Hello and thanks for trying the mod!

 

Tactics Lore and Speed Lore would not have any effect on shapeshifted forms if your Druid learned those skills. The shapeshifted creatures exist as separate creatures with their own bonuses and skills. For this reason I gave the Werewolf Speed Lore and both forms Tactics Lore. They have these skills natively and they improve as you level up.

 

It's for this same reason that CA's like Fury and Maul level up as your Druid levels up. The power of shapeshifted forms, including all attributes, skills, and bonuses (the relevant bonus in this case is "All Combat Arts +X") increase as your Druid levels up, even if the number of Werewolf or Werebear runes read is the same.

 

So for a while it may seem like the regeneration times of those special CA's are going up and up but since both forms know Primal Magic Focus, this skill will control the regeneration times and keep them from getting too high.

 

In other words a lot of stuff is out of the player's hands unfortunately, that's just the way the shapeshifting mechanics are in Sacred 2. There's not a lot to customize (or screw up) with pure shapeshifting.

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Thanks for the speedy reply! Now it makes sense, and frees my skill choices up nicely (apart from the mandatory regen skills needed for a pure shapeshifter). I assume any runes I eat will still increase their damage (conversely increase the regen)? I ate one and it seems to have increased their damage somewhat.

I'm actually quite glad I don't need to micro-manage the shapeshifts with all their in-built skills. Just need to focus on getting that lovely regen time down to 10. :cstars:

...off I go to make Druid no. 5. I must just say, this is one of the most unique classes I have ever encountered in an arpg. Pure genius! Thanks again Flix.

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Hi! I am new to the forum so bear with me please :wacko: I am currently playing a shapeshift Druid, and I am slightly confused by the skills Tactics Lore and Speed Lore when it comes to wolf/bear - they do not directly influence damage according to the guide. What are their respective impacts on the 2 forms?

The other thing I would like to ask is this: my special skills' (fury, shockwave etc) regen times seem to increase as I gain levels/ca levels instead of decreasing (e.g. from 4.1 at character level 1 to now 5.1 at character level 17/ca level 8.0, for the fury "spell"). Is this normal? I have only read 1 rune into the respective forms and wondered if I should eat more or just leave them at level 1?

Any help would be most appreciated. Thank you for this superb mod! The animations and playstyles are just wonderful! :)

A wonderful, very supportive first post, Icekat...in fact, you posting to this topic bumped it up and I got to read it in its entirety this morning while soaking in some of the great tips and comparisions Flix put into his guide.

Thank you for joining us, and welcome to DarkMatters!

:)

 

gogo

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I assume any runes I eat will still increase their damage (conversely increase the regen)? I ate one and it seems to have increased their damage somewhat.

 

Yes, definitely. Enjoy the mod. I'm currently working on a new release.

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Hi Flix, hi Gogoblender, welcome Icekat. I am still there for the French translation Flix. Thank's you very much to continue to write this fantastic adventure.

Friendships to all members of this forum. ;)

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Hi Flix, hi Gogoblender, welcome Icekat. I am still there for the French translation Flix. Thank's you very much to continue to write this fantastic adventure.

Friendships to all members of this forum. ;)

:hugs:

 

gogo

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