I've started playing just about a year ago but then stopped as I struggled with the combat. There's nothing actually wrong with the combat, mind you. My hands shake and my fingers lock up due to a condition which is what causes difficulties. However, after getting a weighted mouse with a good grip and side-buttons that can be positioned however I like, I decided to give the game another go.
Finally hit 80 yesterday on my little leafy ranger, my only character so far, and thought I'd like to be a healer. So off I went, bought some shaman gear, slotted the spirits, happily equipped that nifty tree-staff you get for unlocking druid, and proudly clicked on Nature's Venegance. Felt pretty accomplished. I was ready to heal all the wounded souls of Tyria!
The veteran players are probably groaning after reading that and are going to be unsurprised by what came next: I dealt very little damage while at the same time also did what I presume to be subpar healing! My spirits seem to draw the ire of all hostile beings in the general proximity and their health degrades far too quick unless I focus my healing on them which doesn't seem worthwhile considering the buffs and/or healing they provide is not all that great. My shortbow, despite the +condition damage stat on my equipment, is absolutely pitiful in its output (my pet might have actually been dealing more damage with just the basic attack) and the staff feels borderline useless aside from one skill, Ancestral Grace.
Rant over. Now, I know that obviously it's not that druid is underpowered or that staff is useless or that spirits are broken. This mess is all on me and my awful build. I need help. I asked around in map chat and looked over the builds on metabattle. The consensus seems to be to go soulbeast for everything except raid healing where you go druid. That's it. I don't have PoF because I would like to experience the story properly (at least on my first character!) and I haven't even started on HoT yet.
Should I drop the druid and just be a regular ranger? Or just drop staff instead? I would like a build that has higher than average survivability as, due to the previously mentioned hand issues, I can't reliably react as quick as a glass cannon build would require. Would be nice to still be able to help others with healing or buffs but I understand if that's simply not feasible in the open world. I just really enjoy helping others and filling support type roles. I doubt anyone would take me to dungeons let alone raids so that's probably out of the question.
/edited - spelling/
Together we shall speak for the Law and the Land, and shall drive the mongrel dragons of primordial magic from Tyria.