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Druid: Suggestions to improve squad viability for the October 4th patch


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The meta support characters for organized squads are Firebrands and Scrappers. Firebrands are the dominant provider of Stability as well as other defensive boons like Aegis, Resolution and Protection, while Scrappers provide high healing and condition cleansing as well as some boons through condition conversion in addition to powerful utilities like stealth, superspeed, and projectile reflection. Tempest remains a viable pick for healing and condition cleansing in a squad while the newly released Vindicator is seeing usage as a healer/cleanser as well.


Druid was introduced in 2015 as the game's first ever dedicated healer, a role which it has more or less been a staple at in PvE in encounters which require it. However, in WvW the Druid has not been a meta healer in organized comps during this time.


Why isn't Druid a meta healer organized comps? The Druid is mistakenly considered to be a bad healer/cleanser which is simply not true. Druid can cleanse as well/nearly as well as a Scrapper or Tempest while providing moderately more healing  (I have endless screenshots and ArcDPS logs with healing addons I can post to prove this) but what it lacks in comparison is utility such as boons, most prominently defensive ones (spirits can give alacrity now, but they are unviable in zergs because they die immediately), stealth and superspeed access (the trait Celestial Shadow grants both these buffs but requires you to leave Celestial Avatar mode in order to do so. This is not always viable to do when playing in organized comps because leaving Celestial Avatar mode to grant stealth/superspeed means you now have downtime on your healing abilities), and projectile hate (Sublime Conversion is small and immobile whereas Tempests, Scrappers and Vindicators provide reflects that move with them and their allies). Lastly, Druid also suffers from the pet, which does little during zerg fights because it spends the majority of its time dead. The pet may also interfere with stealth pushes made while in combat as a dead pet cannot be stealthed.


 What can be done to improve the Druid? There are a variety of ways that we could improve the supportive performance of the Druid in order to make it a viable pick over other healers in a squad. What I think should be done is a mild increase in the boons provided by the Druid, quality of life changes to existing skills in order to make them more effective, as well as reworks of certain Druid skills that have never been useful in large scale play. At the bottom of this post, I will also list an idea for replacing the pet with Astral Whisps, a non-attacking, unkillable spirit which provides a small passive stat buff to the Druid as well access to new F2 skills. This idea will be left at the very bottom because it is least likely to be implemented.


Skill and Trait Changes

Windborne Notes

This trait will now heal any ally you grant regeneration to instead of just the Ranger himself.


Rejuvenating Tides

This skill will now grant 1 second of regeneration on each pulse of healing. This change is intended to synergize with the above suggestion to Windborne Notes.


Druidic Clarity

Currently, this trait is quite selfish and removes all conditions from the Druid. We can make it better for squads by adjusting it in the following way: Instead of clearing all conditions from the Druid, this trait will remove 3 conditions from the Druid and 3 more conditions from up to 5 allies around the Druid, with a PBAoE radius of 300.


Seed of Life

Seed of Life is a respectable cleanse, but has a small radius of 180. The radius of this skill should be increased to 240. This radius increase is significant enough to make Seed of Life a much more reliable tool for cleansing allies. It is now much more likely to affect its total potential of 5 targets.


Cosmic Ray

The radius of this skill is extremely small at a mere 120 units. It will be increased to a 240 radius. As a tradeoff, the range will be reduced from 1,200 to 600. 


Sublime Conversion

This skill no longer creates an energy barrier. Instead, a 240 radius defensive bubble, similar to the Juvenile Siege Turtle F2 skill Hunker Down, is created at the target area that destroys projectiles, applies regeneration (1 second) once per second, and heals allies for 200 (healing power x 0.2) once per second for 5 seconds. This skill retains the same cooldown, range, and casting time as before.


Astral Wisp

Astral Wisp is an extremely ineffective skill in PvP because it is a slow-moving projectile (which means it can be blocked, evaded, blinded, or reflected) that needs to land on an enemy in order to heal and delivers that healing in a mere 120 radius around the enemy. This skill needs either one of two changes in order to be effective in squad vs. squad fights. The easiest change that could be made to give this skill the ability to reliably and consistently heal allies is to increase the radius to 240 and allow it to target and rotate around allies. This change would allow the Druid to place the whisp on his commander or any other ally in a tight tag and heal allies with 100% certainty. If that change cannot be made, then a functionality change would be necessary, in which case I will put forth the following suggestion:

 Astral Wisp will be redesigned and renamed to Astral Explosion. This new skill is ground targeted, has a 3/4 second cast time, a 1,200 range and 240 radius, a 5 target limit and an 8 second cooldown. This skill impacts the target area, healing allies for 550(Healing Power x 0.5) and granting them Vigor for 3 seconds.


Ancestral Grace

Instead of granting protection to the pet, this skill should grant protection to up to 5 affected allies.


Glyph of Equality (Celestial Avatar Version)

This skill will now grant stability (3 stacks, 4 seconds) in addition to its previous effects. A source of minor stability would be much appreciated in squads.


Glyph of the Stars

Glyph of the Stars was introduced to the game with a 10 target limit, higher than the usual 5 target limit for skills. This 10 target limit was balanced by the fact that Glyph of the Stars has a massive seven second casting time, longer than every single profession skill in the entire game. Glyph of the Stars was recently nerfed to a 5 target limit in WvW for no reason at all because Druid is not meta nor considered viable by the vast majority of WvW Guilds. For the current functionality of Glyph of the Stars to match the power level of the skill, it needs to have its 10 target limit returned in WvW. If the 10 target limit is not returned, then it needs to have a functionality change. Such a change could look like this:

Glyph of the Stars: No longer creates a channeled field at the target area. Cooldown reduced to 30 seconds, casting time reduced to 1/2 seconds, range remains 1200, radius reduced to 300. Heal (1500 + (healing power x 1.5)) and cleanse conditions (5 conditions removed) from allies in the target area while granting them boons (resistance and resolution for 5 seconds). Celestial Avatar Version: Casting time increased to 1 second. Heal (2000 + (healing power x 1.5)) and revive (25 % revival percentage) up to 5 allies in the target area while granting them boons (protection and regeneration for 5 seconds).



Replacing the Pet


I acknowledge the following suggestion as being the least realistically achievable idea on this post, however, the Pet has been useless in zergs ever since the game came out. Arenanet will most likely continue to allow the pets to be useless in zergs for the duration of the games lifetime. I do not know why they choose to ignore the pet issue in WvW. They may not know how to fix it, or they may not care. Either way, here is an idea to replace the pet with a mechanic that would actually be viable in zergs.


To replace the pet I have the following suggestion: A selection of 5 different Astral Wisps can be chosen when opening the pet management window (default key K) while playing Druid. These Astral Wisps permanently circle the player (similar to the Astral Wisp summoned by the staff skill Astral Wisp), cannot attack, and are invulnerable (they do not receive damage, conditions, status effects or boons and do not affect the AoE target cap for allied or enemy effects). Similarly to regular pets, you can select two Astrals Wisps, with one active at all times and a second Wisp available to swap to (swap recharge remains the same as before and all swap effects remain as usual for traits). Each Wisp has a unique color to help differentiate them from one another. Each Astral Wisp grants the players a small passive stat buff while it is active, and each Astral Wisp also comes with a new F2 skill. Each F2 skill shares the following characteristics: They are PBAoE based with a 300 radius, a 5 target limit, and a 1/2 activation time that is channeled by the Wisp and not the player. They also qualify as Beast skills for the purpose of fulfilling trait effects. The five Astral Wisps are as follows:


1. Wisp of Healing (green colored)


This Astral Wisp grants the player +100 Healing Power and +50 Concentration while it is active. It has an F2 skill, Soothing Light, which cleanses two conditions from yourself and allies and heals them for 1450(Healing Power x 0.5). This skill will have a 20 second recharge.


2. Wisp of Protection (yellow colored)


This Astral Wisp grants the player +100 Toughness and +50 Vitality while it is active. It has an F2 skill, Melandru's Blessing, which grants allies Stability (3 stacks, 4s duration) and Protection (4s duration) and has a 25 second recharge.


3. Wisp of Control (purple colored)


This Astral Wisp grants the player +100 Expertise and +50 Precision while it is active. It has an F2 skill, Celestial Binding, which Dazes (1s duration) and Blinds foes (3s) and has a 25 second recharge.


4. Wisp of Destruction (red colored)


This Astral Wisp grants the player +100 Power and +50 Ferocity while it is active. It has an F2 skill, Cosmic Impact, which damages foes for 497(Power x 1.36) and applies weakness (5s duration). This skill has a 20 second recharge.


5. Wisp of Debilitation (orange colored)


This Astral Wisp grants the player +100 Condition Damage and +50 Expertise while it is active. It has an F2 skill, Nature's Vengeance, which burns (2 stacks, 5s duration) and confuses (3 stacks, 5 seconds) foes and has a 20 second recharge.


Unlike the pet, these Astral Wisps would be usable in Zerg vs Zerg play because they can't die. The tradeoff of this would be the loss of the ability to have an attacking pet; the passive stat buffs and new F2 skills attempt to alleviate this somewhat.


I like my pet and don't want to lose it. What are the alternatives?


The realistic answer is there are no alternatives. Arenanet will not do anything to the pets to make them usable in zergs.


The far-fetched alternative is to extend the same immunities that pets have in PvE, like the 95% damage reduction and locked defiance bars, to WvW. This would be an extremely imbalanced change in small scale fights but the fact is that it is needed for zerg gameplay. If this change was implemented, in an attempt to make it balanced (and I don't know how feasible this is from a programming standpoint), we could only have the changes trigger when a threshold of enemies are within a certain distance of the ranger. So something like whenever 10 or more enemies are within 900 units of the ranger, their pet gains 95% damage reduction and a locked defiance bar. This way we can attempt to only implement the change when playing in zergs while affecting small scale play as minimally as possible.




So, if these changes were made, the most important things that might make Druid a viable pick over others healers are an increase in its defensive boon applications (two sources of minor stability would be the most important ones), the removal of the pet (no longer revealing stealthed pushes), and the rework/buffs to various skills (Cosmic Ray can finally hit more than one target. Leaving it at a 120 radius is inexcusable). Thanks for reading.


Edited by Soilder.3607
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2 hours ago, Stand The Wall.6987 said:

yeah it would be great to have some flexibility when building a party, the problem is the healkit auto pumps out 2k heals per sec in an aoe so as long as that exists replacing it is usually a net negative.

I would be satisfied with Druid play if the Staff was improved, and the self defense from Staff was somehow repaired for Support without being OP to DPS specs.


Staff 3 was nerfed because it could be used by DPS Druids. But as a Support Druid my self defense was heavily nerfed without compensation. 


Staff Auto been to be made longer range or something more easily used, and have better resource regen to compensate

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Druid needs a deeper pass than what is being asked here but a a couple of low hanging fruits:

* staff 1 and 2 target friendlies only. To do damage the enemy has to cross the beam or the orbiting wisp on ally. To balance condition damage is add to both (burning) and it is quite substancial (as it requires the work of 2 people or the pet - druid to deal damage . 
* ranger baseline must get the pet perma-stow. The bring back the pet button is always available while the stowing pet is only accessible while out of combat. 
* Celestial avatar should bring different support effects with every skill. Not all of them need to heal. 
* additionally to keep some consistency in the design, celestial skills should be PbAoE around the Druid instead ranged. It creates a lot of inconsistencies to have the glyphs PbAoE and the celestial skills ranged. 
to balance this and the limited avatar skills are more impactful. 
* spirits must be mobile baseline as means to provide better team builds baseline. 

* ranger baseline could benefit from having the untamed f1-F3 to manage the pet. There is no reason to be exclusive to the elite in current state. 
* Druid could swap those 3 pet skills to gain 3 Druidic aspects on the vein of the herald extra f2. To keep it simple each aspect adds a passive  buff or effect  around the Druid. Something easy like some healing, cleanse and stunbreak (similar to the command protect me) respectively would work pretty fine without stepping in other classes shoes. 
* glyphs could benefit from reworking the effects to be applied in pulses by tethering the Druid to Allies and applying negative effects on foes when they cross the tethers. Traits could be used to customize the effects. 
* so druids don’t use the perma stow the Druidic aspects effects  could also emanate around the pet. Additionally when activating one Druidic aspect it could add some activation additional effect around the pet. 
* if somebody is in the mood even could add more layers by adding some energy thing to each aspect (similar to renegade) and penalize with extra CD if the Druid empty the Druidic aspect. In exchange for that the effects could be more impactful (heal more, cleanse more, stunbreak each time the wisp crosses an ally) and Lower CD so allows the Druid to flow faster. And to add an small pet like orbiting wisp around the Druid (like the beta lingering light) with the color of the Druidic aspect so other players see what is going on. One click activate, second click disable and goes into Cd.
* the celestial bar can be filled by using the Druid aspects, and Druidic aspects fill overtime while not being used. 

If this designs are applied:

* druid will be better support by staff1 and staff2. Because of condition damage increased it will tag enemies by using friendlies to do so. Also who would not want to have a wisp orbiting around you which burns every enemy it touches. 
* druid aspects provide a short range support around the Druid. This makes Druid to be a player centric elite, which is designed to stick to the squad /party leader. 
* tethering glyphs and new staff provide a new gameloop for the Druid: now the class is a collaborative class which collaborates with friend and the team to be rewarding. Druid gets loot attribution by protecting their friends. Ranger is in an special position to accomplish this because of the pet it allows the player to always be able to use this mechanic. 
* traits could be reworked for this desing, focusing more on support. If Druid wants to deal damage in a more standardized way it has core weapons and skills, which do not limit its celestial generation. 

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On 9/11/2022 at 1:00 AM, kamikharzeeh.8016 said:

the last thing we could possibly need is more rangers in wvw. so eh, pls no ranger buffs. it needs heavy self sustain and dmg nerfs tho

Dont need to buff ranger but could buff things that scale up with druid support, have a traitline to improve staff+pet support  gameplay would be a good way for ranger dont get  buffed.


fun fact i went to herald ventari during HOT realease cause druids was a fake suporter outside time gated avatar.

in WvW is nothing more than a perma CC tanky  spammer.

Edited by Aeolus.3615
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i think it's a major issue that people always want all classes do everything, like idk where we go if anet balances around these random wishes

ranger would need to have core traitlines reworked and lose a ton of selfish sustain and damage to gain supporter traits instead, to be useful for anything else than the immob/cc spam - that is indeed


selfish solo rambo classes are a major problem of current wvw. a self created problem due to the feb20 changes, that to be said.

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8 hours ago, kamikharzeeh.8016 said:

ranger would need to have core traitlines reworked and lose a ton of selfish sustain and damage to gain supporter traits instead, to be useful for anything else than the immob/cc spam - that is indeed

I can't agree, Ranger has suffered multiple undeserving nerfs to the healing utilities over the last years which hindered they capabilities to melee, pushing the pewpew thing even more. That is reflected in the UnPlayed which lacks any form of self-sustain. 

So from a self-sustain side Anet in fact needs to review the changes they have been doing to the different tools and readjust the sustain.  

Druid doesn't need so much self-sustain thou, which was a problem from the very beginning in PvP and wvw, to have a fly around all the time which  you can not kill because stealth and healing. At the same time because how gated was everything the Druid could not perform as support which you already pointed out. 

Instead gating the support Druid behind a Grandmaster the base healing should be very low (so Druid can't capitalize on aggresive stats) but the outgoing healing to allies should be multiplied by 2 or 3 times. That as minor or baseline to the druid. 

This should also impact pets, in a way they also benefit from the extra healing and such gently pushing the druid to use more support centric pets.  

Aside from all the previous changes i pointed out. 

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On 9/14/2022 at 8:49 PM, kamikharzeeh.8016 said:

i think it's a major issue that people always want all classes do everything, like idk where we go if anet balances around these random wishes

ranger would need to have core traitlines reworked and lose a ton of selfish sustain and damage to gain supporter traits instead, to be useful for anything else than the immob/cc spam - that is indeed


selfish solo rambo classes are a major problem of current wvw. a self created problem due to the feb20 changes, that to be said.

well thats kind of the point of Elite Specs

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On 9/15/2022 at 2:49 AM, kamikharzeeh.8016 said:

i think it's a major issue that people always want all classes do everything, like idk where we go if anet balances around these random wishes

ranger would need to have core traitlines reworked and lose a ton of selfish sustain and damage to gain supporter traits instead, to be useful for anything else than the immob/cc spam - that is indeed

Nearly none of the suggested changes in OP's post would make it stronger at self sustaining, they are targeting ally support. Changing Druidic Clarity to fewer cleanses while affecting allies is a net nerf for self sustain, but a buff to its support. Changing radius of support skill doesn't affect self sustain, it only buffs its support. Etc. Etc. Etc.

And random whishes? They are not random at all, they are targeting specific skills and traits that anyone who as tried to make support druid work would agree to change.

And like the guy above said, whats the point of a support elite spec if it can't compete for the support role? That's the entire point of its existence.

Edited by Lazze.9870
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