Information, tips and strategies about how to build a starter Druid on a budget with the goal of finishing Normal difficulty as quickly and easily as possible.
While the Druid may not be capable of dealing out as much elemental damage as the Sorceress, tanking like the Paladin, or walking around with a mob of minions to keep them safe, the Druid can do all of these things surprisingly well, and collectively it makes for an interesting suite of abilities that makes an elemental Druid hard to not recommend.
The Druid has a selection of synergistic skills in the Elemental tree - Hurricane, Tornado, Wind and Cyclone Armor - that collectively make for a potent build, but the key damage-dealers of the bunch require Lv24 and Lv30, making it infeasible for starter characters to begin the game with. Like the Paladin and Sorceress, then, the Druid turns to other abilities - namely fire - to get them through most of Normal difficulty, after which they’ll respec into something with greater upside.
That’s not to say the Fire Druid is a waste - they have perhaps the fastest clear-speed for Normal difficulty and are an asset to any starting group. Their key skill - Fissure - can be somewhat fickle, but when it works, it utterly decimates entire groups of enemies.
Fire Druid - Skills
Another simple build, you’re primarily focusing on the first three fire elemental skills on the Elemental tree - Firestorm, Molten Bolder and Fissure. Pretty much every point will go into Firestorm until Lv12, at which point you shift focus to Fissure, and drop points into Fissure until it’s maxed or you feel ready to respec. You can also drop a point into Oak Sage if you want a minion floating about, potentially distracting enemies and granting every ally nearby +Max Life, but without some +Skills gear, its usefulness will be limited.
While incredibly potent when they work, both of the Fire Druid’s main offensive spells have some drawbacks. Firestorm and Fissure both have cooldowns, so you can’t use them interchangeably, instead you’ll need to use one or the other, as the situation demands. Firestorm has limited range and its fiery tendrils have a random spread, so it may not hit what you want, or hit what you want as much as you want it to. It’s also easily blocked by terrain, and crawls along the ground, so stairs, gaps and other obstacles will hinder it significantly. Fissure targets an enemy or an area (this is much easier to aim effectively with a mouse than a controller) and randomly affects sections of the floor. It’s got a wide area, but it just sort of chooses what it wants to hit, and like Firestorm, is easily disrupted by pits, walls and uneven terrain. When it works, it works, but when it doesn’t… well, Act 2 is kind of a chore for the Fire Druid.
While you can technically respec when you get Tornado at Lv24, this is a build that benefits from a few more levels. It doesn’t hurt the Fissure is killing enemies quite quickly throughout Normal difficulty, so there’s little incentive to respec before your level is in the mid-30s - after some [Eldritch] and [Shenk] runs, however, you should be ready to shed off the trappings of fire and embrace the [wind].
Fire Druid Suggested Skills
|Firestorm||10+||Prereq for Molten Boulder, initial offensive spell.|
|Molten Boulder||1+||Prereq for Fissure. Secondary offensive spell.|
|Fissure||20||Main offensive spell.|
|Oak Sage||1~||Optional. Boosts Max Life.|
Fire Druid Level-by-Level Skills
|2 - 5||Firestorm (4)|
|Den of Evil||Firestorm (5)|
|6||Molten Boulder (1)|
|7 - 11||Firestorm (10)|
|12 - 17||Fissure (6)|
|Radament’s Lair||Firestorm (11)|
|18 - 31||Fissure (20)|
|The Fallen Angel||Firestorm (13)|
Fire Druid - Stats
Your typical caster build here, getting around 40 Strength to wear what little Normal difficulty gear you’ll need is fine, then dump the rest into Vitality. This low Strength score might not be enough for some legendaries, like [Frostburn] and [Magefist], but you can always boost it if you get such a drop. By the time your Strength becomes a serious issue, you should be ready to respec.
Fire Druid Level-by-Level Stats
|2 - 6||Strength +25 (40)|
|Lam Esen’s Tome||Vitality +5 (100+)|
Fire Druid - Gear
The Fire Druid has fewer gear needs than many starting characters - Firestorm and Fissure both have cooldowns, so they don’t immediately need +Cast Rate gear. They do, however, want all the +Mana/kill gear they can get their hands on, as Fissure can be quite Mana hungry. A 3-socket weapon, 3-socket shield, and 3-socket armor and 2-socket helmet all stuffed with Tir Runes (farm the **[Countess]**for these) will do wonders. Alternatively, you can make them a [Leaf] staff (Tir + Ral), which will boost their fire skills by +3 levels, but expect to be chugging pots if you go that route. The [Stealth] runeword (Tal + Eth) is also a nice alternative to Tir Rune armor. They don’t need the +Cast Rate, but ambling around faster is a nice boon.
As you play, pick up all the Druid pelts (helmets) you find and give their skills a look. If you can find a +Firestorm specimen early, wear it, as it’ll boost your damage output. Later on you’ll want to seek +Fissure pelts - if you can find a +3 Fissure pelt with 2-sockets (non-magical, non-rare), you’ve got yourself a great base for [Lore] (Ort + Sol), which you’ll want to graduate to eventually.
Despite being Sorceress-focused, Firestorm, Molten Boulder and Fissure all count as “Fire Skills” and will suitably get a boost from this weapon. To craft it you’ll need any 2-socket staff (must be exactly 2-sockets) and the Tir and Ral runes - both of which are easily farmed from the Countess in Act 1. You must be Lv19 to equip it.
Leaf Runeword (Tir + Ral)
- Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
- +3 to Fire Skills
- +3 to Fire Bolt (Sorceress Only)
- +3 to Inferno (Sorceress Only)
- +3 to Warmth (Sorceress Only)
- +2 Mana After Each Kill
- +2-198 to Defense (Based on Character Level)
- Cold Resist +33%
Stealth isn’t great for the Fire Druid in particular, but it does have numerous mods that are just useful in general, and you probably aren’t going to find anything better. Plus, it will be useful if you switch to a [Wind Druid] at some point, where Stealth will probably remain the armor you have until you get Skin of the Vipermagi You need any 2-socket body armor to serve as the base. You must be Lv17 to equip it.
Stealth Runeword (Tal + Eth)
- +25% Faster Run/Walk
- +25% Faster Cast Rate
- +25% Faster Hit Recovery
- +6 to Dexterity
- Regenerate Mana 15%
- +15 To Maximum Stamina
- Poison Resist +30%
- Magic Damage Reduced By 3
Fire Druid Gear
|Helmet||2-socket helmet w/Tir runes - +Firestorm/+Fissure pelts - Lore runeword (Ort + Sol)|
|Weapon||Leaf runeword (Tir + Ral, staves only) - 3-socket weapon w/Tir runes|
|Armor||3-socket armor w/Tir runes - Stealth runeword (Tal + Eth)|
|Shield||none (with Leaf) - 3-socket shield w/Tir runes|
|Boots||+Faster Run/Walk boots|
- Play normally until you reach the Black Marsh.
- Find the Forgotten Tower and kill the Countess repeatedly - she’ll frequently drop runes. You want Ral, Tal, Eth and as many Tir runes as you can get.
- Purchase or find 3-socket armor, 2-socket helmets, 3-socket one-handed weapons, 3-socket shields and a 2-socket staff. The staff can be used to make Leaf (Tir + Ral), the rest should be socketed with Tir runes for +2 Mana/kill per rune (these will make great hand-me-down gear for new characters).
- Play through the rest of the game until Act 5 - do runs on Eldritch the Rectifier and Shenk the Overseer from the Frigid Highlands Waypoint to level up to the mid-30s.
- Respec to [Wind Druid].