Druids are one of the 11 Classes in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, and in this Guide we’re going to take a look at how they work in order to not only help you make a better Druid, but also help you to determine if this is the class for you. If you are new to Pillars of Eternity 2 or just need a refresher when it comes to Class selection and Character Creation, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Let’s get started…
Druid Builds and How They Work
Druids are a casting class in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire that has a heavy focus on nature and nature-like spells. Druids can even Spiritshift into an animal once per encounter, and doing so gives them various bonuses based on the animal they changed into. Since Druids have a wide variety of spells they can select from, the class can be played in many different ways, and have a high potential for Multiclassing.
Druids have five types of spells: Elements , Decay, Beast, Plant and Rejuvenation. Elements Abilities typically deal Burn, Freeze or Shock damage in some form or another. Decay Abilities generally set negative effects on enemies, some of which deal Corrode damage. Beast Abilities use an animal or animals to deal damage or set some status effect, whether on your group or enemies. Plant Abilities summons some sort of growth to restrain or deal damage, and Rejuvenation Abilities generally heal you or your group or give them a buff of some kind. There is some variance within each type, but that is mostly accurate.
Druids use Nature as their resource, and they consume it to cast spells or Abilities. Much like other spell casting Classes, Druids can only cast a fixed number of spells from each Power Level during combat, and these numbers will increase as the Druid gains experience. Some of these Abilities are melee ranged, and some can be cast from afar, so be sure to choose ones that best fit your style of play.
As mentioned above, Druids can Spiritshift into one of 5 animals once per encounter. Druids select which animal they will shift into during Character Creation, so this cannot be changed if you decide later you want something else. Each animal has its own bonuses, and you will gain these bonuses as long as you remain Spiritshifted. Druids only remain shifted for 15 seconds, after which they revert back to themselves, however, this Duration can be extended. Subclasses have a huge impact on this particular aspect of the Druid, so let’s jump into those and see what they do.
Druid Subclasses, Which to Choose
In this section we’re going to take a look at the Subclasses of the Druid and see why you might choose one of them over another. Druid Subclasses primarily affect how often you will Spiritshift, and will affect what spells you gain automatically at each Power Level. This will have a significant impact on how you play your Druid. Let’s take a look at what the Subclasses are, and talk a bit about what sort of Builds you can make with them.
Fury Druids prefer to Spiritshift into Storm Blights, rather than animals, and have increased Range and Penetration while in this form. In exchange, they sacrifice the ability to cast Rejuvenation spells, relegating them to a purely DPS role.
Bonus: Instead of an animal form, Furies Spiritshift into a Storm Blight. Elemental druid spells gain increased range and Penetration. Killing an enemy while Spiritshifted extends the duration of the shift.
Penalty: Cannot cast Rejuvenation spells.
Furies lose access to Rejuvenation spells in exchange for longer Range and Damage, and the ability to cast Storm’s Rage while Spiritshifted. The Duration of their Spiritshift is exactly the same as that of other Druids, and is affected by the Druid’s Intellect Attribute. Most spirit animals are only effective at melee range, but Storm Blights can attack from 10m, so consider choosing this Subclass if you prefer a purely ranged Druid. Furies gain specific Elements spells at each Power Level increase.
Because Druids have many AoE type Abilities, and they want to remain Spiritshifted as long as possible, they will generally focus heavily on Intellect. When Multiclassing it is a good idea to pick another class that also puts this Attribute to good use, and these would typically be Chanter, Wizard or Priest. However, you can also use Ranger if you wish.
Chants have an AoE around the Chanter, and this area grows larger (and the effects last longer) for each point of Intellect. This synergizes extremely well with the Druid. Chanters can also buff their Reload Speed and reduce their Recovery Time with most Ranged Weapons because of the Phrase Sure-Handed IIa Nocked Her Arrows With Speed. If you do decide to go this route, be sure to use a Two-Handed Firearm, because Furies replace their weapon with a Two-Handed one while shifted, and you can increase the damage of both with Two-Handed Style.
Wizards cast many AoEs as well, and have many spells that have a Duration. Intellect affects both of these, so this is a good match. Wizards can also increase the Penetration of Elemental damage types, which further increases the effectiveness of Druid Elements spells.
Priests use many AoEs, and many that are based off the location of the caster. Priests also possess healing spells, which helps to offset the loss of Rejuvenation spells that the Fury suffers.
Rangers give a companion that can help keep enemies fire while the Druid ranges them down, and also buffs Ranged Accuracy and Penetration.
Lifegivers are the healers of the Druid class and cast Rejuvenation spells with increased efficiency. Although these spells become boosted even further while Spiritshifted, they rarely do so because of the stiff penalty after returning to human form.
Bonus: Druid Rejuvenation spells cast with increased Power Level (+2). While Spiritshifted, the druid’s power level bonus to Rejuvenation spells is greatly increased to (+5).
Penalty: Cannot cast creature summon spells. After Spiritshift, the druid receives a significant penalty to the power level of their Rejuvenation spells (-5).
Lifegivers are exceptionally tough to kill because of the incredible amount of healing they are able to produce. The downside is that they cannot use summon Abilities, and they take a -5 Power Level penalty to Rejuvenation Abilities after their Spiritshift has ended. This effectively prevents them from shifting unless absolutely necessary, and I would suggest using the Cat Spirit because it’s Ability increases Attack Speed and Cast Time, allowing you to spam heals very quickly when you need them most. Lifegivers gain specific Rejuvenation spells at each Power Level increase.
Because Lifegivers don’t Spiritshift that often, and because they will spend a good amount of time healing, it is recommended that they Multiclass with another Ranged class. As with the Fury Subclass Chanter, Priest, Wizard and Ranger all make great choices here.
Shifters prefer their animal form, and attempt to remain Spiritshifted as often as possible. For all intents and purposes, Shifters are the melee specialist of the Druid class, and benefit from Multiclassing with other martial classes.
Bonus: Druid can switch to any of the Spiritshifting animals, once each, per combat. Spiritshift has a longer duration (30 secs). After a Spiritshift ends, the druid is healed a portion of their Health.
Penalty: Cannot cast spells while in animal form.
Shifters, unlike other Druids, can transform into each animal once per encounter with increased Duration, and do not need to choose one during Character Creation. While shifted they cannot cast any spells, so every other Active Druid Ability is unavailable, as are those from other spell casting Classes.
Each animal has it’s own strengths, and some might be better in certain scenarios. These differences are listed below, and the seasoned Shifter will study and memorize them. For comparison I have also added the Storm Blight as well, although only the Fury can shift into it.
Although Shifters will gain some damage from their Wildsrike passives, Shifters cannot cast spells while shifted, and it is therefore advised they Multiclass with a martial class to pick up some Abilities they can use in combat. Fighter, Barbarian, Wizard and Monk all make good candidates, and you can even pick up Ranger if you’d like to have a companion. Let’s look at why these might make good options.
Fighter grants Constant Recovery, replenishing Health over the first 45 seconds of combat. This is important because you cannot heal with Druid Abilities while shifted. An added benefit is that its Duration increases with Intellect, which Druids typically have a good amount of. Confident Aim will increase your overall damage, and Fighters have Stances that can further benefit the Shifter. Be sure NOT to choose the Devoted Subclass, or you’ll take an Accuracy penalty while shifted.
Barbarians gain access to Frenzy which further increases Attack Speed and damage at the cost of Deflection. Barbaric Blow also deals a ton of damage, and the Carnage passive allows you to hit enemies in an AoE around your primary target. Be sure NOT to choose a Mage Slayer though because it will reduce your shifted duration by 50%.
Wizard seems like a strange choice here, but they have many Enchanting spells that buff the character for long Durations, with very short cast times. This allows the Shifter to “buff up” and then shift, maintaining their buffs while slugging it out in melee. Since these buffs last exactly double the Duration of each Spiritshift, in most cases, this will allow you to shift twice before rebuffing.
Monks allow you to attack more quickly with Swift Strikes, which can also be upgraded to deal more Shock damage. Force of Anguish will be available to you as well, which means you should have a constantly available interrupt/knockdown. This is especially true if you pick the Shattered Pillar Subclass.
Animists are the “No Subclass” version of the Druid. They gain their own unique set of spells at each Power Level, but have no bonuses or penalties. Animists are a great choice for new players, or for those who wish to both Spiritshift and cast spells effectively.
The biggest upside to Animists is that they can Spiritshift without some of the limitations imposed on other Druids. They still only transform once per encounter, but there is no penalty for doing so. They can choose from any of the 5 animals they wish, and they can still cast spell while shifted.
Animists are not specialized, like other Druids, but they do give the freedom to play with all aspects of the class. This is why they are recommended for new and inexperienced players. Taste of the Hunt was made just for this Subclass, so be sure to use it!
Because Animists can melee and cast spells, they can be Multiclassed with any other class effectively. If you want to play more of the caster role, and just dabble in melee, then I would recommend any of the Classes in the Fury section. If you’d rather be more of the melee role, shifting in the heat of battle, then I’d recommend selecting any of the Classes in the Shifter section. If you want to be as balanced as you possibly can, I’d recommend a Cipher.
Ciphers grant a passive weapon damage increase because of their ability Soul Whip. This comes in very handy when shifted, or when simply attacking with Weapons between spells. Ciphers can also cast spells, so they benefit from the same Attributes Druids do. Either pick Soul Blade for more melee or Ascendant, for more spell casting.
Attributes and Races
The last thing we’re going to cover here is Attributes and Races and how they affect the Druid. The game recommends Might and highly recommends Intellect and Resolve. Might increases your damage and healing. Intellect increases your Duration, AoE radius (which you’ll need) and the length of your Spiritshift. Resolve helps keep you alive.
Just exactly how much of these you should have depends on the Subclass you selected, and I will make my recommendations along with Race below:
Fury – Prioritize Intellect, Perception and Might. Intellect will help you stay in Storm Blight form, as well increase the radius of your AoEs. Perception will help with the Accuracy of your spells, which all casters need, and Might will increase your damage. Elf is the ideal choice for a Fury because it provides both Perception and Intellect.
Lifegiver – Prioritize Intellect, Might and Resolve. Intellect will increase the Duration and AoE of your heals, while Might will increase their strength. Resolve will help keep you alive while you heal. Humans make excellent Lifegivers because they give both Might and Resolve.
Shifter – Prioritize Intellect, Constitution, Might and Dexterity. Intellect will help extend the Duration of your shifts, while Constitution will give you a large pool of Health. Might will increase your damage and any heals you might have (from Multiclassing), and Dexterity will help your Attack Speed. Dwarfs, Humans and Godlike all make solid choices here.
Animist – Prioritize Intellect and Perception. Intellect will help with the AoE radius and Duration of your shifts and Abilities, and Perception will help with the Accuracy of your spells. If you’re not sure, I’d recommend Constitution. This will give you a pool of Health to stay alive if you melee when shifted. Elf is again the best choice here.
The Druid is a bit of an odd class because it can be effective in melee range but shouldn’t (ideally) be there when casting. However, most Druid Abilities take 3.0 secs or less to cast, which isn’t horrible. Also, keep in mind that Action Speed does affect Cast Time, so increasing it will help tremendously, and Druids probably get more benefit from it than most Classes.
Druids should wear the lightest Armor they can get away with to help facilitate their casting. They don’t need to worry about Armor when shifted because each animal (Storm Blight included) has its own Armor, which will likely be higher than the Druid’s anyways. The Armor while shifted will increase slightly as the Druid gains levels, scaling to prevent it from getting too weak later in the game.
Sunbeam is an excellent ability and I would recommend taking it on all Druids, except perhaps on a Shifter because they’ll be meleeing most of the time. Blindness increases the Recovery Time of the target by 100%, and this Ability is also an AoE, which means it can hit multiple targets. Increasing Recovery Time that much will save your party from being damaged frequently, and it also deals a modest amount of damage. Get it. Spam it. Love it.
Druids, like other casters will need a fair bit of Perception. This is because spells don’t gain Accuracy from your Weapons or Weapon Abilities, so casters have much lower Accuracy in general than martial Classes. Also be on the look out for abilities that convert Grazes to Hit or Hits to Crits, just be sure they include spells, because some don’t.
Lastly, all animals that Druids can shift into will be dual wielding Weapons. These replace what you currently have equipped in your inventory for the Duration of your shift. Keep this in mind when selecting Passive Abilities because you can reduce your Recovery Time while shifted by taking the Two Weapon Style passive. The only exception to this is the Storm Blight, that only the Fury can change into. Storm Blights use a Two Handed weapon which benefits from Two-Handed Style.
Stay tuned for more Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Class Guides as we cover all 11 Classes as well as Character Creation! What did you think of the Guide? Was it helpful? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.