Thursday, January 15, 2009


Okay, the Sneak Peak article came out over a month ago, and I'm only commenting on it now. But as mentioned before, Druids have been one of my favorite classes for a while, and I thought I should take a look at what 4e has done to/for it.

The odd armor availabilities are something that any Druid player has come to expect, but it's nice to see that the weapons are no longer limited. The Primal power source, as with the Warden and Barbarian, nicely extends the 4e concept, and lets the Druids step away from their association with the Cleric and their divine magic.

I'm a bit disappointed that the Wild Shape ability doesn't confer any bonuses from the form you take, especially speed. Perhaps there will be Feats that allow this?

The Druid has a special condition on their At-Will attack powers -- that at least one but not all of them must have the Beast keyword. I can see the reasoning behind it, but I think this is a rule that will be forgotten by players and DMs alike. 4e has been trying to get rid of the exceptions, and this is a step backwards, especially for those who have gotten fully into that mindset of 4e -- the "regularity" of the rules.

I like the Wild Shape power, though. Being an At-Will Minor action that has a built-in shift from beast- to humanoid-form, a character could essentially get three shifts in a round if needed -- minor, move and standard actions -- perhaps to get out of a sticky situation, or to help sneak behind a foe to give a party member some flanking.

The Beast keyword powers and the non-Beast ones make a nice balance for feral, animal-form combat and the raw, natural, elemental powers. At first I wasn't really sure about the Controller role that these powers were supposed to provide, but as a whole, I suppose they do the job; the Burst powers are what come to mind for Controllers, for me: someone who is affecting large numbers at once. Each of the single-target powers instead "control" their target by forcing them to move, either willingly (to avoid ongoing damage) or not, which I suppose, too, is a form of control.

It's not a bad class, so far, but I have to admit, it doesn't pique my interest as much as the Druid has in the past. I think part of it is, again, the fact that everyone has powers now, so the wizard/cleric/druid don't feel as special. The Druid, like the Cleric, was always the hybrid spellcaster, designed with a little bit of melee combat in mind. But I'm not feeling the uniqueness of this class over any other. The Primal power source gives it the bestial flavor, but my beast form isn't anything other than the key to unlocking half of my powers and a source of lice.

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