Rather than being based on the Celtic druids, druids in video games tend to be based on the AD&D notion of druids in their role as priestly guardians of nature. As such, druids in games tend to be devoted to nature, look askance at civilization, and be neutral and balance-seeking in their overall outlook. The druid class is almost always that of a nature priest who gains spells and abilities based on wisdom (or a corresponding stat), but rather than getting their spells and abilities from their deity of choice, they get their powers from nature itself.
The healing and buffing abilities of druids tend to be comparable or slightly inferior to those of clerics, but druids usually are the better class when it comes to raising elemental resistances. Although many druids are lack the clerical ability to resurrect fallen companions, there are exceptions to that rule.
The bond that druids have to nature is reflected in their powers, which have ties to animals, plants, weather, and elemental forces. Druid have the ability to charm animals, summon animals, and summon insect swarms. Their influence on the plant kingdom is most often seen as rooting spells, and their influence on weather is usually seen in the ability to call lightning. The druidic connection to elemental magics is often very strong, allowing them to raise elemental resistances, summon elementals, trigger earthquakes, and cast direct damage spells based on fire, ice, or weather. With such tools at their disposal, a druid's offensive spellcasting abilities are usually greater and more versatile than a cleric's.
Shapeshifting is an extremely common druidic ability, either to one or more animal forms, elemental forms, or even the occasional plant form. These forms almost always convey combat bonuses, but may also provide healing or regeneration. The druid is often unable to cast spells while shapeshifted.
Druidic armor is usually limited to cloth and leather. Many druids can use shields, and they usually have access to a limited selection of weaponry. Due to a misunderstanding regarding what can be considered a sickle, scimitars are a common, almost quintessential druidic weapon; other common druid weapons are staves, clubs and other blunt weapons, daggers, darts, slings, and spears. Druids are usually not able to dual wield.
The druids in Baldur's Gate closely resemble the druid as described by 2nd edition AD&D. They are Humans or Half Elves of true neutral alignment, dedicated to preserving the balance of nature. Druids must have at least 12 wisdom and 15 charisma, and a druid with a high wisdom score will gain additional spell slots. They can only wear leather or studded leather armor, can use bucklers but not shields, and can wield staves, spears, slings, darts, daggers, clubs, and scimitars. They can multiclass as fighters; such fighter-druids wield the same weapons as regular druids, but with greater proficiency, and can use shields and metal armor.
Druids in Baldur's Gate share many spells with clerics, and have the same healing abilities. They do not get as many buff spells, cannot resurrect, and have no spells or abilities against the undead, but they get more animal related powers, including the ability to summon insect swarms, and may call lightning from the sky when outdoors. Starting from level 7, a druid may shapeshift to a wolf, a brown bear or a black bear.
Baldur's Gate features a sect of extremist NPC druids called Shadow Druids. These are druids that regard civilization with outright hostility, and will react with excessive aggression towards anything they regard as an incursion upon nature. To them, people are a plague that nature would be better off without.
Baldur's Gate II
The druid in Baldur's Gate II is an expanded version of the druid in Baldur's Gate. They may be played straight, or they may be specialized through choosing one of three kits:
- Totemic druids, who relinquish their shapeshifting abilities in order to summon spirit companions.
- Shapeshifters, who specialize in lycanthropy and can turn themselves into werewolves at the expense of other shapeshifting abilities.
- Avengers, who have access to extra shapeshifting forms (sword spider, baby wyvern, and fire salamander) and a handful of mage spells at the cost of a penalty to their strength and constitution.
While Avengers may only wear unstudded leather, and Shapeshifters may wear no armor at all, Totemic druids and regular druids have access to not only regular and studded leather but also most of the dragon armors available in the game. Druids in Baldur's Gate II have the ability to summon powerful elementals, animals, and nymphs, can cast debilitating insect plagues upon groups of enemies, and, by using the spell Nature's Beauty, can blind or kill with their appearance alone. A higher-level ability from the Throne of Bhaal expansion grants the druid the ability to shapeshift to a fire elemental, and another gives the ability to summon elemental princes of earth, fire, or air.
The Shadow Druids return in Baldur's Gate II, outright besieging a town 'because it is there'.
Dark Age of Camelot
Druids in Dark Age of Camelot are the primary healing class of Hibernia, with The Way of Nature as their base class. They may be Human, Firbolg, or Sylvan, and have empathy as their most important stat. Their spells follow three distinct lines:
- Regrowth - healing and resurrection, with specialization cures, better heals, and improved resurrection.
- Nurture - armor and stat buffs, with specialization a wider selection of buffs and the ability to remove enemy buffs.
- Nature - roots and self melee buffs, with specialization a pet, damage shields, and damage over time spells.
A DAoC druid may specialize as much or as little as they choose along each of the three spell lines.
Druids were added to Diablo 2 with the Lord of Destruction expansion. They are masters of the natural world, and wield both Elemental magic, which lets them use fire, earth, and wind, and Prime magic, which lets them summon an assortment of animals and sentient vines. They can also shapeshift into a number of different creatures.
Their lack of healing spells and more aggressive attitude towards nature (mastering it rather than balancing it) differentiate these from most other video game druids; within Diablo 2, they have most in common with sorcerers and necromancers.
Druids in EverQuest are of Good or Neutral alignment. Wood elf druids worship Tunare, the goddess of Nature, while halflings worship Karana, the lord of Thunder. Humans and half elves worship either Tunare or Karana, and drakkin druids worship Veeshan, the Dragon Queen. As guardians of nature, they can use nature in a myriad of ways, such as being able to forage for food or track enemies. Due to their close bond, wolves and bears will not attack a druid on sight.
Druid healing and AC buffing abilities are lower than those of a cleric, but the druid provides resistance and regeneration buffs that a cleric can't. Also, druids provide Spirit of the Wolf, which is a very convenient and popular run speed buff. They can provide themselves and others with damage shields that are second only to those of a mage, and like wizards, they may teleport themselves and their groups to the druid rings that are scattered around the world. With their snare and root spells, druids may perform simple crowd control, and their fire, cold and insect swarm spells can do quite a bit of damage, in addition to some of their fire spells having debuffing properties. Druids also have the ability to charm or fear animals, and at level 53, they may summon a small bear pet. They, like many other druids, have shapeshifting abilities, and may turn into wolves or treants. A druid may freely attack or cast spells in these forms, but cannot move while in treant form. Many of their spells cannot be cast indoors.
Druids in EverQuest are generally limited to wearing leather armor, leading to a high demand for the few chain or plate armor items that are druid wearable. Their weapons are limited to scimitars and a selection of blunt weapons, and they may use shields. Their epic weapon, added with the Kunark expansion, is a scimitar.
A group of hermits in and near South Karana are on the Unkempt Druids faction. Little is known about this group, but they are presumed to be a fanatical druid order, much like the Shadow Druids in Baldur's Gate.
The druids of Everquest II are divided into two distinct classes:
- Wardens are protectors of the woodlands. They are supremely skilled at healing over time, and often take a defensive role as healers and buffers, but they also have their own set of damaging spells.
- Furies draw upon the power of storms and lightning. They have access to several strong direct damage spells, and function well in an offensive capacity, but are also strong healers.
Both types of druids may summon resurrection items for their companions, teleport to different druid rings, and boost runspeed with Spirit of the Wolf. Both may perform crowd control with various snaring and rooting spells. They both have their separate sets of healing, buffing, and curing skills; where a Fury will heal you quickly, a Warden will heal you more efficiently, and where a Warden's buffs tend to raise defensive abilities, a Fury's tends to raise offensive abilities.
Druids in Everquest II may use leather armor, may wield hammers, great hammers, staves, swords and symbols as weapons, and may use bucklers and symbols as shields. They are Nature-based priest classes, with wisdom as their primary statistic. As druids are considered to be Neutral, the two classes are available to all races.
One of the druid rings in Antonica is known as the Unkempt Druid Ring. In order to gain access the Shattered Vale, a player must go there and destroy a group of Unkempt Druids.
The druid in the Fire Emblem series is quite different from other video game druids. The Fire Emblem druid is no guardian of nature, but rather a spellcaster that performs attacks with dark magic and can use wands to heal allies. The base (unpromoted) class for the druid is the shaman, which may not use wands.
Icewind Dale druids are designed fairly similarly to Baldur's Gate druids, with the same race, alignment, and ability score requirements, and the same equipment restrictions. Their spell selections are slightly different from Baldur's Gate. Starting at level 7 (level 5 with Heart of Winter installed), they may shapeshift into polar bears, winter wolves, and boring beetles, and with the Heart of Winter expansion, higher level druids gain the ability to transform into fire, earth, and water elementals. The expansion also gives druids the Wall of Moonlight spell, which works well against undead creatures.
Icewind Dale II
Due to Icewind Dale II being based on 3rd edition rather than 2nd edition AD&D rules, the druids are designed somewhat differently from those in Icewind Dale. Their alignment must contain one element of neutrality, but is not required to be true neutral; a druid can be anything from neutral good to chaotic neutral. Multiclassing follows an entirely different mechanism, and is restricted only by alignment; thus, a druid may take levels in almost any other class available. From creation, they can wear light and medium armor, use shields , and use a wide selection of weapons. They can choose to learn to use heavy armor and the remaining weapon types as they progress, and thus have no true weapons or armor restrictions. Also, any race may become a druid.
Druids in Icewind Dale II get many healing, curing, and resistance buffing spells, may summon or charm animals to aid them, and can do terrible things with fire and ice magic. High level druids may trigger earthquakes and summon powerful elementals. Every few levels from level 5 and onwards, the druid gains the ability to shapeshift into a new creature, starting with boars and winter wolves and ending with fire, earth, water and air elementals. Their spells and abilities are based on the wisdom statistic, and druids with higher wisdom may cast more spells.
Might and Magic
In the RPG series Might and Magic, at least up until World of Xeen, the druid is a combination of the sorcerer and priest classes. They have their own set of spells which combines the segments of the spell-sets of both these classes, achieving usefulness in breadth while the Priest and Sorcerer excel in depth. As with other druids in other games, the M&M druids have limited weapon choices (ranged weapons, swords, polearms, and nunchaku are forbidden) and armor (nothing but robes), although over the course of the series ( starting with VI) these restrictions changed to reflect the skills of the character more than their specific class.
The druids in Neverwinter Nights are based on 3rd edition AD&D, and thus built on a similar template to those of Icewind Dale II. They can be of any race, and must be of partial neutral alignment; a druid who loses neutrality will become an ex-druid, and will not be able to gain further druid levels until some neutrality is restored to their alignment. They may multiclass freely, and take levels of almost any other class in the game. They may wear light and medium armor and use shields from creation, and may learn to use heavy armor, but their weapons are restricted to a selection labeled as druid weapons: clubs, staves, spears, daggers, darts, slings, sickles, and scimitars. This selection can only be expanded through racial traits, such as elves' proficiency with bows and longswords.
Druid in Neverwinter Nights have the usual druidic array of healing, buffing and damaging spells, but also have the ability to camouflage themselves and others, and have spells that revolve around stone in addition to more common elemental type magics. They gain heal spells slightly slower than clerics, but gain regeneration abilities faster than clerics. A number of their protective, divining, and damaging spells are shared with wizards and sorcerers, and they get them at comparable levels. Wisdom is a druid's sole primary statistic, and a druid must have a wisdom of 10 level in order to cast spells of a given level; a druid with 14 wisdom will not be able to cast spells higher than level 4, for instance.
Starting from level one, NWN druids may summon an animal companion, either a wolf, a bear, a panther, a boar, a badger, a hawk, a giant spider, a dire wolf, or a dire rat. Each of these companions has different qualities, and with special spells, the druid may improve the abilities of their companion. Starting from level 5, NWN druids gain a steady stream of shapeshifting abilities. They may choose to become the Shifter prestige class which lets them specialize fully in shapeshifting, and can learn to shapeshift into a dizzying array of forms, up to and including dragons.
Neverwinter Nights II
The druids in Neverwinter Nights II are based on edition 3.5 of AD&D, and are quite similar to the druids from NWN. They have the same alignment and wisdom requirements, the same weapon proficiencies, and similar abilities. In addition to the animal shapeshifting abilities, which start at level 5, a level 12 druid gains the ability to take a plant shape, becoming a treant or a shambling mound. The Shifter prestige class does not exist in NWN II.
A druid's animal companion in NWN II may be a badger, a bear, a giant spider, a panther, a wolf, or, with the Storm of Zehir expansion installed, a deinonychus. Epic animal companions may be all of the above, but may also be dragons.
Realms of Arkania
The Realms of Arkania series of CRPGs is based on the German-language Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye) pen and paper game; its druid/druidess profession has some similarities and differences with many of the classes discussed above. Druids in RoA cannot use metal weapons or armor at all out of superstition that this will destroy their holy powers. They must have a high score in wisdom and courage, but a low score in necrophobia, presumably because their communing with nature includes an understanding of the cycle of life and death.
They have a foundation in nature skills, so that their nature skills rise easier than the other skill classes. Nature skills include herb and animal lore, [wilderness] survival, and tracking and orientation (direction sense).
Spells that druids can advance in easily in RoA are powerful but somewhat eclectic:
- Dispel Domination removes the target from control of another. Given that Druids have many control spells, this allows them to counteract attackers who cause similar effects to Druids themselves.
- Evil Eye works like charm does in other games, turning an enemy against its own allies for a set period of time.
- Confusion reduces the target's combat effectiveness.
- Master of Animals prevents animal targets from attacking the caster.
- Astral Theft steals astral points from the target, which can then be used to fuel spells.
- Dance forces the target to dance in place until they are exhausted, incapacitating them.
- Conjure and Banish Spirits allow you to bring forth and get rid of lingering spirits. This is usually used out of combat to solve quests.
- Conjure Elemental brings forth a randomly selected elemental monster that fights for the party.
- Darkness envelops everyone surrounding the caster in an opaque shroud for a duration based on level which can be devastating if used in combat, but note that any allies caught in the shroud are also affected.
RoA druids, like elves, are sometimes at odds with dwarves due to their competing worldviews.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
Druids in Vanguard are classified as Arcane Casters rather than as Healers. Still, they have enough healing abilities to function as a secondary healer, and they also have an assortment of buffs, snares, evacuation spells, shapeshifting spells for both themselves and their group, and some of the highest damage spells in the game. They can summon a temporary elemental pet to aid them in combat. Their primary stats are wisdom, intelligence and dexterity.
Druids in Vanguard may wear light armor, and can wield daggers, one-hand blunt weapons, and two-handed staves. Ten of the nineteen available races may become druids, including Lesser Giants, Halflings, several of the Human races, and all the Elves except Dark Elves.
Druids are featured in the Night Elf campaign in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. They are Night Elf units, and come in two different types: Druids of the Claw and Druids of the Talon. Druids of the Claw have adopted the Bear as their totem. They are healers and buffers, and may shapeshift into Bears, becoming powerful melee units. Druids of the Talon have adopted the Crow as their totem. They are spellcasters with a debuff and a wind damage spell, and may shapeshift into Storm Crows, making excellent scout and messenger units.
World of Warcraft
Druids in World of Warcraft are keepers of nature and preservers of balance, with strong ties to the Emerald Dream. The class is available only to Tauren, Night Elves, Trolls and Worgen as well. They are considered a hybrid class, and focus heavily on shapeshifting, using different forms to fulfill different roles.
All WoW druids have access to some healing spells, some curing spells, some damage spells, a Cat Form and a Bear form for combat, and forms for traveling that improve travel speed and ability on ground, in water, and in air. They have three talent trees available to them:
- Balance - allows the druid to specialize in ranged damage spells, and gives access to the Moonkin Form.
- Feral - allows the druid to specialize in animal forms, further enchancing the abilities granted by Cat Form and Bear Form.
- Restoration - allows the druid to specialize in healing, and gives access to the Tree of Life Form.
Equipment that Druids in World of Warcraft is able to wear:
- One-handed Maces
- Two-handed Maces
- Fist Weapons
They cannot dual wield, but may equip items in their off hand.