New to Druid.. advice welcome

Hey all.
Been playing Zealot, or DualDream/Zealot for all of D2… much less D2R.
Always wanted to make a ZooKeeper, and, finally have one started.
Just finished normal, and, that last battle with Baal was something else. Made it in 1 go, but my goodness.
So, Just starting Nightmare… i like to kill everything along the way, So I’m lvl36.
I’m wearing;
Peasant Crown
String of Ears
Natalya’s boots
SteelClash shield
Eye of Etlich
Dark Clan Crusher Cudgel
2 - FCR/AR/resist rings

I love the Act1 merc, and, will not waver… currenty she just got;
Peasant Crown

Things are going ok… but I know immunity’s are on the horizon.

Keeping the Act1 Merc.
Want to stay Summoner… arg, not sure I want to be a WearWolf… pretty sure I do not.

Does “my” gear translate to the zoo? aka Crushing Blow etc, or, is the Zoo on it’s own?
Can I stay “human”, yet apply “Fury”… which seems to be much like Zeal (have not gone there yet) ?

I currently have;
6 in Raven (11 total)
6 in Spirt Wolf (11 total)
6 in Dire Wolf (11 total)
4 in oak Sage (9total)
5 in poison creeper (10 total)

Have 13 skill points in hand, and 55 stat points in hand.
Not sure when to go to Bear.
Thinking of Wrath bow for the Act1 merc (have Faith, Mist, Ice from other builds I can share - thoughts?)… at which time I’ll pull points out of Raven (I have Tokens from other characters) to not interrupt Decrepify.

Nightmare and early Hell with immunes - I am lost… any tips, would be appreciated.

With the Nat’s boots he runs pretty good, so, I am corralling monsters, then running in behind their group to make the Zoo follow/attack… not sure that’s going to work out for me as the monsters get faster/stronger…
So, any play-style for summoner is also helpful.

one last thing… I like to get involved, but my goodness, His attack speed is so bad… how to improve?

ok, tough crowd.
Got rushed through Nightmare by barb friend… tried Hell Blood Moore and Den… made it through but was pretty apparent I had no buisness in Hell…
Slowly clearing all content in Nightmare to level and better understand how to play this guy.
Swapped the Peasant Crown for Jalal’s.
Swapped the Vemon Grip for Trang’s (was that smart?).
Swapped Natalya’s boots for Aldures - Also have Gore Foot… not sure what to do there.
Swapped the Steel Clash for Lidless, and just now graduated to Spirit.
Swapped Eye of Etlich for a yellow +2 Summons, Light Res 28, all other res 11 (some other stuff).
Swapped the FCR rings for SoJ’s (have only ever found 2, glad I did not sell/trade).
Traded some decent Pally Skillers for 6 plain +Summons gc’s.
Added 5 +5 all res sc’s and 2 +20 life sc’s from my charms mule.
And, on weapon swap, which turns out is now my main weapon, I also equipped a KukoShakaku.

Act 1 cold merc and I blasting explosive- piercing-fire arrows is a great deal of fun.

All the Zoo is out now (love that bear) and still running Oak Sage and Poison Creeper… all are at lvl 23 (including + skills, all are base 6).

Really, really, enjoying this Character.
I can see why Druid has a cult following.

Currently in Canyon of the Magi, and have 2 tombs left, one of which houses Mr Duriel.
In normal, that was quite a battle… hopefully with Mr. Bear out it goes better in this Nightmare run.

Advice welcomed.

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Well, Duriel was easy peasy… Did not even get frozen… that Bear is something else when I focus him on something to do.
Went on to act 5 in nightmare to get the rest of my way points, and in the process got to lvl57 (Frozen River got me a full level) which allowed me access to a call to arms… which I have never used before.
It’s a bit of a PITA, but, since it’s fail/expiration point seems to coincide with a Raven or several needing re-summoned, I guess it works.
Wolves, Bear, Oak and Poison Creeper are on cruise control. Set and forget.
I mean I’ll weapon swap to CTA/Spirit and re-direct/re-summon to adjust their location, but, they don’t die. Ever.

The dual KukoShakaku is really nice.

Still have 22 Skill points yet to be allocated.
Hell, and Physically Immune’s are around the corner, and that has me concerned/confused.
In Bows I have Mist, Faith, Ice, WindForce, and just rolled a Wrath (roled crappy, but it’s more about proc’s, so there is that) and if I go WearWolf I have an eth Reapers, and a 3os Tomb Reaver… and some Neddle something or other with big damage… also have a 6os ThunderMaul…
Not sure which way to go.
Want to be able to do all content… all Bosses… Dclone, Ubers… probably means WearWolf hybrid eh?

Well… this is getting a couple views, so, I thought I would update.
I cleared all of NightMare solo, and completed all Quests/WayPoints…
I was low lvl60’s when my Barb friend put together a Hell rush game with other friends, that, you guessed it, rushed me through Hell… died a couple times trying to keep up to lvl97+ characters but ended the evening at lvl72.
That allowed me to share some gear from my previous Pally builds, mainly;
Swapped my yellow Ammy for a Mara’s.
Swapped my Vipermagi for an Enigma
Swaped my KukoShakaku for a Faith BOW on me
Swapped Merc’s KukoShakaku for a low rolled Wrath.
Swapped my Merc’s ViperMagi for a borrowed eth Fortitude.
Swapped my Merc’s Peasant Crown for a old Gface with a 15/40 in it… had not used that in some time.

With teleport on tap, I learned I can close the gap/tele to big packs, which corral’s the zoo, then take a step back and fire arrows till my heart is content… and my Merc is casting Decrepify on the regular… so PI’s have not been an issue.

With that said, I went back and cleared all Hell content/quests/WayPoints solo.
Ya, it’s slow going, but, It’s faster (and wayyy safer) than my pure Fanata/Zealot.

So, a few weeks ago I was giving away gear in a “free” game.
Looked around on the ground when I was done tossing items out, and there was a Reapers, and eth Reapers and a 3os Tomb Reaver…
I was tight on space and could not pick up any of them, so ran to the tickle trunk and swapped a bunch a charms etc… came back, and they were all still on the ground… scooped them up.
Why mention that.
Well, running Baal was slow going, so I sunk a couple points in WearWolf and Fury.
used up a Socket quest to toss a Zod (my only one) in the eth Reapers… Wow.
I only use WW for Baal… all other Boss’s fall just fine to summons and a smattering of arrows from the Merc and I… Baal eventually goes down too… but… this is kinda fun, and, eventually I want to do Ubers, and, if D-Clone shows up… well… so… practice.

Eventually I got to lvl80, and;
Swapped the String of Ears for an Arachnid.
Swapped a Stone of Jordan for a Raven Frost (245/18).
Used yet another socket quest to put an Um in the Jalal’s.
Traded some good Pally Skillers/w-life, and some Facets for Summons/with-life.

Things have been decent… but that Call to Arms is a PITA.
Yesterday, I found a 4os Scourge, and, rolled a HOTO. (flat middle ground with 35 all res).
Oak Sage and Heart of Wolverine are miles beyond what CTA provides, and, when hot key’d can be swapped at will/when needed. Bye bye CTA… hello HOTO.

Closing in on lvl88, and have 50 stat points and 10 skill points in reserve.
Also, have yet to die in solo play (which is 99% of my play).
Zealot, and Dual-Dearm Zealot are very jealous of the survive-ability.
Not to mention, Zealot and DD Zealot used every point they could get along the way and experienced many deaths.

Take Care.

Well, hit lvl88 in TZ Mausoleum.
65 stat points to spend.
11 skill points to spend.

being bow/hunter based:
Is Gore Rides worth it? or Go back to Aldur’s?
Is Trang’s gloves better than 20-IAS 10-CB, 27FireR, life steal and +20 mana… some other random stuff (crafted) gloves?

And, thinking I’ll try my mist Bow on the Merc and maybe swap to Atma’s ammy…

hmmm not sure i can give up the all res the Mara’s provides.

For my Merc;
I grab’d a Mist bow from another characters Act1 Merc, and while there, stole the eth Andy’s with a 15IAS/30FireRes jewel in it.

For me;
I went back to Aldur’s boots ILO the Gores… faster run/life seems better than the damage from the Gores, 'cause, I don’t really do much damage anyways, and, the zoo can keep up no matter how fast I run… and tele… and I can now run away faster than any monster when using Hit-Run/ Guerrilla-Warfare tactics to focus the Zoo.

I spent the last of my stat/skill points…

Annnnddddl, I screw’d that up.
When I take Mara’s off, I am 3 short on strength to equip Atma’s…
I’m almost half way thru lvl88… and I really don’t think using an Akara or a token is worth it… especially since I kept the Wrath in personal stash.

SpirtWolves seem to hold their own on PI’s, unless they are stone skin and PI… that gets old… Imagine PI/Cold Immune will be a real joy.

No love lost for the CTA… HOTO is fast as heck and Oak/Heart Spirits are getting it done.

I know Zoo AI has been criticized, but, as a Archer, with and Archer Merc, I rather like the Zoo spreading out to conquer… and the Merc and I selecting strategic(me)/outlying(Merc) targets to eliminate.

Loving the Druid.

I’ve been thinking of starting a Zookeeper and I appreciate your posts.

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Started out with self found gear, but, as soon as I could start using stuff on mules (very early), or borrowing gear from other builds/merc’s this guy has been Twinked all the way… right down to the base’s for the rune words I made… except for the HOTO, stumbled across that base in game, but had the runes on a mule.

I swapped back to GoreRiders, and my crafted gloves with 20%IAS/10%CrushingBlow… and… I think - “I” am doing a lot more damage…
I think, it is more related to the IAS than anything, because the arrows are flying noticeably quicker… maybe I hit a breakpoint or something, I don’t dig that far into a build.
So much so, I looked at swapping my Mara’s for a Highlords… but doing so would drop resists to 55%… and that’s not going to work… I don’t think.

The bit about the “twinked” route I took (above) was to clarify, that this was not some kinda crazy self found amazing build… he had a lot of help.
So, if you do not have a bunch of stuff you and donate from mules/other-characters, and stuff you can trade for +summonds-life-skillers and +skills gear, I’m not sure what the experience would be… probably would be using all yours stats/skills as you go end not have a reserve like I did.
I’ve also respec’d him several (3… maybe 4) times using tokens my other characters had farmed, so, there is that too.

Been playing while thinking on this and adding/editing… The IAS/CB gloves combined with CB/DS/OW boots have made a noticable difference on “me”… and I can still cast the Zoo pretty quick at start of game… and, I’m don’t tele-spam, so, I cannot comment if less FCR is noticeable there.

I hope you build one.
I hope you post progress here, or in your own thread.

take care.

I don’t have any of the higher runes or rune word gear, but I have a lot of the other items you mention that I could borrow from other toons. I’ll try to start one tonight, but my gaming time is pretty limited these days.

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I use edeath on my zookeeper. I use wear bear and shockwave and maul - all 1 points and rely on +skills. Not just for boss kills but even normal runs. Shockwave works wonders.

Its a different playstyle.

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Closing in on lvl91.
Used another Token to respec yet again.
I had not Max’d Ravens… this time around I did so. It was the right thing to do.
When plying pure caster (HOTO/Spirt shield) Ravens are doing 4042-4411 damage, and there is 5 of them, and they hit 55 times before needing recast.
Spirit wolves do a quarter that damage, Dire Wolves do half the Raven damage.

Equipped Atma’s Scarab and borrowed a BoneBreak from my Zealot.
I Summon the Zoo with Hoto/Spirit/Mara’s, then weapon swap to Faith bow and toss the Atma’s on, and off we go smashing monsters.
Between the Atma’, BoneBreak and casting the Spirit Wolves into the fight, Physically Immunes are not an issue… sure, a little slow, but steady.

Put 1 point in Poison Creeper, Oak Sage - and 5 points in Heart of Wolverine.
Put 3 points in Werewolf and Lycan - 6 points in Fury.
Use Summons/Bow or pure Summons for everything in game, with one exception… Baal.
I go Werewolf for Baal… it’s not fast, but he has over 5200 life (w/ Oak Sage) which rarely dips below 4500, and the Zoo follows him out to Baal pretty good.
Still using Reapers Toll when in Werewolf (so I loose the Fanata aura doing so), but I do have a Tomb Reaver (non-Eth) with 3 open sockets I keep thinking I want to try.

1st Dclone;
Made it to lvl91 (progress is really slowing down) and am almost half way through.
Got my 1st DClone just now… success, no pot drinking required (for me), but, recasting ravens/wolves(Spirit and Dire) a lot… bear didn’t care, he was just out for a snack.
Had to Rejuv my Act1 merc once… she was getting hammered from archers outside the fray… but holding them off me. Love the Act1 merc.
Anni rolled a 15/14/9… nothing to write home about (yet here I am), but, 1st with Zoo so, pretty excited.
Now… when I got the message i went to Harrogath, swapped my Faith Bow for my eth Reapers Toll, and went WereWolf… fired up Oak Sage and went to Frigid Highlands…
Tele’d in on DClone got a couple hits in then did a little J-hook to get off him and release the zoo… then, wolves were going down fast so I weapon swapped to HOTO/Spirit Shield for casting… spent my whole time standing back watching/casting…
Based on that, next time, not going WereWolf… spent most of the time casting Zoo replacements, so, no need (for WW to attack), and as such, I think the Fanata from the Faith bow would have been better.
Guess I’ll find out.

Not as quick a kill as a decent Smite build, but, way more safe.

Happy Hump Day.

here comes another… shoot, can only spawn once per game… missed him, was too busy typing… well, was ignorant of the once per game thing anyways, so, didn’t matter

Well… got to lvl92.
Decided to take a break and go play my pure Zealot… no AoE, damage/Aura’s, just simple zeal/fanata smash-and-bash…
Forgot to share my good Enigma, so my Zealot is wearing a not well rolled Dusk Shroud Enigma… all other gear is pretty much BiS, having said that none of it “perfect”… well, HoZ with and Um is perfect but not upped.
Zealots Merc is essentially identical… eth Andy’s with a 15ias/30fr, eth Fort and Mist bow (all lower rolls than the Druids Merc)…
Love the Druid, but even with a full Zoo cast at lvl44 he does not hold a candle to the Zealot.
Different play style, and Zealot is lvl97 vs Druid at lvl92… but, it’s not even close.
Love them both, gonna roll the Zealot for a while.

I may have spoken too soon.
After spending some time playing Zealot again, I no longer believe he is faster, as a general statement… On tough monsters with high health he is faster… but, as soon as there are a bunch of monsters that need to be chased down, well… I give the nod to the Summon Druid setup.
Survive-ablity is not even on the same page tho… in the last couple days I’ve managed to get my Zealot killed twice… once was a really stupid mistake, the other time was a “what just happened?” deal.
Summon Druid has yet to die ('cept as noted above trying to keep up with level 97+ characters rushing me when I was lvl60’s…)

I enjoyed reading through your progress thread. I started a fire druid with a friend a while back, since I had never really had one, and figured it may help with PIs (He’s playing a fant Zealot) if we ever got that far.

Then we got busy and are just now coming back to them. The fire elemental druid was fun, and certainly OP thru normal, but I’m a melee player at heart, and wanted to play something that would take advantage of his auras (PIs be damned!), so I respec’d to WW Fury druid recently, and have been having a blast using cheap left over gear.

I’ve been taking advantage of the zoo changes to have both types of wolves and the bear, but am focusing on WW first before devoting more points, so it’s mostly just 1 point wonders currently.

So I’m more melee focused with zoo as support than you, but it’s been fun, and your thread was interesting to see your various progressions, even though we ended up going down different paths! I’m only in Act 1 NM with him though so I have a long way to go!

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Thank you.
Been rotating between Zealot and Zoo depending on the TZ, or, my mood.
Really enjoying them both.
Only this past weekend did I learn how Feral Rage works… LOL, never realized what a “charge up” skill was before…
Playing around with that really makes me want to respec and put more points in the WereWolf tree… but don’t want to destroy the Zoo… decisions decisions…

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I swear I Played WW Fury druid some in legacy but I didn’t realize Feral Rage existed either! Just was experimenting and reading up on it last night!

Having fun with it as a charge up skill for sure! I put Fury on Left click and FR on Right click and have my “back” button set to hit the Fury hotkey so I can “attack move” with fury, but charge up using RMB as needed!

We did pubby Baal runs until 45 in Normal so we’re a bit OP for Act 1 NM (but I expect that to change soon enough) so it has been fun but not a great test yet. I wanna see how far Jalal + 5 pc IK gets me, since I had it just sitting. Eventually I may try to make him a Death if we play enough for IK Maul with 5 pc elemental bonuses to run out of steam.

I’m currently using Gavel of Pain, rare druid skills + all res ammy, IK gloves/boots/belt, Duriel’s Shell, Manald Heal and a rare LL ring with Jalals. Not sure if I’ll try to make a Treachery or other cheap/mid RW to hold me over until IK armor lvl 76 or just have Duriel’s until then. May play with Windhammer at lvl 68 before IK Maul, but suspect the amp procs will outweigh the CB. I didn’t see any amp procs last night, but things may have just died too much and RNG is RNG.

Also threw a Pierre Tombale Couant on weapon swap to play with that, thinking the 55% DS may be better than 5% Amp overall, although it’s also less weapon damage so :man_shrugging:

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