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The Lord of Destruction Expansion

WearBear and Elemental Druid FAQ by willis5225 (AKA Absolut Wil, AKA 
Froggy W, AKA Lobster Magnet, AKA The Prince of Lies)

Version History:
1.0 9/21/01:
First version of the FAQ.  Explains the strategy fully, but I was 
missing the hard numbers on skills, so I got them from another FAQ and 
credited the author fully.  Sue me.

1: Introduction 
Yes, I know there are other Druid guides.  But you know something?  
Every one of them says that elemental skills are worthless and werebear 
shouldn't be used because werewolf is better.  I say they're wrong, so 
I made a guide to demonstrate some winning strategies with both these 
unloved druid builds.

Contents:
1: Introduction: You just saw it.
2: The Philosophy Behind the Strategy: Before you can maul, you must 
understand why you maul.  Before you can burn to the ground, you must 
be one with the fire.
3: Skills and You: Hint: First skills are wearbear.
   a. Elemental 
   b. Shapeshifting 
   c. Summoning   
4: Where Points Go: Stat points.  You know, those things that improve 
your stats.
5: A Few Words on Weapons: Yes, giant bears and weak-as-hell mages DO 
use weapons.
6: Closing Thoughts and Legal Mumbo Jumbo


Section 2: Philsophy
Why You Kill Things with Fire
This way, you expose yourself to the minimal amount of combat, and 
therefore damage, possible.  Why not make a sorceress, you ask?  
Because elemental druids CAN go melee when they need to, and they can 
also summon helpful little beasts to act as targets.  Oh sure, he 
doesn't have even close to the melee power of the Wearbear (WB) or 
Wearwolf (WW) druid, but can they wipe out a whole screen full of 
enemies at once?  No.

Why You Become a Giant Bear
Why, you ask?  Well because you get an awesome damage and HP bonus when 
in bear form, that's why!  The wearbear form is a tank, able to take 
more damage and give more damage in melee than the elemental (Elem) 
druid.  Yeah, he can only attack one target at a time, but that 
target's goin' down.

Why You Don't Become a Giant Wolf
Because I'm not giving you advice on how to.  Actually, GameFAQs.com 
already has a WW FAQ, so go see that if you want to build a WW druid.

Section 3: Skills

a. Elemental Skills
Note: When in wearbear or wearwolf form, you cannot cast any elemental 
spells.  Since you'll ideally be in either of these forms constantly, 
when making a transformation druid, don't put any points in these 
skills.  None.  I don't care if you need offense early on, I said "no".

Firestorm: 
Description: Well, it's pretty useless.  Actually, for a transformation 
druid, it's completely useless.  It's nearly impossible to target 
without tons of practice (which isn't worth it because of the low 
damage).  And just remember that that damage is per second, and it's 
constantly moving.
Elem: 1 point, as it's a needed prerequisite and it's actually mildly 
useful for the early parts of act 1.
WB: N/A

Molten Boulder:
Description: It's a boulder that leaves a trail of fire and, when it 
hits a target, knocks the target back.  The best part: when it hits a 
wall or certain enemies (that it doesn't knock back) it explodes and 
deals even more fire damage.   Level 20 is a pretty 205-209 damage.  
Still, it's not much better than firestorm, although it is targeted 
fairly easily.
Elem: 1 point, again as a prerequisite.  I know it's tempting, but hold 
out for volcano at least.
WB: N/A

Arctic Blast:
Description: Since I've never used it and can never remember the name 
without the manual, I call it "Cold Inferno" mostly because it's a 
cold-damage version of the popular sorceress spell.  Except it doesn't 
deal as much damage.  And isn't as useful.  
Elem: 1 point if you want hurricane, tornado or Armageddon.  My elem 
uses Volcano primarily (and he's kicking some [backside] in NM 
(Nightmare difficulty))
WB: N/A

Fissure:

Description: Opens up little holes in the ground for about a quarter of 
the screen (on the default setting) that your enemies run into 
sometimes.  Here's a little tip, the corners of the square are usually 
the first to open up.  If you take a look, the damage isn't much better 
than boulder, which is more easily targeted, though it hits a smaller 
target.  Still, if you listen to me you won't be using it past level 24 
anyway, seeing as all but the last few skills are kinda useless later 
in the game.
Elem: 1 point.  Prerequisite for volcano, my favorite spell.  But if 
you're just going to use hurricane (I don't recommend it) leave this 
one and all the other fire skills I listed as "necessary prerequisites" 
out.
WB: N/A

Cyclone Armor:

Description: If you take the points to get it to level 20, you can stop 
worrying about those lightning enchanted uniques.  Of course I don't 
have the attention span to remember to keep it up around him, which is 
the same reason my sorceress keeps dying. (Energy shield... oh, never 
mind)  Even at lower levels, it absorbs all the damage from a hit even 
if some spills over, so you can last against one of those Mephisto 
charged bolts before the other ones stop your heart from electrocution.
Elem: You won't actually be fighting a whole lot, as your minions and 
spells will do it for you, so you shouldn't find use for it very often.  
It does protect against at least one elemental hit, no matter how 
strong each time you cast it, so you may as well put a point in here, 
especially since it's a hurricane and Armageddon prerequisite.
WB: Actually, you may want to drop a few in here so you can take a few 
more hits from that nasty light enchanted multi-shooter.  Just cast it, 
transform and away you go (Note: I haven't actually tried this yet 
because there's no way I'm going to waste a precious skill point on 
arctic blast, so it may not work.  Hey, try it out and e-mail me.)

Twister:

Description: 3 tornadoes appear out of nowhere to stun your opponents 
for a fraction of a second.  Whoopee.
Elem: The initial damage is only a little better than firestorm's, and 
the level 20 is less.  1 point for prerequisites.
WB: N/A

Volcano

Description: A little volcano appears and spews out dozens of little 
missiles.  I think if you cast it where an enemy is standing, it also 
takes damage similar to how fissure works, but no one believes me.  
Anyway, I consider this one of the more useful spells, because it has a 
great blanket effect.  And because my elemental druid has 10 points in 
it.
Elem: Pretty much the first skill you can start pouring the points 
into.  Great support for melee attacking, because at about the time you 
can use it you'll start adding strength and HP in large quantities.
WB: N/A

Description: Eh... it hits one target.  Even though it passes through, 
it's not really a worthwhile pursuit, seeing as volcano does more 
damage in the long run, and so do Armageddon and hurricane.

Hurricane:

Description: The ultimate melee helper, by the time you get up to them, 
they're up to 200 HP weaker.  And that spells results.  Walk into the 
middle of a battle with this thing on and drop a volcano underneath 
yourself, and that's the end of... well, everyone.
Elem: Max.  Or nearly so.  It's the last of two abilities, so it's not 
like you've got much else to do with those skill points.
WB: If you're fast enough and have enough unused skill points, you can 
drop your transformation, cast this puppy, retransform and run into the 
fray.  Again, not sure if it works or not.

Armageddon:

Description: Ahh, here we go.  The good stuff.  Fire raining from the 
sky, striking your opponents dead.  Like blizzard, but oh, oh so much 
better.  Send your bear, or wolves, into the middle of the battle and 
then let this puppy loose overhead.  Pardon me while I kiss the sky.
Elem: The Cream of the Crop.  Max for best effect.
WB: N/A

So that about wraps it up for elemental skills.  To summarize:
Hurricane, volcano and Armageddon good
Everything else bad
Don't use if transformation druid


b. Shapeshifting

For simplicity's sake, I'll skip all the werewolf skills.  I'm gonna 
say right now that you need werewolf and feral rage, as they are 
prerequisites for some fairly useful (and in werewolf's case, 
essential) skills.

Lycanthropy:

Description: For these skills, I'm going to include my suggestion for 
levelin' in this section.  I would've done it with elemental, but I 
didn't think of it until now and I'm too lazy to go back and change it.  
Anyway, this skill is fairly essential for the successful Werebear.  It 
may not seem like much to have a little extra time transformed, as you 
can always just switch back for a measly 15 mana, but you don't want to 
un-transform in the middle of, say, a boss battle.  There's also a 
little semi-bug I've found you can exploit.  If you're running out of 
HP, you can go back to regular form, and when you go back to being a 
bear, your HP will increase by the percentage bonus you get from both 
lycanthropy and the bear.  So max this skill.  Or nearly so.

Werebear 

Description: Become a big, muscular grizzly.  I don't think I need to 
tell you to get this one pretty high.

Maul
Description: Well, it's sorta like the Assassin's charge-up skills, 
except that when you attack, it doesn't get released, but keeps you 
powered up until you haven't mauled anything for 20 seconds.  You can 
tell how much power you're getting from what the green thing circling 
around you looks like.  By the time it's trailing and has ridges, 
you're maxed out.  Now, my suggestion is to have only 1 point in this 
skill.  Here's why.  The only thing that extra skill points adds is AR.  
As a bear, you don't need AR because you can add extra points to dex, 
as you need less strength.  And the extra points can be used to max one 
of the wolves, or heart of the wolverine or grizzly.

Fire Claws

Description: You can see by my less-than-complete graph what I think of 
this skill.  Still, it's a way to deal with those nasty physical immune 
uniques.  As for physical\fire immunes... well I say rabies, but, as a 
colleague of mine at the GameFAQs.com LoD board says, "Rabies never 
solved anything".  I tried his theory out on open and he was right.  So 
yes, the truth is out.  I'm actually a 1337 h4x0r in single player.  
Yipee.

Shockwave

Description: It sends out a little shockwave.  Yes, the damage is 
unimpressive, but that's what maul's for.  This is for that nice 13 
second stun length.  

Hunger


Description: Like I said before, if you want damage, use maul.  If you 
want 36% dual leech, use this.  'Course you can't max this, werebear 
and shockwave and still have enough left over for critters.  You'd 
better make a decision.

So that wraps up Shapeshifting.  Now, on to what has killed the use of 
the necro in pop culture: Summoning.

c. Summoning

Raven:
I had a rant here about how I wasn't going to be adding anymore skill 
charts.  Then I took out the skill charts.
Anyway, no one should put more than one point in this skill.

Oak Sage:
The HP bonus increases 10% each skill level.  Now, this one is more 
useful for the elemental druid.  He relies very heavily on his minions 
for cover fire (taking the hits for him, actually) and they're better 
off living longer.  Actually, if they deal more damage they also live 
longer.  It's six of one, half-dozen of the other with Heart of the 
Wolverine.  The WB druid, on the other hand, has an inherent HP bonus.  
So it's about 500% HP with a maxed oak sage, bear and lycanthropy.

Poison Creeper:
Don't bother.

Spirit Wolf:
Put some points in here.  They're useful early on, and no points wasted 
since there's a passive bonus to all bears and wolves.  For spirit 
wolves, AR and def, 10% per level.

Carrion Vine:
Restores some life for every body it eats up.  If you're elemental, you 
shouldn't be fighting all that much and if you're a bear you can have 
up to 500% life bonus.  Just forget this whole section of the tree.

Heart of the Wolverine:
This is the one for you Werebear druids out there.  Increase to attack 
rating, defense and damage.  A truly find skill.  Less useful for an 
elemental druid, as he won't be doing as much melee and won't take as 
much advantage.

Dire Wolf:
Same deal as spirit wolf.  These guys increase the HP of your spirit 
mammals.  They're also about a dozen times better than spirit wolves, 
so once you have 3 points in this skill, go to these guys instead (keep 
the spirit wolves until then).  If you're an elemental druid, you may 
want to keep these guys out even after you get the grizzly, seeing as 
they provide even more targets.

Solar Creeper:
Same as carrion vine, but it increases your mana recovery rate.  WBs 
shouldn't use enough mana for this to be worth it, and the spell timers 
do an excellent job of making sure that elemental druids never actually 
spend any mana.

Spirit of Barbs:
It's widely regarded as worst level-30 skill.  I can't really say the 
masses are wrong.  First off, you have to take damage to give it back, 
the same problem with the paladin's Thorns, or the necro's Iron Maiden, 
except that it's less damage returned.  And on top of that, it makes it 
so you can't use Oak Sage or Heart of the Wolverine.

Grizzly:
Ok, now we've hit the big time.  The Bear.  His hits stun and knock 
back.  He's a tank.  He gives a passive damage bonus.  He is the bear.  
Or she, I suppose.  I'll just say it.  It is the best companion for the 
WB and the WW druid.  I prefer three dire wolves for my Elemental 
druid, but the Bear is useful for those nasty uniques that cut their 
way through your poor wolves while they whimper in agony and dying.

4: Stat Points
You'll actually find that the werebear and Elemental druids both tend 
to have the same point distribution in the end.  In the beginning, 
however, they're pretty different.

Elemental:
To begin, you'll need a lot of dex and vit.  And some mana.  Strength 
isn't important until level 12 or so.  I subscribe to the "put all 5 
points into one stat each level" theory.  I'll usually play it by ear, 
see what weapons I get and if I'm running out of mana too often.  My 
li'l guide will go up to level 12, because you should be able to tell 
what you need by then.
Level 1: Dexterity
Level 2: Energy
Level 3: Vitality
Level 4: Energy
Level 5: Strength
Level 6: Strength
Level 7: Vitality
Level 8: Strength
Level 9: Energy
Level 10: Energy
Level 11: Strength
Level 12: Dexterity

That should create a fairly well-rounded character, who can use a good 
majority of the equipment he finds.  Remember that as a druid, you only 
need about 50 energy total.  Inordinate spell timers serve to make sure 
that you can't actually spend mana, as you will regain it by the time 
you can cast another spell.  

Werebear:
Strength and vitality are the big ones here.  Sound strange that I just 
suggested that you get all the skills that increase these two factors?  
That should tell you something.
a)The bear is a hulking beast.  He needs to run, thus he needs stamina. 
b) HP is good for a bear.  He takes about 12 minutes to attack, so even 
though he makes his enemies fall down, he'll suffer a bit for it first. 
 
This guy also needs about 50 energy in total, because the regen should 
be enough by that point; your main skill should be maul and you only 
need 3 mana every 10 seconds or so to keep it going strong.  Same rules 
for my guidelines apply as above:
Level 1: Strength
Level 2: Vitality
Level 3: Vitality
Level 4: Strength
Level 5: Energy
Level 6: Dexterity
Level 7: Dexterity
Level 8: Strength
Level 9: Energy
Level 10: Vitality
Level 11: Strength
Level 12: Energy


So there's my talk on stat points.


Chapter 5: Weapons, armor and all that good stuff.

Elemental: You want something that can attack fairly quickly and 
repeatedly.  A halberd is a good weapon for act 4 or before.  This is 
because you need to be able to get in and out fairly quickly, hopefully 
doing some hurricane damage, as your minions and spells should be doing 
the better part of the damage.  It doesn't do you any good to be 
standing there getting killed while you're swinging your maul while 
your spell timer is still ticking.  As for armor, some resistance would 
be good.  Assuming you'll be staying back, most of what hits you will 
be some kind of missile.  A good number of those missiles will have 
some elemental tacked on.  Helms should have nice mods before nice def.  
Remember, you're supposed to run around the battle, hitting enemies 
with hurricane and volcano.  And your weapon, when you get the chance.  
You're not standing there and trading blows.  As for everything else, 
same rules apply.  Don't go completely without defense, but a +3 
hurricane, +3 Armageddon spirit mask is much better than a godly 
exceptional crown.  Well not much better, but a little better.

Werebear: There's an important thing to know about the werebear's 
weaponry: speed doesn't matter in the slightest.  You still attack slow 
as hell.  Now everything I just said about elemental druid is untrue 
here.  You will be trading blows, hopefully with you as the winner.  
The best thing to look for in armor is a high def or good hit point 
mods.  And of course everyone needs resistance.   Now assuming that 
falcon mask has +3 wearbear and +3 lycanthropy, I really couldn't tell 
you if the crown is better.  It's actually your call.

Chapter 6: Some Closing Words and Legal Stuff
First of all, let me thank depthcharge for writing the FAQ from which I 
got the few exact figures I used for skills.  
I guess that's it actually.

This document is copyright 2001 Wil "Willis" Cerbone.
It may not be reproduced in any way shape or form without the express 
permission of the author.