Why is there something inherently funny about a bunch of druids all together in one place? Whether it's a flock of squawking, Moonfiring moonkin or a genial pack of dancing bears, even the most dedicated lore fiends among us have to admit that the design for these characters is all a wee bit silly. No matter how you cut it, the mere thought of a gathering of all druids evokes a grin every time.
What's not so silly, though, is this all-druid guild's rampage through WoW's most challenging raid content. Druids of the Beast is no gentle gathering of roleplaying night elves, drifting through Darnassus to pluck at the tangled knot of druidic lore -- no, this is a full-on, endgame raiding guild that also happens to be comprised entirely of members of the druid class. You'll find no army of declawed alts in this guild, no buffing machines parked outside raid instances. Druids of the Beast's roster represents pure, unadulterated druidic power, and its progress through Dragon Soul is among the world's leaders for all-druid raiding.
Main character Monsterbaby
Guild Druids of the Beast
Realm Shadowsong (EU-A)
WoW Insider: Apart from being a member of the druid class, Monsterbaby, what do members of Druids of the Beast have in common? What are the guild's membership and gaming playstyle like?
Monsterbaby: Currently we have about 60 to 70 active members. We try to keep the numbers low, in order to maintain the good atmosphere and strong foundation which our guild is based on. When we are looking for new members, our main value is the players' personality. We do not see the importance of gear, experience or activity, but we are looking for a friendly attitude, commitment and loyalty to our guild.
The guild is already appealing to different type of players than normal guilds, so finding the right members is not a problem, since most people joining will stay.
The average age of our active members is around 28 to 30 years old. Most people in the guild are adults; however, we do not have and never had set an age limit to our recruitments. It just happens automatically that the most common people to join us are adults, with both family and kids. I believe it is because of our overall values.
Is your realm primarily home to players of one specific country or region?
Shadowsong is a great realm, the best realm I have ever played on. I would not say there is a majority of a certain nationality. Overall, most people you meet and talk with can easily communicate in English. The nationality in our own guild, is also widely spread -- but since the majority of our active members migrated to join us, it is hard to say what other guilds are like at the server.
So let's turn to what you obviously do best -- raiding as druids. What are the biggest challenges you've discovered in current raid content with an all-druid team?
Our biggest challenge is definitely to kill the bosses within their enrage timer. Squeezing enough DPS out of our druids is very hard, since we lack buffs, and moonkins are not exactly the strongest DPS class, despite the current moonkins we have in our raid group (who) are very skilled and good geared.
Survivability is also a problem once in a while; however, we usually coordinate the Tranquilities to make up for this, which works great.
So you can compensate pretty well! Is there anything in terms of raiding that you've simply not been able to accomplish due to the inherent class limitations?
We had loads of trouble on Maloriak in Blackwing Decent. Due to the fact we do not have any offensive dispelling, he was impossible to down for a very long time. Currently, we have not found any major lack of abilities in Dragon Soul; however, a Time Warp or Heroism is sometimes missed for the extra DPS.
What about the upsides of a raid group filled with nothing but druids?
Tranquility is definitely our strongest plus in our raid group. Even a Tranquility from a feral helps the healers a lot, as well as people Innervating healers when needed. For a very long time we have lacked feral DPS players, and our raid group DPS has mainly consisted of moonkins. However, lately we have a balance between feral DPS and moonkins, which works out great, compared to have mainly ranged DPS. Moonkins are overall a weak DPS class, despite (the fact that) we have exceptionally good moonkins in our raid team.
When it comes to healing, it is great to have a lot of HoTs, but the direct healing is slow and weak, so sometimes it is a struggle keeping tanks alive during difficult phases. It is great to have feral tanks because of their other abilities they can use and support the raid with while not taking damage.
What encounters in current content have been more difficult for your group than usual?
Warlord Zon'ozz has been very hard for us. We have had big problems with the enrage timer, and he has been close to impossible to get down until we figured out what combination we should use with the Void of the Unmaking. Overall, enrage timer has been a struggle for us, but if we have the best people from the guild in our raid group, we have managed to progress fairly quick in Dragon Soul, compared to previously in Firelands.
And what about the reverse - what current raid encounters are easier for your group of druids than it is for other raid groups?
Since I do not have much experience from all-class raids ... it is a bit hard to tell where we would be stronger than normal. However, on Yor'sahj we seem to have a quite nice advantage of Stampeding Roar, heavy AoE damage and great AoE healing, as well as on Hagara the Stormbinder, where we get around the combat area quick and blow up Ice Tombs with mushrooms.
What about loot? It must be more difficult to gear up when everyone wants the same gear.
Looting has never been a problem in our guild. Usually if an item drops, one to two people roll for that item, even in new content. I believe this is the same amount of people rolling for the specific item in a normal 10-man raid. Tokens lead to more people rolling; however, the raid members usually give it to another member, in case it grants benefits due to the set bonus.
People are very large when it comes to loot, and overall, people who are into gear do not join this guild, despite chances of winning usable gear is about the same as normal raid groups, which means we have never had a loot issue or drama except for once in Karazhan 2007. After all, we can always buy gear for badges, and if we do not get the best gear, it does not matter. It will most likely be outdated in the next patch anyway.
We do, however, have a load of Maelstrom Crystals in our guild bank.
Of course, Druids of the Beast does more than just raid. Tell us about some of the other events your guild enjoys.
Sometimes we do small minigames we create, such as spelling games where we split our members into two groups, and members have to spell words by using their character in cat/travel form. The first team that finish spelling the given word gets a point.
We also visit fairly crowded places in Azeroth and do druid parades, such as our well-known bear train, or move to the opposite faction's bases and do some world PvP, which seems to be a great pleasure for both factions.
Our guild has met up a few times in real life, and we also have another RL guild meeting planned for this summer. It is great meeting your guild members, drinking beer, and hanging out, having even more fun than we have in-game. It is so insane! It is hard to actually explain how awesome it is, but this sort of meeting is something we try to plan whenever we can. We are usually a dozen of people joining for the meetings/parties, coming from countries all over Europe, and many of us have known each other in-game for years.
Good friends and good memories, for sure ...
I have loads of memories from the guild, which I started back in 2005, but what I remember the best was when we were contacted by an editor from the (Swedish) World of Warcraft magazine Level. It was during one of our weekly Karazhan runs back in 2007, and he asked me in-game if I was interested in getting a major article about our guild published in their magazine, which is sold in most stores in Sweden. Receiving the magazine when it was published was a big moment for me as a guild master. I now have a physical evidence, an 11-pages-long memory and token of my guild, which means a lot to me since I ran the guild single-handed from 2005 until now (besides a smaller period in 2009, where I had help from an officer).
Right, because you shut down for a short time a few years ago and then transferred realms, didn't you?
Remaking the guild and turning Alliance was the best and biggest guild decision I have made in World of Warcraft. Not only did the foundation become a lot stronger, but the old server Vashj was starting to die, and it is now a very low-populated server. Shadowsong was very quick at accepting this new type of guild, and overall the general attitude on Shadowsong is very laid-back, nice and social, compared to other servers I have tried out.
What of other all-druid guilds out there? Is there anyone else you're aware of or that you compete with?
We have previously had a connection to the guild Druids of the Wild from a RP server; however, in the beginning of Cataclysm, it turned all-class and eventually disbanded, and since then we have not really kept in touch.
We do not have an overall competition with other guilds; however, we do try to aim being the world's first to clear content with only druids, so whenever we do a new boss kill, I browse the internet, forums, YouTube and various Warcraft communities in order to find out whether same boss has been downed before with only druids. As far as I know, there is a handful of other druid guilds around; however, few (if not none) of them are active or have active raiding as we do.
But if anyone knows other druid guilds out there, we would love to hear about it, since we appreciate learning new tactics, weaknesses and strengths, when it comes to an all-druid raiding team.
Catch up with Druids of the Beast:
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) ... a blind ex-serviceman and the guildmates who keep him raiding as a regular ... and a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.