Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cows in dresses: Why I choose cloth

There's a lot of concern from clothies at the moment about the consolidation of +healing and +dmg into the single stat, +spellpower. I say clothies in particular because they are the ones will probably run into the most problems with other people rolling on "their" gear - either within the cloth-wearing group (priests, mages, warlocks), or through competition with other classes who can wear other armor types but are greedily eyeing off the cloth items for their yummy stats. I can definitely sympathise with them in part; even in these few short weeks post 3.0, I'm sure many healers have felt the sting of dps casters rolling on weapons and items that were previously healer-only (and I'm sure the casters feel the same about us rolling on their previously caster-only items).

GC said:

There are still pieces which are more appropriate for one class or spec than another. Some of the changes we made, such as spell power, will blur the lines slightly more. Our goal with that was more to help say an undergeared paladin get healing gear or an undergeared warlock be able to benefit from the "healing" cloth rather than just sharding it.

I've played a priest enough (I've played every class) to know that it can be frustrating when a paladin wants to roll on a piece of cloth, but most of the time the raid leaders I have run with tend to let the cloth-wearers get first dibs. I agree that there is a big social aspect to loot distribution. To some extent, that is by design.

I'm sure this issue will only become more obvious now that even more people will potentially be gunning for the same items. I thought I would share my feelings on the issue before we step into WotLK - before we see what happens when the Northrend loot starts dropping, because I'll be interested to look back on this in 6, 12, or 18 months' time to see how things panned out.

I'm not going to go into who should take which stats and why - Graylo and Phae have done an excellent job outlining which stats are best for which roles, and any kind of number crunching usually makes my head explode anyway. I mostly wanted to share my take on it and how I feel about non-clothies elbowing in on "their" gear, particularly now that priests have to compete with even more people, not just the occasional druid.

So.... why would I wear cloth, when as a druid, I am meant to wear leather?

I can't make up my mind what to wear!

1. Stats > Armor

First and foremost, if a cloth item has better stats for me than available leather items, I will wear that cloth item.

Now, I'm not a selfish jerk. I will often wait until the holy priests have that item before I will take it for myself, seeing as cloth is the only armor class they can use, and therefore their loot pool is smaller than mine. However, this is usually on a case-by-case basis, and depends on who I am rolling against (old members vs trials), who stands to gain more of a nett upgrade from the item, the status of the rest of my gear, the relative rarity, whether the item is "best in slot", etc. Generally speaking though, I'm a nice person and try to be reasonable when rolling on items that aren't "meant" for me. This may be tougher in WotLK because there's now a lot more competition for that gear, now that a lot of it is open to mages, warlocks, and shadow priests, and I may find that if I choose to pass on an item, I'll be waiting a long time...

At the end of the day though, if a cloth item has the best healing stats, that will be the item I put on my shopping list. The name of the game is to improve my healing, and to that end I don't care if something is made out of cloth, leather, cardboard, glomesh or whatever - I only care about how the stats will help me heal my raid more effectively. I don't care about how much armor an item has - even with the changes to ToL armor, it's rare that I am getting hit anyway. I don't need extra armor.

Man, glomesh would be SO COOL.

A few people share my sentiments, which is great, because I like it when people agree with me. Bith from Emerald Dream says:

Sorry my priest friends, I love you guys, but over half my gear as a Resto Druid is cloth. I really do try and hold out on stuff if there is a good leather alternative but more often than not, I find the cloth one just being absurdedly better. I deserve a chance to get it too; just because I can wear leather doesn't mean there are all good leather pieces out there. To be honest, a lot of the leather I've seen sucks compared to some of the cloth on the same boss (there is also a lot of the opposite too, a lot of leather being better which I try and take advantage of as much as possible).

This pretty much sums up exactly how I feel. I want to do the right thing by my cloth-wearing buddies, and I will wait for a nice piece of leather if I can, but if that leather doesn't exist, then I need to roll on your cloth item too. It's nothing personal, believe me. I'm just trying to get the best gear I can. On the other hand, some people disagree, and believe that druids should not be allowed to roll alongside priests. Ojousama from Dalaran wrote:

No sane raid lead is gonna let a druid shaman or pally roll on cloth gear as a first need roll. After the clothies have their choice then I'd see the druids/shaman/pallies roll but that isn't the problem at all. That has always been the case and if your guild allow druids for ex. to roll on a cloth item when your priest needs it I suggest you find another guild.

Hmm. I think this is a bit harsh. I believe that other classes can have the opportunity to roll/bid on cloth gear alongside priests, but I would hope people would exercise some commonsense and courtesy.

Idealism? Perhaps.

2. Tailored epics > Leatherworking epics

Crafted gear is probably a side issue since I'm not really taking gear away from someone else. It's worth mentioning though, because crafted gear plays a big part in the reason why I twirl around in a dress rather than in a tunic made of dead birds and branches.

In the past, tailored gear was always arguably superior to crafted leather healing gear. The Primal Mooncloth set (despite looking shocking on cows) was just so good for healing. I wore mine until partway into Black Temple.

The Windhawk set was geared more towards Moonkins, with a bunch of crit that druid healers had no use for. The PMC set, on the other hand, while missing out on stam and a small amount of spirit, had much more +healing, and traded that useless crit for a bunch of mp5 (which at the time was quite useful). The PMC set also had a very tasty set bonus of 5% mana regen while casting, compared to the Windhawk, which has no set bonus.

The Windhawk does have 2 more sockets than the PMC, and both sets use blue and yellow sockets exclusively. If we take a trip back down Memory Lane to when I was wearing PMC, it was before epic gems were easily available, so I was socketing with Royal Nightseye (5spp/2mp5) and Luminous Noble Topaz (5spp/4int). Fully gemmed in this way, here's what I would get if I chose PMC over Windhawk:

Armor: -299
Stam: -67
Int: -17
Spi: -10
Spellpower: +22
Crit: -47
Mp5: +23

So I would gain 22 spellpower (about 40 healing back in the day) and 23mp5 at the expense of armor that I don't care about, stam that didn't cause me too much trouble, a relatively small amount of intellect and spirit (which hadn't been buffed at the time), and 47 crit that I flat out didn't want.

In fact, a lot of leather druid gear in early TBC just wasn't what I wanted as a healer. The Moonglade set was a hybrid set - not what I wanted or needed at all. I'm a healer, I want pure healing stats - I don't want agility and crit on my gear!

Blizzard seemed to really miss the mark when it came to druid healing gear between stepping into Hellfire and finally getting into Karazhan - and along the way they didn't give us a decent leatherworking set either. They seemed to finally pick up their game by the time Sunwell was rolled out, with some shiny healing leather patterns finally becoming available - but very few people were able to get these patterns.

I intend to stick with tailoring for WotLK. Some people /boggle at me for being a tailor, but the benefits are really nice, and I don't feel like it's an odd choice. PMC meant better healing, and better healing is what I want. The PMC 2.0 gear is quite a nice stat upgrade, too, and I'm confident there will be some nice patterns further into Wrath. On top of this, I get to fly around on magic carpets, make my own cloak enchants (thank goodness, that's another thing that was never decent), make cheap spellthreads, sew my own dps gear, and I'll be picking up extra cloth from humanoids to boot. I do hope though, for the sake of my leatherworking counterparts, that there are some decent leather healing patterns out there for you guys, too. Until that happens though, I remain unconvinced that Leatherworking is a worthwhile profession for me.

3. Aesthetics

Finally, I like to look good. I don't like wearing dead birds (a common theme), nor do I enjoy always being dressed in shades of brown and green, while other players get to wear robes in pretty colours (don't even get me started how good dps weapons look compared to healing weapons).

Leather gear is UGLY. Universally UGLY. I don't think I've ever seen a leather piece and thought "wow, that looks great." I like my character to look nice! I already have the handicap of being a tauren (and often a tree), so I can't really look as attractive as an elf.. but I still like to wear things that look nice.

While I appreciate the nature theme, I don't like wearing the same colours day in, day out, for years. Sometime a girl just wants to look pretty, y'know?

I think in WotLK, people's experiences will vary a lot depending on how they are acquiring their gear. If you are coming from a Tier 6 farming guild, the Level 80 blues may be a slight upgrade for you, whereas someone wearing greens is likely to get a much bigger upgrade from that same gear. That's where the social aspect comes in and we may see problems with undergeared healers wanting to take +hit items because they genuinely are huge upgrades for them, despite being "meant for" a dps caster. This will be especially apparent in PuG groups, and should make for some interesting times if people aren't really familiar with the changes to stats and who wants what.

For me, personally, I don't foresee any problems, because I belong to a close-knit guild, and tend to pass to whoever needs an item the most. I generally subscribe to the idea that gear should flow to whoever needs it and will use it in a way that will best benefit our progression overall. I would rather see two people in good gear than one person take another small upgrade and leave the second person still wearing blues. A lot of people think this is silly and idealistic, but that's how I roll. I also get a stupid kick out of seeing people get new gear. I'm a weirdo.

Having said that, though, I certainly won't be afraid to roll Greed on cloth gear, and even +hit gear, in early instances, if the items are upgrades for me. If it helps me make the bars go right.. I'll wear it. I wore dps caster cloth and leather into Karazhan because that's what I could get my hands on at first. I don't mind looking silly (my character or my armory) if it gets the job done.

I suppose the most important message for everyone, whether you're in a PuG or a guild run, is to make sure you set out the loot rules clearly in advance, and if you intend to roll on something that people might not expect (a different armor type, off-spec gear, etc), then it would be wise to let the group know in advance so there are no nasty surprises. Not only will this (hopefully) prevent any squabbles over loot, but it will also make the run smoother and faster, and stop you from being branded a ninja over something that might just be a simple misunderstanding.




nimcraft said...

1) dead birds and branches = lol
2) very nice screenshots.
3) my cow wants to look pretty, too. :( So I rolled a beautiful male belf to tide me over!

Hana said...

As a moonkin I often had to roll on cloth to fill out my dps sets because leather with spell damage was virtually non-existent outside of tier and badge gear. There was one point I was in half cloth. I think as long as the loot rules are known beforehand it's not a problem, and when you're running with friends they tend to care less because they'll know if you need it as much as they do. By that same token, I won't roll on a cloth item if it's something my clothie friend has been dying for and needs much more than I do.

To be honest, I don't mind the dead bird motif though. :) I try to be picky about what my cow wears because I want to be pretty too, but some things just don't look good on a female tauren and I have to wear them anyway because the stats are too good. I got the cloth Trial Fire Trousers from Kara back in the day and deep purple pants really clashs with brown fur and a green chestpiece. >_<

Aertimus said...

I do where cloth for healing when it is way the heck better than the leather out there, and pre-3.0 priests seemed to be okay with that. Time will only tell us what the mages will think...

Looking good for screenshots and around town is HUGE for me. I have a "sexy" set that is pretty loyal to leather. (I need to get an updated picture of it on my site.) I stick to purples and browns and druid gear. It has some feral pieces, and some old Kara stuff I keep around for ONLY the "sexy" set. I have even been known to bid and spend fairly high amounts of DKP on pieces for the "sexy" set.