I am writing as a raid leader in a fairly casual guild. In the days of Karazhan, we limited most loot to armor class - but given the lack of leather that was appropriate for moonkin, I opened up moonkin to roll on other loot. (I was considering doing this for plate DPS too, since there was very little gear out there, but we didn't really have any plate DPS and it didn't come up.)
In Wrath, I'm noticing a lot more leather gear that seems appropriately budgeted for Balance. I am also feeling bad that our cloth DPS have so much contention for gear, and there have been loot issues from time to time that weren't prominent in WotLK. Would I be asking our Balance druids to sacrifice a lot of best in slot gear if I were to restrict them to Leather again (where they could get cloth if no clothies needed it, but otherwise priority would go to cloth)?
I don't want to prevent them from getting cloth all the time, but at this point there have been loot issues and it is driving me crazy - and boomkins are the only class/spec causing this, since everyone else sticks within their armor class. (I don't know what it is like for elemental shammies, but we don't have any.) It is
definitely frustrating for our clothies because they have to compete vs all other cloth and balance druids - whereas our balance druids only have to fight with resto druids over gear (and if it has crit on it, our resto druids don't seem to care). I do realize though that there is absolutely zero +hit leather in Naxx 10 or 25, and that is one thing among others that is holding me back from making any sort of decision.
Thanks for any insight you can
give me :)
Wow. Loaded question. There is some debate on this with in the moonkin community, but I will try and give my take on it.
First, lets get one thing out of the way. There are some moonkin out there that will say that Moonkin can wear leather therefore they should never wear cloth at all. The basic premise is that Leather is always better then cloth and that is just stupid. Assuming similar stats the only difference between cloth and leather is Armor. Armor is almost useless for moonkin in a raid environment since almost all raid damage is Magical. Therefore, if a cloth item has better DPS stats then your current leather item, use the cloth.
That said, determining whether Moonkin should be allowed to roll/bid on cloth items is an entirely different question. In the Burning Crusade it was easy. I could count the number of Leather Caster DPS items before Sunwell on one hand even if one finger was amputated. With the merger of spell damage and healing into Spell Power there are a lot more options for moonkin. However that doesn't mean that the options are good.
In general I think that cloth is better itemized for caster DPS then the leather currently available. In my opinion a majority of the non-Tier caster leather favors resto druids over moonkin. Almost all of it has 3 base stats (Stam, Int, Spirit) and 2 DPS stats. This is a very resto friendly design, and Moonkin have different needs then Trees. On top of that about half of the pieces with just two base stats have 2 DPS stats and Mp5. Mp5 is a useless stat for moonkin currently. That doesn't even mention the complete lack of non-Tier leather pieces with Hit rating.
In my opinion the ideal itemization for a moonkin is 2 base stats (Stam, Int) and 3 DPS stats. Spirit does help moonkin but it is far from the ideal stat. Those itemization points would be much better spent on Crit, Haste or Hit. You don't see it much in leather but you see a lot more often in cloth. If you think about it that makes sense.
There is only one or two classes that wants caster leather. On top of that most guilds will have only one moonkin and/or one ele shaman in raid. On the flip side those same guilds are much more likely to have multiple resto druids or resto shaman. So, it is understandable that the gear favors healing more then DPS.
From the cloth perspective, there is only one class that heals using cloth, but 3 classes that DPS using cloth. It is not unusual for guilds to run with multiple mages and warlocks and have a Shadow Priest or two, but only have two or three healing priests. Therefore the cloth has to be much more balanced and you see a lot of pieces with three DPS stats.
Finally, there is an imbalance in item level. There are only 3 bosses that currently drop items with a 226 item level. (KT, Maly, & Sarth2D). Obviously any piece of gear with a higher ilevel will likely be better then the options at a lower level. Currently there are only three leather caster items at ilevel 226 and all of them favor resto in my opinion. For cloth there are 8 items at ilevel 226 and some of them are clearly DPS items.
What this all boils down to is that there is more cloth out there and it is generally better then the equivalent leather.
While I don't think Moonkin should be barred from cloth, I do think they should be responsible about their looting.
In my opinion, all raiders should know what gear is available and what are the good upgrades for them. If you look back at my posts from December, you will see a post I called my Christmas Wish list where I listed all the piece I considered to be Best in Slot. That list has changed a little bit since then, but you cans see that I knew very early on where my key upgrades were. I new that I should fight for cloth legs, but let cloth boots pass.
It is also important to remember that the 4T7 moonkin set bonus is awesome. Therefore, it would be irrational to put up a big fight for [Heigan's Putrid Vestments] when you're just going to replace them with [Valorous Dreamwalker Vestments] a little bit down the line. We don't know what the T8 set bonuses look like yet but they have always been pretty good since T4 and moonkin need to keep set pieces in mind before they go to the mattresses over a piece of loot.
I am also a big proponent of doing what is best for the raid. Just because an item is an upgrade for you or even best in slot for you doesn't mean you should get it right away. Here is an example.
Currently there is only one caster weapon usable by Druids at ilevel 226. It is the [Torch of Holy Fire]. It is the current Best in Slot weapon for a moonkin, but that is because it is really the only option at its item level. If you take a look at it you will see that it is really better itemized for a healer. Moonkin don't want Mp5 but the 520 Spell Power is a huge upgrade over the caster weapons at ilevel 213 with 461 Spell Power. So, my guild has had a few of these drop. I want it but I realize that a healer would use it better then I would. So, when bid for it I always bit one under the max bid, to allow the healers to pick it up before me if they want it.
Ultimately moonkin need to learn to pick and choose their battles. If you go all out on every cloth piece that drops then the clothies will resent you and you will likely lose the key battles you want to win.
Finally, responsibility is a two way street. If you look at my Armory you will see that I have the [Torch of Holy Fire], but it's not because every healer in raid already had it. The healers who I outbid for it haven't said a word to me about it, but I've had a couple of other people tell me I shouldn't have gotten the mace. I will also admit that I was very surprised that I got it, but I don't feel bad that I got it before a couple of healers. It is best in slot for me and if they wanted it then they should have bid the max amount. No one should expect such a good item to just be handed to them
I also find that the most vocal people against Moonkin wearing cloth tend to be clothies that don't want competition for gear. It's not about whats best for the raid. Its about what is best for them. When an item is a clear upgrade for a moonkin and there isn't any equivalent leather then clothies should have a big problem competing for the item.
A Note to Raid Leaders:
Ayashi, you say that your the raid leader of a "fairly casual guild." That is a fairly ambiguous statement since casual seems to mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. However, I want to say that your guilds structure should also have a pretty big impact on how you award loot.
My guild has a very stable raiding membership, and a majority of the regular raiders have an attendance over 90%. This makes loot a lot simpler because if I don't get an item this week that means there is less competition for it the next time it drops. Its hard to get to bummed about not getting an item because chances are I will get everything I want eventually.
A guild with a less stable structure is going to have more issues. One of my former guilds raiding set up was much less stable. It wasn't unusually to have people that only made 50% of the raids and recruitment was a bit of a revolving door. I was one of the more active members and I had been with the guild for a long time. In my opinion it wouldn't have been fair for the guild to prevent me for getting an item because a new clothie with low attendance could use it more.
You have to think about who your policies hurt and who they reward. If you reward wrong people then your just going to make the situation worse.
In short, I think moonkin should be allowed to roll/bid on cloth since in general it is better itemized then the caster leather that is available. However, all raid members need to think critically about their choices. Is the guild better served by someone else getting this item? Is there a leather item that is equivalent or better then this item?
Asking yourselves questions like these will help your guild to run more smoothly and with less drama. It will also cause your guildies to be more considerate of your needs when there is an item that you really want.