Q: Have we considered providing more tanking leather and to prevent extra loot clutter possibly finding ways for Balance and Restoration druids to use solely cloth item since they often use them already?This comment doesn't address the Cloth vs Leather debate directly, but expect a lot of clothies and raid leaders to use this comment to exclude druids from rolling/bidding on cloth.
Ghostcrawler: No. Druids are a leather-using class. We are just going to have to make three types of leather (melee, ranged and healing). You have to understand that even though we have pushed bears and cats farther apart, we still consider them to be part of the same spec. We can’t get into the business of itemizing for niches within a particular spec or we’re just going to have too many items per tier. I can see the argument for having tanking and dps leather and making the casters use cloth. That’s just a different design and we currently like for certain classes to be associated with certain types of armor. We like that druids look different from say priests or mages (even ignoring the forms thing). We like that we can kit druid tier piece armor to look a certain way.
Also note that if we buffed bear mitigation through more tanking-oriented leather that we’d just have to nerf them in other ways. In my experience, most bears end up with “tanking leather” anyway because they want to gem and enchant their bear gear differently. Having one set of gear that you wear as cat or bear isn’t really feasible in Ulduar.
However, lets focus on what Ghostcrawler actually said. He said "Druids are a leather-using class." He did not say that druids should only use leather, or that druids should not wear cloth. He is saying druids are designed to use leather and I think we all know that. If there was quality Leather gear similar to the cloth equivalents then I would freely pass. However, a majority of Cloth gear is better itemized for Caster DPS then the Leather equivalents. On top of that the quantity of cloth gear is significantly higher especially at the high item levels.
In the end GC's comment probably won't change much in how guilds are ran. I am fairly sure that if GC came out and said moonkin are designed to wear cloth, then clothies would still say they should have first dibs. This is one of those debates where the sides are fairly well entrenched and I don't think anything could move them.
There are the other Moonkin relevant comments from the Q&A:
Community Team: Let’s take a look at the Balance talent tree. Eclipse is a crucial talent for players who are looking to perform a damage dealing role and invest in the Balance tree. There has been a lot of discussion though regarding the gameplay it provides as there is a lot of randomness involved. The buffs to a solar rotation were very well received, but the lunar rotation still has to wait for a critical strike to happen as well as an additional random proc to occur which can lead to some long gaps of nothing happening. Then when these finally fall into place players have complained about threat issues which force them to slow down or having to move to avoid something which ruins the procs they have and significantly hurts their overall damage.
Q: What are our thoughts on how Eclipse is functioning and do we have any plans to change how this talent works?
Ghostcrawler: The goal of the Eclipse talent in the first place was to give moonkin a more dynamic rotation that involved the player paying attention and responding to the environment rather than falling into a monotonous rotation. The Eclipse in 3.2 should less strongly favor one half of the Eclipse over the other since the cooldowns are independent. Ultimately however the problem we are trying to solve is that Wrath and Starfire are just too similar. In PvP you get a little bit of interest out of the fact that they are in different schools, but in PvE by the time talents are factored in, the two spells just become fairly quick (but not instant) nukes and it’s easy to math out which one to use and which one to ignore. Long-term to fix this problem we need to add another spell, separate out Starfire and Wrath from each other a little more, or make one of the other spells, like Moonfire or Insect Swarm, more dynamic. I’ll give a couple of example of caster rotations that “work” in our opinion: Destruction warlocks want to Immolate before they Conflagrate, Frost mages can proc a Brain Freeze and throw out a fast Fireball.
Community Team: Another aspect of Balance talent tree that has seen a number of discussions lately is the survivability of Moonkins while in a Player vs. Player setting. Many players agree that they have a very low survivability rate and that a spell like Typhoon doesn’t provide enough help to prevent classes like Death Knights and Rogues from doing some serious damage to them.
Q: How do we feel Moonkins are doing in PvP and do we have plans to improve their survivability?
Ghostcrawler: We don’t think Moonkins are quite there yet, though
we’ll see how they look after 3.2 ships. Some of their problems are not
limitations with the spec so much as they are ramifications in other parts of the PvP environment, such as some classes being able to burst them down too quickly. Of the casters, and as of this writing, only Frost mages really seem to be a potent PvP force, but it requires multiple forms of CC and escape mechanisms to get there. We really don’t want to go down the road of every caster needing that many unique tools – it homogenizes the classes and makes the mage tools less compelling. We understand some players are desperate to play Balance in PvP, but our priority is on getting underperforming classes viable before we worry about the second or third spec of classes that already have a strong PvP presence. We’ll get there.
Community Team: Players have also been discussing how they feel the overall playstyle of a Moonkin is just not very exciting. The best damage dealing rotation for them requires very few spells and a deep Balance spell like Starfall doesn’t help them very much.
Q: Are there plans to make any changes to the general spell rotation for deep Balance/Moonkin Druids?
Ghostcrawler: As I mentioned above, we do want to improve the spell rotation of Balance. We think the spells are interesting when considered alone (expect for perhaps Starfire and Wrath) but they don’t necessarily play together in interesting ways. You don’t try to save up a Starfall for example for great synergy with another spell. We have no problems with Starfall itself -- it is an AE with smart targeting that doesn’t require channeling. It is basically just bonus damage. Often players with a gripe about Starfall are wishing that it still proc’ed stuns with Celestial Focus or was a stealth remover. But those uses meant players saved Starfall for only those specific situations instead of using it when they needed extra damage, which was the original intent.
There is nothing huge here. Most of these comments have already been made before, and anyone that follows moonkin closely has already heard them. That said, there are some interesting comments made regarding the moonkin rotation.
He reiterated that the problem with Moonkin rotation is that it involves too few spells and that those spells are too similar. What is interesting about his comment are the possible solutions he suggested.
Long-term to fix this problem we need to add another spell, separate out Starfire and Wrath from each other a little more, or make one of the other spells, like Moonfire or Insect Swarm, more dynamic.
First off, please note this is a list of possibilities, not a definite plan of action. If the next expansion comes without a new DPS spell don't go and say "GC lied to us."
That said, I like the idea of a new spell. I had always thought about it as giving us a direct damage spell that doesn't interfere with Eclipse, but adding something to be a more significant part of our rotation would be interesting also. The big question is can they create a spell that is desirable but doesn't trump any of our existing spells?
I also thought it was very interesting that he suggested that they might "separate out Starfire and Wrath from each other a little more." I would love to know what options they are considering, since these spells are critical for Eclipse to work. Since Eclipse is such a big part of Moonkin DPS changing either of these spells significantly would have a huge impact on Moonkin DPS. I'm not saying it would be a bad impact, but it could fundamentally change the way the spec is played.
The comment about making the DoTs more dynamic seems to have been in practice for a little while already. It started with the addition of Improved Insect Swarm. Now they seem to be expanding the concept with the new set bonuses. In fact 4T8 and 2T9 could be a trial runs for a new talents that might come later.
While all of these comments provoke some thought don't expect any changes anytime soon. They are definitely not coming in 3.2 and I would be extremely surprised if we saw any hit of them in 3.3. My guess is that these comments are an outline of what Blizzard is thinking about for the next expansion that is likely to be named at Blizzcon.