As I was browsing through WoW.com (formerly WoWInsider) today, I came across a familiar topic. Should players be able to bid on gear below there max armor type even if it is BiS. Link to the post in question: (Link)
As many of you know I have covered this topic before, but I would like to inject counter points to those presented by Scott Andrews. I can't argue debate from the Plate vs Mail stand point since I have very little experience with either armor set or the classes that use them. So, I will look at this argument from my traditional Leather vs Cloth point of view.
Just so you know, Scott did say Balance leather is one of 3 sets where Blizzard has had difficulty producing well itemized gear, I highly recommend that you read his post before you go on.
WoW.com: Classes limited by armor type would be at a severe disadvantage
Counter Point: By limiting classes to their max armor type you maybe putting them at a severe disadvantage. Here is a link to all of the gear with a 239 ilevel currently in game. There are 21 pieces total, 10 of them are unaffected by armor type, 7 of them are Cloth, and 4 are leather. If you limited Moonkin to just leather drops then the most they could wear is 2 so that they could maintain the set bonus. A cloth wearer could use 3 and still maintain a 4 piece set bonus. I know its not the cloth wearers fault that there are limited options, but it's not the Moonkin's either.
WoW.com: Higher armor drops would go to waste.
Counter Point: This assumes that the Higher armor type has drops that are similarly desirable. Lets compare [Footsteps of Malygos] to the [Boots of Haste Revival]. The FoM are ilevel 213 and the BoHR are iLevel 226, yet both are rated about the same in terms of DPS. Yet, I would be denied cloth upgrades even though my other option was not an upgrade. Granted in this case there is some crafted gear that would be better then most of the options but that is not always the case. From a moonkin point of view the spell leather available is almost always inferior to the Spell cloth available. So, just because there is a leather options, that does not mean it is a good option.
WoW.com: For some classes and specs, the BIS list changes frequently.
Counter Point: Doesn't this argument cut both ways? It is definitely possible that the BiS list of any class could change, but why should the player with the higher armor type be punished while the player with the lower armor type not be. It is just as easy for a moonkin's needs to change from one patch to the next as it is for any clothy.
Obviously if the changes are already known, then those changes should be taken into consideration. However, you shouldn't punish some classes because of an irrelevant uncertainty.
WoW.com: Finally, the loot system would put a massive burden on the officers to know which items are BIS for every slot, for every spec in the game.
Counter Point: I agree with this statement but not the conclusion drawn. Of course we can't expect raid leaders to understand the gear needs for every class and spec in raid, but how does limiting Moonkin to leather limit this problem.
You already have 3 classes wearing cloth. The needs of a holy priest are different then those of a shadow priest, who's needs are different then a Mages and so on. Since we've already said we don't expect the Raid Leaders to know the gear needs of every class and spec, so the problem already exists. If the problem already exists, how do we currently manage it?
The answer is unsettling to some, but really quite simple. We trust the players to know what gear they need and to bid/roll responsibly. Many high-end guilds take this a step further and request that their members fill out a gear plan on the guild forums. This way the leaders know what the raiders are thinking, and the raiders can know what other players need.
Most importantly though it openes the door to communication. You don't know how many loot arguments I've heard that could have been prevented with a little upfront communication. Most players are not loot whores, and most raiders will pass on a piece of gear if it is better for the raid. However, they have to know the situation if they are going to make that choice.
On top of that all players need to be considerate of their fellow players when bidding/rolling on gear. A few weeks ago the [Boots of Fiery Resolution] dropped off of FL hard mode. They are my BiS boot, and I had the most DKP of the casters in guild but I passed. I did so because I had won the [Staff of Endless Winter] the week before. It would have been easy to argue that I had put in the effort to earn those boots, but after a little thought I didn't think it was fair that I had two pieces of hard mode gear while a vast majority of our guild had none.
Limiting Druids to leather or Paladins to plate are very popular rules for loot distribution systems. However, most of the arguments used to support the limitation can easily be reversed, and cause dissatisfaction with in a guild. Rules are not enough to make a loot system run smoothly, because there will always be a difference of opinion some where.
The way to make your guilds loot system run smoothly is to encourage communication between the members. When someone one seems to be getting out of line or tries to game the system, talk to them first. Most likely they will back off.