The Off Armour Problem

guest-post This is a guest post from friend and bodyguard Cassio

I’m Cassio, I’ve been playing a rogue on Ner’zhul for the better part of three years so my area of expertise is something different then the writers here.

I’m a damage guy. I run numbers to figure out how to squeeze another one or two points of damage per second out of my rotation or how much I should weigh hit stat verses attack power or agility. So please understand that I will not be talking about the best way to heal a boss encounter. Most of the time I have no idea what a healer is doing in them since they are behind me somewhere. Instead, I’ll be trying to stay remotely within the sphere of this blog by talking about loot distribution.

The problem

With the changes that have been made since the release of Wrath, almost every spec to become viable for raiding. This means that some classes may be dipping down into gear that’s exclusive for other classes to use due to armor class restrictions. Boomkins, tree druids and holy paladins may start to want to take gear that all cloth wearers can use. The same goes for titans grip (TG) warriors and to some extent enhancement shamans and hunters with rogue/feral druid gear.

It is my opinion that this should be avoided whenever possible.

Taking gear from a class when it is all they can use and giving it to a class that is moving down armor types to pick up an upgrade might seem fine in the short term. However, it will hurt raids in the long term due to the limited upgrade pool available to classes who have no other option other than leather or cloth.

In my guild, I am currently the raid leader for ten man raids and it falls onto me to sort out loot distribution and how to do so without causing problems that could destabilize the raid group and force us back due to people leaving and having to replace with new people. The system I have worked out is part science and part art but the basics of it is to keep gear separated to classes that are restricted to their armor type before opening it to others. There are some exceptions, such as if the gear is only a miniscule upgrade for a rogue and a large one for someone else.


Weapons are handled by letting those that get the biggest upgrade from them roll, any two-hander classes have to roll against each other just as any one-hander users and casters have to roll against each other. So that means that ret paladins, TG (Titan’s Grip) warriors and death knights all have to roll against each other. This method relies heavily on the loot master knowing the different needs of the classes and where his raid members are in gear progression.

Suggested process

While I find that I can do this (with some help from officers and others outside my guild that know the other classes better) I would not suggest that anyone try such a method in a twenty-five man environment. Instead make your officers/class leaders do gear upgrade charts for your members and give the upgrades from the different raid instances a set value, making sure to include heroics gear where it applies, and then use that as a way to check which gear is a better upgrade for who. The higher the number the larger the upgrade, also there should be a method worked out to reward those that go out and craft or farm the gear for outside raids that will help you progress through the instances you wish to run.

While all this sound complicated it really comes down to the simple idea that each classes chances for upgrades is different. If someone needs an item that is all they can use, then this may be one of a limited amount of chances to get it. Someone that can use other armor has a larger pool of gear to pull from and so has better chances at upgrades.

24 thoughts on “The Off Armour Problem”

  1. I agree with this. In Conquest raids, I try to limit the upgrades to specific armor wearers. One of my biggest nightmares is looting a cloth belt to a leatherwearer over a clothie and then watching a leather belt drop from a subsequent boss. No one wants to see items go to waste like that and it’s something I try to restrict on first pass.

    However, cloth shoulders did drop and none of the cloth wearers wanted it so we tossed it to a Paladin. So I’m not completely against the idea so long as someone can use it.

  2. Keep in mind that sometimes the best upgrades are from a different armor class. It may be the case of that the Cloth belt is better than ANY Leather belt going. The master looter must be familiar with the loot tables but also each raider needs to have taken the time to study the loot tables as well.

    In that case it’s on the Druid to say to the Master Looter, “The Cloth Belt is better than Leather Belt that could drop for me, please give me equal conideration”.

    You are probably better off just looting everything to your Paladins anyway….. 😉

    Honorshammers last blog post..Ding 77!

  3. If I recall reading correctly, you guys are opting to do a loot council in your raids. In that case, I think it should be fairly easy to see which items are best in slot for any class. I don’t see issues with, let’s say a Boomkin, wanting a cloth belt if it’s best-in-slot. People, especially in a raiding guild focusing on progression, need to know their gear progression and what’s best for them. Just trying to take random gear willy-nilly just because it is an upgrade *at the time* will be detrimental to a raid.

    However if an item from a lesser armor class is best in slot at their current level of progression and that person knows it, them taking that kind of upgrade isn’t bad for your raid. It’s good because your members have obviously down the research to know what’s best for them.

    Now to be fair, in the current game I do not believe there is many situations where a person should need to drop down armor classes in order to get the best upgrade as there are plenty of options available. But eventually we will see something akin to the leather Sunwell gloves where they were best in slot for Warriors, Rogues, and Hunters.

    Drotaras last blog post..We need to make some money.

    • I’m not completely against the idea of a class wearing off armor. Don’t get me wrong. I am aware that there’s a few cloth pieces that would be a tremendous boon to leatherwearers.

      But from my standpoint as a raid leader, the clothies do not have the option to wear leather armor. So if a clothie needs a cloth item and a leatherwearer needs a cloth item, I’m more inclined to loot it to the clothie FIRST because they don’t have that same access. Then if the leather belt drops later on, I’ll throw it towards the Druid until the next run where if it drops again and if no one needs it, I’ll pass it off to the leather completing his best in slot set.

      It’s not a matter of IF they get an item. It’s a matter of in what order and when.

  4. Perhaps this post can be expanded to all roles. With the consolidation of Spell Damage and Healing into Spell Power, many DPS and Healers are suddenly opened to various gears that would benefit them.

    In my limited knowledge and opinion, regarding caster (mainly SP):
    1. Mail items should be open to paladins and shamans
    2. Cloth items shoudl be open to druids, priests, warlocks and mages.

    Some attributes make it a bit obvious:
    1. +hit usually goes to damage caster first
    2. +spirit usually goes to healers first

    Of course, there are other attributes to consider:
    1. +crit
    2. +haste
    3. +mp5

    But, if the item is “best-in-slot”, I feel that all eligible wearers should be considered.

    For guilds using DKP, what if a +heal cloth item drops, and a holy priest and restoration driud expressed their desires, but the druid has a higher DKP amount than the priest? If it’s the “best-in-slot”, shouldn’t the druid win the item?

  5. Speaking as that Paladin, as I’m getting geared up there is a lot of cloth/leather gear that’s an upgrade for me. Am I going to fight a druid over a healing leather piece? Absolutely not. What needs to happen is that your players need to understand your process for loot and not be upset if a piece they want is given to someone else, especially someone the right class for the item.

  6. @Honorshammer You are right. Sometimes the best piece of loot is from a different armor category. Thats why I suggest doing upgrade trees to show what is best where. It will give everyone a good a idea of what to be looking at for upgrades.

    @Drotara I think that Matticus hit it what I am trying to explain dead center. The loot restrictions that I place on my raids (remember I’m not a part of Conquest and do not know how they handle loot) is only there to make sure that people who can only use cloth get a chance at that loot first, I would never DE an item in front of someone that can use it just because its cloth and they are a leather wearer.

  7. You need to make sure that the person not allowed to roll actually has a possible upgrade, in that slot, at the current raid level.

    In Kara, there was exactly one piece of Moonkin leather (wrists). There was zero chance that if the Moonkin took a cloth belt that he would replace it with a leather drop from Kara. Sure, he could replace it with badges, or by going into SWP, but so could a Warlock.

    Likewise, in Naxx, you could have a piece of cloth which is a +10 hit upgrade to your mage, and a +10 hit upgrade to your elemental shamman. It may also be the case that there is no mail or leather (short of a tier token, perhaps) in Naxx that is an upgrade for the Shamman in that slot.

    In that case, what is the logic in saying Mage first? Even if a mail piece drops later, it isn’t going to benefit that Shaman.

  8. Sorry for multiple comments, but I would like to learn the deciding process as best as I can to help clarify distribution rules for certain classes.

    We’ve only begun 10/25man Naxx, therefore my knowledge is limited to these loots.

    I guess it’s easier to discuss if the range is narrowed down, so I’m strictly asking for “healing items” here.

    From a restoration druid’s perspective, some cloth items for healing “seem” better than the leather counterparts (will try to find examples later).

    Since armor calculation is useless in raids, would raw numbers (SP, Haste, Crit, Spirit) help decide which piece can be opened to druids and not just priests?

  9. I agree with making sure the people who are resticted to fewer armor groups get special consideration when having a person with more options interested in a drop. But that isnt the only thing that should be considered.

    In one case I can remember from one of my guilds, we were in a run and a cloth healing helm dropped. The druid said that he would like to be considered for the piece but the GM just gave it directly to our priest. His reason was that he wasnt going to give a cloth piece to a druid that can wear leather and you’ll only replace it anyway.

    The fault I see with this is that your now placing your own restriction on a class based on what you feel is right. Your basically telling him that he can only roll on Leather SP items, unless everybody else already has their upgrades and no one can use the cloth.

    Furthermore, in this particular case, the priest was very new to the guild and wound up leaving one week later whereas the druid had been with the guild for several months already and was proven to be a valuable member. And he never saw another SP helm drop for a very very long time. Poor guy.

    Since upgrades are so important to us there will always be drama when dealing with it. Maybe blizzard should eliminate restrictive loot and just drop loot tokens for PVE bosses. My gf is constantly telling me that I’m retarded for wasting hours doing something when I’m not guarenteed to get anything out of it when she can AFK in some BGs or play 10 quick games and be guarenteed loot. I try to tell her its about the feeling of accomplishment for downing a boss but I dont think she believes me.

  10. @Passerby1001 Regarding your question about DKP guilds I personally don’t think that you should place rules like these in place. If someone has earned their DKP they should be able to use it as they want, assuming its not on off spec gear.

    @Erdluf I find myself agreeing with you. If, and I do mean if, there is no upgrades for them in the instance then considerations for that should be taken into account for such. Asa raid leader though I expect my raiders to go out on their own and do heroics to get the gear there or the badges to buy their upgrades, if they have a piece of gear there that is comparable then I expect them to be working towards getting it and if they have it and the item that drops is a minimal upgrade then I will make a judgment call on the spot if I will give it to them or to someone that its a bigger upgrade for. I try and reward hard work as much as possible and I know the hassle it can be to farm heroics for gear.

  11. This is something that’s on my mind a lot lately. We use a Loot Council system and while I love it and it’s gone smoothly so far, we have a few people who are getting 10 man Naxx drops to replace their LEVEL 70 GEAR. These are people who have put no effort whatsoever into doing group quests or instances while levelling, yet get to reap the fruits of our group labour. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough players that I can say “Hey, doing 900 dps in a raid environment is absolutely unacceptable and you are sitting out until you work on your gear” — I’d have to say “We’re not raiding until people work on their gear” — and that’s not right :\

  12. @Drotaro – *Quote* Now to be fair, in the current game I do not believe there is many situations where a person should need to drop down armor classes in order to get the best upgrade as there are plenty of options available. But eventually we will see something akin to the leather Sunwell gloves where they were best in slot for Warriors, Rogues, and Hunters.**

    Just to let loot council folks know, I unfortunately discovered one of those situations today. I (as a warrior) abhor wearing anything but plate. Especially since Blizzard tried to curb these scenarios by implementing the Armored to the Teeth talent. However, once again – leather gloves – are proving to be the best in slot. Malygos (H) drops the Frosted Adroit Handguards, which are the only phys DPS gloves of ilvl 226. This just edges out anything comparable from the plate section of the loot.

    I know it’s gonna piss off some rogues when the time comes, but I’m gonna be 100% putting my name in the hat to get those. Now when my name comes out of the hat is subject to debate…

  13. @ tatiana

    Sounds like you need to start recruiting more players or do just as you say and postpone until other people start improving their own gear. When my guild started Hyjal we had new recruits showing up in heroic blues when we told them specifcally to not sign up unless they could perform at a T6 level. We wound up pugging some people with better gear and it went ok.

    Postponing would have to be in that military sense where the recruits who are in trouble get to sit and watch all their friends do pushups… the real punishment comes later. 😀

    If I was the raid leader for your runs I would be running recount or WWS and make sure that people are performing. Unless you want it to be more casual… then you just have to accept the fact that some people will be “more casual” than others.

  14. There is a problem here. It seems that the game designers expect PvE resto druids and moonkin to wear cloth. Most of the casting DPS rewards are cloth, and most of the drops with the stats druids need are cloth. We get leather for our tier sets, but you will gimp your druids badly if you insist they wear leather.

  15. As Siobhann, Blizzard takes into account the fact that in the early raid instances, everyone needs upgrades. Therefore the drop rates and quantity of gear takes into account the fact that lower armour pieces can be taken by higher armour classes. What you’re actually saying is that you don’t trust Blizzard to understand what people do, so therefore they mustn’t be accounting for it.

    Personally if you’re going on a loot council path, then what you should do is assess the “total upgrade” for each player. If a Resto Shaman has a horrible set of legs, and a cloth set drops that has the right stats for him, then there’s no reason that he can’t take it over a Priest who’d get a 3 spellpower upgrade.

  16. I think with common sense most of the time you don’t have any problems. And it gets a lot of easier if you respect your fellow raiders. If you see the guy next to you does fantastic damage, is a nice person and helps you out I’d never have a problem with him rolling on the same piece as I do.

    Enhancement shaman are a good example. Mail is fantastic now and they have to grab a lot less leather.


    There is just so few expertise on mail. And if an expertise heave leather piece drops to a shaman that is really struggling to get his expertise near to the cap it’s a shame not to let him roll on leather.

    With healing gear it’s not that different. As a resto shaman I’d never touch anything with spirit. But If a piece of gear is leather or cloth an best in slot I’d at least discuss it with my fellow healers.

    drugs last blog post..Patch 3.0.8 PTR Notes

  17. This is an issue that, as a druid and raid council member, is very personal for me.

    In my case, many cloth items are downright better for me than their leather counterparts because itemization for spellpower-wearing druids is skewed right now–it’s even suboptimal on our resto tier pieces. The only spirit + mp5 pieces seem to be cloth.

    However, it is my STRONG opinion that cloth always goes to cloth wearers first, including when we’re talking about a resto druid’s best-in-slot that happens to be cloth. I don’t have to have the best-in-slot, and there’s always a chance that either my armor would be changed by blizzard to fit my needs, or that my talents would be tweaked enough at some point so that I would get more out of crit or haste. Clothies don’t have the option to wear my leather belt, so they get first dibs on the cloth one, period. In the LC, I’m fine being voted down, and I won’t make a big stink of it if I’m outnumbered, but this is always the way I’m going to vote. Cloth for clothies, leather for leather wearers, and so on down the line unless the item isn’t contested.

    I do wear some cloth myself. I am very pleased to have a cloth badge belt with spirit/mp5 and a cloth hat with spirit/mp5 that no one else wanted. I am thrilled to clean up things that would otherwise be sharded, but I will not take stuff from my friendly neighborhood mage or priest.

    Naxx is not Karazhan, after all. I’ve researched the loot table, and there are many many items at each armor level–usually even two for each slot in addition to the tier pieces. I think what needs to go is the perception that everyone has to wear the “best in slot.” Naxx isn’t the whole endgame, and I think even the motley set I’ve cobbled together, with maybe one best-in-slot item (tier shoulders) is enough to move on. We need to think of Naxx as an early point on the progression path (one that happens to be a loot bonanza), rather than the endpoint of the game.

  18. @Klinderass In a DKP system if the person used their points its just leaves them out of luck really. If they had the points to buy the item I would say they should get first crack at it but with nothing to their name I would open it up to those that had points before them. The idea of setting conditions on loot can be much harder when you bring DKP into the equation as it is a very easy way to show who has been attending raids and doing anything else (if the guild has additional ways) they can to earn points.

    I’d like to thank Sydera for pointing something out too. Naxx should be looked at as Kara and with a large portion of guilds being able to down it (at least in 10 man) you shouldn’t be looking at the gear from there being the best gear you can. Its a stepping stone for when they release new raids and should be looked at as such in my opinion.

  19. While I find the discussion on how loot must be distributed interesting… I was particularly intrigued by Cassio’s following statement:
    “make your officers/class leaders do gear upgrade charts for your members and give the upgrades from the different raid instances a set value, making sure to include heroics gear where it applies, and then use that as a way to check which gear is a better upgrade for who”

    While the goal of it is the same, this is exactly the opposite of how we do it. We let our members do it and make their own calls about that. We encourage them to post their upgrade chart on our forum as it generally leads to many volunteer’s offering help where they can (farming Heroics being the most popular).

    By turning this process around you’re actually inverting the “trust” direction. We trust our members that they are selective about the loot they need on and work for the best gear they can get without raiding. You’re suggesting the opposite: officers making charts and the members trusting the officers that “they’ll make a good chart” and choice. Have you actually done this? How did the guild respond to that? Did it work for everyone?

    I can see the benefits of this ‘master control’ approach regarding raid efficiency… but the hunt for gear and thinking out a gearing strategy is a part of the game for the player. We log on to do legendary feets and get rich on the way. How does the “officer’s gearing chart” fit into this?

  20. Leather is often better than plate due to the number of stats on it, so simply it can be a better drop for your plate users than anything they can get.

    Also the armour itself is irrelevant, any non-tank in a raid is going to die if the boss goes for them barring a few situations, so having plate vs leather makes little difference.

    My mind, gear to best in slot, don’t gear to “best in slot + matches armour”.

    2ndNins last blog post..On Heroics, and the difficulty of the game

  21. I like that idea actually.
    Give the guild member the power over his or her own gear.

    This only works if there are a few things in play though.
    1. Everyone uses the forums.
    2. Not everyone is a jerk.
    3. There is time.

    What I mean by time is that some people can only play when the raid is scheduled.

    But if it works, then that’s awesome!

    Klinderass last blog post..I’m Talented!


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