For many years, caster druids have worn cloth gear when they found a cloth piece with better stats than the leather pieces of gear available to them.
However, 4.0.1 introduced a new mechanic called “leather specialization“. This mechanic gives you a bonus for having all leather items on your: head, chest, wrists, boots, pants, gloves, shoulders, & waist. If you put a cloth item in any of these 8 slots, you lose this specialization bonus. You train this ability at level 50 (so, at very low levels, it won’t matter if you wear cloth).
- Leather specialization gives you a 5% bonus to your intellect if you are a balance or resto druid. Feral druids get 5% more stamina in bear form, and 5% more agility in cat form.
So, this isn’t a problem for feral druids, since they never had to wear cloth. However, most of the “best in slot” lists for level 80 caster prior to 4.0.1 had a lot of cloth on them, so there are a lot of moonkin and some resto druids running around now still in some cloth that they just can’t seem to shed. So, while you may be stuck with some cloth at level 80, you should try to ditch the cloth habit soon.
When you level up from 80 to 85, focus on getting leather. Even at slightly lower item levels, as it will almost always end up being higher for your DPS or healing ability if you just stick with leather on your way to 85. It’s a pretty huge loss if you equip a cloth item. They have also done a better job of itemizing leather such that you really shouldn’t have a hard time gearing up your druid in all leather, even while leveling (once the quest changes go in, and you get the newer quest reward items).
Hey druids, just say no to cloth!