The cloth is a trap!

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!

14 Comments

  1. Thorn
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I’m hoping they do something to leatherworking to make it more useful for druid casters. Tailoring has 36 patterns for cloth items with INT in Cata. LW has 10 leather items and 10 mail items.
    (Blacksmithing has 18 plate patterns)

    A lot of druids have trained tailoring in the past because it’s seen as more caster-centric. Now that wearing cloth really isn’t an option it’s time to ensure that LW caters as well for the casters that use it at least as well as tailoring does for clothwearers.

    • Lissanna
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      The leatherworking point is important – they have to make LW better for caster druids if they are limiting us to leather armor.

  2. Geros (VeCo)
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Yea, I recently reactivated and found myself walking around in crappy cloth boots. I checked the AH and primordial saronite was waaay down now that 2.5 heroics will get you enough jp for one. Crafting up some shiny new boots, I tossed them on and saw my mana pool jump by 3000 and some similarly ridiculous amount of spell power.

  3. Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    ICC is failed to drop me a leather wrist upgrade, though I bought the badge belt. /weep

    I would definitely like to see more leatherworking patterns available in Cataclysm. So many of them were PvP blues, and then no PvP epics were added to bolster them. The patterns themselves were ridiculously expensive to get (at least for pure 10’s) and craft, and most players didn’t want to pay much in the way of a crafting fee to help with the cost. The demand has dropped in recent months, of course. The most use leatherworking really gets is with crafting physical-dps leg armor kits, and personal fur lining on your own bracers… and both take arctic fur which must be farmed or purchased with gold: I’d gladly trade frozen orbs for fur, but they didn’t make that an option.

    The leatherworking profession, as it stands in WotLK, isn’t really worth it over things like JC/ench/inscription for druids who don’t have a feral spec. The cheaper mats for personal leg armor kits are a good bonus for ferals.

  4. Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    mages and warlocks everywhere rejoice.

    I think it’s good, honestly. And the spirit to hit conversion was one of Blizzard’s most brilliant fixes, imo. It allows them to make hit free caster leather that is appealing to both specs. That, coupled with reforging, really opens the doors for customization and makes gear choices more interesting (although I have no doubt we’ll still manage a BiS list.)

    • Lissanna
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I don’t like being limited to cloth all that much, as I’ve always been someone who wore cloth when it gave me better itemized stats. However, the 5% bonus int is basically the same as just limiting you to one armor type.

  5. Ruana
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Any thoughts about the cloth heirlooms for healing druids? I bought the cloth because I have more clothies on that server than anything else (I moved a character over from my main server with the items, no 80s on that server yet), but I’ve been having more fun leveling my druid than either of my priests, my mage, or my lock. So I stuck the cloth robe/shoulders on her. Should I try to get someone to 80 and then save up JPs for the leather gear (btw, the druid is 67), or just not bother?

  6. Lissanna
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    The leather specialization doesn’t kick in until level 50 at the earliest. If you are already 67, you will still benefit more from getting the XP bonus even if you lose 5% int. Your theoretical max DPS won’t matter a whole lot for leveling up to 80, and the cloth heirlooms become useless in the 80 to 85 leveling anyway. You should be looking for leather alternatives, however, for the 80 to 85 leveling in Cata.

  7. Posted November 3, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    My moonkin/resto druid was still wearing a few pieces of cloth I’ve managed to ditch – a headpiece, and I sucked it up and had the leather boots crafted – they just never, ever wanted to drop!

    That said, I wouldn’t roll on cloth that cloth-wearing casters needed even pre-4.0. I did take some if nobody else wanted it. In our raid with a warlock, two mages, and two priests all as mains, plus two resto druids – there’s pretty hot competition for it anyway. I think they’dve been upset if either of the restos or a moonkin had taken a cloth piece they’d wanted. I’m glad it sounds as if they’ve made leather a more appealing and functional choice for casting druids everywhere. :)

    • Lissanna
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Well, that’s the hope… it would suck to be basically restricted to leather but still not have enough gearing options. However, with resto & moonkin more often sharing similar stat priorities (along with some help from reforging), we should be okay.

  8. Posted November 4, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Going to second or third the hope for more LW patterns in Cataclysm. It’s a nice little INT boost but I’d agree that it does take away a bit of the mix and match of cloth/leather.

  9. Posted November 5, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    LW aside, they are about to spend AN ENTIRE EXPAC on rebuilding the old world for new toons and players, but how much you want to bet, that what stays the same, is the fail gear and the lack of appropriate gear for certain specs at certain levels.

    If the Blues push the whole “specialization” schtick, they better be prepared to face our, uh, WRATH, if they fail to offer more selection on dps caster gear (and even mail caster gear for the poor ele shammys)…pun intended. The WHOLE POINT of taking cloth gear was because it was better stat-wise and that there just wasn’t enough leather dps caster gear.

    If they’ve addressed this in the next expac, then I see no problem with adhering to the “specialization”.

    Side bar: Aeronblade is finally a Kingslayer. :D took me long enough. Oi, my damn work schedule. As a friend of mine said recently: “War is like, hard y’all!” :P

  10. Eldoran
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I have not really scoured the epics lists but I don’t remember seeing a single piece of leather without spirit on it… That worries me as a moonkin.

    • Lissanna
      Posted November 6, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Most of our tier set pieces don’t have spirit. Also, the hit cap is high enough that when I was in my heroic-level blues set, I needed spirit on pretty much every piece of gear just to reach the hit cap. We actually start out needing a ton of +hit/spirit, so it should work out. You can also reforge some gear down to not having spirit on it, so we’re fine in terms of gearing that I’ve gotten on my premade moonkin in Beta testing-land. ;)