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That’s How We (Loot) Roll

March 4, 2009

As with many MMOs Warcraft differentiates the classes not only through unique abilities and differing playstyles but also through the various equipment that they can use. This isn’t just down to the various weapons that exist either, few classes can make use of Shields but everyone wears armour. Whether it’s the paper thin kind that barely keeps the wind out, or the kind that can seemingly withstand the attentions of a hungry dragon.

For those not in the know the Priest I have uses the wafer-thin (using a Monty Python voice is perfectly acceptable) kind, although the spell Inner Fire helps to boost armour (and spellpower now as well making taking the talents to improve it very desirable). Still, taking an axe to the face hurts a squishie Priest and is not recommended, Mages and Warlocks also use this same armour. In contrast my Shaman gets to use a Shield and can wear Mail armour, only Plate armour provides more protection. Due to the way the armour proficiencies work in WoW if you can wear a particular type of armour then you can also wear every type of armour that ranks below it, armour ranks are shown below;

Cloth – least protection primarily for Casters

Leather – Not just bondage gear apparently, loved by Rogues and Druids

Mail – Shiny armour that actually affords some decent protection, find Hunters and Shamans here

Plate – Axe to the face? No problem! Death Knights, Warriors, Paladins apply within

So, as you can see my Priest has only one option on armour and my Shaman has three, Warriors, Paladins and Shamans can also take Shields which helps to boost armour and provides another set of enchant options. “Where are you going with this?” you may ask, well, I’ll tell you. Many of the classes within WoW are what is classed as Hybrids, they can perform various duties depending on Talent Spec and gear. The main Hybrid classes are the Paladin, Druid and Shaman, you could argue that Warriors and Death Knights and possibly even Priests are hybrids as well but they have pretty well defined roles that I am not going to argue about, Death Knights are a special case due to the fact they are designated a “hero class”.

Across those three Hybrids we can see what each can do, a Paladin has three viable specs, they can Tank, Heal or even DPS, the Druid can do four things, they can tank in bear form, melee DPS in Kitty form, do ranged DPS as a Boomkin and the Tr00d can heal. Across three specs the Shaman can do two things, DPS (melee or caster) or heal, I have no problem with this, I love Elemental and am happy to heal if needed as it is the role that Bo has filled for most of her “life”. To improve the capacity of your chosen specification you not only choose the appropriate gems, enchants and glyphs to maximise your potential but gear plays a huge role in the game. The better your gear the better you should perform, now, obviously uber gear does not an uber player make, despite what the WoW forums may have one believe. There are a few ways to get this gear too, crafting, quests, dungeon/raid loot and honour or badge vendors. There is a lot of loot out there and most of it is geared with particular classes and their roles in mind.

Now, for dungeons let’s look at the group and the possible loot distribution. There are a number of configurations but I’ll try and go with what I normally run with and build from there. Tanking we have a Death Knight who has access to Plate, Mail, Leather and Cloth but is going to focus on Plate as that gives him the stats he needs. DPS wise we can show a Paladin, Shaman and Warlock and then healing is normally Druid or Shaman. So in DPS terms we have all armour types covered, healing is Mail down to Leather. Now, due to the armour mechanics you could find that the Shaman is wearing all cloth to get a higher Spellpower to increase healing, the same with the Druid who will be in Treeform (hence the Tr00d). Retribution Paladins are still going to be in Plate but a DPS shaman could go for the same loot as the Warlock to gain +Hit and +Spellpower as those are primary stats if you’re running an Elemental spec (like me).

In any particular run you could have different classes fighting over the same piece of loot (this normally happens with weapons more than armour). In theory I could legitimately want that cloth robe that would also be an upgrade for the Warlock. I could also take spellpower leather away from a healing or Boomkin druid, again, quite legitimately. However, Lekktra is in all mail gear. I haven’t checked out the loot tables for Heroics but in terms of regular Northrend instances there isn’t a lot of kit designed purely for Shamans, I’m talking here about Mail with +Spellpower and +hit on it. When I first got to Northrend I had to take some gear that was subpar for my chosen spec just to keep up with the stats that I should be looking at, I’m not going to give up 500+ mana and some stamina when it’s a huge upgrade that drops me 10 spellpower for instance. I am sure that I could have a much higher Spellpower stat now if I decided do downgrade some of my armour and take some leather and cloth items, however, I don’t. Loot-fu hasn’t historically been good with my characters either, ask anyone in my guild and they’ll tell you I can’t win a need roll to save my life, maybe that factors into things. I don’t think I’m substandard in my performance by sticking to the Mail that I know that I am probably the only one that is going to use it. Once this progresses into Raids and I look at getting my tier sets then this issue goes away, but not everyone raids and I do see people running around in gear that affords them less protection. Maybe I’m gimping myself with this philosophy, after all, it wasn’t designed for my class if it’s not mail. The extra armour that comes from mail maybe shouldn’t factor in either, after all a competant healer should be able to keep everyone alive, but on the flip side don’t I owe something to the group to try and improve my own survivability from the start and thereby come with the “better” armour?

With Inner Fire up Bo can hit around 30% mitigation through armour, Lekktra with Mail and her shield doesn’t have any armour buff spells (other than dropping a damage reduction totem) and stops almost 50%, I know Priests have a damage shield and Discipline specced Priests can do all kinds of fun things with them but I believe that sticking purely with my mail is a good thing. I certainly wouldn’t even contemplate rolling against another class for a piece of gear that is designed more for them than me. I may be a caster just like that Boomkin, but I’ll be damned if I’ll take a swipe at that piece of Leather caster gear.

That’s just not how we (loot) roll!

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