So lately I've seen another spate of threads on the Shoulderpads of Assassination. Rogues complain that Druids roll on them, that they are selfish and little better than thieves. Druids complain that Rogues are selfish and narrow-minded.
So here's the deal: In Auchindoun, the dungeon complex in Terokkar Forest's Bone Wastes, there is a place called the Sethekk Halls. The final boss of Sethekk drops the Shoulderpads of Assassination. These are one of 3 leather Dungeon 3 armor sets. The set bonuses for the Assassination Armor are clearly Rogue-centric. Still, there is no class label on them.
As a result, Feral Druids want these shoulders for tanking. Tanking, you say? Why the hell would Bears want those things for tanking? Rogues use them for DPS, after all. Well, that's what's at issue.
Short of raiding, there are only a few sets of shoulders that measure up. Common wisdom holds, in fact, that these are the best pre-raid non-PvP shoulders available, primarily according to Emmerald's list. Interesting that they don't actually hold that spot.
Still, they hold spot 13 overall, and of those that meet the criteria there are only 5 pieces that rate better, all greens. Looking down the list to the set that is widely regarded as the 'Feral' set, we find the Wastewalker Shoulderpads clocking in at 24 overall with 5 greens of Stamina or of the Monkey between them and the Assassination shoulders. Sitting at 35 on the list is the one that most Rogues tell us to go get, the Sun-Gilded Shouldercaps, or as we like to call them, Boob Shoulders.
So the complaints are rolling in from random Rogues on the Druid forums complaining that Druids ninja'd their shoulders and Druids shoot back that they're the best pre-raid non-PvP shoulders we can get. Who's right? Both? Neither? Do we care?
Well, the root of the problem is craptacular itemization for Bears. Still. After all the wonderful changes that HAVE gone in for Bear Tanks, the fact is that the people making items still don't know how to itemize for Feral Druids. Certainly we have some apparent flukes like the high armor quest rewards, the Earthwarden and the Heavy Clefthoof set, but when you start to check the Dungeon sets and the Tier 4-5 sets, it begins falling apart all over again.
So what do Druid Tanks do? We pick up Rogue gear. See, high armor is important - very important - but equally important are Stamina and Agility, and Wastewalker is seriously lacking Stamina. I'm not sure anyone can make a good case for a tank settling for an item with half the Stamina sported by an alternative.
What's interesting is that according to the method used by Emmerald to determine the usefulness of an item for a Bear, there are 5 green items that rank better than the Assassination shoulders. Interestingly, the only options of these I'd really consider are the 'of the Monkey' items. Stamina items, while nice, are single-stat items and lack mitigation beyond armor and health. The Monkey items at least add crit and dodge in addition.
So, we ask ourselves, why shouldn't a Bear Tank just pick up some Dragonhawk Shoulderguards of the Monkey?
First, they are greens with random enchants. This alone ensures that you may never see them drop or see them up for sale. Their very nature means that I have a better chance to see Assassination shoulders drop...more than once. Statistically, the Assassination shoulders are just more accessible.
Second, why should Druid tanks be denied decent enough itemization that they HAVE to turn to Dragonhawk shoulders? Something smells funny here, and it may not just be my wet fur.
I wear the Assassination shoulders. I socketed and enchanted them. I love them. How did I get them? Simple. I ran Sethekk with my friends. I helped a guild Rogue get his and he helped me get mine. I'd certainly have rolled on them against any Rogue I didn't know personally and I'd have made this clear from the start. That way, if anyone takes issue, we get it out of the way before the run commences. Some people may not be happy with this method, but until the shoulders say Class: Rogue on them, they're fair game for anyone that can and will use them.