Warriors and Paladins can switch from mail to plate at level 40 which never seemed like a big drama because only those two classes were actually rolling on plate stuff. Hunters and Shaman however also switch from leather to mail at 40 - but the loot is still contested by warriors and pallies who will undoubtedly still want the good mail drops right?
So my question is - is it really necessary to start rolling on these kind of items straight away? From vanilla I remember holy paladins wearing dresses, hunters and shamans wearing leather etc. well past level 40. In retail it seems that the itemisation was so drastically changed that it's easy for this transition to take place for all the classes involved, but in vanilla I think it could do with some more discussion....
For example if I was running SM as a hunter and https://classic.wowhead.com/item=10331/ ... -gauntlets dropped, I might be inclined to roll need on them for when I hit 40 in 7 levels seeing as loot and dungeon runs are fairly sparse in the game. Also was there a sort of set bonus for wearing all the right types of gear for your level or is this a new thing that wasn't in the original? Cos otherwise if it's only armor that is affected there's no point right...
The way I would handle that is if I can't use the item at my current level and someone else in the group can then I wouldn't roll on it, or I'd roll greed. I also wouldn't roll on mail when I could use it if the stats are clearly geared for another class, and that class is in the group and also needs the item, even if it's an upgrade for me.
Conflict tends to happen in these situations when someone in the group just rolls need on anything that's an upgrade, and doesn't consider what anyone else in the group also needs.
In several guides for hunters I've seen, some of the BiS pre-raid items aren't mail, but are instead leather. One example is the Devilsaur Armor (https://classic.wowhead.com/item=15063/ ... -gauntlets and https://classic.wowhead.com/item=15062/ ... r-leggings) in one of the guides. Granted, those are crafted and not drops, but still. So yea, it's not necessary for you to be rolling on every mail item that drops, as it may not be the best suited for a hunter, as Quaria mentioned.
EDIT: Here's the guide I was speaking of.
From the slackened maw of the beast can only come chaos and destruction. Defend your people!
Not really. I mean at the end of the day, the stat you're getting more of is armor going from leather to mail, and armor isn't that big a deal for either class, especially hunter. It just comes down to getting better main attributes. For most purposes, just ignore mail if it's weaker than the leather you have in its stats. This is the same logic for Paladin and Warrior changing over items to plate. Not necessary, but nice if they're wanting to tank something. Of the two mail classes, only shaman would really have to do any mental calculus with what the warrior or paladin in the group want, because enhancement gets attack power from strength in vanilla.
And just to be clear, because I think some people are alluding to this in their replies, classes tied to a certain armor level is a product of later expansions. If you're a healing paladin, it makes zero sense to limit yourself to plate when there are cloth, leather, and mail items that could have higher +healing and other stats in certain item slots.