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Buried in Treasure

March 21, 2010

Can too much loot be a bad thing?
For a raid leader, yes. Too much loot can be a very bad thing.

As a leader of an ICC 25 raid comprised of regular members from different guilds and frequent PuGs, there is a loot threshold beyond which managing it all becomes extremely messy. And raiders prey on a raid leader who begins to show signs of confusion or weakness, even if it’s a raid leader they’ve been with for months and to whom the raid generally shows kindness and respect.

My ICC 25 killed Festergut AND Rotface last night for the very first time. We normally clear the first wing and Princes every week. It was exciting and absolutely phenomenal that we downed two progression bosses in one night. Until we started loot. We were not prepared.

As a result of the intense migraine that I had for hours after the raid, I decided to set out some new rules and remind everyone of how we do things in my raid. We have a few new folks and it’s about time for a refresher course on manners. I also need to take responsibility and plan ahead for these sort of situations.

Bind on Equip Items
I’ve always rolled off BoE items to main spec. I do not like allowing people to roll greed and sell the items. However, last night we had one drop that absolutely no one needed. I offered three chances for players to roll if they could legitimately use the item and then we moved on. Since we didn’t have an established protocol for BoE items, people got very pushy by the end of the raid. Raid members were downright aggressive in tells, vent, and raid chat. The blatant, frothing greed over the item was unsettling. I ended up rolling it off to people who had not yet won loot.

From now on however, I will open rolls to main spec and then I will keep the item to sell. I’ve been running a 25 PuG since ToC and I’ve never been a greedy raid leader. My raiders can attest to the fact that I rarely ever roll on loot for myself and I often pass items to those who need them more. What I might do is sell the loot and then share a percentage of the profit with the regular raid members in a GDKP fashion. We aren’t a guild – and many of the players in the raid are in guilds together or are playing on alts. This is my main. I don’t “deserve” the profit any more than anyone else, but this is my solution.

(Update: I totally lack the nerve to enforce this policy. So my raid members have just been getting free loot. Need to grow a spine!)

Shadow’s Edge Quest Items
Blah. Just Blah. Dealing with those items was a debacle. We had our three eligible folks roll and the highest roll one. Then we miraculously killed Rotface too. I made the executive decision to give both bloods to the same individual. It might not necessarily have been the best individual with the highest DPS or the closest to actually getting the weapon, but it made more sense for one person’s need to be complete than to split them up and have every week be a competition. It upset some people because we didn’t have a policy in place for this already. Therefore I organized a priority list that is sadly based on the squeaky wheel philosophy.

Luckily there’s only three more people who can use it. Additional PuGs will be left out because I can only handle so much drama. Once those people have them, I don’t know what to do. Have very lucky people get the bloods for free? Advertise that we’re selling them and sub in PuGs for that fight? Who knows. I’m very anti-profit. I’ve always loved that you can play the game without buying gold, spending hours doing dailies, or spending real money to advance.

Mainspec Items
Loot rules are 1 main spec piece per player. Tokens and primordial saronite count as loot. If an item is contested and you roll, that’s your loot. If it’s uncontested, I reopen the item to main spec players who have already won something. This benefits the raid as a whole. But it gets very confusing when people end up with two-three items at the end of the raid because of a limited/spec class. Resto druids, resto shaman, and holy paladins are lucky bastards. An item only goes to off spec if absolutely no one can use it. If still no one wants it, either DE it or vendor it, but move on quickly.

This policy on loot works very well for the first wing of Icecrown Citadel. But if your group clears two wings, which ours essentially did by clearing 7/12 bosses in one night…that’s…a…lot…of…loot.  All told, we gave out 26 pieces of loot including saronite, quest items, and BoE epics. That is mind-blowing for a PuG. Ideally, everyone ends up with something. But that’s not the way RNG works. A couple folks still get left out in the cold, while others are barely able to walk out the door because they are carrying so many new shinies. There is no way to balance it in a PuG.

Loot Council? Wha?

And then there’s the awkward situation that came up with Trauma. The core healers in my raid are the two discipline priests and the two shaman. We’re there every week. The holy paladin and the druid slots get rotated depending on who is available. When Trauma dropped, every healer except for the other discipline priest had won a piece of loot. He already had a ilv 264 Main Hand and Offhand. He was willing to pass to the other healers, and I rather unfairly encouraged him to do so since IMO Trauma is a bit better for a raid healer than it is for a discipline priest. Although, had he dearly wanted it, the mace would have rightfully been his and I had no right to try and discourage him from it. My apologies for interfering, and my deepest thanks for not being offended by my well-intended meddling.

The holy paladin passed and the resto druid was mysteriously quiet, but she’d already won two items. It was hard to tell what was going on because the raid was excited about a valuable item and were jeering at the healers in vent and sending joke rolls in raid chat. So it came down to the two resto shaman and one passed the mace to the very lucky other. In the end, I was very happy. I dearly wanted the mace to go to one of the shaman because they are so diligent in attending raids and are incredibly reliable.

I had mixed feelings about the whole ordeal though. We use a stricter policy for all other loot rolls. Why should the healers be any different? It really is unfair to suddenly push a passive loot council for valued drops. However, it was all voluntary. Our healers are very generous and supportive of each other. And I love it. It’s why I so frequently pass on loot myself because I know others can benefit more from a particular item.

Crushing the Attitude
The success of the night was dampened by a growing attitude problem stirring in the raid that wore me down rapidly. I need to make the effort to stop the attitude before it starts and notify my raiders that some things aren’t appropriate. Nothing breaks a raid leader faster than obnoxious attitudes.

  • If we wipe, I will make the corrections. We do not need three different voices trying to correct the mistakes.
  • Do not roll out of turn. This includes joke rolls. It makes my job harder.
  • We will roll off primordial saronite after we down the Valkyr and all combat is finished. Not before.
  • I will abide by your wishes if there is no solid policy in place for the current raid. But I reserve the right to add policies next week.
  • I will be open about my decisions and policy changes. Please respect them.
  • Do not whine if you lose a roll or your loot doesn’t drop or we don’t go after the boss you want. And don’t talk in vent about what your guild does or how you don’t care because you’re just that elite and have seen it all before.
  • When I say quiet, I mean it. Everyone is usually pretty good about this.
  • Do not go AFK if you die during a fight. And I promise to be quicker about deciding who gets battle rezzed.

Showing the Love
The silver lining to loot drama is that you are all too well-geared, killing too many bosses, and being altogether too efficient and powerful for your own good. I have to adjust policies to keep pace with our awesomeness. And I’m okay with that.

Players are people and people are human. We have good days and bad days, and we’re greedy and self-preserving by nature. But we’re capable of being nice, responsible, intelligent, coordinated, and generous. I don’t remove people from the roster just because of one bad night or an off-hand comment. And I expect my raiders to stick with the raid despite a night where things didn’t quite go their way. We’ve been doing this for a while and we’re a unique, supportive group that enjoys quite a bit of success. I hope that working together over time builds up a sense of loyalty and trust in each other.

I knew that when my loot list deleted itself, I could ask all of my raiders to whisper me the item that they won so that I could record it by hand. They did and I could trust them to be accountable.

I expect them to trust me as well. I don’t lie and I make every effort to be open and honest. I make fair, informed decisions and I am willing to listen, although I expect my decisions to be upheld. I work very diligently to provide them with a smooth raid and to be a raid leader that respects them and everything they contribute every week.

I have an excellent group that has stood beside me for months.
What more can I ask for?

  1. Sounds like you were just unprepared for your sudden success 🙂 Congratulations!

    I’d suggest handling the bloods like a single piece of loot. If you wanted, you could give priority to people who can use it, or just handle it like you would if you were giving shadow’s edge as a piece of loot. If nobody needs it anymore, give it to offspecs and sure, maybe sell it after.

    For Trauma, I’d say that a loot system is always better if you stick to it and don’t deviate. One deviation opens the way for more, even if the deviation from it makes sense. If the disc priest wanted to pass on it on their own, that’s one thing, but one loot council always seems to lead to more, even if it’s a little bit.

    All and all I say you have INFINITELY more patience than a LOT of people to run a regular pug every week in a 25 progression raid environment. You’re doing a good job. Don’t let self-doubt undermine your amazing work and stick to your guns, like you’re doing here! Great job!

    • It makes sense to handle the bloods as one piece of loot. I’m just not sure if they should count as the main spec loot or be assigned, because then we’ll have folks refusing to roll on other items in the hopes that they can get the bloods and then throwing a fit if someone else wins or we don’t get the bosses down. It’s a very weird sort of item that I haven’t encountered before.

      And yes, the discipline priest passed on his own accord because he already had ilv 264 items for both main hand and off hand. I just felt like I was a bit too enthusiastic about his decision. The remaining healers worked out Trauma on their own as well, with me going, “So what’s happening?” through most of it. It just felt a bit too much like a voluntary loot council. I mean, you never see dps saying, “Oh no, you take it.” No, you first.” “No, I insist.”

      I ❤ my healers.

      Thanks for your support! I'm glad you got to join us one week before you found your home guild to raid with.

      • Healers are by default generally a much more compassionate group 🙂 They have meters, but not in the XTREME COMPETITION sort of way, and they have a better idea of how much their own success depends on the success of their peers.

        Being enthusiastic you can’t really help. Even in cut-throat land healer chat pops up sometimes when someone isn’t sure an item is best for them. (The gloves came off for the plague scientist’s boots though)

        I wouldn’t worry too much. Even the druid’s silence isn’t something that can be helped. It says “I know the rules, and I respect them and the leadership. Even though I really *really* want it.” That’s a good indicator that what you’re doing works.

  2. Dobzahnsky permalink

    Sounds so stressful! You should take a week off sometimes and come RP with me.

    That said, it sounds like you’re doing fantastic! Congrats.

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