Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
This week's question deals with a topic that another recent addition to the WoW Insider team, Jason Lotito, has been covering in his excellent Hybrid Theory column. Of all the classes in Warcraft, I find that the true hybrids -- Druid, Shaman, and Paladin -- can cause the biggest issues when dealing with loot. Sometimes you can really find yourself in the lions' den, and in Warcraft those feral kitties have sharp claws! Here's a common problem:
I stumbled upon your column, and I'm happy to see that someone is taking the time to address guild leadership. My original guild started on Everquest, and moved to WoW when it came out. I was an officer/raid leader in that guild for eight years, then they recently split up [. . .]
I decided to pack up and start anew on another server, this time as Horde. A good chunk of players decided to follow me [. . .] So now we've leveled from 1 to 70, [ground] out our Karazhan keys, and blam-o, we're back to raiding again.
We used to use the typical earn DKP/spend DKP system, but I haven't decided to apply it in Karazhan. I figured it's a 10-man zone, and 25-man is the greater goal. So I've done with just rolling 1-100. But the other night, I had a problem that, as Alliance, I didn't have to face before.
The Beastmaw Pauldrons dropped off the "Romeo and Juliet" Opera House encounter, and the DPS shaman rolled vs. the hunter. The hunter sent me tells, very upset about the shaman rolling, mostly because if a shaman healing item drops, it'll likely rot to him, so he gets the best of both worlds. So my question is, how do I go about fairly distributing loot without a DKP system, without insulting people/causing drama?
Thanks for writing, David. With the release of the expansion, the issue of hybrids just got a whole lot more complicated for guild leaders now that both factions have all three hybrid classes. My officers and I have definitely struggled in the past with giving out loot when it comes to these classes. Like you, we don't use a DKP system for Karazhan. We didn't use a point system for Zul'Gurub or the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj either. And let me tell you, we had some explosive arguments about it.
In one particular case when we were relatively new to raiding and epics were a big deal, the Fang of Venoxis dropped. The officer that we call our "Loot Tsar" ruled that for progression purposes it would be best to give the dagger to a mage or warlock for the spell damage bonus. Another officer, who was a shaman, argued that he could use every stat on that dagger and wanted to roll for it. I was very torn on the issue. It's a great dagger for many classes, obviously. In the end, I decided to support the decision of my Loot Tsar. However, the Fang argument got pretty nasty, and it soured the relationship between those two players for a long time.
As a result, we decided we needed to confront the issue of hybrid loot head-on to avoid that kind of unpleasantness in the future. That discussion got pretty heated, but at least now it was confined to the officers' forum on our web site. It's a thorny issue: a hybrid class can theoretically benefit from virtually any item they can equip, whereas specialized classes, like David's hunter, can only use very specific types of gear. The new multiset Tier armor drops have reduced the amount of grief that loot can cause, but there are still plenty of drops that have drama written all over them.
We're not a guild who forces all hybrids to spec healing. So we have had druids and shamans of all specs. (At some point we'll probably have tanking and DPS paladins, too.) What we decided to do in the end was to ask all hybrids to declare a role: healing, tanking, melee DPS, or spell DPS. When loot dropped for that role, they could roll on it alongside the pure classes of that role. But if loot dropped for a different role, they could roll on it only if the players in that other role were passing. That compromise has worked well for us for a long time.
In the case of the Beastmaw Pauldrons, we would clearly let an Enhancement shaman roll on them. But then if, for example, the Dragon-Quake Shoulderguards dropped from the Curator (and for some reason they seem to drop for us EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.), we'd let a Holy paladin roll on them over the shaman.
Some of your members who play pure classes are never going to be happy losing a roll to a hybrid. But I think it's an easier pill to swallow if your hybrids all have clear, predefined roles to fill. And now with Blizzard's somewhat controversial Armory feature, they can go look someone up if they have any doubts about a player's spec.
Loot in Kara is a little bit more difficult because yes, that Enhancement shaman in Dave's guild is probably going to get some spell damage and/or healing gear from the zone now and then. But honestly, if your hunter or any member begrudges a hybrid class some off-spec gear that's going to be sharded otherwise, that person needs to think about how well raids would go without all the great buffs the hybrid classes provide. Not every hybrid wants to heal 24-7, and if you force players to do something they don't enjoy, you're going to lose those players to other guilds. A guild needs hybrids to survive, so let them fill the roles they want to fill. It's another issue entirely if your guild is short on healers. At some point you have to face reality and ask your hybrids if they would consider healing for the good of the guild. But if you're all set on healing, and your hybrids can keep up with the pure classes while providing their awesome buffs and utility at the same time, everybody wins -- and your hybrids will thank you for it!