This week's e-mail describes a fairly typical loot drama situation. What makes it unique is that it involves the guild leader, who did not handle the issue very well at all, as you will see. As officers, we have to be very careful about how we handle loot for our own characters. We have to set the example for how we'd like our members to deal with loot issues. Let's look at the e-mail first. Then I'll talk about what this guild leader should have done differently.
I have written to you before regarding an attendance issue in the guild I was in. Your response was very timely and incredibly helpful -- once 3.2 hit we made raids happen a lot quicker.
Recently, we made an adventure into Ulduar. We did very well for a small guild and got up to Thorim in one night. After a few wipes, one person had to leave and was replaced with a new person. We made the decision to have the new person switch to his DPS spec and had one of our existing DPS go to a tank spec. We downed him that attempt (which was awesome). I was the Master Looter, so I opened up the chest and a Tier token dropped, along with the epic mace Legacy of Thunder. The DPS who had switched to tank was a Warrior, and the mace was a huge upgrade for him. I said in raid, "Roll for Legacy". The Warrior rolled and a Paladin, the guild master, rolled against him. The Warrior won the roll, so I gave the item to him. The GM whispered me a message along the lines of "way to do loot". I didn't think too much of his comment, and logged off for the night.
I logged back on the next day to find myself demoted from Officer rank. My question for you is: Was giving the mace to a player who had been a tank for the fight it dropped off of when they won the roll out of line and worth getting demoted for? There was a confrontation which led to my leaving the guild. I only want to know if I was wrong in giving the item to them, when our loot rules had never specified that I shouldn't have.
Thank you for any response!
It's hard for me to say whether you did the right thing or not according to your own rules, since I don't know what those rules are. You seem to think that you were following the proper procedure. Being the master looter for raids, I'm inclined to believe that you know your guild's loot rules intimately. And if my assumptions are correct, then you absolutely did the right thing and your guild leader had no right to demote you.
Even if you had messed up somehow, it hardly seems like the demotion would be a just consequence. I don't blame you for feeling bitter about the situation or for leaving your guild.
Do I think that an alt spec should get an upgrade over a main spec? No -- that's not a system I would ever recommend, even if that person were using their alt spec for the fight where the loot dropped. (I assume your GM is a tanking main and the warrior was not.)
That is not the point here, however. Whatever the rules are, the guild leader clearly signed off on said rules. If he thought it might be unfair to someone, he is the first person who could do something about it. But he seemed fine with the rules as they were, until it meant losing out on a nice drop for his own toon.
If the rules were so vague as to put you in a difficult position where priority was unclear, then the guild leader has to take the blame for that as well. In the heat of the moment is not the place to redefine loot expectations, alter rules, or discuss exceptions. The way it seems to me is that your guild leader demoted you in a fit of selfish loot rage. If anyone else had lost the roll on the mace, I doubt it would have been an issue.
This is probably the worst way he could have handled this situation and the results are dire. Now his guild has lost a valuable raider and officer. Not to mention, the members who remain have now seen that it's OK to throw a fit if you don't win a roll. So your former guild leader shouldn't be surprised to see loot drama springing up all over the place. He has set the tone. Now he has to live with it.
I'm sure the person who won the roll feels pretty uncomfortable about the whole thing now, as well, if he's still in the guild.
Everyone likes getting upgrades, even guild leaders. But we have a greater responsibility to show poise, self-control, and a fair-minded nature when confronted with a personal loot situation. We need to behave the way we want our own members to behave in similar circumstances.
Let's take a look at how this particular guild leader could have handled this situation better. When the mace dropped and you opened up the rolls to anyone, the guild leader should have known what the rules were. If he didn't know, he should have calmly asked for a clarification. (Yes, it would have been a bit embarrassing, but what he did later was far more embarrassing, in my opinion.) You would have explained why the paladin had a right to roll on the mace for his DPS spec. At that point, your guild leader should have gone along with the rule, provided you were correct about it. (Never change your own rules on the fly to benefit yourself -- that's the most blatantly selfish thing you can possibly do!)
Alternatively, the GL could have waited until after the raid to speak with you in private about why you made that decision. I applaud him for waiting till later to say something rather than cause a scene in the middle of the run. However, his sarcastic comment was not particularly helpful. In fact, it's pretty passive/aggressive -- as was his ninja demotion while you were offline.
After losing the roll, your guild leader could have had a conversation with the other officers about whether the rules are fair and effective at gearing up raiding members properly. If changes are made at this point, they need to be presented to the guild in a constructive way. The guild leader could have written something like this: "Losing the roll on the mace made me realize that our rules are not effective at gearing up our main specs to perform their best in raids. The officers felt that we needed to revisit our rolling priorities to make sure our characters are getting the gear they need to help us progress. We value players with dual specs and we want to support their flexibility. At the same time, we need to recognize that items don't benefit our raids when they aren't being used during most progression encounters."
Due to the way your guild leader behaved, the message the guild actually got from this situation was, "I will throw a fit if I don't get the loot I want, and you should, too." And that can only hurt the guild. Trust me: You're better off in a different guild.
I realize it can be disappointing to lose out on gear, but we as officers have to keep a healthy perspective. Loot is fun and can be a nice status symbol, but its primary function is to help your guild progress. Achievements like Observed will always be a better status symbol than any single drop. Help your guild first and foremost, and other good things will come as a result of that.
PS: I realize I owe everyone a column about guild currency and achievements in Cataclysm. Look for that next Monday!