Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.
The holiday season is all about giving. It's the perfect time of year to hold contests and giveaways. Doing so can be a great way to build morale in your community or attract new players. Giving gifts to your officers as a guild leader is also a heartfelt way to show appreciation for their hard work throughout the year.
However, many of the most desired items can cost a fortune in gold. For officers, manpower is often much easier to come by than raw currency. Here are eight items that make great gifts or prizes without bankrupting your gbank.
8. Discombobulator Ray
Where to get it: An engineer can learn the schematic in Gnomeregan. Wowpedia has a walkthrough. It also has a small chance (0.5%) to drop from Mekgineer Thermaplugg, the last boss of the dungeon.
What it costs: A small amount of gold for materials: bronze bars, silk and wool cloth, and jade.
Why it's a good gift: Many players don't even know this vanilla-era item exists. It has a unique and hilarious effect, and you don't have to be an engineer to use it. It's also a devastating item for low level players to unleash in PvP.
7. Fortune Cookies or Mysterious Fortune Cards
Where to get them: A scribe with at least 450 skill is required for the cards. The recipe is taught by inscription trainers. You'll need a cooking skill of 525 to make the cookies, along with 5 cooking awards from the city cooking dailies to purchase the recipe.
What they cost: For the cards, Blackfallow Ink -- from milling Cataclysm-era herbs -- and parchment. Combine a card with flour for the more festive cookie version.
Why they're good gifts: You always win some cash from these items, up to the 5000 gold jackpot.
6. Transmog-worthy BOEs
Where to get them: Bosses, professions, world drops, you name it.
What they cost: Time to farm or mats to make -- obviously it varies from item to item. Some examples:
- Hope Ender is a 16% drop from Doom Lord Kazzak.
- Fiery Beholder Eye is a 22% drop from the rare Collidus the Warp-Watcher in Shadowmoon Valley.
- Cindercloth Vest can be made from cheap vanilla mats. The recipe is a very rare drop, but one tailor in your guild may already know it.
5. Pets from older raids or reputations
Where to get them: Farm old raids such as Molten Core, Naxxramas, or Serpentshrine Cavern, where pets have been retroactively added to the loot tables. Also, you can ask around to see if anyone in the guild has a character that is exalted with Sporeggar, the Sha'tari Skyguard, or the Kalu'ak. Each faction has a pet that can be caged and given away.
What they cost: Time to farm the raid pets, if you don't want to shell out top price for them. The Kalu'ak ask for 12 gold for Pengu and the Sha'tari want 40 for Nether Ray Fry. The Sporeggar have a fungus-based economy, so you have to farm 30 Glowcaps in Zangarmarsh for each Tiny Sporebat.
Why they're good gifts: These pets can be tough to obtain for the average player, especially players who don't have time to farm or are new to WoW.
4. Royal Satchel
Where to get it: Crafting these bags requires a tailor with 600 skill and exalted rep with the August Celestials.
What it costs: 12 daily cooldowns to make Imperial Silk, which requires a total of 480 Windwool Cloth. You can also use 3 Spirits of Harmony to skip the cooldown. The cloth is generally cheap, and people often loot it faster than they can auction it (if they even bother to). Asking for cloth donations should result in piles of the stuff. After that, it just takes a few guildmates who are willing to use their cooldowns.
Why it's a good gift: At 28 slots, Royal Satchels are the biggest bags in the game. Because of the cooldown restrictions, they sell for upwards of 5000 gold on the AH. Many players don't have them yet, and everyone can always use more bag space.
3. Orb of Deception
Where to get it: This trinket is a world drop from vanilla mobs. According to Wowhead, it has the highest chance to drop from original Nefarian, original Ragnaros, and the rare ogre Skarr the Broken in Feralas. All are around 1%. While farming for this, you might also get a Six Demon Bag. This trinket is no longer remotely relevant, but it still has a neat graphical effect on use, and it's BOE.
What it costs: Time and luck, and lots of both. However, the more guildmates you have farming for it, the less of either you need. You could also possibly buy one from the AH every now and then, but be prepared to fork over a large sum of gold.
Why it's a good gift: It's the only item in the game with this ability. It's great for roleplaying, infiltration, or just confusing the heck out of people.
2. Fully leveled battle pets
Where to get them: Take a level 1 battle pet and grind that little dude up to max.
What they cost: You can buy max level pets on the AH, but players will charge a premium for them. It's much cheaper to ask guildmates to level them -- just be sure to give them plenty of notice prior to your event.
Why they're good gifts: The biggest obstacle for players to get into pet battles is the daunting task of leveling those first pets to max. Once you have at least one max level pet, it's a lot easier to level others. A good choice for a prize is the Terrible Turnip. His Weakening Blow ability is perfect for capturing pets without accidentally killing them.
1. Sky Golem
Where to get it: You'll need at least one engineer and one alchemist with maxed out skill. The schematic calls for 30 daily engineering cooldowns to make 30 Jard's Peculiar Energy Source. The Jard's schematic is a world drop from Pandaria for engineers. On top of that, building this shredder of the heavens requires 30 alchemy cooldowns to make 30 Living Steel bars. You can also skip alchemy cooldowns and use less trillium by substituting Spirits of Harmony.
What it costs: Nothing, if you rely on your guildmates to help. Unlike the choppers or the panther mounts, the Sky Golem doesn't require you to buy insanely costed vendor-only items. Sure, you can buy some of the raw materials if you want to, but the personnel resources of a guild can provide huge cost savings. After all, like the Royal Satchel, much of the AH price of the Sky Golem comes from the month's worth of daily cooldowns. The Golem requires that month from not one, but two different professions. For a lone player, that's a lot of cooldowns and a lot of ore farming. For a guild, you can spread the Living Steel cooldowns across multiple alchemists. Plus, all the guild's miners can help to gather the raw materials, and alchemists can pitch in by transmuting Trillium Bars. (Unfortunately, the Jard's Energy Sources are BOP, so only one engineer can contribute cooldowns per Golem.) Making a Sky Golem on the cheap will require the effort of many guildmates, but it can be done!
Why it's a good gift: It's a goblin shredder with jet engines. It picks herb without dismounting you. It's probably the best giveaway that a guild can currently offer without costing a fortune. If you want to get your guild noticed on your realm, giving away a Sky Golem prize can help you do just that.
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to email@example.com.