WoW Rookie: Sharding etiquette

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WoW Rookie: Sharding etiquette
New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic, and be sure to visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's.

UPDATE: Most groups use the automatic Disenchant option available in the loot roll box as of Patch 3.3.

This week, we're going to help you understand a practice that varies wildly from group to group, server to server and even expansion to expansion. "In the past few months, I've run into a situation with people who are (or who I think are) new players who happen to be 80," reader Sarabande writes to WoW Rookie. "To them, the idea of DEing BoP items for shards is completely alien (and to at least one, he just rolled greed on everything 'just to see if he could get it')."

Should your group roll for unwanted or unneeded drops when an enchanter is on hand to disenchant them? What's accepted in one situation might be scorned in another. Because there's no single way to handle the situation, it's important for new players to be aware of the options. It's also important to understand the reasons why players feel so strongly one way or another about this issue. Because there's no single "correct" method, the savvy player respects the group consensus.

Disenchanting is the process of breaking down (yes, we mean "destroying") armor or weapons of uncommon (green), rare (blue) or epic (purple) quality into magical elements (crystals, shards, essences and dusts), which can then be used to enchant other gear. Also known as DEing and sharding, disenchanting is the primary means of "gathering" or "creating" materials for enchanting (an important point that explains why enchanters sometimes get touchy about their "rights" to loot drops for sharding.)

When a drop is not an upgrade ("need") for any given player, it's considered a "greed" roll. If there's an enchanter in the group, he or she may volunteer to DE the unneeded loot. The value of the enchanting component often outstrips the value of the original drop, either to a vendor or through the Auction House. This is especially true for unused BoP items, which always end up getting sold to a vendor.

At this point, we'd like to direct your attention to a recent Insider Trader column, Who keeps the shards?. Go on, click on over and read it, then come back. We'll wait right here.

Got a little better handle on the matter? Hang on, class, we have one more assigned reading for today: Are disenchanters getting robbed by rolls?

"Up until recently, all I had to do was say 'Do you want me to DE?' and it was understood and accepted that we would roll for shards at the end -- at least for those who did not get a BoP upgrade," writes Sarabande. "But lately, just asking that is not sufficient."

The WoW Rookie solution: Speak up and lock down a looting procedure before your group gets under way. "How are we handling shards, guys? Can anyone here DE?" keeps it above-board, friendly and clear.

Points to consider:
  • Is everyone in the group willing to let the enchanter keep any loot that's not Needed?
  • If you have an enchanter willing to shard drops for randoming, will you roll and distribute shards at the end of the run or after every drop?
  • Will you be sharding all un-Needed drops or only BoPs?
  • What if someone leaves early?
  • Is there an enchanter in the group who still need mats for leveling or buying high-end Enchanting recipes (some require shards for purchase)?
Once the group has made a decision:
  • If your group decides to shard and distribute, press Pass (the "X" at the top right-hand corner of the loot roll box) on any drops you're not rolling Need for.
  • Don't be a jerk about "outing" enchanters who prefer to take their chances with a Greed roll and DE their own wins afterwards. They've undoubtedly lived through their share of DEing controversies. Put the Armory down, boy, and give them their peace.
  • If your group has decided to distribute shards at the end of a run, don't forget to stick around!
Remember, the only hard-and-fast rule when it comes to sharding drops in a group is to communicate and decide as a group how to handle things before the run begins. Have fun!

WoW Rookie walks you through all sort of new-player concerns, from game lingo for the beginner to joining your first guild as a mid-level player and on to what to do when you finally hit level 80. Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's.
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