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Officers' Quarters: Policy and practice

Scott Andrews

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

With the release of Icecrown Citadel in Patch 3.3 on Tuesday, it seemed like a good time to talk about loot policy. Everyone's going to be drooling over the upgrades in there, especially some of the unique items like Deathbringer's Will, and loot assignments may become heated affairs. This week's e-mail highlights an issue that could come up in your guild -- and why you should think twice before you let it happen. (FYI, to explain why he's talking about Ulduar loot, the e-mail was sent to me in October, and I responded to it then.)

I am an officer in a guild where our loot rules until recently seemed fair to me but now I am not so sure. I have been raiding with my guild for almost a year as part of the first team and the way our loot rules work is main spec then off spec NEED rolls, if no one needs, it gets D/E. You get 1 epic and 1 tier per run unless there is no one else who can use the item or every 1 that qualifies for the item has already won something in which case you get to roll again.

This system has always seemed fair to me even though I don't always win the item I want. In fact I haven't won a single upgrade since July. Where as other team members seem to keep getting better and better geared and I am getting left behind. There is a DK in our team who has out-rolled me 4 times for weapon upgrades. His weapon keeps getting better and better and mine just stays where it is.

Where I was once number 10 best geared in my guild now I am in the 20's because of this kind of situation. Recently a DPS Sword dropped for an Ulduar hard mode boss, I actually got the higher roll and it was given to the tank under the excuse that it would help the over all guild to give it to the tank to improve their threat. The Tank is already one of the best 10 geared members in guild atm, this sword would have been a huge upgrade for me and as part of the core raiding team I don't see how it wouldn't help if my DPS improved. I'm so frustrated I have considered leaving the guild, perhaps even the server. Should I bring this up to the GM, perhaps request our loot rules get looked at or am I just overreacting?

I feel your pain. My guild uses a similar rolling system. Ideally, everything works out in the end, but sometimes it doesn't. I've been stuck with the same sword, perhaps the one you were rolling for (Aesir's Edge), since the summer. I lost every single roll on a two-handed weapon upgrade in the Coliseum and Onyxia's Lair.

Then, the day 3.3 came out, one of my officers, who already had a better weapon than me (Dual-Blade Butcher), outrolled me on the Battered Hilt during our first Pit of Saron run. The next day, Bryntroll the Bone Arbiter dropped from Marrowgar. Guess who won it?

Yes, I was frustrated. But, the thing is, you can't get mad at people for outrolling you. It's all luck, and sometimes luck is fickle. Both of those weapons were upgrades for my officer at the time and he had the same right to roll as I did. Besides, he's a great player and he stepped up when I was asking for help with the guild earlier in the year, so I'm happy for him. I'll have more chances to win these weapons later.

You can't blame the player. You can only blame the policy. And since my officers and I instituted that policy, if I should be mad at anyone, it's me!

The worst thing I could have done in that situation was what the officers in the e-mail did. They let players roll for the weapon. Then, because they didn't like the outcome, they overruled their own policy. Essentially, they changed their system from need rolls to loot council and awarded the weapon to the tank. So the policy says to award the item in a certain way, but, in practice, the officers are just doing what they want.

The effect this decision had was quite negative. One of their own officers is now considering a gquit or even a server transfer. And I can't really blame you, Anonymous Reader, for feeling that way.

For a raiding guild, your loot system is your most important policy. Your members must have absolute faith in it. They put in personal effort, gold, and time to raid with your guild. If they can't depend on the rules that dictate who gets which item, they won't want to raid with you.

Fortunately, you as an officer can do something about this. You should speak to your fellow officers and your guild leader about this situation. Approach them in a private forum or channel that members can't see.

Don't allow your emotions to undermine your points. Don't get angry or pass blame. Just express your concerns about the policy and how it will be carried out in the future. It burned you personally, but you can't be the only member with these concerns. If they pulled the same stunt on other members, I wouldn't be surprised if they were also considering a gquit, assuming they haven't already.

If they want to allow for special circumstances like the one you describe, that's OK -- except that those special circumstances should be outlined in the official loot rules and there must be some degree of accountability for the officers. The new rule can't be "The officers can override any roll they want to." It has to be more objective than that. However, they can still account for pressing guild needs to help progression if they feel it's necessary. They just need to explain to the guild how they will do so and make it official, so no one is surprised.

In other words, if they want to change their practice of assigning loot, they need to amend their loot policy to reflect that. Policy and practice must be the same.


Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!

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