Officers' Quarters: Secret farmers of the Firelands

Scott Andrews
S. Andrews|08.08.11

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Officers' Quarters: Secret farmers of the Firelands
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, available now from No Starch Press.

In the Firelands, red fire and black ash rain from the sky. Meanwhile, purple axes, scalpels, scales, mysterious apparati, and even scraps of purple parchment rain from its dying denizens. Another raid has brought with it the opportunity to kill scores of trash mobs for high-ilevel loot, much like players did in tier 11 with the Bastion of Twilight's first-room trash-athon. The purple recipes hearken back to the days of the Sunwell Plateau. Yes, trash farming has a long and illustrious history in WoW.

With such great opportunities for both loot and gold, it's hard to blame players for getting in there and farming away. WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley even wrote a guide about how to do it. But should your members ask permission before they use the guild's raid ID for such runs? This week, one guild leader found out that some members have been venturing in without telling anyone.

The basics. I run a decently good 10-man raid guild. We have a guild-master, me, a few officers, a few semi-officers, and raiders. The semi-officers are guildmembers that are very good at their class and been in the guild for a long time. You could say very valued members or maybe classleaders and they have some areas of responsibilty in the raids and guild. We often seek their advice but they dont have decision making rights like the GM and the Officers.

The background. We killed Shannox and some other bosses the first week of Firelands, and we have done so every week up to date.

We recently learned that since the first week a few of the semi-officers has been going in to the guilds Firelands instance, between raid days and farmed trash. The drops [have] been used to gear themself and their alts, but the stuff they havent had any use for, odd drops recipies, has been sold on the AH for quite alot of gold.
The problem. I dont really know how to deal with or feel about this. On one side we have the fact that the trash respawns and they dont really steal anything from anyone.

On the other side we have some other things. Why didnt they ask if this was ok? We have lots of "do and dont" in the guild, people regulary dont do stuff without asking if its ok.

It also feels very very weird that they can only do this because Shannox is dead and the first trash is gone. They cant get passed the first trash alone, so they are using the fact that other people have helped them kill stuff, so that they then can go in after and just proffit for themselfs. The guild provides food, flasks and some repairs, i kind of feel that all the stuff that drop in the guilds locked instance should benefit the guild in some way.

The questions. Am i totally in the wrong here? Can i look at this from another perspective then im doing at the moment?


Hi, Senjin. I agree that it feels a little bit shady that they didn't mention this to anyone or ask permission. That, coupled with the fact that they are selling the drops they don't want, and the whole thing doesn't sit right. So no, you're not totally in the wrong.

The issue

On one hand, they are the ones putting in the time to farm. Killing trash is a rather boring way to spend your time, and they should be rewarded for that time. Also, the guild does gain something in that their characters will have better gear and higher faction rep.

On the other hand, the way they went about doing this should not be encouraged. Otherwise, you'll have multiple groups going in there, completely unknown to you. A raid ID is a precious and fragile thing. How long until someone invites a pugger to help out, and then the pugger steals the ID? Or until one group takes it upon themselves to attempt a boss that you haven't been working on yet in the main raid, possibly taking loot away from other players? The manure will really hit the fan then.

It's the guild's ID

Thus, you need to exert some control over this situation. What I suggest is to speak to the members who have been farming the raid. Scolding them won't accomplish anything. You can express some concern about the secrecy if you feel the need. Overall, however, you should let them continue to farm the trash if they want to -- with some ground rules in place:
  1. They can never bring in people from outside the guild.
  2. They can't touch bosses.
  3. They must seek permission from an officer to go forward with such runs.
  4. Such runs must be announced to the guild so that other members who'd like to go can benefit -- provided they have the gear and experience to keep up.
That way, the enterprise will be legit, and more members can benefit from it if they want to. I'd even recommend allowing them to sell items, since those are items that would not exist if it weren't for people going out of their way to farm trash. The guild bank could actually take a cut from those sales, but it's more worthwhile to have an open farming system, in my opinion, than risk sending your players back underground with a tax on their proceeds.

Put your farming policy in writing so that it can apply to all future raids. As long as Blizzard continues to put coveted items on trash mobs, it won't be the last time it comes up!


Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to
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