In the case of last week's email, the farmers in question were saved to a raid that had already cleared Shannox and a few other bosses. If they decided to kill a boss that was still up -- let's say Alysrazor -- it's true that the boss would still be available to the rest of the guild. However, the players who killed Alysrazor would not be able to participate in the guild's kill.
Let's assume that the guild doesn't have subs for all the players who are tied to the Alysrazor kill. That means the guild can kill any of the first five bosses except the traitor dragon, but without killing Alysrazor, the guild can't spawn the bridge to Staghelm. So by killing one boss, the trash farmers effectively deprived the guild of three.
It's not something that's going to happen if you have responsible players -- the key word being if. Some players just don't think about consequences.
How likely are your players to kill a boss on impulse?
Something else that occurred to me as a possible raid-save exploit would be selling access to "easy" bosses that are placed later in a raid. Staghelm is considered by many to be a fairly simple boss, particularly on 10-man. What if one of your raiders was offered 10,000 gold for direct access to Staghelm? It's far-fetched, certainly, but it could happen.
There are plenty of players out there who are loaded with cash from years of working the auction house. They know the value of Firelands loot. They could put together a 10-man run for Staghelm, charge 6,000 per epic, and come out 2,000 gold ahead for 30 minutes of work (not to mention any Living Embers that drop). And they could probably charge a lot more. Heck, they could even charge each player a few hundred gold just for the opportunity, on top of whatever they get for the actual drops.
Or your own raiders could get it in their heads to profit this way, especially if they know that they won't be able to attend the next raid.
How would you, as an officer, feel about this?
Something else the new system enables is for a player to raid with multiple guilds throughout the course of a week. Who would do that, you ask? Well, someone who is unhappy with their current guild might use the system to try out for another guild on the server. If your guild is more progressed that week, the player could even "bribe" his or her way into another guild by providing access to later bosses.
It's a stupid thing to do, and they'd probably get caught by someone who sees them in Firelands when the guild isn't raiding. However, they could just claim to be trash farming, couldn't they? And if they down bosses with the other guild, they could just make up some personal emergency and skip your raid.
The opposite scenario is also true. They could skip your guild's first raid of the week to try out for another guild, leaving once the other guild has cleared the bosses that your guild typically clears on the first night. Then they could rejoin your second night of raiding that week with no one the wiser.
How much do you trust your players?
Most of these scenarios are unlikely. However, this is WoW. It's a big game, and someone, in some guild, has already done all of this stuff. I guarantee it.
I don't think every officer out there should worry about it. Even so, officers should be aware that these situations can happen. I ended each section with a question. Ask yourself each one and then decide for your own guild whether it's a potential concern.
If such things bother you, then you can take steps to cut down on raid-save shenanigans. Write up a policy about raid saves and what your members can and can't do with those saves. I still believe -- though many may disagree with me -- that what you earn with the guild's help doesn't just belong to you, but to the guild as a whole.
As part of that policy, you could state that a member must notify an officer of any ventures into the latest tier's raids outside of official runs. I don't think it's too much to ask of a player, especially given the hard work that officers put in to recruiting, getting people prepared for, organizing, and then most likely raid-leading those runs.
It's a matter of respect. The officers, more than anyone else, laid the groundwork to make those kills happen and thus make those saves available. So to any nonofficers reading this, I ask you to be respectful when it comes to your guild-earned raid saves.
As for the officers, if you don't care about these things, then don't sweat it. If you do, then create a policy. You can't enforce such policies night and day. However, if you catch someone doing something shady, you'll have a clear rule against it already in place to enforce as you see fit.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.