PuG Loot Rules

December 23, 2008 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

One of the disadvantages to blogging from work is that my access to WoW-related sites is restricted by my company’s Internet filters.  I can’t view gaming websites, including most blogs.  Google’s feedreader allows me to keep up on my favorites, but I can’t post comments on them if they’re hosted on private domains.  (Although not, for some reason, BigRedKitty.  Whatever BRK is doing to keep his site off the corporate radar, can the rest of you kindly do as well?)

Side note: the fact that gaming sites are blocked at work is a minor inconvenience — and by minor inconvenience, I mean major pain in the ass — for a financial analyst specializing in the Hospitality and Gaming industries.  >.<  Not only am I blocked from viewing WoW sites, but I’m also unable to look at anything related to the casinos and resorts I’m supposed to be analyzing.   That’s corporate America for you, I guess …

Anyway, Matticus posted an open-ended question about PuG loot rules this afternoon that I would have liked to comment on.  Since I can’t now (and probably won’t remember when I get home tonight and start frantically cleaning in preparation for my parents’ arrival in 2 days, 3 hours and 54 minutes), I’ll just borrow it as inspiration for today’s post.

Matticus recently participated in a Naxx 25 PuG with some fairly specific loot rules —

  1. 1 Tier roll for the entire night
  2. 1 Need/1 Greed for Spider and Plague Wing combined
  3. 1 Need/1 Greed for Military and Abomination Wing combined

— and asks:

Have you participated in any heroic raids lately.  How has loot been handled?

The answer to the first question is simple: no.  With the exception of Vault of Archevon, which is impossible to schedule in advance, I don’t allow my guildmembers to PuG heroic raids unless they know they won’t be able to attend the guild raid that week.  Even then, I ask them to talk to an officer before joining a Naxx 25 or OS 25 PuG — if only to avoid setting the precedent that it’s acceptable to PuG progression content if you “think” you can’t attend the guild raid, are worried you might be wait-listed, or simply feel you have a better chance at loot via /random roll with a PuG than following EPGP with the guild.

That said, I don’t think anyone in my guild would actually prefer a PuG to a guild run.  I have tried very hard to build a community that players want to be a part of and, for the most part, I think I’ve been successful.  But some of our more casual members (those once- or twice- a month raiders who don’t meet our attendance requirements for dedicated spots) might choose to take the opportunity to PuG if it presented itself, especially if they thought they might be wait-listed from the guild raid.  Since we do save a handful of raid spots for our casuals as a matter of principle, we would be hard-pressed to raid if they all started saving themselves to PuG’s. 

So, no, I haven’t PuG’ed any heroic raids since dinging 80. 

However, as a guild leader, I am occasionally forced to look outside of /g to fill the last few spots in a raid, and am still struggling with how to deal fairly with PuG’s when it comes to loot.

As a guild, we use EPGP — a ratio-based system in which players earn Effort Points (EP) for participating in raids and recieve Gear Points (GP) for taking loot.  The ratio of EP to GP determines their priority, or PR, on future drops. 

Although it is possible to add PuG’s to our system, it isn’t practical.  PuG’s won’t earn enough EP in a single raid to meet our minimum threshold to bid on loot, and because they aren’t guilded, they aren’t likely to raid with us again.  This means that if we were to hold PuG’s to our rules, they would have virtually no chance of recieving loot.  In other words, they’d be working for nothing.

When we were one of a handful of Horde-side guilds farming Black Temple, a PuG might join our raid for nothing more than the opportunity to see new content.  Now that PuG’s are routinely attempting (and in, some cases, clearing) 25-man’s, this isn’t enough.

Under our current PuG rules, PuG’s are invited to /roll against guild members for all main-spec upgrades of the appropriate armor class. 

If the PuG wins the roll, then he or she also wins the item.  ‘Grats! 

If a guildmember wins the roll, then the item is distributed according to guild rules — not necessarily to the guildmember who won the roll, but to the guildmember with the highest PR at the time.

Most of my raiders hate this rule.  I hate this rule. 

But I think it’s fair. 

As stupidly obvious as this sounds, our goal as a raiding guild is to raid as a guild.  If we have to PuG to fill our raid roster, then we’ve already failed.  We are now indebted to the PuG or PuG’s who allow us to raid in spite of this failture. 

In my mind, then, PuG’s deserve to be rewarded — or, at least, deserve the potential to be rewarded — for their role in salvaging our raid

If we could do it without them, we would.

If we can’t, then they are well and truly needed … and that makes them as much a part of our team for the night as any guilded raider.

One of my long-time raiders complained (upon losing a T6 roll to a PuG) that it’s more lucrative to raid with us as a PuG than as a guildmember.  If a PuG wins a roll for an item, then that item is essentially “free.”  But if a guildmember wins it, then he recieves GP, which lowers his priority for future drops. 

I don’t necessarily agree.  While it can be painful to see the one drop you’ve waited three months for  looted to a PuG, it’s important to remember that the fact that the PuG is there is what allowed you to see it — and /roll for it — in the first place!  Without the PuG, the raid would  mostly likely would have been canceled.

Of course, the simple solution to not likeing the PuG rules is not to PuG in the first place.  I’ve told my guildmembers on several occasions that we aren’t supposed to like the rule.  The fact that it favors PuG’s (or is percieved to favor PuG’s) encourages accountability: if you sign up for a raid, you had better be there!  24 other people are counting on you.

The rule also incents  us to recruit appropriately.  A large part of the onus for this is on me: as as the guild leader, it is my responsibility to ensure that I have the right number of raiders — enough to fill raids consistently, but not so many that I am consistently asking would-be raiders to ride the bench. 

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done in a casual guild, with a raid roster that is likely to change from day to day, if not hour to hour — but that’s a subject for another post.

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I have a confession to make Frantically cleaning? Really?

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