My first impulse was to exclaim “Never!” in my best Scarlet O’Hara voice, while clutching at my heart with one hand and fluttering around wildly with the other. Then I remembered that I’m Undead, with half-rotted fingertips that are likely to fall off if I attempt that bit of girly frivoloty … so, nevermind.
For the record, Drotara isn’t asking “Why would you master loot that spirit trinket to your mage (over the PuG resto druid who could actually use it)?” or even “Is it ever appropriate to Need-and-run?” No, Drotara is more interested in the ethics of passing another player over for a piece of loot — especially if she actually won the roll — if you don’t feel that she “deserves” it. Maybe she died 3% into the fight and didn’t contribute at all. Maybe her performance was simply subpar. Or maybe you don’t agree that she needs an item because it isn’t optimal for her class or role.
What really made me stop and consider the question was a story Drotara shared about another player’s mother, who participated in a Vault PuG and actually won the roll for Valorous gloves — only to watch them go to another Death Knight because the raid leader decided she “sucked.”
My Mom plays a Death Knight, too. The last time I checked, she was completely decked out in spellpower plate because it looked cuter on her Blood Elf than DPS gear, and had the added benefit of “making her spells pwn more.” (Really.)
If my Mom were brave enough to PuG into a Vault run — which she isn’t; she’s listened in on enough of my siblings’ raids to be absolutely terrified of opening herself up to that kind of criticism — I suspect she’d come somewhere below the tanks and above an Affliction ‘lock her Baby Blizzard Bear on DPS. She’d try her best, and possibly even drive herself to a panic attack in the process … but the damage meters would not be kind, and I can’t imagine that the typical Black Dragonflight PuG would be either. (Sometimes, I think my server prides itself on its collective cruelty.)
What if I were the raid leader? How would I handle the situation?
As a guild leader, my reputation is extremely important to me — so on the rare occasions that I organize trade channel PuG’s, I am very careful to (1) make the loot rules clear before the first pull and (2) follow them to the letter. If this means rewarding the Death Knight who can’t DPS her way out of a netherweave bag, so be it.
When I’m handling loot in guild runs or even partial PuG’s, I do tend to be a little more subjective. In these cases, the letter of the law actually becomes secondary to its spirit.
I’m thinking specifically of an incident that occurred in a 3/4 guild, 1/4 PuG run of Serpentshrine Cavern. SSC was officially considered farm content, so we were using a simple “Need for main-spec/Greed for off-spec/Pass otherwise” rule to handle loot (with a few pre-determined exceptions, such as the Earring of Soulful Meditation and Tsunami Talisman — our primary reasons for hosting the PuG in the first place!)
We were muddling through with less than a full raid group, including a PuG tank who remains to this day the single-worst prot paladin I have ever met. “Healsforhugs” absolutely could not pick up his adds on Hydross; our feral druid ended up tanking all four, while Hugs ran around dropping Consecrates around the perimeter of the raid for … no discernable reason.
Still, the rest of us overgeared the content, and were able to brute-strength our way through it fairly easily. Hugs picked up a couple of off-spec drops uncontested, including the warrior-tanking mace off of Lurker. (We really couldn’t figure out why he wanted it, but no one else did, so … whatever. /shrug)
We eventually made it to Leotheras, who dropped a Champion token (and some other things I can’t remember, but definitely not a Tsunami Talisman). Healsforhugs asked to /roll. So did our Holy Paladin, who already had healing gloves but was looking to build a protection set in preparation for Mount Hyjal.
At that point, Hugs was in the raid simply because I didn’t have the heart to kick him. His actual contribution was negligible — perhaps even negative, since he had been directly responsible for numerous trash deaths, and we had already decided to call the raid after Leo since there was no possible way he could tank Tidewalker’s adds or anything in the Karathress fight.
Meanwhile, it was in the guild’s best interests for the Holy Paladin to have an up-to-date prot set, since our pally tank was teaching a summer course and often missed raids, which occasionally left us without a viable tank for Hyjal trash.
I explained to Healsforhugs in whispers that even though the other paladin was healing at the moment, prot would be his main spec in guild raids so I was giving them equal priority. The /roll alone would determine the winner.
The Holy Paladin won the roll, and I looted the tier token to him.
Healsforhugs threw an absolute fit. He immediately dropped the raid, hearthed to Shattrath and started denounce us in /say us as “ninjas” and “robers” … which, come to think of it, led to this rather comical moment:
[Healsforhugs]: Don’t join Elleiras’s guild! Ninjas! They just robed me!!
[Random Player #1]: You mean … they forced you into a robe?
[Random Player #2]: OMG, I would totally join a guild for a free robe! Where do I sign up?!
… I really shouldn’t make fun of poor Healsforhugs, especially since — technically — he was right. I did break my own loot rules when I accepted the Holy Paladin’s off-spec roll as if it were main-spec.
Was it justified? I think so. Healsforhugs was worse than useless, had already received several items and actually lost the roll to the Holy Paladin.
Did the guild’s reputation suffer as a result? Not at all. Healsforhugs made a fool of himself in Shattrath and I actually received a /w that night from the leader of a guild he had recently applied to, thanking me for exposing him as a loser and a creep … which I didn’t quite get, since the extent of my public response to his theatrics was a simple “/say You lost the roll to another paladin; I’m very sorry that upset you.”