OMG, ninja!

February 10, 2009 at 5:46 pm 16 comments

scarlett-ohara1Drotara of Less QQ, More PewPew posed an interesting question: When would you become a ninja?  

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.”


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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Asara  |  February 10, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    I think that what you did was right. Just because a hybrid player is filling a role for one raid, does not mean that is their main spec. If their main raiding spec is prot, then they get main spec priority on tank gear. I would not contest this. Had your guild pally been truly Holy though, with no intention of being prot, that would have caused a kerfuffle. Not to mention you warned him, and he had a chance to protest beforehand if he was that worried about it.

  • 2. Elleiras  |  February 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    His main raiding spec was Holy, but he was collecting a Prot set so he could switch to tanking for Hyjal. If Healsforhugs hadn’t been a complete disaster, I probably would have given him the gloves uncontested. But since he was worse than useless, I used loopholes in our rules to justify letting the Headlin roll with equal priority. It was definitely not the “lawful” call, but I think it was somewhat justified … even if I kind of, sort of deserved the verbal lashing I got in Shattrath afterwards. >.>

  • 3. Crucifer  |  February 10, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    I think you were fair with Hugsforheals in that you didn’t kick him as soon as you realised he was completely useless. After that, any kind of loot that he got was simply an unsubstantiated bonus for him.

    I, like your mother, was equally nervous of raids and famously was once taken through SSC by my very friendly guild. As the only (supposedly) feral druid, I was able to get the Wildfury Staff from a trash mob but my contribution was around 1%. I was simply outgeared and outskilled but since I had an amazing rapport with the guildies, they helped me through. I didn’t complain once as loot was parcelled out to more needful folk.

  • 4. Elleiras  |  February 11, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    That sounds like a great introduction to raiding! And an oddly familiar one. If I remember correctly, my guild’s cat druid won that staff off of a trash mob in his very first raid, too! 🙂

    Come to think of it, I actually took my Mom (who was a warlock at the time) along with us on that SSC run. I’d forgotten all about it until now. She couldn’t kill her inner demon during the Leotheras fight and thought the raid killed her as punishment afterwards, lol.

    Leo actually dropped a Fang of the Leviathan for her that run. One of our paladins (my little sister’s boyfriend) was tempted to roll on it, until he realized that Mom wanted it … then he backed off so as not to upset the “mother-in-law.” =D

  • 5. Rohan  |  February 11, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    What you did was wrong. You chose to ignore your own stated loot rules, just because you felt that this player did not “deserve” the loot, and because you could give your guildie an advantage.

    In my view, you’re just as bad as the raid leader in Drotara’s story. You just lucked out in protecting your reputation because the other party was unsympathetic.

  • 6. Keaton  |  February 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Where is the line then Rohan? Would the moral high ground have been to remove him from the raid after his poor performance on Hydross? Or would it have been to shard the weapon he was interested in that was unsuitable for his class?

    I think there is a little more gray area here than you’re willing to admit. Especially given that he simply rolled a lower number than the other paladin.

  • 7. Elleiras  |  February 11, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    “You chose to ignore your own stated loot rules, just because you felt that this player did not “deserve” the loot, and because you could give your guildie an advantage.”

    Yes, I admitted as much in my post. I didn’t say that the decision was “right,” but I do feel it was at least somewhat justified. Healsforhugs had already won several items, including one he claimed was main-spec for a tanking paladin. (Keep in mind that this was pre-3.0, when paladin tanks wanted spell damage weapons; the mace in question was clearly itemized for warriors.) Also, it’s not as if I overrode a roll; I simply allowed another paladin to roll against him, in spite of the fact that I knew the Healadin intended to trade the token in for tanking gloves.

    I realize at the end of the day, these are justifications for my decision rather than reasons for it.

    In hindsight, I should have (1) made it clear from the beginning that the Holy paladin was gearing for Prot, and (2) simply removed Healsforhugs from the raid when it became apparent that he couldn’t perform.

    For the record, I don’t necessarily think that the raid leader in Drotara’s story was “bad.” I sympathize with the Death Knight because I can’t help but identify her with -my- mother … but I suspect that if I had been the DK who topped damage after she died in the first AoE out of sheer ineptitude, I would have been a little irked to lose the roll, too. >.>

    (I’m not saying that’s what happened in this particular situation, but we’ve all been in a similar one, I’m sure.)

    Either way, thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • 8. Kinzlayer  |  February 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I’m with Rohan’s first part on this one… regardless of whether if the guy (Hugsforheals) was an underperformer or not, the fact that he is in raid and in some form or another work for the kill he gets to roll on the loot. So the statement that he was an underperformer is nothing but trying to justify your action which kind of mean you think (on some level) that you didn’t do the right thing.

    Now, I don’t believe that a toon’s current spec is their main spec, so I would let the healadin roll as well but then I would have made that clear up front. Especially with dual spec, whenever it will actually go live, we will have this issue pop up all the times.

  • 9. Elleiras  |  February 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    @Kinzlayer – That’s perceptive.

    You’re right. I don’t think I did the right thing … but I also don’t think I did the wrong thing, either. :S I think I screwed up at the beginning of the raid by not announcing that the holy paladin was interested in gearing for prot. I also think that if the tank had been capable of performing his role, then I would have been more inclined to tell the guilded paladin that he couldn’t roll on the tier token since he already had T5 healing gloves.

    It was one of those decisions I made on the 100% on the fly. There was no malice in it: I wasn’t -trying- to screw the hapless tank out of gear, but I also didn’t think it was fair to tell the healer who was working his tail off to keep the raid alive (when the tank was doing his level best to kill it) that he couldn’t roll on the one thing in the instance he expressed an interest in.

    It’s hard to analyze six months after the fact, when many of the details have faded from memory, but — you’re right. It’s the fact that I *might* have decided differently had the paladin been more competent that made me link this situation to the one Drotara described, and start to reconsider the ethics of the situation.

  • 10. Rohan  |  February 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I would have given him a fair shot at Hydross loot, in accordance with the stated loot rules, and then removed him from the raid.

    There is no grey area at all.

  • 11. Elleiras  |  February 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    On paper, yes, absolutely! I should have removed him from the raid, thereby preventing numerous trash deaths between Lurker and Leotheras and avoiding the messy loot drama two bosses later.

    … in practice, how do you remove someone from a raid without completely humiliating them? :S It seems more callous to do that than to “boost” them through content, toss them a few upgrades and then ask that they roll against a guild member on a tier token.

    I don’t know. Maybe I *was* wrong to allow the holy paladin to roll — but I just can’t see the issue as a completely black and white, either.

  • 12. Tessy  |  February 12, 2009 at 6:53 am

    It’s always easy to have firm views on how to behave in a given situation until you find yourself in said situation.

    I wasn’t there so it would be easy for me to say I would have gone by the main spec rules.

    In reality, who knows?

    I doubt I would have let the prot pally’s poor performance influence my decision but I might have done what you did, explain to him why I would let the healing paladin roll for the gloves as well and let the roll decide who would get them. Especially since the prot had gotten some drops already (even if they were offspec).

  • 13. Rohan  |  February 12, 2009 at 11:51 am

    It’s always easy to have firm views on how to behave in a given situation until you find yourself in said situation.

    Is Loot Changing Me?

    My old guild was in a situation like that. We held to the stated loot rules, even though it cost me my Tier 2 leggings. Not even an offspec item, but something I would have worn in my primary set.

  • 14. Kinzlayer  |  February 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    “… in practice, how do you remove someone from a raid without completely humiliating them?”

    I would whisper them, state the fact that they having been underperforming as well as causing trash wipe, thus it is time for them to go. I would not make it a raid wide discussion and so keep them from being humiliated. Maybe it’s the fact that I “grew” up on a harsh server but I try to live by Ferraro’s word.

  • 15. crhodan  |  February 15, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Two anecdotes I’d like to share

    Firstly, on the point of underperfoming players in a raid, its a lot easier to kick them from the group if theyre a pug, but how do you tell a guild mate theyre not good enough for this particular instance? Recently, my guild started doing 10 man EoE, and struggled to get to phase 3 with enough time left (we usually only had about 1 minute left on enrage) and so replaced a healer with another dps (healer had to leave anyway and this still left us with 2 good healers) but we had a boomkin druid doing a mere 700 dps (when the next lowest was 1400, and then 1800 above that), however he was a guildie and no one had the heart to ask him to leave. As it was, we all had fun although not getting maly to less than 30%, and replacing the druid wouldnt have been enough, but its still an issue for any further attempts if this druid wants to come again (as a precedent has now been set).

    Also, on your point on Main Spec/Off Spec, our guild’s MT is a paladin and has collected a very good dps and very good healing set and is well versed in both specs. Because we have 3-4 well geared tanks in our guild, he quite often runs in a different spec depending on what we might be low on despite being our accepted main tank for new progression. So what is his main spec? Is it the spec he’s currently in depsite being the main tank? What if he doesnt actually need any of the gear in the instance for his tanking gear, but does for healing set and hes healing at the time? All sorts of interesting questions come up with different specs

  • 16. Keaton specs | Grimeycoalition  |  May 30, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    […] OMG, ninja! « Fel Fire6. Keaton | February 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm … What if he doesnt actually need any of the gear in the instance for his tanking gear, but does for healing set and hes healing at the time? All sorts of interesting questions come up with different specs… […]


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