How To Win Epics And Influence People

Admit it. You like loot as much as I do. Maybe you oggle over stats on a new shiny with a calculator and spreadsheet at hand. Perhaps you spend a minute twirling your character around in the dressing room to see how a new item fits.

Whatever the case, you get that fuzzy feeling when you crouch over the still-sizzling and now gently glittering bit of the boss’ corpse and see that it’s dropped something for you.

But should you roll?

Minding your manners with loot is a basic expectation amongst WoW players in any group; organised, guild, PUG or otherwise for 5-25 mans. “Doin’ it rong” with loot could mean dire consequences for you. You could be laughed at, shunned by the community, or end up with your characters running around in eye-peelingly bright colours.

Doing it right, though, could mean that you get the loot you need and that people will consider you trustworthy. I don’t just mean regarding loot. Being sound of mind with loot etiquette is considered a signal that you are generally sound. Loot etiquette is about everyone getting the purples they want without unpleasant hold-ups. So if “your shinies or your life” doesn’t go down well, what is the right way?

I’m going to start off with some basic guidelines and then discuss a few of the finer points regarding loot. A lot of this column might seem like basic stuff to you if you’re a hardcore raider but it’s crucial stuff others have asked me to explain – and who knows, perhaps there’s something in it for everyone.

Either way it’s all subjective stuff and I expect – nay, demand, as any good highwayowl should – that it might inspire a healthy debate about how you expect others to mind their loot manners. But first hold your horses, on to the guidelines;

You should roll on an epic drop if:

  1. It’s a direct upgrade for your main spec. Sidenote: don’t feel guilty about rolling! A DK in my guild always used to feel guilty for rolling as though he hadn’t earned it. That’s tripe. You’ve as much right to roll as anyone else, especially if you’ve given it your all, no matter how little or large the meters ‘think’ that is.
  2. It’s a direct upgrade for your off-spec or a minor side-grade for your main spec if no-one else needs it as in point #1
  3. It’s a quest or seasonal item which you can reasonably assume that if people need it in order to complete their quest/achievement, they will roll. I’m thinking of things like Green Winter Hat. Frozen orbs also come under this category in random PUGs, these days

You should not roll on an epic drop if:

  1. It’s a BoE and you’re needing it for cash without asking/having a group consensus on doing this. I was in a PUG last week for which Avool’s Sword of Jin dropped from the first trash pack. Everyone greeded except the DPS warrior. When pressed by the rest of the group he said he needed it for his off spec. We asked him to equip it and he admitted he was needing it for his flying mount costs. This makes him a ninja, a liar and simply rude as he didn’t apologise at all – all in one. Don’t be that guy.
  2. The item doesn’t have your exact stats and other people need kit with those stats. The obvious case in point here is if you’re a priestie healer and you roll on something with hit on it when there are cloth DPSers in the group. They won’t thank you for taking their epix, and you’ll likely replace it with better itemized pieces quickly anyway.
  3. You’re rolling against someone you run with weekly and it’s orders of magnitude a greater upgrade for him than for you. Take this one with a pinch of salt. It depends on your own opinion, your interpretation of your stats and on how nice you’re feeling, frankly. Passing on a bit of kit for someone else occasionally (don’t do it all the time) can be a kind act and can win you a friend for life (or at least a fortnight) and upgrading Clarence’s iLevel 200 shoes might just benefit the whole group.
  4. Thanks to Phaythe for this oneStat sticks. That is, if it’s a bow or gun and it’s an upgrade for a hunter, melee DPS shouldn’t roll on it. It’s not as much an upgrade for you as for the hunter whose ranged weapon provides a large amount of his DPS. Likewise, hunters shouldn’t roll on melee weapons if meleers need them, for the same reason.

Basic principles that those are, they’re still shrouded by a grey miasma. For example, no basic etiquette list is going to help you if you haven’t got some grip on your class. You do need to know which stats are useful for your class and spec, to stop you getting laughed or nerd-raged at for rolling on tank loot as a fury warrior because it’s purple and you’re in greens, and that’s all you know.

But I’m no theorycrafter, I hear you cry. ” That’s fine. It is essential that you have a basic grasp of your stats but you don’t need any more than that if you don’t want to confuse yourself for whatever reason. Perhaps you’re a fresh 80 wanting to take it slow, just not a stat-interested person, perhaps you’re new to the class, or just get confused with amounts of stats – whatever the reason, step one is to remember that it’s ok to only have a basic grasp; you don’t need to be a human WoW stat splicer if you don’t want to be. Just get as far into stats as you’re comfortable with.

Step 2 in this case is to be proactive. Get that basic knowledge of your stats. There are websites out there with information for all classes and specs, and a lot of those sites have people who are genuinely helpful if you ask questions. You could also use sandbox websites like Warcrafter, customizeable stat-weighting addons like Pawn or programs like Rawr in advance and when loot drops so you know what items and stats to look for.

Likewise, you could also find friends or helpful players who can answer questions like “do I need more hit” or “is Hersir’s Greatspear better than Twin’s Pact for me?”

And yes, players should be willing to help. They should know it’s entirely possible that players can gear up in Heroics and then hit raids with gaps in their knowledge. I have, as a new bear tank who geared up purely in Heroics and is starting to raid from a bear’s furry perspective – looking straight at ICC loot. The end-game raids *are* the training grounds in WotLK.

If all else fails and the roll-timer is running low (it’s not that long if you’re agonizing over rolling) then you could always ask in raid chat whether it’s ok that you need X too. If the other rollers are nice and considerate they’ll either say “sure go ahead” or “no, because ABC good reason, for you”. An answer like “omg no feck off its mine noob” is a sure reason that they are only in it for themselves and you should probably roll.

You could also look at min-maxing if you do have a grasp of stats and you want to wring more out of your items. In order to avoid mis-looting in this case you’ll need an even clearer grasp on your class; which stats are useful and until which point (for example, soft crit cap if you’re a holy priest), how much to stack some stats while safely ignoring others. You’ll also need to keep updated with hotfixes and theorycrafting trends – and it’ll behoof you to be flexible if the theorycrafters turn a long-held cornerstone of your class on its head.

This is a real beartrap (or owl, or… you get the idea) as regards etiquette. If your stat requirements change due to min-maxing or trying new set ups, it might make you appear inconsistent or dopey – at best – when rolling for loot. At worst, it might make you seem plain weird or rude, because you might be rolling on things you weren’t interested in last week or items which other people think aren’t exactly suited to you.

I wasn’t kidding when I said loot etiquette was subjective. In this case the best method is probably to say “I want to roll on this because I’m over the soft crit cap and need some haste”; sounding reasonable is going to be more acceptable and trustworthy than, say, swearing and disappearing in a homely blue beam.

There is another form of min-maxing specifically related to PUGs vs. guild runs. I think of it as the loyalty <-> selfishness temptation. Say you’re in a PUG run and a piece of loot drops which is a side-grade for your character. Or maybe you think the item might be useful in one or two progression encounters; in reality it’d likely never see the light of day out of your backpack. It so happens that it’s also a huge upgrade for some of the other healers in your PUG. Do you roll on it because 6 extra haste might give you an edge in your guild’s progression night? Guild comes first, right? Every little helps?

Yes. So does it for the other healers in your PUG. They want to give their guild’s runs an edge, too, and they want to progress their character. In this case the etiquette really is personal preference. I’d say if it’s not that much benefit to you then be nice – it’ll make that healer’s day and may gain you another healer’s loyalty.

In any case, if the drops are perfectly stat’ed for your spec and it is an upgrade then you should roll, right?


The only thing is – you’re a mail wearer, and the drop’s cloth. This is a frequent event for my resto shaman. I’m currently wearing two pieces of cloth from badges – but useful (and indeed on the BiS list for me) raid-drop cloth? Those I won’t get for a long time because there are clothies in my group. I wouldn’t even consider rolling against them. Generally you’ll be looked at askance and have some trust-points taken off if you ask to roll on loot that’s not your armour proficiency. It’s Bad Manners.

This is all particularly relevant when there are no loot systems in place. To a certain extent loot systems remove the need for etiquette towards other players, as they give you an incentive to wait for the thing you really need. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be nice, considerate, and win some friends with (or without) a set loot system like DKP or Suicide Kings.


What do you think? Are loot manners the stuff of life or of forgotten legend for WoW? Do you have problems with etiquette because you don’t know what to roll on and don’t feel you can admit it? Do you think loot systems are much safer? Are there any other grey areas that irk you regarding loot?

This is a post by Mimetir, a druid of a raidleader on The Venture Co. (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

Article images originally by Migraine Chick and unforth @ Flickr

16 thoughts on “How To Win Epics And Influence People”

  1. Thank you, this is very good information!

    My biggest issue is with the BoEs. I’ve been in PUG raids where a BoE dropped and everyone “needs” it because it is BoE. And when I point out that someone actually wants to use it as an upgrade, I get silenced by the raid because it’s BoE so it’s open for the general public. I shut up because it seemed I was outvoted 9-to-1, but… it always bugged me.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Two Paladins and a Warlock. =-.

  2. Good article! I hate when people forget common courtesy with loot. Another good rule to follow is the stat stick versus weapon rule. Clearly this comes into play most often with Hunters and Melee DPS. For melee DPSers, a bow or gun is just a stat stick, but for Hunters they are a weapon and can mean a marked increase in DPS. Melee DPSers should never roll against a Hunter for a ranged weapon.

    By the same token, Hunters have many melee weapons they can choose from to get stats, but that two or one hander might be one of just a few options for a melee DPSer and upgrading your weapon(s) is one of the best ways to increase DPS. I’ll never forget when a Hunter outbid the melee DPSers for the second Betrayer that dropped for my old guild back in Naxx. It made me sick to my stomach (and I didn’t play a class that could use it either)… I would’ve never allowed the Hunter to have it over a melee DPSer if I was handing out that loot.

  3. I’ve run with ten man groups both using the genial “roll first for mainspec, offspec,” etc. rules and a more organized Suicide Kings system. I’ve seen very little incidence of loot drama – the only time we had it was when one person had the idea that they deserved something MORE than another person (because of performance, whatever).

    In my current guild I like our lack of a system because more often than not it’s “No you take,” “Oh no, it’s better for you, you should take it.” Loot really is what enables us to get the job done, and not something we fight about or begrudge other raiders. Even in pugs, I’d say I’ve met more people who are considerate than not!
    .-= Vidyala´s last blog ..Identity Crises =-.

  4. The logic on BoE drops is difficult. Ultimately I think Bliz should only offer a single roll (equivalent to ‘everyone rolls need’) for BoE items. Even if I can’t use that sword, I can sell it and use the gold to buy crafted bracers that are an upgrade. Gold is fungible, and to some extent everyone needs it. (And if you’re that rich, you can always pass out of generosity.)

    These kinds of things only become drama when someone sneaks in a “Need’ roll like in Mim’s example. Remove the Need/Greed options (only for BoE items, of course) and the drama goes away.

  5. I agree with alamein that the need/greed needs to be changed on BoE’s.
    The new Need before greed dungeon finder system with respect to these things is really frustrating as it promotes ninjas.

    I’d normally rather the item go to someone for main spec usage then be sold. Provided its a decent upgrade. But people probably need the gold as much as others need the item.

  6. I agree. I think that etiquette is hard to reward in today’s pugging loot system. It is more rare than not that we find calm resolution to wanted loot. I mean how many 13 year olds can you explain why they shouldn’t behave in a ninja kind of way? They don’t care. They are rewarded with instant loot.

    In our guild, our GM is very gracious and will hardly ever take an item if it can be used by a guildie. I have told him before how important it is for him to take the gear just as much as anyone. But he is still so fatherly and passes it on to others. I think both extremes need to be met in the middle.

  7. Instant gratification is right, and these kids have no foresight at all.

    For example, I was healing a pug group through Heroic Pit of Saron the other day.
    Ick’s Rotting Thumb drops and the tank says, “Finally!”
    He rolls need and should have received the item, making our journey to Scourgelord Tyrannus even easier.
    But, of course, a dps death knight decides he wants it for his off-set and rolls Need.
    The RNG gods side with the dps and the tank quits, leaving the rest of us to wait until a new tank can be found.
    .-= timejumper´s last blog ..Back in the Saddle =-.

  8. @Phaythe – stat stick vs. weapon is a very good rule. I might just add that in to the list, with thanks to you, if you don’t mind.

    @Vidyala – it sounds like your current guild runs quite like we do, 10 man-wise. We have a ‘loot per boss’ policy, but most of our raiders are happy to pass if they think it’s more beneficial for someone else. i think you’re right – it helps us get through the encounters. Everyone seems to have geared up at a similar rate so we’ve ended up with a rounded group.

    @Euripedes – nicely done 🙂

    @Lychordia – you’re right, it’s about striking the balance both personally and in a group situation. Being fair to everyone, including yourself, benefits everyone – including yourself.

    If you’re used to passing for other people then actually taking items occasionally will help your gameplay compliment others’, and if you’re used to taking all you can get/ninja’ing – well, doing that a bit less will get you a better reputation and might actually have people responding positively.

    @Limejumper – interesting story. I’ve heard people say recently that you should go into PUGs (patricularly for the newer 5 mans) in your main spec and just need on items you need for either spec be that the one you’re playing or not, because otherwise you’ll “never get it ‘cos others always need it”. Personally I don’t agree with that view, but I wonder how widespread (and accepted) it is.

    Seems a lot of you have picked up on the BoE epic quandary too. It’s a tough one. Personally I think that if a person genuinely needs it as a good upgrade for their main spec, they should get it over someone else needing for gold – particularly if the epic is not worth as much in gold (as in my example) as it may be worth as a straight upgrade. I think this applies all the more for weapons, especially pertaining to melee DPS. I’m not sure that removing the greed button would facilitate that upgrade-person getting the item. Perhaps I’m just old fashioned in all this, though. Any more thoughts on this?

  9. @ Phaythe

    If i can ask; what guild? The exact same thing happened in mine during Naxx 25. We had SKG running, Hunter bid his spot. I brought it up in O Chat. Was out voted. he got it. We no longer use SKG. 😉 In fact, as the now GM, I use it as an example of what my new player’s better not do. Heh.

  10. I don’t think I’ve seen a good answer for handling loot other than raiding with like-minded people who all have a genuine interest in being fair and looking out for the group as a whole. When others enter the group that are more focussed on their own gain, it seems to quickly lead to hurt feelings and new rules to try to make it fair.

    I have yet to see a looting system that works well based on the rules alone. It seems like there are always ways to abuse the system.

    In our guild, we try to explain what we are trying to accomplish with our looting policies and ask people to keep that in mind and not play the system if they happen to fall into one of the loopholes that makes it more beneficial for them.

  11. I had an awful one the other day. One of the DPS was needing on EVERYTHING during a random heroic (and he wasn’t a Hunter, so he couldn’t have justified it that way). When questioned, the player simply said, “I need it for gold”. I’d hardly digested the sentence before the vote-kick dialogue appeared.

    Loot-handling in raids can be a sticky situation until the team knows and understands each other well. I think we’ve all been guilty of the “OMGWHATANUPGRADEROLLROLLROLL!!!” on two or three items during a run at the expense of (in my case) the needs of the other melee DPS in the raid. Communication plays a huge part in stamping this out before a mild annoyance becomes a major issue. In part, this falls into the RL’s lap, in that he or she must indicate that there are others who might need that item more than you (a simple, “Mate, that’s a much bigger upgrade for such-and-such”, for example). This also has the effect of gauging a player, in that a team player will pass, based on that information while a bastard will insist that they won the roll and should therefore get the item. Players with the latter attitude, who refuse to change said attitude, have no place in our raids – or guild for that matter.

    I come from a small 10-man guild and I’m proud to say that all of us have a basic knowledge of each other’s gear and wish-lists, and would never try to step on each other’s toes. It also helps that we are in the almost unique position of not doubling up on classes and specs, which has almost eliminated scuffles over gear.

    Now if they could just make Enhancement Shaman gear and some Ret Pally weapons a bit less appealing to Hunters…..

  12. I don’t understand how people going through endgame content can be selfish about gear. Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves new gear and/or gold, but at this level, even selfishness should have some practicality to it. If you’re in a guild, or at least a group that tends to run together, if it benefits one player, it benefits everyone. I’d get that kind of selfishness at lower levels, or in pugs, but not when everyone’s performance is so connected.

    I think it’s more about the people than the system. If you have reasonable players with you, the specific rules become less of a concern. In my (social/casual) guild, if we’re running something, it’s the norm to have multiple players yelling at another one that they HAVE to take that because it’s awesome for them.


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