Tough Call: Turning Down Epics

On this week’s issue of Tough Call, we’re going to discuss an idea that may seem counter-intuitive to some readers, especially at this point in the expansion;

Not taking epics!

Crazy, I know, but hear me out.

To be clear, I don’t mean that you should refuse to take epics, or that your gear doesn’t need to be upgraded.  Anyone who knows me knows that if the loot is on my must-have list, I will absolutely put in for it at the appropriate time.

No, what I’m talking about today is gear that is not BiS.  Your side-grades, your “better than what I have”, or that loot that’s a higher iLvl but not the ultimate piece you want.

Whether you’re running a Loot Council, a points-based system, or even some kind of Rochambeau craziness, you should still take into account the overall benefit that the loot is bringing to your guild. And that includes comparing it to the value gained by not equipping it.

My usual theory when it came to loot in Wrath and BC was “the loot will drop again”.  Nowadays I’m changing my outlook to “is this THE best loot”.  This is because, right now, most guilds should find themselves in a new position where there just aren’t enough epics being DE’d in order to get the maelstrom crystals needed for the best enchants available.

I know right now everyone should be hungry to preform better, and it’s easy to say “well, I’m under-geared” or “I need that upgrade and I can heal/tank/dps through this tough phase”.  Trust me, I really want to get rid of this 333 crap trinket I’ve been saddled with for a few weeks now.  That does not, however, mean that I will seek to equip any available epic tossed my way like a hungry hungry hippo.

Edit: Passed on 2x Jar of Ancient Remedies and used my Valor points on the Core of Ripeness instead.  Int rocks the body that rocks the party.

Let’s use a recent example, the other night we were in Bastion of Twilight and the boss dropped some cloth DPS pants.  Of course our warlocks were wearing iLvl 346 blue pants, yet none of them put in for the shiny new epic.  Their reasoning?  They were all within a few points of getting their tier pants and realized that the maelstrom crystal from disenchanting the pants would be worth more to the guild than giving them epic pants that they’d only wear for a week before they got their 2-piece.  Now that we’ve gotten the needed mats for Power Torrent, those warlocks are doing considerably more DPS than they would be with a pant upgrade that they were able to replace anyways.

Similarly we’ve had melee DPS players pass on their side-grades or off-spec gear in order to get the maelstrom crystals.  I’m certain that when they weighed the stats, the 1000 AP proc on a Landslide enchant that those crystals could get them looked a lot better than the marginal/temporary increase gotten though a non-BiS upgrade.

Of course, the exception to this rule is players with enchanting.  Toss them the non-BiS gear and they’ll reap the benefits of the stat increase while getting ready for the real loot, and you’ll still get your crystals when they’re done.

Please feel free to leave any questions or suggestions for future topics in the comments below.  Additionally, if you happen to know the answer to 10-down on the NY Times Crossword, that one’s been bugging me all day.

18 thoughts on “Tough Call: Turning Down Epics”

  1. This is a lovely idea. It would work well in my guild if the other officers didn’t take any maelstroms we get and sell them on the AH. I wasn’t there for that particular decision cause I think it’s a crappy one. The reasoning is to pay for our guild repairs (raider status peeps get repairs on raid days ONLY – 3 days a week). I say, sell them within the guild for a reduced price. We still get gold for repairs, guildies actually have a chance at high end enchants without paying out the arse for them, raid dps/hps increases, we down more bosses.

    Every time I bring this up I feel like I’m being politely ignored -.-

    • I can’t say what Maelstrom Crystals go for on your server, but on my realm they are hovering around 1k each right now. So while that can be a nice amount of money, I’m certain that you can get more money by selling the redundant BoE trash epics and using the crystals on guildies. Selling crystals to guildies at 1/2 the AH price is also a nice idea.

      I’d wager that if they did the math, your guildies would actually profit more from paying for their own repairs and getting their enchants free from the guild instead.

      Also, gold is REALLY easy to get nowadays. I’d struggle to understand a person who wants to raid but isn’t prepared to cover their own repair costs. Give me enchants, discounted flasks, feasts, whatever… I can gladly pay for my own repairs.

    • Currently on my server (Sargeras-US) maelstroms are going for 2100g. I know, it’s terrible. That’s why they’re so ridiculously hard to get – I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sure as heck not paying for 8 of those to get landslide on both my shamans weapons. Not that I would put landslide on her blues anyway, but you know what I mean I’m sure. We’ve got a fury warrior who does great dps but can’t afford to get landslide on his two (epic) weapons.

      I know I would rather pay for my repairs any day and have the guild help me with top end enchants for my BiS gear.

      I may write a long-winded petition >:3

  2. I think disenchanting in the examples given is a waste, especially in the secon example. There is no other way of getting these epics. A maelstrom crystal can easily be bought on the AH for under 1.5k. An equivalent BoE epic would cost 15-15k.

    Additionally, the difference between the highest level (maelstrom) enchant and the slighty inferior one is comparatively tiny. For a tank, the difference is less than 500 hp. For me, any otherwise unobtainable upgrade is better.

    • I’m not certain I understand what you mean by “unobtainble” or “no other way of getting these epics”. In both examples above, I’m describing loot that the raider does plan to replace.

      If I have a choice between enchanting a weapon I know I’m keeping into heroics, or taking an epic that I hope to replace when one with a better set of stat distribution drops the next week, the decision is obvious to me.

      I understand what you mean about tanks, but for DPS, those two top-end enchants are sexy.

    • 2100 is a steal! Cheapest one on our AH right now is 4400g! Agamaggan-US Ally. It’s crazy. In our 10’s, the enchanter de’s whatever until there is 10 shards, then passes one out to each to do with it what they want. Selling it for 4400g seems to be a pretty smart idea.

  3. By “otherwise unobtainable” I was only referring to the BoP status of the item – they can’t be bought on the AH or for points etc.

    As you said, money is so, so easy to make in Cata. I believe that every raider has at least one profession with which they could make 1k with little to no effort.

    Even if the epic was a side-grade (suggesting that it is at least a slight upgrade) or off-spec, I feel the drop would benefit the guild far more than a measly 1k. I would go so far as to say that if a guildmate was choosing between an off-spec piece or a crystal, I would give them 1k and let them keep the piece as it is better for the guild overall. How many boss kills do people think this off-spec would have to take part in before it is worth the 1k you would otherwise have had?

    You have perhaps mentioned one exception – if the piece would be replaced at the end of that raid, for example. Even if it was just used for a week of progress raids I feel it could be worth it.

    • Yes gold is easier to obtain in Cata, but the availability of Maelstrom Crystals varies greatly. On my server, the price range fluctuates greatly as well. There are at time 0 crystals on the AH at other time 12; cost ranging from 1.5k to 3.5k on regular basis. I don’t believe taking a guarantee Crystal over a crystal that may not be available is a waste as there is no stable way to obtain them yet. In Wrath it just took a bit of effort to get more crystals as you can farm heroic for them, in Cata, you are limited by the amount of bosses on farm per week.

      Regarding enchants being only slightly better than the non-maelstrom counterpart, depending on stat weights, the weapon enchants can be a significant upgrade to dps. As a caster, Power Torrent can be average of 200 dps or more upgrade over hurricane depending on where your haste is compared to the DoT tick thresholds. A side-grade would offer much less than this. This may not be true for everyone, but for a significant portion of the raid (casters), I know it’s true.

      Regarding off-spec, that would depend on if that person performs that role for the raid does it not? For example, if it’s a person known to switch to healing to heal out on the Chimaeron fight or someone who is the third tank for Halfus, then by all means he should get the piece if it’s an upgrade for the spec since it helps with progression. If the person is only taking the piece so they can bypass heroic queue times with a different role or for PvP, this does not help the raid progress by giving them the piece over disenchanting it for crystals.

      I don’t believe the idea is to shard every piece that is not BiS main; If it’s not BiS main, it should be looked at more to consider if it’s more a beneficial to shard it rather than throw it to whoever wants it just because it’s a purple.

  4. I would add that in a DKP style system, my logic does not apply as you are not choosing between gear or money – you are choosing to whether or not to save your points for a better upgrade in future. I am talking about a loot council or /roll system.

  5. I’m not really buying into this, as a 10man raider.

    We’re not exactly being showered in loot, I’ve got lucky to get 3 drops already (2 from Omnotron, 1 from BH).

    I haven’t run this through for any class, but I can’t imagine that, by taking this upgrade (which is not BiS for your tier) and then spending your VP on another piece than you originally anticipated, you won’t gain more.

    Taking my main, a Rogue, as an example – I’m still in need of VP for Cloak and Boots, and I could replace my BoE Chest or Gloves (both from LW) with a T11 piece for the 2-set bonus.

    Yes, I might me wrong, but I don’t think there’s much sense in waiting for a BiS (probably of a boss we haven’t even killed yet) instead of taking the minor upgrade NOW and to help even reach that other boss…

    • By the sounds of it, yours is not a case that would be an example of what Viktory is talking about. Your example is of a toon that does not have the ability to get any other upgrade than what has dropped and has many pieces that are priority to be replaced as they are not raid optimal (Leatherworking can only craft PvP piece from what I’ve seen, so missing 160+ useful or reforgeable stat).

      Going from 333s or PvP pieces are no brainers, it’s the 346 and 359 that require a bit more attention. Just because it’s 13 item levels higher, doesn’t mean it’s itemized as well for you as the 346 piece. If the piece is clearly better in every aspect, then it’s not a side-grade, it’s an upgrade.

      If it’s a piece you are certain to have a means of replacing in near future, you lost the potential crystal and the resources needed to make any modifications you need to do to your gear to make that piece viable (gem, enchant, reforge your gear to re-balance your stats to reach caps).

  6. I think this makes a lot of sense, although it flies in the face of the “raid for loot” philosophy. I’m not raiding yet, but when I’m there I’ll be doing it for the enjoyment of succeeding at the group endeavor and for killing the bosses, not for the epics that come out of it. If a marginal upgrade or offspec piece can benefit the team as a whole more as a shard, then that’s what makes the most sense to do with it.

    It won’t work with a team that is there to see what drops for THEM, but for a group that’s focused on what benefits US, I like it.

    And nobody’s saying don’t take a large upgrade because you’re waiting for a BiS piece, they’re saying don’t take an upgrade that’s marginally well itemized when you’re close to buying a VP piece that’s better or when that piece is for offspec and you have something serviceable already. The faster you can get those bosses on farm the more progress can be made and the more quickly everyone can gear their offspecs.

  7. Interesting discussion that I’m not sure has been taken into account yet for our guilds raiding activity. However with reforging, doesn’t it become a bit more difficult to disenchant a piece that with the correct reforge becomes something close to a BiS?


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