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Tier sets: Who chooses, guilds or players?

What classes should have priority on what gear in raiding instances has been a topic of debate for a long time. Tier 4 and 5 -- with their options of tank, DPS and healing sets for hybrid classes -- looked like they might help solve this problem. Feral druids can get their DPS sets, resto shamans can get their healer sets, and protection paladins can get their tank sets, and everyone will finally be happy and stop arguing with the master looter. This looked pretty good until someone on the Raids and Dungeons forum posed a nasty dilemma.

Let's say that you're a paladin officer in a raiding guild at 70 that's hoping to progress through content quickly. You have a couple paladins that are protection specced for tanking, maybe one paladin who's retribution specced because he has the gear for it, and a bunch of pallies who are specced to heal. Paul the paladin heals in raids and seems to enjoy his role.

One day, Paul wins his first Tier 5 token, and goes and gets ... the Crystalforge Battlegear. "What the heck, Paul!" you say when you inspect him. "You're holy specced! I thought you liked healing! This retribution gear won't help you in raids! How are we going to kill Illidan if people don't upgrade their healing gear?" "I do like healing in raids," says Paul, "and I'll keep doing it, but I need to solo too so I chose the DPS set. I know I won't wear it in raids, but in the end, it's my gear, isn't it? I earned it."

This situation is tough. On one hand, the guild helped Paul get that Tier 5 under the expectation that he'd use it to fulfill his primary raiding role, and thus help the guild progress. If everyone picks DPS sets for farming, the guild probably won't be able to handle some fights. On the other hand, it is Paul's gear, and Paul's got to farm sometime. As long as his healing is adequate, shouldn't Paul get to choose which set he wants when it's just him, the token and the gear vendor?

I'm glad that as a rogue, I won't have to face this choice. (Should I take the damage set or ... the damage set?) In theory, it would be nice if everyone took the set that they would use in raids, but that's not necessarily going to happen all the time. For those of you who are officers or hybrid classes, I ask: What should our fictional guild do about Paul the paladin? Should guilds have any influence on which sets their hybrid classes pick?

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Warrior, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding

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