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Officers' Quarters: Wrath of the orange stick

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

WoW has had a fairly limited number of legendary items over the years. Some took a monumental effort (and a bit of luck) to put together; others just fell into our hands. Either way, obtaining one has always been a big deal.

Patch 4.2 is rectifying a longstanding omission by offering caster DPSers their own, exclusive legendary weapon: Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest. Sure, you could count Atiesh, but only a handful of guilds around the world ever assembled one, and it could be used by healers as well. Needless to say, casters are hyped, and every caster wants one. Cue the drama:
Hi Scott,

I just wanted to suggest a topic for the next Officers' Quarters: How to choose who gets Dragonwrath. The casters in our group all want and think they deserve the staff, but we're having trouble agreeing on how to decide. Raw DPS, seniority, voting amongst the group, and even chance have been suggested.

Thanks for any help!
Unfortunately, only one caster in your guild will have the thrill of being the first to complete the quest line. Your guild might be able to assemble more than one down the road, but that's irrelevant right now. Everyone wants to be first. How can we single out one player for this amazing reward?

Legendaries of this type, in my opinion, should fall outside of any given loot system that your guild uses. The officers should be the ones to decide who gets the first crack at it.

Disqualifications

Before we talk about who should be eligible, let's talk about who shouldn't be eligible.
  • Anyone who has already earned a legendary in your guild. For example, if a warrior had Shadowmourne in Wrath and then switched to a mage for Cataclysm, he or she should be ineligible for Dragonwrath. Legendaries are just too rare. Spread the love around.
  • Anyone who recently joined. It goes without saying.
  • Anyone who has poor or inconsistent raid attendance. Assembling the weapon requires quite a few BOP drops from the Firelands, and if that person isn't around, he or she can't make progress toward the staff.
Now let's talk about who deserves consideration.

Criteria

1. Guild loyalty. This should be one of the top considerations, in my opinion, far beyond where a player lands on the DPS charts. We've all heard nightmare stories of players whose guild hands them a legendary, and then they take off with it. The player who receives your first Dragonwrath should be someone who's been a longtime member and who has never wavered in his or her commitment to the community.

Loyalty is not necessarily seniority. Plenty of players stay in guilds they don't necessarily feel loyal to, either for lack of better options or because they're too lazy to find a new one. Officers who pay attention can tell the difference.

2. Guild service. Dragonwrath should go to a player who is a major asset to your guild, a player who is virtually irreplaceable -- a dedicated and active officer, a critical raid leader, or an ordinary member who plays a key role within the guild. Someone who goes above and beyond to ensure the guild succeeds should be at the top of your list.

Rewards like Dragonwrath are best used as motivators for players to do more for the guild and as special thank-you gifts to the players who already put in the time and effort.

3. Dedication to the role. The only thing worse than someone who gquits after getting a legendary is something who decides to switch mains. For that reason, it's preferable to offer a weapon like Dragonwrath to someone who's been playing the caster DPS role for a long time, not someone who just switched to warlock last week. Make sure the person you choose has no intention of switching classes/roles.

4. Intention to raid moving forward. It's never a pleasant conversation to have, and it's possible the person's feelings or life situation will change in the future. Still, it's a good idea to make sure the player you pick will be raiding with you through the tiers of Cataclysm when Dragonwrath will still be relevant. Don't just assume that they will.

5. DPS and player skill. I've saved this for last because I think it does deserve a small amount of consideration, but I don't think it should be a major element of the choice. Just don't put this staff in the hands of a player who stands in fire all the time or who can't keep up with the tanks on the meters. If a player meets all the criteria above and his or her skill is on par with most of the guild, they should be a candidate. A decision like this goes beyond min-maxing -- the long-term health of the guild should be the top concern.

Tiebreakers

Even with all these tough criteria, your officers still may not be able to choose. Consider yourselves lucky that you have so many helpful and loyal players!

Before you come up with your own tiebreaker, approach all the possible candidates and tell them who is being considered. Give them each the opportunity to decline, whether because they're not sure about their attendance in the future or because they think that someone else deserves it over them (hey, it could happen ...).

If that doesn't narrow the field, then I always think that RNG should decide. Debating it endlessly among the officers is only going to lead to conflict and possibly hurt feelings. Don't let the situation devolve into a political campaign. Just bring the candidates together and have them roll for priority. That way, no one can argue with the result.

The other possible tiebreaker that's difficult to argue with is attendance. However, you must have actual attendance data. You can't ballpark this kind of thing unless the difference is obvious to everyone. Raw numbers are best.

Of course, players can still argue about whom the officers deem eligible. It can't be denied: Items with orange names are drama magnets like nothing else in WoW. You're not likely to get past this choice unscathed. But hey -- at least this time, everyone gets a pet!

/salute

Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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