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Get your hands off my gear, you Damn Dirty Healer!

As I’m sure most priests in a DKP raiding guild can sympathize, competing against other healers for your pretty trinkets, gear & weapons just sucks…hell, it flat out blows goats.

Resto druids, resto shamans, & holy paladins pretty much have a monopoly on their non token gear. The Ret or prot paladin won’t be bidding on that spell power chest, the feral or balance druid probably aren’t interested in the leather healing legs, and the Enhance shaman really couldn’t care less about those healing boots. Most of the time, those healers are getting those items for the minimum bid because of lack of competition. Priests, on the other hand, are the only class with TWO healing trees – we’re already competing with ourselves. Throw in the fact the alot of our ideal gear is coveted by DPS cloth wearers (or even non cloth wearers, depending on your guild’s policies), and you’re spending alot of DKP for one item…leaving you at a serious disadvantage when that hot ass trinket, weapon or ring drop.

So what to do? Beats the hell out of me. I know my guild has touched on the issue again and again, throwing around ideas such as per item bid caps on non cloth wearers, “taxing’ items with no class competition, limiting when other armor classes can bid on things….but we’ve never really tried to act on any of them, so in the end, we just plug on and piss & moan about it. Luckily, we’re generally not selfish people, so it hasn’t come to blows….yet.

Matticus from World of Matticus was kind enough to offer to write some guest blogs for lucky people, and Derevka and I were honored he chose to write for us (He’s kinda a big deal, in case you didn’t know). I asked him to tackle this subject for us, and luckily, he has experience with it. As usual, he has some tremendous suggestions and ways of dealing with The Gear Curse.

6 Priest Loot Strategies to use in DKP Guilds

Last week, I made an offer that I would write a guest post about anything. Avalonna requested I put down my thoughts on acquiring Priest loot in DKP guilds. Even though my current guild employs the use of Loot Council to manage gear, I certainly was no stranger to DKP. In fact, the guild I was a part of before, I was just a regular player competing with other classes. I was a Holy Priest who had to learn how the system worked and work within it in order to see any upgrades for my character.

Here are a few lessons I learned during my time with DKP. I’ll follow it up with policies I wish were implemented.

1) Understand that you’re not going to get the best possible items in every slot

While it would be nice to get the best item in the game, simply put, it’s not going to happen. Not unless you run the instance an insane number of times. Even then, the items you seek have to drop. There needs to be no one else competing for it.

Did I mention the amount of incredible luck that needs to be involved?

The sooner you wrap this fact around your head, the less stressed about gear you will get. You’ll look at your DKP resources in a new light and make the smart choices.

2) Prioritize your list and figure out what you need vs others

Perform an audit of your character. You want to plan out in advance the upgrades your character will receive while they are working their way through a raid instance. Don’t forget to consider the gear that is purchasable with the various Emblems if they are superior to the equipment you have. Craftable stuff (usually belts or wrists) are items to consider. The differences between bracers that drop from a raid instance and bracers that are constructed are fairly marginal. They’re not worth the 45 minimum DKP bid anyway (or whatever value is used).

At the same time, have a general idea of what other casters would shoot for. MP5 weapons aren’t as widely sought after compared to items with hit, critical strike raiding or haste rating. You might be able to shave some costs by going after weapons with regen stats on them. Paladins and Shamans don’t usually pursue them nor do other DPS classes.

3) Weapons and trinkets are priority one

Weapons and trinkets should beat the top of your shopping list for acquisitions. They represent the biggest increase in spell power and utility (depending on the trinkets).

Tip - Go staves: Between staves and main hand/off hand combinations, the latter is almost always going to be superior in terms of throughput. Top healers rely on the main hand/off hand combinations because it’s the best for them. You can use this bias to your advantage. By openly switching to staves, you won’t face as much competition from other players. For one, this knocks Paladins and most Shamans out of the running. You’ll only have to contend with the other caster classes now. I’ve found staff upgrades to go for near minimum prices because casters leaned towards the main hand/off hand combination allowing you to snag it cheaply.

Bonus: By pursuing a staff, you only need to get lucky with the drops once. By going for a main hand and off hand, you need two bosses to drop the items that you want. So once you get a staff, you can scratch weapons off your list and move on to the next upgrade.

4) Let others go first

Players have a habit of paying higher prices to get something first. No matter who gets the item, it’s going to have a positive benefit for the guild anyway. You have to have a long term strategy when it comes to this stuff. Be as economical as you can. Let your fellow guildies push all in with their DKP. Congratulate them and when that same item drops the next time, you won’t have to spend as much as they do.

DKP doesn’t determine who gets what. It determines who gets what when.

Here’s an example of some really good healing mace. Traditionally, it’s going to go for a high price. As time progresses, the bid price drops.

5) Be frugal

At least, when it comes to DKP, you don’t want to over commit. If it’s possible to acquire an upgrade outside of the instance via crafting, the AH, or through badges, explore that possibility. By spending non-DKP resources on items, this ensures that you will have DKP to pickup items that are only obtainable from raid instances.

Does this make sense?

You can get gold easily by doing dailies. You can get Emblems by getting involved with instance farming. Materials to craft stuff can be farmed or bought.

But DKP can only be earned by raiding.

6) Stab the pot

This is a poker expression. Sometimes, there’s a minimum amount in the pot and no one seems to be interested in contesting it. Most poker players would take the aggressive stance and throw in a bet to see who reacts. Either the aggressor is going to get called or the players around them will fold allowing the aggressor to gain a small amount. This means that either you’re going to cause a competition or else others will find it not worth going for.

The same principle can be applied with DKP. If you sense there is no interest from anyone (or no one has placed a bid at all), throw in a minimum bid plus 1 or 2 increments to see if you can secure an item for cheap.

An upgrade is an upgrade.

I usually go through one item slot upgrade per raid instance. It’s unheard of (and usually bad form) to replace a recently acquired item once or twice within the same instance cycle.

7) Policies I would enact

* Restrict bidding to set armor types

As clothies, we have to compete with other armor classes for a majority of our item slots. Druids, Shamans, and Paladins will like to weigh in and pick up our gear.

The single biggest argument I heard from this back in the day when I was trying to find out why Paladins were rolling on my cloth gear was the fact that cloth gear was often better than their plate equivalents. It offered more stats or more power.

Okay, I can respect that.

But as a guild leader, my underlying objective is to move the raid forward as quickly as possible. I don’t want to spend an extra 4-8 weeks farming for more gear because a Paladin was too stubborn to take the plate spell power upgrade that would’ve helped them out.

It’s up to the leadership to determine what is more important. If it’s min maxing players to the highest degree, then spend as much time necessary to farm the requisite gear while blowing up perfectly good upgrades. But if it’s raid progression, then it’s time to sit down with the classes and explain to them that when there are more players involved with wanting loot, the longer it takes to bring everyone’s gear standard up. Consequently, it takes more time to prepare the entire guild for the next instance.

Your guild isn’t here to give you the best gear in the game. Your guild is here to propel you through the game with what gear you have.

* Penalize off armor bids

Yup, I would add an extra tax if players bid on armor types that they shouldn’t be going for. It’s the same reason as above but it will make players think twice. At the same time, it reduces the competitive edge they have if they end up being the only mail or leather wearer in the raid and puts them in line with everyone else. It’s up to you to determine how much.

The beauty with loot systems is that it can be tailored in any way possible.

These were just some of the issues that lead me to reconsider my position with that DKP guild at the time. Eventually, I grew tired of it and opted to form my own guild which currently uses Loot Council to decide items. It’s a great way to sidestep most of this mess but it does come with its own.

Thanks again to Matticus for his thoughts – I hope it helped priests in similar situations. Make sure you check out his blog, as well as his Spiritual Guidance column on WoW.com

(BTW We’re STILL looking for an exceptional Holy & Ret Paladin (Dual spec prefered! Apply at www.godarknemesis.com )


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Written By: on December 2, 2009
  1. Loot rules in my guild are with whispering a certain bid for 1 item. Who was the higher will win. This system definitely has his advantage but… i am a priest. So, this was interesting to read and yes, some things mentioned here are well spoken. I have been in this situation many times and I still am.
    After I hoped for some drops that I didn't got because the mage had a uber upgrade with that item so he basically bided half of his dkp that was like 150% of my bid… I start accepting that I won't get best in slot on each item and after I did a short recap on how much those items WILL improve my end game performance and, considering gear is the last thing people should fight for any loot rules are fine with me at the end. I just need to perform better in what i wear and, to be honest, I didn't see my self falling behind :)

    Hugs and happy healing!

  2. And this is what fixed-price, zero-sum DKP absolves. Every item is X price, and the DKP spent by Y raider is given to everyone present in an equal share (even the purchaser). Highest point-retaining interested party wins, unless rulings are made by leadership for the guild's benefit (i.e. Trophies going to tanks first for quick gearing).

  3. We had a similar problem in 3.1.
    To make matters worse, half our raiding core were clothies. My fellow officers showed remarkable resilience towards my pleas to see the problem of the situation. In the end nothing was done to accomodate this issue.

    In the end, it didn't pose a dramatic problem though it did take me a month longer to achieve the same gear level as fellow raiders with a lower participation level. We didn't use DKP but a simplified SKG-clone instead. Because of the SKG system, this balances out a bit better. Since the druids, shamans and pallies have a bigger guarantee on getting their armor item there's fewer left to big on weapons and jewelry. So our clothies had a pretty good shot at getting top gear.

    Never the less, it took me a month longer to obtain a comparable gear level as my fellow, non cloth healers and I largely depend on badge/craft gear until the raid content is farmed frequently.

  4. In our guild, we use DKP. no.2 post by matt about "Prioritize your list and figure out what you need vs others" does helps a lot, in our forums we all posted our loot wishlist in order to know what boss drop you really need as an upgrade to help the guild as a whole. so for me, it is important to prioritize things like these it really helps a lot knowing your character what gear base on looking at the stats,if you know that it does then you are good to bid.

    Thanks for sharing this, really helps a lot and understanding more using the DKP system too.

    Keep up the good work Matt and Avalonna! <3

  5. Our guild uses Loot Council, but we keep a very thorough record of who gets what in every raid. On our website, there's a loot summary page, a loot history page, and a very well-done attendance page. We (the LC) try very hard to be fair while also taking into consideration seniority and even "work ethic in the game," as in: "did you care enough to getyour crafted item made," and "are you HERE?"
    As for priest gear, I have always maintained a list of the items I really, really, really need. I use the add-on LootPlan to keep that list accessible in-game without tabbing out. As an officer, I have passed on items that are on my list for others as it was a bigger upgrade for them. It's all about being informed about your needs and also being considerate of others' needs, too. Every now and then, something drops (like a top-notch mace) that I just want to cry over. Oh, well… /boohoo. It will eventually drop again, right?

  6. Remember that occasionally quests will also provide decent upgrades. In upcoming 3.3, for example, I think the Quel'Delar turn-in caster mace will be what most people want to have in their hands as they enter Icecrown.

    http://www.wow.com/2009/11/11/patch-3-3-ptr-queldelar-stats-revealed-kind-of/

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