I’ve seen the Battered Hilt that leads to Quel’Delar drop twice. The first time I was playing Cassandri with some guild members. I passed. Quel’Delar, in any form, is not an upgrade for me. I was genuinely thrilled when one of our Mages won it. I’d raided with him in the past but he hasn’t played much since Trial of the Crusader was released. And I think he could really use the upgrade. Definitely a heart-felt “grats!” moment.
Then I saw it again. Playing Xata in a random heroic that took us to Halls of Reflection. I won the roll. But I traded it to another party member. I’m starting to wonder if perhaps I may have made the wrong decision.
Not long after patch 3.2 was released, and with it the ability to trade Bind on Pickup items between eligible players within 1 hour, I joined a Serpentshrine Cavern (SSC) achievement run. Because we were there for the achievement we didn’t kill all the bosses in the raid just the final boss. The final boss also happens to drop the Priest/Warrior/Druid Tier 5 helm token.
One day I would very much love to own all of the Priest Tier armor sets. Unfortunately the set that I’d most like to own is the Priest Tier 5 Avatar set – it’s my favourite. I say unfortunately because Tier 5 raid content has to be the most hated and least revisited raid content in the game. Sure you can occasionally find a PuG for Kael’thas and his coveted Ashes of Al’ar but the rest of it… no chance.
We went in and killed Lady Vashj. Most people left immediately afterwards, happy to have completed their SSC achievement. I stuck around. My helm token had dropped. When it came up only a few of us rolled but I still lost the roll. I was disappointed and contemplating how long it might be before another SSC run would come around.
I must have made a comment in raid chat about being sad for losing the helm because when I arrived back in Dalaran I received a whisper from the Warrior who won it:
“How much would you pay for it?”
I was incensed! I would have been thrilled to own that helm. Yet this Warrior was prepared to get rid of it. It seemed so unfair that the person who truly valued the helm (me) didn’t win it and the person who obviously couldn’t care less did (him). I know that Lady Luck operates on randomness, but I still thought there is some kind of meaning to rolls. Like, if I didn’t win, it wasn’t mean to be. Destiny.
I think I replied with something like “I’m not going to trade you gold for it just because you won the roll”. But what I was really thinking was:
If you didn’t want it, why did you roll and take it away from someone who did?
Did you roll for it only because, through trading, it has some inherent gold value?
After I refused to buy the token from the Warrior I started to doubt myself. Gold isn’t really money. I have more gold than I need to do what I want in WoW. If I really wanted the helm, why didn’t I just pay him for it? I can only think that it was a combination of:
(a) it’s the principle (he shouldn’t have rolled in the first place if he didn’t want to keep it)
(b) being undecided as to the value of the item
Even if I did decide to buy the helm from him, what value does it have? I find that most players have a different perspective on what is and isn’t a lot of gold based proportionally on how much they have (funny, that’s true in RL too of course – if you earn $10 an hour you probably won’t want to pay $30 for dinner out) He doesn’t know how much gold I have, and I don’t know how much he has.
You can put a value on items based on their usefulness. And, of course, any item that actually has a sell price on Auction House. For example I think that starter ilvl 200 crafted epics sell for about 300g on my server. Reasonable BoE weapons might sell for 1000-2000g. Enchanting and gemming an item alone might cost you 500, so any useful (stat-driven) epic has a value of about 800-2000k gold in my mind.
But what about a vanity item? A collectors piece? Isn’t that what the Tier 5 Priest helm is to me? I can’t wear it to raids. I might not even complete the set in full which lowers its value further. 500g? 200g?
I still don’t know what I’d be prepared to pay if I decided to barter with that Warrior. But I remember how angry I was at his behavior. In a perfect world you would:
1. Only roll and win items that you really value
2. Treat those items with respect and keep them gemmed and enchanted
3. Never, ever give them away and
4. Only vendor/disenchant them when you were certain you would not wear them ever again
and I would go as far to say
5. Only roll for items that you earned (just being present when they drop is not enough)
But I feel that the Warrior rolled on that helm for its potential profit. Perhaps even for the vendor value. Or perhaps he was just an opportunistic son of a bitch.
Fast forward to patch 3.3. The Mage in our guild wins the Battered Hilt during my first or second Heroic IC instance. Not long afterwards I find out that the Battered Hilt item is Bind on Equip, not Bind on Pickup like I had first thought. It’s selling on Auction House for 7000g. I’m a little perplexed and amused.
Sure it’s a good weapon, but it’s not a great weapon. We don’t even know what weapons will drop in Icecrown yet! The only thing that really interested me about Quel’delar was that they tried to force non-sword wielding casters, ahem Shadow Priests, to take an Mp5 mace instead. It’s like Naxxramas and Ulduar all over again.
A few days after seeing my first Damaged Hilt I queued the random heroic using the Dungeon Finder for my Restoration Shaman (the undergeared one). The loading screen for Heroic Halls of Reflection appears. My worse fears are realised. I type to the party:
“I’m sorry but I’m not geared enough to heal this instance. Good luck, I’d better just teleport out.”
There were /sighs and “NEXT” comments in party so I guess this wasn’t the first healer who had refused to give it a go. Or perhaps not the first healer who hadn’t been capable. I afked for 20 minutes before joining the random heroic queue again. Guess what loading screen pops up? You guessed it! Halls of Reflection. Surely, this is a sign.
Fortunately it wasn’t the exact same group as the first time (how mortifying that would have been). I explain to my new group that I don’t think I’m geared enough to heal Heroic HoR. But this group convinces me to stay and give it a go. It turns out they’re all from the same guild and, as they put it, “we’re not bads”. We wiped a lot, especially in the lead up to the 2nd mini boss and the first time we made it to the 2nd mini boss we did so when I had no mana and Mana Tide Totem on cooldown. We wiped.
But the group remained really positive about it. We’re all making small mistakes (at one point the Warlock didn’t run into the corner in time to line of sight them and got “one shot”) but everyone is being patient and willing to try again.
During one of our more promising attempts, the Battered Hilt dropped off one of the trash wave mobs. Mid combat, I followed the rest of the group’s example and chose Need.
And I won it! I kept healing but the 2nd mini boss stunned me right after a fear (which can’t be counted by Tremor Totem I discovered) and the group died.
I know they’re thinking “I can’t believe the PuG won it!” But I consoled myself with the thought of just how big an upgrade Quel’Dalar would be for Xata.
But they’re quite good-natured about it (after a brief silence that I’m sure was filled with furious guild chat) and congratulate me.
The tank asks “Would you be interested in selling it to me?”
“Well actually I was going to keep it for myself”
Now the positions are reversed. I’m carrying an item of value that I could trade to others and profit. I can’t help but think to myself how little play time I spend on my Shaman and start to question if I’m willing to go to the effort of doing the quest chain (which I hear requires a fair bit of work).
And then I start to think about my other party members. And I realise how much owning Quel’Delar would mean to them. They’re in good, not great, gear. But almost none of it is from raiding. Quel’Delar would probably be pretty special in their eyes and not something that they’ll replace any time soon if at all for the rest of this expansion.
“Look this is an alt anyway, if you really want it reroll and I’ll trade it” I just couldn’t bring myself to put a gold value on it. Even though it might sell for 7k on the Barthilas Auction House I couldn’t turn to a party member and demand that on the spot.
But even asking for 100g would have made me feel dirty. How would that make me any different from the Warrior who rolled and won a helm for it’s inherent gold value? In my mind, it would be just as wrong.
I don’t think the other party members really believed me but they all rolled again anyway. The Death Knight in the party was forbidden to roll by the other other guild members because he was playing an alt. That alone made me feel confident that they were taking this seriously. In the end the Warlock rolled the highest and I handed it over.
Perhaps Lady Luck smiled at us because we didn’t wipe again after that. We got through the trash and killed the 2nd mini moss and I wasn’t feared or stunned once. Arthas chased us but we got through the gauntlet first go (of course, there were some close calls).
I think I did the right thing. What do you think? Was I a fool to give it away?