HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Profiteering and the Value of Gear

What would you pay?

What would you pay?

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?

23 Responses to “Profiteering and the Value of Gear”

  1. LifedeathsoulNo Gravatar says

    What goes around, comes around :) Say what you will about Karma, but it certainly does exist in WoW. Prove? Wondered why your HoR run went so smoothly after that? ;)

    Needless to say, I think you did the right thing :)

  2. AppockNo Gravatar says

    I have to say, I am impressed and I commend you for having the restraint. There are many people out there (maybe even myself; I’m not sure yet) that would capitalize on the opportunity that roll would give you. As you say, the other puggers could really use the upgrade, but on the other hand the gold would have gone a long way to financing future raiding (enchants and gems) and even bankroll you into Cataclysm (I plan on having 10k for the expansion). I’m not sure I could hold back, either as an upgrade for myself or for selling for multi-thousands of gold.

    You are the better person! Congrats!!
    .-= Appock’s last blog … Heavy Petting: Patch 3.3 Updates =-.

  3. TureniNo Gravatar says

    You know what? Thats exactly what I did with a Tankard’o'Terror… Gave it to the rogue in the party even though it was an upgrade for me. Why? Because he said he really needed it. I saw him dualwielding it a couple of days later so he did, and I felt really good about it.

    Gevlon might have another opinion on the matter, and he may be right. But it would make me feel like a jerk if I did what that warrior did.

    Kudos to you for being nice. Are you just as poor as me? I never have more than 5-600 g on all chars at any given time :-D

  4. VokNo Gravatar says

    /hat off

    The other day I was in a heroic UP (I think – I get UP and UK mixed up) on my mage with mostly guildies. The Blue Proto-Drake dropped and I won it. After much, MUCH, internal agonizing, I traded it to the only main in the group, who was actually farming for it.

    If was very difficult to give up, but I was on a alt and I know how much my guildie had been wanting it.

    I lost nothing by doing so and made someone else pretty bloody happy. I’m glad I did and would do it again.
    .-= Vok’s last blog … The Wrath of the Rolled Up Newspaper!! =-.

  5. Hey,
    Really top post Cass.
    You definitely did the right thing, although I do not know if I would have had the willpower to do the same!
    It’s sort of related to the debate I have with friends every so often.

    If you got a spectral tiger loot card, what would you do with it?
    Would you reimburse it in game, add that insanely rare mount to your collection and strut around Dalaran (let’s face it, anyone with a spectral is ALLOWED to strut).
    Would you sell it for real money on eBay (WTB smaller debt!)
    or Would you sell it for in-game gold?

    It’s actually amazing how much this sort of dilemma comes up in this game, and major props to you for doing the right thing with the battered hilt.

    Sophx
    .-= Sophie (Elsen-Terenas-EU)’s last blog … A Topic! Any Topic! For me, A Guild Topic! =-.

  6. TamNo Gravatar says

    Cass, you’re awesome – I don’t know about “right” (only in the sense that trying to get into the morality of loot is DANGEROUS) but I think you did a very graceful and a very compassionate thing, and it’s what I *hope* I would have done in the same circumstances.

    Also the warrior’s behaviour was infuriating – if you have *no intention* of using it at all, don’t roll. Git!
    .-= Tam’s last blog … You’ve Got Some Smug On Your Shirt There =-.

  7. BerryNo Gravatar says

    That was a tough tough choice on your part, and a very good one.

    I am with you, if it isn’t a gdkp run, offering to sell a drop is just crass. I find that I don’t object to people offering to buy drops, or to people who accept. A good drop, for example, might not be worth as much as being able to buy epic flight for another alt. For me, I prefer gold exchanges between players to occur only when both players start with that mindset. Selling on the AH, services for tips, gdkp runs, or selling in trade chat are all activities where I expect to give or receive compensation. A dungeon run is a group activity that I participate in for fun, not profit.

  8. BeezleNo Gravatar says

    Tough question today. Ultimately, I don’t think you did the wrong thing. However, I can’t say that you did the right thing either.

    Here’s why it wasn’t wrong:
    - Your shammy didn’t *really* need the item. You don’t need to be geared in ilvl 245 to run heroics. For heroics and entry raids like Naxx, ToC or early Ulduar there are plenty of other, less contentious items you can use
    - Your Priest didn’t need the item, as you said
    - You don’t really need the 7k-12k gold, as you said
    - The guildies in your party weren’t mooches. I don’t want to say that they “deserve” the item, but certainly they weren’t being carried along for epix lootz
    - They seemed to genuinely want the item and understood their re-roll for the drop was not a trivial matter.
    - You won the roll. The item was yours and you were entitled to use/sell/give away/destroy according to your preference.

    Here’s why it wasn’t right:
    - The item would have been an upgrade for your shaman and since you won it, you were entitled to keep it. It may have come in useful in the future.
    - Your original plan was to keep the item. Pressure from the group made you change your mind. (It seems you received very little pressure, but if they hadn’t said anything it I get the impression that you would not have kept the drop.) These people were not your guildies, you had no obligation to them.
    - Until you hit the gold cap, you cannot have “enough” gold. Earning “easy” gold today reduces the need to farm mats/gold/pets/whatever tomorrow.

    Personally, I would have done one of two things:

    1. Kept the drop and sent it to my main. While it wouldn’t have been a massive upgrade, it would have been an upgrade. It also frees up one piece of loot in ICC that my guildies will get ahead of me. Me keeping the item ultimately helps both me and my guild.

    2. Sold it to them for a significant, but not outrageous amount of gold. It sounds like they were not particularly well geared, and I’m guessing not particularly wealthy. 500g is probably around what I would have asked… just so that they are making a sacrifice to get the item.

    PS> I don’t believe in Karma.

  9. AlasNo Gravatar says

    Loot is always tricky and this whole cross-realm pugging thing makes it even more so. I have a terrible habit of feeling that compassion in the moment for the people who could “use this drop more” and so passing to them on the rare occasions that I do win rolls. Then, later, I see them getting greedy over another drop and not having the same mindset and it’s pretty infuriating.

    I do applaud your decision, but hope you won’t end up in the same place I have so many times before – fuming over the fact that someone else won’t do you the same favor. Unfortunately, it’s all too rare to find someone who really has the big-picture mindset and who can see past the immediate “what’s good for me,” to “what’s good for everyone?”

    Very good post!
    .-= Alas’s last blog … Thoughts on fire magery =-.

  10. AdgamorixNo Gravatar says

    We had a hilt drop the first day of the patch, and after winning it on my Paladin, I traded it off to our resident priest (the other 3 were PUGs) since there’s no tanking version. I would have kept it for my mage if I’d known it was BoE, since our priest will get an upgrade from the ICC raid – but it was still an upgrade.

    I think you did the right thing.
    .-= Adgamorix’s last blog … 25s or 10s – which way to go =-.

  11. I think you made me cry a bit. I like to think I would do the same. I might actually.

    You made a great point when you said that WoW gold is not real money. In my opinion, doing things for profit in WoW should ALWAYS be the last resort. Nothing beats being able to increase the fun quotient for others. You did just that. Bravo!

  12. ArchivistNo Gravatar says

    I think what you did was awesome! Too bad there aren’t more people like you in the game. I really believe that an item should go to the person who most needs it. Especially for a more defining piece of gear such as a weapon that isn’t replaced very often.

    I can’t say how many times I’ve been frustrated when someone wins a roll just so they can respec and use the item once in a while. My biggest grief item was Perdition’s Blade from classic WoW…..but when I finally did get it, I was on cloud 9 for days!

  13. mikedNo Gravatar says

    This is a really interesting problem to me, because as my guild’s financial officer (CFO) it’s my responsiblity to keep the bank stocked with raid mats and money for repairs. Before i assumed the position the bank was primarily financed by selling BOE epics from raids. As one of the few progression raid guilds on our server we are in a unique position to provide other players with high quality gear, if they’re willing to pay the price. However, in ICC there are quite a few BOE drops that are close to best-in-slot for our raiders. Is the 10k+ gold that we receive for these (currently) top-tier items worth denying our own guildmates of upgrades? In earlier discussions, I said no way. But when these items dropped, the master looter (who is also the raid leader, guild leader, and previous CFO) put those items in my inventory and I didn’t think twice about mailing them off to my bank alt to be sold.

    Was that the right thing to do? I’m still not sure. If our raiders got the gear, it would be replaced once we started hard modes. Allowing the realm community access to it “spreads the wealth” in both directions: loot that is easy for us to get is now available for people who have difficulty acquiring it, and a single sale is enough to pay repairs for well over a month. However, the fact remains that upgrades were taken out of the hands of our raiders, the ones who rightfully “earned” the drops.

    Aside from all of that, the literal problem of “the value of gear” is still an issue. I sold a leather DPS piece for 17k very quickly. Should I have asked for more? The fact that the person who bought it didn’t want to wait 48h to save 5000 gold (difference between bid and buyout) tells me they would have paid even more. A cloak from TOC25 (completely PUGable on our server) sold the same day for 6000 gold. Previously I thought this was not a rich server but apparently I was wrong about that. How do you price such things?

  14. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    @Beezle I think you’ve got the gist of it exactly. But the only reason I would send it to my main (who it’s not an upgrade for) would be for the purpose of selling it. I guess i don’t feel comfortable asking someone I know for gold because I wouldn’t like putting a price on it for my guild members either.

    @MikeD That’s a really good question. We have a similar policy in my current guild and a Guild Banker who makes those decisions. I think the important things to find out are:

    (a) Is it best in slot for a class? If so, which class?
    (b) When is the best selling opportunity. When you’re the only guild on your server that has access to the drop you are somewhat justified in selling it on AH (imo) because you can raise funds that keep your guild raiding – paying for repairs etc.
    (c) How much gold are players willing to pay?

    My suggestion would be to ask your raiders, at the very start of a new raid expansion, to inform (with some kind of link as proof I think) the guild if any of their new best-in-slot items are BoE. Then you could make some kind of arrangement where players of that class can “buy” the item with gold (heavily discounted) or DKP.

    Or you could put down a rule that says the first X times a BoE drops it will be sold, from then on it will be purchasable with DKP.

    Your raiders will be angry that they can’t take an upgrade at the start of the raiding tier, yes, but after it’s dropped a few times they just might have picked up something that suits them better anyway.

    As for what value? That’s really hard to say. I lean towards listing items at nearly double what I would pay for them – there are heaps of players out there who do not raid and make a heck of a lot of gold. And you’re right, better that it doesn’t get snapped up within the first couple hours :(

  15. BeruthielNo Gravatar says

    I would have been fairly insenced at the warrior as well. That is just crap.

    As for the hilt, I would *love* to get one for my priest, but I already know that if one drops while I’m on Beru I won’t roll. It would just be terrible for me to do such a thing with such a good weapon already.

    In your position, though, with my alt, I’m not sure what I will do if one ever drops. You were very kind to have let the guild roll for it, and I am sure that meant a lot to them!
    .-= Beruthiel’s last blog … Beru’s “Blogscar” Vote! =-.

  16. nadirNo Gravatar says

    You’re making an assumption that the warrior didn’t want the tier token. Maybe he really did want it, but given the choice, he’d rather have 5k gold, which he could use to buy other stuff he wanted more.

    If you had won the tier 5 token, and the warrior had offered you 100k gold for it, would you have turned him down? Is there really no price for whch you would part with the token?

    Items and gold all require time investment to acquire. It’s fine if you want to give your time away, but it’s not wrong to be compensated for it (e.g., accepting a payment for the hilt). In fact, it’s fair. Especially in a pug situation.

    • LathereNo Gravatar says

      @nadir I think the point here is that she didn’t offer him gold and then he had to make a hard choice, HE asked her how much would she buy it for. I have no problem at all with someone who thinks about it after being offered gold and then decides, yes they do want the gold more. What I think is disappointing is when someone rolls first and then propositions after that’s just plain uncool.

  17. nadirNo Gravatar says

    @Lath Sure, I can see that. I mean, the extreme case would be someone rolling on an item who couldn’t even *equip* the thing, and then trying to sell it. Agree, not cool, unless you’re doing a gdkp run.

    All I’m saying is you can’t assume the warrior had zero interest in owning the item. Sure, I guess it’s possible just would have destroyed it. But that’s assuming the worst of him. If he wasn’t going to destroy it, I don’t think you can really fault him for rolling on it. Maybe he saw a mutually beneficial opportuny when she expressed disappointment. Doesn’t seem that bad; he did when the roll after all.

    Would have been nice of him to just hand it over? Sure. That’s probably what I would have done myself. However, I also wouldn’t have been offended by his offer were I in the OP’s place. (I woulda just lowballed him ;) )

  18. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    Should the battered hilt drop in an instance I am in, would I need it?

    I don’t need the mace, can’t use the sword, so I would not Need on it for myself.

    Well, I would not Need it to sell it – that is just plain awful (even though it happens). I may pass if it presents a clear upgrade to the people who did roll for it (sometimes a good weapon is hard to come by).

    But if it seemed like an equal case (meaning that people Need so they can show off Quel’Delar in Dalaran) I would Need on it too, so my little warrior can start at 80 without worrying about having to pug lower-level heroics to get a decent weapon (and for a warrior, the weapon means everything).

    If someone wanted to buy the hilt off me, I’d be in trouble. How could I be sure that if I offered it back for a nice price, it would not go straight to the AH for double the value? What if this person uses it for an alt instead, and I deprived my alt of its use?

    In the case of the T5 head, there are more ways of getting it – yes you have to run SSC/TK for it, but there are plenty peeps leveling 70-73 who gain a decent amount of XP and items from such a run. You could organize one yourself (via the realm forums for instance) and as that in return you get to keep a set of tier for your own benefit. Considering all the other loot that drops there for them, few would make a fuss out of that.
    .-= Natarumah’s last blog … Did hell just freeze over? =-.

  19. UngulantNo Gravatar says

    Whether you were a fool to give it away or not, you couldn’t have sold it to your group unless they were from your realm. That is, to put things into perspective.
    That being said, I, personally, am of the opinion that BoE loot in PUGs should just be rolled on. That’s not because others who might use it more shouldn’t have priority, but because you never know if they are going to use it themselves or not. Call my a cynic, but, that’s what I think.

  20. DavidNo Gravatar says

    Fantastic post.
    Very nice of you to let the guild roll for it, if all players were like you..
    .-= David’s last blog … Mage – Raiding =-.

  21. SaramaNo Gravatar says

    I recently had the Edge of Ruin drop and I won the need roll. It was an upgrade for me, since I’m currently dual wielding an axe from naxx and an edge of ruin. However, there was a DK in my party that was using a blue axe.

    Once I realized that he was using a blue, I immediately traded it to him since it was clearly a much bigger upgrade for him.

    However, in the case of a battered hilt dropping, I would most certainly keep that if I won the roll and sell it… I think that’s too much money for me to pass up on, and there’s no garuntee that anyone in the party will actually go through with the quest and not sell it, if it’s a random PUG.

    For nostalgia/vanity items, I think you should only be rolling if it’s something you actually care about. Rolling on it and then attempting to sell it to the raid is a douche move.
    .-= Sarama’s last blog … Douche Bags in Lookong For Dungeon =-.

  22. Here’s hoping there’s a a load more top-notch supplies coming!

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  1. [...] that I’ve ever joined has stolen my tier pieces from me. Often by ninjas. Or greedy players who want to profit, or simply vendor a tier token belonging to some other class. But that’s another [...]

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