PUGs and Loot

My opinion on running with out-of-guild members takes two polarized forms, driven mainly by the nature of fair loot distribution among all contributing members of the group.

For anything that does not use the guild’s loot system (EP/GP in this case), PUGs are fine, to be encouraged even.  Running a heroic with four guild members and one PUG has two clear benefits for me:

  • it raises the profile of the guild on the realm, which may result in applications when people move on from their current guild
  • it increases the chance that we’ll run into an unguilded person who would be suitable for recruitment

For anything where loot is distributed by simple need/greed, these benefits outweigh the potential for ending up with a sub-par player who you end up dragging through the instance as if you were 4-manning the place.

However, for anything that uses the guild loot system, all-guild should be your goal.

When it comes to guild progression runs, I feel quite strongly that all-guild is what you want.  Laugh all you want at the ease of 3.0.x raids – there is still a world of difference between doing Naxx-10 in a complete PUG and with people whose play style you know.  Learning how to operate as a cohesive unit will only make Uldur and beyond raids easier.

The problem is that sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you are one or two people short of a raid.  If this is happening consistently when you’re in a 10 man guild, then you may want to re-think things, as you’re in danger of slipping under the surface.  But it may happen infrequently if you have a member on vacation, or someone leaves the guild, or if you’re in the process of moving up from 10 to 25 man raids.

But how do you deal with loot?

If your goal is to gear up the guild, then you have to put PUGs at a lower priority.  But then it’s harder to entice people to join your raid.  If you can get people who don’t care about this, they’re usually a) friends of one of your members, b) overgeared already or more often c) both.

But you can’t just change a scheduled guild run from EP/GP over to /roll just because one of your members is a no-show.  That wouldn’t be fair to the members.  They deserve the benefits of as stateful loot system.

Those stateful benefits are what muck the whole thing up.  If you’re using a DKP system, the only way to give even footing to a PUG was to set them up in your DKP system (technically they’ll almost always be at the bottom of the tier that they share with guild members due to the ratio of participation, but they are in the same tier, and that makes a difference to some).  If you were using EP/GP, there was no way to address this until recently.

An enterprising user has produced what is known as the “outsiders patch”.  This is based loosely upon a set of use cases that I wrote up in a bug report, but didn’t have the time to put any code to.  What it does is allow for someone who wants to be part of your EP/GP system but not in your guild to create a level 1 alt that joins your guild.  In the officer note for the alt, you indicate that this member is used to collect EP and GP for an arbitrarily named user (the main who isn’t in the guild).

This gives you loot options for out-of-guild members  They can stay on a lower tier of loot priority (where they will likely get anything that’s on offer to that tier essentially for free) or they can create a surrogate alt and participate in your EP/GP system.  In the latter case, they’ll probably get less loot, but raiding will earn them EP for the next time they raid with you.  This may be the best way to include friends of raid members who are willing to help out from time to time.

Eventually, you may end up with an out-of-guild member having a large amount of EP and very low or zero GP, putting them quite high on the priority ladder.  This may result in them getting loot over a guild member.  But that’s fine – in order to get into that situation, the out-of-guild member either had to help your guild out a hell of a lot (and without taking a break since EP/GP has a percentage decay system) without taking any loot, or your guild members have to have been sucking back purplez like there’s no tomorrow.  Just make sure that the guild members recognize the possible outcome of offering this “even footing” loot policy.  Reward people who participate, and don’t slap silly rules on them.  And when you lose out on loot to someone else, recognize that they earned it and it will drop again.

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