Clarified some Main and Alt thoughts

The feedback on my help-im-frustrated-by-mains-and-alts post was really good. Well great actually, as it had a range of side, which both challenged what I thought about the issues, and also supported many of the doubts I had – which is to say that nothing in that topic is straight forward.

I’d really like to know if I’m off my rocker on this issue.

Well I wasn’t incorrect, but I wasn’t 100% perfect either.

A some key points of differentiation on the issue were:

  • Longevity of the raider within the team. Some even said 10 vs 25s were different, and while I disagree I can see that it may make a difference. Churn within the team is exacerbated when somebody switches.
  • Attitude and level of cohesion within the team, which really tempered the level of support vs the impact.
  • The reason for the switch, being Gear greed, Need of the team, burnout, or preference. This was key for basically everyone, a player who witches for gear only was pretty much reviled by the information I found, and I support that view too. The other areas are gray, especially if you have a raider doing something that they’d not prefer for the goals of the raid.
  • Another key point was consistency. Applying a rule without bias was important to a large number of players, and I can understand why. Nobody want to feel that they are on the detrimental side of an exception. We all like to be special, unless it is to our disadvantage, but most people are happy if the dice come out in their favour.

As part of the post I also went digging on my own and found a large number of articles that helped. The short version of the outcome is that I’m now more confident that my overall approach is good, but also humbled a bit in terms of approach. I took the stance of being a neutral guildmaster, rather than a people person (I’m not an overly emotional people person by nature). I think I missed the emotional impact that this discussion could have on the team, especially the guys pondering a switch. I suspected that there would be impact, but not the degree of impact I saw.

I’ve promised to be typing up the official version of the policy this week (what an idiot I am for creating my own deadline), and it will be largely as drafted, but with tempered delivery. The clarifications I had to think about in response to the post really were the items that might have helped some of the discussion, if only I’d had 6 brains to draw from in the beginning.

Some of the sources I went to read are listed below. Now this list is not all articles devoted to the actual topic, it also contains perspectives on Alt-ism, and why it is good and bad. Often a good point is well made in parallel:

Wow ‘eh? Of course I’d have you re-read the my post and the discussion after it too, as there were some damn fine raiders who spoke up, but these links are good.

Thanks to Isisxotic, Jez,  Leit, Karegina, and Rakk.

Help! I’m frustrated by Mains and Alts

There is some background drama in my guild at the moment, which centers on the topic of rewarding Alts vs Mains in progression raiding: Should there be a penalty for switching mains, what about regular alts, and how do you handle loot in these scenarios?

Without naming folks I’d like to get some feedback from people who read this blog (as you’re clearly an intelligent bunch of high spec people).

I’m pretty open about having a more relaxed attitude toward my personal progress, but I take the policies of the guild very seriously. Heck, I’m the GM I should take it bloody seriously. I think a guild needs guidelines to protect against the people who would abuse the system, and sometimes that causes some angst to the players who would never dream of being selfish.

I said this in 2008: Often the feel of a discussion about progression can hurt feelings, or call out those with strongly held beliefs.

Yep, it sometimes sucks, but its the way of things. We have laws for the same reasons. A guild needs to protect the many, through consistency. I’ve seen more than enough dickheads in guilds in the past, and thankfully they are now all ex-guildies. The set we have now in Insidious are pretty solid people.

What is happening now is that we have a few raiders who wish to switch to different roles or different characters within the raid team. It raises potential drama as until now we’ve never created a policy that stipulated how that occurred or what the affect was.

A player joins a team, and selects a role (meaning a Class and Spec choice) in a team and should stick to it. Sometimes that role might be a Tank, Dps, Healer, whatever. There are also times when the player needs to switch spec for some reason. All good, that is normal. The actual reason for the change is basically irrelevant to me.

This so so that the team can learn to be cohesive, progress well, and be rewarded. Gear and entertainment are essentially why people are Raiding, so the team should do everything to make that happen.

But what happens when a member wishes to switch either character or spec?

I don’t mean for a fight, or even for a single run, I mean what happens when the Druid Tank wishes to become a Death Knight Tank (eg. a change of Character with the same role)? If that is allowed, is that new DK also OK to grab Plate Dps gear before the Warrior Tank? What about all the leather Agi gear, trinkets, and other items that druid has taken which is “lost” to the rest of the team.

Or when a main Dps decides they wish to Heal? What do you do when that really nice Staff drops and two healers both want it – one has been waiting as healer for months, and the other started healing last week.

After many years playing my gut tells me that switching mains causes drama and disruption within the team. The affect might be small, but it is there. It could also be large, messy, dramatic, and a total pain in the arse.

What happens when the player has to play the old-main because the raid can’t fit the new main selection, or they need the old role because now they need to recruit? Do they gear gear as a main or alt?

I believe that there should be a period where the player is de-prioritised for loot. In affect I think that any character that the player brings to the raid should be treated as an Alt for loot distribution while the team adjusts.

This is so:

  • The switch over to a new Main is discouraged. The carrot is the new character or role, the stick is that they have to give something up too.
  • The other raiders are not competing straight away for loot against the new Main.
  • If the player decides they don’t like the new role after all and change again, they have not taken gear away from another player.
  • If the player has to play the old role, they do not take loot which they won’t use in the long term either.
  • other players can know and see directly what is a Main vs an Alt.
  • when the raid leader decides, the interim penalty period is dropped and the person is now a Main.
  • That period might be a day or a year depending on all sorts of things like gear ilevel, participation, attitude, competing roles, flexibility, competency, etc. I suggested the period be flexible so that we have choice.

The counterpoint view to this is that people should be able to switch characters and roles as they wish at any time, and they everyone can be trusted. I’ve been told that there is actually no problem here at all. Having a policy is not needed, and that it is insulting to some people within the team as it seems I don’t trust my raiders. Thus this post was born.

And that counterpoint is partially right. I don’t trust that we won’t have drama, and therefore I want a policy. Make it a rule that applies equally, and there can be no favorites.

To me the idea of no rule is just chaos, and serves people who have many alts more than it serves focused players. I think it will lead to wasted loot and drama very quickly.

I see the new Main as being almost the same as a new player joining the team. There is a time where you’re not sure how everything will share out, so having some protection in place for the people who have been consistent is important.

What are your thoughts?

Please post, comment, etc as I’d really like to know if I’m off my rocker on this issue.