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.

13 thoughts on “Help! I’m frustrated by Mains and Alts

  1. Okay, so here’s our rule from our guild policies:

    “Switching Mains: When making an alt a main, please notify the Council. There is a two-week no-loot transition. The raider will still earn points, but cannot spend them.” (this is from when we were using dkp)

    In reality, it works something like this. A raider notifies our Council they would like to switch mains. You’re welcome to switch mains, but are made aware that it might affect your ability to get into raids if the role you are switching TO is already full on the roster.

    There is a two-week period where the new-main is not awarded loot over an existing main. So, in your example above, if a nice healing staff drops, during that two-week period, the person who has been healing for months gets it – not the new-main toon. If, however, no one else wants the staff, the new-main gets it, even if he’s within the two-weeks. There’s no sense in DEing something just because they’re in a trial period.

    After that two-week period, though – all are on equal footing.

    IF the raid leader requests someone play their old-main for raid comp reasons – it’s an alt, just like any other alt. Main toon gets priority over the alt.

    We also don’t allow “regular alts” in our raids. You are on your main, unless the raid leader asks that you switch for raid comp. Alts never get priority over mains.

    I’d caution you on the “flexible time period” policy, since it’s very open to accusations of favoritism.

    I hope this helps! I think you’re on the right track – having a policy in place for this sort of stuff really is a good idea to ward off any potential drama.

  2. The switching mains question is always a tricky one. I think one of the first questions you have to answer is whether this about switching to a different main or just wanting to bring in alts to raids.

    Another key consideration imo is where you are in progression. For instance starting a new tier puts everyone pretty much on an even keel for loot so it’s a good time to allow changes in the roster.

    I personally believe it’s important that the person wanting to change to a different main demonstrate their commitment by gearing up the potential new main to a level determined by the raid leadership.

    I think having a policy in place is more about accountability and transparency than lack of trust. If there is a clear path to X or Y then everyone knows where they stand.

    Loot is a tricky one – and I think dependent on where you are in progression. I think you could reach a balance between a ‘not the same loot privileges’ period of a couple of weeks or something and trusting that your raiders are unlikely to take the healing staff that the other long term healer has been waiting on for weeks.

    Just my two copper.

  3. What loot system do you use? Straight assignment based on raid benefit? It’s easier to sort the transition out in terms of gear if you’re using a system like SK that allows the player to make a conscious decision on what loot he’s going to roll, and comes with the built-in drawback of building back up to the point where they can suicide again. Thing is, the player has earned that loot, regardless of which character they’re on at the time.

    Personally, I play a lot of alts and so far have been in fairly casual guilds. An important aspect of that casual feel is to acknowledge that sometimes a player has been pigeonholed into a role and they’ll want a break from it. It also allows a lot of flexibility if someone can bring whatever character they like or is needed. For example, our strat for Baleroc trades off having an SPriest – we don’t usually have one, but we’ve got a couple of folks who will trade one in for that fight.

    I guess the point is that you need to look at the player, not their class/spec. If they’re good enough to meet expectations in their new role or class, treat them as you would everyone else.

  4. Dammit, I had this whole great long reply and the comment system ate it.

    Our raiders are allowed to switch mains, but they’re informed that they might not get as much raid time if they are switching to a role that is already full on our roster. Also, the gear of the new toon must be up to par for whatever the content is if they expect to get raid time.

    There is a two-week period where they get no loot. This discourages hopping around between characters and spreading gear across a bunch of toons.

    When we used DKP, during the two-week period the person could earn DKP, but not spend it. Now that we’re in 10 mans and just doing main spec > off spec, it means that the new-main has to pass on any loot that drops, but it’ll go to them if it would end up getting DE’d.

    I’d be wary of the “flexible time period” – it’s very open to accusations of favoritism.

  5. We’re using SK already Leit, that does not always mean that somebody will stay low-ish for long enough to my taste; but then I am a bit of a prick on loot.

    The real goal is to not disadvantage the regular specs for somebody who is new or switching.
    Thanks for the input. 🙂

  6. Hmm… staying low-ish is exactly my issue. If the player has put in the time and effort, then they’ve earned their gear, same as anyone else. I’m a bit of a prick about loot in that sense. The only thing to watch out for here is purple-focussed players who will gear a character and then switch out to gear the next, and so on. Ensuring that this kind of behaviour doesn’t happen is part of the Officers’ responsibility… but that leads into another point.

    Flex isn’t a good idea at all. The absolute last thing anyone in a guild wants to see is some people being treated differently from others. Regardless of the reasons, policy should be consistent and never subject to personal decision. It should be applied under exactly the same circumstances to everyone equally.

  7. Our raid leader actually changed mains this week. Within the same role, so no big deal to the roster, but even he is subject to the two-week policy. The policy applies to EVERYONE, including raid leaders and GMs.

  8. We had our GM switch roles sometime in tier 11. Our offtank left in a flurry of drama and if we wanted to move forward, we needed a 2nd tank. So our mage GM switched to his warrior and we continued to progress. Since our other tank had gotten all his gear from the bosses we had killed already, there was no loot drama.

    However, we have had people want to switch roles and toons before, however, we’ve been lucky that most of these people were switching to a class we didn’t have, so the gear drama was minimal.

    My guild used to have guidelines on what needed to be done to switch mains but I can’t find the forum post now. Which makes me think that someone deleted it as it’s no longer needed!

  9. “Flex isn’t a good idea at all. The absolute last thing anyone in a guild wants to see is some people being treated differently from others. Regardless of the reasons, policy should be consistent and never subject to personal decision. It should be applied under exactly the same circumstances to everyone equally.”

    Absolutely agree with Leit.

  10. Changing mains b/c the guild really needs a particular role/class is a heck of a lot different than someone changing class b/c they are bored with their old toon or just have nothing to gain from continuing raiding on that toon.
    There shouldn’t be any penalty for someone changing (or bringing an alt) because they are straight up asked to.
    I definitely agree that someone that wants to change needs to gear that toon up to an acceptable level before they can hope to bring the toon and a regular raider should expect to dislodge someone else from a regular raid spot if the guild was otherwise not recruiting that class/spec or role.
    When can they get loot?
    A two week wait seems silly and pointless if stuff they could use is otherwise being DE’d.

    IMO if you bring them then they should have a reasonable chance of getting loot. They are expected to contribute to the progression so it’s reasonable that they have a chance a loot. Sure RNG can be a bitch with certain items and if you’re running a SK system everyone knows what their chance of winning the next piece of gear is.
    It would be fair to make the new toon take usable gear that would otherwise be DE’d and suicide them rather than allow them to horde their spot in the SK list for a period of time, this makes it less likely that they will take that prized item the other plate/leather/cloth wearer has been waiting for AND gears them up.

    I think the bigger question is how are you going for attendance and do you need the class/spec combo they are changing too. Do other people in the guild get to pick and choose which toon they bring (which did happen in the past)? If so you can’t be too harsh on this person as then it looks like you’re playing favourites.

    We can also dip into the territory of some of your other threads and ask what is the priority of the guild? Progression or fun? Likely it is decent mix of both like it used to be. So it really boils down to why do they want to change and whether or not the other 9 regular guys really care or can come to some arrangement where Mr Toon Swapper agrees not to go for certain items until the regular guys in that role get them. When I was playing we never really had too much trouble coming to those kind of arrangements which is why alts never caused a huge amount of drama.

  11. As clarification we’ve not seen anyone switch because they have purple fever, its been primarily need based and also related to burnout. So generally its been a low priority thing till I started pondering how many times it has happened in this expansion. I don’t want somebody to be able to start doing it, and then us have a hassle.

    But I guess that there will be drama in that scenario, so perhaps codifying a rule to adjust for tards is treating the symptoms not the cause and the tard should just be told to %$#*! off.

    There has been the odd item that has gone to a toon that is played less, or now retired, and we’re also working through what the class switch will mean to the team, so the gravity of the recent changes is larger than the previous ones, but not staggering. The loss of one or two items is not a big deal; its the loss of players that really concerns me.

  12. Pingback: Clarified some Main and Alt thoughts | TyphoonAndrew's – Eye of the Storm

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