Systemic Looting of Your 25 Naxx Pug

Pickup raids. We can’t live with ‘em and we can’t live without ‘em. For the players that don’t have the scheduling ability to raid with a guild, they have no choice but to raid with 24 other players ranging from the chivalrous to the downright nasty.

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a Naxx 25 pug on my alt Shaman which went somewhat smoothly for the most part. Patchwerk and Four Horsemen absolutely stoned the raid and we had to call it later.

Loot System

Here’s how loot was handled and I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

1 Tier roll for entire night
1 Need/1 Greed for Spider and Plague Wing combined
1 Need/1 Greed for Military and Abomination Wing combined

I felt that it was simple and that it worked. With the amount of loot that drops in Naxx, this was simple, fast, and effective. Players were limited to only one tier piece, period. But having four other roles helped prevent sharding of gear and helped spread the loot around more than if it was just 1 need, 1 greed.

My Elemental Shaman clocked in at ~1900 DPS on Patchwerk. I got some more work to do, it seems.

Handling loot in pugs is a lot more different then handling loot in guilds.

Have you participated in any Heroic raids lately? How has loot been handled?

8 Great Rules to Follow for Forming Your Pickup Raid

8 Great Rules to Follow for Forming Your Pickup Raid

With the release of 2.4, I’ve taken the opportunity to organize Magtheridon and Gruul’s raids (with Dager’s help, since he’s the best pally on Ner’Zhul). For the most part, they are considered pickup raids in the fact that they do not consist entirely of my guild. Rather, we go through an exhaustive step-by-step process in order to filter out players and ensure loot fairness as much as possible. In today’s post, I want to highlight what was done in Mag’s encounter from start to finish for players who wanted to set up their own polished and successful pickup raids.

So why Mag?

Personally, I like to refer to him as Bagtheridon. In addition to 3 set tokens, he drops 3 badges, a 20 slot bag, and a bag filled with epic and blue gems. My motive for going in there was getting a 20 slot bag along with an epic gem. Other than badges, it’s the only early way for guilds to get gems unless they go take cracks at Hyjal or Black Temple.

"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."
Alexandar Graham Bell

Set a time in advance

First, pick a time and day that will not conflict with your official raid. We don’t officially raid anything on Saturday and I know that we have players in the Eastern Time Zone. In my case, I picked a time of 4:00 PM on Saturday. This allowed ample time for people to run any errands they had before hand and allowed them to risk not losing the rest of their evening. I made a point of mentioning every day that I was organizing a Mag’s lair run on Saturday so that my Guildmates would know.

Handpick your players first

When you’re selecting the players to form the raid, want to ideally choose the players that you have raided with in the past or know by reputation due to their Guild. I started out initially with Carnage players. Many of them have alts that I knew would be interested in getting gear from Mag. Once I filled it out with players from my Guild, I started turning outward to players that I know. In this case, I alerted both Dager (Blue Moon) and Agrona (Fallen Heroes) that I was organizing a Mag run and asked if they were either interested or had players in their guild interested in going. I was able to cobble together an effective raid using no more than 3 guilds. In a fight like Mag, you’ll want a composition along the lines of:

  • 4 tanks
  • 8 healers
  • 2 rogues
  • 2-3 warlocks
  • assorted DPS

Again, adjust your raid group as needed.

Prioritize your positions

In an encounter like Mag, there’s a minimum number of tanks and healers that you need in order to successfully complete the encounter. I wanted at least 4 tanks since I knew Dager would be able to handle 2 of the initial ads (Prot. Paladin). For healers, I wanted to be conservative and take 8. Make sure you leave those slots reserved for those roles. The worse thing that can happen is where you have to ask a player to leave because you need a healer instead.

Start invites early

Even though I scheduled the raid for 4 PM, I started forming the raid at 330 PM. Because like life, you cannot control all the variables and it is better to err on the side of being early then being late. Forming a pickup raid is not quite the same as forming a guild raid. You never know which players might have to leave early or cannot commit. Our Mag raid didn’t begin until 430 PM. Yes, it took us an hour to form the raid and get everyone here. To be fair, I was munching on food and delegated some quick tasks to my assistants since we were missing a few more players.

Macro assignments

If it’s important, macro it. You don’t know what kind of players you are getting. You don’t know if they’re actually listening on vent or not. You just don’t know them. If it’s important to the success of your raid, macro it for easy repeating.

Some things to consider macro’ing:

  • Vent server: randomventserver.nationvoice.com :: 10001 :: PW – worldofmatticus
  • Loot rules: This might take up 2 different macros depending on how extensive it is. But you will want this in your library of macros for easy repetition. See below.
  • Tanking assignments: Hold your tanks by the hand. Write down exactly what marked targets they’re supposed to get.
  • Healing assignments: Once your tanks know who to go after, make sure you set up healers for the appropriate tanks. It’s okay to double shift healers. I put myself on the 1st, 4th, and 5th ad tanks. I set up a Druid to look after the 3rd and 4th ad tanks.
  • Cube clickers: Very important to have – /rw TEAM CLICKERZ: KAYPASSA RYANDAN GHETTO FAVRE YEESH

Having macros in place allows you to answer questions with ease. Plus if something isn’t working properly, you can go back in and adjust it without having to rely on your memory. I know I can never remember which healer is on which tank unless I write it down.

Make your loot rules known in advance

A surefire way to tarnish your reputation is by mishandling loot or misinforming your raid group. By setting your loot rules in advance, then the raid can at least hold you accountable. If someone raises an issue at the end regarding loot, you can also say that loot rules were mentioned beforehand and by coming into the raid, they waive any rights to complain about loot after (but that’s the law student in me).

Here’s an example:

/rw Loot rules: 1 Item per player
/rw NEED: Primary spec 1st
/rw GREED: Off spec 2nd
/rw Mag’s head: Free roll
/rw =============
/rw If 2 or more of the same tokens drop, top rolls get it.
/rw BAG and GEMS gets randomed 1-25 according to Saph’s Window

I allow players to free roll Mag’s head as I don’t know who has done the quest before and who has not. Typically when going through the rolls, I call out the name and highest roll number on vent so people know who is highest. If someone else rolled higher, I’m hoping someone else in the raid can correct me. During rolls, I also initiate a countdown from 5 down to 1 followed by a cut off dash. Any rolls that come after the dash do not count. I will not accept late rolls because they have 5 seconds to look at the loot being offered and decide whether or not they want it. We don’t have all day to stand around for players to ask opinions of their Guildies and friends on whether or not they should roll for it.

With regards to the 2+ same token policy, I set it this way so that I don’t have to sort through rolls twice. On the other hand, you could make the case that this allows players with low rolls a second chance at getting the set item that they want but that has both it’s upsides and downsides.

The random 25 policy on bags and gems is there because I really don’t want to go through everyone’s rolls 5 different times. After the 20 slot bag is taken care of, the gems are next. They appear in a nice, green bag that you have to open and extract the gems from (I had 3 epic gems, and 2 blue gems).

1 item per player is there to minimize any possible accusations of favoritism. This means that at least 10 different players will walk away with some kind of loot.

Notice that the loot rules and policies here are designed to be as neutral and self-explanatory as possible in order to encourage repeat raiders. Since I plan on making this a weekly operation, it would be very stupid if I changed the loot rules in the last minute or set them in an unfair fashion. I might prioritize loot in the future, but it’s extremely important for me to be as fair and objective as possible when it comes to handling loot. The last thing I want to get is a bad reputation.

Make sure everyone stays during loot

We did Gruul’s lair right afterwards and right after Gruul dropped, we had a Defender token drop. A portal was immediately established for those that didn’t need any loot so that they could get out. The Priest who won decided to pass in favour of giving it to one of the tanks who also rolled. That tank in turn wanted to pass to a different Priest who might have benefited from it.

It was a noble act that the players did in order to pass the loot to the undergeared players. But the 3 players that did roll took the portal out! As a result I could not loot it to them! This indecision resulted in the token going to someone else who had no interest in the piece and did not even roll.

So, for you players that have any interest in attending pug runs, here some quick lessons for you:

  1. Don’t ever leave until all of the loot gets handed out. You never know when a better geared player will pass the item to you.
  2. Either want something or don’t. Please don’t roll on an item and then pass afterwards.
  3. Roll before the line, not after it.

Know when to cut losses

Finally, establish a cut off point. Either pick a number of wipes or pick a time when you will call the raid. Pickup raids certainly aren’t worth the time or frustration of progression runs. A good number is calling it after 5 wipe or 90 minutes. It might be disappointing for sure, but realize that eventually you’re going to hear a chorus of "I gotta go!". Once that happens, the hunt for replacements is going to either take too long resulting in more people leaving or just not happen at all due to attrition and fatigue.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the above image, yes Canadians do play volleyball during the winter.

6 Reasons Why I Will Never Pug A 25 Man Raid Again

Frustration and anger

Pickup: 1: composed of or employing whatever persons are available on a more or less impromptu basis:

It was a Monday. It was 1800 hours when I got the call. My healing services were need in SSC. The Carnage strike team already cleared it out on Sunday so I tasked myself to bring in my alt, Saphfira.

It was 3 hours of hell that I wish I had back. It didn’t help that my beloved Canucks were getting stomped on by Minnesota (was listening to it on the radio).

Anyway, this is definitely the last time I ever sign onboard a pickup raid of any sort in the 25 man region, and here’s why:

Incompetent/Knowledgeless Raid Leader: The guy quarterbacking the raid clearly did not know the entire details of the Tidewalker encounter. He did not know that the Naga patrol behind Morogrim can be despawned by aggroing him. There’s a little tip for you budding SSC Guilds. If you want to clear out a quick group of Naga’s behind him, send in a Hunter with control of his pet and aggro Tidewalker. Make sure your raid is safely out of the way by falling back to the wooden bridges on the way in there. Once the pet dies, the patrol behind him will despawn saving you about 4 minutes worth of trash. He also did not know about Tidewalker’s ~50 yard Water Tombing ability. And when your Paladin tank is in the same area as Tidewalker lighting up consecrate and suddenly gets tombed…

Lack of Common Sense: Warlocks DoTTing up sheep targets. Tanks not grabbing targets fast enough. Not following instructions to move when asked to. Not running back when your corpse is literally on a boss. Shall I go on?

Attempting to Shortcut Mobs: Normally I’m a huge proponent of optimizing raid time. But when you’re pugging a difficult 25 man instance like this, it’s way better to be safe than sorry. In this case, we circumvented some of the Nagas by swimming underneath the wooden bridge towards Tidewalker and got up on to the platform on the other side. Naturally someone pulls a Boglord, which chain pulls nagas, which chain pulls murlocs. Time to break out the toilet paper. It’s another wipe. Rather than trying to skip 4 pulls, it would’ve been better to regroup on the bridge and just plow through them. 5 minutes of dealing with trash is better then 20 minutes of wiping twice and running back.

Inefficient Use of Time: Looking for people instead of actually raiding. A good hour and a half was spent trying to find the necessary players geared enough and willing enough to go in. The problem with SSC and TK right now is that most players only have one main that’s even anywhere close to being able to try out this content. Rarely are they ever going to have 2. Players on their mains are more than likely to raid T5 instances with their own Guild instead of a pug.

Lack of Consistent Work Ethic: People were asked to bring pots and flasks and other consumables to a raid. Clearly not everyone did. If some people aren’t going to be putting in 100% then they should not be there.

The Murphy Factor: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. And yeah it went wrong in a very big way.


In other news, Carnage will not be raiding on next Sunday. There are only 3 weekends in the entire year that we do not raid on.

1: Christmas
2: New Years
3: Super Bowl

It’s going to be a short week but a good week.

Leaving? But You Just Got Here!

I have often wondered what drives people to do the things that they do. At about 10 PM, I saw someone advertise that they were looking for a healer to help fill out Kara. Nightbane and above were the only bosses left. I opted to join. I had nothing really going on and I was tired of reading. I brought in Saphfira to collect some badges along the way. We wiped three times against Nightbane and then cleared to Curator taking him down in the process.

Here’s where things got eyebrow raising.

One of the mages had to leave.
Then a druid just left the group and hearthed.
Subsequently, we lost a Priest due to a family emergency.
A rogue had to raid in 20 minutes.

WHAT THE HELL!?

I think we did pretty well for the most part. We wiped on Nightbane, people stayed. We killed Curator, people left. When you join a raid, there’s a level of expectancy that is involved. It’s expected that your next 2 or so hours will be free from any other activities or interruptions. Your Guild expects that. Pickup players expect that. What the heck’s the point of joining a Karazhan raid when you have to raid 30 minutes later? These people are on my blacklist and I’m sure they looked bad to everyone else. At least we cleared Prince. Then I checked the clock and it was 130 AM. I fell asleep.

But I didn’t leave my group hanging. I told them beforehand that I could guarantee awakeness until 130 AM. After that, all bets were off. I’m not as young as I used to be. I can’t stay up until 4 AM anymore.

Exam on Thursday and on Saturday. Reduced blogload this week. WTB guest posters.