Legendary Fallout

Well, the nightmares I’ve had about a chain reaction of /gquits upon the announcement of who is getting the legendary staff did not actually materialize, which is a bonus.

Having said that, I’m sure some people are unhappy.

Awarding a legendary is, in my opinion, often a lose-lose situation. There are always people who will be disappointed, always people who will feel slighted. I’m still annoyed that I didn’t get Val’anyr in Ulduar. I was very new to the guild, yes, but when I look at who ended up getting the mace, it still makes me want to cry and/or smash things.

The process they went through to determine Val’anyr in that particular guild was, well, shrouded in secrecy and subject to a lot of drama because quite a few people left the guild before the announcement had been made, for some reason. (I was new, I was keeping my mouth shut so I didn’t ask why, but the guild lost at least 2 healers who would have been awarded the mace before the priest who got it.)

Obviously, I felt I deserved the mace, but I knew I hadn’t been there long enough to show them that I was actually more deserving of the mace than the priest who got it. Essentially, that was the difference. The priest who got it had been there for, well, I believe it’s years.

That didn’t sit right with me. I mean, don’t get me wrong — I value loyalty, myself, but when the person you’re giving the legendary to is clearly someone who does NOT understand their class… well, you’re doing yourself and your guild a disservice. The priest in question may have been an officer (strictly in an advisory position, not a role lead) but he didn’t have Spirit of Redemption back when it was GOOD and gave you 5% extra spirit. What priest wouldn’t want 5% extra spirit back in Wrath of the Lich King when it added to your regen AND to your spellpower? I mean, to me, from my perspective, the recipient of Val’anyr was in no way worthy of the mace.

What I did in setting up the legendary distribution for Apotheosis was open a thread for people to express their interest. We had 8 casters who did so. 3 mages, 3 warlocks, 1 shadow priest and 1 elemental shaman.

After several days, I closed the thread, so everyone had plenty of time to throw their name in the hat, so to speak. I was sure to inform all new casters joining the guild (a shadow priest, a moonkin) that they wouldn’t be considered for the legendary at this time as the candidates had already been decided upon. I felt it was important to let them know that before they joined. (The number of people I saw apply to guilds hoping to get Val’anyr crafted/finished was hilarious.)

We were fairly transparent in the way we did things. As I said yesterday, the officers on the selection team ranked all 8 of the casters.

We ended up with a tie. Two of our mages ended up with 25 points apiece, followed by a shadow priest, followed by an elemental shaman.

So while instance servers were borked last night, we had the mages roll off.

Now, being a sociologist, a simple /roll would not, to me, be sufficient in awarding the staff. You can’t just have it be one roll. So the selection team had okayed a series of 5 rolls each. We’d take the high roll for each and throw it out, take the low roll for each and throw it out and then add the three numbers that remained, then divided that number by 3 to get the average (mean) and that would be “the number”. The highest number would win.

Here’s what happened, because this alone is freaking legendary.

Can you believe that? They both rolled a 60, Mabriam rolled a 74, Majik rolled a 73 and they both rolled an 81 at the same time. My stats background wants more rolls between these two guys, to be honest…

I feel as though we handled the tie well and I don’t think either Majik or Mabriam are upset with the results of the roll-off. That was as fair as it could be and it was honestly down to the wire. The difference in their final numbers was 0.67.

Of course, given our expectations of crafting at least one staff, probably two, the reactions of Majik and Mabriam are not the ones to worry about.

It’s everyone else, ranked #3 to #8, plus the guild as a whole.

One of the issues I am anticipating fielding is why one of our top performers is not in the top two. Night in and night out, our shadow priest is pretty much right up there on the meters.

If it were based strictly on damage output, the shadow priest in question would have been the #1 selection for the entire selection team. In fact, if it was based on pure damage, there wouldn’t have been a need for a selection team at all. As it was, the shadow priest was in everyone’s top four, but even if he had been in everyone’s top three, he still wouldn’t have been in the top two, based on the points per ranking.

I can’t tell you why people ranked the candidates the way they were. I’m not those people. Nor am I going to discuss my own choices or my personal reasons for my choices, because I feel there would be a conflict of interest in sharing that. There’s a reason we were neatly sequestered away and discussed the legendary and the candidates privately. In part, it was to prevent hurt feelings among the candidates who were ranked lower and in part, it was to be able to discuss the pros and cons of each candidate honestly and bluntly. But there was no collusion or anything of the sort. We had our discussions, then I had the selection team send me, via PM, their ranked selections. I’d made my list before looking at any of theirs and then posted everyone’s selections to the private section of the forums for the selection team to see that I wasn’t cooking the books or anything. In doing so, I was transparent to the officers and they could hold me accountable by saying “Kurn, that’s not my selection!” if I’d messed with anything. But obviously, I didn’t.

What I will say is that the legendary selection process was based on performance, attendance, participation and attitude. I’ll say it wasn’t an easy decision (although anything was easier than actually coming up with a legendary selection process!) and I struggled with my own choices. As an officer, I routinely ignore friendships and personal relationships with people in the guild when looking at performance and the like in a raid setting. I feel as though I evaluated each candidate appropriately and I feel that I have an explanation for each of my personal rankings that is based on facts, logic and evidence. I would hope that the other officers on the selection team can back up their decisions as well. I believe they can.

It’s not enough to say “hey, casters, you guys are awesome anyway!” in the wake of an announcement like this, though. No matter what, no matter how defensible the decisions are, there will always be hurt feelings because a legendary is viewed as a status symbol, as recognition for going above and beyond.

So it’s only today, more than two years after the announcement came down from my then-guild that a priest would be the first recipient of Val’anyr and that I would be the second, that I really, truly understand that there’s no winning when it comes to handing out a legendary. I feel that we maximized transparency in the process, that we were as open and honest as possible with people at every step of the way and ultimately, I’m satisfied with the decision that was made from an empirical point of view.

As a guild master, I think that I have to look at the process and be satisfied with what we did. As a person, I’m happy that Majik got it, obviously, but I think that I put in checks to prevent my own bias from having too much of an effect, such as having other people making the decision with me. I was one of four voices. And then, most notably, there was the roll-off, which acted as a final check to protect anyone if they came up against Majik at the end. Clearly, the selection team as a whole was comfortable in both of those mages receiving the legendary and the roll just determined the order. The roll was clean, unbiased, and gave Mabriam a chance to get the first one.

We could have just given it to someone without all this hullaballoo. We could have just had the 8 interested people /roll a single roll. We could have just done “eeny-meeny-miney-moe”. But we didn’t. We invested a significant amount of time, effort and discussion into the process and I think that’s the best we could do.

In a way, I’m not thrilled that Majik won out, because no matter how much effort was put into the process, it still LOOKS like we just favoured him over everyone else, when that’s really not the case. But I can’t control what people think. I can’t control what people do. I can only do what I feel is best for the guild at any given time.

Matticus said this, the other night, on Twitter:

And no, I’m not getting myself worked up over a game. No sir. I’m worked up over people and situations, that is all.

How right he is. This isn’t about the game. The crux of this game, for me, is raiding. Raiding is allllll about people and situations.

With any luck, we’ll get through without any overt drama from the legendary announcement, but I’ll tell you right now that just because my nightmare of a chain of /gquits didn’t happen at the time of the announcement doesn’t mean that I’m not still sitting on the edge of my chair thinking that it might.

20 comments

  1. Ophelie says:

    I think that what would have bothered me with that process is that it sounds like you had no non-officers involved in the decision. (Maybe I just read it wrong and you did have a couple of non-officers on the committee, in which case just ignore this comment!)

    When it comes to a big decision, just knowing what’s going on isn’t enough. People like to feel as if they have a say. Plus, officers, especially long term officers, have a really different view of what’s going on within the guild than non-officers. Their view obviously isn’t WORSE, but non-officers *are* the majority and definitely deserve representation.

    If I were in a legendary earning guild, I wouldn’t care who eventually got the legendary (unless it’s a healer legendary) but I certainly wouldn’t stay in a guild that didn’t allow me to get involved in a decision process just because there weren’t any current officer openings.

    But at the end of the day, I’m just glad that none of my guilds are in a position to even think about legendaries!

  2. Jasyla says:

    The tough part is that there is no one correct way to award a legendary. There are some wrong ways, but no right way that everyone will agree on.

    I think you guys did a good job. You made the process as transparent as possible and tried to be as fair as you could. I think loot is the worst possible thing to have drama over. If anyone gets super worked up about not recieving a legendary, then it shows they’re not that much of a team player (which is a huge requirement in a raiding guild). As long as you looked at the important factors (performance, loyalty, attitude, etc.) I don’t think anyone has cause to complain.

    Even in my one brush with legendary possiblities, where it was awarded to someone who couldn’t even stay alive through an entire boss fight over me, I didn’t get that upset. Sure, I was pissed, but I got over it. I certainly never quit (or threatened to quit) my guild over it. It’s just some orange pixels.

    I haven’t had enough interaction with most of the caster dps or spent much time looking at dps logs to have a real opinion on who the most worthy recipient in Apotheosis is. But in general, I like the idea of giving legendaries to officers. Officers usually put more time and effort into the guild than others and they’re usually very loyal. I’ve never had a problem seeing these things go to officers or thought those decisions were based on favoritism.

  3. Kaleri says:

    Ophelie, I think you just hit the nail on the head with this “I think that what would have bothered me with that process is that it sounds like you had no non-officers involved in the decision.” It was *all* officers, and the winner was an officer. I know everyone worked hard to avoid bias (especially you, Kurn ;) ) but well, people will see what they want to see when they’re upset. But um, I’m not upset – I know some people are though.

    A poll might have worked nicely to supplement the officer vote. As a guild, we are building this together after all!

    Personally, I’m okay with the decision. I’m glad you were as transparent as you said you would be, and I’m really glad this was all figured out in the weeks prior unlike some other times *cough*GLAIVES*cough*.

    In the end, you should have saved yourself teh dramz and given’er to me! MWHAHAHA ;)

    Congrats again to the weiners! (Now, let’s get me that dragon pet, kthx!)

  4. Zosima says:

    Great post, Kurn. I know this is a topic at the forefront, and sadly in the shadows, of a lot of guilds right now. I appreciate the peek behind the curtain you’ve allowed us.

    I avoided this issue as long as I could in Acheron. Thankfully the raid group I lead has a nice track record of discussing major decisions. We run on a “bro-council with a /roll tiebreaker” loot system so we aren’t afraid to discuss loot. Sometimes it’s very candid. Even with that, folks seem to be hesitant to join the discussion on the forum about who to reward with the legendary.

    Maybe that’s the hard part…rewarding. Most of our raid views loot as a tool which helps us get to the next pixelated adventure. It’s a lot easier to compare a couple players, check loot and do a little math to keep the raid balanced. I believe a lot of players see the legendary as going beyond stats and into the much more subjective touchy-feely world.

    With this type of decision it’s hard to separate raw numbers form personal feelings…and maybe you shouldn’t. These decisions and how they play out are part of what separates good groups from great ones.

    We don’t have our answer yet. I’ve chosen not to spend raid time to discuss it until either our last boss dies or we run out of time in the raid week. I’m interested in hearing how your situation plays out. Hopefully with enough maturity our raiders, even those who aren’t in full agreement, can move forward and focus on all the things that bind the team together.

  5. Kurn says:

    Ophelie – You’re absolutely right, there were no non-officers on the selection team. There were four officers of our seven on the team. I actually WANTED three people (a healer, one of our casters who wasn’t up for the legendary and a melee DPS) to round out the team, but the other officers nixed that for the reason that “everyone is saying, boy, I’m so glad *I* don’t have to decide who gets the legendary!”. In the interest of compromise and with a mind to get the show on the road, I allowed that they had a point.

    I had the three people all figured out, too and thought it would have made a nice balance.

    The pitfalls of not being a dictatorial GM! ;)

    Jasyla – I tend to agree with you on the officer front, but given that we’re so new as a reformed guild, it didn’t seem right to just hand it over to Majik without any kind of chance for others, so I’m glad we went through the process. I’m also glad that you think we did a good job. I really appreciate your comment, thank you. :)

    Kal – see my above response to Ophelie! :) One thing I didn’t want to do was a guild-wide poll and turn it into a popularity contest, which would have skewed results severely towards those who are more outspoken versus those who are quieter but still make significant contributions. Maybe having a guild poll count as one set of rankings, though, would have been an idea? Hm. Food for thought for next time, for sure.

    Seems like that past guild of ours really wasn’t on top of things in terms of legendaries, eh? ;)

    I’m glad you’re glad we were as transparent as we could be, btw. I’m happy people appreciate that.

    And we’ll see about the next legendary… dinner is on you, I believe? ;)

    Zosima – Thanks so much for your comment! I really wanted to document everything I could about the legendary process so that others could see what a guild has gone through to do it, even if it’s not how their guild is doing it. I also wanted to get people to actually start thinking about the legendary if they haven’t already, since I think the biggest mistake is going to be people walking into the instance without knowing who should get it.

    Good luck to you and your group! I’ll definitely keep posting updates about our decision. :)

  6. John says:

    I don’t know if you realize it but your method of averaging is fairly likely to cause close calls. Since they were taken from the same random source, the more samples you take the closer to true mean (50.5) you’ll get. You even threw out high and low which pushes it closer. And I don’t know if you’ve heard of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem. But because you sorted the data after the fact, the chance of them having a collision is about 20%.

  7. John says:

    I meant to add the overall chance is still pretty low, but prob 1:100 not 1000s, or millions. The reason is that you have 5 rolls each, and any of them can collide with any of the other five. So five rolls is actually 25 collision chances.

  8. John says:

    Oh and your roll method means you can win all rolls but one and still lose.
    P1 P2
    10 5
    2 1
    2 1
    2 1
    2 6
    —–
    18 14
    You drop 10 and 2 from P1, 6 and 1 from O2. Ending w 2 2 2 vs 5 1 1, average 2 vs 2.3.
    P2 lost 4/5 rolls, had the lowest total, yet wins. Reminds me of the US electoral college. I think we’ve had 5 presidents that lost the majority vote, but played the electorates for a win. (Eg get 50.1% in some keys states, have your opponent get 99% in the others).

    Actually that actually happened here. Mabrium only won one roll and tied on another, while Majik won 3 rolls.

    I personally have a lot more faith in a one roll system. I’m curious to see the actual statistics. Eg assume distributions with genuinely different mean. What averaging system / roll-off ensures that the higher mean wins most of the time.

    Anyway you told them the rules before hand, you did it in good faith, and they agreed to it. So don’t lose sleep over it. Just get 2 staves…:)

    But you might consider next time changing your stat function.

  9. John says:

    Sorry to keep on this, but I find statistics fascinating.

    Majik also had the highest overall total:
    Mab Maj
    78 91
    74 60
    60 73
    30 56
    81 81
    ——-
    323 361

    Basically, Maj’s highest was further from his mean and his lowest was closer to his mean, while Mab’s “outlier” was his low one, and his high was close to the average.

    If you plot it as a histogram 5s: (sorry it is sideways, but proportional fonts suck for ascii art):
    00
    05
    10
    15
    20
    25
    30 x
    35
    40
    45
    50
    55 o
    60 x o
    65
    70 x o
    75 x
    80 x o
    85
    90 o
    95
    100

    Anyway, as they say, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Stats can be *very* useful, but they can always be twisted this way and that by massaging your criteria, post-factor analysis (it wasn’t significant this way, but it is significant that way), what defines an outlier, etc.

    Surprisingly good rolls overall, though, averages of 64 vs 72.

  10. adgamorix says:

    See – I completely disagree with Ophalie. If you’re going to go that route, might as well bugger off will all the officer roles in general. What’s up for debate next – how to handle BoEs? How to award other loot? Sure, that can work in a small guild, but not (in my opinion) a guild with more than just friends.

    Now I would say that I would have added in one other stipulation, and that’s the one we used when doing the Val’anyr. The recipient of the legendary is dead last on any ‘main spec’ loot. This way you have someone who ‘really’ wants it, and is willing to give up everything to get it.

  11. Dahrla says:

    Adgamorix, the legendary is going to cost EP equivalent to the cost of any 2H weapon for a caster at that ilvl. Other than that, there is no stipulation that Majik is going to take a backseat to the other casters when it comes to other gear. To be fair, it’s going to be a long time before the legendary is going to be crafted, and I think it would be detrimental to the guild as a whole to hold loot back from him for months. I’m in the guild and want it to succeed.

    And you don’t think guild input is important? I agree with Ophelie, and it’s clear Kurn agreed with her, too. I just wish Kurn had stood by her initial feelings and overridden her other officers to bring in those non-officers for their input into the process. As one of the non-officers of the guild, I feel a bit like Ophelie touched on – just because I wasn’t part of Kurn’s old guild, it doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to be an officer and do an officer’s duties or look out for the best interests of the guild. We have a lot of qualified, mature, dedicated people in this guild, all of who would have very good ideas and inputs to bring to the officer table. To shut us all out of that IS a bit disheartening. Sad, but true.

    It’d be different if Kurn built this guild on “what I say goes, I only care about what the officers think, and go join another guild if you want your input heard.” But she didn’t – she actually does care about what we think. I’m sure she gets PMs every single day consisting of complaints, because she’s always asking us to tell her how we’re feeling. Can’t be easy being a GM. But it’s what she wanted in the first place. Can’t really fault the non-officers for feeling a bit let down by being shut out of this particular process.

  12. Falrei says:

    In my opinion, it somewhat depends on how the officers were chosen. In my guild back when we did 25’s, and thus had a hierarchy of officers and such, we HAD some officers that were chosen BY the guild to better voice what they wished. Thus, any guildee who wasn’t an officer had at least some voice through that elected officer which better represented the guild as a whole than the GM’s and the officers chosen strictly by them to run the guild. I’m not sure if Apotheosis is like that or not, but I suspect it’s not.

    If that is the case, then Dahrla is treading on a real muddy grey area of how to run things. If you have a GM and officers, and your GM (and possibly other officers) is/are already trying very hard to listen to their guildees and best represent them and not lord over them, then it seems like there should be very little room for dissent. If the guild wished to run like a democracy, where everyone’s voice was equally heard and represented, then why have a GM or officers at all? It seems to me that there are at least some choices that the bulk of the guild is going to be left out of and I’m surprised that there would be hurt feelings now that a decision was made. Other than the roll off, which seemed a bit odd (I’d have gone back to the officers and said “Ok, now we only have two candidates to choose from, and I want you to apply the process we initially did for 8 and apply it to two”), I think she did a marvelous job of painstakingly making the process as fair and judicial as possible. It certainly was more in depth than my guild did for choosing the recipients of our four legendaries gained in Wrath, and we only lost one person in the process – and that was more of a failing of their own work than hurt feelings.

  13. Rohan says:

    I feel kind of lucky that my guild is not going to have any issues about who gets the Legendary. We have one warlock who is:

    – consistently top dps in the guild
    – been in the guild for over 2 years
    – is an officer
    – has 95% attendance
    – does a lot of the odd jobs like ringing bells on Atramedes
    – well liked and respected

    I’m pretty sure there would be a minor mutiny if this warlock *didn’t* get the Legendary.

  14. Ophelie says:

    @Admagorix I completely disagree. An officer’s job is to keep the guild running smoothly. That means activity planning, conflict resolution, policy enforcement etc. Essentially, they make the guild enjoyable for ALL the members. When the members don’t have a say in what’s going on, then the officers don’t know how to make the guild enjoyable and THATS when officers become useless.

    Obviously SOMEONE has to make a last call, and that person is typically the GM or the officer in charge of whatever the decision is about, but anyone concerned by a decision should be allowed to voice an opinion.

    As for how to distribute BoEs, loot, etc? Yes! Those SHOULD be up for debate. Changing a loot system although might be a bit over the top (but then again, if a huge majority of people want it changed it could happen) but I was a very large guild once with a loot council that was 50% officers and 50% non-officers. Their loot system was one of their best assets and in over a year, I only saw 2 or 3 incidents. As for policies like BoE handling, there’s nothing wrong with making a thread in the forums for everyone to speak their piece.

    It’s not hard to manage at all. It’s just like real life: many people don’t vote or lobby, but if you take away their right to vote or lobby, they’ll be pissed.

  15. Rohan says:

    Sigh, right after posting the comment above, said warlock announces he’s taking a break from the game. That will teach me not to comment.

  16. […] day, some friends of mine from a previous guild had reached out to me to express their feelings on who was chosen to receive the first caster legendary staff.  There were some points they brought up that I agreed with and some that I […]

  17. Bones says:

    Just think Kurn, with all this taken care of for now… you get to do it all over again in 4.3 for the next one.

  18. Hana says:

    I dreaded having to deal with this in my guild because:

    1) As a 10-man guild we do not have formal officers. All 12 members of the raid team are allowed to give their input on various issues with me as the guild master making the final call.

    2) I’m one of the raiders eligible for the legendary.

    I opened up a thread to debate and said that I would leave myself out of it and let the guild decide. There were really only two reasonable choices for the legendary. It would be me or our warlock, but on rare occasions I serve as a backup tank or backup healer. Our warlock could use it full time, and I would in all likelyhood use it 90% of the time.

    My guild ended up voting for me, but it’s still hard to come out and say, “Well, it looks like the staff will be going to me!” without feeling like a heel. I’m hoping we progress far enough that our warlock will be able to get one too, but I don’t know how long the raid cycle is going to last and we’re a 10-man guild so we know it’s going to be slower.

  19. slice says:

    the dreaded who gets the legendary question…

    Looks like your process to me was fair!

    But just wanted to say grats on the heroic twin dragons kill!

  20. Jen says:

    I don’t know what your former guild situation was, but I’m pretty sure our new mage will be just as upset as you that he’s not getting the legendary. We had to choose between said mage and a boomkin. The mage is a good player, fairly reliable, doesn’t stand in fires, can bang gongs and so on… but he’s been in the guild for only 3 or so months and he’s a know-it-all who annoys me to no end. The boomkin has worse awareness, his DPS is meh, but he’s been in the guild since the beginning, handles the site for us, never missed a raid and I’m convinced he won’t leave the guild until it implodes. I value those things over DPS and the other officers agree, so he will be getting the first legendary.

    (And if Mr. Mage decides to ragequit about it… well, that’s point proven!)

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