Thursday, January 8, 2015

4.22. The Loose End

Jungard shares his opinion on the possibility of
allowing Crasian to return to DoD (1/3),

 Regarding Collusion

[To: Crasian] I'm afraid I can't give you a re-invite.

[From: Crasian] Why not?

Because you're a selfish, ungrateful bastard that conspired against my guild.

[To: Crasian] I have reason to believe you were at the forefront of loot collusion during Ulduar and ToGC

[From: Crasian] What?! What are you talking about?

[To: Crasian] Do you deny that you were involved in any loot manipulation while a part of Eh Team?

[From: Crasian] Can we go to Vent?

[To: Crasian] Sure.

He was irritated and bitter. Crasian sounded as if ready to pounce on the real perpetrator. I had yet to be convinced that anyone was more guilty than him.

"Alright, that's better. So, who was it that said this?"

"Doesn't matter who said it; we can deal with that later. What I want to know right now is, in your own words, how and why you felt it was OK to manipulate the loot rules of this guild for your own personal benefit."

"Hanzo, I swear to you, I have no idea what you are talking about."

You're lying.

"Start at Ulduar. Eh Team is in its prime. You all decide to set up a private chat channel to talk shit about fail players in the 25. Continue."

"Ok, yeah...yeah we were in there. But it was just, y'know, like you said, there was some stuff people wanted to get off their chest, but it was mostly just a bullshit session in there."

"What was Eh Team's loot distro?"

"Need Before Greed. We worked out amongst each other who could really benefit the most from each drop."

That's not Need Before Greed.

"You actually just described 'Loot Council'."

"OK, I guess you're right, it was more of a loot council, then, but we were pretty fair about it, how we worked out who got what."

In your eyes, perhaps it was fair.

"How exactly did you 'work it out'. Describe the process to me."

"Well, it was just like you'd expect. We'd take a look at the piece, and figure out who it would benefit the most and then hand it over. Y'know? And if multiple people wanted something really badly, we'd work it out. Like I'll take it this week and then maybe you get the next one."

If there was a next one.

"Name some of the pieces you remember this situation coming up with. Where you decided to work it out with someone else, to take 'turns'."

"Ah, jeez. Ok. Let me think. Well the trinket in ToC was one for sure, what was that, Death's Choice?"

"Death's Choice drops in 25-Man"


"The trinket you just named, Death's Choice. It drops in 25-Man Tournament of Champions."

I know because I ended up with Bheer's after he left the guild, thanks to your stellar people skills.

"Right. Er, wait. Maybe that wasn't the one I was thinking of."

"This 'agreeing' beforehand that you did while in Eh Team may have been your business, Crasian, but when you started doing it in the 25-Man...that's collusion. Friendly or not. I'm sickened by the mechanics of Loot Council in general...but to hear that it was going on in that private chat while a part of the 25-Man? I'm sorry, chief. It's inexcusable. I can't have it in DoD."

I could hear the frustration building in his voice, trying to solve a puzzle with missing pieces.

"God! Listen, Hanzo, I am truly sorry about this. I'm telling you that I really had no idea this went against the rules, I mean, I never once thought about it that way. I never once considered it to be collusion. I mean, there were a bunch of people doing it, and I thought it was the right thing to do, to be fair to folks on the team, so that we could divvy things up. But when we chatted about it, everyone was participating."

Everyone? Or just you.

"I know you're smart enough to know that doesn't make it right."

"So, why are they all still in the guild?"

"Because a single person was responsible for facilitating this 'tit-for-tat' looting behavior. And they've put the finger on you."

"That's completely unfair!"

"Actually, let me back up a step, Crasian. Here's where it gets great. The official word from Eh Team is actually...nobody! Nobody is the ringleader. Nobody was in charge of the decision making. Which is extraordinarily convenient. But what they do say, individually, when that when it came to working out 'deals' on who got what and when and who should take the next turn and who should step back...they all agree that you drove the conversation."

Jungard shares his opinion on the possibility of
allowing Crasian to return to DoD (2/3),

Regarding Officership

Crasian was stunned. He scrambled for the words to explain his behavior in Eh Team, making every attempt to draw attention to the group as a whole, rather than his own personal behavior in the matter. But before he had a chance to gather his thoughts in his defense, I shifted into Round 2.

"The problem, Crasian, is that you're greedy. Your focus has been on loot for a very long time, but you've played the political landscape very well, chumming up against folks, offering to help with dungeon runs and heroics and achievements and all you gave off this great perception of being a super awesome guy in DoD. Meanwhile, you're making deals behind closed doors to ensure you have a steady stream of loot funneling your way."

"Hanzo, I genuinely did not do this with ill intent. Honestly. I never meant to wrong you or go against the guild rules."

I doubt you've even read the rules.

"Oh? So it wasn't your intent to break the rules when you stormed off in a huff when you lost your shot at Shadowmourne and officership?"

I waited a moment for him to process the topic shift. He'd have to build up an entirely new defense; it was only fair to pause for reconstruction. And I'm all about being fair. Being fair is my middle fucking name.

"I admit that I was pretty upset about losing out on Shadowmourne to Jungard. It was shitty."

"Yes, it was. But see, here's the thing, Crasian. You were an Elite. Remember? Elite! That means you're expected at every raid. You're raiding. You're signed up and showing up every Friday, every Sunday. Without question. Not just when it was convenient for you. Not just 'until skiing season starts'."

"Right, but I told you I was planning on skiing, didn't I?"

"No, no you didn't. And even if you did, and I just forgot -- because, it can happen, right? I miss things, sometimes. So, let's say I did forget, and you really did tell me you were planning on skiing in December, effectively taking you out of the 25-Man...then why would you have ever accepted your promotion to Elite? Why wasn't the very first thing out of your mouth, 'Hanzo, thanks so much for the promotion, but I have to respectfully decline as I'm going to be flying down a mountain in a couple of months'?"

"...I...see your point. That was a bad judgement call on my end. I guess I was a little more upset about losing the officer position to Jungard than I thought."

"So, as you can see, the case building up against you is not good. You made deals for loot in private chat channels. You took a promotion to Elite, a rank that mandates your presence, knowing full well that you'd be taking off in December. And you have the nerve to be offended that I chose a player over you that has been here longer, proven himself to be more objective, and more concerned about the long term health of the guild?"

Crasian was silent, processing my diatribe.

"Y'know, Jungard confided in me that he did actually try to work with you over a couple of items. So, even he isn't perfect. But, at the risk of making you look worse, Jungard claims that you never even bothered to follow through."

"Which items?"

"The cloak off Vezax was one. He passed to you, with the agreement that you would squeeze him into an Eh Team Algalon run. It never happened. As long as you get what you want, there doesn't really seem to be a huge priority for you to make time for others to get their stuff...even though the guild sees you as this 'super helpful guy that loves assisting with achievements'. Or is it really that you're assisting with achievements that you yourself still need?"

"That's not fair."

"Neither is loot council. Jungard says you tried again in ToC, to barter with him on passing for Death's Choice, with the plan that you'd then let him get Dual-Blade Butcher if it dropped. What's really great about that story is you already had a ilvl 245 weapon out of 10-Man heroic ToC. So it must have been just such a huge sacrifice for you to offer up a weapon you didn't need for an item you did."

Crasian still had no response to the repugnant claims being vomited into vent. It was time to wrap this up.

Jungard shares his opinion on the possibility of
allowing Crasian to return to DoD (3/3),

Regarding Bheer

"So, before we conclude this conversation detailing the many reasons why I cannot, in good faith, extend you a re-invite to the guild, I have to ask: what was it exactly that you said to Bheer to make him leave the guild?"

He paused a moment, then replied, "You mean when we were re-assembling Eh Team? He left because of that?"

What do you think?


"Bheer and I never really got along all that great to begin with..."

No shit?

"...and I was just getting tired of dealing with him. A lot of us were. He was very combative in vent, always arguing about a particular strat, how we were doing things. He'd bitch and moan during repeated wipes on some of the really hard stuff, and constantly question how we'd do things. It pissed me off and really just didn't have the patience for it...for him."

Carry on.

"So, I came back, and was like, look, we're going to do this ToC shit, and we don't really want you along this time around. Y'know? I mean, no offense, Bheer, but you're annoying the hell out of me. And if you decide that you're going to stay with Eh Team, well...then I'm just going to go ahead and start a brand new 10-Man, and there's a pretty damn good chance that the majority of Eh Team are going to come with me."


"So, you squeezed him out."

"I mean, I personally didn't tell him to hit the road...I'm pretty sure it was Taba that gave him his marching papers."

"...but under your order. Under your very strong recommendation."

"I guess so."

"I have to say, Crasian, in a team without leaders, it sure seems to me like some people called the shots more than others."

"I guess when you say it that way, it really does make me out to be the bad guy. Which is totally unfair."

"Well, in my mind, I have the word of folks like Jungard and Bheer, both of whom I trust, both of whom are loyal to the guild. Both have made sacrifices to make this guild what it is today. Versus you. A player that's constantly demonstrated two sides: this wonderful make-believe side that everybody loves and thinks is awesome, and a second side, carefully navigating his way through loot tables to get what he wants until he's the #1 geared death knight on Deathwing-US...and then leaves the 25-Man progression team in the midst of its go skiing. Now. Put yourself in my shoes. I decide to favor you and your story vs. theirs. What do you think DoD would make of that? Do you think they'd think I was being fair?"

"Look. Let me at least talk to them. Will you do that? Can I at least send them some kind of apology or message or something? I mean, I really want to fix this. At least let them hear my side of the story, before you make any final decision."

I stared at my screen and shook my head in disgust.

"Sure. Whatever. If you think that'll make a difference. Why not? I haven't disabled your forum access, you're clearly still able to get on Vent...though I don't know for how much longer. But yes, I think it's perfectly fair for you to try to make amends. And I'll see what the officers say. But I wouldn't get my hopes up."

Word on the street was that there was some finger pointing going on in the old Eh Team chat channel. A private message did go out later that evening, sent to the entire officer core, and as many members of the 25-Man progression team that phpBB would allow Crasian to jam into the CC: field. It did little to change people's minds. The court of public opinion had already cast its verdict, and the sentence was for Crasian to find a new home, far enough from Descendants of Draenor so that his selfish behavior became someone else's problem.


The next day at work, I fired off an IM to Bheer.

"Crasian won't be a problem anymore. We can rest easy."

"I appreciate it. Can you do me a favor, though?"

"Of course," I typed back, "Ask and ye shall receive."

"You have administrative privileges on the forums, to do things like delete threads and posts and such, right?"

"Yup, I can pretty much do anything."

"Can you go ahead and just delete Crasian's message out of my inbox for me?"

I furrowed my brow, "Um...why?"

"I just don't want to have anything to do with it. I don't even want to look at it."

So...why don't you delete it yourself? It's just a message.

It was no secret that Bheer wasn't Crasian's best friend...but full avoidance behavior? It struck me as very odd. Very surprising. flag...ish.


Anonymous said...

This is particularly interesting to me, because I'm having a hard time even comprehending Bheer's request right now. What would cause him to be completely unwilling to even click a little checkbox and hit 'delete'? Why on earth would he ask you to do it?

(Hoping this clears up as the Eh Team Saga continues!)

-Reythas, Azuremyst

Kayjin said...

Man your issues with loot council were crazy. I don't know if it was just the way you chose to run your guild as catering to both more hardcore and casual raiders or what, but I've never seen loot issues this crazy in my time playing the game. Never had any issues with loot council either. Maybe it just has to do with sticking with more hardcore, progression-oriented guilds that care more about boss kills or something. Yet I don't feel like that holds up since Crasian was a more hardcore player himself. As someone who has never had issues with loot council this whole thing is crazy but really fascinating for me to read about.

Reythas said...


Shawn can correct me here but I think his primary problem with loot council was that it was hard to have it remain objective and fair, which was how he wanted to run his guild. It's hard to keep Loot Council accountable as well.

A hardcore guild with accountability might work well with loot council because they'd be doing it for the good of The Team. They have the ability to go 'okay I know member x is stable and this upgrade given to her would increase our average HPS/DPS/Tanking by y more than the next choice' and that decision could be made to benefit the team.

But the key there is that it was still for the good of the team and progression and not about personal advancement. The problem with Crasian (from what we've seen and read) wasn't that he was hardcore, it was that he was ostensibly out for his own personal advancement, veiled under the goal of 'the team'.

(Again, this is all just my viewpoint, Shawn can feel free to correct me.)

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit curious why Crasian would go to all of this trouble to "collude". Why not just move to a hardcore guild one that raids multiple nights and trying to achieve those server firsts.

Curious to see if he has some sort of comradery in the end. Good read so far!

Jungard said...

@ Reythas: You are correct on some of those points. Hanzo ran the guild like a business with everything clearly defined up-front. It was an inclusive guild, which meant we had a number of players who just couldn't play as much and even those who weren't good enough for the hardest content. The common factor wasn't the raid team but it was the overall DoD community which made it such an appealing group to be a part of.

We had a number of players who were skilled enough to join a hardcore guild but chose to stick around for a variety of reasons, such as the amount of time we wanted to commit, friends within the guild or overall just loving the community of it all.

Our mantra was trying to stay competitive with a smaller schedule that we stuck with no matter what. We didn't sneak extra progression nights to push a boss kill or anything like that. All of the guild's 25-man accomplishments came on the same short schedule week-in and week-out. Many of us ran other 10-man groups during the week throughout BC and WotLK and some of us took part in alt runs as well.

However, in order to stay relevant on 25-man progression with our limited schedule, we had to have everything defined explicitly from the get-go. From earning DKP to rules, rotations and attendance, all of it was written down and we upheld it through thick and thin.

I wouldn't say we had a lot of loot drama at all with respect to DKP vs. loot council. It's more of a philosophical difference as we look back and analyze what happened throughout the years from our perspectives now, most notably the perspective of Hanzo.

The only real anomalies throughout the years were those who took a fair system and stacked the deck in their favor to gain an unfair advantage. At the fundamental level, it is all about the rules and those that were broken. Not so much arguments over individual pieces of any kind of real emphasis on it in our day-to-day activities. Any issues that occurred were treated as though the system we built and depended on to stay competitive was compromised. In some ways it was, as we are all learning now.

Just adding some perspective on our mentality here, especially at this point in the story. We were all about "kill shit in less time than other guilds" and sticking to the script was a huge part in our success there.

Soot said...

Great article Shawn. Digging your blog so far!

Anonymous said...

I remember back when WotLK was about to hit, Crasian and Taba wanted me in on their 10-man group they were planning on forming for the new content. Naxx, etc.

Roughly 2 weeks in they jump ship and leave me hanging to run with another team. Lost my trust after than. Few months later he PMed me asking if I was interested in forming a new group with them. I passed on the offer citing the above.

A loot council may claim to have the guilds best interest at heart, but when left to certain people it's easily corrupted and leaves too many questioning the motives behind who gets which items.

I've been subject to both systems, and although initially a loot council can work, in the long term a point system is better. It awards attendance and ensures that the hardest and most dedicated players see rewards, and not just the squeaky wheels.

I remember Taba and the Askhandi incident, where I encouraged a fellow tank to take the chromatic boots, despite his insisting i take them. Only for Taba to join for Nefarion and use it as a excuse to take the most coveted 2h weapon at the time. Mind you I had been in the guild for such a short time I can't really say I deserved it any more than he did.

In a previous guild I raided with for months and months, I was a little disappointed to lose out on the untamed blade to a warrior I helped get invited to the guild. He took a "break" for several months following taking the sword and the guild literally never saw another UTB drop.

I guess I had some shit luck with both RNG and people. But I was far FAR from a perfect person while I played WoW.

I take the good with the bad.