A lot of people recently have been milling over the introduction of the new healing legendary, and how to deal with it’s distribution. Both Averna and Lissanna, as well as the folks over at WoW Insider have all given some thought about what to do with this weapon. There is even an entire page dedicated to the mace and tracking information surrounding it! So I thought I’d go over what I know about it, my thoughts on it, and how my guild has decided to handle it’s distribution.
What we know about Val’anyr
It is restricted to four classes: Priest, Paladin, Shaman, Druid
It will require 30 (yes, it’s been changed back) shattered fragments of Val’anyr to create
The Shattered Fragments of Val’anyr will be a drop from bosses inside of Ulduar. It is strongly speculated that the fragments will be limited to hard mode bosses, but there is some suggestion that it may be an extremely rare drop from all bosses, but a more prevelant drop from hard mode encounters. Think about it…if it only drops from Hard Mode bosses, that means that fragments can only drop from 10 of the 14 encounters.
Once you have 30 fragments, you can combine them that will start a quest chain to complete construction of the mace. Part of this quest chain will require you to defeat Yogg-Saron before you can recover your reforged hammer.
The only known stat of the mace is a data-mined equip effect that reads “Your healing spells have a chance to cause Blessing of Ancient Kings for 15 seconds, allowing your heals to shield the target absorbing damage equal to 15% of the amount healed”.
My thoughts on Val’anyr
(Please note that in my examples below, I predominately use paladins. Please do not read into this more than you should. I just didn’t feel like typing multiple classes/specs, and used paladins as my default).
There has been an enormous amount of discussion surrounding this item, including every class making their argument about why it’s best for them. So many people are orating in what seems to be a difinitive tone on how this item will be best for “x” class because of “y” reason I’m beginning to wonder if there is some information that was released that I missed. (Hang on a sec! Let me go check….nope! There is no new information on this!). This makes me wonder…well, how do all these people feel that they have a better claim to the item over somone else?
The biggest catch phrase that I’m hearing right now is that “it’s a MT healing weapon” and “the shield proc on it will be essential for MT healers”. Well, excuse me for not jumping on that bandwagon! There are a number of reasons that I think this line of thought is silly. Firstly, nobody knows exactly how the shield is going to work. The actual weapon isn’t in the game, it’s not in the PTR, and nobody has had a chance to test it. It only has a chance to proc the shield, and for all we know the proc rate could be so bad that’s it’s laughable. Secondly, and I feel most important, Blizzard is not going to design an encounter that is going to require anyone in the raid to have this particular weapon, or else fail the encounter. I hear lots of chatter about how player x needs it because it will do so much for them in this encounter, or that encounter. Um…WRONG! I guarantee you that before one of your members has 30 of those shards you will have beaten most of the encounters on their hard modes. And guess what! You will have done it without the awesomeness power of the mace! Lastly, what if the mace goes all Ateish and has a specific set of stats depending on the class that can use the item, making it equally good for all four of the healing classes eligible to receive the item?
The bottom line, and something I think is important for everyone to keep in mind, is that you should keep an open mind about the mace’s relevance to all four healing classes. I do not think that it can be argued that it won’t in fact be a fantastic weapon for all four of the healing classes. But we know so little about the item, that trying to pigeonhole it into a certain classes hands is detrimental, at best. For all we know, the difference between handing it to a druid or shaman over a paladin could be marginal, and giving it to a paladin that might be a lesser healer than someone else in consideration merely because they are a paladin could be far worse than giving it to your most deserving healer. We just don’t know!
One thing that I think is vital, and I think that everyone is in agreement on, is that any guild with a focus on raiding should know who this mace is going to by the time the step foot into Ulduar. Many people have different ideas on how to make this decision, and there is no “wrong” way. The key is to make a decision based on what is best for your guild. Below, I’m going to go through the process on how we decided ours would be rewarded.
Because my guild focuses our membership around the philosphy that we are all working adults holding down full time jobs and families, we have a fairly lenient attendance policy (members must retain 60% attendance, veterans 80% attendance). As a result we have a decent sized arsenal of healers to ensure that we have the requisite amount needed to raid on any given night. Our current roster hosts: 2 Resto Druids, 2 Priests (1 holy, 1 disc), 3 Holy Paladins, and 3 Resto Shaman. That’s 10 people who are all drooling at the shiny new orange, and want a bite at it! So what did we do do decide how to award the item?
First and foremost I think you need to set some criteria that are used to base your decision. This is important because no matter how hard you try, you will inevitable touch a nerve with someone that felt they should have been the recipient and will demand to know why they weren’t. You want to be able to walk through what factors you used in your decision making process and be able to explain them and show that a good deal of thought was put into this decision.
Here are the criteria that we used in making our decision:
Attendance – This was a huge factor for us and we made the decision that candidates would need 95% WotLK attendance to even be considered. While this may seem harsh, the reality of the matter is that the recipient will need to collect thirty shards, that are a random drop from any of the bosses in the zone. We wanted to make sure that we chose someone that would be at every raid, for every boss, and would be able to accumulate 30 shards. That being said, have a back up! Know who your second and third choices will be in the event that someone is not there when a shard drops!
Attitude – Like with all of our loot distribution, attitude plays an important role. We like people to show up with a positive attitude irregardless of how many times we are going to wipe that night, and keep giving 100% for every minute of every raid. These are qualities that we feel should be recognized and rewarded. Sorry, if you’ve gone all dramequeen and threatened to quit the guild for any number of reasons ranging from personal conflicts or being unhappy about a loot distribution, you probably aren’t going to be in contention for this item. We intend for this item to be with someone that is going to stay with the guild without question.
Performance – The cold truth is that this item is going to be awarded to one of our top performers. We understand the limitations placed on all of our healing classes, we understand how to read WWS, we know who is doing their job and who we need to work with.
Accountability – This really could go hand in hand with the performance bullet above. We want to award this item to a member who is accountable for their actions. If they made a mistake, did they acknowledge it and accept advice on how to resolve the problem, do they actually fix the problem? If they miss a raid or have something that means they are going to be late, do they inform the leadership?
Length of Time in the Guild – As I stated above, when we were making decisions on who should receive the mace, we want it to go to someone that is going to stay with our guild. The best indicator of that is how long you’ve been in our guild. We have been around since day one, and have been raiding since Molten Core. A number of our members are part of this old guard and have shown their dedication to the guild in spades. We also have some newer members who also have shown amazing dedication as well, but if it came down to a tie between a member that has been with the guild for a year, or one that has been with the guild for four years, this would certainly be a factor that we looked at in making our decision.
As I stated above, we have 10 healers that we must consider for this item. Let’s run them through our first litmus test: Attendance. Once we’ve done that we have narrowed our candidates down to three. Two priests and a resto druid. We continue to run those three down our list of criteria, and all three remain in contention for the item until we get to the last factor. Using this factor, we eliminate the discipline priest from the possible recipients. While we love this member and we think that he is an extremely valuable asset to the guild, he took a break from the guild during TBC to raid with another guild, and we have used that factor to dis-qualify him.
That means that leaves us with a resto druid and a holy priest as our potential candidate. Between those final two candidates, we did make a decision on who the mace would be rewarded. We also communicated our decision with both of these members…but we put in a “as we learn more” clause. That is to say, that we’ve made our decision, but if before the first shard drops for us, we learn something that makes the item significantly better, and by this we mean game breaking better, for one class over the other, both members have agreed to acknowledge that and we will adjust our decision…but the item will still be awarded to one of these two members.
I strongly encourage people to communicate with their affected members regarding how you are distributing this item. As soon as we knew that we would be very heavily factoring in attendance we made that clear, and those that don’t meet that attendance threshold aren’t going to be in shock when it’s not awarded to them.
At the end of the day, guilds will need to do what is best for them, which may include not awarding the item to that one class that for whatever reason is the favorite. It is OK to favor the red headed step child, if that person is who your guild feels is most deserving of the item.
Good Luck to everyone, and I hope to see plenty of orange floating around soon!