Mailbag: Spirit Gear For DPS   23 comments

I received an email yesterday looking for some advice on how spirit gear should be handled when there is both a healer and a DPS that can make use of the item.  Since this is an issue that I think many guilds probably have to deal with on a regular basis, I thought it would be interesting to see how everyone handles spirit loot.  Below I’m going to provide the question as well as my response to the question.  But then I’d love to hear your take on the issue as well.

The Question

(Please note that I’ve taken the liberty of changing some specifics to generalities in both the question and my reply).

Last night we had a spirit item drop that both a healer and a DPS could use.  The healer and the DPS rolled… and the healer won.  After the raid a number of us were on vent and there was more talk about the DPS rolling on spirit gear.

 Our guild leader thinks it’s important to think about what is needed for the best of the raid and that healers need to get the gear first.  I, personally, have a serious problem with dps rolling on spirit gear and then also rolling on gear without spirit on it.   It just seems like double dipping on two loot tables when the healer only has one loot table to roll on. 

I went to EJ to see if there was a clearly defined answer to the question, and wasn’t able to find one.  However, what I did find was a note that said just because you CAN roll on spirit gear doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  Of course, the same note then also listed the contested item as BiS for this DPS class, so I’m trying to figure out how to deal with this situation when it comes up again in future raids.

What is your guild’s take on this?

My Answer

We open spirit gear up to: Moonkin, Elemental Shaman and Shadow Priests, as well as our healers and everyone is pretty much on equal footing for it.  Largely because so much of the gear is shared, and a lot of the spirit gear is also BiS for the DPS classes as well as the healers.

That being said, we do ask everyone to know what is BiS for them gearwise, and take that into account when they are asking for an item.  Sometimes when we are trying to decide where to award an item, we will ask the DPS class where it falls in their gear list before awarding it and take that into consideration.  If it’s an item that is BiS for them, and they won’t be replacing it with something else down the line, it’s equally open for them.  We don’t not award it to a DPS just because a healer wants it as well.  The converse is also true, however – I received my BiS weapon from Magmaw over a DPS, even though the weapon does not have spirit on it.

The only people that we really ever favor gearing up over others are our tanks – and only to a small degree.  In my opinion gearing your DPS is equally important as gearing your healers because DPS pushing a boss down faster will also make an encounter easier.  We really try very hard to gear our raid team equally, so that every member has equal gear to perform their job and so that our raid team grows at the same rate.

The item you referenced is really tricky, mostly because there are very limited options for that gear slot.  Because of the lack of options, and the fact that the DPS can make good use from the spirit on the item that did drop (and is his BiS), I probably would have given him equal opportunity to receive it.

As for looking forward – I would probably just ask your DPS to know what spirit options are good for them (they will have some BiS gear that contains spirit), and ask them to refrain from rolling on spirit gear that isn’t BiS for them unless your healers don’t need the item.  I think that should be a reasonable compromise on both ends, as it lets your DPS have an equal opportunity for gear upgrades that contain spirit, but also doesn’t put your healers in a bad spot either.

Regardless of my advice – I’m curious how other people handles spirit gear within their raid teams.  We have always been open and aware of “BiS” for people that may be “unconventional” – such as leather for warriors and cloth for shaman/druids in prior raid tiers.  We have always accepted that BiS is what it is, and trust that our raiders have spent the time to research their gear before asking for loot.  I’m curious, though, if we are just really open-minded in this respect.  What is your take on this topic?  If this email had come to you, how would you have responded?

Posted April 19, 2011 by Beruthiel in Community, Deep Thoughts, eh?, Raid Leadership

23 responses to “Mailbag: Spirit Gear For DPS

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  1. Well, until recently with the return of our shadow priest, we had none of those class/specs raiding, the more sad us. The unwritten rule seems to be that if it has spirit, healers have first option, if it has hit, caster dps has first option, and if it has neither, it’s free game for either side.

    • This really hasn’t been the case for the past two expansions, though. In WotLK I believe both warlocks and mages gained benefits from the addition of spirit on their gear. And I’d argue that in this expansion it was the designers specific intent for they healer/dps hybrid classes to share gear, while this is best illustrated in Moonkin/Elemental gear, I do not think it can be ignored for Shadow Priest gear either.

  2. I’m willing to bet the item in question was that stupid cloak from V&T. I bet! I know this because it was such a contentious issue for us as well. The first time it dropped an ele shaman won it and a healer wasn’t impressed, it turned into a big discussion on the forums. The shaman pointed out that it was BiS for him. The opposed healer felt that since healers NEED the spirit and he could acquire hit elsewhere that it should be prioritized to a healer.

    We ultimately went with exactly what you outlined, Beru. We ask all raiders to KNOW what their BiS items are. I don’t consider our ele shaman to be “double-dipping” (after all, I share loot with him too). You can’t help which loot is best for you, which includes non-spirit weapons for healers in most cases. The majority of raiders agreed and I finally made the call that hybrid classes using spirit gear were entitled to roll in it as much as healers are, with the caveat that they consider whether they would ultimately like to upgrade it with another piece and to be considerate. Our whole loot policy basically boils down to “be considerate.”

    But that cloak was still a headache. ;)

    • Oddly enough, the cloak you are referring to wasn’t the item in question! But I could certainly see that cloak posing the same problems.

      We basically just ask people to pick their loot smartly, and trust that they are going to research their gear upgrades. It works well for us – and often times if a DPS has to make significant gear changes for the upgrade they’ll qualify their request with “but I’ll pass to a healer that needs it”.

  3. I play an ele/resto shaman, and I have a shadow priest alt, so I’ve seen plenty of this issue. In my mind, if you have some kind of points system like EP/GP or DKP, you have to let both casters and healers roll on spirit gear, and give it to whoever wants it and has the priority under your loot system. End of story.

    If you have a loot council or you’re in a pug, things get more complicated. Ele shamans need a lot of hit, and realistically, most of that is going to come from Spirit. Ele/Resto shaman gear is basically identical aside from a few minor preferences depending on raid size/gearing.

    Shadow priests don’t need as much hit (because the cap is not as important for them), but it’s still a useful stat. Sometimes they get the priest healers claiming cloth spirit is rightfully theirs. On the other end, they get mages and locks claiming that if it doesn’t have spirit, it belongs to them, since they can’t use the spirit gear. So, your shadow priests can get stuck in the middle and get screwed on both ends, rather than double dipping.

    I know less about Boomkins. But, if you are going with some kind of loot system where people have to make decisions like this, it should be clarified up front to avoid drama if at all possible.

    • I disagree that it easier with a DKP-esque system – as for the good of the raid people should still be making loot decisions smartly. If they aren’t, that’s ultimately harmful to your raid. You may not have a huge debate about if x class should bid on spirit gear – but I still think it’s important to know what items are good for you.

      We use a loot council type system – and haven’t had any issues with the “dps spirit” problem. But we have also always been open to what others may feel is “unconventional” loot. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I could easily see the issue arise in any loot system :)

      I do think it’s more difficult for Shadow Priests than their Moonkin/Elemental counterparts – because they have more options, where as the other two do not.

  4. Whoever’s quote that is, they’re a bit wrong. Healers do not have one loot table to roll on, they have two, same as the DPS: anything with intellect.

    Because of the ways itemization likes to roll, healers roll with me on non-spirit gear about as much I rolled with them on spirit gear (when spirit was useful for warlocks). Healers still roll on non-spirit gear; i.e. double-dipping as much as any spirit-using DPS. (Incineratus, anyone? It’s my BiS, too.)

    As I personally don’t use spirit items anymore, I don’t really know what the guild typically does, because I don’t think it’s happened much. It’s pretty cut-and-dry with EPGP; whoever’s got the higher PR gets it. It’s main spec / off spec that usually comes into debate, not whether you can or can’t use the spirit.

    • That’s not exactly true, because there is:

      Gear with intellect hit
      Gear with intellect spirit
      Gear with intellect and neither spirit nor hit

      2 of these are useful to pure casters
      3 of these are useful to hybrid casters
      2 of these are useful to healers
      (where “useful” is defined as “has no wasted item budget”)

      So yes, your hybrid casters will have more opportunities to improve their gear than healers, and more opportunities to improve their gear than pure casters.

      But so be it. Even in a Loot Coucil system, and especially in PUGs. If it’s an upgrade, it’s an upgrade, and the determination should not be made based on “dps = 2nd prio on spirit”.

      • @Jurik

        I agree. We pretty much accept what upgrades are and award loot accordingly – under the assumption that our raiders know what their upgrades are. Anything we are uncertain about, we simply touch base with them to make sure they’ve done their homework!

        At the end of the day, you are still gearing up your raid which is what matters most.

      • Whoops. That’s true.

        The “dps = 2nd prio on spirit” would be a nice consideration; I know, when warlocks used spirit, I’d pass my roll if the healy priest also wanted it and it was a substantial upgrade for them (if it’s a sidegrade or minor upgrade, pshaw, I’m rolling!). Not a requirement, but it does make nice with the healing team. :)

    • @Poneria

      Don’t hate on my BiS healing weapon! ;)

      Actually, with the importance of spirit for healers right now it’s pretty rare for a healer to request on a non-spirit piece outside of a weapon, (and the weapon is generally because the one spirit weapon in the game right now isn’t well itemized for any healer seeking haste). At least that has been my experience. I can only think of one item so far where this is has come up – the cloth boots from Chim. Our priests seem to favor them over the spirit ones from Council – I’m not sure why.

      • Huh, do they like haste & mastery over mastery & spirit (169 & 149, respectively, for both pairs)?

        And naw, I don’t hate the weapon. I hate the stupid worm who won’t drop it when I can get it. :)

      • It really depends on the class, I believe. I know for druids trying for haste breakpoints that the haste/mastery > mastery/spirit.

        I’m not entirely sure where it falls for the other classes, honestly, outside of our resto shaman seeking it also.

  5. I remember seeing a debate on this somewhere back around January or so when most guilds were first getting into raiding.

    The debate had gone on for several pages and was centered around the basic claim that healers should get preference on spirit gear because boomkin/elemental/spriests have the option of getting their hit elsewhere from pure hit rating.

    Then finally someone pointed out that among all of the mail and leather pieces of gear that are at least blue quality with intellect on them, there are exactly two pieces with hit rating. (both are crafted, blue quality, mail PvP items, not exactly a contentious item)

    So for the 8/18 slots that are either mail or leather, there is no reason at all that it should be an issue.

    Weapon, off-hand, range/relic, rings, trinkets are a little bit different. In most of these cases though, there are very clear distinctions between which item is meant for which class/spec/role.

    On the very few items that are really a toss up, where a genuine possibility of conflicting interests can be found, I would just expect the people on my raid team to have an understanding of both where the item falls within their own rankings of BiS desirability as well as the other people/classes/specs that are likely to be interested in the item. If both parties have anything resembling a similarly demonstrated interest in the item, it should just be up for grabs for the both of them using whatever loot system your group uses as if they were the same class/role/spec in my opinion.

    That’s my 2 copper at any rate ;-)

    • I agree.

      Trinkets are not really contested items – as they are pretty cut and dry as far as DPS vs Healing items.

      I see the biggest “problem” items being things like necks, cloaks, rings, weapons/off hands and ranged slots. A little homework on the raiders part should generally smooth it out though, as long as the leadership is open to certain spirit items being BiS for hybrid classes.

      • @Beru — small side-question

        For some reason, PUGs like to argue that Sorrowsong (Lost City) is a healer trinket as well as a DPS trinket. Does early healing (~346 ilvl) favor mastery a lot? Because the other equip use definitely talks about damaging a target to proc it. Or do healers whip out a Moonfire or Mind Spike or something below 35% just to proc it?

        *honestly curious* I always thought it was purely a DPS trinket, but popular opinion (including some in my guild) has confused me.

      • @Poneria

        Honestly, I’d consider that trinket to fell primarily in the DPS category. There are better options for healers, and the language on the trinket seems to make it clear it’s a DPS trinket. At least that’s how I read it!

  6. Healers get first priority, hands down. Since healers got majorly nerfed in Cata, spirit is practically required to barely heal. Since the loot table for healers are infinitely smaller then DPS loot tables … this makes sense to me ;)

    • I’m going to have to disagree here – and keep in mind that I am a healer and share my BiS loot table with a moonkin, shadow priest and elemental shaman.

      In this expansion, with the way that loot tables have been set, I feel that the devs made very clear statement that they wanted to make spirit gear valuable (and utilized) to those hybrid classes. I think it’s important to recognize that there may be certain items that are shared, and that raid teams should be open to the possibility that BiS items may be the same regardless of role.

  7. What most people seem to forget is that in Cata the pure +hit leather and mail gear went away from the loot tables. There is not ONLY +spirit for these slots meaning that ele / rest shamans and balance / resto druids have to share gear.
    If you do not let the dps roll on it, they’ll never get an upgrade.

    The discussion then becomes if healers should get preference over dps, but that one is a little more hairy. Hopefully the individual loot systems are set up to handle that.

  8. Our bigger problem is the caster dps who roll on items with spirit as OS items (free in our epgp) for their “heal set” and then use them as MS items to cheat the epgp system.

    We allow our spirit using dps to roll on spirit items, since those items are valuable to them as well. In general EPGP means that caster dps don’t roll on spirit items unless those items are very useful to them, because they don’t want to take the hit to their totals. And, to be honest, I’ve picked up a few non spirit pieces for the sake of haste.

    • @berry

      Me thinks you need to either charge for OS or add in the EPGP cost for MS later as you see them using it for MS. And explain to the offenders gaining GP that MS is MS even when it’s cheated around OS.

      Personally, our looting with EPGP when MS v. OS (or even sidegrade MS) comes up, there’s a lot of Vent activity on what the roller is clearly going to use it for (including hitting the wrong button), and points get easily (& publicly) sorted out right there.

  9. In my regular raids, for armor the only competition is between me and the moonkin. We usually just chat and decide who needs what. Since he’s hit capped (and a nice guy) he usually passes on spirit upgrades for me. For rings and cloaks and the like, we don’t have an official rule, but personally I tend to pass on non-spirit upgrades unless my current items are really, really crap.

    In general, I have an official and unofficial position about contested items :) Officially, I’d argue with anyone to make sure hybrids do get to roll on spirit, I think it’s only fair. Unofficially, I think it’s polite for them to pass for healers and I’d be a bit upset if they didn’t at least ask. (The RL disagrees with me and she thinks spirit = healer priority… we sometimes argue about it, but thankfully we never needed to make a decision.)

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