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.