Greedy Goblin

Monday, March 8, 2010

Does ninjaing hurt the whole?

Undergeared update: the casual-curse hit us again. Last week there were 3 tanks, this week 0. So Yogg got one more week to live.

Ganking update: 100 players (accounts) in the guild, but we are still (and will always be) open to new recruits, currently below lvl70.

I held this rant for some time. The author found a (maybe troll) post, where it was claimed that "You helped kill the mob and you have every right to roll on the loot... Your needing enchanting mats is just as valid as billy wanting it for gold or suzy wanting it as an off-spec or bobby wanting it as an upgrade."

Of course this claim did not only called for angry answers on the forum, but also in the rant. Besides wishing Blizzard rig the /roll to make him forever lose, he was also called different bad things. But the point was "It's ignoring any concept of greater benefit, of an upgrade being worth more than a 5g dream shard."

While the above seems to be true, it's much more complicated than that. At first, I'd kick anyone from the blue guild who'd shard a blue that someone else wants to wear, and I doubt if there is any guild leader who'd acting differently. That's what the author wants. To create an environment where the others (who were not ninjaed personally) team up and fight the ninja for the greater good.

Because it is the greater good, right?

An upgrade is preferred by me than a shard, I would never shard something I could wear as an upgrade. That part is true.

Besides complete drooling retards every one, even spellpower hunters would not shard something that could increase their gearscore. So it's not just my personal preference, it's everyone's.

So not ninjaing upgrades for disenchanting, vendoring or for some low level alt is a common will. The spellpower hunter, the 0/0/71 DK wants it just as much as I do. But is it greater good?

The item is a tool that increases the power of its wielder. But how is this increased power used? In the blue guild it's used for raiding in blues. The recipient of the upgrade is more capable to do his role. It's the same for all raiding guilds. His gain is my gain too. If we accept the lore of WoW, we are all an army against the Lich King. Letting some stranger get upgrade (rather than I have 20 G) may never help me personally, but it will empower some raid somewhere to fight the army of the Lich King. It is the greater good, right?

What if he is doing 3 digit DPS in full T9? What if he is standing in every fire? What if he is making annoyance and drama with childspeak and he-said-she-said? What if he contributes to the "LFM Noth the Plaguebringer, you need 5500GS" culture? Is helping him good for the community?

My answer is no. Empowering useless people is useless at best, rewards uselessness at worst. My shard is better for the greater good than the upgrade of the M&S. He is worthless or harmful for the greater good, so empowering him is also neutral or bad. The greater good demands to strip the M&S from gear, so he cannot get into PuGs, making good players carry him at best, and wipe repeatedly because of his idiocy at worst.

I would kick someone for ninjaing because he ninjaed from a worthy raider. If ArthasDKlol would whisper me that one of my guildies ninjaed something from him, I'd say: "He did not ninja from anyone since you are no one!"

If you are in a well progressing guild, it's obvious that you shall treat your guildmates as you'd treat yourself. Any good guild leader would enforce that. But a well progressing guild is a tiny island in the sea of uselessness. In a PuG you encounter worse than the random player, because many good player refuse to PuG. You have 5-10% chance to meet a worthy player and 90-95% chance to meet an M&S. So I'd say the default action is to ninja. Based on the perceived performance of the other guy, you might find him worthy of help, and pass your shard to his upgrade.


Espoire said...

It would seem you come from a very different battlegroup. In Reckoning, I seem to meet exclusively competent players in the Dungeon Finder, and outside of it, your argument doesn't hold.

In a single-server environment, such as pug raids, you will meet completely useless players, as you say. And, allowing them to wear the t10 that dropped off Toravon is less useful to the wider community than one more Abyss Crystal in the economy is. However, the social backlash from preventing the 2.1k DPS hunter from taking the gear that he "rightly won" is of much bigger magnitude than the difference between the item being wasted on M&S and the value of the Abyss Crystal. The socials will band together, and prevent you or your guild from being able to pug successfully, causing much greater harm than the gain.

The only way merit-based loot could actually be for the greater good is if it was accepted as the norm, and so there would be no social backlash. For this to work, you need to find a way to change the expectations of the socials.

Will said...

Food for thought:

M&S see that you roll on items they wanted as upgrade and you cant use.
They copy the action...

Gevlon said...

@Will: they do it anyway. They already roll need on everything.

kaaterina said...

You forgot something.

When you ninja an item, you do not ninja it from one person. You ninja it from up to 4 (9,24) other people.

You cannot reasonably claim that EVERY SINGLE ONE of your fellow group is a M&S and you're the only competent player there.

This goes for master-ninja-looting though.

While, I as a paladin, do not directly care whether the leader steals a spellpower leather piece, the moonkins/restos in the raid care. They WILL leave, moral people will leave, and their friends will leave, which is a de facto disband of a PuG group. Which is a personal waste for me costing me time spent going to the raid as well as opportunity cost in future bosses that did not die due to raid disbanding, ON TOP of the opportunity cost of getting saved to a fail raid.

Ninjaing is bad not because the leader steals an item. It's bad because the leader steals time, effort and raid lockouts for EVERYONE in thet raid irrespective of how many M&S are in the raid.

Anonymous said...

This post surprises me. I knew your answer from the start.

You claimed with the undergeared project already that skill is much more important then gear. So it's obvious that ninjaing some gear from morons should not make any difference.

But here is the point:
Most M & S won't press need all the time. Why not? It's a good way to ask for a kick, even for socials. It isn't "fair" to ninja everything, so both socials and goblins will kick you for doing it, only for different reasons.
Socials because they get pissed when they see someone ignoring all the rules, goblins because they know how much they can possible lose with a ninja in the group.

Cirian said...

I would go further and say that in and of itself, unless you are running entirely in house and will actually directly benefit from your team mates recieving loot you would be better off to roll need for a shard or what not because at least a shard is a nominal benefit to you while a stranger gaining a piece of loot is no benefit at all.

The ONLY reason why it is good for everyone to NOT ninja is purely selfish and much less direct. By not supporting ninjaing in any form, you are supporting the artificial social ruleset of not needing on something you do not need.

More clearly, the more people ninja, the more people WILL ninja, until it becomes the norm rather than the oddity. Personally, I would readily sacrifice the stacks and stacks of abyss crystals I have in my bank in exchange for just 1 more piece of good loot. There are numerous ways to obtain enchanting mats or gold while some items, particularly BOP ones, you have to obtain in that one specific way.

To encourage a system that increases the odds of losing out on any individual opportunity for future personal advancement does not seem to be a winning proposition.

The gamble you take whenever you ninja an item, or not enforce punishment on a ninja when the circumstance arises increases the chance that the issue will come back to you in the future and you will be ninjad from yourself.

Anonymous said...

@kaatterina– Since gevlon isn't in fail guilds, the Arthuuss' he is talking about must be in LFD people. And if you claim its rare to find 4 other morons in their you either
1) Must not use LFD ever
2) Have very low standards for morons (well, he did 1.2k dps... he's not that bad for t9)
3) Be in a special battlegroup (I want in... which one is it?)

How to ninja without pissing off the socials:

Often, you can roll need on every other item. Simply wait till two loot windows pop up (with trash dropping as fast as it is this isn't hard to do within the 60 seconds blizzard gives you). Once everyone besides you has rolled, roll need on the first one, and a split second greed on the second.

Since most people have small chat windows, the second "greed" roll will be the one that every sees, and the "need" roll no one notices. If someone calls you out, just say you clicked a wrong button, and offer to have everyone do a /roll for the item if they want. No one will ever take you up on this offer. CAUTION: DO NOT TRY ON BOE's. People often seem to check their chat log to see who got a boe.

Its worked for me a bunch. Almost makes me not upset with having to DE crap for free for every moron out there. Since I am an enchanter, this works on blues and greens and epics. If you don't enchant, a lot of the value is lost on non-boe items.

Anonymous said...


People keep talking about "getting gear." We're talking heroics here people. With the exception of the ICC 5 mans, and possible a few items from ToC 5 man, is there anyone who actually needs things from these places any more? The M&S who gets an item, won't even enchant it, or gem it, since it will be replaced within 24 hours anyway.

Stop talking like "OMG this might hurt me cause someone might do this to me." Seriously? Who cares. Get you're cheaper than dirt boe stuff, or just keep running the icc 5 mans till you're in all 232. It takes, what, 2 or 3 days at most of runnign?

Denethal said...

This is a project I've been thinking of doing lately:

Create a tanking character, then need on everything that's possible to need on, no matter what it is.

The object would not to be an asshole per se, but to see how long people will put up with a greedy tank, especially now that the cooldown for kicking people will be removed, come next patch.

Quicksilver said...

A few points:

1) People should stop doing morality or philosophy commentaries, case analysis, group theory and optimum allocation of resources when it comes to fucking 5 man instances.

2) If we talk about a raid, then the NEED roll actually becomes a /roll in front of a master looter.
This is where things start to be interesting.

/roll is Socialist. If the boss goes down it is automatically assumed that everyone is equally responsible for the success of the group which is a big fallacy.

Pugs usually fail. The amount of idiocy I have encountered in the different groups I have been into it is indescribable. Yet, those fail players are running around in their ilvl264 gear, getting into pugs without having a clue of what it needs to be done.

and /roll is to blame. But at the same time, in an ad-hoc organized group, what other method is there? Every loot distribution system is better than /roll but sadly people are too accustomed to this.

Unknown said...

I was wondering how you have tank issues in your blue-gear guild.

I mean, you are easily rich enough to pay for people to have dual talent spec and workable offspec gear.

Your goal was to show that skill trumps gear, so even with slightly suboptimal gear, all your tanks should be able to do okay as a dpser. Especially when working with a smaller group of players, having people with a valid offspec pays off big time - maybe asking everyone to have a working offspec would be a nice idea.

Kaaterina said...


'Reading Comprehension' called, it wanted its strawman argumentation back.

I clearly stated that I was talking about master looter ninjas in raids.

While your post is valid, it's a strawman argument coupled with an ad hominem.

But fine, we can address the serious issue of people needing on stuff in heroics. (Serious cat says: 'Wat?')

While the number of retards in LFD is certainly high, I've yet to see TWO in the same run more often. Mostly it's just one. (Thankfully, the density of retards is evenly distributed so they can be carried.)

So, if you NEED on stuff in heroics, you:

a) take stuff away from the other people, 3 of which aren't M&S.

b) Shoot yourself in the foot because if you're not the tank you're literally hanging a big red KICK ME sign from your neck. (Incidentally, you'll have lots and lots of shards but precious few badges; hope the trade will be worth it.)

c) Shoot yourself in the foot again, because even if you don't get kicked, party chat drama extends the duration of the heroic. (Again, hurting your money.)

d) Encourage the ninja-culture. Sure you might not care about who ninjas what in the serious world of heroics, but what happens when it spills over in PuG raids with greater strength? I'll tell you what happens, my OP happens, that's what.

Why is it a smart thing to do again? You're trading valuable time, badges and nerves for stacks upon stacks of enchanting materials. Are you bloody serious?

Ninjaing enchanting mats from heroic dungeons is about as profitable as begging.

Anonymous said...


i don't want to comment on the content of the post, but there is something that has annoyed me for a little while:

When you form an English sentence where the verb is replaced by the auxiliary "do", then the only flexing you need to do is on that "do".

He did not want to do it.
Not: He did not wanted to do it.

He did not catch it.
Not: He did not caught it.

He does not use it.
Not: He does not uses it.

It is a very common mistake among non native speakers, and (at least in my opinion) it really halts the reading-flow.

best regards,

Carson 63000 said...

"they do it anyway. They already roll need on everything."

Doesn't even remotely match my experience, Gevlon. And I've run PUGs with some horrible scrubs. Blatant need-rolling on stuff that isn't needed is actually extremely rare, in my experience.

Fricassee said...

"and /roll is to blame. But at the same time, in an ad-hoc organized group, what other method is there? Every loot distribution system is better than /roll but sadly people are too accustomed to this."

Saying that any system is better than /roll is only looking at one side of the picture. Sure, many systems would be more fair than /roll, but the logistics of those systems are often too convoluted to be worth it.

My pals call me SK said...


I know you didn't asked me, but I'm in the Vindication Battlegroup (US) and I rarely find any moron in Random Dungeon Tool. Most DPS'ers do more than 3.5k dps (not much, but better than 900 dps spellpower hunter) which is more than enough for a Heroic.
There are random dc's though.

Seriously Gevs, where do you find such cases of retards?

Enthion said...

From my experience on Gevlons server (Arathor), has a pretty moronic player base.

Admittedly I only have experience of 3 servers, but the level of immaturity in the trade chat of Arathor is amazing.

Of course there are always morons on every server, but his 'seems' far worse.

(I'm not talking about 2k dps in t9, although crappy that is still contributing. I mean that I find it very rare to encounter people of negative use, ninjas etc. The worst is the 'gogo' dps and needing on frozen orbs at the start of patch 3.3)

Mmooti said...

Firstly, if 93-94% if WoW players are M&S then the whole idea of trying to deprive them of gear is doomed from the start. There must be so many of them that they are clearing heroics and even raids without being carried, as there are simply too few good players to carry them.

A more important point though, is what does a Goblin care about the "greater good". Why do you want to improve the player base, when Goblin play is by definition anti-social? If you did succeed in denying bad players of gear and access to content, how exactly does it help you?

This seems to be more about a very un-Goblinish and emotional desire to punish bad players just for being bad, even when there is nothing to gain in it for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, your lack of tanks made me think of something -

In your early posts about the undergear project you mentioned how you were going to test players' dps before you let them in the raiding group. This might have pushed players who want to dps to choose pure dps classes to avoid the "hybrid tax". I wonder if this explains your lack of tanks. (more precisely, you lack of classes that can tank).

Snickersnee said...

What is the greater good? It's a pseudo communist term invented by people to feel good when taking a "the end justifies the means" approach to a problem.
Imagine you could ask any criminal, warlord or people like Hitler or Stalin why they acted the way they did. Their answer sure would be: "Well silly, for the greater good of course!". People don't tend to see themselves as evil when committing acts that others classify as such. They see themselves as enlightened and helping the world.

As a true goblin you should know that the only relevant good is the personal one. The common good must only ever be the sum of those personal goods. By the way: This includes the personal good of every M&S. You can not claim to know the common good since you can never know ever single personal good.

All this nonsense with the common good isn't even necessary for your argument. Why would you want to care for the common good at all? What good is this common good to you? Why would a goblin care about anything else than his own good?
The shard is more useful for you than a social with an item upgrade. This social will only get into pugs with it and screw them up - pugs in that you might end up, too.
The better item on a dedicated player or even guildmate is more useful for you than a shard because he may help you progress in raids. It's as simple as that.

HokieJayBee said...

Gevlon you social bugger you. You don't really care what we think, do you?

In regards to same server 10-25 man pugs, and feeding any M&S gear over sharding it - my server seems to have found one way around it.

"LFM dps for voa25, 3k dps or no loot."

I've seen a piece sharded right in a 1.7k dps DK's face. Makes for good fireworks.

Tonus said...

I think that ninja'ing used to be when someone took an item that most people in the group or raid expected to go to someone else. Or the taking of an item in a manner other than that which was agreed (ie, rules were that everyone would roll for an item, but player X simply loots it without rolling, or after losing the roll).

Now ninja'ing seems to come down to rolling on an item, period. How many PUGs agree to loot rules at the start, or use some very basic and general rules that don't really determine how people should roll? I don't think there is much "traditional" ninja'ing any more, as loot systems have become more complex and players more knowledgeable. I think most ninja'ing now comes from players being lazy.

Anonymous said...

The most painless way of doing this in heroics is simply to need anything you can from the last boss. Much of the time - this may not be the case on your server - it's more profitable to vendor the items you get.

Anonymous said...

People not only run stuff on their mains also they pug on alts if you endorse cheating which is what needing something to shard rather than let an undeserving pug get it will give your guild a bad reputation.

This bad reputation will make people not want to run buy or associate with your guild.

You'll be known as the jerk guild who ninja's stuff from non guildies.

Anonymous said...

@Carson 63000

My experience is excatly the same.

More often I've encountered with opposite behaviour - asking for permission to need on something that was a clear upgrade for his current spec.

Cinammon said...

I had a ninja looter kicked just yesterday, it's easy when I'm tank :)

It was a melee huntard who kept needing every item with the reason "sry, need money for mount" (It was Deadmines, I'm levelling my first tank)

What's funny is that nobody tried to initiate kick vote, even though it cost some clothies some nice upgrades.

I didn't really care since she didn't ninja anything I wanted.. but I did not want to compete with her if something I wanted DID drop.

When I simply stated that I wanted her kicked she was out of there in 5 seconds, but I wonder if it was so easy because of my power position as tank and they would have been willing to put up with her for the entire run to help a beginner..

I know for a fact that Gevlon is right to say that there are many socials in the game, but it only takes having one anti-social in a group to initiate vote-to-kick!

I think socials are mainly followers, and may not want to be the "jerk" to initiate the vote to kick, in a situation of moral dilemma (kick ninja or help newbie learn?), but would be more than willing to follow a someone who makes the decision for them!

They would be especially willing if the choice means they get their shinies, since greed is not limited to goblins alone.

With all that said, the "need or greed rules" are subjective to the group you roll with, some may be fine with an enchanter needing every green nobody needs, and others.. not so much.

I am not a fan of enchanters needing every item that nobody else needs, since many such items can be sold for substantial gold on the AH. The same with gems and jewelcrafters to a lesser degree. Oddly though, I do not have this problem with recipes.

I do understand the viewpoint of these crafters though, that they need mats.. it just feels like I'm losing a lot of money to them when they need all that stuff, and I think most people think the same way.

If I see one rolling need like that I just roll need too, those whining enchanters can easily go buy mats off the AH with the price drop from the huge supply increase since group auto-disenchanting.

I don't understand enchanters who whine about "being forced to disenchant for others" it literally costs them nothing.. and the mechanic made mats affordable and plentiful so they can sell enchants the way Gevlon sells glyphs.

Jenna said...


Uh. Yes, some of us do get stuff out of doing heroics, still. We don't just log on one day with a stack of a few hundred badges to buy gear with. Some of us do want to improve our performance over QUEST gear in the interim between said QUEST gear and BADGE gear, so that we are NOT carried through runs.

Not everyone has been playing WoW since Vanilla with all of our characters capped and in full t9 or t10 gear.

Anonymous said...

An upgrade is by definition an increase in DPS. Even if a “spellpower hunter” only uses auto attack, an upgrade will increase his, and therefore his group’s DPS, even if only marginally, through every dungeon/heroic/raid from that point onwards, every time he uses that upgrade. Higher DPS = faster progression through a dungeon = higher gold per hour, even if the increase is marginal. I don’t see how you can measure and compare, in any way that is scientific, this increase in global GDP versus the economic benefit of you introducing a new shard into the market.

Your post seems to me to be meaningless conjecture dressed up as a way to justify abusing the system for your own personal gain. Your normal posts at least have a solid analysis underpinning the abuse of the system for your own personal gain…

Anonymous said...

@ cinnamon:

Oh no, you just made the “farming mats is free” argument, on Gevlon’s blog of all places! It’s not free to disenchant for someone else, it costs up to 10K gold (depending on your server’s price of mats) to level your skill up.

That doesn’t take into account the immediate price drop the market saw when all of a sudden everybody could disenchant. You mentioned this price drop yourself, and that cost enchanters a cut in profit on every item they disenchant, making their investment even worse value for money. So it’s a double hit, you’re giving away your skill for free, AND you can’t sell it for as much when you do sell it. That innovation was a massive slap in the face to enchanters.

Anonymous said...

@ Jenna-

So, a rogue I had just dinged 80 three weeks ago.

Upon dinging, she has a 245 chest and bracers (4k gold total) a 200 helm (engineering, 500g) a 226 mace (AH, 600g) and a 200 dagger (AH, 700g.)

With this gear she was able to get into 2/3 of the icc 5 mans. Those two runs netted me enough to get into the 3rd.

By the end of the week, she was doing 5k dps in VoA 25.

Within two weeks she has all 232+ gear ('cept for a trinket).

Within 3 weeks, she has full 264/270 pvp gear (minus shoulder and weapons and helm)

Its not hard. She did not have "a hundrered badges."

It cost less than 10k of boe gear.

I didn't even get the perky pug for doing 20 randoms, and still have this.

Short version: It doesn't take a main in t9/t10, hundreds of hours of grinding heroics, or an infinite bank account. Just a little planning, a little gold, and smart choices.

Wiggin said...

If we are talking about Heroics, which is where the bulk of M&S can be found, I don't think the majority of players even consider needing on anything, because the majority of players dont need anything from heroics.

Most players running LFD are 1 of two groups: high GS players who have nothing to gain but the frost badges, and newly 80s who may or may not be M&S and are trying to gear up ASAP (the purpose of LFD). It simply doesn't make sense for the 5.5k GS players to care what crap blue or marginal epic goes to whom.

You could make the case that players will want to roll Need on frozen orbs and BoEs, but I've been on many a run where BoE blues are mistakenly assumed as BoPs and are rolled greed/disenchant. Heroics are nothing but greed/disenchant fests anyways.

I could care less if someone was going out of their way to need on anything. A few gold pieces is not worth the TIME arguing over such issues when it is the frosties that matter. Time = money no?

Bristal said...

It's not the single piece of gear that improves the greater good, it's the SOCIAL convention of allowing gear to go to those that might benefit the most that is valuable and important in a social milieu like WoW.

The value you (and everyone else)gets out of it is (relative) assurance that when it comes your turn to need, others will grant you the same convention. Thus you personally gain from upholding the social convention even with strangers.

It's the same concept as the value of personal possesions including property. If there was no way to assure (relatively) that others couldn't just take my property, it would have much less value.

It's easy to forget that the ability to possess things (without having your own army) is granted by society (socials).

Unknown said...

My Policy:

1) In Random 5man regular and heroic, I ALWAYS roll need on last boss drops.

2) In Random 5man regular and heroic, I will roll need on earlier bosses if it's a real need or if I think I can get away with it. Generally I will vendor the gear.

3) In guild runs I rarely roll need. I freely give away gear earned on greed rolls if anyone else expresses any interest in it at all.

Anonymous said...

@ Jenna

Are you serious? Firstly you don't need t9 to not be dead weight in heroics (see: 90% of dk's). And secondly gear is so easy to get via crafting/badges/heroics (160 badges for 4pt9?) that it happens extremely quickly. You can do the ICC 5 mans on heroic everyday for potentially 7 ilvl232 items, and run for ilvl219 items unlimited amount of times, or even do n toc for ilvl200 if you don't want to be 'carried through runs'.

Though if you are unable to pull halfway reasonable dps with a mix of quest greens/blues and epics then the problem isn't with your gear - Its you.

Klepsacovic said...

You're basing this entire argument on the pretty risky assumption that 95% of players are useless and you're not.

Based on your blue raids, I won't argue if you are better than that 95%. But to assume that the 95% is worthless is rather stupid. That 95% might not be the greatest ever, but truly useless players, players who ideally would not even play, are rare.

What do you even base your claims on, random people in heroics? They're probably going in with the same greedy, self-serving attitude. A group full of assholes will tend to perform poorly. If instead they cared about the rest of the group, they'd try harder, and not ninja every drop out of spite.

Anonymous said...

@ Bristal

“It's the same concept as the value of personal possesions including property.”

It’s not the same at all. Society protects your right to own property that is already in your possession; and a loot drop is not already in your possession. Nobody in a dungeon group can take away the sword you already have equipped.

A loot drop is the same as you owning a 1/5 share of a small business, which has just been paid by its client. In the business scenario you would expect to have a contract between the shareholders that defines how you get your share of that income. In the dungeon group, you can agree loot rules at the start of the dungeon, but most groups don’t do that, and work under assumptions about how people will roll. If you went to work without an employment contract, it’s really your own fault if you don’t get paid what you expected.

Cinammon said...

@ Anon that commented at my comment

You're right. If you are one of the enchanters who likes to sell mats better than the actual intended product of the profession, you are making less money.

If you're one of the enchanters who in a group would charge gold to disenchant an item for someone else (which is a problem when you have a group of people from different realms), then you're making less money.

But my point was that with the changes, now you can make more money selling actual enchants..

Tchernobog said...

Gevlon knows enough statistics to know that the population of wow players is, by some unknown but existant measure of skill, distributed somewhat normally. 95% of players aren't bad. Some examples of bad players (0/0/71 for example) are typically ridiculed by every other member of a heroic group: thats about 20% bad. Plus you don't get a baddie in every heroic.. That means much less than 20%.

He's taking this whole "M&S" thing a bit too far considering that everybody is a point on a spectrum, and probably only the bottom 5% are so bad... You just remember them much better.