Nagrarok over at Farseer Nagrarok mentioned something in his post on patch 3.2 that I felt I need to delve into further, something that I have complained about with guildies in the past (who were mostly sympathetic to my rants), something that has touched a nerve ever since I started playing World of Warcraft.  That is the topic of rolling on shards and other enchanting materials while in a group and/or instance.

Let me give you a quick example of a couple situations that occur in the game:

(You just kill a boss in X instance, and Y piece of gear drops)

Situation 1:
Player A: can anyone DE? (disenchant)
(Silence)
Player A: ok then RTS (roll to sell)

Situation 2:
Player A: can anyone DE?
Player B: I can
Player A: ok then roll for shards

Now, these situations may seem commonplace, nothing out of the ordinary, especially if you PuG a lot of instance runs.  However, is this the same way things are handled when doing guild runs? Usually not, at least not in my experience.  From what I have seen, guild runs of instances do one of two things.  Either the shards go into the guild bank (more common in raids) or the shards go to the enchanter(s) of the group (if there are multiple enchanters they roll, or work it out themselves).

My complaint is, however, that even in PuGs, the convention that I mentioned should not be how things are handled, and here are my reasons why:

  1. Enchanting is often considered one of the "gathering" professions, in that you have to gather (disenchant) in order to obtain the resulting product, similar to the way a miner collects ore, an herbalist gathers herbs, or a skinner collects pelts.

    If you are running an instance, and come across a mining node, or an herb, or kill a mob that is skinnable, there is rarely ever a question about who gets the resulting product.  Generally, the people with that profession just take turns on gathering, and the group continues on their merry way.  With enchanting, however, you come across an item that nobody can use, so you ask if anyone can disenchant it.  If someone can disenchant it, it gets broken down, and everyone gets to roll.  So...

    Mining = Miner gets the ore
    Herbalism = Herbalist gets the weed
    Skinning = Skinner gets the pelt
    Enchanting = Everyone has a chance at it?
  2. Some people will say, "Yes, but enchanters can enhance their gear, and the other gathering professions cannot."

    This complaint brings me to my next point.  Yes, it is true that enchanters can enhance their gear, but, this type of enhancement is generally not limited to the enchanter, with the exception of the ring enchants.  However, enchanting is not the only profession that gets a bonus of some sort.  In fact, all of the professions get some sort of bonus, including all of the gathering professions (Mining rewards Toughness, Skinning rewards Master of Anatomy, and Herbalism gets Lifeblood).  How beneficial each of these is to you depends on your class, however, each of them is beneficial in some way, and Blizzard has made a concious effort to make sure that they are all relatively balanced.
  3. It is by far more difficult to farm enchanting materials than it is materials for other professions.  For instance, you will often see individuals farming their respective product while waiting for a group to arrive/get ready.  This is not something that is possible with enchanting, because the majority of our product comes from the instances themselves.

    Basically, in order to farm enchanting materials, you have to find a group, choose an instance, run the instance hoping to be successful, kill bosses that drop loot that nobody needs, and then win on the rolls for the shards.  This means that even if you "farm" for hours, you could still end up with little to no shards.
So, with that in mind, I do have a few suggestions on how to fix my perceived problem:

  1. Become the leader of as many groups as you can.  Being the leader of the group allows you to specify certain ground rules for the group.  So, if you are the lead, specify the ground rules as follows (note that these suggestions are not for raid environments):
    • Use group loot, in order to make it easier to handle.
    • If someone needs gear, click Need.  If you do not need the gear, then you will pass.
    • Enchanters can click Greed, so as to increase the looting speed if nobody Needs the item.
    • If nobody wins the item, then it will be rolled on to sell.
    • If an enchanter wins the item, they can disenchant the item, and they get to keep the resulting materials.
  2. If you are not able to become the group leader, but are the only enchanter in the group, specify that any items that you disenchant, you will be keeping the resulting materials.  If they do not like those rules, they can roll on the items as well, and can sell them if they wish (which is what would happen if there were no enchanters in the group).  Patch 3.2 added one additional option that you may allow as well, and that is if someone else wins an item, and they want it disenchanted, they can do so by trading it to you afterward, as they have already won the item, but can now trade it for a while afterward.
  3. If you are not the only enchanter in the group, and are not the group leader, things get a little more difficult, in that you have significantly less choice in the matter.  However, you can request to the group that only the enchanters be allowed to roll on the disenchantable items, so you can make it at least fair between then enchanters.  If you specify this ahead of time, you will likely receive little resistence from the other enchanters, because they will be benefitting from the arrangement as well.
In the end, what you will be trying to do is make enchanting more profitable for yourself, but remember to be curteous about it, and if the group is resistant to the request, you can always abide by the group's wishes or leave the group if you want.

See you in the Shadows,
Spazmoosifer