The other day, some friends of mine from a previous guild had reached out to me to express their feelings on who was chosen to receive the first caster legendary staff. There were some points they brought up that I agreed with and some that I didn’t.
I can only imagine what it’s like to be an officer or a GM and being put in that position of not only having to choose a system that would determine who is the best choice for a legendary, but then having to be the one to decide who gets it and standing behind those choices.
I also know what it’s like to be on the other side of the coin, to be the one who gets chosen for a legendary and having your abilities and motives suddenly put under a microscope.
Let me tell you a story about when I became legendary or should I say when I became the recipient of one.
At the time, I was still a raiding resto druid and Ulduar was just about to be released. Some information on Val’anyr was starting to trickle down and resto druids weren’t immediately seen as the best choice to receive it, mostly due to how our heal over time spells worked in conjuction with the shielding effect from the weapon.
My guild had decided to create a thread on our forums, in which people could discuss who they felt the best candidates for the mace should be. Most people kept their suggestions pretty general and focused more on the class of healer that should receive it and not necessarily the person that should receive it. Most people, with the exception of one troubled, wayward healing priest named Akarai.
Akarai voiced the loudest opposition to a resto druid being awarded Val’anyr and I’m fairly sure that she was only so outspoken about it because I would be one of the two resto druids in the running for it. We had started off as friends and she sort of took me under her wing when I first joined the guild, but had since sort of turned on me for no reason. I still believe Val’anyr was mostly the reason, but we’ll get into that later.
Anyway, the thread went on for a couple of pages and the officers still hadn’t decided who the first recipient of the legendary weapon was going to be. They were even still talking about it as we took our first steps into Ulduar and began the initial journey towards Flame Leviathan. There was still a healthy amount of debate and discussion going on in Vent as the night went on, up until Flame Leviathan dropped and his loot was revealed.
There it was. Our first Fragment of Val’anyr and our officer core still had not decided on who would be the first to receive it.
I could see the Fragment starting back at me from the loot pane in the middle of my screen – the Fragment on the far left, the dice on the right with the gold coin beneath it. The timer ticked down ominously as the officers spat out last minute suggestions of how to decide on the fly who would get it. Finally one of them blurted out “Just roll! Healers, roll for it!”
Oestrus rolls 98 (1-100)
I couldn’t believe it. I knew that I had rolled high enough where nobody would beat me. I won! I was going to be the first healer in the guild to receive a Val’anyr. I was in shock. My mind went blank and I spaced out for a few seconds at the news. A couple people congratulated me on Vent and as I watched the Fragment fly into my bags, I knew that things were never going to be the same. Little did I know just how much they were never going to be the same.
The second that Fragment entered my bag at least two healers stopped talking to me. Akarai of course was furious and promptly cut off all communication with me. Within weeks I had become a social pariah. I went from being a great healer, who had the logs and the gear to show that my performance had meant something and that I had been rewarded appropriately for doing good work to suddenly being seen as carried or seriously overrated. I had people openly starting fights with me in guild chat and drawing comics about me on the forums. It was insane!
To some extent, I think my guild felt that because I had so many fragments already (I was up to twelve, at that point) that I wouldn’t be going anywhere and that I would have no choice but to take whatever people felt like dishing out. They obviously didn’t know me very well.
I still didn’t understand why this was all happening. I honestly thought people would just be happy for me and I couldn’t make sense of why they weren’t. I was supporting the guild. I was representing the healers, the druids. I thought that someday people would see me in Dalaran with Val’anyr and they would see my guild tag and say “Wow, that’s an awesome guild right there. They have a Val’anyr!” and I would be the one to signify that.
At that point, I would have given every Fragment back, if I could have. It wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it to have people I thought I could trust and respect turn against me over a bunch of pixels. It wasn’t worth it, even after I left the guild and tried to apply to other guilds and having to explain why I’m sitting around with an unfinished Val’anyr in my bags. It wasn’t worth it to have that feeling of embarassment or shame, knowing that I would have to PuG Ulduar to get the rest of my fragments, because the guilds I was in already had their own designated Val’anyr recipients that they had to build maces for and they came first (rightfully so).
Eventually, I did complete my Val’anyr, with the help of an amazing guild and I was one of two resto druids with it. It felt incredible. Some joked about how long it took me and that by then it was a bygone relic that nobody had any use for. Fortunately, the ICC buff favored absorption spells and effects and I’m proud to say that I used that thing up until the day Cataclysm was released. I even used it when leveling Oestrus and I would even use it in Heroics to show off or when I felt that I had a really strong tank in the group that didn’t need as much healing.
Even though I changed mains, I still sometimes ride around a major city on my Amani bear mount and my Val’anyr and remember the good old days. I have never been more proud than I was when I received either of those things and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I went through a lot to get my Val’anyr and it made me who I am today. I’m stronger because of it. I don’t care what people think because of it. I don’t doubt my abilities because of it. I got it because I earned it and I worked hard for it and no faulty system of deciding that or no amount of forum trolling could take that away from me.
If you’re a DPS and you’re reading this, good luck with getting your legendary staff! If you’re an officer of a guild or a GM and you’re reading this, good luck with finding the right system for you and yours and may this be as rewarding of an experience and as stress free of an experience as possible. If you aren’t able to receive the staff, because of your role or your class or you just don’t get chosen to receive it, be happy for whoever does. Try to find some good in what that person does for you and realize that when they receive the staff your whole guild receives the staff. You’re building it together. Don’t immediately look for ways to tear them down, but find reasons why they were given this opportunity and support them in that. I would like to think that person would probably do the same thing for you.
Good luck, everyone!