Well, I wanted to go to ICC on my feral druid... and I did.
Dark Iron is a fairly hardcore server for raiding. The top guild on Horde is one of the top 100 in the world, having downed several bosses on 25-man heroic, and three other guilds have killed the 25-man Lich King. Another five are working on Arthas. Compare this to my primary server of Skywall... where the top guild is still working on the Lich King. Our guys are good, but they aren't crazy good.
So while Skywall hosts a ToC 25 GDKP, Dark Iron hosts an ICC 25 GDKP.
GDKP is typically a special kind of pug, first popularized on the Korean servers where players run a raid and the awarding of drops are decided not by main spec/off-spec rolls, but by who bids the most gold. Hence the G in GDKP. The "pot" or the "purse" of everything paid is divided equally among all comers in the end.
It's considered to be a drama free method of pugging because all the terms are disclosed up front, bidding is public, and the concept is simple. If you're willing to pay the most for an item, you're the one who gets it. Additionally, the gold is only divided up at the end, so if someone leaves early or they're so bad they get kicked they get nothing. It's incentive to play well and to stick it to the end.
For more reading I recommend the Elitist Jerks thread on the subject.
Because my feral is an alt with gold to burn and no raid schedule, GDKP runs are theoretically perfect for her. Consider that she is primarily in heroic and emblem gear (with one ring from ToC 25) with no prior proof of having done anything in ICC before. Link achievement? Not possible.
What normal pug would take her?
Admittedly, even the GDKP run almost didn't, because her gear is on the low side, and you do need to have some geared people to make sure those bosses go down. The raid leader said he would see how the raid shaped up when it was almost full, and eventually said no, leaving me to run a random heroic and feeling a little disappointed, but understanding. Then maybe a half hour later, he whispered me again asking if I was interested in filling in. Someone had left and they were at Gunship. I said yes in a heartbeat.
Being in that ICC 25 raid was… humbling. There were a lot of genuinely well-geared people on that run. If most of these people were on their alts (remember this was ICC 25!) I shudder to think what their mains are like.
I was never in the top 5 in a VoA or ToC 25 pug as a feral, but I was respectably middle of the pack. In ICC 25 I was… next to last for overall damage. I was beating the tanks for certain, but I never got higher than #12 on the damage meters for any boss fight.
But I did pass the idiot check. And so did the majority of the raid. The raid leader ran a tight ship. Instructions were clear and concise. People listened to them. Only once was there a call out for someone doing something completely wrong. We cleared seven bosses with only three wipes; one on Festergut, one on Blood Prince trash, and one on Blood Princes themselves.
Yes, this pug cleared seven bosses and my feral got to ride along with no prior ICC experience.
Because I was a last minute addition the raid leader actually didn't have an opportunity to check my finances, but people were supposed to bring 3k minimum with which to buy things and he had been checking in Dal before inviting people. I had 7k, and hoped I might pick up a couple items off the early bosses. The announcement stated that we were heading for Saurfang and anything beyond that would be dependent on the composition of the group. Truthfully, since this was a pug, I didn't expect we'd go beyond Saurfang, especially as a 25-man, so the fact we did was amazing!
It was a good experience, and I'm predisposed to go again, if they'll have me. I'll have a fatter wallet this time. (I walked out with no new gear, but 10 frost emblems and 4k gold!) Only one item dropped that I wanted, a ring off Rotface. I bid 4500g for it, but lost to our bear tank at 5000. Maybe I should've bid a little higher, but at the time I really wasn't certain how good the ring was since I hadn't checked out the boss drops past Saurfang.
I think there were several elements that made this a successful pug.
1) The gold requirement
If you want to come you must have gold. It shows you're capable of bidding and paying for items and stops the tourists who have no gold but just want to earn some of the pot. You could of course have money and never bid for a single thing, but a smart raid leader will watch out for those people and stop inviting them unless they're one of the powerhouse tanks/dps/heals that make the raid happen.
2) The gear requirement
I was the worst geared person in the entire raid, but was at the point where there was absolutely nothing left for me to buy with triumph emblems. To give you an idea, according to WoW Heroes my feral is perfectly geared for ToC 25 and ICC 10. This meant that the raid's potential dps was very high.
3) Experienced raiders
People were expected to know the fights. Bosses were not explained beyond sorting out assignments. Nobody failed for not knowing the fight, and fact was, very few people got achievements that night. They already had them. Even Rotface with all the slime management was a one-shot. I think we could've done Putricide given more time.
4) Good raid leadership
The raid leader was very aware and good at calling out events, whether it was managing people with spores on Festergut or people who had to run from flame spheres in Blood Princes. That he managed to do this as a healer was even more remarkable. He also had a very matter-of-fact tone of voice. He never got mad, but just laid things out as they were. He gave orders, expected them to be followed, and they were.
5) Professional attitude
Almost everyone had it. No one was whiney or full of themselves. Vent was clear of chit-chat. It was all business, very professional. Many of us left with a polite "Thank you, sir" for the raid leader, and all properly typed out.
So now I'm 4k richer, I have 25-man achievements to flash in my attempts to get in an ICC 10 pug, and I had one heck of a smooth run. It was just about everything I could have wanted from a pug raid.
I wish some more gear had dropped that I could have used though. I felt kind of bad that I didn't spend anything since I otherwise got so much out of it and the raid leader really did take a chance on me with my gear and no proof of experience. It opened some pugging doors for me and I'd hate for the raid leader to think I just came to freeload.
I can't say whether all GDKP runs are as good as this one. I haven't been to the one on Skywall yet (work keeps conflicting), but I think it's a certain type of player that comes to those runs, so that tends to weed out the poor performers. The participants need to know and understand how GDKP works, and those who don't bother to learn how the system works don't get that far. Also, participants need a decent amount of gold, and be willing to spend it.
Players will pay thousands for a choice epic (the [Shadow Silk Spindle] from Blood Princes last night went for 13k), but for a player to do that they need to understand the value of the item to them.
In a pug that does /roll, someone might very well roll on items that are negligible upgrades, upgrades that aren't really upgrades, or even technically off-spec (healers rolling on +hit gear). Would those same people drop 5k on the item?
GDKP ensures that the person who ends up with the item is the person who really wanted it. It won't stop off-specs, but people aren't likely to drop tons of money on something unless they're sure about it, and if they do drop a ton of money on it, everyone else is happy because they got compensated.
Over 100,000 gold was "spent" on last night's run, so everyone left with a pretty good payout even if they did get any items, and several said they'd be happy to come again.
21 hours ago