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Reader Comments (26)

Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 5:54PM Blacksen said

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"But whatever system you choose, it's important that it's fair for all and that your members are on board with it."

Why is it important for a loot system to be "fair"?

This statement always gets to me. I'm the guild leader of a progression raiding guild in World of Warcraft that competes around the top 100 US level. I'm also the author of the #1 Loot Council mod, Loot Council Lite. I know a lot about loot council.

The idea that "loot should be fair" is a fundamentally flawed one. To many people, loot is a means to an end and not the end itself. Very few people actually desire better gear simply to have the gear (though there are a few) - they want gear because there's something else they want. They believe gear will impact their character's performance, or will help down a new boss that they previously hadn't been able to. It's not the gear itself that they want - it's what the gear would enable them to do.

Loot council can be an optimal way to achieve the goals of your individual users. For us, our goal is to kill new bosses as fast as possible. Each boss presents unique challenges and requirements. Some require excellent healing, some have huge tank damage, some require off-the-wall AoE damage, and some require either stacked melee or ranged. Gearing for the fight is a much better way to get the boss killed, and when people understand that, you get a much better experience.

For us, the 9-weeks preceding our #55 US heroic Lich King kill focused on this tactic. The fight stressed about 10-15 people's output, while the other 10-15 made marginal impacts to the fight on a gear level (specifically, the healers). In the 9 weeks going up to heroic Lich King, any time a healer wanted an item that a DPS could use, the healer was instantly removed, no questions asked. This went on for over 100 items: healer and DPS wanted an item, healer doesn't get it. We had almost 50 heroic tier tokens, and not a single healer got one.

Now you might look at that and go "woah, that's so unfair. You instantly passed on people for 9 weeks?" But at the same time, it achieved everyone's goal: downing the boss.

There are atmosphere's out there (such as my guild) where people are willing to put aside individual goals for team goals. Here, we have people who are desperate to pass: "it's a bigger upgrade for him" - "he's a better player than me" - "his class is more important on X fight." What builds those atmospheres is way beyond your loot structure.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 6:28PM Brianna Royce said

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@Blacksen I think maybe the problem is that fair doesn't necessarily mean equal.

Extremely focused and goal-oriented groups like the one you describe aren't really the majority. Some guilds' members are selfless in that they will suppress their desires for the good of the whole guild as an entity, while other guilds' members are selfless in that they will suppress their desires for the good of all of the members as individuals. Both types of guilds are looking for fairness according to whichever social ruleset the guild employs.

So for the first group, the players would consider it fair to pass 9 weeks in a row, because they understood those rules going in. If one of those healers had been allowed to cut in line, the other players would consider *that* unfair (even though to an outsider it might seem perfectly fair). For the second group, if the social rules are to spread loot around to all the members, someone might cry foul if all the tank gear were given to the tank rather than distributed evenly, because group morale is seen as more important than PvE success.

A perception of fairness within the group dynamic is necessary because otherwise, hey, people will just quit. :P
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 7:06PM Enikuo said

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@Blacksen If all your members are on board with loot council, they consider it fair. If all your members are on board with random rolls, that would be fair. If they agreed to use DKP, using DKP would be fair. There is no unfair way to handle loot, provided the participants accept it.

Also, there are no goals that are more worthy or noble than another. It's no more noble to work as a team to kill a boss than it is to run casual raids where even loot distribution might be preferred by the participants. Everyone is afforded freedom of association. And everyone is allowed to choose which goals they want to pursue.
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Posted: Feb 7th 2011 10:51AM DarkWalker said

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@Blacksen

It worked for you because your group is a well-knit one where players are fine with putting group objectives ahead of individual objectives. And because your guildmates see downing bosses as the objective and the gear as the means.

It might be the norm among very competitive raiders - I wouldn't know because I've never truly held a conversation with players from guilds that downed HM LK before Cata's launch - but among the players I know, gear is seen as the objective and downing bosses as the means. And players that really agreed to put group objectives ahead of personal ones are not really common.

With a few rare and precious exceptions, among the players I knew, telling a player he would have to sit out of upgrades for weeks would be a sure way of making he leave the raid group, often to never return. Which is a large part of why we didn't ever try to implement a loot council.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 6:06PM Rhazes said

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Both systems work great for me because of my performance and attendance.

The merit system works great for speedy progression, Just make sure sex isn't getting traded for loot.

The only problems I found with DKP is loot rot and the time it takes to handle loot. If theres a dkp system that can keep loot that can be used from rotting I'd like to try it. Everyone wants to save for the best items. I had a guild leader that got pissed once and started giving away loot to non hoarders and it the dkp hoarders ended up throwing fits.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 6:18PM JoeH42 said

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The most effective system I've ever seen was to simply have people bid gold (or whatever in-game currency there is) on the items. The winner gives the gold to a single person in the raid who is designated as the treasurer or whatever. The treasurer keeps track of how much gold is given to them over the course of the raid and at the end totals up the gold and then divides it evenly amongst everyone in the raid. So, for example, you do a short raid like Obsidian Sanctum and get 5 good pieces of loot. On your notepad you have written down who paid what:
Conor, 500g.
Salanthaa 425g.
Vorac 850g.
Eriok 625g.
Serbis 1100g (for the piece of Tier gear).
That totals to 3700 gold. There's 10 people in the raid and so everyone in the raid is then given 370g.
Here's why it works so well: DKPs are fine but you can't use them for anything else, whereas gold can be used for all sorts of things. Don't have any gold so you can't bid on anything? Well, come to a few raids and you'll have some gold just like you'd have some DKPs after a few raids. The difference is that if you leave the guild your hard work will have netted you something you can actually use. The other situation this came in handy for was when our guild didn't have enough people for a raid and needed to PUG a few slots. It'd be pretty rude for the PUGs to get nothing because they don't have DKP. So they had two choices: 1, if they had a lot of gold they could bid on and buy things and 2, if they didn't have much gold well then they walked away from the raid with some.
So, so far that's the best system I've found. I learned it from a friend of mine who said he'd played with a lot of Koreans that used the system.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 6:22PM JoeH42 said

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@JoeH42 P.S. You also don't get people "rolling" on gear they don't need. We had a minimum payment of 50g for a piece of gear if no one else wanted it and if no one wanted to pay 50g for it, I'd just DE it and add 5g to the pot.
In the end, no system is going to be perfect because people are so volatile and imperfect themselves, but I think this one worked pretty good and everyone in the raid walked away with something at the end of the day, even if their tier piece didn't drop or whatever.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 6:49PM macallen said

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So Joe, if I played the AH and had millions across lots of toons, I could buy everything that ever drops and people get cash that they couldn't use to buy equal items because they're no-drop? So the MT never gets better armor, the rogues never get better daggers and my half-assed secondary healer who just happens to be a whiz at the AH gets drops they can only barely use?

The biggest problem with anything but Loot Council is that, with 5 min of thought, an easy way to "game" the system can come up with.

Posted: Feb 4th 2011 2:28AM kasapina said

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You'd be paying a lot more, and people in your guild would get pretty rich, don't think they would mind that. Plus, since you're only playing on one toon at a time, players not in your role would still be able to roll, since there would be no point for you to overbid them (if you're playing dps in the raid for example, you wouldn't be bidding on the healers' and tank's items). This is, assuming raid gear can't be traded after it is achieved, as in many games' case. Also, gear that isn't an upgrade for you will eventually start dropping and people will be able to bid on that.

Of course, if your goal is to just not let anyone else have any item, then you can bid on everything. But the people you're trying to screw over will get very rich in the process, and gold DOES matter, especially since every patch people have to replace their gear, while currency remains relatively the same when it comes to stuff like enchant prices and fancy flying/mounts.
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Posted: Feb 4th 2011 10:02AM Duffy said

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@kasapina

I think he's pointing out that gold is an 'infinite' resource and the gear you want is a limited resource, at least in most games. What good is all this gold your making from drops being bought if the guying buying them always has the more gold than you anyways. And in a game like WoW the gold doesn't help you that much unless your trying to buy drops, which goes back to the problem of infinite/limited resources. It only works when no one is trying to break the system; which is fine, if it works for your group cool. But borderline claiming it's infallible is just a bit on the silly side. (Disclaimer: varies pending a game's mechanics)

I find that no system is perfect, you have to use what works for your group and furthers your group's goals.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 7:15PM Interitus said

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I enjoy my guilds approach. You get say 3 attempts. (varies for dungeon). During the course of the raid you can roll 3 times.

The trick is when do you roll. You could roll early, with a higher chance of getting something. You could roll later with a chance of better stuff, but then you risk the raid wiping or being called or everyone else also rolling later.

Obviously you only roll for things that you can use.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 7:30PM rhorle said

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I prefer epgp over dkp. http://www.epgpweb.com/help/system

While it is a wow-centric system, it can easily be ported to other games. Even more so if they have addon support.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 7:33PM rhorle said

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Just as an aside http://www.wowpedia.org/EPGP has a slightly better breakdown of it compared to other loot-methods.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 7:34PM Ace220X said

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My favorite system was a DKP system during Vanilla. Everyone was awarded points for time spent in the raid and for what items dropped off the boss. All loot had some value assigned to it and that was the price that it cost to buy it, and the value also determined the amount of DKP everyone else got for it dropping. If no one that needed it could afford it, I believe it went to a random roll (if I remember correctly). I remember my Hunter in full Beaststalker stockpiled his DKP and then looted every piece of Hunter gear that dropped in one night. Went from 0 to 5/8 Giantstalker in a few hours.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 8:36PM Slayblaze said

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@Ace220X

Yep I agree 100% about DKP in vanilla and even in BC actually it worked out really really well. But better in vanilla I guess because it didn't have the token system back then, when loot dropped it was actually the loot itself rather than a token representation of loot.

Was in a guild for a while in LK that uses Loot Council via the Loot Council Lite mode mentioned in 1st post and that also really works excellently when you're playing with people who are actually dedicated, skillful, knowledgeable, experienced and also willing to sometimes sacrifice personal reward for an even Greater Goal.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 8:48PM eLdritchZ said

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Well the time problem can easily solved with Blind Bids... I prefer that system exactly because it saves time...

for those who haven't used it before: instead of posting your DKP bids in guild or raid chat auction style, everyone who wants the item posts the maximum DKP they are willing to spend on an Item to the Lootmaster/Guildleader/Raidleader/Whatever and whoever bids highest gets the item at 1 DKP(depending obviously on how you run your DKP) higher than the 2nd highest bidder. Boom, loot handled - get on with the Raid...

I've also yet to hear a complaint from a Player about it... After all it might actually save you DKP, since you are a lot more likely to spend more if you battle it out with someone Auction style.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 10:00PM Rhazes said

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@eLdritchZ


That sounds like a system with less loot rot to. More people would be willing to go for smaller upgrades if they can get them cheap enough.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 10:22PM eLdritchZ said

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@Rhazes yep and the system encourages your fellow players to spend their points instead of hoarding them just to go for that one super great item.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 10:40PM Valdamar said

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@eLdritchZ
That sounds like a really good system. I like that.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2011 10:40PM Valdamar said

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The time/work required to run DKP, and the perception that only hardcore guilds use it, are the main reasons I disliked using it - but I think the fairest system is DKP with blind bids (with all failed bids being announced somewhere - website or in-game - after the successful bid, to maintain transparency) - the player gets out of it what they put in - turn up to raids/events and eventually you'll have something you want to show for your time.

Merit systems can be so subjective that favoritism bias creeps in and the suspicion engendered by one disputed loot decision can cause drama, which DKP rarely does.

Tbh I wish games would just assign loot anonymously to folks on a raid/dungeon run - then there's no jealousy or tough decisions to make and everyone can focus on the task itself.

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