Loot Management Week: The Council of Looting

I woke up this morning feeling like Dean McAmmond. I won’t discuss too much on 2.3 Priest changes. My colleagues have done a great job thusfar (Ego, Kirk, and the rest). Once I wrap up the week, I will take a look at some certain Shaman improvements.

Apparently there are high level Guilds out there which do NOT utilize a DKP system in any way. It’s… uh, really weird! I can’t say that I’ve ever been in such an organization that distributes loot based on what the Loot Council thinks. Yeah, there is no complex web script to maintain. There is no pencil and paper number crunching involved (or UI download required). If the Guild thinks you deserve it, it gets auto looted to you.

What the hell? What kind of Guild would do such a thing?

A Guild whose main goal is to progress. A Guild which values utilitarian values. A Guild that doesn’t care about loot as long as they progress. Personally, I am one of these types of players. I don’t really care about who gets what loot as long as it benefits and helps the overall raid. I figure if the Loot Council running things was mature and NOT selfish, it has a high possibility of working. The deciding methodology could range from players who want an item messaging the Lootmaster, or having officers inspect all eligible players to determine who gets the dropped piece.

I don’t think I need to spell out the possible pitfalls or negatives that this kind of loot system will offer. Think about it for a moment. The loot you get is dependent on a group of players. There’s always a possibility of bias. There could be accusations of favoritism. This kind of system offers the potential for Guild drama that would clog the front page of WoW Insider for a long time. I’ve never been in a Loot Council Guild, but I would imagine the environment would reek of paranoia.

But surely there must be benefits or else many top end Guilds would not consider the system. Aside from the lack of work involved, this system would fit strongly with organizations that have been together for a long time. I don’t refer to one year as a long time. I’m referring to three or more years, long time. These are rare Guilds that have grown together for such a long time that they consider each other an extended family. As such, they would have no need to rely on point systems to economize loot. They possess that instinctual knowledge of loot priority. They know who would benefit the most from item drops. They also know that the person they give it to would utilize it to the fullest. The Guild becomes that much stronger, which leads to being able to take down more difficult bosses.

In theory, I do agree with the principle. It’s a great Utopian ideal. But Communism also failed. Even after taking a Philosophy course and being exposed to the many ideals of Locke and Beccaria and all those other old guys, I still firmly believe that man is inherently selfish. Obviously not all of them, otherwise this system would not be in use today. If your Guild wants to pull this off, the most important thing to nurture amongst all your members is trust and a sense of community. Otherwise, nothing will stop a player from bolting once they get an item that they want (then again, not many systems can counter it anyway). Can it work? Yes, because my friend has been a part of two successful Guilds that have done it.

The next two days, I will wrap up Loot Management week with what I believe is the best possible system.

How DKP Works

DKP: What Is It?

Simply put, I would define it as a form of currency for players. When MMO’s first came into being, a loot system needed to be formed. Players realized that it would not be fair to just allow anyone to roll on loot. It would completely suck if a player joined a raid and rolled 100 while you rolled a 1 even though you were there far longer. So some guy came up with a method to assign value to item drops (I think this was back in Everquest). DKP stands for Dragon Kill Points. In Everquest, they didn’t have you kill off Ogres or Shades or Demon Hunters (At least, I don’t think so).

There’s various methods for earning DKP and it is entirely up to your Guild brass to use what they want to use. Each method has it’s own positives and it’s own negatives. There’s different ways to spend it. A lot of players whine and complain about DKP and it’s usage. But the thing about DKP is that it doesn’t determine if you get loot… it determines when you get loot. A lot of people have difficulty wrapping their heads around that concept. They start complaining when some other player gets that coveted 500 spell damage weapon before they do.

Here’s a brief overview of the different ways Guilds can classify their DKP earning scheme:

Time based: DKP earned is relative to the amount of time spent raiding.
Boss kill: You take down X, you earn Y. Simple concept. It’s kind of like working where you get paid once you finish something.

Spending Schemes:

Basic: Your typical bidding system
Zero Sum: It’s a fixed system where the same amount of points being spent for an item get redistributed throughout the entire raid. So if a player spends 25 points to purchase a Bow, the entire raid gets 1 DKP each (25/1). Carnage utilizes this.
Spend All: This goes to the highest bidder. They are required to go all in on their bid. Once they get an item, they have to climb the ladder all over again. This results in a fairly even distribution of loot I would imagine.
Hybrid: This one’s an interesting system. You have a fixed cost on items and you add a random number generator on tp of that to help weigh the statistical chance that the player can receive that item. I daresay it’s a bit complicated to set up.

More analysis tomorrow. I turn 20 so I may not get around to it. It depends primarily on how much alcohol my friends pump into my system.

Loot Management Week: Karazhan

Sorry guys, I had a really busy weekend. I had to finish up a few projects and participate in my hockey draft. I think my picks look pretty solid.

I’ve noticed an alarming trend lately in how some younger Guilds are imposing DKP for their Karazhan runs. Wait, what? Why? Why use DKP for loot distribution in a small ten man instance? Hopefully my plea can change the course of Guilds so that they don’t run into any Guild Drama later on in their path.

Don’t use DKP for Karazhan. As a Guild run, there will be at most two classes that are the same (warrior/warrior, priest/priest). It adds unnecessary work and possible consequences in the future. Loot should be decided via rolls or gear prioritization. I’m assuming that your guild is running with the same crew of people on a weekly basis. Even if you have two or three groups for Karazhan, then the loot being distributed should remain in those individual groups.

Like come on, seriously, its only a ten man raid. Did anyone run UBRS with DKP? I think not. There’s only a few pieces in Karazhan that can be used by multiple classes. Even then, a simple roll off will work for it. There’s a LOT of bosses in there that it’s almost virtually guaranteed that everyone will get an upgrade at some point. As you progress through the higher areas of karazhan, you’re going to end up with players with an insane amount of DKP through the roof. Once you start instances like Gruul’s and Mag, then you will have players with lopsided points (in the range of thousands). These are the instances where DKP really DOES matter.

The rest of the week, I’m going to discuss the various methods that Guilds can use to distribute their loot in the best possible way for players. Each loot system is different and should be tailored to the primary objective of the Guild.