Loot Council: First Raid

Monday night was Conquest’s first mostly-guild Naxx 25, and we premiered our Loot Council system for guildies and pugs alike. I think that we successfully distributed loot in a fair way, but I have to say that it added to the tension factor of raiding for me.

First, the rules for players. At the outset of the run, I explained the following.

When useful loot drops, players type one of the following things in raid chat. Interested means that the player wants to be considered for the item right now. Pass means that it’s a good item for the player, but he or she wants others to have it first. If no one is interested, the item will go to a person who passed. If no one has a use for the item, it will be disenchanted. Any questions about the process should be dealt with in whispers.

The members, thus, play a bigger role in our Loot Council than they might in other guilds–they have a hand at deciding when to take something and when to share. However, the big deliberations happen in Loot Council chat. For those of you who might be interested, here’s what happens behind closed doors.

Loot Council Deliberations

1. First, we inspect the interested players and evaluate the relative value of the upgrade. We type our opinions in chat.
2. Second, we list out the number of items the player has already received that night.
3. We determine the use value for the raid–as in, do we need this item on our tank/healer so we don’t all die?
4. We consider performance on bosses.

I felt good about all but one case last night. When you’re debating between equals, sometimes it doesn’t matter who it goes to–the other person will get the next thing, after all. However, our LC is not all in agreement about what to do about pickup raiders and trials. My opinion is that we should try to give puggers and trials a prize if we can. There are special cases, as in when we need to gear our tanks in order to live through the content, but in general, I like to consider pickup raiders under the same criteria as everyone else. In the case of trials, I would give them more consideration than our own raiders–if they’re working hard for a spot, they should get a prize, even if it ends up being a consolation prize when we ultimately do not invite them to our guild.

The only other case that took us some time was tank loot. I have a strong desire to see the tanks work out their drops among themselves. The warrior tanks of Collateral Damage, my former guild, did that in T6 and it was a great benefit to the guild as a whole. I’d like to see our tanking corps be somewhat independent–and to build stronger relationships with each other through sharing the loot. That sounds very kindergarden doesn’t it? But so much of a guild’s success depends on trust among members.

On Trust

I think that trust is the key concept to talk about when we’re doing Loot Council. I used to administer an Ep/Gp system, and believe me, the responsibility is much greater when serving on a Loot Council. With Ep/Gp, the top person on the list got the item and that was it–there was little for the system administrator to do other than read the list. For me personally, being part of the Loot Council is a trial in every sense of the word. I want to be a fair and trustworthy person. Sure, I want my share of the loot–but only what should go to me, and not a bit more. As such, I’m instituting a personal policy of frequent passing. For example, last night I would have been awarded an awesome mace had I not passed–I did so, not because the upgrade wasn’t great for me, but because the other player had received less items that night.

However, the bigger challenge is keeping my mouth when I’m supposed to. If I have a personal failing, it’s giving my own opinion rather insistently, whether people ask for it or not. I also tend to go on crusade when I believe that I am right, or even worse, when I believe that an injustice is being committed. However, I’ve got to learn to keep to the rules. I wrote the Loot Council policy myself, so I know why I’m not supposed to weigh in on my own or Briolante’s loot. However, it gets tricky when I just want to give useful information–which I might have, as I actively research healing gear for the blog. I’m not voting on my own loot or tank loot, of course, but I have to draw that fine line between informing and meddling. I think the key here is going to be trust. Do I trust the other members of the Loot Council to give all the tanks and healers a fair shake? I guess I’m going to have to.

However, trust is earned. All of us–me, and the other members of the Loot Council–are going to have to work incredibly hard to maintain balance. We all have friendships and allegiances, as well as personal desires. We just have to learn to keep them out of LC chat.

20 thoughts on “Loot Council: First Raid”

  1. Interesting account. Back in Vanilla WoW when I was still an active guild officer, after a guild merger, Loot Council was one of the distribution options we had been giving serious consideration. The way we would have run the council was to have one “counselor” per role (tank, dps and healer) + the raid leader in the council, and one backup for each counselor. If one of the counselors became a stakeholder by being interested himself, his backup would step in in his stead, to avoid any conflicts of interests.

    Never got a chance to try it out, though. The guild eventually voted for zero-sum DKP.

    Gwaendars last blog post..Lack of Posts: Short Update

  2. I like your system, I have personally run into a lot of situations where a piece of gear is up for grabs that is a DECENT upgrade for me, but I’d rather wait for a chance to get the much larger upgrade I know is coming later on in the run.

    I feel if I get this marginal upgrade, then I won’t be considered highly for the next BIG upgrade since I just recently got a piece of loot.

    but if no one else is going to take it, just give it to me since it won’t go to waste, but don’t let that factor into the decision when a great epic drops. I think this is conveyed in your interested/pass mechanic.

    Wills last blog post..Fastest Mage Leveling Guide – Build and Strategy [Video Post]

  3. I’ve never been a fan of loot council. There is the obvious concern about favoritism which I think is prevasive with such a system regardless of who is running it due to human nature. But how do you determine if X item is better for a class or not. So many things go into picking gear. Going far beyond simple class/spec considerations.
    I am glad to see membership has a say in their loot though which is a huge step towards making the system balanced.
    *cheers* that it went smoothly last night for yall too 🙂

  4. I personally hate DKP. It rewards people for just showing up and putting their time without and ramifications if they screw up,play bad etc..

    Yes loot council can have problems but honestly I do not want to be in a situation were the tanks especially do not get the gear they need to make Healing and DPS so much easier.

    Loot council went fairly smooth last night as we knocked off Sarth,Spider wing,Plague wing and the Instructor in about 3 hours time. All this while Brio was Main tanking for the first time in Naxx. Good Show

  5. There are so many good and bad things about LC’s that its a fine line. I enjoyed being a member of a guild that used that sort of system, until it became a huge secret. Of course, the loot was tracked on paper (well, excel) so that the officers could remember who had what. But then it came down to, oh this person is a great healer and could really use that set bonus, despite the fact we just recently rewarded him…

    Its tough stuff to run a LC, and its hard to trust your LC if you are the member. People get all kinds of worked up over purple pixels, so tread carefully, but really, I wish you the best of luck with it. I have no doubts in my mind that your LC is likely very reliable, but your members can only come to know that in time.

    AltoholicsAreUss last blog post..Northrend Daily Quest List

  6. Looks like you have a great system. I’m currently torn between a DKP system for my guild or Loot Council myself. Loot use to never be an issue until we evolved to a 25 man guild, so now I have to input a fair system that works with the guild. On one hand, DKP will let them make the decisions about the loot (with all the additional flaws of DKP), but on the other, a LC system would allow people who are more well-versed in what’s better for each class/player decide who gets loot.

    Then there’s the question of how to determine who gets to be on the council or not. Do you change them on a weekly basis or keep the same individuals each time through? A lot of my officers feel if I push forth with Loot Council that they will never be able to speak up about the upgrades they want, because they’ve been longtime standing members in the guild and know if they are vocal, that they will win it.

    I really do like the bit about letting members decide if it’s a major upgrade for them or not – very excellent and helps cut down the process. The final concern is the time it takes to discuss the loot. Does 2/4 set piece bonuses come into play? How much time average do you spend discussing a piece of loot each time it drops?

    ceruleagoss last blog post..Ceruleagos: @mattycus I am strongly considering loot council for our 25 man raiding program. Thank you for your post over it – great stuff to consider.

  7. sounds like a pain in the ass.

    attendence counts = dkp.

    performance in raid? are you counting that shammy boomkin or shadowpriest, who threw heals and came in under the raid norm on the boss because of some sub par performance or movement of a dps, or tank or a healer?

    alot of factors into loot council. I like the theory, I just hope it doesn’t become an us vs them sorta thing for you.

    tier pieces go to a tank, then a dependable healer. then dps. =simple.

    god help you dude.

  8. @Veneretio & Dscomboulat

    I think you are missing an important factor here… the raid is asked who is even INTRESTED in the item first…. so not only does the factor of armor class come into play, eliminating anywhere from half to nearly all of the raid…. but then, those who even WANT the item come into play… which eliminates more. Once all that is said and done you only have a couple of people to consider when handing out loot. Most raids arent filled with people who will want/take/roll/bid on every single epic that drops.

    With that in mind…. the process isn’t all that complicated nor difficult… I still think its a great system.

    AltoholicsAreUss last blog post..Northrend Daily Quest List

  9. agreed on the raid asked thing, but thats handled by a bid system. hell i’ve seen people “want an item” that didn’t belong to their class. and nearly get it. a god mode loot council aka gm whom says screw you, its going to X raider who needs it more for the top bid price = cool.

    a group of people in officer chat sorting out the spoils? god help you.

    It works in theory and I hope you can pull it off. and honestly it is a logical way to go… I just see it being painful.

  10. I guess people don’t realize or don’t want to realize that there is no perfect system when people are involved. My own personal experiences have taught me if the people running the loot council are fair and objective then it works and works amazingly well

    The people we have on the council IMO are from my experience so far have the integrity to make good decisions not only for themselves but the good of the guild

    The 2 DKP systems I was in, one pre BC with a top world guild and one TBC, had the same inherit flaws were you gave the choice to your guild to make. I cannot tell you the number of times loot had gone out that would either seriously gimp the raid or have loot passed over because someone was hoarding their DKP for that one drop they thought was so special. How about being in a guild with DKP were someone who did earlier content racked up a massive amount of DKP but couldnt play as much and was pretty much a casual sub and then would come in for Illidan or KJ and snag some really good loot because they had the DKP.

    Both caused all kinds of problems for both guilds.

  11. the casual sub wouldn’t have the dkp after a few farm rounds. and again a gm who called it like it was if there was a problem owns, as long as he is fair.

    I feel ya there, i’ve watched loot misdistributed, and also won an item or two quickly before 3.02 which contained mass crit and intel that a mage got mad at, but as a player on ptr I knew the change was coming.

    dunno. good luck with it all.

    personally I like my guild but sure as hell wouldn’t trust the officers to be non greedy or favorite playing in that situation. “oh so and so is good” ” oh so and so is really my buddy” dunno. somehow a forceful gm, and a non complacent raiding membership = loot council. it sorta corrects potential errors, and dkp rewards players who commit.

    just my .02, I’m curious to see how this turns out. oO

  12. @AltoholicsAreUs:

    I’m not missing any factors. I understand the system completely and years of leading and being a part of raids as well as observing the successful and unsuccessful systems of other guilds is why I hold the opinion that I do.

    You yourself have experienced first hand a bad LC system, yet like so many others seem to want to believe that if we can just find that right person… that perfect person… we’ll have the greatest loot system ever!

    …but that’s not the case. In my experience, the person(s) given the task to do a LC have an impossible task a head of them where there are multiple instances where there is no right decision and it just undermines the trust and authority of the leadership.

    That being said, I truly do wish Matt and his team the best of luck. I want to believe, I really do.

    Veneretios last blog post..Don’t ditch your old Defense Trinkets just yet!

  13. I think your guild goals play a lot into what kind of loot distribution system should be implemented.

    I for one could care less about getting loot any time soon because I’m able to competitively hold my position as one of our Melee DPS. I joined this guild to beat the game, not to get a specific piece of gear.

    Now if I am being held back from a strong contribution due to loot – I would feel more anxious about getting gear. As long as a fair/impartial council shares that perspective (gear relative to contribution) the gear will find the right home.

    Perhaps a more casual minded guild (like my last one) benefits greatly from a DKP system versus a LC, but it seems that drama only happens when you feel that you will not get what you need (legendary drop, particularly difficult boss, etc.)

    In summary, if you kill all the bosses of Naxx/OS every week – there is plenty of loot to go around. As long as there is plenty of loot being tossed around – folks aren’t gonna care if you Council, DKP, draw straws, or random roll it. Just keep the train rolling.

  14. *edit* – This assumes an impartiality from the council. Transparency/trust is extremely important in any loot distribution. It just happens that it’s easier to see the system for DKP (i.e. you don’t necessarily listen in on the conversation LC has about loot). Perhaps rotating members of the council could play the transparency well.

  15. “My opinion is that we should try to give puggers and trials a prize if we can. ” – This is important, unless your guild is 25 people who your sure will never leave under any circumstances, you need puggers. Yer right!

    Why? We’ll obvious to fill the occassional slot in your raid, but more importantly these pugs are one of your best recruitment pools. You might not neeed them now, but what happens when your only XXXX spec [insert race here] leaves? If you’ve been fair to your puggers you will have decent (and hopefully well geared players) queuing to fill the slot (both in the raid, but potentially also the guild).

    BobTurkeys last blog post..Server down and other stuff

  16. Loot council can be the best system and it can be the worst, Its all about trust and the council needs to have as good(better) knowledge of the class needs as they do themselves,

    For ourselves we just went with random roll in naxx 25 for the 1st day with random 1 to indicate offspec or 2nd peice. DKP from 2nd day on. 10 man content is staying /random..

    One thing to consider is just the incredible amount of drops their are especially if your running both normal and heroic. After 2 weeks we are allready disenchanting feral staves,fist weapons, caster staves and i think we need 1 more ilvl 200 caster 1 hander before they go to offpec.


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