Why Loot Council, Matticus?


Veneretio: @behemothdan “Agreed there is no perfect system, but there are good systems and bad systems.”

This statement was, of course, in regards to a post Syd wrote earlier about her early experience with the implementation of Loot Council. Like good systems and bad systems, there are good people and bad people. Power, when used for good, can be used for great thing. When used for bad, can lead to not so great things.

Before I can go into any greater detail, you need to understand the Matticus Doctrine when it comes to raiding. There’s a specific line in there that effectively summarizes my thoughts on loot:

Loot may not be fair and it may not be equal, but I will do my best to ensure that it is effective and not wasted.

A lot of players will say that LC shows favoritism and isn’t fair. I think that’s a matter of perception. What does fair mean? What is your definition of equal? Can you distribute loot fairly and progress? Can it be done quickly?

When we talk about progression, fairness and equality are out the window.

Is fair giving 3 pieces of minor upgrades to the Mage who’s earned that right after months of raiding and then taking a 2 month hiatus but exercising their DKP option when the tier tokens could’ve benefited the Rogue who is still wearing T5?

Or is fair auto looting a crucial piece to a tank to make progression raids that much easier instead of the Priest who can also benefit?

We’re in the business of progression and that means the players have to trust us. Loot gets distributed with the intent to boost and maximize raid performance. And it may not always be “fair”. This means withholding items from the player who frequently AFKs in trash. This means deciding on the player who flasked, brought reagents, repaired and enchanted and gemmed all of his gear instead of the player who didn’t repair to full, asked for Paladin reagents because he forgot to stock up, and isn’t playing 100%.

Factors include but are not limited to:

  • Present gear
  • Tier token count
  • Performance
  • Attendance
  • Attitude
  • “Clutch”ness
  • Etc.

What makes it work?

In order for the system to work, there’s a few important things that I took into account and into consideration:

Numerous Loot drops: Bosses drop at least four items. It’s not a matter of who gets loot. It’s a matter of when. Everyone’s going to get the gear they’ll need and want fairly quickly.

Accountability: It’s not in my best interest to screw people or my guild over. Why not? I’ve got over a thousand regular readers. I just reached the 1 million page view mark a few days ago. I do have a reputation to keep. I don’t want to be known as someone who constantly loots stuff to his friends or someone who shows favoritism all the time. I want to recognize hard work and effort and I want to reward it accordingly.

Progression oriented guildies: I’ve surrounded myself with players who want to kill bosses. They don’t care about the loot they get. They’re not greedy. They’re willing to share it with others who benefit more then they do. I do not have players who only care about themselves. I do not recruit players who are selfish and greedy and want the best epics in the game just so they can look good.

In fact, the biggest problem is when everyone passes or there is no interest at all. If anything, some of the players are too generous.

Member input: Like Syd said, our players are allowed to give some input into whether or not they want an item. It’s a unique system that has worked out for us thus far.

Sometimes decisions will be easy.

Plate Spellpower? A quick glance at the raid shows there’s only one Paladin. Same thing with Resto Shamans.

What makes it not work?

Human error: This is the biggest strength and also it’s biggest weakness. In fact, I won’t hesitate to admit that I’ve already screwed up looting once. You’ll find out more on Monday night on the weekly Post Raids. We’re all human. Sometimes we all overlook things. We all make mistakes. Once in a while, we’ll make the wrong decision.

Loot council cannot work based on the effort of one person. It can only work with the collective effort and trust of the entire guild. Without it, you may as well just go back to using a DKP system. It’s not the best system nor is it by any means perfect. But perfection was never one of the 3 Ps. It’s the best system for the goals and directions of the guild. Players need to buy into it or else it will end up failing.

Mistakes are going to happen. But if I can maintain a successful looting average of 0.990, I think I’m doing a pretty damn good job. For players that don’t agree with it, then my organization may not be the one for them.

I know some of you have had bad experiences with it. Others aren’t so sure if this is the right system for them. Hopefully my blog can help shed the light and paint a better picture of what loot council can do when it’s done correctly.

22 thoughts on “Why Loot Council, Matticus?”

  1. My (small, tight-knit) guild just moved over to a Loot Council type system for WotLK. We’ve never used something point-based as it just doesn’t end up working out for us, but I’m feeling really confident about our LC. We rotate 2 officers & 2 raiders onto LC per raid, with one officer to act as a tiebreaker if necessary. Because we’re just a 10 man guild and most of our players are familiar with each other and are willing to pass when something is a better upgrade for someone else, we’ve hardly had to send any decisions to LC so far, but when we have, it’s worked really well for us.

    I like that you specifically note “Clutch”ness. It’s something we had to take into account on a recent cloak drop when two different DPS with identical attendance and cloaks all expressed interest in it. We gave it to the guy who is around more often, been 80 for longer, and has instanced more to try and improve his gear…. and pumps out 2200 dps as opposed to the other guy at 1700, with the reaction times of a freakin’ mongoose.

  2. I think what it comes down to is having a group of people in a guild that are selfless with gear. They want the loot to go towards what would best improve overall raid performance the most. You can usually pin-point weaknesses in the overall raid performance if it has to do with healing/tanking or DPS then distribute that loot accordingly.
    If the tank is getting killed everytime we go on this raid and we wipe because of it.. I don’t mind us getting him geared out as long as he is committed to the guild and makes an effort to get all other gear/enchants he can on his own time.

    Good to take a bunch of different criteria like you pointed out, and set a weighted measurement for each

    Wills last blog post..Death Knight Specific Addons WOTLK

  3. Good post Matt. Loot distribution will always divide some people who think it should be done differently. For example, my guild has a DKP system with the clause of officer intervention. We are looking for people who are willing to gear themselves as we progress. So a Mage, for example, who passes on every item even though it’s a clear upgrade isn’t going to be allowed to pick-up a caster weapon off of 25-man KT when they are behind in damage meters by a large margin.

    I think one of the challenges to loot council is keeping tabs on everyone’s relative gear level. Back in vanilla WoW when I played my Warrior, me and the other Warriors were a tight-knit group. When tank loot dropped, we already decided who was going to get it so we just relayed the information to the DKP person. We never cared what the DKP numbers were. We tried to distribute it to the person who needed it most in-slot.

    Drotaras last blog post..We need to make some money.

  4. Absolutely agree that loot council is best for the guild progress. However loot is not just tool of raiding, it’s also some kind of reward for the individual. And the two purposes of loot demands directly opposite loot distribution.

    Guild progress demands giving loot to the guy with the bigest upgrade (assuming he is not slacking).
    However reward must go to the best ones, who are by default the best geared, therefor it’s the smallest upgrade for them.

    By putting the guild before the individuals you risk losing your best geared members. What you think about it?

  5. I am not a big DKP fan. I tend to favor a LC system. That being said I think this debate is a little over blown by everybody.

    First off, let me point out that if you have a stable guild then what loot system you choose DOES NOT MATTER. If you raid with relativly few people without a lot of change from month to month then everyone is going to get all the gear they want.

    However, there are several practical reasons to choose one system over the other. My current guild uses a DKP system. The benifits is that our loot distribution leterally takes less then a minute. The other benifit is that is difficult to argue with most of the loot distribution because these people have clearly been present to and a benifit to the guild if your build your raiding team correctly. The only real down side is that there are RARE exceptions where it does make more sense to gear some one other then the person with the most DKP.

    My old guild used loot councel and I have a years worth of experiance with that type of system. The benifits of it was that we handled the rare exceptions well. Long time member comes back after a month long break, shouldn’t get loot right away.

    The problem with LC is that it rarely distributes loot in the best interests of the guild any more affectively then a DKP system would. For example, take the Tank/Healer before DPS rule, this is probably the most common rules in an LC system, yet 99% of the time it is BS. Your tank currently has 30k health. Is an extra 300 really going consistently make the difference between wiping and killing a boss. No its not, nor is an extra 50 spell power to a healer. In reality Guilds tend to be run by tanks or healers, and this rule allows them to pick up gear first.

    The second issue with LC is the Human error problem you mention, but its not just, “oops, I gave it to the wrong person.” There is a flip side to this where people habitually pass because they don’t want to look like a loot whore. The officers in my old guild had a really problem with passing loot they deserved and it ended up going to people that didn’t stick around for the long term.

    Third, most of the reasons listed for an LC system are leadership issues and not Loot issues. For example, you imply you want to punish people who AFK during trash and don’t come fully prepared. Thats great, but I have a simple question for you. WHY ARE THEY IN RAID? If some one does these things habitually then it is the leaderships problem for not addressing it directly with them. If it is a rare occation then cut them some slack. Passing someone over for loot to punish them will ultimately cause more problems then confronting them directly.

    Lastly I want to dispell this “I don’t care about the loot” myth that all high end raiders like to throw around. That is a load of bull. Everyone cares about loot. if they didn’t there wouldn’t be a need for a safisticated loot system and every one could /roll for loot. The CoH priest wouldn’t care that the new resto shaman rolled on that neck with a tone of spirit on it, and clothies wouldn’t care taht the moonkin just rolled on a cloth item. They all care about the loot and anyone that tells you differently is a lier. In fact if I ever started a raiding guild I should put a question on it that asks if they care about loot. Anyone that says no should be rejected immidiately.

    Everyone cares about loot, but some people understand that the guild is greater then them selves, and that ever good peice of loot for them might be better then someone else. Plus, they care about their images and don’t want to look like a loot whore. As long as you have members like this then you won’t have any problems with loot being distributed incorrectly by a DKP system because the off tank will pass that new uber shield to the MT even if he has more DKP. Or the Mage will pass on the Tier Token so that another member can complete a set bonus.

    If this is not the case then its not a loot issue, its a leadership issue.

    Graylos last blog post..Pre Naxx Moonkin Gear Guide: Part 4

  6. Gevion, I’ve been in that “well geared” slot for about 6 months. I raided with my current guild for over 5 months and got nothing except 1 trinket off of a Kara boss until a few weeks ago. The week before WotLK came out I picked up some really neato shoulders from BT… this came after countless kill of Void Reaver in TK, wherein I was passed up for tank after tank who had “decided” to tank. Loot council is a good way to go, but when it comes down to it, people don’t play this game to see other people reaping all the benefits. I’m basically fed up with raiding. I put in 8 months in 2 different guilds and never managed to get a piece of T5 or T6 gear. My problem was that every guild that I joined was at my level or below, so I had nowhere to go.

    …to wrap this up, Loot council is good, but when all else fails, /roll and bitch about RNG. Laters.

  7. @ Gevlon – I tend to see the loot from the last boss as the “Trophy” Loot. I usually push to give the best DPS/Healers/Etc. that loot. Options that are Best-In-Slot are also what I would consider “Trophy” Loot. I doubt a LC would give a rogue with a Blue or T4 sword a Warglaive -> but if it’s just another sword that’s a marginal upgrade to your top DPS then that is another issue entirely. I’d happily give that to the blue sword rogue.

    @ Graylo – I agree with the stable guild having all the loot they would want.

    I also disagree with most of your perception on this “I don’t care about loot” myth. I think the degree to which people care is what is misconstrued. Yes, everyone cares about loot, but what does rolling on sub-optimal gear have to do with whether or not you care? I care that loot go where it belongs – no enhancement shammys stacking int/mp5 gear.

    Something we’ve not brought up in this discussion that seems pretty relevant is individual accountability on gear wants/needs. I know exactly what drops in Naxx, what is kind of an upgrade, and what I want no questions asked. This is because I was asked to do my homework – and it was done. If people don’t research loot they will default to “I want it”. Or, like you mentioned, they won’t want to look like a loot whore and default to “No Thanks”. If you know it is a best in slot item – I dare someone to call you a loot whore. Now what you think is a best in slot item is up for debate…

  8. Also – Naxx floods your raid with gear. I count 2 Phys DPS plate pieces for shoulders/legs/chest/hands *as well* as a tier option in every single one of those slots. These are potential drops – you may be unlucky but you may see 3 Phys DPS plate hands drop per raid – I don’t think people will be needing them much after 2 runs like that… unless you do the right thing and bring 5 fury warriors 😀

  9. I have to say I politely disagree sure it’s great when you are a tank or a healer as youll get priority on loot but mystra forbids that you are dps wearing better gear than the raid you are in as you could be attending and making a substantial difference to the raid and yet not receive anything from your efforts until your fellow players caught up to you.

    Not fun for the player doing all the hard work to not see rewards for their effort

  10. @Nigel: Good catch. Need to knock off the %. Was busy mixing save percentages and something else (too much hockey).

    @gevlon: And that’s a very fine line to walk. I have to balance the needs of the guild with rewarding of the individual. And that’s something that needs to be looked at on a case to case basis. But really, if a player’s going to whine about NOT getting loot (as opposed to getting loot last), then I’m willing to pay that price.

    @graylo: This guild is young and new. I don’t know everyone yet. I don’t know their habits or personalities. Players are in the raid because that’s who I have access to at this given point in time. Not every guild has the capability to pick and choose their share of personnel. It’s too early to say. And it will always be an ongoing and neverending evaluation. As for the not caring about loot BS as you call it, perhaps I should re-write it as I don’t care about when I get loot because I know I will get it eventually. That might be a better reflection.

  11. Tanks die. Raid wipes.
    Healers die. Tanks die. Raid wipes.
    DPS die. Fight takes longer. Raid wipes if healers can’t maintain mana.

    Bottom line. Loot needs to go to those that keep the raid alive the longest. That’s tanks, healers, and then DPS. Along with that is performance and ability.

    One person might not think it’s fair, but 24 other people really think it’s unfair the next time they have to come and struggle with no progression because Joe Bob can’t tank a squirrel, Sally Mae couldn’t heal Arthas himself as main tank, and Leroy can’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag.

    kyrileans last blog post..And They’re Off!

  12. Also – Tanks / Healers are only considered over the same loot drops on Tier Pieces. 15 bosses – only 4 token drops (+1 random from…Gluth is it?) compared to how many other loot drops?

    There are also only ever a few tanks in a Progression Guild – proportionally larger amount of Healers – but you are always trying to fit in as much DPS as possible. Tanks become completely geared after only a few runs – then you will be handing out tokens for off-specs before you know it.

  13. If your in a *good* progression guild; you’ll be using LC; which is a system I believe works if your in a strong/tight/core type of guild. If you are in a hyped up hardcore guild – this will fail. If your in a super laid-back/friend/casual guild – this will fail.

    You need to be somewhere in between and have the understanding that “All for one is one for all,” and as silly as it sounds… there is ALOT of gear out there. If you wow dreams and spirits are crushed because *you* didn’t get something you wanted or that *you* thought was owed to you… you have the wrong attitude and won’t get very fair in this game while also enjoying it.

    I really enjoyed reading this post, almost everyone who shakes a fist at LC is unsatisfied with the way their guild raids.

    LC = FTW! =D

    Orbitzs last blog post..Screenshot Wars!

  14. “Tanks die. Raid wipes.
    Healers die. Tanks die. Raid wipes.”

    True, but none of that says why the tanks or healers die. If your tank is consistently dying because he doesn’t have 1000 more HP or your healers don’t have 100 more SP then the problem is not the gear. Assuming your team is addiquately geared to start the content then it shouldn’t be essential for your tanks and healers to gear up more to progress in the content. Take the current top guilds for example. They didn’t farm naxx for weeks and they cleared all of the available content. I’m not saying that we should all be like Nihilum, but it just goes to show that experance and quality trump gear.

    “DPS die. Fight takes longer. Raid wipes if healers can’t maintain mana.”

    This statement isn’t quite right. I think it could also read. DPS die, Fight takes longer. Boss enrages. Raid Wipes.

    I’m not saying that Tanks and healers don’t need the gear or even if that they shoudln’t get special treatment on every so often. I just think it is an over used excuse to give gear to some players first and isn’t warrented most of the time.

    @ Matticus

    I understand that your in a bit of a tough spot with your guild being so new, and I wasn’t saying your a bad leader or anything of that sort. How would I know? I’m not in your guild.

    What I was saying was that using is gear as a reward/punishment is a bad idea in my opinion. If you consistently pass someone over for loot because they AFK during trash or don’t come to the raid with reagents then you will probably pay for it later. Its better to address that thing directly as I expect you would do and leave loot out of it.

    One other think I forgot to mention before. I’ve seen several loot councels that refused to /roll for gear ever. I don’t know if you use rolls or not, but I would encourage you to if you don’t. If you have 5 people that want an item and three of them are really close in the counsels mind, have them roll.

    Anyway, thats all. If I upset you I’m sorry.

    Graylos last blog post..Pre Naxx Moonkin Gear Guide: Part 4

  15. What I don’t like about loot councils is that I’ve found I don’t get to argue back… giving the loot may not necessarily be a mistake, but if a loot council doesn’t have some form of open discussion / transparency the loot may be a waste. Eg
    thankyou for thinking this is an upgrade, but you haven’t considered/were aware that I am getting an badge offhand which will mean that my Mace and that new offhand are better then the staff you have given me and could have been better used elsewhere, but not do I expect a loot council to intimately know every single persons gear list/plan /theorycrafting

  16. @Zahrah: Yep, we control for that. That’s what gear lists are for and that’s where our players have a unique say in whether or not they are interested in loot. We don’t just arbitrarily award loot. Players who are eligible for it get a say.

  17. Thank you for the excellent post in here, Matt!

    All I can say is that your learning curve makes the learning curve of us less well adviced less steep.

    I think you are on the right track in here: after all, guilds should be considered to be more stable than BC made them, and LC suits a stable and tight guild structure extremely well. The more there is trust and common goal, the easier the choises made are to explain, right?



    Copras last blog post..Weekend in games

  18. @ Graylo – please read the rest of my response. It says exactly what you’re saying. No point in gearing up a healer that couldn’t heal a tank attacked by a squirrel. Like we’re both saying “performance and ability”.

    But I do disagree about your 1000 HP comment as it is sometimes exactly what prevents a wipe, especially when still gearing up on the initial runs. I can’t tell you how often I’ve run into times when if the tank had just 1000 more HP that he would have survived just a second longer for me to get my heal off and the fight would have continued as the other healers top him off.

    No system is perfect, but I still agree that Loot Council is by far one of the best. 🙂

    kyrileans last blog post..Laws of Raiding

  19. @Graylo:
    “First off, let me point out that if you have a stable guild then what loot system you choose DOES NOT MATTER. ”

    Wrong. Plenty of stable guilds have become unstable as a result of loot issues directly resulting from loot distribution problems. Inconsistency is the biggest drama creator of a loot system and LC is the loot system that gives the perception of inconsistency most frequently. It’s for that reason I always say that LC has a number of situations where there is no right answer, whereas with other, more attendance style based, systems where the control is in the hands of the system not a person… inconsistencies are not perceived. The system is cold, hearest and consistent. Sure, it may not be always practical, but you learn in the long run that practical loot distribution is not nearly as important as consistent loot distribution because after all, a guild that can’t raid can’t logically or illogically distribute loot.

    Veneretios last blog post..Marking: You’ve probably forgot you could do it.


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