Greedy Goblin

Monday, July 27, 2009

Loot systems and guild positions

There are several loot systems, but for now I classify them into two groups:
  • Loot council-like systems
  • Automatic systems where some non-personal actor decides who gets the loot (/roll, DKP, EPGP)
My claim is that deciding between the two depends on guild position. For topguilds the first is better, for mediocre guilds a "fair" automatic system is better, for Plague-wiping guilds and PuGs /roll will do.

First, we must state the obvious: the loot council is better for the group. If the ilvl239 replaces an ilvl 226, then the group gained 13 ilvl, if it replaces an ilvl200, the gain is 39 ilvl.

Secondly let's reject the "it's better for the group" argument as socialist delusion. The driving force is always personal, even if it act via a group, like "my nation is great, so I am great too". Let's rephrase the obvious truth in the first statement for a person:

If I take an ilvl239 to replace my 226, instead of letting X take it to replace his ilvl 200, then I have worse chance to get the bosskill, since X cannot do his job well.

This is also true, so a goblin should support loot council. Still, I have never did. There is a good reason for that. The above statement seems to be obviously true, while it is only true with certain conditions:
  • I want bosskills/progress/achievements. It seem to be obvious, however it's not. Most players doesn't care a bit about bosses or "progress". They want to be perceived cool. Gear is a tool for that. So he will gladly takes a loot for himself or his buddies/brownnoses, even if it's far from being optimal for the raid. He couldn't care less.
  • The guy who gets the gear is able to use it. Giving anything to an autoattacking M&S is a waste.
  • The guy who gets the gear will stay to use it for my bosskills. It's also not obvious. He can stop playing or can leave the guild for a more progressed.
  • I will be in this guild. If I leave for any reasons, I take my gear. If I passed on some loot, it won't help me later.
The first one is pure social stuff and can be easily handled: stay away from the dumb socials! Of course sometimes it's not easy, a new player on a new server with lvl80 starter gear, no achievements, will not get into an Ulduar hard mode guild, so he must stay with dumb socials for a while. However this point obviously proves my claim: in social (necessarily unsuccessful) guilds, you shall stick to an automated system. If you get into a loot council social guild, you either don't get anything or prepare for some serious butt-kissing.

The second point is also about gaming skill. In good guilds gear wasted in the hands of M&S is less likely.

The third and the fourth points are more or less the same, if we assume that the other guys are just as smart as me. If we cut the social crap (to quote a guildmember: "if he is good at playing his class he can f@#~ donkeys if he likes to. Doesn't really effect his playing.") we get one reason why someone and his guild part: he is better or worse in skill than the others.

If he is better, he can get into a better guild. Better guild = more bosskills, achievements. He no longer cares about the guild as a whole, as he will leave as soon as he is accepted in the better guild. He keeps his gear so he should not pass on any.

If he is worse, he will be kicked as soon as a better player is found. The guild is better off not giving him gear as it is wasted.

If the guild is on top, they meet the second situation more often than the first. The No1 guild has nothing to fear from anyone quitting for a better guild. So such guild can have loot council, as no players shall fear that the gear they passed on will leaves when someone gquits.

On the other hand if the guild is far from the top, its better players will want to leave as soon as geared. The guild must respect that these good players will not stay, and pay them properly for the period they serve there. If the guild does not give them loot, they will leave faster or don't even come, pushing the guild even lower.

So loot council is good for a topguild because:
  • little to zero risk of losing gear to social crap
  • no risk of gear being unused by someone who don't know his class
  • few players will walk away with their gear
  • new players will be happy to be here, getting the kills and achievements and won't mind not getting the top-loot for a time
An automated system is good for a mediocre guild because:
  • the system being automatic protect the guild from loot-drama. In such guild the social crap cannot be avoided, so all means to minimize and marginalize it must be taken. "sorry dude, he had more DKP" is a quick cutting of all loot-whining
  • lot of gear will goes to useless hands anyway, with automated systems the good players will be less upset because of that waste
  • there will be lot of coming and going in the guild, so most people will see a loot given to others as "lost" and not as "invested into the common future"
  • new, relatively useful players will not be happy to wipe because the real life schedule of others doesn't allow focus-DPS on one gargoyle. They must be well-payed to suffer this.

A personal note: our guild is in between the two, both in progress and loot system. While the basis is EP/GP, there are often passes for a less geared raidmember if the passer knows that the loot gets to a good place. It's not enforced, just happens.


Sven said...

My raiding group is far from the top one on the server (because a) we don't raid that often and b) we're socials, so we don't care about server firsts, just enjoying the content), yet loot council works fine for us.

There is none of the loot drama or any of the other problems you predict, Gevlon. Why? Precisely because it is a social guild and people are quite happy to put the best interests of the team as a whole over their own individual requirements. Loot drama happens *because* of the goblin ethic of selfishness. Take that away and there isn't a problem.

Khassad said...

My old guild used loot-council with "it's better for the group" philosophy. It was ok for everything except for Best-In-Slot items. BiS should always go to selected players.

/roll is simply unfair

Steven said...

My guild also uses EPGP and we are the top horde guild on the server and have been so since TBC. We were the only Horde guild to progress to M'uru pre-nerf.

In TBC we used your standard DKP system, then with WOTLK we switched to EPGP. We are a "hard mode" guild. We have done all FL, Decon, Kologarn, Hodir, Thorim, 3 Lights, 1 Knock so far and have spent the last week working on 3 Knocks.

You quote, "A personal note: our guild is in between the two, both in progress and loot system. "

As I read your entire post I couldn't help but continue thinking, "Man this guy doesn't know shit about raiding or the "culture" involved in it." And then at the end of your post I see you completely contradict everything you have written in the previous 50 or so lines.

The fact is in an EPGP guild, no "loot counsel" is required because only the top players get enough play time so that their effort points don't decay to nothing. There is no way to calculate the risk of losing a player with 100% activity and stellar performance and the only others able to compete with him are those who also have 100% attendance and great performance. I'm an officer in my guild so I can see the attendance statistics of our raiders, 13 players with 100% attendance, 8 with 85-99%, 6 with 70-85%, and 6 with below 70%, who at this point most of them are "trial" members in the guild and we don't have a true picture of thier attendance because the system calculates only the previous 2 weeks.

If we then sort by ep, guess what, it's almost an identical layout, the people with the top attendance also top the ep. These are the people we want to have the gear, they are the most reliable and also the "best" players. If they were not they would never have made it past trial. And we certainly would not tolerate slacking, 2 weeks is it, if there is a major drop in attendance, with no good excuse (personal, family emergency), then that player is gone and no longer a factor in the system.

There is no shortage of loot for "newcomers" because most of everything is passed on at this point except for the 239 hardmode loot drops. And why would any sane person give 239 loot that we have wiped for weeks working for to some guy that just joined the guild a few days ago. But tbh that guy wouldn't even be in the raid because tests don't have any spot in progression fights, they are only allowed to come in to farm content.

Man I used to love your blog, when you talked about economics more and raiding less. Thanks to you I'm now a 15k / week goblin myself, but please, stick to what you know. If I remember correctly, just 1 patch ago you were an anti-guild, casual raider wannabe, pugging the laughable easy mode content convinced that gear didn't matter because you could get the job done in blues as well as the guy's in bis epics, and your proof was a screen shot of an arbitrary healing meter.

Gevlon said...

@Steven: "loot that we have wiped for weeks" tells everything about how much you know about"about raiding or the culture involved in it".

Steven said...


"loot that we have wiped for weeks working for"

Looks as if you forgot some of the quote. The key words in there are "working for". And if you're going to sit here and tell me with your paid for raid spot that there is no work or wiping involved for new accomplishments, dead hardmodes, and best in game loot, then go ahead, I will remove your blog from my bookmarks.

How low, trolling in your own blogs.

Gevlon said...

@Steven: raiders work for the challenge. Maybe for the achievement that proves they met the challenge. Working for loot is the mentality of the kids who block the fountain with a mammoth.

Steven said...


Ok, I oversimplified and take for granted you don't know me, for that I'm sorry.

I spent half of my life in the military, and have a more "goblinistic" mentality then you could imagine.

To me, everything is a tool in accomplishing a job. I am a tool in this job, other officers in the guild, our raiders, and the loot we get. All of these factors make up the collective "toolbox" to accomplish this job.

The loot is nothing more then that to me.Better tools for the toolbox.

So are we working for loot, yes. Just like we officers work our asses off to decide on tactics, schedule raids, maintain a raid ready roster, and just as the raiders work to keep themselves online, in top condition (enchanted, gemmed) gear, farm consumables, and know the fights or at least be familiar with tactics if we are not using our own.

All of these are factors to the next achievement, to the next dead hard mode boss. It's a finely tuned system, at the core of it is us, the players, and raiders ourselves, but the loot is nothing more then a tool, a means to an end.

I really am sorry I have to explain this to you. But at the end of the day, without the right tools, you can't get the job done.

I guess I'm just too "social" for you. I'm really sorry all this "kid" cares about is the loot.

Trib said...

Wow, listen to you, Gevlon, all grown up after a few months raiding and apparently qualified to make a broad sweeping statement such as "raiders work for the challenge".

You may want to consider that raiders, of whatever level, are made up of a varied cross section of the population. As such their motives and drives are varied as well. Whatever their motivation, their skill level remains the same. I've read you long enough to know that you would never claim that altruistic motives (the challenge) will yield a greater return than base motivation.

If you're down for the challenge, good for you. I suppose your lucky that you came to rading so late that a lot of the more difficult challenges carry visible rewards such as titles or mounts.

If you are still confused as to the motives of top end raiders, try this test. Go to Krasus' Landing and wait there a while. You will definetly see the more advanced raiders come to strut their stuff and fancy mounts.

Oh, and welcome to "raiding and the culture involved in it". Here's hoping it remains as much fun for you after 2 xpacs as it has for us, whatever our motivations.

Steven said...

Thank you Trib. Well said. Most days I don't even know why I do it (raid) anymore. It's not a cool factor, or an appearance issue, of the gear, I've had top tier gear for 2 xpacs now, it's just what I wear. Actually I am never on my main unless I'm actually in a raid, otherwise I can't stand to be on him, much less sitting around Dalaran on one of my Proto Drakes just to show off.

The motivation at the moment is to see Algalon. I'm glad he exists in the manner he does and requires so much work and dedication to get to. Otherwise our raid weeks would be boring, like they were when Naxx, Sarth 3d, and Malygos was all we had. We cleared all of that content in one 4 hour raid night. Sarth 3d was a 15 minute 1 shot that took more time to clear trash. Not fun. But gear, lol, yeah it's what we work for, but it's not the end, it's the means to an end.

I piss on achievements to be honest. Sadly hard modes are the only challenge in the game and they are linked to achievements. But because I don't care for achievements doesn't give me any right to degrade the player who wants 100 mounts, or has cleared every dungeon below lvl 60 on his lvl 80 toon solo, just for the 10 achievement points each of these dungeons gives. I'm glad these guys are having fun, I wish those achievements are what did it for me. What does it for me though is seeing a boss drop dead after weeks of team work.

Anonymous said...

"What does it for me though is seeing a boss drop dead after weeks of team work."
<- THIS is what raiding is all about. It doesn't matter on which level of content you are. The "social" guild clearing Naxx for the first time will feel the same as the top guild finaly downing a hardmode.

Carra said...

Yes, it might be better for progress if an item goes to the player for whom its the biggest upgrade. However, that often leads to the biggest slackers getting the gear. Those who didn't bother to craft that ilvl 213 item to upgrade their ilvl 200. That shouldn't be a problem in top guilds of course.

Besides, with a DKP system, the player for whom the item is only a small upgrade will most probably pass on the item anyway. Why waste your DKP on minor upgrades? Let the other guy have it if its more use to him and save your DKP for bigger upgrades.

Azzur said...

I read the views of Steven and Trib readily acknowledge them. The beauty of WoW is that it's up to YOU to play the game you want (it's your $15), it's up to YOU to define your challenges, etc.

If having 100 mounts, the best gear or killing a boss is what does it for you, then you're entitled to go after that achievement.

Gevlon seems to think that any way that is not his is the wrong way and people who do so are M&S.

Steven said...

I then proudly give gevlon the link to this M&S's guilds wowprogress link.

*vlad* said...

"The No1 guild has nothing to fear from anyone quitting for a better guild. So such guild can have loot council, as no players shall fear that the gear they passed on will leaves when someone gquits"

Once again a statement made without any justification.
The hard core guilds fall apart just as frequently as the 'not so hard-core' guilds.
If you don't believe that, look up Death and Taxes or SK Gaming.
Where are they now?

Steven said...

Vlad "If you don't believe that, look up Death and Taxes or SK Gaming.
Where are they now?"

SK Gaming merged with Nihilium to form Ensidia afaik. But your comment still stands correct. No guild is above disbanding.

KevMar said...

I think loot council only works in top guilds. The problem is drama. It does not matter how fair you are as a loot council, there will be times where someone felt they deserved loot more then the person that got it. Once people think your are not fair it falls appart with the drama.

We use a custom system that lets the user feel like they decide what loot they get, but its just another dkp system. It is perfect for our group. The rules feel fair and are set in stone.

The loot system is a tool to prevent loot drama. Looking at it that way, our loot system was a huge success. At the same time, we also are not a top guild.

Wooly said...

Loot council is an ok system in theory, though is bloody easy to crack. Unless you keep a sheet with everyone's gear, a devious player could easily switch to some blue piece to convince you that he needs it more. Besides, it's heavily dependent on the intelligence and impartiality of the ones deciding: "Hmm.. We like that guy more, let's just give it to him" kind of stuff happens even in the best guilds. Not even mentioning not understanding what kind of gear is best for a certain class/spec/playstyle.

This probably won't happen most of the time, though never ever assume anything. Loot Council only works with perfect impartial people, which in my experience don't exist on this planet.

DKP system is simply the best system. Should be for a real goblin, because it's based on money (DKP).

Though you will never agree, because of your limited playtime, you will always be low on DKP compared to the rest. So... your decision is clearly based on what's best for you.

Yes, people who play the most, will have more money to spend. Their gear will be used best too, because they play the most. This IS ALWAYS best for the group, because it's highest gear * time played giving the highest return on the given gear.

To bad for the one day a week players, but sometimes life IS fair.

And gear will not have much chance on getting in the hands of useless players. The reason for that is: useless players will not raid as often, because they're last choice. If they're not last choice, even when they're not that good, they're not useless, because you simply need them. In that case, gearing them is still best for the group.

I can go on for ever, because it's so obvious to me. It's simple: DKP is the best system. It's self regulating, it gives 0 grief, and it gears the ones that are usually there, raiding with you (so most useful).

And I can't feel any grief for the one day a week player that will miss out. Even if you're very good, you're just less useful. Too bad.

Thunderhorns said...

Loot council only seems to work if the loot master and others on loot council know where the loot should go or at least require the members to know. I was in a guild that gave loot to people that asked for it and often the lootmaster would give the item to a person that didn't get maximum benefit.

Our loot master was so ignorant he gave a gun off Kel'thuzad to the fury warrior because he asked for it when a hunter had also asked for it. Dumbest thing any of us had ever seen.

I think Loot Council is the best system for progressive guilds as the loot gets where it needs to be. But if your lootmaster is dumb as mule, you'll have serious drama and problems with loot council.

Olga said...

Loot council system has two major disadvantages for top guilds.
First is the fact that usually choice is not as simple as 200 to 239 opposed to 226 to 239. Usually it's two 213 to 226. And for that situation the person who distributes the loot needs to know for sure, does this item benefit more for mutilate rogue, combat rogue or feral druid, and for which of them it's BiS. It's guaranteed with DKP system that those three players will not bid for side-grade (if they will, they are not players for top-guild), so with DKP only those who really need will bid on item. But with loot council everyone can say that it's an upgrade - and responsible person will have to make a decision.
The second disadvantage is coming from first one. With DKP bidding for item takes one minute max. With loot council it usually takes way more time (i've tried to raid with both systems, so i've seen it myself) - and all this time is stolen from boss attempts.
Both this disadvantages can't be avoided, unlike loot drama etc, at least i can't see the way to deal with them.

Gevlon said...

@wooly: don't be silly assuming that I write this post for my own gear. No loot council would ever give gear to me.

Assuming that DKP is best for the GROUP is just wrong. DKP rewards being there, not doing something. If one is not so good, but not bad for a /gkick, or currently there is no applicant to replace him, he will take loot based on DKP.

DKP is also not money, as you cannot trade it. It's government food stamp at best.

Sid said...

And I'm still wondering what a "social" is... (according to Gevlon)

Bakc on topic: No matter what loot system you use, it will have problems if your raiders lack of common sense (as a great number of WoW players seems to) and/or if they have a stupid "leet" kid mentality.

Wooly said...


I admit, I wasn't actually assuming you did it for yourself, but it could very well have been the reason. I figured that just saying it was a good way to find that out.

I still don't agree on your DKP standpoint. It can definitely be used as money. In my old guild, DKP was used for many things, even to buy flasks from the GB f.e. (good punishment for not bringing). And by providing for the guild, like you do, you could also get some DKP. I have to say it worked very well, to bad the guild itself consisted mainly out of idiots, and no system fixed that. I made someone a piece of gear for some of his DKP. So it's money in my book.

BTW, they changed from loot council to DKP because it was simply impossible to make the correct decisions sometimes (new, promising player with mediocre(200) gear vs regular good player with decent(213) gear). DKP was a good improvement for that. The regular had more chance, but did he want to waste it on a minor improvement. Usually they stopped bidding pretty soon.

A fun fact: the few idiots usually spend all their DKP on the first usable drop they see, like gold on a mammoth. It's truly auto-balancing.

And still, a bad player that does still go along has value. Whether you like it or not. If he didn't have it, you would play with one less. That guys needs incentive to improve, and I'm a firm believer that giving people incentive makes 'm want to improve. If loot council would never give 'm anything, why would he even bother? DKP will make him do his best. Just good-enough is still good enough. You need him, so he should get something. It's like a bad, but still a bit profitable, deal on AH.

Gibbiex said...

My hardcore 'topguild' used DKP but just like Gevlon's guild we didn't mind passing the loot around. However it did get ridiculous where it took 5-10 to distribute loot.

My social guild uses loot council, ie the raid leader decides who gets to roll. I think that's stupid because the RL doesn't know all classes, so it leads to drama. However the sheep don't know any better.

candy said...

ilvl alone does not determine how much of an upgrade an item is for someone however. A best in slot item for a shadow priest being given to a healer for instance = not very good. The primary issue with loot council is no one person or small cabal of officers can be expected to know every spec/every class and their BiS pieces.

imho loot council only works if each player has come up with a gear map that incudes BiS and hit cap items and the officers keep those in mind.

KevMar said...

The point I was trying to make with loot council is that even when it is 100% impartial, not everyone will think so. In a top guild, those people are idiots and get removed or know how to keep their mouth shut.

DKP is best for the group when you consider more then just value of gear on an individual. That should be the only metric that matters, but if they are not a top guild then other factors are in play.

I like our dkp because it handles every situation and is visibly impartial. I don't even have to look at what the loot is when I give it out. If a mistake is about to happen, the raid points it out faster then I can hand the item out.

It is fairly fast and people like it.

Sven said...

"The point I was trying to make with loot council is that even when it is 100% impartial, not everyone will think so. In a top guild, those people are idiots and get removed or know how to keep their mouth shut."

This can also happen in guilds that are not "top" in the sense of server-leading, but are well-run (in a man-management sense), with a good level of trust between the leaders and the rest of the raid group.

disht said...

Steven, I see you are quite satisfied with EPGP and you are in a reasonably "hardore" raiding guild. I would be interested to know more about your experience with it as a progression raider and how it compares with the system you used before EPGP. I understand this is not the place for this so we can take it over the epgp forums:

Stupid Mage said...

Not even the best loot system in the world will save you from M&S.

They will either roll/bid on shit that they already have or isn't better or, get something better but not use it because it doesn't "feel" better.

ex: Paladin not using epic mail healing gear even though the plate piece he had before was a quest green.

ex: Hunter not using leather because the mail piece has more armor.

Anonymous said...

l was in A99 on kul tiras, left for two reasons, the main one being that the guys with massive epgp points would play alts in naxx25 and grab all the top loot. How is lettin alts grab professional gear good for the group?

Anonymous said...

I meant progressional, the joy of iPhone predictive writing. As it happens I left the guild few days after discovering that at 3.2 any1 could get the gear I had to kiss the arse of idiots to b in grp for.

hagu said...

locyaLoot Council works for top guilds isn't quite right is it? You could be in the second best guild on the server, but if everyone knows which is the number one guild, then you are still at risk of someone taking their new BiS and moving on. I think the egos and ambitions are at least as high in a "top" guild . Isn't it more about whether the raider has an alternative or not?

You also don't remake a point you did a couple of months ago: Someone who works hard on getting gear outside the raid - whether it is a 800g for Spellshock Ring or 8000g for a level 226 Etched Kirin Tor, then their hardwork is penalized by making it less likely the non-numeric council will award them the upgrade. Not a good incentive system.

It seems like the net benefit to the group depends on 3 things: how much of an upgrade it is for that person/class, how effective a player the person is, and how much the player will play in the group with that gear.

An Enlightened Dictatorship should be more efficient and equitable than a democracy. Yet human nature insures it rarely is for long. Isn't the same thing with Loot Council?

peter said...

An Enlightened Dictatorship should be more efficient and equitable than a democracy.

It's not a black-or-white decision when it comes down to choosing a loot system. The best approach is to pick the benefits from both type of systems and try to avoid their disadvantages.

We use quite effectively a Loot Council system, where the decisions in the council, however, are backed up by EPGP. So the officers in charge have pretty much the sense of 'fairness' when it comes to making a decision for common loot, while at the same time we keep the control over who gets BiS items and we apply the council veto on the distribution. We even opt to /roll when it is hard to make the right decision between 2 or 3 players.

Since EPGP track is kept in the officers notes, we just don't make those notes accessible to raiders, when we want to promote a bit the 'dictatorship' sense. If the current guild roster gets too 'whiny' about how biased our decisions are, we can just make the officers notes public and give them the sense of 'fairness'. And we can achieve this without really changing the system at all.