Greedy Goblin

Friday, September 10, 2010

Positive sum (G)DKP

I got several comments how to pay people "properly" to motivate them to come to progression raids. There is one common thing in these tips: they don't work. Motivating people to come to progression is impossible. They either want to come for the progression itself, or they don't.

Let me explain what is the fundamental flaw in "motivating progression": there is no gold-value generation. The "product" of the wipe is the experience, but it's unmeasurable and illiquid, you can't sell it to someone else. Even if after 10 tries the boss dies and drops something, one is better off to simply don't attend and come next week when the same boss dies in 2 tries.

On a boost raid the value is created by the boss kill, items drop and they sell. If we want to pay people in the boost raid, who gives the money for that? There are two answers:
  • weaker raidmembers pay for stronger raidmembers. Let's skip the analysis nightmare of deciding who was weaker and stronger, let's assume that there is an all-seeing addon that gives a single number out for player performance. If the average number in the raid is above 100%, the boss dies. So simply I collect 1G for every % below 100 and distribute it among people who were above 100%, every try. The problem with it is simple: the below-100% people would be de-motivated to show up. If he is not present, he can't pay. He'll come to farm raid. Such system do not exist exactly because of the de-motivation, and also because of the lack of analysis addon.
  • the whole guild pays to the raiders. The logic behind it is that once the boss is on farm, the people who progressed will be able to carry others. So the people outside the raid should pay for others to wipe. This system is often used by guilds, it's called positive-sum DKP. The raiders get DKP for being present in wipe raids, what they can spend in the farm raids. The problem is that it motivates people to be in the raid. It seems to be good, but it's not, as it pays for presence and not performance. It even pays for "sitting out", which theoretically allow the whole guild to be online and watching TV getting DKP. Of course if everyone gets DKP, nobody gets.
Positive sum DKP systems tend to end up in insane DKP inflation, exactly because there is no production behind the DKP. The government can generate money from air, but without underlying GDP it will be worthless.

You can't pay for a progression raid. People either come because they want to progress (internal motivation), or there won't be progression raid. That's that simple.

Another issue of the same topic came up recently: motivating latecomers. The "normal" gold bid rules contain no gold if you leave early, the replacement gets the pot you collected. It makes people stay in the raid and finding replacements easy. The problem is that the "making people stay in the raid" part is directly against the foundations of the guild. I believe anyone who is forced to raid will passive-aggressively suck.

We don't want to force anyone to raid, so people can leave in the break with their pot. The replacement gets only the pot he makes from the break. Practically it's not one 3-hours long gold bid run, but 2 1:30 long ones next to each other.

Yes it can end the raid in the break if enough people leave and not enough come. However the opposite is equally possible: someone who knows he can't stay all raid won't come at all, so we can't start or can only start later. So no matter how we make the rules, someone will be de-motivated to raid. Again: gold bid can't motivate anyone to raid who does not want to.

I choose the more fair approach: people get paid for the bosses they killed, but I'm not claiming that the "normal" version is evil or failed. Just have different priorities (finishing the raid vs starting it).

Clancy found this wonderful specimen:


Anonymous said...

While obviously the DK is the moron in this pic, I'm quite curious about the healer o.O He got a friendly critique and seems to answer in a quite aggressive way. I mean, if you notice your capslock being activated before sending the text, why not just retype it? Maybe I'm just seeing things here, but it comes off as rather pissed.

Grim said...

Positive sum DKP results in huge inflation, but that is not enough to declare it not working. Regardless of how big the inflation is, the ones who showed up to progress raids more, will have more DKP and will win the bids when the boss finally goes down (fixed price DKP fails miserably of course).

nehunter said...

what if the single handed wipe the group, time after time, or simply go DC with no word ?

does that guys share go to the replacement ?

Anonymous said...

Your post is very interesting in that it appears that you have cruelly exposed the lie at the heart of the game. What sort of a game is it when we have to bribe people to play?

I don't remember it being this difficult to find players to raid back in Burning Crusade. By opening up raiding to everyone, (by making it simple to get gear and eliminating the progression system), has this made it mundane?

The problem with the progression system was that it quickly defined elite raiding groups that you could not break into because you couldn't get the gear.

Blizzard has swung too far the other way in Wrath. By making gear easy to get it removes players desire to take the time and effort to improve as a player to raid. I hope they manage to come back some way towards the middle in cataclysm.

Treeston said...

@nehunter: If a player gets removed from the raid for some reason, he forfeits his pot share.

The pot is distributed at the break: each present raid members gets (pot until break/25) [or /10 for 10man].
If you left before that, you get no money.

Same thing happens again at the end of the raid.

Unknown said...

You are true about the problems you mention, but that does not mean there is no solution.

What we do about the problems you mention is to

1) Kick out of the raid those who underperform

2) Give more dkp for progression raids AND give a better chance (when rolling for slots) for being on the next weeks farm raid.

3) dont know why this is but this is important too, we have a environment where people spend the dkp instead of sitting on it.

Aljabra said...

"Positive sum DKP results in huge inflation, but that is not enough to declare it not working. "

Just the opposite, it's enough alone (as it does opposite to what this system intended to do, it dicourages people from attending progress raids, as they can't compete with those, who go to farm and progress raids, and can compete with those who do only farm raids so why bother?), but there are another factor in it, that makes it totally ineffective in most cases. To get DKP you don't have to be good player or to play good. You just need to be there at the raid time.

"What sort of a game is it when we have to bribe people to play?"

You don't need to bribe people to play, they come in on they own free will. You need to do it to make them play as you want them to.

"dont know why this is but this is important too, we have a environment where people spend the dkp instead of sitting on it."

It's not only important, it's the only thing, that can make it work. If there are many people that don't spend they DKP, it weight heavily on those, who have less or spend more - as DKP is not some kind of money and is only a way to understand, who'll be the first to get loot. If there are too many people, that have much more DKP, then you, it means you will be the last to get any loot, and that kills motivation of loot. On the other hand, if everyone is spending, or there are some way to make DKP deteriorate with time, so you can't hoard it, everyone have a chance, so motivation lasts longer. On the other hand, it demotivates those, who work hard, but have bad luck with drops (or already have every drop he need from current content and may want to save up for upcoming one), so he can't use his earned DKP, which still deteriorate and he feels as he worked for nothing.

Dar said...

How about making progression raids some sort of "qualifying" process to become a "booster"?

Soge said...

Some kind of Booster Selecting Process sounds good. It should involve a gear check (You gotta be overgeared to be a booster), check unbuffed Dummy DPS (must be higher than a certain % of your gear theoretical maximum), and one or two raids with flawless performance (No fire dancing, consistent DPS, that kind of thing). And thus you could be elevated to the rank of Booster, which would also help when trying to get into HM raids.

But then I guess that is way too formal for The PuG.

KhasDylar said...

The problem with progression runs using gold as DKP is not that it does not have "output" on gold (read: it does not pay your workers). The problem is, it doesn't have input in gold: no boss is killed, so no loot drops, so no goblin can buy the shiny new gear, no gold to distribute at the end.
Yes, this is a great problem, but as you can probably see: GDKP only works for farm raids (mostly of course, this is not a general rule). From this point of view, goblins (fellow workers, DPSers/healers, call them whatever you want) are only motivated by the gold they get after slacking through the instance. I've said this before and I can only repeat myself: no, they are not motivated by gold. Gold is only another method to get gear and people are mostly (not always ofc) motivated to raid by getting new equipment. It actually does not matter if it's main or off spec, it only matters to get something new. This may be also an old subroutine, which you mention sometimes, I don't know, I didn't study as much psychology as you did.
I don't know, what should motivate people to get to a raid saying: "we go for 12/12 ICC25" - if you generaly only kill 6 or 7 bosses. Let's asume, you plan to raid from 20:00 to 23:30. Icecrown Citadel is far more than clearable on normal during 3 and a half hour (with a decent group). Let's say, your group contains some M&S, who are doing 5-6k in mostly ilvl264 (but they still want to buy some upgrades) and some undergeared, for whom most drops are upgrades. Both group can and probably will buy new gear, you'll have a pot to pay your workers, you distribute it in the brakes, everyone is happy. Until you reach a boss, where you've never been before. People stay after the brake, 'cause they expect to kill the boss, but they won't do more (~won't work more) for it. You wipe for an hour on it, but this beggar does not want to die. Let's asume, this "immortal boss" is the first boss in a new instance. According to the goblinish philosophy, noone should want to join a raid for a new (and probably hard) boss, because it does not reward anything. If noone is there to kill the boss first time, there will be no "next week when the same boss dies in 2 tries". I don't think, those who join a raid on a new boss, are morons, who don't calculate, what's the best for them. They are smart people in my eyes, 'cause if they learn the fight and kill the boss, they will have more advance: they will have some loot from that boss and they will be the boosters of "next week when the same boss dies in 2 tries".

I wrote earlier an idea how to motivate people (mostly DPSers) to do their job better than average. This idea is not good to motivate people to come to progression raids. Common sence tells (according to some experiences: it should tell) people, that if they know, they are a bit better then average (better geared or more skilled), they should go to progression raids, 'cause this way they can be the "boosters of next week" for more reward (more gold, which means more upgrades).

Grim said...

How does it discourage people from progress raids? With a DKP system that awards showing up, you can "compete" with anyone showing up as much as you and you will be at an advantage against those who show up less (and a disadvantage against those who show up more). How can that not motivate people to show up?

Also, the fewer progress raiders there are, the more motivation there is for attending progress raids, because it is easier to get an edge over others in terms of DKP. Thus the system balances itself.

As for necessary skill - if there are bad players in a raid, who won't learn... well they either don't hang around for long, or the RL is bad as well and the group won't get anywhere anyway.

Although maybe this is true only if the problem is purely attendance and not general availability of skilled players.

Michael Young said...

In the more successful guilds I've raided with, raid invites were essentially determined by social acceptance and the favor of one or more officers. Poor performance raised the cost of your 'sponsor' officer, it reduced the other officers' respect for your sponsor's judgement. Unpleasant behavior created pressure from the rest of the guild against the authority of your sponsor. Thus each officer is motivated to recruit pleasant, high performing players, in order to maintain his social standing within the guild. Each player seeks to do well and not make waves, in order to get into raids.

In this environment, with the guild attracting people who valued their social standing, motivating attendance for progression raids is easy. There's an expectation that people show up. Failing to show up leads to your becoming a social pariah, and so you don't get into the later farm raids.

Andru said...


I disagree, this was very much a problem in TBC too.

I ran a late-progression guild. Not only did we have to deal with motivation problems, but back then demotivating ANYONE meant that they had an incentive to hop to a guild half a tier higher.

We ran a zero-sum DKP system. Farm nights were no problem. Progression nights? Terrible attendance.

On top of that, recruitment was limited to a very limited pool of players below us. (Mostly guilded.) We had drama and sparks with more progressed guilds because of recruit sharking. (They'd make attuned/skilled people offers to jump guilds, offers I simply could not counter, leaving me in an eternal struggle to stop the skill/brain bleed from my guild.)

It was... TERRIBLE. Wrath raiding has its downsides, and hasn't solved the motivation problem, but at least it's not further exacerbated by social (guild) reasons.

Anonymous said...

My guild used a decaying DKP system for a long time in BC and WotLK (I assume they're still using it, I quit raiding a few months ago, until Cata) that managed to motivate people to raid pretty well. Clearly it's not the sort you would use since it's mostly designed for a progression focused guild with multiple scheduled raids per week, but you didn't mention it so I figure I'll go over it on the chance that some people might be interested.

In most ways it's a pretty generic DKP system. You get a certain amount of DKP per boss kill, a small amount for each wipe on a progression boss, a large amount for being in the raid when we kill a new boss, a small bonus for being in the whole raid from start to finish, a small penalty if you sign up but show up late, a large penalty if you sign up but don't show, and s small fixed amount for signing up and staying online on standby if you don't get in. Gear and tokens are worth a set amount based on if they're BiS, 'good' or 'bad', as determined by the officers, interest is expressed by a /roll and the winner is the person with the most current DKP, in instances of a DKP tie the item goes to the higher roller. All DKP spent is used instantly, all DKP gained is only added after the raid, and is tracked by an addon that all the officers have.

Where it differs from many DKP systems is that at the end of every week your DKP 'decays', this is done by checking the highest DKP in the guild and reducing it to 100 points, then reducing all DKP by the same proportion, rounding up. So as an example if the highest DKP was 200, and there were people with 100 and 50 then at the end of the week the first person ends up with 100, the second with 50, and the third with 25.

What this means is that although you can save up for a specific item, and you can take some time off and come back in a better position than new players you cannot simply gain a huge sum in one raid tier and sit on it until the next, nor can you make a huge amount at the beginning of progression and come back once the instance is on farm and get every item you want. It also prevents established raiders from always being ahead of new recruits while still rewarding longtime players. Most of all it allowed us to keep the same DKP system between raid tiers, we didn't need to 'start over' when we started a new instance, which was a problem for us back in vanilla when we used a regular positive sum system.

Anonymous said...

@Andru: Wrath raiding has its downsides, and hasn't solved the motivation problem, but at least it's not further exacerbated by social (guild) reasons.

If you're referring back to the raider-poaching with that last phrase, I think perhaps it depends on your server, or possibly even your circumstances. Just recently I had both my guild's main tanks offer to start a second ICC10 group, since there were plenty of knowledgeable raiders on on Tuesday nights. We as officers agreed, and they tried it. First week, they had to pug 4 people, and barely made it to Saurfang before the pug members quit or failed.

Second week was even worse. Third week, they left the guild (no hard feelings on guild's side) for one that was recruiting for 25-man. About 10 minutes later, one of our officers noticed that one of them had been given his remaining Primordial Saronites for Shadow's Edge. Now, since I run primarily a 10-man raiding guild, and we've done only a couple of guild-alliance 25-man raids, there's no way I could have matched that offer.

As I said, there were no hard feelings; I'd rather see people go where they're happy playing than try to guilt-trip them every time I see them, and even if I were so inclined I couldn't have "made" them stay, saronite bribe or no.

Bah, this got longer than I'd wanted it. Point was, I think, that the issue of guild-poaching is still around on some servers, just not as prevalent as in TBC (I was a guild peon then, and I definitely remember a few /g announces of 'I'm going to [other guild], good luck /gquit.') Hopefully you continue to not lose people.

Anonymous said...

The goal is to encourage "boosters" to come to farm nights and everyone to come to progression nights. Why don't you just only pay gold for showing up to those events. Pay them per hour, not boss kill. And on a farm night if one of the boosters buys a single piece of gear they become a non-booster for that raid or raid section. Non-boosters will attend the progression nights for gold, and will show up to farm nights for the opportunity of gear. I feel the same is true for dkp runs. Only encourage events that people normally don't want to do. Only give dkp for progression or hard bosses. And your raiders will show up for the farm nights for either the badges or possibility of loot. Most guilds have the problem that all of their raiders show up for farm nights but 'can't make' the nights that are going to be full of wipes.

Anonymous said...

Most and an increasing % of players don't care about raiding past 5/12. The one who do care, commit to spending their time and rearranging their schedule towards the goals that are important to them. The PUG guild is a special case for a very select minority in the middle.

Ability, intelligence and dedication are very important to success. Dedication is just so much easier to measure. Losing your job is serious; never raiding again is not. And never playing WoW again just save you $180 per annum. So dedication is probably much more of a success factor than real life where a desire for food and shelter help motivate people to show up.

Anonymous said...

GoldDKP, /roll, decay DKP, positive sum DKP, are all wealth redistribution systems. They can`t create more total wealth per total work. Killing a boss gives the same total wealth (loot) and asks for the same total work (time) whichever redistribution system is used. To create more wealth, more work is needed.

Some redistribution systems will allow for more work to be done(time) because the group will take longer before disband. People will stay longer in the group and farm more bosses, they will then produce more total wealth.

In progression raids, the problem comes from the fact that working more doesn`t neccessarily produce more wealth immediately. Players are not encouraged to wipe, to work, as there is no immediate reward.

In top guilds, with good retention, rules, schedules, presence, players know that their work will be rewarded in the future. They know that in a few weeks, progression will become farm and they will get their rewards. They accept to work now and get paid later, because they trust the guild, the system, their guildmates. They thrust that their investment of time now, will be rewarded later. They invest their time.

In Pugs, with completely random different people week after week, such an investment of your time is absurd, because there is no guarentee of futur rewards. Thus there is no motivation to work more now. Thus less people want to work on progression.

However, the solution to this is to create extra, artificial wealth.
A raid leader, who wants to form a progression raid with pugs, needs to inject extra wealth in the pot. The raid leader needs to motivate players to work on progression. He needs to pay the players for their time, for their work. He needs to rent mercenaries to achieve his progression goal.

By injecting money, the raid leader creates extra wealth allowing for more work, players get a motivation to work, to progress, they are paid to do so.

If the raid leader is a good businessman he can give a salary to raiders, and keep all the loot that drops during progression.
He can then sell this loot to the highest bidder. This might or might not cover for his expenses. He is the one who needs to take the risk for the other raiders. He needs to motivate the group. The pug raiders will not take the risk.

If the raid leader wants to progress, he needs to take the risk by producing wealth now.

Aljabra said...

"How does it discourage people from progress raids?"

Simple. Progression is a hard work. Those, who ready to do it, in most cases already have the gear from the farm part of the content, as they started it when it was still progress, so even if they have more DKP, they can spend it only or mostly in progression raids. So they are no competition to those, who go only to the farm raids, despite they have the resource to outbid any of such people. And those who go only to the farm raids gain equal amount of DKP, which is enough to compete among themselves. Add the fact, that progression is many wipes and little loot, and you got your reason why many people can't be motivated to go there even by high DKP gain. By the time they'll need gear from there, it will be on farm already anyway.

"Also, the fewer progress raiders there are, the more motivation there is for attending progress raids, because it is easier to get an edge over others in terms of DKP."

On the contrary, there are even less motivation in this case - as progress raiders are normally are the best of the guild, and if there are too little of them, there are no progress, no loot, but many wipes. People don't like to be in a raid that wipes a lot and don't bring any loot.

" if there are bad players in a raid, who won't learn... well they either don't hang around for long"

That highly depends on what kind of guild we talking about. Hardcore guild will eliminate slackers very fast, but hardcore guild have no problem with progression raid attendance, as people join for progress. Most of the others will tolerate quite a lot of bad perfomance, as there must be people in raid to raid, and most of the guild members in most cases pretty far from perfect.