Monday, August 20, 2007
On Loot Distribution
This is more along the lines of guild administration than Boomkin material, but hey, it's my blog, so nyah!
Loot rules are probably the single largest issue that can and will split a raiding guild apart if not done in such a way that everyone is at least content with it. There are some common ways to go about it.
1) Leader-determined distribution: The leaders of the guild determine what loot goes where. The criteria of this is usually "who will this be the biggest upgrade for" and "who has put the most effort into the raid."
2) DKP systems: DKP is some sort of point based system where raiders "buy" loot with points they have accumulated by going on raids, sometimes for providing the guild with rare materials, etc. There are many variations of these systems - some allow people to "bid" points, some have set prices for every item and then require a roll to see who gets to actually buy it, and so on.
3) Straight roll-off: This is pretty simple - anyone who needs it rolls, the winner gets it.
Now, each of these systems has their pros and cons.
1) Leader determined distribution:
This will typically be the quickest way for a guild to advance (barring situations where the leadership are either playing favorites or just plain being stupid). However, it is also the situation which typically causes the most friction. Whether or not it is true, there will almost always be perceived favoritism and accusations of misconduct. It also has the potential to be unfair to those who work the hardest.
For example, say your guild has two raiding mages. One of them shows up to raids regularly, is dedicated to running heroics as often as possible to upgrade his gear outside of raids, and in general makes a great effort. The second shows up for most, but not all raids, and pretty much doesn't do anything else. If the Purple Hat of Magey Death drops, and Mage 1 is wearing the Purple Hat of Magey not-quite-Death he got in a heroic yesterday, then the hat will be a bigger upgrade for Mage 2. And if that is the primary criteria for distributing loot, then Mage 2 gets rewarded for being the less comitted of the two.
2) DKP Systems:
DKP systems take the approach that those more committed to the guild/raid should be rewarded with more loot. The typical DKP system says that you get X number of points for every boss kill. Sometimes this varies depending on the boss. Then people either bid on items, or items are given a set price.
The issue with a straight DKP system is inflation. As more and more points enter the bankrolls of the hardcore, super-frequent raiders, the price for drops gets higher and higher. If you join a guild using a standard DKP system after they've progressed a fair amount, chances are that you're never going to catch up to the leaders in points. So the system is a disincentive for more casual members and new members.
3) Straight roll-off:
While a straight roll-off is possibly the easiest way to avoid accusations of favoritism, and it is theoretically fair over the very, very long term, it doesn't account for how much the players have invested in the guild. Someone coming along on their first raid might win the roll for the Uber Plate Thong of Doom over someone who has been diligently participating for weeks. It also has the possibility of someone consistently winning through just pure luck.
So, before you enter a guild, or decide on a loot system if you are a guild leader, these issues need to be looked at. But first...
YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED. For further details, please refer to Egotistical Priest's wonderful post on the subject.
The one, absolute, imperative part of whatever system you choose - it has to be up front and above board. No favoritism, no nepotism, no "officers get loot first" BS. Now that that is out of the way, I can't make your decision for you. I can tell you what we have done as a guild.
We use a zero-sum DKP system called SWAPS. It is similar to DKP in that you earn points and spend them in an auction to buy loot. Where it differs is that there is little to no inflation. Why?
There are a fixed number of points in the system. When you begin raiding, you're given a "trust fund" of 1000 points. You get 200 of those per raid until you've been given 1000 points. After that, the only way to get points is to be around when someone else wins loot. If there are 10 people in the raid, and I pay 300 points for a piece of loot, my 300 points gets given to the other 9 people evenly, so they each get 33 (the extra is put away in a phantom raid member, and that total gets distributed periodically).
New members can be fully vested into the system with 6 raids. That means that they have a full 1000 points to blow on something, plus whatever they got from the standard point split when other people won loot. So there's no barrier stopping new players from getting involved in the system quickly and fairly.
So that's us. Find what works for you, talk it over with your guildmates, and make sure that everyone is on the same page.