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Evolution of a loot system

Pot of GoldLet’s just start out by saying there is no “one-true loot system”. All loot systems are flawed to some extent. I’m using this post to map out the evolution of our loot system.. not to suggest that everyone should use it.

The Constraint

We started.. and try to remain dedicated to the ideals of chivalry and honor.
We will -never- use DKP of any form. The GM is opposed to it.
In all cases we want to be fair and distibute loot as evenly as possible.
We would rather give loot to -someone- who will use it than shard the loot.

Everytime we try to address a failing in the loot system.. our rules become more complex.
We really -want- a simple loot system. Unfortunately “simple” doesn’t feel as “fair.”

How it all started

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago.. West Kingdom was a very tiny guild. We were a group of RL friends who played in the SCA who decided to start playing WoW (technically this was before -my- time with the guild). We started off with four hunters and a healing paladin. Eventually we got a group of ~10 players. The loot system was very simple: “If you need it, roll need, if you want it, roll greed”. At the end of the run we’d pass out shards to everyone on the run.

Friends and family

Then we changed and because of that change, we grew. We expanded our member policy to allow friends of guild members who were not actually in the SCA to join the guild. We got big enough to run Karazhan regularly. After we’d run Kara for a while someone pointed out that the current loot rules were annoying when you’d see someone get several pieces of loot in the run.. and then also get shards at the end of the run.

The “smurf rules” were evolved.

During a run, if BOP item is dropped that no one needs, it will be sharded and saved by the enchanter in the group. At the end of the run shards will be distributed to any player on the run who hasn’t yet gotten an item from that run. Excess shards will be distributed according to a random roll. If, in a single dungeon run, two items-of-use drop for a player then the player must pay “shard price� to the person in the run who would have gotten the shard otherwise.

This starts with the idea that everyone is entitled to get something for raiding and then is extended to say that by taking a second purple you are taking shards away from someone else in the raid. So, to make up for “taking a shard” you’d have to pay shard price. I have to say, as a hybrid I didn’t love this system. But, I was out-voted.

Open door policy

Eventually.. we decided we wanted to see 25-man content. We threw open the door on recruiting and changed the loot rules again.

The “KISS” rules were evolved.
– First we decided that all members should declare a “Main” toon. That toon would get higher priority on loot than any Alts. If a member didn’t want to declare a “Main” then all of their toons were considered “Alts.”
– Second, we decided that we’d prefer to give items to toons for an “on-spec” use rather than an “off-spec” use. Ie, it’s better to give the healing plate shoulders to the Healing Paladin (on spec) rather than the Protection Paladin (off-spec)

So, when loot dropped we’d ask for rolls in this order: Main on-spec, Alt on-spec, off-spec/armor downgrades. If it made it through all those groups then we’d send it to be DE’d. All greens and shards went to the guild bank.

This lasted for about two months. We found that in the runs some people were having runs of very good luck.. so they’d come out of the raid with several purples. While others in the run lost out on all their rolls in the run. This caused.. whining.

The Grand Council decided to update the loot rules to include a “one purple per raid” clause. This is relatively recent.. I’d say only in the last month or so.

So.. we get to today’s loot rules:

2. On BOP items:
- the Master Looter will say “quiet” Everybody stay quiet, both on voice and on text.
- Master Looter will link a single item into raid chat. Master looter will then start the process for rolls.

Rolls will proceed in this order
* On-spec Mains and invited alts (alts that were asked to bring that alt for this raid) who haven’t yet received a purple in that run.
* On-spec Alts who haven’t received a purple in that run.
* Off-spec mains and alts and armor downgrades who haven’t yet received a purple in that run.
* Anyone who wants the piece (even if they’ve already received a purple that run)
* Disenchant

- If there are rolls the loot master will count down, close the rolls and award the item.
- If there are no rolls the item will be disenchanted.
- Armor downgrading is allowed (ie, Hunter taking Leather, Druid taking Cloth) if statistics are appropriate. Please be considerate.
- Highest roll (+modifier) wins the item. If multiple of the same item drop (ie, 3 Hunter/Mage/Warlock tokens), a single roll will settle it (ie, everybody roll once, highest 3 rolls get tokens).

Though it’s not directly noted in the rules, we also roll for T-items before the community loot on bosses that drop both.

Where this falls down

This has a few failings. The grand council is aware of these failings.. but we’re not sure how to address them.

– If an item is a minor upgrade.. we’ve seen people refuse to roll because they don’t want to “waste” their purple. Even worse, we’ve had people says “it’s an upgrade for me.. and I’ll take it if I don’t have to have it ‘count’ as my purple”. This is the worst kind of cheesedickery and makes me want to just shard the purple even though it is an upgrade for someone.
– If an item is a major upgrade.. but we haven’t done the boss who drops the T-items. They’re “saving” their purple roll for the T-4/5/6 just in case it drops.. even though this item is a major upgrade. I think this is happening mostly because we haven’t required our members to make up a “gear plan” so they haven’t identified that this item is actually a -major- upgrade. I am trying to convince the Grand Council to make this a requirement in Wrath (or at least a very very strong recommendation)
– If the item is for an off-spec use.. the player has “used up” their purple to upgrade a set they rarely use. I don’t love that.
– The “second” major upgrade that drops for someone where they’ve already picked up a purple. If they are the only one of that class.. then normally we’ll award it to them anyway.. but that is outside the loot rules.
– Farm runs.. where we take someone who is less-geared than the rest of the run. They usually end up getting 3-5 purples.. but that kind of side-steps the rules.

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11 comments to Evolution of a loot system

  • House

    Good news is you guys know what’s wrong. The unfortunate part is that your GM won’t see the light. Either that, or he’s too lazy. Or hell maybe he even thinks having a DKP system is crossing that “hardcore” line.

    Try a 0 sum based system. It’s easy to maintain and allows for a lot of tweaking to accompany your guild needs. Approach your GM with all the information possible about it – even mention who could run it and how. Maybe he might budge. The problem won’t budge otherwise.

    We roll for loot. In 10 mans. Everyone fortunately is attune to who needs what and 98% of the time the right person gets it. 10 mans still remain tight and personal. But at the end of the day – it’s all about moving forward and seeing that awesome content – loot comes second. Will will carry rolls into wotlk 10 man content. For all 25 man stuff, it’s a clean wipe for wrath. Escrow and all. 0 Sum system Go!

    Btw, what a great time to talk about this – you guys have a couple weeks to get this all hammered out before 80′s start seeing some naxx stuff.

    Good Luck Guys – I love this blog, kepe it up. :)

  • You’re loot system is very similar to my own guild’s which I’ve linked here.

    As you state, no system is 100% fair to everyone, but you have to find what’s most fair to the guild. You aren’t interested in gearing up someone for Guild X. This is about your guild.

    In a nutshell, we distribute loot based on rank. First we roll for on-spec, then for off-spec. On-spec members outrank Off-spec officers for example. We also take into consideration mains vs. alts. Mains always have priority over alts regardless of rank. There are a few exceptions to this:

    1) If an alt is required to be in the raid (i.e. we’re always short healers and have to rely on alts), then they are permitted to roll as if they were a main.

    2) If someone is required to respec for the raid, then they have the opportunity to choose BEFORE the raid whether to roll for their primary spec or for the new spec for raid. THEY MUST CHOOSE BEFORE THE RAID!

    3) Tanks and healers of Raid Member rank and up always have priority over DPS of the same or higher rank. Raid Member healer outranks the GM if he was DPS. May not be fair to DPS, but we have to have geared healers and tanks in order to keep the raid alive. This became necessary with the advent of Spellpower as healers and caster DPS find themselves competing for the same gear.

    All in all it seems to be the most fair system we’ve been able to come up with. DKP is inherently unfair to anyone new to an established guild. It’d be months before they saw upgrades. This gives people a chance to get promoted and be on the same level as others contributing as much as they are.

    Good luck!

    kyrileans last blog post..Save the Guild, Save Myself

  • Nibuca

    Although I appreciate your enthusiasm for the DKP systems.. I fail to see how that will fix all our problems. We would simply be exchanging one set of problems for another.

    Even DKPs aren’t the perfect answer.

  • Mooved

    Try pointing your GM/council to SuicideKings loot system, it contains most of the features of your guild’s system, but with some of your drawbacks removed.

    Less will get sharded, and with two lists (Tier tokens and Everything Else), less good non-Tier gear will be passed on.

    WowWiki has a simple description and links to an AddOn to make it automated.

  • If you like the idea of a “gear plan”, you might like the Wishlist Loot System.

    On of the advantages of DKP systems is that they allow you to assign different values to different items, which more closely matches how we think of loot. Systems that don’t assign values to items often end up with the “minor upgrade” problem.

    Rohans last blog post..An Alternative to Flash of Light

  • My guild runs a zero-sum DKP loot system… which I hate.

    Because some people make out like bandits. Others get crap all.

    The way we have the system set up, Healy the Priest goes to Karazhan, but needs no upgrades. But gets DKP earned for every item that someone else gets.

    Healy the Priest then goes to ZA with Hottie the Druid. The really awesome staff comes out of the eagle boss’ chest. Hottie the Druid didn’t run Karazhan. Healy the Priest did. Healy the Priest gets the staff even though both of them have run the same exact number of ZA runs. No ifs, ands or buts about it. No rolls to see who would get it. Loot master says, “Let me look at the DKP. Healy the Priest has more DKP. Healy the Priest gets it.”

    Example two… Healy the Priest does Karazhan and ZA equally with Furry the Druid Tank. This ZA run however, Furry the Tank steps aside to let another tank have a shot at seeing the content and the RL asks Furry to bring in an alt.

    Something drops that both Furry’s alt and Healy the Priest can use as an upgrade. But Furry’s alt has negligible DKP compared to Healy the Priest. So no ifs, ands or buts about it, Furry’s alt has a snowballs chance in hell of getting any loot if anyone wants it. Even though Furry has run the instance the same amount of times as everyone else.

    If they separated DKP into instances – meaning sure, you can run Karazhan to your hearts content, but all that DKP does is makes sure you can get anything you really want in Karazhan – and across PLAYERS not CHARACTERS… would be so nice.

    Now granted, should Healy get the staff over Furry’s alt who probably won’t go into ZA again for another 6 months? Yeah. Is it FAIR? Healy and Furry both spent the same amount of time running ZA trying for fun and loot, but because Furry brought in an alt, Furry gets no chance at any loot what so ever.

    I have never been a fan of DKP systems. I think there’s nothing wrong with common sense.

    Loot goes to Main Spec – Off Spec (virgin rolls) – Main Spec (aleady won something) – Off Spec (already won something).

    Loot rot is bad, so it goes to someone even if it’s a minor upgrade over what they’re already wearing.

    If there are shards, they go to people who got nothing what so ever first, then left overs are distributing according to random.

    You can almost consider that every item you get is a count of 1. Before you can get 2, everyone gets a chance to get 1. Before you get 3, everyone gets a chance to get 2. So on and so forth. If everyone has gotten two items and something drops that all of you want, it’s a fresh new roll comparatively.

    But common sense rarely applies to raiding.

    kikidass last blog post..Shamanistic Healing

  • “Cheesedickery”?

    I must ninja that word. <3

    That aside, I know what you mean regarding loot drama. I’ve all but quit raiding at all because of it, and it’s not because I got screwed on a drop, as that’s not happened at all. But loot drama just sucks the fun out of raiding. If it’s not fun, I’m not doing it..

    DKP systems don’t solve anything. Loot councils don’t solve anything. As long as there is ONE PERSON willing to be a … cheesedick … there will be drama.

    Grimmtooths last blog post..Oh noez, it’s me!

  • Kolan

    Ahh the beauty of loot systems!!

    My guild’s loot system is a little different to most. It is not perfect but so far has been resonably sucessful. I’ll try and outline it for you. Keep in mind we are a raiding guild that has cleared BT.

    Basically it is a type of DKP system in that you “earn” points by attending raids. 2 points per raid attended each week, you also recieve 1 point if you are available but have not been invited (backup points). This is designed to reward players with higher attendence and compensate people who make themselve available without getting invited. There is no point system for 10 mans only 25 man raids. There is no difference between killing 5 bosses in SSC or wiping 10 times on a progression boss. If you are in the raid for any period for the night you get 2 points. Points are not awarded until after the nights raiding. You cannot spend that raids points that night.

    All epic gear is bought using your points. There is no difference between Tier loot and random drops except that tier loot has a minimum 2 point spend where trash drops can be rolled for if required. The bids are made in /raidchat and you can bid again if you are outbid provided you have the points. Basically it is an auction. Ability to bid for items follows the standard main spec > off spec > alts. Points are awarded to the player not the toon however alts can still not outbid mains.

    Multiple items go to highest bidder then next and so on. Players can agree to roll against each other by bidding the same number of points. These are the only people who can roll on the item. Winning roll spends agreed points on the item.

    If no main spec wants an item it can be /rolled on for offsec by anyone who wants it.

    Your points can never drop more than 1 point below the other raiders in your class. This means if the lowest raiding hunter in your guild has 10 points, you have 20 points and spend 18 winning a bid your raid points will only drop to 9. This is to encourage people to spend rather than horde points.

    The point of the system is simply that the more you raid the more points you get, the more loot you can bid for. It is certainly not perfect and you can get “lucky” depending on how many of your class is in a raid when gear drops. I myself picked up VR boots for only 2 points as the other hunter that night had better. However I had to spend every point I had to get the DSP from Grulls.



  • Isisxotic

    I think your system is fine in general – by and large, it works for you. However, maybe consider reviewing the one-purple rule.

    In my guild, you are allowed one non-tier item and one tier token per night for main spec.

    So our order goes:
    - main toon, main spec, hasn’t won any items tonight
    - alt, main spec, hasn’t won any items tonight
    - off spec (main and alt) – no limitation on items won.

    For the main main spec, we use dkp. For the alt and offspec, it’s pure /roll

    I think you’re gimping yourself a bit by essentially forcing people to choose not to roll on offspec pieces. If that shadow priest needs to heal someday, they’ll have a very week healing set.

  • Kolan

    Just a quick follow up, and a point on your 1 purple / night rule.

    I have been raiding almost 6 nights a week for the last few months. As luck would have it many of the items I want for upgrades have not been dropping or I have been outbid at the time. I also spent a lot of time and money to gear my character as much as possible without relying on raid loot. Badge gear, crafter items ect. I have only just replaced Belt or the Black Eagle and the badge chest. Still using the badge bow. As a consequence I have “saved” up a lot of points.

    Yesterday I had the chance to go to ZA for the first time in months and picked you the hunter helm from Zul’Jin. Nice but probably at best a sidegrade from my Arena helm. In the raid last night I grabbed the bow from Vashji, again not a direct upgrade for me but allows me to play with things. I passed on the T5 helm for a mage who neeeded it more. I also picked up the T5 chest from Kael for less points than I expected because of the group set up. (In hindsite the Helm would have made for an awesome 4 set bonus. Oh well next time and I got some good mage Karma). I also won a roll on a LW pattern.

    All in all a good night. However under the one purple rule I would have been forced to outbid the mage on the T5 helm and would not have been able to take the other items. Sure it may seem like I got more than my share last night but I spent points accumulated over weeks and weeks of raiding with no reward (apart from progression) and I was ok to spend as I saw fit.

    Loot is always tricky but you have to reward those that put in the effort to be available. To that end you really need to find some sort of DKP system to track it.



  • lol, sorry for the delayed response, WotLK has had me kinda preoccupied :-)

    The worst kind of cheesedickery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That sort of behavior, trying to squeeze in more loot for yourself, while denying loot to your friends and teammates, cannot be described in any better way.

    I truly wish loot wasn’t so important to the game. We have so much fun raiding for three hours, then theres 1 minute of looting that becomes either (A) a very fair distribution that some coconut views as unjust, or (B) someone joker winning loot and then trying to sneak their way into more loot, and it totally destroys those previously awesome 3 hours.

    I fully support sharding the epic rather than rewarding cheesedickery. Its not spiteful sharding in this case, it is reinforcing the proper behavior of rewarding people who want to help their team first and themselves second. If they ruffle their feathers over day-to-day loot distribution? BUH-BYE! I’d rather spend my raiding time with the other 23 people who are generous with their friends.

    Amavas last blog post..So, what’ve you been up to?