Why Loot Council, Matticus?

Why Loot Council, Matticus?

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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.

Loot Council: First Raid

Loot Council: First Raid

Monday night was Conquest’s first mostly-guild Naxx 25, and we premiered our Loot Council system for guildies and pugs alike. I think that we successfully distributed loot in a fair way, but I have to say that it added to the tension factor of raiding for me.

First, the rules for players. At the outset of the run, I explained the following.

When useful loot drops, players type one of the following things in raid chat. Interested means that the player wants to be considered for the item right now. Pass means that it’s a good item for the player, but he or she wants others to have it first. If no one is interested, the item will go to a person who passed. If no one has a use for the item, it will be disenchanted. Any questions about the process should be dealt with in whispers.

The members, thus, play a bigger role in our Loot Council than they might in other guilds–they have a hand at deciding when to take something and when to share. However, the big deliberations happen in Loot Council chat. For those of you who might be interested, here’s what happens behind closed doors.

Loot Council Deliberations

1. First, we inspect the interested players and evaluate the relative value of the upgrade. We type our opinions in chat.
2. Second, we list out the number of items the player has already received that night.
3. We determine the use value for the raid–as in, do we need this item on our tank/healer so we don’t all die?
4. We consider performance on bosses.

I felt good about all but one case last night. When you’re debating between equals, sometimes it doesn’t matter who it goes to–the other person will get the next thing, after all. However, our LC is not all in agreement about what to do about pickup raiders and trials. My opinion is that we should try to give puggers and trials a prize if we can. There are special cases, as in when we need to gear our tanks in order to live through the content, but in general, I like to consider pickup raiders under the same criteria as everyone else. In the case of trials, I would give them more consideration than our own raiders–if they’re working hard for a spot, they should get a prize, even if it ends up being a consolation prize when we ultimately do not invite them to our guild.

The only other case that took us some time was tank loot. I have a strong desire to see the tanks work out their drops among themselves. The warrior tanks of Collateral Damage, my former guild, did that in T6 and it was a great benefit to the guild as a whole. I’d like to see our tanking corps be somewhat independent–and to build stronger relationships with each other through sharing the loot. That sounds very kindergarden doesn’t it? But so much of a guild’s success depends on trust among members.

On Trust

I think that trust is the key concept to talk about when we’re doing Loot Council. I used to administer an Ep/Gp system, and believe me, the responsibility is much greater when serving on a Loot Council. With Ep/Gp, the top person on the list got the item and that was it–there was little for the system administrator to do other than read the list. For me personally, being part of the Loot Council is a trial in every sense of the word. I want to be a fair and trustworthy person. Sure, I want my share of the loot–but only what should go to me, and not a bit more. As such, I’m instituting a personal policy of frequent passing. For example, last night I would have been awarded an awesome mace had I not passed–I did so, not because the upgrade wasn’t great for me, but because the other player had received less items that night.

However, the bigger challenge is keeping my mouth when I’m supposed to. If I have a personal failing, it’s giving my own opinion rather insistently, whether people ask for it or not. I also tend to go on crusade when I believe that I am right, or even worse, when I believe that an injustice is being committed. However, I’ve got to learn to keep to the rules. I wrote the Loot Council policy myself, so I know why I’m not supposed to weigh in on my own or Briolante’s loot. However, it gets tricky when I just want to give useful information–which I might have, as I actively research healing gear for the blog. I’m not voting on my own loot or tank loot, of course, but I have to draw that fine line between informing and meddling. I think the key here is going to be trust. Do I trust the other members of the Loot Council to give all the tanks and healers a fair shake? I guess I’m going to have to.

However, trust is earned. All of us–me, and the other members of the Loot Council–are going to have to work incredibly hard to maintain balance. We all have friendships and allegiances, as well as personal desires. We just have to learn to keep them out of LC chat.

Build Your Own Guild Part 8: Dealing With Feedback

Build Your Own Guild Part 8: Dealing With Feedback

Successful guild masters and officers are always attentive to the concerns of their membership. It is your job to understand your guild’s psychological makeup and status. If your raiders are happy and enthusiastic, you’re probably aware of it, as people tend to be demonstrative about positive emotions. However, little worries and concerns can bubble below the surface of an otherwise stable guild, and, without the leadership ever being aware, a small problem can turn into a guild-breaking one overnight. How can you address these explosive problems before they grow to dangerous levels? Read on for some tips on eliticing–and dealing with–feedback from your members.

How Do I Get Them To Talk to Me?

Face it, Guild Master, you are one scary dude or dudette. You are The Man (or The Woman), and that means most people will tiptoe around subjects that might be controversial when you’re around. Rest assured, however, that your guild members have opinions, and they want the leadership to listen and to react to them. Here are four things you can do to get your guildies to tell you their little secrets.

1. Have Guild Meetings on Vent
Collateral Damage does this every couple of months, and it’s quite helpful. The officers start out with a little “state of the guild” address and then turn over the floor for member questions and concerns. Now, when it’s time for members to talk, don’t expect the discussion to start immediately. I learned through teaching my college classes that a little silence is ok at the outset of a discussion. People are getting their thoughts together and mustering the courage to speak. You can ask little questions to prompt them, but make sure you let people have time to get the ball rolling. From what I’ve observed, the first person to speak will say something really positive. Others will comment on it, but the feedback will start to roll in. Eventually, you may get people’s most passionate objections to your guild policies. The important thing in such meetings is to listen. Let people know that you will hear their concerns and take them to the table at the next officer meeting.

I can tell you, sometimes CD officers have felt frustrated and under-appreciated at our open meetings. Try to think beyond yourself and your immediate reactions. Is there something helpful you can learn from a person’s complaints? We’ve found that even the most ardent whiners aren’t able to sidetrack the guild from its most cherished goals. However, we’ve also discovered some useful information in open meetings. In at least two cases, at the next officer meeting, we changed policies based on public opinion.

2. Post Officer Meeting Notes
Officers spend a lot of time discussing policy in meetings–earn credit for that time with your members by posting notes. You don’t have to expose every controversy, and naturally, anything pertaining to specific players should be kept quiet. However, when you’re writing new policies, a little item in your notes that says something like “Discussed Revisions to Attendance Policy” will let your members know that the officers are actually responding to the changing conditions in the guild. CD allows members to comment on officer meeting notes–we get many good ideas this way.

3. Have a Feedback Forum
CD has a forum in which only officers can post and everyone can reply. The purpose is to elicit member opinion on major policies. Recently we have decided to implement a Raider Status and attendance requirement for Wrath of the Lich King. Our policy drafts went up in this forum, and there was a lively exchange between officers and members. We were able to clarify our intentions, and the final document is, as a result, very clean and easy to read. Of course, some members disagreed with the officers’ decision and thought that we should continue without Raider Status. We tried to assuage their (mostly unfounded) fears, but we did hold firm to what we had decided. However, some of those objections led to clearer policy, and as such, they were a very fortunate thing.

4. Allow Members to send PMs to Officers
Your guild website should have the capacity to send Personal Messages. These are like emails, only less formal. When CD members have personal complaints–either something they want to keep private or something that only affects them–the best way to communicate that is a PM to one of the officers. If they do not request that the note be kept private, often we share these with other officers so we get a balanced solution. A good example of this kind of issue is the perennial loot quandary. It has happened several times that a CD member has felt that loot was distributed incorrectly. Sometimes the members are right. Inevitably, things go a little bit awry with any loot system. These member issues have actually helped CD officers revise the loot system for Wrath so that it is more fair to all raiders.

The Two Types of Feedback

As a guild leader you can expect to get two types of feedback: legitimate concerns and QQ. Here is how I suggest that you address each type.

Legitimate Concerns:
Sometimes members are able to see around officers’ blind spots. Often the members are first to know when someone has been treated unfairly. Even in the best guilds, this can happen by accident! Make sure your policies are flexible enough to change if they are really not working.

Here are some common examples of legitimate concerns.
1. One of your guild members is behaving in an offensive manner or specifically antagonizing someone.
2. One of the guild policies has had unintended consequences. For example, there might be a loophole in your loot system, or you might be distributing BoE items like Hearts of Darkness in an unequal manner.
3. A specific member or subset of the guild is feeling overworked or burned out.
4. Something in your raid strategy is not getting desired results.

Sometimes you’ll get a PM and just know that the person has a valid point. When that happens, don’t panic. Reply to the person and let him or her know that the issue is going on the next officer meeting agenda. Make sure you talk about it, and make appropriate policy, rostering, or strategy changes.

QQ

The letters QQ are meant to resemble crying eyes, and QQ is synonymous with whiny complaints. QQ is constant and unavoidable. I am going to make a radical suggestion here for how to deal with this. As you read or listen to the complaint, try and imagine that it is legitimate. Even if you end up disagreeing with the person or even reprimanding her, hear her out before you do that. QQ is called QQ because it’s communicated in a less-than-constructive way. However, separate the content from the means of delivery to find out if, behind the tears and snivels, there is actually a valid issue to be addressed. If the person has a point, put their issue on the meeting agenda just like any other member concern.

The following is a list of issues people tend to feel passionately about in the game. As such, they are likely topics for QQ.

1. Loot Issues.
This will always be the number one cause of weeping and gnashing of teeth in the World of Warcraft. Most of these complaints are unfounded. If you have a loot council, you will be dealing with this often. Try to make the person reasonable, or at least resigned.

However, sometimes loot issues are very much legitimate. If someone is concerned that he consistently gets passed over for loot or that others of his class and spec with similar attendance have significantly better gear, he is probably right. Loot systems of whatever type tend to have loopholes through which many purples flow. These complaints are a way to discover if your system is really working the way you intended it to. It may be that “unlucky” players, or players in certain roles, truly are not getting their fair share. If this is the case, do something about it! Whenever you find injustice in your guild, stamp it out!

2. Personality Conflicts.
In a raiding guild of 35+ members, not everyone is going to get along. Members who are at the high end or the low end of the competence scale may attract a lot of complaints due to jealousy on the one end and resentment on the other. Evaluate each of these complaints for validity. As an officer, you need to know the difference between one of your raiders having a bad day, or a bad week, and just plain out being a bad egg who either does not play up to the standard of your raid or makes everyone miserable. You should also ask pointed questions to decide if harassment is involved. For example, if one of your female members is having to field consistent come-ons from a male raider, this is a legitimate complaint and you should probably kick him. Many guilds let rampant sexism, racism, and all-out prejudice go on in g-chat or vent. In my opinion, this kind of thing isn’t very funny–or very conducive to successful raiding. I would rather play in an organization that’s open to different types of members. Sure, Collateral Damage cuts loose a bit late night on vent, but on the whole we’re an organization that 10-year-old girls could happily and safely belong to. “Cutting loose,” by the way, is different from encouraging prejudice. No one minds a little innuendo or even well-meaning jokes at someone’s expense–the problem comes when members harass each other. As a guild leader, you should be able to tell the difference.

3. Bench Issues
The #1 topic of PMs sent to officers in Collateral Damage has to do with raid scheduling. Long story short, people want to be in when it’s convenient for them and out when its not. A lot of people feel frustrated that they’re not in full control of when they get picked to raid. For the most part, people just have to deal with it. Officers can lend a sympathetic ear, but we know that we have to balance the needs of many different people. Bench happens, more often than some people would like. However, if a person complains that they are consistently being passed over for a raid spot, you need to investigate that issue. Look at that person’s attendance and performance. Does he have a legitimate complaint? Has he been forgotten, or is there a deeper issue? Is someone getting preferential treatment and not sitting their fair share of time? If so, rectify that immediately. No one–especially not officers–should get out of sitting the bench. Sometimes, however, the raid leader is perfectly justified in sitting a player frequently, especially if he’s not performing up to the standard of the group. This can be a good opportunity for the class or raid leader to work with this person on improving his play. After all, raiders are supposed to want to play up to their potential. If that interest isn’t there, it could be time for a frank talk about that player’s status in the guild.

Conclusions:

Don’t fear feedback from your members. Embrace it, and deal with it in a timely manner. After all, you are in service to your guild members. They’re really not trying to ruin your day. When members complain, they do so because they care about the quality of their in-game experience. Never fall back on the “it’s just a game” excuse for unequitable behavior. Sure, it’s a game, but games have rules. They’re only fun if you follow them. One of the rules of being a GM is to create an environment your members feel comfortable in. Otherwise, you’re no better than the three year old who kicks over the Monopoly board and then sticks the house from Park Place up his nose.

Build Your Own Guild Part 3: The Dreaded Loot Question

Build Your Own Guild Part 3: The Dreaded Loot Question


Congratulations, New GM! You have your Guild Charter and Rules ready, and that website is up and running. Even though you’re not raiding yet, your next step is to decide what to do with the funny purple stuff that drops when you kill things. And yes, you must make this call even before you have enough members to stare down High King Maulgar. When I interview new recruits, they almost all ask me how my guild handles loot. If you create a fair means of distributing shiny epix, and you’re well on your way to having a healthy, happy, boss-destroying raiding guild. You must pick a loot system from the beginning and stick with it—the worst thing you can do is vacillate between systems and potentially cheat your members out of their just deserts.

Loot system basics:

Almost all raiding guilds use some variation of one of two types of gear distribution systems. The first is Loot Council, in which the officers or other elected body decide who gets each piece of gear that drops based on a complex ratio of need and merit. The other system is DKP, an archaic gaming term that stands for Dragon Kill Points. DKP systems allow raiders to earn points for killing bosses (or anything else the guild leadership decides is fair) and spend them for gear. There are benefits and drawbacks to both types of systems. Not everyone agrees with me either–based on her own personal experiences, Wyn gives you almost the opposite advice that I will. Listen to both of us and draw your own conclusions.

How do I choose?

Before you pick either DKP or Loot Council, you must decide what you want your loot system to accomplish. The following is a basic guide to the implicit goals of both system types.

1. Loot Council

This type of system is designed to optimize gear drops by placing them in the hands of those who will have most use for them. This may sound like the best players receive every item, but in practice, this is not true. A well-functioning Loot Council uses gear drops both to reward players for excellent performance and to help raise players to the group standard. Sometimes–perhaps often–the Council will reward the weakest player in a class and spec. All decisions are made for the good of the group, and no good items are sharded. Each member of the Loot Council must be extremely well-informed about the loot tables themselves and about the needs, wants, and skills of the player base. If a player on the Loot Council is interested in a gear drop, he or she generally bows out of the discussion on the item in question.

2. DKP

All DKP systems invest their players with “buying power,” and players get to decide what is most important to them. In all such systems, players tend to save for the best drops for themselves, assuming that they can identify them. DKP systems award gear based on attendance–more boss kills means a larger share of the loot. In this way, they can help a guild retain players over the long haul, because they can objectively track the benefits of consistent raiding. These systems are democratic in that they do not distinguish among players based on skill. As such, however, they do not always place items with the player who will get most use out of them. In addition, middling quality items will often be sharded as players learn to prioritize.

Drawbacks: Nutshell Version

Neither of these systems is perfect. Assuming real-life implementation, with no extreme chicanery, shenanigans, or other forms of bad behavior on the part of officers or raiders, here are the typical problems each system type experiences.

Loot Council:

1. The drama llama rears its ugly head

Human nature dictates that each player will be more aware of her own skills and contributions than those of others. This kind of blindness virtually guarantees that some people will not be happy with any given loot decision.

2. Inefficient use of raid time

The Loot Council will probably discuss most items as they drop. This could cost the raid upwards of 5 minutes at the end of every boss kill, which may put the guild in a crunch for longer instances with large numbers of bosses.

3. Inaccurate tracking

Unless the guild uses a mod to track drops awarded, loot may be distributed unevenly. The memory is a notoriously inaccurate instrument. Without hard numbers for attendance or drops rewarded, the Loot Council may unintentionally give more to some and less to others.

4. Bias

Human error plays a large part in the Loot Council system. We are all biased–our thoughts and feelings affect us at every moment, even though we don’t realize it. I’m not talking about malicious prejudice–I’m talking about the little unconscious leanings that occur even when we mean no harm. It would be nigh-impossible for a Loot Council to be entirely neutral toward every raider in the guild.

5. Lack of inherent structure

If you choose Loot Council, you will have to come up with the operating rules yourself. Guilds accomplish this in highly unique ways–poke around some websites and copy good ideas. You will have to determine on what basis loot is awarded, who gets to participate in the decision, and how much time will be allowed for debate.

DKP:

1. Sometimes people don’t know what is best for them

Your players will spend dkp as they like, and some of them will use their points unwisely. You cannot force people to research your loot system and their class drops and come up with the absolute best strategy. People may hoard points, or they may spend them on the “wrong” items. Many perfectly serviceable pieces might end up being disenchanted or given away for off-spec.

2. It won’t stop the QQ

I can almost guarantee that the drama will be less than with Loot Council, but people will still be upset when they don’t get what they want. The complaints will be more intense as the item value increases. Remember that random loot is random, even though your dkp system is not.

3. Inaccurate tracking

If you’re using a pencil-paper system, errors will happen, and they may render the system meaningless. I strongly advocate tracking DKP with a mod if you can. If that is impossible, make sure you deputize one officer to update it, and beat him with your Riding Crop if he misses a day.

4. Every system can be played

Any time you put power in the players’ hands, there will be ways for an individual to work the system to his advantage. Most players won’t try–they will play because they enjoy it, and they’ll put in the exact same amount of participation no matter what loot system the guild uses. Others will find the exact right equation of play time to maximize their drops. It doesn’t mean they are bad people or bad players–sometimes it just goes right along with other types of min-maxing behaviors, which most raiding guilds encourage. For a concrete example, if your guild uses zero-sum dkp, points are only awarded when players take loot. For a certain player, this practice de-incentivizes progression nights, because they may earn nothing at all for a night full of wipes. Alternately, if your guild uses a positive sum dkp system, you might weight progression raids very heavily and in turn de-incentivize farm content.

5. You will have to choose a system flavor carefully

People have been playing MMOs for several years now, and there are many types of systems. In order to choose a specific DKP system, you will have to do a level of research that the Loot Council folks won’t even dream of.

DKP system types

If you’ve thought through your decision, and you’ve decided to go with DKP, here is a basic guide to system types. They all have the same core principles–democratic distribution and rewards that increase with attendance–but they manifest those principles in radically different ways. Each of these systems assumes that the person with most DKP will be offered first choice on items.

Zero-sum DKP

This system is for math nerds only–the basis of the system is that the raid’s total DKP always sits at 0. Points are awarded when a piece of gear is taken. For example, if I take the Thunderheart Helmet from Archimonde, its value will be subtracted from my DKP. For the sake of argument, let’s just say I lost 240 points. The other 24 people in the raid will be awarded 1/24 of the points I just spent, or 10 points each. This is one of those systems that really, really requires a mod to track, because you will have to recalculate after each piece of loot is awarded. The guild will also have to decide how many points each item is worth, because after all, not all pieces are created equal.

Positive-sum DKP: Additive

This system is similar to zero-sum dkp, but it allows the guild to add points to the system for anything and everything, including attendance and progression. As with zero-sum, each item is worth a certain number of points, and when a player receives a drop, the item’s value is subtracted from her total. Players may go below zero. These systems tend to get very, very inflated, and the gap between the bottom of the top can be just crazy.

Positive-sum DKP: Relational

The basic system of this type is Ep/Gp, which I must say is my favorite of all possible systems and the one my guild uses. A person’s DKP is a ratio calculated from her Effort Points divided by her Gear Points. Effort points are typically awarded either for boss kills, with each boss assigned a specific value, or for minutes of participation. My guild awarded points for boss kills in TBC but we’re switching over to an easier, more automatic points per minute system for Wrath. Ratios always stay above zero, and if you implement the system as intended (which I STRONGLY suggest), decay controls inflation. To decay the system, you reduce everyone’s EP and GP by a certain percentage at determined moments. The system designers mention 10% per raid as a good figure, and I tend to agree. The purpose of decay is to shrink the gaps in the list–this practice lets new players move up faster despite lower total attendance. In addition, players who have a long dry spell with no loot will remain near the top of the list even after they take their first item, making things more fair over the long haul. This process, in combination with the decay, also tends to discourage hoarding. The cherry on top of the system is the excellent mod that comes with it. The item values are built-in, and anyone with the proper clearance can update the system during the raid. I’ve been master looting for my guild using this system since January, and it works like a charm. The only caveat is that you must back up the data every week–content patches almost always wipe the system.

Suicide Kings

What would happen if you had 100% decay on Ep/Gp? You’d have Suicide Kings. This sorta-system belongs in the DKP list, but just barely. To use Suicide Kings, random roll all of your members into positions and arrange them in a list with number 1 at the top. Person #1, regardless of attendance, skill, or whatever, will have first crack at anything that drops. When he takes something, he will move to the last position. Suicide Kings is extremely easy to track, even with a pencil-paper method, but you may see extreme problems with hoarding or with raider apathy. Expect some raiders only to show up if their names are near the top.

Other rules:

Any system works better if you have some courtesy rules or guidelines in place. Heck, I’ve even seen random roll work for the top alliance guild on our server, and it’s because their guild has a culture of sharing. All guilds should encourage players to be kind to their fellows and to pass things when they can afford to. In addition, no matter what system you choose, your officers or class officers should not hesitate to give advice on gear choice. If possible, persuade people out of bad decisions. Sometimes you will have to lay down the law. For example, if a paladin wants to spend her DKP on cloth healing gloves that are also a significant upgrade for your priest, don’t let her do it. In addition, some guilds make a special exception for their main tanks and gear them up first. We have never done that, and our tanks are well-geared just because their attendance is good. If you want to move very fast, though, you may need to get that gear on the tank regardless of his DKP. Likewise, if one of your players needs to perform a special role, make sure he or she has the gear to do it. For example, my guild awarded the first Void-Star Talisman to our warlock tank for Leotheras. Every member of the guild was happy about the decision, because we all wanted to get to Leo as fast as possible.

And lastly, good luck. You’ll need it to get through the loot system minefield without life-threatening injury or, at the least, major scarring.

O-M-G!!

O-M-G!!

Please forgive me for squealing like a little girl, but….

I HAZ CRYSTAL SPIRE!!!

 

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4 months of Illidan kills, and it finally drops. The sweetest part? Every healer in the raid whispered me Grats, before it was loot counciled out. They’d gotten together… and decided to pass it unanimously to me.

No lie. I nearly cried.

DKP is the Devil

DKP is the Devil

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Image courtesy of andehans 

Sure, it’s all about killing the boss. It’s a group effort, a bonding experience, and a hell of a lot of fun. The problems start right after the screenshots are taken and the congratulations are over – loot dropped. What was it, and who should get it?

There are two common systems for deciding who, of the 10 or 25 people standing over the body, should get the gear upgrades: Loot Council, and DKP. Both systems function well on a day-to-day basis. Like most governing systems, the issues come in at the extremes, when a piece is wanted by more than one player, and especially if it’s a rare item. My guild used a pure DKP system when I first joined, and has slowly migrated to a full-blown Loot Council. I think it’s brilliant.

Basic Overview

In a Loot Council system, the Raid Leader, Officers, Class Leaders, or a combination decide which player in the raid has earned the gear. Ideally, their decision is made based on attendance, viability, available upgrades, and the individual’s contributions to the raid and to the guild.

DKP, or Dragon Kill Points, is much less arbitrary on the surface. Guild members are awarded points for raid attendance, presence at kills, and sometimes other contributions to the guild (donations to the Gbank, for example.) This is usually tracked on the guild website. Then, when the gear drops, players are either allowed to bid, auction style, or simply purchase the piece for a set price. The raider with the most DKP has priority, and unless they choose to pass, wins the item. The price is then deducted from their DKP balance.

The Problems

For a Loot Council system to work, the people making the decisions have to have a working knowledge of the needs of each class (knowing that Spirit is nearly useless for Paladins helps when awarding healing loot), and the strengths and weaknesses of each of their raiders. It helps a lot to have class-leaders involved in the decision-making process, since they’re usually the most familiar with both. Most importantly, the raiders have to trust their officers. If favoritism or greed are real issues among your guild leadership, Loot Council won’t cause the collapse of your guild – but it will definitely speed it up.

For a DKP system to work, every individual raider has to know their gear, possible upgrades, and playstyle. Each raider spends their points on the items that will make the biggest impact for them. If players buy an okay item, without knowing that a better item for the same slot, or for the cost, drops one or two bosses later, it’s their loss. Supposedly. The best and worst thing about DKP is that it is completely objective. You raid, you earn your points, the bosses die, and each raider spends their points as they see fit. It’s the ultimate self-actualizing system. The problem? Raiding is a group-effort.

Why I Personally Hate DKP

The system doesn’t care if a raider played their heart out, and has no other viable upgrades. A more-tenured player has first dibs on anything that drops, regardless of benefit to the guild as a whole. DKP, by its very nature, focuses exclusively on the measurable contributions of the individual. It objectively tracks how often they’ve shown up, how many boss-kills they attended, and how much money they paid. DKP is, essentially, an attendance grade in what should be a meritocracy.

Not that attendance is trivial. Being willing to show up and throw down day after day is part of what makes a top-notch raiding core. And those who show up every day SHOULD by all means be rewarded. There’s a marked difference, though, between playing your guts out and just showing up, and DKP can’t differentiate. On the other hand, any good officer knows who their key players are.

As a byproduct of this individualistic focus, participants in a DKP system tend to build up an entitlement mentality. “This gear is mine, because I earned it and paid for it,” is dangerous when the whole point is to continue progressing, not as 25 individuals, but as a guild. I’ve seen it get nasty when passing is suggested to a more-tenured player – it’s not that they really need a piece, it’s that they want it; regardless of the fact that the increase to their own swollen stats would have a significantly smaller impact on the group than would helping a guildie get rid of one of several sub-par items. Obviously, even in a DKP system, responsible raiders do pass to other players – but then the recipient of the gear has just been granted a “favor” by a more-tenured player. And there’s absolutely zero back-up if the veteran isn’t feeling generous.

Raiding in a Loot Council guild, you haven’t done your job by showing up. You haven’t done your job if the boss merely dies on schedule, either. You are constantly auditioning, pushing yourself and your teammates, you are forever earning not only the gear that might drop that night, but the gear you’ve been awarded each night of your membership, and your very raid spot. Yeah, it can be stressful. But I prefer the shared stress of 25 people pushing to do their absolute best over the stress of 25 people trying to figure out whose fault that 3rd wipe was – on farm content.

I have yet to be in any run where the raiders weren’t congratulated on their shiny new purples. In a pure DKP system, I’ve never understood this practice. Congratulating a player on gear that was essentially defaulted to them based on their accumulated points rings very hollow in comparison to congratulating a guildie who was awarded gear for their contribution to the latest group effort. The difference is the same as that of receiving a gift or buying the damn thing yourself. There’s a bonding experience with the former that isn’t replicated in the latter. And friendships and guilds – long term relationships – are built upon multiples of those small bonding experiences.

In fact, I’ve seen DKP systems actively erode those bonds. If you’ve ever calculated your own DKP vs. another raider’s, found yourself wishing they just wouldn’t show so you can beat them out, or quietly tried to convince them not to bid, you’ve had some of those same anti-group effort sentiments that underscore the kind of bickering and jealousy that tear guilds apart. Doing your best and proving you’ve earned a piece is a world away from hoping that your talented teammate is a no-show. But, if there’s no Council that will hear your case, you don’t really have any other recourse in a DKP system. Even if you KNOW that a Druid won’t get the same benefit from the Crystal Spire of Karabor, you can’t argue with the points. A good Loot Council will listen to your case in the bids, and make their reasons known when they award the upgrade. It’s hard to have sour grapes when you know the other guy deserved the reward they got, but easy to grumble if their major contribution was signing the guild charter before you did.

Which leads to a more long-term tricky situation – certain gear was designed to be optimal for certain classes. Not things as clear-cut as a heavy-spirit cloth healing helm, but truly questionable items – rings, weapons, necks, and trinkets. Some of them are just better for some classes than they are for others, especially given available upgrades. DKP absolutely cannot account for class-optimization without some pretty strategic loot-master intervention. I’m not saying Paladins should never equip a Light Fathom Scepter or Coral Ring of the Revived, I’m just saying an equivalently geared Druid or Priest would get a LOT more bang for the Guild’s collective buck. Not only will the player keep the piece longer, which frees up more gear for more upgrades for other players down the line, but the raid will get more benefit from it while they wear it. And as heart-wrenching as 1% wipes are, they are much easier to avoid when every player in the lineup is optimized.

Switching from DKP to Loot Council is not a panacea for everything that afflicts your guild. You won’t miraculously find that all the gear goes to the exact-right player, or that no one gets their feelings hurt. And if you don’t trust your leaders to award gear, you have problems no loot system will patch up for long. Similarly, raiders that grumble about deserving players being rewarded are likely not the players you want to keep around – and they’ll remove themselves from your guild long before they have a chance to leech hard-won purples that can’t be recovered. A good Loot Council provides a level of deliberation, thoughtfulness, and a bias in favor of hard work and team effort that DKP can’t replicate. And if there ever really is a tie in terms of overall contribution and deservedness, a good ol’ fashioned /random will end most disputes.

Luv,
Wyn

Staves vs Maces and Off hands

Staves vs Maces“First off i have to commend you for your hard work at making your blog the only one i have ever read. World of Matticus has almost all of the priest information i could hope to read and I have put to use many of the tips found therein. But i can’t find anything about the debate of Staff vs Mace+Offhand (healingwise). Is there a certain point where a staff would be better than the duel wielding combo? Is a mace-offhand settup always better? Please let me know what you think. Thank you for your limited time.”

That was an email I received from a player last night. Incidentally enough, I had a post about this already lined up. What excellent timing!

Back before Burning Crusade, there was one weapon that truly defined a Priest. Those who had it were idolized by Priests everywhere. When you saw it on the back of a Priest in front of you, immediately you would feel an aura of safety. I am referring to [item]Benediction[/item]. Oh how times have changed.

I’m going to present argument from two different sides: The best possible Priest approach and the team Priest approach.

The Best Possible Priest Approach

Do you want to be THE Priest? Do you want to have so much healing and MP5 that you can bring back Elvis? Then this is the setup for you. From what I’ve noticed, a Priest with an MH/OH combo will have slightly higher healing bonuses and a little more mana regeneration than a player with a Staff. But staves aren’t completely useless in their own right. They might lose a bit of +healing when compared to to the MH/OH, but there’s a lot more stats (stamina, intellect, etc). Therefore, if you care that much about min/maxing your Priest (in other words, making it as best as possible), then grabbing an MH/OH is the best way to go. But you have to realize that you’re not the only class that is able to use it.

You’ll be in direct competition with Paladins and Shamans (maybe Druids).

The Team Priest Approach

You don’t want to be the best Priest possible. You know that all the maces are being greedily eyed upon by the other healers because they are way more powerful. You also know that your fellow healers won’t give that awesome healing staff a chance and that it will get sharded. I have seen this happen far too many times. Healers are passing on items that help them in favour of getting an even better item. You may or may not know of my thoughts about this. Precious loot should not be wasted because you never know for sure when you will get the weapon that you want. I never once saw Light’s Justice or Shard of the Virtuous on my Priest.

I hope you can understand my main argument here. I’m not arguing from the perspective of being the super best healer. I’m arguing from the perspective of a healer who wants to contribute to the best of his or her ability with the tools they have.

By accepting the staff, you remove yourself from competing against the Shammies and the Pallies. Let them fight over the mace and spend their precious DKP. A simple minimum bid just gave you nearly the same amount of healing at half the price. Again, this is dependent on your Guild and the style of loot distribution that you have.

Think about your raid healer setup.

In Carnage, we have:

  • 2 Holy Priests
  • 3-4 Paladins
  • 1 Resto Shaman

The Paladins and Shamans are going to go after 1H’s because they want something to complement their Shields. The other holy Priest doesn’t like staves. That leaves me to obtain loot at half price because these turkeys aren’t going to use it anyway! By taking it, I benefit the raid as a whole because it increases my healing and speeds up the gearing process.

I even save a little DKP because I don’t have to bid on both a mace and an offhand. I don’t have to wait for 2 bosses to drop the 2 items that I need. I only need to kill 1 boss repeatedly.

I am sacrificing my potential to be the best possible Priest later to help the raid now.

To finalize

Whatever weapon you choose to go with is affected by different factors.

  • Your guild
  • Loot distribution methods
  • Your style of play
  • Personality
  • Phase of the moon

Just understand that arguments can be made for either class. I don’t view myself as a selfish raider. I want to get to the end of the game as fast as possible and if I have to lose 30 healing over it, then I can sleep soundly with no problems. Besides, the extra stamina means I’ll live just a bit longer then Paulina Priest over there.

That’s why I opted for my new staff instead of waiting on Vasj to drop her mace.

What weapon do you use?

  • Main Hand and Off Hand (47%, 16 Votes)
  • Staff (32%, 11 Votes)
  • I like to go in there without any weapons (21%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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WoWosphere Weekend Warmup

I’m retiring my 3 stars. There’s simply too much blogging material and not enough stars to hand out! Starting on Saturdays, I’m going to be summarize what’s been happening here with me, my blog, and my other fellow bloggers out there.

In Game

We’ve had a wall with raiding recently. Last Thursday, one of our MT’s had DSL issues, our Paladin’s hard drive crashed, another healer has retired, and we’re losing a rogue to the US Army. I knew the holiday season was tough, but holy moly. As far as I know, we’re going back in on Sunday.

I’ve acquired a whole level of respect for Paladin tanks. We set up an on-the-fly run with a friend of mine and he literally tanked the whole instance by himself. We brought in a DPS Warrior for off tanking duty because we didn’t expect him to tank as much anyway. 3 hour Karazhan runs are ridiculously awesome. We downed every boss with the exception of Netherspite (due to execution, in my opinion).

World of Matticus

  • 5 Gaming Lessons from Matticus: I got tagged the other day by GMW. The concept here is one blogger comes up with a list, then “tags” other bloggers to come up with their own unique lists. It doesn’t even have to be a list! They’re just tagged to “do” something. In this case, it was a list of lessons that I’ve learned from WoW or gaming.
  • WoW Bloggers <3 WordPress: This is just something I noted last night. A lot of bloggers are switching platforms from Blogger to WordPress.
  • Why Do You Play WoW?: This is a guest post from Leiandra. I didn’t want to leave my blog completely dry so I sent out a plea for guest bloggers to help me out. Thanks again for responding!

I’ve got a larged sized to do list which I can’t get started on just yet. 1 exam down, but I still have 3 more to go.

  • Complete blog design overhaul
  • Mag strat and overview
  • Tips for WoW Bloggers who just moved to WordPress
  • Getting my other blog underway

The WoWosphere at a Glance

  • Veteran Hunter blogger BigRedKitty has switched! Be sure to update your bookmarks and RSS feeds accordingly. He’s also opened up some new forums! Fellow blogger Pike is also considering the switch.

    Matt’s Reaction: I love the forums! I’m even debating opening one of my own soon. I also think Pike should switch =).

  • Fate has a great post up effectively summarizing what the trends seem to be in class issues. You’ll remember a few days ago Blizzard put the call out for feedback on what players felt to be the problems with their class. They even created threads on every class forum.

    Matt’s Reaction: One of the points Fate made was that each class seemed to be complaining that every other class was imbalanced and should be nerfed. If that’s the case, then Blizzard should sit back and do nothing because if every class complains that other classes are overpowered, would that not then imply that every class IS balanced?

  • There’s been some recent blog discussion on the gender of your characters on WoW. Nothing’s wrong with players playing a character of the opposite gender. Some play it to express themselves. Others play it to avoid being cliche’d. The rest do it for the ass (or so they claim).

    Matt’s Reaction: I chose a Dranei and Human females purely for performance reasons. I need as much possible real estate as I can get on my screen. I’m not the only one who feels that way.

  • GMW and her Guild discovered a neat way of adding colour to your Guild MoTD’s and Guild Notes!

    Matt’s Reaction: Instead of the usual green text, now you can color code your messages for importance. I haven’t quite discovered a practical use for it yet, but I’m not an officer and I don’t have the authority to alter my own Guild Note. But, I think by color coding Guild Notes, it would be easy to tell at a glance what kind of specs certain players are in the Guild without having to repeatedly ask them. For example, tanks could be blue, healers would be white, and DPS would be red. This way, there would be no confusion as to whether Paladins were prot or holy (or Priests shadow or Holy).

  • Nibuca at Mystic Chicanery created an excellent list of fun Pally tricks to try!

    Matt’s Reaction: I like tip 3.

Blog Spotlight

  • I’ve spent a lot of time reading Rohan’s Blessing of Kings. One of his recent posts addressed the topic of welfare epics (AKA PvP purples). There’s been some discussion about the skinning differences between PvP and PvE. Another point that was brought up is the seeming lack of progression that the PvE aspect has. The only thing stopping alts from going into Hyjal/BT is attunement. That is a barried that PvP doesn’t really have except for rating brackets (even then, at 3 AM you might find a 1500 team playing a 2300 team and by sheer luck/disconnects steal 40 points off of them) In PvE, it’s possible to directly skip over T4 and go straight for T5 (Remember the attunements were lifted).

    In fact, several months ago on my resto shaman, I raided with a group of friends into Karazhan while wearing a combination of greens and blues. In June, I sported +600 healing! That number is far below my minimum recommended stats. But my friends were extremely geared and my lack of healing didn’t really hinder progress. In one run, I replaced my greens with purples (T4 gloves, Curator shoulders, Chess Shield, Netherspite’s Chest, Attument’s bracers, Moroes’ Belt, Opera trinket).Should I have to go through that chain of progression again? I don’t think so.

    My Priest did most of the work learning the encounters and helping my friends get gear as well. I had a good support network in place and good contacts. I think this debate sounds akin to having a level 70 running you through Scarlet Monastary. Different application but same principle.So in PvP, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with characters in blues getting epics. They’re still putting in time and effort to get it. An S2 geared player will acquire S3 gear far faster then a blue’d character with little resilience.

    My Shaman took six months to get the entire S2 set. This is just the armor alone. I did not purchase the weapon, shield, or totem. That’s a long time just to get the armor. Don’t forget the fact that this was during the summer before the AV changes. I had lots of time which I piled into the AV queues earning 7000+ honor per day. Obviously with school, it is no longer possible. But winter break is nearly here, and I’ve already picked up the Vindicator Bracers…About the visualizations of the gear, I think they should be kept the same way. I know I’m definitely a minority in this for sure, but hear me out for a moment.

    Most of us don’t have the time to armory other players to determine what they’re wearing or what spec they’re playing (having a macbook by your side lets you do that). But information and intelligence is key to any kind of warfare! The more information you have, the better off you’ll be!

    One of Sun Tzu’s famous quotes:

    So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles.
    If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
    If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself

    A key piece of information is the level of gear that your opponents are wearing. One glance at a Priest with dark wings, and what does that tell you? He’s wearing S2 shoulders. Like it or not, we rely on visual cues to inform of us what’s going on around the world. If PvP and PvE gear models were drastically changed, that’s more information we have to know. Out in PvE land if the models were to change, a new player with absolutely no idea of what PvP models look like could check out a player and find out the hard way that this is NOT a player they want to pick a fight with.

    Lastly, to change the models and textures would require more work to do on the part of Blizzard. I’d much rather have them work on new raiding content then armor which I will replace anyway. I’m paying 15 bucks a month to solve hard encounters, not appear on an Ironforge’s Secret fashion show.

Again, I wanted to apologize to everyone for my reduced blogload this week. It’s crunch time for many students. I’ve got 3 more next week so expect similar activity. Wish me luck =(.

I started this piece at 9 AM. It is now 1 PM.

You heard it here first, and finals thoughts on Loot Distribution

Nethaera wrote:Meditation is also going to get a bit of a bump up and it will increase to 10/20/30% mana regen as well.

I posted this earlier, but it didn’t hit home to me until I checked out the next druid changes. From what I understand, they get a similar talent upgrade, yes? If so, I suspect we’ll see an increase in healing endurance based fights. I’ve got 413 mana regen. Does that mean I will then end up with 537 mana regen? Honestly, I don’t know. My specialty has always been with theory and philosophy. I’ve never been good with hard numbers. I don’t know if that talent applies to your entire mana regen pool, or just your base without taking into account your gear, etc. So much for being a Priest resource, eh?

By the way, I got another post referenced on WoW Insider (1609 hits today). Apparently my Loot Distribution article generated a lot of views. From the responses, I could see that people were overlooking a few things and I want to elaborate just a bit more.

It will cover a basic DKP system, discouraging DKP hoarding, and a loot hierarchy [to prevent people from joining, taking loot, and then leaving].

Those three are the basic problems that many starting Guilds will have. Many new players have yet to embrace the system of working collectively together and achieving a goal. I wrote this article on the basic assumption that everyone is greedy and not willing to trust other players. Perhaps they’ve been backstabbed before in the past, or someone took loot and left, etc. I don’t know if a survey has been done on this, but I would hazard a guess that 30% of all loot acquired by a Guild will no longer be utilized by them: Players quit the game, players quit the Guild, etc, etc. It’s important to remember that these things do happen. There isn’t much you can do to screen for them. You can always consider it an expense. There is always going to be some kind of turnover.

Nadiaron made an excellent comment:

Nadiaron 03 Oct 2007 at 1:12 pm

Attendance is a horrible DKP modded system. It punishes people for having a vacation, and makes them less likely to want to come back afterwards. It also gives people who aren’t going to be sticking around, better gear whenever they have excess time to play WoW.

My response was already at the end of the article:

Matticus wrote:

No system is better then that of human discretion. Always use it. Different ways to handle loot are useful for different types of Guilds. Find out what works best for you.

Human discretion. Human… discretion. It can be misguided or it can be beneficial. If you’re going to have a player take off on vacation or who has family problems, it shouldn’t be difficult to suspend that player temporarily so that their DKP does not decay. There’s always going to be Pros and Cons to every DKP system. If there was a perfect system, I wouldn’t have a series on loot distribution. Instead, I would only have one featured article. Every Guild would be using it. The problem here is that no Guilds are made the same. Different Guilds have different needs. Some Guilds like zero sum. Some Guilds prefer to use timed accumulation. Some Guilds don’t use DKP and rely on Loot Council. The purpose of this article was to suggest a method by which new Guild leaders, who probably don’t have a clue what system to use, can start with. It offers a basic frame work of loot priority and distribution. In a nutshell, if you raid more, you’ll get rewarded. If you’re a veteran player, you’ll get it before the new guy. At the same time, if you’re a new guy, you are not completely shut out. A veteran player doesn’t need loot from an instance, his attendance goes down, his accumulated total goes down, but the new guy whose shown constant dedication in raiding for the past month has an equal shot at the loot.

Again, it is by no means the best solution. But it’s just a step in one of many different directions.

Loot Management Week: The Ultimate Solution

I was drafted on Friday to compete in a CS: Source tournament at the VS Gaming Arena down here on Broadway. It was a great tournament and it’s an excellent LAN center which boasts 18 of the fastest computers I’ve seen ever. They also have an X-Box 360 and a Wii for players who want to have some fun on the console (Halo 3 anyone?). They’re one of the first LAN centers in Vancouver that I’ve heard of to have acquired a copy of Team Fortress 2. Anyway, after some last minute strategical work, we placed 3rd (Don’t be amazed, only five teams showed up). If I wasn’t play WoW and if I had a better computer, I would be doing this more often. Vancouver has a huge untapped LAN scene and hopefully VS Gaming will evolve into something big in the future.

Today’s piece is long and will bring all elements together for what I believe is the best possible answer to everything for a freshly formed raiding Guild where people may not be used to each other quite yet. It will cover a basic DKP system, discouraging DKP hoarding, and a loot hierarchy.

We’ve covered economizing loot items. We’ve covered player/loot discretion. Both have their strong points and their weak points. Now lets combine the two together and see what we can come up with. I’m going to use T1 and T2 loot as an example.

Effective DKP

Effective DKP utilizes the zero-sum DKP system along with an extra element: Attendance. A frequent complaint of Guilds is inactive players who attend raids sporadically. There is no consistency at all over their attendance. Effective DKP would help ensure attendance. In addition to the zero-sum amount that you would normally get from taking down a boss, an attendance percentage value would be added to help weigh what your final DKP total is. The formula would be the total number of points you have earned multiplied by the attendance rate over a period of time (60 days, 45, or 30 days) would determine the final figure. Choosing Effective DKP rewards players who attend scheduled Guild events.

An example would be Player A earns 100 DKP. However, his attendance has dropped to 40%. Player B has earned 40 DKP but has attended 100% of raids. Both players would effectively have 40 DKP.

Countering People Hoarding DKP

A controversial opinion has involved the use of a loot priority system by awarding members with items who have attained some important status. Players are hoarding their DKP in the hopes of utilizing it in later dungeons to acquire significantly superior loot. For example, players forgo their Tier 1 pieces in the hopes of skipping right to Tier 2. It is important to remember that the objective of the game: High end equipment allows completion of difficult dungeons. As they progress in difficulty, the items become superior to that of items obtained earlier.

An incentive that has been used in the past is to prioritize higher level pieces to players who already possess the initial high level pieces (ie, a T2 piece to a T1 player). Proponents of this system argue that in this manner, players will take their T1 piece n the route to T2 thereby helping the organization as a whole. Every piece no matter minor or trivial helps the team progress as a whole. Opponents of the system argue that this system, while forcing players to upgrade their initial gear, does not benefit the organization. This would concentrate items on specific players only. This system would gear out up a small group of players instead of the entire group. It would far benefit the Guild in the long run to have a player equipped with T1 and another player equipped with T2. In this manner, the potency of players has equalized to a similar degree. The success of players in a raid instance would not have to rely on one or two players who have received three epic quality items. It allows greater flexibility in player and class deployments to answer any threats or obstacles.

Another incentive to persuade players to take T1 items is to include a DKP reimbursement system. A player who takes T2 would receive a refund on the points used to obtain their T1 piece. In a sense, their T1 piece is received free when the player helps the organization. The economic benefits of this would be enourmous. Tier 1 items would help greatly. Not only does the system encourage people to take pieces, it allows other players a chance at earning T2 pieces who do not have T1. This is extremely important as it helps distribute both levels of loot accordingly.

Opponents of the system would argue that it would be unfair for older, veteran players if newer players who already have a T1 piece, come in and take advantage of the discounted price and reimbursement. There are several different methods to account for newer players. One way is to play such players on a lock where they will not be able to obtain any items for a set period of time unless other members of the Guild do not need the item. This way, points can still be accumulated but they cannot be spent. Once the period has expired, that player is allowed to compete for and bid on items.

Another method is to only reimburse players who have received items within that organization. Players already equipped with T1 upon membership would be required to pay the full upgrade price regardless. Both solutions help deal with newer players.

The Hierarchy

Finally, the third part in issuing and awarding items is to incorporate a hierarchal system. An example would be a Guild with three levels. The lowest level would have players start at the bottom with the low attendance or new Guild members. Although new members have a low chance of receiving any rewards, it is not entirely impossible. There is still a chance for them to receive items. The second tier would consist of long standing members of the Guild w ho have not distinguished themselves but their combined capability helps the Guild. Their presence has been steadfast and enduring. Their persistance has helped the Guild progress. The third tier would comprise of members who have stood head and shoulders above everyone else. They would consist of the leadership like class leaders or officers. These people are the backbone and spine of the Guild. The core players help hold the organizationtogether. Ideally, they would recognize the value of Guild progression and will not hesitate to pass gear to benefit the raid as a whole.

The proposal for a tiered level of loot priority would be structured so that the third level would have option first, followed by the second level, and then the first level. This helps ensure that new guild members do not simply join and then leave after receiving an item. But the most part, the third and second levels of membership would have equal loot priority.

Conclusion

No system is better then that of human discretion. Always use it. Different ways to handle loot are useful for different types of Guilds. Find out what works best for you.