Loot Council and You: One Player’s Take On Loot Council and Casual Raiding

Loot Council and You: One Player’s Take On Loot Council and Casual Raiding

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This is a guest post from @katagirl, Matt’s fellow guildie and a WoW Twitterati

Since this blog has its fair share of priests and druid posters – I thought it was high time for a Paladin to step up and give her two cents. There’s been a lot of discussion about the way the Loot Council structure is set up, and I wanted to share my take on it.

My story

My name is Kata, and I’ve been playing WoW for about two and a half years. I’m currently in Conquest, being known as “Queen Pally” or “hey, you’re on Rez Duty…” depending on the day.

Up until WotLK came out, I was part of a few very casual raiding guilds. It was first come, first serve to raid signups, very relaxed hours and atmospheres and don’t even get me started on Ventrilo during raids on Lurker. You’d need pain meds just to log in. I popped around a bit, even launched my own guild for a while that never got to raiding (that’s another saga completely). When Matticus started pitching Conquest, I chimed in pretty quick with ideas and feedback through Twitter and got a good dialogue going. I transferred in and the rest is history.

Anyways, back to loot distribution. I’ve raided with guilds that both use the standard /roll with a Master Looter, and with some version of DKP/ EPGP. Conquest was my first experience with a Loot Council, and to be honest I was a bit hesitant. I was spending money to transfer servers to put myself at the mercy of leadership that mostly knew each other. There was nothing keeping them from looting everything to each other based on their friendships in times previous.

I transferred and began the arduous grind to 80. The first official week’s raid schedule I sat out on, gearing up and watching all these strangers get boss loot. I’ve now been raiding with Conquest for a full month.

I really don’t write this kind of thing, so forgive me if I tend to wax narrative.

My verdict: Our Loot Council works. I’m in a unique position as a plate-wearing healer to be able to pick up any gear. At the beginning, even cloth pieces were upgrades for me. I had interest on a lot of pieces. There were many times my major +healing upgrade would be passed over for a minor upgrade for a priest/lock/druid. But just as many times as I sat at the end of a boss fight without gear, I was rewarded with major improvements over the first few weeks. Other players occasionally even withdrew their interest if they saw it’d gear me up – and that is impressive.

Not once have I felt that there has been a partiality in the distribution of loots by the loot council. Sometimes it did take longer to distribute loot at the end of a boss fight, but it was almost always accompanied by an explanation of the decision.

One thing I expected with a loot council system would be the likelihood of raid members to complain or protest decisions. From time to time, there’s the occasional light-hearted bickering – but I have yet to experience someone throw a fit because they did not get a piece of gear. As I mentioned before, I’ve seen players pass on upgrades for others. That was always a rarity when I raided with a DKP model. The Loot Council approach seems to shift the focus from a “me, me!” attitude to a “we, together” attitude. And it seems to be working. At last research, warcrafter.net had Conquest listed as one of the top geared progression guilds on our server, and top 500 out of over 40,000 guilds in US/North America. (not to brag, or anything!)

How can the loot council work in your guild?

Matt’s posted some great guidelines that he’s used for setting up our loot council. From where I sit, the most important things are being approachable and working towards a team mentality. I know that any of our officers are willing to hear me out if I have an issue or complaint. My opinions are valued, which then in turn makes me respect my leaders. As I’ve seen in Conquest, when the focus is on the team first and individual second things work out smoothly.

Other curious raiding notes

  • Naxx music is creepy if you’re the first one in the instance and you have your speakers turned up.
  • Toy Trains need to be patched so that they cannot be dropped in an instance.
  • Of all the bosses in Naxx, Matt has the hardest time with the Frogger boss. Ask me how I got my position…

Just because I have this public forum, I thought I ought to thank two amazing Paladins that guided me on my experience – Alyeska and Xonelith, who both popped around various servers with me. Without them – I wouldn’t be raiding today. (again with the fiction-type writing with a dedication… but I couldn’t help myself). And to all the players I’ve had the honor to work with… except the few that drop toy trains in raids. YOU know who you are.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. Rez the priests when they die to the ghosts

  2. Great post. I believe that Loot Council is honestly the best option available as long as your guild has a group mentality. If your loot council does not play favorites and the people in your raid understand that it is better for them to pass on a minor upgrade so that another member can get a bigger boost then it should go smoothly.

    Currently we raid with DKP and I have to say that it is very discouraging. As a fairly new member to a guild the senior members have, in some cases, 5x the amount of DKP that I have. So I know going into a raid that there is no way that I am walking out of there with a Tier token because there are at least 5 other people with more DKP than me and are more than willing to spend it just to get the Set bonus, even if it is a side-grade from the gear they are currently wearing or even for off-spec, since there is no restrictions on that either.

    It has forced me to hoard my DKP in hopes that I can use it for Ulduar because I know that I won’t be snagging any drops on the first run through unless I play the DKP game.

    The system we currently use is extremely flawed, but that’s what the officers want so we use it. For example, if no one bids on an item it is automatically DE’d. As one example of something that happens alot, someone decides to “be nice” and not bid on a drop because they know someone else needs it more and then the other person doesnt bid because they know they won’t get the drop because the other person has more DKP. Next thing you see is that the Disenchanter receives the item and *poof* your upgrade is now sitting in a stack in the gbank.

    It has happened to me a few times where I didn’t bid on a cloth drop because we had several cloth wearers in the group and being a resto druid I don’t normally go out of my way to “steal” from members that are restricted to one armor type.

    The only good thing that comes of it is that we don’t spend 5 minutes after every boss deciding who gets what.

    Anyway, sorry for the extensive diatribe on my flawed DKP system. Next time I have something to say I’ll write it in the form of a guest post and send it to Matt. =P

  3. Passerby1001 says:

    Honestly, any loot system will work if:

    1. Guild Master explains the rules ahead of time.
    2. Guild members agree to gear the guild (progression, help gearing new comers, etc), and not gear the player.
    3. Honor / Trust within guild.

    Blizzard intentionally places stats in gears that make choosing an important task for players (rather than Tier-x = OP, etc), and I think as long as guild members understand the decision making process, disputes can be minimized.

    Still, great insights/perspectives are always appreciated, so thanks.

  4. Jane Gray says:

    The writer would seriously, AS A PALADIN, take cloth from clothies? When healing plate is the most over represented drop in the game (unless your raid has more than two holy pallys)? Pretty sure that makes you a selfish git. Stick to mail and plate or your clothies will RESENT RESENT RESENT you.

  5. @Jane Gray: Yes the writer would take the Cloth from Clothies because none of the clothies needed cloth.

  6. Jane Gray says:

    “There were many times my major +healing upgrade would be passed over for a minor upgrade for a priest/lock/druid.”

    this implied to me that she hoped her upgrade to take precedence over the armor class. I have no problem with someone getting gear that no one else wants, its a plate wearer thinking they have any claim at all on cloth over actual clothies that put my teeth on edge. I’m glad you chose to give the cloth to the clothies, but the fact that she even hoped that wouldnt be the case made me think you have a loot whore on your hands.

  7. I have issues with the Frogger boss too. I get escorted through it by someone who can rez. Every week. It’s embarassing.

  8. @Jane Gray: That was a reference to rings, trinkets, and weapons I believe.

  9. I think loot council only suits for gearing up Main tanks, to an extend off tanks. Since a lot of raid progression actually based on how well the tanks can take damage.

    I am all in for the DKP-ish system. I do not understand why people expect to just join a guild, and be presented with epics. I’ve been a few progressing guilds, and trying to hit and hit and hit the glass ceiling is not fun. Don’t veteran guild member like me that tried so hard (repair cost, consumables, strategy discussions, etc) be awarded first for it?

    The DKP system works, because it is as NON-personal related as possible. There is only one reason a person’s DKP is stacked high, that is his intended drop, or the next upgrade he can get did not drop for a long time. Lets say, if there are no DKP system in place, I raided for 20 times, and a new person comes in and raided for 2 times, and the loot council decided to give him the piece I want (and would be next in line if a DKP system is in place), I WOULD be mighty pissed.

    I believe that, with a council that makes priority to gear up the MTs, then free rolls for 10-mans, and DKP-ish for 25-mans is the way to go. It creates as few drama as possible, and its “fair-er” to everyone.

  10. @Kusazero: My guild runs a Loot Council and it does work very well. Whilst DKP will reward those who have been members for longer, it also leads to a system where those who have the most DKP effectively control the loot distribution. This means you end up with a few members with a lot of gear and those at the bottom of the DKP list with not much gear.

    Back in BWL days in my old guild I was able to obtain that much DKP that I got 7/8 T2 in about 3 weeks. This meant that most of the other Druids got very few pieces and that hurts the guild as a whole and slows progress.

    Loot Council provides a way to spread the gear out amongst the raid and stops a few people hoarding all the loot for themselves.

  11. Some reflections on this post (a good one, keep writin’!) and my experience with the Loot Council (LC)…..

    1) The first step of success was the guild charter and the subsequent recruiting. The charter makes it very clear how loot will be handled. That filters out many people who might be excellent raiders and WoW’ers, but would not fit in with the LC culture and therefore make it flop. The recruiting process has done a good job further filtering the list of candidates and locating people who help LC function.

    2) The second step of success was the ease of Naxxramas. Loot is nice, and all Conquest members like to get it, but beyond getting our stats to a relatively low baseline, additional gear didn’t really open the door to more content. The loot does allow us to clear the same content in fewer weekly hours, and with more room for error in our game play. Since loot is nice, but not required beyond a certain point, there has been minimal pressure which makes people very willing to accept the LC decisions.

    3) Siting on the Bench. I could be wrong, but I have not seen very much need for the Conquest leaders to sit people for performance reasons, or to have to select 25 people out of a list of 30 sign-ups. This is primarily due to recruiting a very precise number of the right blend of toons and players. Other than an internal drive to succeed, there has not been (from what I’ve seen) too much external pressure for people to improve their performance and gear, thus making it easy to work with the LC.

    I am very interested to see continued success of the Council through two upcoming challenges:

    A) Raiders seeking Best-In-Slot items. Most of Conquest is down to needing some very specific drops. When Surge-Needle Ring or Fury of Five Flights drops, there will be higher sensitivty than in the past, since in the early weeks, there were so many upgrade options available to raiders if LC passes you over, there’s another piece of shiny right around the corner. Scarcity will cause pressure.

    B) Difficult Content. When Conquest pushes Sarth with more and more Drakes or when Ulduar is released with a higher difficulty level, loot may very well become a barrier. If the raid cannot clear an encounter, and the Officers need to address performance problems or send invites to some players over others, loot disparities are bound to become a focus of conversation. If a player gets passed by the Council for an item, and then later is benched in favor of another player, the loot decisions will be called into question.

    I’m confident that the LC can overcome these two challenges, however facing them and managing through the ensuing stress is inevitable IMO.

    Amavas last blog post..A taste of BG at 80

  12. I’ve spent 2 years under the Loot Councils of 2 different guilds. I don’t like it at all. In my current guild, we use a zero-sum DKP system and it is by far the most fair and impartial way to distribute loot.

    Loot Council has several flaws which has caused drama on more than one occasion. The biggest problem was the time it took to decide on loot. After every boss, it took about 10 minutes to go through every item, figure out who wanted what and discuss. If it was a hotly contested item, guild officers could fight back and forth for awhile. This leads to a sort of black box of decision making where the regular raiders would be left sitting there wondering what was happening with really no clue as to what was going on. When the decision comes down, there would have to be explanations. Invariably this will piss people off. Even if all you’re doing is praising the virtues off the “winner”, the losers are left being indirectly insulted. They’re not clear on why they didn’t win the piece. Many whispers will be needed to pacify people and, even then, there could be long-term drama and cliques form and start making up stories as to why Raider1 is getting all the loot and Raider2 is getting nothing.

    These arguments and dramas are completely independent of the fairness of the loot council. The council could make the right decision 100% of the time and there will always be people who are angry. That’s because the decisions are qualitative and not quantitative. Even if there’s no bias, there’s no way to PROVE there’s no bias. With a quantitative loot system, everyone knows where they stand. It’s impartial. You can’t argue with the numbers.

    Loot Council is based around a utopia whereby everyone in the guild is perfectly selfless and trusts the guild leadership completely. Some guilds like to fool themselves into thinking their guild works like this. It doesn’t. After going through the same instance for the 20th time, the only thing you really care about is that one piece of loot and maybe companionship. But if you deny a person that one piece of loot based on a seemingly arbitrary decision, you’ll quickly find out how tight the bonds of the group are.

    Zero-sum DKP has a few flaws but you can avoid most of those with a few extra rules. Rules are what keeps order and lets everyone know where they stand. Without rules, there’s chaos.

    • Mekias: I’m sorry you feel that way about loot council. Although you are right and I agree that it’s based around the concept where everyone in the guild is selfless and trusts the guild leadership completely. You couldn’t be anymore correct in the description I have here. I’ve made it known right from the start when I formed the organization how it would be run and how loot would be distributed. I’m determined to see it work and thus far, it has. As Kat noted above, she risked dollars and time to take a leap of faith not knowing what she’d get herself into.

      Loot council can cause drama if people allow it to cause drama. Sharding upgrades that people can use can also cause drama. There are certain types of drama I’d rather face and sharding upgrades is not one of them. The great thing about people is that if they DO get angry, I know who becomes expendable and who I can replace because they don’t believe in the system that I run. This guild hinges on the system. If they can’t work with it, if they can’t place their faith in it, then I’ll find other people who can and I won’t have that difficulty.

      Every week, I check in with a few players and talk to them about their gear. What still needs an improvement and what they can hold off on. I take their feedback on their own gear into account.

      My guild isn’t always about being fair. And my guys know that. They signed on knowing that it would not be fair. I never once stated anywhere in my charter that loot would be fair. But what’s unique is that loot will be effective and wasted loot will be minimized.

  13. Passerby101 says:

    Unfortunately I recently saw a scenario where a veteran guild Boomkin DKP-bid on an item that could’ve benefit a newly feral-to-resto druid more, and got the item as a minor upgrade.

    No system is perfect, but if members insist on rewarding themselves on minor upgrades instead of helping other guild members, it will be a much difficult time to progress as a team.

    So yeah, in that case, I wished Loot-Council had been used…

  14. <3 kata
    /wave

    Great article btw:)

    -xon

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