An Ex-Gnome Tank's World

Phat Purples, #2: Basic DKP Systems

August 18th, 2008 Posted in General

So in the first part of this series, I examined the loot systems that have the lower administrative overheads, and I hope I illustrated that they have some serious drawbacks, though for some cases they will work more than amply.

In order to address some of the concerns, we can assign a currency for raiding – DKP, short for Dragon Kill Points. In its simplest form, DKP allocates a certain number of points to each player in a raid – not just each time a boss is killed, but perhaps also for turning up on time, for being around as a reserve in case a raider doesn’t turn up. We can deduct points if someone doesn’t turn up after they have said they will. It all sounds like a good idea so far.

However, we need to then decide how points are to be spent. The simplest way of doing this is to require a raider to spend all their points in order to obtain an item. However, like the Suicide Kings system we’ve seen before, this means that people with fewer points effectively pay less for items, and all items are valued the same, regardless of their usefulness, for example a situational use Shaman totem is valued exactly the same as a tier breastplate. We can improve a little by only docking half a raider’s points, but the issue of relative cost still remains, as does the issue that the cost is much greater for someone with lots of points than for someone with few.

In order to correct this issue, we can define each item as being worth a fixed amount of points. Simpler systems address this by having every issue cost the same – again, a problem when different items have different costs – or, slightly more complex, each item cost a different amount. This helps a little.

However – the person with the most points might value the item less than someone lower down. If costs are fixed, he’s always guaranteed to get the item. We can introduce a system where the costs are not fixed – each person states the amount of points they’re willing to spend on the item, and it’s auctioned to the first bidder. However, there’s a problem here. Unless a sealed bid system is used, someone with lots of DKP can force an increase in the bid from someone who they know really wants the item, thus effectively wiping out competition for some other desirable item which might drop later.

The other issue is one of stockpiling Рthere is no motivation to spend your points on gear, and therefore some people may gain an insurmountable lead on the DKP simply by never spending any. By doing this their greed is working against the raid Рby the time the raid is in Tier 6 content (for example) our theoretical stockpiler will have more points than anyone else and can suddenly and immediately lay claim to all the loot, simply through purchasing power.

So basic DKP, which is in use here, sucks. It contains no mechanism to prevent greed, and emphasises the individual over the team. Next time I’ll discuss how some loot systems avoid this state.

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