An Ex-Gnome Tank's World

Phat Purplez, or why your loot system sucks, #1: Basic Systems

August 15th, 2008 Posted in General

Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the other forms that have been tried.

- Winston Churchill,1947

Many (most?) raiding guilds use a loot distribution system of some sort. The vast majority of them, I’m afraid to say, have picked the wrong one. Which is to say that the system they have picked is fundamentally flawed. Unfortunately there is no good way of distributing loot that can even come close to pleasing all of the people all of the time. I was planning to discuss them in this post, but it turns out that would take forever, so I’m going to break it down into a few posts.

Of course the simplest loot system of all is the straight roll. It is also by a country mile the most unfair. There is nothing preventing anyone who can use an item rolling on it, or for one person, through a lucky streak, to walk away with everything, leaving everyone else unhappy.

Slightly better, but not by a great deal, is a loot council or loot master system. It ensures that the equipment gained is shared out eually between all the eligible members of the raid. At first glance this sounds great, but as in all walks of life, the humans on the loot council are fallible. No matter how they try to eliminate bias, it will creep in (and even if it doesn’t, raid members are likely to perceive a bias even when one doesn’t exist). Loot councils work well for a group of people who always work together and there are no more or less than the number of available raid slots available. That doesn’t sound like very many WoW guilds or raid alliances to me. In addition, there’s no way of accurately gauging how much effort a person puts into raiding – that priest who’s always late doesn’t suffer any penalty for wasting other peoples’ time. No, the loot council works as well as communism – a great idea in theory, but one that becomes ultimately corrupt.

From the Loot Council, one can move into the Suicide Kings system. Again, the increase in administrative overhead is minimal. There is a single list of who in the guild raids, and the order of that list dictates who gets the loot – if you take a piece of loot, you move to the end of the queue. Nice idea in theory, but it is open to abuse both in the raid leader’s choice of who raids and the ability for any member of the raid to take a piece that would be a huge upgrade for someone else out of spite. And yes, there will be people that do that, or people who can’t let an upgrade go even if it’s of much bigger benefit to someone else. Again, though, there’s no penalty fot those who cause problems through being late, not turning up, etc, etc.

Those are the most basic loot systems, which will of course serve many people well. I hope I’ve illustrated why these systems fall down as well as their advantages. Next time I’ll talk about some systems which aim to address some of these troubles, and, hopefully, illustrate why they also suck.

  1. 4 Responses to “Phat Purplez, or why your loot system sucks, #1: Basic Systems”

  2. By Tankette on Aug 18, 2008

    We are using rolls with priority given to guild ranks. Guild ranks are determined by how often you raid. After a couple months, the complaining has been much less and the simplicity means no extra administration

  3. By Namthe on Aug 18, 2008

    It amazes me that anyone can get by with such a system as you describe – from my point of view the extra ranks are adding even /more/ unfairness!

    If I remember your guild used to use EPGP, but without implementing the decay. I’ll get into why that’s a bad idea later.

  4. By Tankette on Aug 20, 2008

    For the most part, the raids are comprised of 22 or so people of the same rank with 3 or so of lesser rank.

    The biggest thing is we have a guild of happy and selfless people. We haven’t had a dispute over loot at all since we wen’t to rolls.

    You are right on our previous system, we used EPGP without decay. It had obvious flaws and the biggest was administering the points.

  5. By Namthe on Aug 21, 2008

    Ah, in which case you work around one of the biggest flaws in your system by not having anyone left behind :)

    I’m not sure I see the “administering the points” problem with EPGP, given there’s a really nice addon to handle it for you, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Post a Comment