Friday, May 20, 2011

Loot Systems

I've been working on a post explaining what it's like to be a raid leader in a mega guild (we have between 500-600 characters in the guild and 5-7 active raid teams at any point in time). This post started as a tangent off of that post, but it finished itself first. To understand why the raid team is structured the way we are, though, means that you need to know the guild size/structure.

Our First Loot System
Each team is allowed to use their own loot rules. When I was deciding between loot systems, I first listed what I wanted (and needed) out of a loot system.
  •  Manageable in a multi-team guild environment.  While EPGP is actually pretty simple when the addon does all of the tracking/math for you, any addon that relied on storing data in the ingame officer notes wouldn't work in this situation.  Those addons do not seem to be made for guilds with more than one team.  Imagine what would happen if 2 teams used the same system/addon, and someone from the guild subbed into both teams.  The addon (at least any of the ones I could find) can't tell the difference between Team Star and Team Moon.
  • Simple to manage.  Since I couldn't find any addons that would work, I'd have to be able to figure out the loot by hand.  I didn't want to spend 10 minutes giving out loot, so an involved spreadsheet wouldn't work.
  • Loot prioritized to regular team members. I wanted to make sure that loot that dropped would benefit the raid team to help increase progression. This is pretty straightforward, and most organized loot systems do this (by awarding points for attendance, boss kills, or whatever).
  • Not Loot Council. I know it works for some folks, but it seems like too much of a headache to me.
The system that I eventually came up with is a basic random system with Home Team Advantage.

Home Team Advantage gives the regular team members priority over subs.  I use a 75% attendance rate for obtaining HTA - if a sub reaches that level then he's not really a SUB anymore (and I did actually have a tank sub in for us long enough that he simply joined us formally).

As far as tracking goes, I keep an attendance roster.  I note on there when BoE's drop so I know which list of folks to send the money to later, after it is sold.  But the basic attendance roster is the only record keeping I need.

The way it works is that A is a member of the team and B is a sub.  If something drops that they both want, they both roll.  If B wins the roll, the lootmaster announces that A has home team advantage and is awarded loot.  In 2 months of raiding, this happened once (either because the raider actually won the roll and so was awarded the loot anyway, or because it's a 10 man raid and there's not much overlap).

The Drama
The first time it happened it became a big problem and drama spilled out into /g (not when it happened, but later when I was looking for a sub for the following raid week). 

I was accused of not being clear enough with the sub (a holy pally; and I believed that when I explained HTA and further explained "regular members have priority on loot, but any int plate will be yours" that I was clear enough... but I guess not).  The super ridiculous part was that the pally received 2 pieces of loot and a BoE dropped, for which he received just over 1k g in the mail the next day.  I guess that wasn't enough?

I really believe that the drama was caused because we had to say "You can't have this".  Other loot systems do that, but not in such a direct fashion (in either DKP or EPGP, subs don't have enough points to actually win anything that a regular raider wants).

Why Prioritize Regular Raiders?
I did actually have people (including the guild leader!) who told me that the first system was unfair. I honestly do not understand that position, so I'll explain the reasoning behind favoring the regular team members.

First, loot in Warcraft has two purposes. 
  1. Increases character power.  When you gain more of your primary stat or better allocation of secondary stats so that when you play exactly the same, you'll be better at your job (more dps, heals, threat/survivability).
  2. Reward for completing a challenge. You did something special (whether that's Sinestra or Magmaw) loot is the reward for killing a big baddy.
It is important to me that the characters that are regularly in the raid (whether they are subs or alts of a regular raider who switched to cover an absence) gain power (to make progression easier), and I don't care what the power of random members in my guild is.

Now, in a small guild, a casual rank player or alt has a pretty good chance of being in your raid another night, so you could still gain from their power increase.  In a guild the size of mine?  It seems like all of the raiders (1 25m team, 1 10 that's expanding to 25, and 4 10m teams) have an alt or two that can fill in if we need help.  I can easily give a couple of pieces to someone and then not have them in my raid again until the next content patch.  If that loot was useful to someone in my team, I'd like it to go to my team (and be useful the next week) rather than a random guild member where it will never benefit my team (of course if it's not useful I'm glad that we have a sub who can use it - if they're subbing in my raid, often they sub in another raid or two as well, so is generally useful to SOME team).

How Can You Get Subs Like That?
The other question that I've been asked is why would anyone want to sub in my group with rules like this? 

Most folks that have subbed in with us (including one guy who I forgot to explain the HTA to until after the loot dropped! *facepalm*) reason that they are on their alts (since their mains are saved to whatever raid team that they are in), and since the alt isn't played very often, they don't need loot as much as someone who raids weekly.  They only need enough loot to be able to function as a sub occasionally.

Other reasons to sub when a team uses HTA or similar systems...
  • Often 10 man teams don't have loot overlap so specialty items (like int plate) can go to the sub anyway.  They aren't a benefit to the raid.
  • Often 10 man teams (with any history anyway) have seen that item (or similar) before, and no one needs it as an upgrade.  Those items can go to the sub.
  • The only way to get VP capped is to raid. 
  • Some folks (my husband) just like to raid more than any other part of the game; getting to raid more (with or without loot) is awesome.
  • Some raid teams (like ours) are a lot of fun to laugh/joke/chat with, so why NOT be a part of that for an evening?
Looking for a New System
Still, I'm considering switching to a new system to prioritize regular raiders, but which wouldn't require me to say "You can't have that".  Again, it would have to work in a multi-team guild environment and not require a hugely complicated spreadsheet. 

I'm thinking of having the regular raiders roll 101-200 (and subs the basic /roll 100) so that it's clear what is going on. 

Another option would be a Suicide Kings variant where people could roll, and if they lost and wanted something anyway, they could Suicide (I need another name for this!) ahead of anyone lower in the list (and then be moved to the bottom of the list).  If subs were added to the bottom at the beginning of each raid night, then that would allow a regular member priority over a sub once.

I'm not sure.  I'm still thinking about it and talking with various raid members when they're online.


  1. Interesting idea with the subs.

    I had an idea where people get rolls with a slight bonus to their roll using the build in system.

    Regulars get a +10
    Subs get a +5
    Pugs get a standard roll.

    This seems to work fair enough and people don't seem to complain about such a small difference.

    The regulars feel they are getting some help on winning a role.
    The subs feel like at least they are still getting help against a pug.
    A pug, well, it is a pug, they are usually just happy to come along and get the experience and still have a chance to win anything.

    I think the 200 option you mentioned might still come with issues as it really is giving people double the chance to win which some might have issues with.

    Perhaps you can adapt my idea a little to serve your purposes. As my guild is growing, starting 2 new 10s and a 25 soon, I am contently on the look out for new ideas myself.

    Good luck finding what works for you.

  2. I don't see why you say /roll 101-200 would give you twice the chance to win. It's just the same as adding +100 to the rolls of the members.

    I suspect, given how common multiple raid teams in a single guild is becoming, that eventually the addon writers will adapt to that environment.