And finally it comes down to it. Epics. why do we raid? Epics. Why do we grind? Epics. What causes the MOST drama in WoW? Epics. (To be fair, Legendary counts here too, but there are so few and they are so hard to get, most of us are in it for the Purple, not Orange.)
Purples, lovely purple colored names that shout our awesomeness to the world. Lovely gear that is usually better looking than the average hodgepodge of blues and greens that make you look like rainbow barf. The look, the stats, the item level, these are the reasons we love purples.
Loot distribution is a variable thing. it is different depending on if you are in a PUG, 5 man all the way up to 25 man and changes depending on the “status” of a raid and the make-up.
1. People you don’t know.
If you have PUGed anyone not in the guild and or “normal” run group you have to do several things right up front. First off, make sure the loot rules are clear. Second make sure they still have a chance of loot, or else they are going to leave.
Good Compromise: In 5 mans I generally set the “loot rules” to: A. Roll Need if you are going to put it on now and/or as soon as you gem/enchant it (main spec). B. Roll Greed for Off Spec and “flavor” stuff, but err to people who are going to use it. I may want said polearm to level my polearm skill with a good weapon instead of a sucky one, but I shouldn’t take it away from someone who will use it as their main weapon for a DPS spec. C. No one is gonna need anything. With ToC this is more and more true. Here we just roll greed on everything. You can sell it, or if there is an enchanter you can hand it to them if they agree to disenchant it for you.
25 mans are a bit different. If you get a good 25 man pug rolling, first you are awesome, congrats, but it can also be a loot headache. A. Need for On Spec. B. Greed for Off Spec. (When considering dual specs you lean towards their “standard” main spec. So if someone is usually a Shadow Priest, they should Need dps gear not healing, regardless of what they are doing for your raid.) C. BoE items – Everyone Greeds. D. If you get an item, your name goes on the RL’s List. You can’t roll again until everyone else in your “armor class” set gets something. This requires a Keeper of the List who can quickly identify the 4 roles (Tank, Heal, Ranged DPS, Melee DPS) and how they apply to the various armor classes (Plate, Mail, Leather, Cloth, All). They group everyone together and then keep track. This also means raiders will wait to roll on a good upgrade over small ones. E. Tier Tokens are exempt. Everyone rolls on a tier token if they can use it. F. If it isn’t claimed (wtf? how did this happen) it gets dis-enchanted and the shard is /rolled for, just like BoE items.
2. Guild Runs:
5 mans – Loot Council and Roll Offs. Aren’t we glad we can trade? Fortunately we can hand off gear easily now. 5 mans are usually either only one player can use it, or very easy to loot council. Loot Council is the act of deciding who can use something more, or one person expressing a great need and everyone else passing. The only trick is, as a guild run, you really should consider passing all de items to the enchanter and then letting them keep any dream shards. Roll for Abyssal, but they use the dream to buy new enchants, unless your enchanter has them all.
25 Mans… And now everything changes.
First off, when something isn’t taken it should be dis enchanted and the mats sold by a trustworthy guild officer to fund guild progression repairs.
What is the reason behind the majority of your guild’s desire to raid? Progression or Purples? If it is progression then you will likely find a mix of DKP and Loot Council to your liking. DKP allows for players to get the specific items they want. This may fill an immediate need or complete a set. If using a zero sum system it also ensures that the only way someone can get exceptionally ahead of other guild members is to not get anything and raid an exceptionally long time. Which logically means they *should* get whatever they want. Loot Council allows a group to decide where the item can do the most good. Gearing the main tank and a spare, gearing the healers, etc first is a form of Loot Council. This can have two drawbacks though. One, there are no backups for these slots that can even hope to fill the void. If the main tank soaks up all the gear then there are no replacements for when real life gets in the way. Two, the people who get this attention tend to burn out faster. They have to be present for a raid to happen. They get all their gear quickly so they lose interest in the raid quicker. If your guild is just farming content, then go with rolls or DKP. This assures the widest distribution of purples among your raiders.
DKP is a numerical way of tracking who should get the next item. DKP systems are wide an varied. A good system should follow these rules:
1. Easy to understand. If a person looking at your guild wants to know how long they are going to be waiting on gear it is good to tell them up front. This prevent disappointment later.
2. Obvious. When the spiffy sword of uber-awesomeness drops, everyone should be able to tell, without having the loot master explain, who is going to get the item.
3. No one gets too far ahead. No way to “bank” points. There are two things that cause someone to get ahead in DKP. One, they raid every single raid and then some. These people manage to get into pug raids and just badges to get what they need. By the time the guild is getting it, they already have it. To be fair though, these people are working twice as hard and putting into the raid without taking anything away, so they should have a ton of DKP. Two, Horders. These are the players you have to watch out for. They won’t bid on items they clearly need to save dkp for bis items. How to combat them? Well it depends on your guild personality. A view I have seen taken was the GM taking the person aside and explaining that if they didn’t start upgrading their gear they wouldn’t we welcomed back to a raid. Letting an item get sharded because you want one specific uber item and then getting all your other upgrades while everyone else is just passing because they don’t need it is just underhanded.
4. Timers. There needs to be a time limit on the DKP earned. Use it or lose it. 6 months seems to be a wide range for this. After 6 months purchases no longer count against you and earned points are removed.
5. Need is free. Hybrid classes make your raid flexible. Dual Specs do even further. But building three sets of gear instead of just one? Yeah it sucks. By allowing players to need on things for offspec they can gear with items that would otherwise get sharded. Off and Dual Specs. There isn’t a great solution but one is to have your raiders register a main and off spec. They can change this setup with permission of the raid leader. This way they have to bid on certain items and can need on others.
6. Character specific *not* account specific. Why? Should the Raid Leader be able to build 2 months worth of DKP then bring his alt with greens and blues to a raid and get the uber-sword? That’s why DKP needs to be limited to toons not accounts. Also it means if you need an alt toon (switching a dps for heals for example) it doesn’t gimp the main toon to gear the alt.
What happens when something goes from Progression to Farm?
1. It depends on the make up of the raid. If more than 50% of purples are still going on players main spec and not to off spec or shard, it is still progression for that group, even if it is easy.
2. Once it is farm, let people still spend DKP if they want. Ever wanted something with a low drop rate? You know what I am talking about here. Even on farm these are contested items. Let people spend their DKP if they wish.
3. Alts begin to come out of the woodwork. Ever been on a farm raid that wipes due to low dps? Your alt percentage is too high. Run some ToC or 10s real quick on an off night to help with this, but ensure enough high level players are willing to assist to help with this.
It needs to be fun for everyone. It needs to be fair, or at least quantifiable for everyone.
More drama happens from loot than any other. It is going to happen and not always be fair or friendly. Remember those bosses will drop that loot again.
Is it worth it to lose your guild and friends over a piece of gear you are likely to see again? Worth it to eventually not want to play WoW because of the loss of the people who make this game fun?
Don’t be a douchebag.