Friday, February 4, 2011

Raid Building 101: FER THA SWEET LEWT!


Raid Building 101 is a weekly article detailing the finer (and sometimes the not so finer) points of building and leading a successful raid group. Be it a world first or super casual, Raid Building 101 has something for you.

So you’ve made your raid, step into the door of Bastion of Twilight, and the question pops up. How are we going to handle the loot? BoE Items are known to drop often in here so you may be dealing with loot rules before you even kill a boss. Crap, did you forget to make a loot policy before you started your raid? No worries. I’ll go over most of what I know about loot systems as there are scores of hybrids everywhere. You may have a slightly different loot policy in your guild.

What do you do with your loot? More after the jump.

There are many ways to handle loot, BoP and BoE, I’ll go over all the ones I know of one by one. Most likely if you are in an established guild they already have a set loot policy. In that event you should always defer to the guild elected method of dividing loot. However if you are putting together a new raid in a new guild, below are several proven methods to keeping it fair.

DKP
DKP is basically points for raiding and points for downing bosses (in some guilds). A set number of points are given to anyone who raids, and sometimes anyone who is present at a boss kill. When loot is put up for auction people can bid any number of their DKP points for the loot. The highest bidder gets the loot.

Pros
  • Rewards players who show up to raid.
  • Rewards long standing raiders over new raiders.
  • Someone can save just for the one piece of loot they really want.
  • As long as the way points are gained are public there usually is not any fighting over loot.
Cons
  • New raiders will feel like they can never get loot.
  • Loot drops a lot more now so this may be very outdated.
  • Requires a lot of upkeep from the Guild Officers.
  • Can confuse some people.
'Ore"rly?
GKP
GKP is the PuG version of DKP. Some smaller guilds that pug in other people do this as well for the loot. I have a good friend in game that joins GKP runs on his alts a lot to gear them up as he has no problems making a lot of money in the game. GKP uses gold instead of points for bidding. The way this works is simple, when loot drops people bid money for it. They pay the Raid leader for the item and they continue the raid. At the end of the raid the money made during the run is split between all raiders. This is a good way to get skilled players to run with you – if gear drops are not a motivator, the gold reward is. As long as the Raid Leader is trustworthy there is no problem in doing these types of runs.

Pros
  • Make money even if you get no loot.
  • You can gear yourself is you have the cash.
  • Everyone is rewarded at the end for bosses killed.

Cons
  • If no one has a lot of money people don’t really get much at the end.
  • Because of a PuG nature people can bail early.
  • Raid Leader could bail with all the cash.
  • PuGs can be rude sometimes.
  • Teamspeak or Ventrillo public servers are needed for the raid.

Not all gold farmers are hunters.....
Loot Council
Loot council is pretty simple in theory, but difficult in practice. This works the best in a 10 man raid, but can work in a 25 man. When loot drops the Raid Leader will post the piece and everyone who wants it does a /roll. The Raid Leader and any other officers will then examine each person and figure out which person should get the loot. The issue is that depending on how the loot council works better raiders can be given preference even with better gear already than other people in the raid. Favoritism can run rampant in this style of looting unless people know each other and everyone in the raid agrees on who gets what loot.

Pros
  • Loot can be given priority to the ones that need it the most.
  • Best players can get geared faster to keep the raid going.
  • If done by upgrade people can feel that it is a fair way to do things.

Cons
  • Favoritism can turn many raiders away.
  • People can feel slighted if they think it’s a better upgrade for them.
  • There is no “chance” or a way for people to earn the loot other than hoping.
  • Puts a lot of stress on the Raid Leader to loot fair and keep track of who gets what.
  • Sometimes can be very slow to distribute loot.

Need/Greed
Need/Greed is a very simple process used sometimes in smaller guilds, but is very dangerous so most people do not use this in PuGs. Just leave the looting as group loot and people roll need for main spec and greed for offspec. Whoever wins gets the loot. Quick and Simple right?

Pros
  • Don’t have to worry about being loot master.
  • All raiders have a chance to win the loot.
  • Favoritism is impossible.
  • Looting is fairly quick.
Cons
  • Anyone can need/greed then trade the item behind the raid leaders back.
  • There is no preference to long-standing raiders.
  • Can start fights if people need on most things that drop.

Rank Looting
Rank looting is looting based on rank in the guild. A guild will usually have a set structure on how to gain ranks and the higher the rank you are the more loot you can roll on. An example would be three ranks for raiders. Best, Better, Good. Those in the Best rank would get to /roll on any loot first, then if no one needs it the Better group would get to /roll on the loot, if no one needs it the Good rank would get to /roll on the loot. Raiders may be demoted for not raiding for certain periods of time or for being a bad raider and not improving.

Pros
  • Rewards players who raid with the guild a lot by giving them a chance to roll on loot first.
  • If the ranking system is fair, loot does trickle down into the lower ranks fairly quickly.
  • Players have a reason to show up to raid even at the lowest rank to try to get to a higher rank.
  • Decently fair system as long as promotions are handled the same for everyone.
  • Allows alts that are helping the raid the chance at loot.

Cons
  • Players who have been in the guild the longest aren’t necessarily good raiders.
  • One newly promoted raider could /roll on everything that drops causing bitterness.
  • Raiders who switch guilds and are great players may feel they will never get loot and guild hop again. (Not always a bad thing)
  • The higher ranks can get crowded towards the end of an expansion with really nothing left to distinguish hard workers over others.

You're gonna need this guy.....
Ni Karma
Ni Karma is another loot system that is a zero sum (meaning points leave at the rate they enter the system) adaption of DKP. It was originally developed as an answer to DKP and those the issues people had with it. This system combines a point system (like DKP) with a roll system (like Need / Greed). Players can earn karma by attending raids, killing bosses, and for special bonuses (raid leaders discretion). When an item drops, a player can choose to add their karma as a bonus to a /roll. The highest roll + banked karma wins the item and the winner will lose half of that banked karma. There is an option to roll on an item without a karma bonus, but that is only if no other players are willing to spend karma for the roll as well. This is helpful for obtaining offspec gear. More can be found on Ni Karma here.

Pros
  • If the rules are followed, this loot system is brutally fair.
  • Newer raiders are not always punished by not having points.
  • Little to no inflation.
  • Still an element of luck with /roll.

Cons
  • Complex and complicated system with many variables and rules.
  • Requires loot masters to carefully maintain the database outside of the raid.
  • Requires an addon or Stephen Hawkings to execute the system during the raid.

Suicide Kings
SK is a loot system that is widely used in PUGS. The actual system itself doesn’t directly encourage desirable performance, but it does remove any type of favoritism during distribution. If your guild has other motivators (ie getting a raid slot, not getting gkicked) this system can be fast and easy for your master looters. The basic idea is to make an ordered list of all the people in the raid, in a random order. When loot drops the person highest on the list who wants the item wins. When that occurs they move to the bottom of the list and the raid continues. You can read more on Suicide Kings here.

Pros
  • Fast, easy, efficient for master looters.
  • No inflation at all.
  • Allows even causal players to obtain gear without a penalty.
  • Encourages people to pass on minor upgrades.
Cons
  • Not a motivating tool for good behavior.
  • Does not favor those who dedicate more time and resources to the guild / raid.
  • Players cannot save long term for a desired item.
Go go hybrid....car? er lewt?
Creating a Hybrid
Many older guilds use a hybrid of a lot of these looting types. I will explain what we do in Malice on Haomarush for an example. Malice combines a few things.

First we have established Rank Looting;
  • Veteran raider
    • We have a set way to get this rank
  • Regular Raider
    • First time you show up to a raid you are a regular raider

Just having two ranks makes the Veteran rank fill up rather quickly. This is on purpose as we are a large casual guild and want to make sure everyone who joins has a chance for loot. This can and does sometimes make some of our older players a little sad when they lose out a roll to a brand new veteran raider, but they get over it soon enough. There is a saying, “Malice, where Haomarush comes to get gear.” We also have specialized ranks that are called Main Tank and Main Healer.

  • Main Tank
    • Shows up to almost every raid, knows his stuff, and is a proven tank.
    • You can expect this rank to be given to a tank that is a pillar of your raids.
    • Knows all the fights and can explain it to everyone, helps out the off tank with any issues.
  • Main Healer
    • Shows up to almost every raid, knows his stuff, and is a proven healer.
    • Same as above and is considered an ace in the hole to have this healer present in the raid.
    • Coordinates other healers and is a leader throughout.

These two ranks are given one special roll a raid lockout. This roll just means they are able to take one piece of loot without anyone else getting to roll on it. For the Tanks this doesn’t really matter much, but for the Healers sometimes those trinkets and rings are hard to come by. There is importance placed on having a well geared tank and healer in every raid to make sure the guild can keep up with the content. We do not always use the Main Tank and Main Healer ranks in 10 man raids, but we always do in 25 man raids and there can be more than one of each.

We also establish between Main spec/Off spec. This is a basic component to keeping it fair, roll if it is your main spec and go through all the ranks. If no one wants it offer it up for off specs to roll on it. The only exception would be if we ask someone to switch to their offspec for the entire raid, then in the aspect of fairness we’ll allow them to roll MS on OFFspec drops. This can also help a person who is an overall great player discover (and gear up) that perhaps they enjoy healing or tanking (or in rare cases DPSing).

We make a special case for Bind on Equip items. We only roll main spec (alts included) and if no one needs it we deposit it into the guild bank for anyone who may need it for the main spec. The BoE item must be equipped on the spot, we do it to everyone including Main Tanks and Healers, Guild Officers, and new Raiders alike.

When we have multiple people roll on a piece of gear the winner may opt to pass it to the next person in line if the upgrade is better for them. We don’t pressure people to do it, but most people in my raid know that the stronger each person gets the easier bosses become. I see a lot of people passing after they win a roll to the next person who it may be a huge upgrade for.

The Final Hybrid
After the dust clears, a seemingly complex loot system becomes fairly simple and linear. Here is the /roll priority for this hybrid;

For BoP gear = MT MH > VET > REG > ALT > OFF

For BoE gear = MT MH > VET > REG > ALT > GBANK

Make it Your Own
Feel free to think through what might work for your own guild. Just remember that every looting style has its own pros and cons and that it may take a good mixture of them all to find something that suits your guild. Perhaps you do Rank looting with Loot council, or DKP with Ranks, or maybe a free for all style.



Images from this post are from a hilarious (seriously) wow based comic.

Gordrin is the current raid leader of Guild Malice "Early Raid". He also plays Hello Kitty Island Adventure at a competitive level. He can be reached at Gordrin@ferociousinspiration.net

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