On Loot Systems

One thing that I introduced into my current guild that is working quite well is the EP/GP loot system

In short, EP/GP measures the effort you put out and the gear you get.   Divide EP by GP and you get a number (PR) which ranks members in order of loot priority.   The person with the highest priority wins the item (which increases their GP by a value calcuated from the item’s level and slot, which in turn decreases your priority).

EP/GP is easier to manage than DKP systems, and quicker to distribute loot (because the items have fixed values, there’s no bidding, just a statement of interest).  It also addresses some of the issues with typical DKP systems, like point hoarding (the system decays both your EP and GP by a fixed percentage each week).  You can also do some neat things like offering offspec items for a percentage of their standard value (which is great for preventing needless sharding of items).

Having used /roll, Suicide Kings, Zero-Sum DKP, standard DKP with open bidding and standard DKP with fixed prices, this system is the best balance between properly rewarding member effort while not being a complete pain-in-the-ass to manage.  Everything is managed using an in-game addon, and while it has a few rough edges, it’s pretty solid as these things go.   The author is quite responsive to bugs – I’ve helped him work out a couple and he spend most of January 1st sending me patches back and forth by email to test because he couldn’t replicate the exact problem I was having.

Like any merit-based loot system, EP/GP requires that the rules of the system never be violated.  Here’s an example of why:

The guild I was first in in the EU was meant to start raiding Naxx-10 in the start of January.  I was back in North America over Christmas.  Unfortunately, the guild got antsy and started Naxx a couple of days after I flew out.   Because the runs were with a few members of another guild, they didn’t use EP/GP to distribute loot – just straight /roll.  But for some reason, they awarded the guild members EP for the runs.  Because it was their first two runs, nearly everyone got major upgrades, but none more so than the OT (I was the MT), who was equipped in mostly level 80 blues with a smattering of epics from heroics.  He picked up five pieces of Naxx-10 gear but his GP didn’t go up at all.  His recorded effort went way up but his recorded gear didn’t move.  As a result, his PR (along with anyone else who was in on those runs) went way up.

Fast-forward a few weeks when I return.  My EP is pretty low because we had only done a few OS-10 runs before I left.  My GP is also low, so my PR is below the OT.  For every single drop that was of use to both of us, he had priority.  Some he took, some he passed to me and some he already had.  But he’s still at the top of the priority list because he has taken so few pieces of gear that caused his GP to go up while his EP continued to climb.

Some people may look at this and say “what’s the problem?  He’s got gear, you’re getting gear, so all’s well.”  The problem I have is that there are still pieces in Naxx-10 that we both want (the chest off of Sapphiron for example).  When it drops, he will have priority.  Because he’s related to an officer, he’ll probably be told to pass to me (in whispers).  But in /raid, he’ll say “pass to _blank_”.  And it looks like I’m getting charity drops.

My ideal loot system allows people to get what they want when they’re eligible to get it (albeit at the cost of gearing up people as soon as possible).  While I appreciate people passing loot for strategic reasons, it’s something that I would rather see as the exception rather than the rule.  Because they buggered up the EP/GP standings while I was away, the priority standings have been corrupted, and will remain that way for weeks if not months.  Even if both of us end up looting all the same items from Naxx over the course of two months (which should leave us with nearly identical PR), he will always be ahead of me and every first drop that goes to me will be because he is passing on something that he needs and is eligible for.  It would be bad enough if he was doing this of his own accord, but the fact that he’s doing it on orders from a relative makes it even worse.

This isn’t really the fault of the EP/GP system.  It wasn’t meant to be applied halfway like this.  That it was is a sign of how the guild master doesn’t consider the long-term consequences of decisions he makes.  But as I said, that’s a topic for another post.

For Cold Comfort, we’ll use EP/GP consistently.  There will be no restrictions on what you can declare interest on.  Plate healers declaring on cloth?  Fine.  If it’s an upgrade and they have priority (and are willing to accept the drop in PR that taking the item will mean), good for them.  If a pattern emerges that someone is trying to game the system for personal benefit (to expand on the last example – taking healing cloth from another healer who can use it, then declaring on healing plate that only they can use two bosses later) then that is something to be dealt with outside of the raid.  I don’t want to see loot drama in the raid, but loot asshats will be punished.  Members should make intelligent loot decisions with the knowledge that malicious looting will result in a swift boot out the door.

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