Hello to Guild Leaders, Guild Members, Economists, Philosophers, but most importantly those who simply want a solid DKP system in your guild...
This thread is meant to shine some light about the trickiness that lie within loot distribution systems - specifically, end game raid loot distribution.
Choosing the path your guild is going to take in terms of distributing loot in end game raids is one of the big decisions your guild will make. Raiding is about progression, and a DKP system is put in place to help that progression along. However, different DKP systems do certain things better or worse than other systems.
Loot Systems end up thus that most everyone will be happy enough with the initial DKP system put into place - the problems are often the details which won't reveal themselves until later on (the devil's in the details). This post is meant to enlighten on just what can happen long-term with certain DKP systems. Inflation. Disenchanting upgrades. Items going to the "wrong" people. All sorts of "unfairness". Not all DKP systems can stand the test of time, eventually, and eventually a "bad" DKP system could be the thing that kills a guild or be necessary to be changed down the line which is certainly a tricky transition. There have been some people who have grown so tired of all DKP systems that they completely shun the idea. This is why rule #1 is definitely the top priority:
- The Guild Loot System should be to be something that everyone is happy with - or at least, happy enough with to avoid drama.
However, hopefully, these people can see that implemented well, a Guild Loot System will not only avoid drama, but also aid raid progression and be acceptable and "fair".
Why'd I put "fair" in quotation marks? Well...there's no such thing as a perfect Guild Loot Distribution System, there are certainly a lot of philosophical questions behind fairness, but I will attempt to remain objective and highlight the pros and cons of each and will continue to by taking your feedback. Ultimately though, one must remember when considering any system that anything could be said to be "fair" as long as the entire guild's behind it - whether that fairness is /random 100, some kind of merit system under which one person dictates where the loot goes, or is a standard DKP system. Or anything in between!
I will keep this thread updated as more feedback and criticism occurs on current guild loot systems, or new guild loot systems rise in popularity. Feel free to post your constructive posts about these current systems, or perhaps your own tweaked systems.
Thanks and enjoy, I hope you'll find it informative.
Goals of a DKP System Edit
What exactly should a DKP system strive to do? Edit
- The Guild Loot System should be to be something that everyone is happy with - or at least, happy enough with to avoid drama.
- Make sure it rewards participation in guild events / further the guild's goal. (For raiding guilds, this would be raiding. Reward the act of raid participation.)
- Make sure that equipment that is an upgrade for a person should not be disenchanted. When items aren't distributed, the guild misses a chance to strengthen.
- Avoid point inflation. New members should not be locked out from ever getting loot. Old members should not have such a big lead that they get all the loot.
- Make sure items go to those that would benefit most to its use. In a raiding guild, basically aim to assign loot in a way such that the overall strength of the guild strengthens most.
- Have a structured, unambigious system in place such that people can expect consistency in receiving items. The top person (either through top DKP, top attendance, top merit, whatever) will always get the item, there is no gray area, there is no rolling.
- The Guild Loot System should be elegant, clear, and easy to be understood.
Why not /random 100, Need before Greed, etc? Edit
The main purpose of a DKP system should be to convert time/effort into loot for each individual member. If you are like most guilds with varying rates of participation, some system may be needed to "store" this participation and thus divide loot by taking this participation into account.
This is where the problems start to pop up in a non-DKP system. Lets say [Insert good item here] drops. Everyone who wants it simply rolls to see who gets it. What a newbie won the item over somebody who has been with the raid since day 1 looking for that item? That ain't so good. Especially if said newbie then doesn't raid as regularly as Mr. Veteran.
When you run a normal 5 or 10 man or even 20 man instance it is a one time deal and everyone contributes equally so they should have an equal shot of getting the loot that they want. However, 40 man raids are something different entirely. They require weeks or months of time and commitment in order to complete. Every run is directly related to how well you did on your previous run and unless you have the same 40 people zoning in each time each person contributed a different amount to the success of that run.
One can argue that by virtue of core members raiding more often, /random 100 will get them loot more often – and raiders of equal consistency will get relatively equal loot - however, sometimes, it just doesn't. DKP vs Random is a very nice site with solid mathematical models for DKP vs /random 100. And, a newer or more causal player probably should not have the same power as an established core raider. Again, every run is directly related to how well the raid did the previous run. The history of learning raids is what separates the sufficiency of simple /random 100 in a 5-man pick up group in Stratholme.
Finally, if there is some sort of DKP method, members can basically “pick and choose” which equipment they want the most rather than /random 100'ing on certain things that are upgrades but they don't really feel so excited to take. Different people have different play styles, and this style is often represented in what the people spend their DKP on. However, with no cost to simply /random 100'ing, people will random on things that they don't necessarily want as much as the other guy, and the loot won't be in effect distributed to the person who it benefits most.
This is why in the end game, some sort of loot distribution system is recommended to take into account this contribution to progress.
How should you reward guild members with this crazy “DKP” thing?Edit
DKP or Dragon Kill Points, is a point system used in online games to distribute items among groups of players. DKP is a reward to people who participate in events with their guild, most commonly raids, with DKP. They can then use these points to "buy" loot that drops at a future date. This system allows more active members to receive more/better rewards, whereas those who contribute less receive less in turn.
Generically, the methods of earning DKP are by:
Showing up on time Killing bosses Loot dropping Time spent in a raid Staying from start to finish Donating certain items to guild/guild bank
Assigning exact DKP values for each of these activities is tough and is up for individual interpretation.
Now, there are some systems which don't (in my opinion) reward guild members with DKP correctly -- for example, the standard zero-sum DKP system and Suicide Kings -- both don't reward raid participation when no loot drops. This is often when a guild is trying a harder instance with non-farmable bosses. This is such a huge fallacy, one of which if you're using the system will inevitably pop up as members question the philosophy of..."here, we'll reward you for farmable bosses, but not for wiping repeatedly on this hard boss." You might not even get members to show up for the learning days.
A pretty solid DKP Reward system would be to simply give each raider X amount of DKP per hour of raiding. This X should be balanced roughly with the "Total DKP Spent" such that DKP Earned is slightly over DKP Spent so that slight inflation happens -- inflation is good when it's slight. Toss in a small amount of points for on-time (to encourage people to be on-time) and toss in a small amount of points for finish or staying from start to finish (to encourage people to stay).
Alternatively, if all your raid times are the same, say, 4 hours per day and 3 raids per week -- just balance each raid around an X DKP. Say, 10 DKP. If you know your guild's capabilities and have a fairly solid raid schedule, you can then assign intelligent DKP values to each boss kill and still give an equal (if not more) DKP to harder raid days. This way, you can weight certain bosses and certain learning days with more DKP
But the most important thing to do is to make sure that you try to balance the guild's total DKP earned with the guild's total DKP spent. Slight inflation is fine. It doesn't have to be exact. Try to get close, though, because if your inflation is too high new members will not be able to catch up to veterans.
Systems which use DKP as a sort of currency.
Every piece of loot is given a set amount of DKP that it is worth. When an item drops, all those interested whisper the loot master. The person with the highest DKP wins the item and is docked that amount of DKP. This is a tried and true system, and the most standard and basic DKP system out there, thus it will be what I compare other DKP systems to.
The system basically purely rewards participation. Those who participate most are rewarded the most with DKP, which they can use to purchase loot. Very simple, and very legitimate.
The system allows flexibility with rewarding DKP: one can pick and choose which activities are more important for earning DKP.
This system is one of those which truly reward participation the most - at its core, for raiding guilds, people who show up to raids get DKP, and then they can spend DKP for items. It's very simple and elegant. This is basically the most "pure" and simple form of DKP. People who raid more DKP and thus get more stuff and people who raid less DKP and thus get less stuff.
Many who run this system unfortunately run into the long-term problem of inflation of points because it is so easy to just arbitrarily assign the amount of points per raid. Eventually, if inflation is huge, new members may basically become permanent second-class citizens and never be able to catch up to older members who earned too much DKP. Be vigilant and careful to avoid this by intelligently pricing things.
Items must also be priced accurately. Bad pricing (pricing things too high) will cause items to be disenchanted. And, after the initial tier 1 armor which is the easy place to start since it's your "base" price - you must price tier 2 in the future and if they are priced too high people will simply not take them and they will be disenchanted. Similarly, minor upgrades can also be disenchanted if they are priced slightly higher than a similar piece of armor which is slightly worse, simply because it isn't worth paying another full item price to get a minor upgrade. This is a major con of a fixed price system; with no way to lower item prices, upgrades will inevitably be disenchanted as members will try to hold off for bigger ticket items.
Fixed Price ConclusionEdit
It is definitely easier said than done than just saying “price things well.” This is the number one priority in a fixed-price system; if prices are too high they'll get disenchanted and if they're too low everyone will want them which will lead to the long-term problem of inflation. The number two priority in a fixed-price system is dealing with this inflation: if left unchecked, in the long-term veterans will essentially get first choice of all items with new members having little hope of getting any shiny epic first. But if both of these issues are covered, this system is very legitimate and at the core is the ideal of a DKP system: participation leads to shiny items. More participation = more shiny items.
In this system, every piece of loot is assigned a DKP value. This part is similar to a Fixed Price DKP system. What's different though, is the way DKP is distributed in a zero-sum system. When this piece of loot drops, its value is divided by the number of people in the raid, and everyone receives that amount of points. Like the Fixed-Price DKP system, when an item drops, all those interested whisper the loot master. The person with the highest DKP wins the item and is docked that amount of DKP. For example, if an item worth 40 DKP drops, and there are 40 people in the raid, everyone will receive one point if that item is taken. (So, if person A takes the item, person A will receive -39 DKP overall, everyone else will get +1 DKP)
Compared to a fixed-price DKP system, it is much easier to avoid inflation in a zero-sum system because zero-sum systems naturally forcibly make the guild's total DKP equal to zero. Thus, it is much more difficult to let inflation to get out of hand in a zero-sum DKP system (this is not to say, however, that there is no "DKP Gap" in a zero-sum system. It's very deceptive and is there.)
Compared to a fixed-price DKP system, one unique con is that raids in which loot drops is the only way to reward DKP. Thus, the method of rewarding DKP is quite inflexible because the zero-sum DKP system insists on having the entire guild's DKP equal to zero. This turns out to be quite fine when the guild is progressing steadily, and bosses are being killed; however, if faced with an encounter or new instance which is particularly tough, morale may drop when people realize they're receiving 0 DKP for this activity while they get quite a bit of DKP for farming easy bosses. It makes it harder to get people motivated to go learn these more difficult instances. This problem can be off-set by rewarding DKP for "learning days." However, in order to maintain the purity of Zero-Sum, the DKP must then be deducted from farming days. It's complex, but it can be accomplished.
The other con of the fixed-price system in that you need to intelligently price items carries here as well, as failure to do so can lead to a higher DKP gap or lots of disenchanting.
This system is the brother of the Fixed-Price DKP system and is therefore very similar in sharing its pros and cons. Like the number one priority of the fixed-price system, one must “price things well.” If prices are too high they'll get disenchanted, and with the presence of minor upgrades as the guild progresses to Blackwing Lair and Ahn'Qiraj, an upgrade system is probably necessary.
Finally, unlike the Fixed-Price DKP system, the basic Zero-Sum DKP system offers no incentives to learning (as giving DKP to this would taint the purity of balancing the entire guild roster to total 0 DKP). This causes a phenomenon where raiding easy bosses is actually rewarded more than trying more difficult content, something that should certainly be addressed.
Typically, there are two types of bidding.
Open Bidding works like an auction, where everybody interested in a piece of loot will bid in raid chat, with interested members incrementally bidding higher. The winner is the one who bid the most and will lose that amount of DKP.
Closed Bidding has all the people interested in a piece of loot whisper a set master looter / DKP officer. Everybody only gets one chance to bid, and all bids are thus kept secret. Item goes to the highest bidder for that amount of DKP. (Alternatively, the item can be sent to the highest bidder for the second highest bid to encourage a more accurate and more thought out bid. Also, this means that if only one person bids, he can get the item at the minimum price, which makes sense. Make sure to cement which type of closed bidding you'll use: your bid stands, or your bid is equal to the second highest bid and the highest bid wins.)
Compared to a fixed-price system, there is no need to keep the DKP totals balanced. Thus, the system allows extreme flexibility with rewarding DKP: one can pick and choose which activities are more important for earning DKP.
Another big positive is that a bidding system ends up to be one of the best systems at keeping stuff not disenchanted because raiders dictate their own price - they will pay very little for minor upgrades & crappy items, and will pay big for those big-ticket items.
There will be point inflation in a bidding system (obvious, because nobody can go negative DKP), but this is not as bad as in fixed-priced systems because the highest DKP does not automatically win an item – the highest bid does. So, theoretically, the person who wants the item the most will bid the most and the item will thus be given to the person who feels that they would get the most use out of the item.
The main con of the bidding system is that it can be said not to reward participation but rather skill and finesse at manipulating the system. The obvious strategy, since item prices will inevitably go down, is to hold out to spend the least amount of DKP for all items. Those who do this the most are rewarded, such that perhaps this skill in manipulating the system is rewarded more than the actual act of participating in raids. At best, “tacit collusion” happens under which everyone realizes that to benefit the most, they should bid low, thus benefiting their own class. At a worst case, open collusion can happen in which people deliberately whisper others on pricing. It's hard to tell which the case is.
As well, one thing that will be readily apparent are that classes which are not “balanced” will end up being the major beneficiary of bidding systems. Typically, warlocks and druids get less spots in a raid, for example – with less competition, they get their items for lower prices.
Like I've said in the two systems above of fixed-price DKP and zero-sum DKP, a vital part of a DKP system is pricing items. And pricing items is hard. A bidding system eliminates this toughness, and its greatest strength is its flexibility in the sense that items go to those who bid the most (which should theoretically relate to those who want the item the most). Inflation is thus less of a problem here than it is in the above two systems because items are not “first-dibbed” by those with the most DKP, but rather who can put up enough DKP to take it. Its flexibility in that even minor upgrades are never disenchanted as one can scale their bid to any bid they want…low for minor upgrades, high for uber items.
However, the cost of this efficiency is that the looting becomes a free-market. And in any market system, those who have finesse in “working” the market will benefit the most. Basically, one could argue that in addition to the raids rewarding attendance, skill in bidding is rewarded with extra DKP – those who bid smart and use some sort of optimal strategy of trying to get each piece of loot at a bargain price will benefit. And, to an extreme, collusion can happen under which people agree secretly amongst each other to bid a pre-determined price. Bidding systems also have some strange things that happen: for example, the last person to get an item (even though he may want it quite a bit) can just spend the minimum DKP to get it, and it ends up that since everybody knows this “implicit” collusion can occur under which all people try to lowball for an item.
A bidding system is thus elegant in rules and ends up allocating items pretty efficiently and flexibly, thus is the greatness of a free-market. The cost is that those skilled in playing a free-market reap the benefit, that something other than the act of raiding is rewarded, and in extreme cases collusion can occur.
The Merit SystemEdit
Imagine that you're playing World of Warcraft as a typical single-player RPG. In such a single-player RPG setting, your strategy is simple: choose the characters that you use most or consider the most powerful and stack them up with gear. You yourself can balance and dictate which item goes where to provide the greatest group benefit, whether that benefit be giving the group the greatest upgrade in stats, or whether it be giving the equipment to those who take the most hits (stack the MT with tanking gear), or whether it be giving the equipment priorities to those who are most consistent (give the gear to those who will use it the most.)
It ends up that if whoever is the loot chairman is a benevolent dictator, a genius, and truly passes out loot based on merit alone (give the loot out in order of: Main Tank > Consistent Raider Huge Upgrade > Consistent Raider Small Upgrade / Casual Raider Huge Upgrade > Casual Raider Small Upgrade), and this loot chairman truly knows for which member any item is actually a “huge” upgrade vs a “small” upgrade, and the guild is completely behind this leader, then this is probably the most efficient way of distributing loot.
Unfortunately, this is not a single-player RPG, everybody has their own agenda, nobody wants to be that person who gets no loot or nobody wants to be that person who is second-string for loot all the time. It ends up that the Loot Chairman system is not used that often, as one person often cannot grasp every members' needs, wants, and status exactly.
And if you try to deviate from merit to appease these people by “spreading out loot”…why not just use a DKP system, then?
Basically, a group of officers (perhaps one representing each class) discuss which person to give each piece of loot to. This ends up being slightly more “democratic” than the loot chairman method posed above, with the end result being pretty much the same.
But again, this is not a single-player RPG, everybody has their own agenda, nobody wants to be that person who gets no loot or nobody wants to be that person who is second-string for loot all the time.
While having a merit system is great – items are allocated the most efficiently possible (the biggest upgrades are given to the most consistent raiders, ensuring that gear gets the most use possible), this kind of system does not really work in reality as one can argue that it's “playing favorites” and it's simply stacking certain people with gear and leaving others in the dark. And this is true. This is why it's merit-based.
Ultimately, if you go down this path, the guild must be convinced to put their all behind this plan (even if they may not be high up on the “merit”), and you'll have to give a definition of merit to some grumbling members who don't often get anything. And if you use a Loot Council to “spread loot around” that doesn't play the strengths of a loot council. The purpose of a Loot Council is to forego the process of giving everybody the same amount of DKP per raid, but instead to truly surpass that and award those who have shown their merit. It's also to simply distribute gear in a method that will boost the power of the raid as a whole the most. Ultimately, if the guild is not fully behind this kind of policy of placing certain people above others, there will be far too much drama upon use of dictatorship of loot. Use a DKP system instead. But...if a guild will accept being under this policy, and the leadership remains consistent in their stated methods of distributing gear? It can be quite effective.
The one theme that sort of meshes all of these systems together is that items do not really have a price tag attached to them – all items are valued the same, either by being 100% worth of your DKP, 50% of your DKP, or some kind of combination. It ends up that when all items are valued the same as a %'age of DKP, the problem of inflation is solved thus creating a more friendly casual/new player environment…at the cost of not distributing items too efficiently. The main flaw of having all items identical in value in the sense of a percentage of someone's total DKP is that an item such as Fireguard Shoulders is equivalent in value to Spinal Reaper. Obviously then, people would be more inclined to spend on Spinal Reaper, and pass on other obvious upgrades. The passing can lead to good items being disenchanted or given to relative newbies.
Suicide Kings is an extremely easy loot system to understand and to run. This is its main strength. This is an excellent flash which makes Suicide Kings extremely easy to understand. http://www.shadowlords-gorefiend.com/web/mods/SuicideKings.swf
A summarized description is that a loot distribution order is initially populated by random order. Then, whenever an item drops, those at the top of the list can choose to “Suicide” (take the item and move to the bottom of the list.) Then, everyone below them moves “up” a slot. Those who are not in the raid stay in the same position.
Compared to a Fixed-Price DKP system, this system is more new-player & casual friendly, and it avoids inflation. This is accomplished by making every item worth basically 100% of your “total DKP”. However, the cost of this is that those with high on the list will pass on several upgrades as if you're on the top you really want to make the most of the position by getting a really good item. Those on the bottom of the list are encouraged to pick up everything because they lose nothing by doing so. This system obviously caters to casual players as your position on the list remains the same regardless of if you attend the raid or not.
Spend-All DKP is pretty easy to understand. Like a normal DKP system, people earn DKP by attending raids / participating in guild activities. However, whenever an item drops, the people at the top of the DKP charts must spend all their DKP in order to get the item and then end up at 0 DKP. This ends up being very similar to the Suicide Kings system, except that one actually earns DKP by going to raids (as opposed to Suicide Kings' method of earning basically being by other people suiciding). Thus, in Spend-All DKP, you can actually pass the leader in DKP without them actually taking an item.
Compared to Suicide-Kings, this system is slightly less casual friendly since your standing is not “frozen” if you do not attend and you can pass others in DKP by attending more often. However, the same schpiel applies when we compare things to a fixed-priced DKP system.
This system is more new-player & casual friendly, and it avoids inflation. This is accomplished by making every item worth basically 100% of your “total DKP”. However, the cost of this is that those with lots of DKP will pass on several upgrades as if you're on the top you really want to make the most of the position by getting a really good item. Those on the bottom of the list are encouraged to pick up everything because they lose nothing by doing so.
This is the same as Spend-All DKP, but instead of spending all your DKP when you want an item, you spend just one more DKP than the total DKP amount of the second highest DKP who wants the item.
Raider A: 100 DKP Raider B: 50 DKP Raider C: 36 DKP
If Raider A and Raider C both want an item, Raider A loses 36+1 DKP (37) and drops to 63 DKP.
Compared to Spend-All DKP, this system is again less casual friendly since those who take items don't spend all their DKP, they just spend one-more than the next highest. However, again, the same speech when comparing this system to a Fixed-Price DKP system…
This system is more new-player & casual friendly, and it avoids inflation. This is accomplished by making every item worth basically 100% the next highest person who wants the item. However, the cost of this is that those with lots of DKP will pass on several upgrades as if you're on the top you really want to make the most of the position by getting a really good item. Those on the bottom of the list are encouraged to pick up everything because they lose nothing by doing so.
Weighted Rolling Edit
There are several variations of weighted rolling, I'll just outline one of them. In summary, this system embraces the /random 100 for raids, but “weights” rolls more towards those who have raided more.
Raider A: 100 DKP Raider B: 50 DKP Raider C: 36 DKP
When an item that both A and C want, raider A will /random 100, and raider C will /random 36. Whoever wins will lose half their DKP.
This system is very similar to the Ni Karma system outlined above, except that there is no way to get an item for free. Same pros and same cons as Ni Karma, except a further con is that without a way to get items for free, upgrades will get disenchanted when they could help the raid.
As well, this system introduces randomness, which in my opinion is not good simply because it is my belief that systems should have predictable results so members know what to expect when going on raids.
Ni Karma Edit
The guild “Knights who say Ni” have popularized a system called the “Ni Karma System.”
For more information: Ni Karma on WowWiki
- The system is officially called the Ni Karma System (or KWSN Karma System), to distinguish it from DKP, zero-sum DKP, and other loot distribution systems. (Karma can be thought as "favor of the loot gods" as the more you have, the more it skews loot towards you. It should not be equated to currency or DKP.)
- New raiders start with 0 karma.
- +5 karma for showing up for raid on-time.
- +5 karma per boss kill (see notes below on mandatory adjustments required to preserve system integrity)
- Standard /roll is used to determine the winner of an item. However, you may choose to add your karma bonus to this roll. Use all of your bonus, or use none--no partial amounts. (I may refer to karma bonus as "bonus" below.)
- 50% of the karma used for your roll is lost on all wins, and your karma is rounded down to nearest multiple of 5. There is no loss if you don't choose to use any karma (except for class items - see next).
- Class items have a min/max loss, but you cannot go negative. You will lose at least 25 points (even if you don't use your bonus), but no more than 100 (if your bonus is over 200).
- There is no min/max loss cap on multi-class items. .
- Sliding tier window. People can only roll if their karma bonus is within 50 points of the person who's using the highest bonus. (This cuts out the lowest 12.5% from "getting extremely lucky".) If the highest karma used is 50 or lower, anyone eligible may roll with or without karma. (example below)
- Ties are decided by a straight /roll with no bonuses.
- Anyone rolling with karma bonus who is uncontested (i.e., only one person wants an item) may get the item as if declared "no bonus".
- Karma is kept separately for each character and cannot be transferred (except when you are requested to bring an alt character, you may apply that karma to your main character).
- Losses for wins are immediate. Karma is added at the end of the night, or after loot distribution of each boss kill, if feasible. We use a plugin to track this continually.
- If you are told not to compete for an item by an officer, you may not roll. (This may be invoked in cases of multiple defaulted/free items being won by one person who then tries to roll on other things, or other situations that seem highly "unfair". Members are expected to not be greedy, but they are also expected to not collude, and to use their karma for items they actually want.)
- Possible bonuses given by raid leader to the entire raid, if a raid spends significant time to progress/learn how to defeat a new boss. Karma may also be individually granted to those filling in empty slots to help the raid.
Compared to a Fixed-Price DKP system, this system is more new-player & casual friendly, and it avoids inflation. This is accomplished by making every item worth 50% of your total karma. However, the cost of this is that those with high karma will pass on minor upgrades (and, at very high karma, they will even pass on some pretty decent upgrades) and that those with low karma are encouraged to pick everything up since 50% of their low amount of karma is nothing.
Dealing with InflationEdit
Inflation really isn't the evil thing that everyone should try to avoid like the plague. Nearly all the “other systems” listed in section 5 are primarily in existence as an extreme counter to inflation. And of course, by trying to counter inflation in such an extreme manner, each system shows a vulnerability which comes from the attempt to try to stamp out inflation.
Why do people hate inflation? Well…simply put, if you're a member in a guild (usually as a new or causal person), and you look at the top person on the DKP having something like 1,000 DKP when “good items” are priced around 100 DKP each…you'll hate it. Often, this is the thing that those vocal people who cry out "I hate DKP!" are worried about. And yeah, inflation is to blame for this but perhaps what you really should blame is The DKP gap listed below.
What allows inflation? Well, in a zero-sum DKP system, no inflation is present at all because DKP is only given out when items drop, which seems perfectly logical, right? But…what if you want to reward raids when no items drop, usually when you're learning a new boss? Then you have to give out DKP when no items drop, which means that inflation will happen. But giving out DKP when no items drop is good because it should be that raiding harder bosses and pushing the raid is rewarded more than farming an easy boss.
A traditional zero-sum DKP system deals with inflation by making sure that all of the guild's total DKP points sum up to zero. It does so by only giving out DKP whenever items drop. It doesn't give DKP to learning new bosses. And while this effectively stops “inflation”…it still misses out on what the real issue is…the DKP gap. The fact that perhaps it will never be possible to catch up with the person at the top. That's what people blame inflation for, but no, not really, because a zero-sum DKP system has the same problem..
The DKP GapEdit
The DKP Gap is simply the “Gap” between somebody and the person on the top DKP, assuming equal gear. If you've got full transcendence and have 200 DKP, and the top DKP person has full transcendence and has 500 DKP, the gap is 300 DKP. If you've got 7/8 pieces of transcendence gear and need the last piece which costs 50 DKP, then the gap is arguably actually 350 DKP since you –need- to get that final piece to be equal and thus you'll end at 150 DKP to the top person's 500 DKP.
In a normal fixed price system, this is a permanent gap if both raiders raid with the same amount of consistency. You earn DKP at the same rate, perhaps you're after the same items so you basically will lose DKP at the same rate (albeit at a different order). But where's the gap come from and widen? It starts whenever the people at the top of the DKP charts start earning more DKP than they're spending. Basically, it means that in an instance which they almost have all the gear from / do have all the gear from, they're building up lots of DKP. Why do you have less? Probably because you joined the guild at a later time.
This is one way to slowly close the gap. Every so often (weekly or monthly) tax a certain % off of everyone's current DKP. This % should equal the amount of inflation if you're setting up a new DKP system (basically, tax away the extra DKP introduced into the system each time.) If your system is currently heavily inflated and has a huge DKP gap and you're looking for a way to counter this, a one-time heavy tax may be the way to go.
How does it close the gap? The people with more DKP get taxed more than the people with less DKP, even though it's the same percentage. This means that over time, an equally consistent raider will eventually be able to someday catch up to the leader in DKP and will someday be able to get first pick of loot.
Of course, this can be tedious for the administrator, but code can be written to automate this, and it's a pretty elegant way to slow inflation.
This is another method to stop inflation. Place a DKP Cap on either total Earned DKP or on Current DKP. Meaning, once you surpass X DKP, you cannot earn anymore until you spend it. However, this has the nasty side effect of having your most geared people at the DKP Cap who need nothing from an instance to stop doing that instance as they will no longer get any DKP from it.
Separating Instance DKPEdit
This is another method to stop inflation. Have a MC DKP pool, have a BWL DKP pool, etc etc such that DKP earned in an instance stays in that instance. However, this has the nasty side effect similar to a DKP Cap – once a person gets everything they want from an instance, they will no longer have any incentive to go to that instance, meaning your most geared and experienced people might not help the guild through MC anymore. (Who can blame them? MC is boring.) And that's not good for the success of the raid, as these are the people who contribute most to raids through their experience and gear.
However, it's still possible to make this work - give a full run of the previous instance a DKP bonus into the current instance. (Example: full run of MC gives you 2 BWL DKP.)
Policies / Helpful MeasuresEdit
Class Restrictions – simply, it's a policy put into place to ensure that items get the most use in a PvE raid setting. For example, one could restrict Staff of Dominance to only mage/warlocks and not a priest because a priest benefits less from the spell damage stat (not to mention they can get Benediction). Having class restrictions allows classes who would benefit most from the item in PvE get it first. However, it can cause die-hard PvPers to cry when priests are locked out of +damage gear, and paladins don't get those big 2-handed weapons. Your guild outlook on just how much you want to emphasize PvE should dictate whether or not you want to restrict items.
In a fixed-price system, sometimes items are only slightly better than their lesser counterpart. This means that priests with Robes of Transcendence (who may have paid 100 DKP for it) may not be willing to buy the Robes of the Guardian Saint for 125 DKP even though it's better. However, with a 100% refund upgrade system, the priest could upgrade from Robes of Transcendence to Robes of the Guardian Saint for just 25 DKP (and get refunded the price on the Robes of Transcendence.) Having upgrades allows players to get fair deals on getting slightly better equipment and will prevent disenchanting. You can play around with the % of DKP to actually refund - having a 100% refund may not be great because it gives no penalty to taking lesser items and one can then just hop from tier 1 robes -> tier 2 robes -> AQ robes -> nax robes for just the nax robes price. In the Robes of Transcendence (100 DKP) to Robes of the Guardian Saint (125 DKP), with a 50% upgrade you would just get 50 DKP back for your Robes of Transcendence. One can play around with any %, but an upgrade system will make those minor upgrades much more appealing to take and avoid being turned into a nexus crystal.
The downside of upgrades is that, if poorly executed, those at the top of the DKP can just take several upgrades and take a minimal DKP hit and thus not lose their place at the top.
Alt characters contribute less than mains (they don't attend your toughest raids, usually, as they are less geared), therefore common policy is that alt characters can only attend raid content that the guild has on “farm status.” And there, the alts can only pick up equipment that would otherwise be disenchanted (perhaps for DKP, or perhaps for a donation of Nexus Crystals). Alt characters can share the same DKP as the main character in both earning and spending.
Philosophy - What is fair?Edit
What is fair? Ethel of the Resurrection Guild in Skywall make a nice philosophical point which I couldn't have made better myself. So I'll just quote.
- At the core, DKP systems are political/economic systems. Sadly, no matter how hard we try, nobody has ever found a system that works for everyone. Marx and Engels tried desparately, but in every implementation of their system, there will always be rich and poor. You can attempt to minimize the disparity, but disparity will still exist.
- The other point I'm making is that it doesn't matter as long as it works for the guild. It's interesting too that every approach is rooted in real-life political philosophies, even if people don't realize it, or care.
- The "Absolute Monarch" approach is either Hobbes (the GM assigns all loot at his own discretion) or Plato's Republic (the philosopher kings -- the officers -- decide who gets what). That works great if your GM is a benevolent dictator. It sucks if your GM is a 14-year-old Pinochet.
- What I call "Adam Smith's wet dream" is the hard-core capitalist approach; the supply-demand bidding zero-sum system, in which vast inequalities will appear and people are perfectly happy about that.
- Most guilds I know of go with the "Liberal Socialist" approach -- price controls set the absolute price on the item, so there's no bidding involved, and the fundamental goal is "fairness". This usually ends up descending into an administrative nightmare (as some of the systems you've reviewed have demonstrated, with complicated calculus required to determine who wins what, with taxes, point decays, etc to prevent inflation) and it ends up looking very much like your modern Western European government, bloated with inefficient bureaucracies.
- But no matter what your system, as long as your members subscribe to it, and are fine with it, then it's all good. If the members of your guild *want* to set up a rolling system, and they all agree to that, then it's fine. That's the social contract they make with themselves, and they're free to do that, as long as they are willing to live with those consequences.
- No system is perfect, though, and no system will work for anyone. I can spend a lifetime crafting a complicated system that does everything *I* want it to do, and it probably not a single guild would adopt it. :) Not that my ideas are bad (which is debatable) but that there's not one single right answer that works for everyone.
- If there was, we'd all be living in Utopia...
Well said. One could say that Theres a spectrum in loot systems. It goes from caring the least about gear going to the right people to caring the most.
The spectrum among the more popular loot distribution systems is: Random rolling, Suicide Kings, Weighted Rolling, Ni Karma, DKP Bidding, Fixed DKP, Loot Council, Loot Chairman.
But perhaps what's most important in the end is that your entire guild believes in the system and likes the system.
For more information on DKP Systems and tools :
EQDKP - The main DKP System which many guilds use. DKP Log Parser - A tool to help with time-based DKP reward systems. Dragon Kill Points – A solid reference for the very meaning of DKP. DKP vs. Random - A solid mathematical demonstration of the value of DKP vs /random 100.
- Written by Angelie of Timeless Requiem - Ner'zhul Server
Original Post: Guild Relations Forum