DKP vs. loot council

| Monday, February 8, 2010
My guild switched to DKP a few months back in reaction to constant whining about loot council decisions. I'd have attempted to make the decisions more open and understandable, but that has limits. So I might have just kicked the whiners instead.

Psychologically, DKP isn't the same as loot council. It has some benefits, some things which are the antonym of benefits. Costs! Losses?

Aw, nothing dropped :(
On the plus side, it gives you something to gain even when the boss doesn't die or nothing drops for you. Even better, if nothing drops that I want, it increases the chances that I'll win it in when it does drop.

On the downside, if I happen to be lucky with drops, there goes my DKP. This can end up feeling terrible especially when drops are uncontested. That was the case of most of my gear recently. I'd have preferred if uncontested drops were cheaper, except that encourages people making deals to cheat the system. So I did get a bunch of upgrades, but I now have no chance of getting any more. I know, it's kinda dumb, that I'd have gotten those upgrades over time anyway and burned the same DKP; so really all that happened was I got everything sooner rather than later.

BRB, cat's on fire
Loot councils can be more understanding of emergencies. They can accept that things happen and they don't mentally downrank you because something happened out of your control. DKP doesn't care, it only tracks if you're there or not. Leadership could grant points still, but once there's one exception, the floodgates are opened for all sorts of nonsense.

Social manipulation and guild benefit
On the other hand, loot councils can be influenced by sucking up or social manipulation. I'm not referring to the nice person getting loot over the jerk, since I'd have just kicked the jerk anyway. Instead I mean the person who is friends with the loot council, shows up regularly enough to not be obvious, but isn't there as much as other people, but due to social aspects ends up with priority. DKP is objective.

Or is it? A loot council can see that the somewhat equally geared people with a significant DPS gap, well who is it better to give the loot to? I'm not saying only the highest DPS (healing/tanking) should get loot, but it doesn't make much sense to throw away gear on bad players. Though if they're really bad, maybe they shouldn't be in the guild. DKP just rewards attendance. There can be more DKP for kills vs. learning vs. farming, but if the less skilled player is consistent, they're going to be getting the full DKP anyway. Perhaps that's still objective, but it's not practical.

See the Driven Draenei for a different take on individual accomplishment and DKP gain. It's about GDKP runs, but the idea translates well enough.

Choice and Understanding
DKP does have the big benefit of being choice. If you're low on DKP, it's because you chose to spend it. A council can be confusing. Why didn't I get that drop? I don't think I've gotten something recently, so what's going on? People hate confusion. To temper my earlier "kick the whiners" statement, I acknowledge that a lot of what is perceived as whining is really just confusion. Why did loot get handed out that way?

Tortilla Wrap
I prefer loot councils to DKP. They're just more human. But this depends a lot on trust in the council, both your own and that of your fellow guild members. My guild's council ended due to lack of trust from other members. I didn't like every decision, and frankly some were outright confusing, but overall I was happy with it.


LarĂ­sa said...

I prefer DKP to loot council every day. Unless you're only raiding with very close friends there will always be the suspicion of favorism, a potential risk for drama. And above all it can take an insane amount of time. When I raid I want to raid, getting as many tries on the bosses as possible. Not patiently wating like 15 minutes for the loot council to come to their decision.

And if you have a horrible player, as you say yourself, you should deal with it - trying to help them to get better - or in worst case get rid of them. Punishing them by not giving them loot will only make the situation worse since they not only lacks skill, but in that case also gear...

The third alternative is of course /roll, but I think the RNG can be pretty stupid and unfair sometimes. DKP is by far the best solution I've seen for loot distribution so far.

sam said...

the problem with DKP is when you have a long period of time without certain types of gear dropping and then you end up with people who have huge amounts of DKP and are frustrated. I've seen guilds break at that point. Random loot distribution is the enemy of DKP.

Ngita said...

A well trusted and properly run loot council is better then dkp. But the loot council needs to understand the players needs better then the player himself. Good luck on that in todays enviroment when some players are at both 2x the hit cap and 2x the expertise soft cap. Time efficency matters as well. During BWL we shifted from a hybrid loot council/dkp to almost pure dkp that was done on the run except for one looter. That cut a hour from our clears

Klepsacovic said...

@Larisa: Actually /roll is the most fair system; your chances of seeing loot scale directly with attendance and then distribution is even per attempt; so overall it scales with attendance. DKP makes it so attendance gives an advantage with both the chance to see it and the chance to win it; it double-dips attendance. It does have some effect of moderating RNG by giving the advantage to high-attendance over lower. DKP is less fair, but that doesn't mean it's not better.

@sam: DKP can help somewhat to ensure that lootless nights aren't entirely wasted, since you are eventually rewarded with a higher chance when it does finally drop.

@Ngita: A loot council could work out how everything will go ahead of time; establishing a distribution order for every item and staying up to date on upgrades. But that's asking fora huge commitment outside of raids to figure it out and is very dependent on the council knowing exactly what everyone has.

Guthammer said...

Who says random is fair?

With trusted leadership and small groups loot council is good, but I do all my raiding withing a group that had 2100 active raiding characters last week and something like 130 raids and close to 1800 drops.

DKP, well LOP is really the only way to go.

I am not sure how you can say random is perfectly fair, it has no mechanism for degree of desire and the number of rolls for loots isn't anywhere near large enough for the the Law of Large Numbers.

Leftovers, might have enough loot drops for a stab at being a "fair" random system, but our loot history is well over 200,000 drops and even so, I would say we would have significant outliers because 1-100 takes way longer to settle down and 25 man raids need longer to settle down.

Klepsacovic said...

Wanting something more doesn't make it any more fair.

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