DKP for Random Groups

| Friday, June 22, 2012
This is a modification to the standard need-greed-pass loot system which would reduce the frequency of ninjaing in randomly formed groups and increase the perceived fairness of loot distribution.  It does this by adding a currency from killing bosses which is then spent when rolling need.  The exact mechanics would need working out, but I think the general framework would be beneficial without adding much complexity.

All players in a group when a boss dies gain  Random Dragon Kill Points or RDKP.  There would only be one kind of RDKP, though higher level and higher difficulty instances would grant increased amounts.

When items drop, players can then spend RDKP in order to roll need on items.  The amount would not be set by the players, but would instead be presented to them as a set charge for picking need.  They would not lose RDKP unless they won the item.  Players with no RDKP would be able to pick need but would be subordinate to those without enough.  This is so that early on, when players may have no RDKP or are frequently finding upgrades, that they are not stuck rolling greed (that would negate the perceived fairness and effectively cause unintentional ninjaing).

Players could not have negative RDKP.  RDKP could not be traded.

The Benefits
The first goal is to increase the sense of fairness.  An earlier post related to whether players should roll on items when they were only present for the final boss, with some pointing out that it seemed unfair that they didn't have to help the group through the rest of the instance and some taking the position that can, may, and should are perfect synonyms.  By having an RDKP system, players would still have a sense that someone was only helping them for one boss", but would also get an indicator that they had helped other groups over other bosses, and on average, we'll have joined at last bosses as often as we've missed last bosses.  In effect, this creates a social accounting, so that even if two individuals have not helped each other in an instance, they will have helped someone who helped someone, and given the size of the pool, let's say fifty steps, and finally Kevin Bacon will have won the item you wanted, but it will be slightly less annoying because by spending RDKP, he's showing that he's not just some lucky guy who perpetually hops into groups on the last boss and runs away cackling with all your loot.

Or in short form: even if they haven't helped you, they have helped others, and others have helped you, so it all loops back around to be fair.

The second goal is to reduce ninjaing.  By putting some cost on items, a ninja roll is at the cost of a later, legitimate roll, so the ninja may be setting themselves up to lose on an item that they wanted.

Technical stuff that would need muddled through but shouldn't impact the two main purposes
The amount of RDKP overall, per player, from kills, and per roll, would need to be managed.

Clearly there are more details to work out.  With that in mind, I want to make a request regarding comments.  I'd love to hear suggestions for improvements and for filling in missing details.  However, criticizing details is utterly pointless because there are none (beside the half-thoughts at the end), so stick to pointing out that the overall idea is terrible rather than the specifics.  That is, unless someone brings up a specific, then you can say it is stupid (or great).


Syl said...

I like this a lot, because the system would bring back the missing, social control component in games like WoW with relative ease; and that would impact in many ways, on a server's community, recruitment etc. even cross-server grouping would be affected positively.

two issues I see:
"even if they haven't helped you, they have helped others, and others have helped you, so it all loops back around to be fair."

- this will need some erm...mental adjustment for some players, I believe. right now the way 5mans are perceived is as isolated events where you're basically welcome to act however you like with little consequence and "grab what you can it's all luck" is accepted. you're entitled to potentially everything from that isolated run, rather than subjecting yourself to a more summary, fairer overall reward system. needless to say - this has been (somewhat) different before cross-server grouping and can change back again. players used to behave with more consideration back when servers were still isolated towns and player reputation still mattered.

- the second issue I see is for casual players; you would need a regulating mechanism, a cap or similar to prevent casuals constantly being outrolled by guys who basically have a ton of time to run dungeons. if you can only run two dungeons a week it might take a long time before you ever loot something. this isn't in itself bad, maybe it will bring back some sense of value and certainly merit to looting items, but it's a bad system if the most frequent players basically determine when/how much everyone else gets to loot. there needs to be a hard line rather than a relative one. after all loot IS motivation and frustrating everyone with an average to low playtime can't be in the developers interest.

Klepsacovic said...

I think the "grab what you can" mentality would die fairly quickly because they'd go broke grabbing junk and find themselves SOL for the good stuff.

What I might not have emphasized properly is that the amount of RDKP you have doesn't impact the roll: If one person can pay for the item and another can pay for it a thousand times, both still get charged the same amount and use the same dice. The benefit to having more RDKP is that you can win more items, but everyone is on equal footing for any rolls they can afford.

I was thinking of having some sort of decay mechanism, so that if rolling costs 10 RDKP, any balance in excess of 40 would decay by a percentage each week, but would not go below 40. Conversely, players could get a free 10 or 20 per week, so that if you do one dungeon per week, you can win something.

Michael said...

Main problem I see is that I don't think it'll scale well. You'll either get so much rdkp from when nothing you can roll need on drops that you can still roll on everything else, or people gearing up won't have enough rdkp to roll on genuine upgrades.

Another issue with this is that you're basically handing out a salary for running randoms. This brings in all the same issues as with real salaries. The main one in my mind would be the severe inequality due to some players genuinely being worth or valued significantly more than others.

Say you run randoms for a few hours. If you're a dps, then you're probably spending a third to half of your time sitting around waiting. If you're a healer, maybe 10-15% of the time waiting. As a tank, almost none. So a tank would be able to accumulate rdkp more than twice as fast as a dps. This is fair, since tanks are more valued than dps, but also not very fun.

I don't know, it kinda seems like a non-issue to me. I don't really care whether someone I'll never see again has helped someone else I've never seen at some other point where I wasn't present. It doesn't change the fact that by rolling against me, their impact on my game is primarily negative.

rowanblaze said...

I'll shoot down the whole thing. OK, OK not really, Soem sort of DKP system governed by the game code might possibly work in a pay-it-forward sort of way.

In an established group of any size, this would be unnecessary. In a random group brought together by the game's own match-making system, I think Need-over-Greed is sufficient. Any attempt by players to say a newcomer isn't deserving of a loot roll is a gross misunderstanding of the system. They can blame neither the newcomer nor the game mechanic for their own false expectations.

Rohan said...

I actually suggested something like this a long, long time ago, though it was in the context of raiding. I suggested Spend-All DKP, just because it's simplest. If you roll Need and win, you spend all your points. No worrying about cost.

Another alternative is Shroud, because it fits the parameters. Roll Need = lose half your points if you win. Roll Greed = random roll against the group.

The biggest issue here is cross-tier points. Do points from Normal dungeons count in Heroics? Do points from Heroics count in Raid Finder? Is this system available in normal Raiding? Do you only accumulate points if you use LFG?

One exploit might be a group of 5 chaining dungeons and always rolling Greed to build up points. Then they distribute the items after the fact.

Anonymous said...

All this loot drama is caused by intra-group competition for a small number of items that drop. Go instead to a system where each player independently has a P% chance of getting an item that's suitable for his/her class and spec.

No ninjas. No resentment about items going to the new guy or the lowest dps or the guy who's been playing forever and has an impossible lead in DKP. The built-in reward for those who participate more does not come at the expense of others.

Klepsacovic said...

@Michael: It could have some sort of mechanic where people get less if no one rolls need and more if they do, somewhat like some zero-sum DKP systems in which people only get DKP when DKP is sent.

As for the income disparity, I don't think it's something new to this, or fixable without fixing role imbalances. After all, if DPS are only in a few runs a day, they'd only see that many boss kills/loot drops, so nothing changes for them with RDKP.

@Rowan Blaze: What does "the system" have to do with deserving? A system can be anything at all and have nothing at all to do with deserving.

@Rohan: Cross-tier should still count, I think, since these are a sort of currency earned for helping people, rather than specific to any particular challenge. It would be limited to random groups.

@Anonymous: This would create a different irrational complaint: people thinking that because someone else got a drop, that they didn't. There is also the question of whether the random drops would only be useful, in which case the chance would have to be very low, or whether there would be useless items, which would be annoying given that it is supposedly loot for that person.

Rohan said...

@Kleps, but then you have the issue of people chaining easy tiers in order to build up points to spend in difficult tiers.

Or continuously running old content to build up points for new content.

Heh, I just had an idea. They should use Valor/Justice points for this. It's already built into the game. It already has caps. Use Valor points for instances where you gain Valor, use Justice for all other instances.

Klepsacovic said...

@Rohan: I'm thinking of it as "social capital" rather than a reward for difficulty. If someone is running a hundred easy instances for people who need the loot, then they're helping people. I would have a reduced point gain, based on both level and difficulty level.

Mittenz said...

It isn't the players fault if the game matches them up to a group that is already at the end boss, it's the fault of people leaving halfway through.

Needs a check on people who hoard points, i.e. are only in the dungeon for one item.

Klepsacovic said...

Assigning blame isn't going to be very productive. People have many legitimate reasons for leaving groups before they are finished.

Because there is a flat cost, there is no benefit to hoarding points if the goal is a single item.

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