As most long-time readers know, I'm not the biggest fan of Loot Council. I much prefer DKP systems that leave the decision-making up to the players. So when my guild decided to switch to Loot Council, I viewed the move with some trepidation. I really did like our previous English-bid DKP system. But a lot of the guild felt uncomfortable with the "adversarial" nature of that system, and so we decided to change it up.
So what has Loot Council been like so far?
First off, I would like to note that I really like the implementation of Loot Council that our leadership came up with. We have three people on the council: our long-time loot officer, the guild master, and one non-officer raider. The non-officer raider changes each raid and is chosen more or less randomly. The guild master only casts a vote if the other two members disagree.
On the whole, Loot Council has worked out more or less okay. Loot distribution is a little bit faster, and there's definitely a much lower burden on the loot officer. There's not a lot of record-keeping to worry about.
But at the same time, I don't really see the Loot Council leading to a "better" distribution of loot than the previous system did. This is the flaw in Loot Council. The council is human, and thus, is likely to make mistakes and be unable to capture every piece of information necessary to make the ideal decision.
It's not like the council makes outrageous mistakes. But sometimes things can be subtle. For example, let's look at one example of loot distribution that I consider a mistake:
An i277 caster/healer cloak dropped. Of the people who wanted it, several had i264 cloaks, and one had an i258 cloak. The i277 cloak was given to the i258 guy because it was the largest upgrade. Certainly it is a defensible decision, or so it seems. But the thing is that most of the i264 cloaks were Emblem cloaks, purchasable from a vendor. So either the i258 cloak was better than than the i264 cloak, in which case the i277 cloak was a bigger upgrade for someone else, or the i258 cloak was worse than the i264 cloak, in which case the i258 guy wasn't willing to spend the Emblems to upgrade. In that case, the people who took initiative to upgrade their gear outside of raiding got passed over in favor of someone who didn't.
Certainly it's a very small mistake. I would have just considered the i258 and i264 cloaks more or less the same and had everyone roll for it.
The other amusing Loot Council folly was counciling 4 i277 tokens in row to a disc priest to help with Heroic Lich King. Said priest promptly quit right after getting the fourth token. Now obviously, the priest could have pulled similar shenanigans in the DKP system, blowing all his DKP right before quitting. But when something like this happens in Loot Council, it's the Council's error, their misjudgment thrown into stark relief, rather than the impersonal nature of DKP earned and spent.
But so far, Loot Council doesn't lead to obviously "worse" results than the previous system. And the savings on administrative overhead are huge. Plus, the guild seems much happier with this system than the previous one.
And that is a very important part of loot systems. Your guild has to believe in your loot system. You can have the most technically and mathematically sound system in the world (*cough* Vickrey bidding *cough*) and if the guild does not buy into it, it will fail. Similarly, a terribly flawed system can succeed if everyone is willing to work with it.