Sunday, August 10, 2008

Of Loot Council and Legendary Bows

By now, you've probably heard the story of how the guild Vicarious of Area 52 gave the legendary bow [Thori'dal, the Stars' Fury] to a rogue (who had been in the guild since the beginning) over two hunters (who had joined a couple months ago).

Like most respondents, I think that this was a bad decision. However, it's worth looking at why this is a bad decision.

To me, the sticking point is that the guild used Loot Council to distribute loot. I have said before that there are Two Views of Loot: Loot as Reward; and Loot as Investment.

Loot Council is almost pure Loot as Investment. The general idea is that because of the random nature of loot drops, a "fair" loot distribution system will have occasionally assign loot in a sub-optimal manner. So a trusted group of individuals directs the loot to the people who get the most use out of it. Loot Council essentially opts for a deliberately unfair distribution of loot in order to maximize the power of the raid. This is pure Investment, and is as far from Loot as Reward as it is possible to get.

The trouble with Vicarious' decision is that it was a Reward decision, not an Investment decision. And it was an entirely reasonable Reward decision. Yet their entire loot structure prioritizes Investment over Reward. If there had been another instance after Sunwell, Vicarious would have never given the bow to the rogue.

That's actually an interesting problem for Investment systems. What do you do when you no longer need to invest? Do you switch to a Reward system, or keep distributing as if you were Investing for a future instance. Of course, very few guilds have this problem, so it's mostly a non-issue.

I think it is a bad idea to build a guild around one model, and suddenly switch to the other model for one or two decisions. If you are Investment, make decisions based on Investment. If you are Reward, make decisions based on Reward.


  1. Strangely I was thinking/blogging about this recently too, and I like your two types: reward and investment.

    Giving the Bow to the Hunter was their choice, and more power to them. The community should watch and consider the relationships that are at play before posting wtf posts.

    I'd rather see that Bow on a Hunter, but I suppose when you've done most things, the shiny-pretty factor really counts.

    If I was t6 geared and had completed everything, I might do the same.

  2. Ah, that makes me really happy that they did that. I like in this case, loyalty and committment is worth so much more than investment. They obviously dont need the loot in order to beat sunwell - what could be a nicer gesture?

  3. The sad thing about these 1st 2 bloggers is that they didn't even read the story right (the bow was awarded to the rogue instead of the hunter because the rogue, supposedly, was more loyal), and then shoot of the mouth like that.

    The other sad thing is that the hunters have actually demonstrated that they were more loyal. They did not /gquit even though their loyalty was questioned; and no matter what they do, by the standards of that guild, they will never prove their loyalty since they were not around since Kara.

    Loot as reward is alright and, in itself, not bad. But making the criteria for reward so impossible to meet—how can those hunters "undo" their only having joined in the last two months? Go back in time to join the guild while they were in Kara? These hunters should have been rewarded for even being in the raid.

    VICARIOUS: LF2M DPS, don't expect loot unless you were with us since Kara. Be happy to vicariously experience the bow through our most rewarded rogue.

  4. You're obviously a hunter. So what if the GM gave it to a rogue? Do you think that those "loyal" hunters would continue to go to SW after they have the best bow in the game? Where's the incentive? Once people get everything they want from an instance they typically lose interest. Some people raid for the enjoyment but the fact that we ALL know about this event means the hunters were upset about LOOT.

    So in the case of the last raid boss in the game there really is no "investment". Not giving it to the hunter gets him to come back and help the raid again in fact.

  5. But Proudfoot, how do you know that the hunters wouldn't have come back after receiving the bow? While you are correct that many lose interest once they have no more upgrades to get, there are still plenty who will return for fun, badges, to help others, etc. Unless you know the hunters in question you really can't make that statement.

  6. This is exactly why many people are afraid of loot council. Who can know whether the officers are going to make the wrong decision at the worst time? This story is a big red flag to everyone.

    It's not as simple as saying "Next one goes to hunters." According to wowhead, this item is a 6% drop. The guild has a 50% chance to see that item once after 11 more kills of that boss. At one kill per week, 11 weeks is almost three months... is pretty much the next expansion.

    An overlooked part of this story: what rogue would express a desire for that item over hunters, even a hunter who's only been in the guild for three months?

  7. I like loot councils, and I like loot as an investment. So I have trouble understanding this council's decision. Everything I've heard about this makes it sound like they changed their criteria in deciding where this item would go. You just can't do that. I don't know enough to truly say how bad of a decision this was, but unless these hunters have attendance problems, I can't really see how that bow would benefit a rogue more.

    And I don't see why loot as investment would stop making sense just because you are at the top of the game. If you're still running it every week, there's always room for improvement. People still die on trash. Raids will always wipe once in awhile. So there's still an investment to be made in minimizing these occurrences, and to do that you assign your loot where it will do the most to accomplish this.

  8. Yes, I am a hunter; what's your point?

    What people are not seeing here is that they are already assuming that the hunters will /gquit once they get the bow. They are already assuming they are mere mercenaries who will bolt once they get "the best bow in the game".

    Yet, for some reason, nobody is thinking that of a rogue. A rogue who, on the forums, advertises that he'll take anybody through ZA to get a bear mount for 10,000 gold... a rogue who took the best 1H weapons in the game... a rogue draped in Sunwell drops.

    The thing is that this guild essentially already bought his loyalty with gear: he has both warglaives and now he has the bow. Fine.

    These hunters, who didn't get the bow, is showing more loyalty now because they didn't /gquit even though they were basically slapped on the face because of their assumed disloyalty, which they cannot disprove because they could never, ever go back to do Kara with the clique.

  9. This kind of stuff is just one of the reasons I stick to PvP (No offense). Rewards are a little more clean cut, earn the rating, get the reward.

  10. Who is to say what they would have done if they had gotten the bow instead of the rogue (unless you can see into the future, in which case tell me who wins the next superbowl). The two hunters were both new recruits. Does your guild give Warglaives to a brand new Rogue or a Fury Warrior who as been with you since the beginning?

    Would they get more use out of it? Sure. Are they more deserving of it? Debatable. If Blizzard only wanted TD to go to hunters they might have added on a nice little "Requires: Hunter" on the weapon.

    Regardless, it really doesn't matter at all what you think; what's done is done.

  11. Would they get more use out of it? Sure. Investment.

    Are they more deserving of it? Debatable. Reward.

    The big argument here come from people conflating the two views. It's more important to pick your view and stand by it. Otherwise, you'll have people calling for an Investment decision when it's convenient for them, and then calling for a Reward decision when that is in their favour.

    My old guild used a Reward system (Total Earned DKP) for handing out Legendaries. I would have no issue with a Rogue getting the bow over a hunter in that system.

    But Loot Council is pure Investment, and should not make decisions based on Reward.

  12. I'm the 2nd commentator and I DID read the entire post :). You're the huntard right who said I didnt right :P (jk I luv ya really)

    Anyway, I thought about it very carefully, and I picked up a certain vibe about the guild reading all the differnt versions of the story, and it warms my heart. They are the sort of guild I would like to be in (and no, I could never use that weapon on my main)

    I'm sure they must have decided in advance how loot was going to be assigned; I bet it wasnt a change of policy once the item had dropped. And if it was - well, thats not good. You shouldnt change your policies in an instance depending on what item drops.

    But as for it belonging to hunters? Who cares....? Endgame success is so much more about skill, loyalty, preparedness and committment, than it ever will be about gear. Players who are overly obsessed with "their" loot obviously havent gone very far in the game, because they're in it for themselves. Bleeding edge progression is impossible when players have that attitude.

  13. I doubt anyone outside of that guild really knows enough to say if it were fair or not. Though it is amusing that someone would get this upset about a little entry in a database somewhere in blizzard's server farm that says "rogue x has bow y" which isn't needed for progression, and will be obsolete most likely with the first bit O loot a hunter gets, and will certainly be old hat by the time you get to new end game instancing/raiding. and Ærynn Lómëhtar sure its fair that somethings you just cant get. I started playing after BC. so i cant get the tabard for the opening of the portal. is that fair? sure.

  14. Sorry, "bleeding edge progression" guilds are in it for the investment. Yes you need all those things; skills loyalty, preparedness and commitment; but when an orange item drops, all rationalization is out the door. Why else would you see a rogue with two legendary glaives and the legendary bow?

    I am surprised some of the criticism isn’t directed at the rogue. Why didn’t the rogue decline the bow?

  15. I'm amused that people are so concerned with what happened on another server to another guild. For most of us (those not in Vicarious on Area 52), this is a non-issue. It doesn't have any effect on our playing in the slightest.

    However! I think we can all learn from this. It seems to me that the only reason people could claim to be outraged as much as they are is if the hunters in question thought that they would be allowed to roll (or bid, or whatever) on the item, and then were denied the chance.

    So the lesson to take away from this is that you need to be clear with your loot rules. If you're handing it out based on one criterion, don't change it unless you inform people.

  16. A near similiar thing happens when random epics drop in PUGS. I once go stockade pauldrons (lvl 55ish epic shoulders, world drop has alot of +HP and defense) from a scholo run that was spamming LF healer for hours before I came along. The item dropped and there was a warrior in the group (fury) who also wanted it, but didnt really roll for it considering my pally was a undergeared prot/holy pally and actually needed it.

    I think raids run more business like and shiney fluff upgrades are a non issue in all seriousness. These are players that for instance are only moving forward because of the commitment and exercise of the group. When you become a greedy bastard and roll for stuff that you might no need as much as the next person you surely hurt your own progression. It is a sensitive issue as guilds have to have a lvl of commitment and exercise to maintain a guildroster and in nearly every guild, new members at the very least need to invest some of their effort before seeing rewards.

    Also, in this scenario Rogues can use bows and in the best interest of avoiding loot-raid-holdup a system of reward rather than investment was justified. I wouldnt argue that the huntards arent allowed to be annoyed by the decision.

    I also think that the amount/quality of loot shouldnt be so contested, as a counter axample a Game like diablo 2 where all loot was scoopable by whoever killed it and grabs it first. This worked great as anything that a player didnt want/need just sits there and might be an upgrade for someone else. Very rarely can a player get bent about missing out on a hard to get or rare item since the loot is distributed frequently enough where players are never exactly undergeared for the content.


  17. Really, if they wanted it to be a hunter-only item, it'd've said so. That would be an...amusing...hotfix.

  18. Kevin Costner pwns in Robin Hood. . . .his Bow is WAY better

  19. While there is an Investment v. Reward at play in a loot council discussion, you are missing a big part of the equation. You invest in the people whom are most likely to be a part of the guild in the future, otherwise your smart investment is in another guild's hands. An investment pays off over time, a reward is something short term.

    It is very easy to find loyal people when the loot is flowing, its not as easy when you're farming the same content a million times or struggling with something new. With the ease at which people come and go from guilds, servers, and even the game itself... isn't a long term commitment an essential portion of the investment equation?

    And lastly, because a guild uses a loot council to optimize advancement does not mean that reward is removed from the equation entirely. When you're farming Sunwell every week, progression is over. What investment is being made here, farming content for two months? There is no investment. Only reward is left. The content is over. Fastest to 80 and geared to raid the new content is all that will matter shortly.

  20. Wrathex US-Barthilas

    Firstly to the people who say that this situation arised in server x and we shouldnt be concerned because we are in server y, i believe have no clue about the impact the game has on end game guilds.

    Guilds who see progression and who compete for world firsts and speed kills, have a prestige and eminence among them, and this is why we respect guilds such as nihilum and sk gaming and the list continues.

    It is our right (and yes Im a hunter) to be concerned about a decision like this, because a gross miscalculation like this can affect peoples views of the guild. And me as a devoted wow player who has seen end game progression with 5/5 and 9/9 clearly sees an injustice here.

    The fact of the matter is that we can give things to people who have been with us for day one but i find that it is UNFAIR and UNJUST to give an item which has such a powerful MAGNITUTDE to a class that has so little utility to it.

    Tommorow my guilds rogues might quit and so might our dps warriors, we might see a new rogue who has been with us for a week or so, and the warglaive happens to drop, if my guild were to give the warglaive to a tank i would indeed be outraged. Not because it is fair but because the item with so much potential is going to waste.

    This is a legendary, it has an amazingly low drop rate, you could farm kil'jaedan for the next two years and never see it drop due to RNG.

    If there was no hunter present in the raid, then and only then would i accept seeing the item go to a rogue. However it is a dishonor to the item and to the hunter community to give it to a rogue OVER a hunter.

    For hunters this has been the only legendary in the game for us, yet we are being denied because blizzard was to lazy to insert a 'Hunter item only' tag and the price is being paid by our class.
    Rogues have had their legendaries in bc and pre bc. If u are a rogue plz i request you to show some sign of consideration and to refrain from selfishness and do the ethical thing.

  21. Dyermaker says "What investment is being made here, farming content for two months? There is no investment. Only reward is left. The content is over. Fastest to 80 and geared to raid the new content is all that will matter shortly."

    Your last statement actually answered your question -- you're investing now (even though progression has 'stopped') in the people who will help you get to 80 fastest, and Arthas first. You should never stop investing, in my opinion, I think it will keep your guild fresh and active longer. Maybe they felt the rogue was a better investment, I don't know.

  22. Why would they EVER give something to a new member over someone who's been in the guild for years?

    It's not like they are a top guild so they need to min / max every last stat point.

    The bow also becomes useless (read: less useful) with the release of WotLK.

  23. This doesnt surprise me at all knowing that alot of the leadership in that guild runs up toons to deck out in t6 to turn around and sell.

    I'll take loyalty over gear any day of the week. People who show up consistantly, prepared, ready to rock a raid are always win. Nihilum and all the super uber guilds have downed content with pretty crappy gear...which goes to show you skill is more important but thats for another day. GO back and look at sk gaming/nihilum first kills of illidan, kaelthas...look around at the gear they are sporting. Then look at your own raid and see how you outgear them and think of where you could be.

  24. Actually thats something I am writing a post on, the core of a guild's raiding, and how your progress isn't actually defined by your raiders but rather by the group of people you basically pug into your raid from your guild.

    What Nihlium and that have is a group of pug raiders that in any other guild would be the core, in contrast a casual guild will have people who only turn up to help the guild that night, with no knowledge or experience, two totally different raiding experiences.

  25. You create a loot system. You publish the loot system. You adher to the loot system.

    If you do not adher to the loot system you designed you will create favoritism and discontent.

    If you are using your loot system as advertised, dkp, loyalty based or other and it resulted in the artifact going to the rogue then the discussion is over at that because it adhers to the rules.

    You make the rules you stick to them, that way people joining your guild know what they're up against.

    Any discussion beyond that is completely pointless because it won't result in anything.