Abusing Guild Systems

Posted: by Frostheim

whu-treasureAny raiding guild is going to have to have systems in place to govern their raids – perhaps to determine who comes, what character you can bring, what prep materials you are supposed to have – but certainly the most significant is the system by which loot is determined.

There are dozens of loot systems and variations, and interestingly I’ve gotten a couple of questions from people now asking what the best loot system is. There isn’t a best one – the answer depends on your guild and your guild goals. However, in my opinion there is an overall philosophy to designing or choosing a loot system that you want to follow.

Here’s an example of something that happened in my last guild:

The guild used a loot master who would decide who got what loot. The idea was that loot was assigned where it would do the most good for the raid as a whole. Unfortunately one loot master interpreted that as simply where the loot was the biggest upgrade. It makes sense on the surface, however that’s a horrible system.

In early Wrath we were clearing Naxx. Several raiders quickly realized that if they got Naxx 10-man loot, they had no chance at loot for the same slot from Naxx 25,  because people with blues would get it instead of them (since it was a bigger upgrade for the person in blues). Eventually it came out that people were passing on upgrades from 10-mans so they could get better ones from 25-man raids.

Some of the officers were furious – after all you never want your raid passing an opportunity for an upgrade – that’s bad for the raid’s progression. They felt these raiders were abusing the system.

But here’s the thing: the fault wasn’t in the raiders, it was in the system. Sure the raiders were gaming the loot system, but you should want them to do that!

Abusing the System is Good

Let’s face it, we’re all gamers. We’re going to game whatever system we can. But moreso you should want your raiders to do this. After all, you expect them to find every other angle to improve their character – best way to spend talents, best gems, best enchants, ideal rotations and macros. Why are you suddenly not wanting them to find the best way to improve their gear?

A loot system – indeed any system – should be designed to encourage the behavior you want.

Assume that the raiders will try to abuse the system and then use a system that encourages them do the things you want to get the most advantage out of it. This is why sales people are paid on commission — the company wants them to sell more, so awards them for selling more, often disproportionately so. The best sales people don’t care about their company. They’re motivated to make tons of money for themselves, which they do by gaming the system – which is deigned so that behavior is good for the company.

Let’s take a look at that “best upgrade” system. What that really does is punish people who actively work to improve their gear. If you farmed heroics to get your conquest emblems to get prepared for raiding… well, you’ll always lose to the person who didn’t do any work and showed up in their leveling blues. This system is encouraging people to have the worst gear possible when they show up to a raid. Because those are the people that are rewarded the most.

A random roll system, favored by a lot of casual guilds, encourages attendance since the more often you roll, the better your chance of winning. However it also encourages people to roll on every piece of gear, even ones that are sidegrades. After all, getting loot doesn’t change the chances of winning the next loot. The more you roll, the more you get. Ans so on.

The Best System

So in the end the best system for any guild system is the one that encourages the behavior that your guild wants. If you want to be doing cutting edge endgame progression and hardmodes, you want a  loot system that rewards performance and attendance above all else. If you’re a casual friendly guild that occasionally runs Naxx for fun you probably want a system that rewards attendance, teamwork, and helping people out.

So when you’re thinking of a system, start with what behaviors you want to encourage. Then think of every possible way to abuse the system – and make sure the person who abuses it most is, by those actions, your the ideal raider for your guild.

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  1. Lyraat says:

    I thought that. I joined a guild that used /roll for loot. I was in DKP guilds before, one that was open DKP and another that had a capped DKP system. I was leery of the /roll system because, ya, it could be exploited. But the system works for us because nobody is greedy, we’re all working for the raid. Sure, we could be selfish, but progression > gear. Sure, we could slack and show up undergeared, but then we wouldn’t get into the raid in the first place.

    I’m not saying it’ll work for everyone, just that it works in our guild and can work.

    Ideal? Probably not, but it works for us. YMMV.

    Also, gotta say that last sentence of the post is kinda fail :D

  2. Deepfriedegg says:

    Something tells me that EPGP might be THE system. Even though there are some cons there as well. For example weapon, trinket, ring, neck or cloack drops and also your type of armor (and you are the only one who can get it). Say you killed the Valkyr twins. If EP is awarded first for looting say Sabatons of ruthless Judgement, you can almost for sure forget about that insane trinket (Death´s Verdict combo proc with DMC: Greatness gives you insane 750AGI buff) that dropped as well. But will you let the boots disenchanted when they are a big upgrade for you as well???

  3. the Cheerleader says:

    I really like our Mains–> Offspec—> Alts rule:D I think it helps to keep the balance of who gets what in our guild. I think it also helps when the Loot Master is familiar with stats and whatnots… We have an awesome LM for our progression raids… he is quite fair and knows enough about each class that he can also guide others to which loot could be good for them. Also, i find him quite a team player since he will always try to upgrade others before himself. I recently became a loot master.. and .. man… our guild LM makes it look sooo easy.. and it is sooo not:(

  4. Arrowsong says:

    I agree with Lyraat. My guild is the same. It helps when your guild is void of greedy players and instead filled with those who actually WANT to see others progress because we know it will get us all further in the long run.

    We use the /roll system, but with a slight twist. The obvious main spec first, off spec second, DE if need be. Here’s the twist.

    Boss dies. ML links all loot to raid (for decision making if there happens to be more than 1 useful piece of gear for your class).

    Generally it’s 1 loot per boss (not including Tier when applicable) unless no one else wants/needs something, in which case you could potentially have more than 1 piece on any given Boss. Twist is this, no one person can be more than 2 pieces of gear ahead of anyone else in their same class/spec. Meaning, I as a hunter, have rolled and won 2 diff pieces of gear vs. another hunter or hunters. From that point, I forefit rolls (not including Tier/Trophies/Orbs) until the other Hunter(s) have won at least one item. This based on a PER RAID not a continual check (like rollover minutes)

    This system works for us. Theres no real downside. I mean, even times when I am the one to forefit rolls, well hey, that means I’ve already gotten 2 new epics from the raid and that to me, is a great night.

    Plus, there are those of us, who DO in fact /pass because a fellow raider could get a better upgrade from it than ourselves.

    All in all it depends on the guild and the type of people who are in it. Unfortunately there ARE rotten apples in every bunch (ie: gear hogs etc) but it is just a game, so brush it off and hope for better next time. ; )

    Heck. I haven’t rolled over a 30 in like 3 weeks. LOL. cest la vie!

  5. Bozanimal says:

    Does this mean you going to have a loot distribution system guide coming up? You know, Mater, Need/Greed, DKP, Ni_Karma, etc. based on the above commentary?

  6. Arthemystia says:

    We use epgp as well. Not without flaws, but it works. Much better than the early dkp systems some guilds ran. We used to do a loot council when we only had about 15 raiders, and 8-12 on any given night. But with bigger guilds that gets harder.

  7. Sorean says:

    It really depends on what kind of grouping/guild you are running.

    I lead a small close knit guild that progress in a strict 10 man capacity and we’re progressing very well (33rd ranked in the US :D, shameless self plug :P) the guild uses a need/greed system, however all members are very conscious of what is an upgrade for them, what is a side-grade, and what would give another current person in the raid a much bigger benefit.

    You’re absolutely right in the sense that it really depends on the kind of raiders that you have. There is an amazing amount of trust among the people that run with us, if you can find a group of similar grouped people then you need not worry about things like DKP or any system like that.

  8. Omogon says:

    our guild is pretty casual ( if fact we have booted folks who got too “passionate” about stuff) We have a raid lootmaster who will only allow you to roll on items for your main spec. If nobody rolls…then you roll off spec…..if nobody rolls…then we all roll for shards. Even then there are lots of winners who will just pass loot to somebody else if they think they need it more or if they know that have an alt who will greatly benefit by it.

  9. Varcity says:

    I like our system of main–>offspec—> DE also. We /roll and if you win the loot, you lose 20 on your next roll (you roll a 95, but you already won so you lose 20 making your roll a 75). So some times you wait for the good gear instead of rolling on something you don’t really need because you don’t want to lose the 20 on the next roll. It doesn’t start any fights and is pretty fair in my opinion

  10. quivering says:

    like many players, ive been in guilds that do everything from open rolls, to suicide kings, dkp, loot council, and epgp. as a preference, epgp is my fav and i refuse to raid under a loot council of any type. in theory, to me, loot council is ideal because every other system is a bit robotic, but in practice, i dont trust people to be fair, its too hard.

    anyway ive been fussed at for not rolling on stuff, like a daggerin 245. my loot philosophy is to do the homework before hand and know what you want. i take all the loot, set it up in a priority and go from there. i ran into a snag this patch cuz i kept trying to incorporate 2 t8.5 pieces and it messed my system up :\. anyway, this really is only a big deal with weapons since i share weapon tables with so many. i dont roll on anything just cuz it drops and looks new and shiney. dkp or epgp i budget like i do money. i know what i want so i save up for it.

    i find that this mainly fails in 2 ways. one, it screws me if said item never drops or two, we end up DEing a bunch of stuff, and ive made exceptions on the fly for that. ive got beefs with every system ive been under though. i try to work in the system only to see someone who has raided three times but technically has a higher score than me aimlessly wander in and “OOOH SHINY I THINK I WANTS IT LOLOLOL!” and woop there it is. oh well.

  11. Valacia says:

    We just started using EPGP and I have to say that so far I like it better than a straight DKP system. Admittedly I am far from familiar with the various loot systems out there, but EPGP seems to cover a LOT of the bases pretty well. I am currently the worst geared hunter in our guild thanks to this weeks ToC25 run, But I know that I will probably get some upgrades (assuming they drop) next week because my PR is not higher than the other hunters.

    The only downfall I see to the way we are using EPGP is that alts and mains share the same PR, which is nice because that means you can gear your alts a bit more easily, but you will gimp your main. Unfortunately only my hunter is in this guild, and the “core hunter” has alts in the guild so his EP is HUGE. Hopefully this does not prevent me from getting an upgraded weapon soon, my 219 gun is starting to really hurt now that the rest of my gear is averaging above 226-245.

  12. Zat says:

    My guild does a KSK (Suicide Kings) system. We’re a “casual” raiding guild that raids 3-4 nights per week. It’s casual in that about 25% of the raiders only make about 2 raids a week.

    The KSK system works pretty well. Everyone is ranked 1 through #of raiders (we’ve got about 54 active raiders). When a piece of loot drops the person that needs it with the lowest rank (ie 1) wins. Then they go to the bottom of the list (ie 54) and everyone else moves up the list. It’s a pretty even loot distribution system.

    We only use our KSK numbers for i-245 gear plus i-232 weapons and i-226 capes and rings from Ulduar 25. TOC-10 and the rest of Ulduar 25 loot are just open need/greed roll because no one really needs big upgrades from there, and people were gaming the system not taking i-226 upgrades.

  13. Bindura says:

    We use epgp; and so far I can’t complain, even though I have close the lowest ratio in the guild.

    I hate Pug groups for raids; especially when there are 4-5 friends in the Pug. Recently I joined a Pug for Ony 10; the raid leader was a mage with some friends. He wanted a hunter and boomkin for ranged dps to round out the raid; his mates made up the rest of the dps. Being a Pug it was completely disorganised; someone aggroed some trash and half the raid wiped. We then started again before we were ready (no buffs) and proceeded to wipe on trash again.

    Now when the tank dies on trash; he is too squishy or the healer is slacking. The mage raid leader was pissed and decided to kick the rubbish dps??. I wish I had taken a screenshot at the time. But recount went something like
    Mage 3.5k dps
    Me 2.8kdps
    Boomkin 2.5/2.6k dps
    Other dps shammy, rogue dk less than boomkin.

    Mage kicks me and the druid because he wants 3.5kdps + from the dps (hunter and druid) obviously to compenstate for his mates lack of dps.
    But I know that if an arcane mage is outputting 3.5k dps on a single target and I’m doing 2.8k dps I will more than likely top his damage. Doesn’t make sense? Well Frost has already mentioned that recount likes mages. Here is my proof:


    My guilds mage pulls out 3.6k, I do 2.7k. This was a wipe (one of many due to our healers addons all failing for some reason). We did not even down one of the 3 council members. I did the most overall damage for the encounter; and the mage died after me. We only dpsed steelbreaker so a reasonably stationary single mob encounter.

    Now I am glad that I got kicked out early because I am fairly sure that If I had continued and we had downed Ony; seems very unlikely; I am sure would have been passed over loot by the mage for his mates (even for their offspecs).

    I don’t like Pugs

  14. Fradin says:

    we have the main/off spec then disenchant for shards for the bank which any of our raiders can acess if they need a new enchant however the only time this does not work for me is when some one new comes for the run you kill a boss and the cloak drops that you have been trying to get for the last 14 raids however he beats your roll and gets it . Is this fair ? should someone new to your weekly raid who may of only done the instance 3 times get the drop there will always be exceptions to the rules and you can not keep everyone happy all of the time. Its more to do with the make up of your players and there attuitude to loot , we are currently looking into this and a fair way for everyone. Most the time now our loot masters will call out over vent what class the piece suits and spec then everyone has a quick look at stats and we go from there. You will never find a system that suits everyone but if you can keep most happy then the guild is doing the right job.

  15. Malania - Draenor EU says:

    Curious system I always found a guild loot master to be. The LM isn’t always aware of what exactly constitutes a better upgrade for every class. Yes for his class but not all other classes. Given that people might want loot to phase out something after a a patch ala ArPen etc. They aren’t always going to know whats best. It will come down to guessing at higher loot levels when people are verging on the same ilvl of gear.

    Clear cut cases of blue vs purples yes but in the end that system will come down to abuse of who the LM likes more.

    But meh, my old guild (Wee I finally quit WoW. I have my first break in 4 years) used to use the DKP system but that eventually lead to hoarding of DKP which was fail and by the time Black Temple was whinding down for us there was a set order of people who got gear first. If they bid, everyone else was told to move to the next and it was always the same people every week because they were the people who could afford to raid 3 times a week.

    In Wrath we switched to EPGP which is just a DKP system with points that decay over time so you can’t hoard but it still came down to the fact that some people could raid every night and others couldn’t and so yes they decayed over time but so did the people who couldn’t make it so it was still the same people as TBC getting loot priority first.

    The entire loot system is unbalanced no matter what system you use. Some people will end up with more gear than others.

    My alt (a Discipline Priest <3) was in a social guild. The system they used was Roll: Main – Offspec/Alt. One piece of loot a night unless everyone else passes.

    Personally, even with the EPGP system we used in Angelic Knights I usually passed on 10 man loot regardless if someone else wanted, because I knew sooner or later I'd get 25 man loot for it. Unless it was a silly thing like the epic trinkets from Algalon 10 or Trial 25. Something that couldn't be beaten.

  16. Malania - Draenor EU says:

    Also a side note, I hate pug raids where I will lay down the virtual DPS law to the entire raid and the lowest DPS clown who’s always an idiot Hunter who bought there level 80 wanders in with 1K DPS and wins the loot that is a serious upgrade for an actual raiding Hunter.

    That system should be banned.

  17. I like to consider myself possibly the best geared Pugger in Llane. I technically have a guild. As of right now, I pug. I pug every week. I pug every raid I can get my hands on. I’ve amassed a good group of “Friend List” people that will start raids, and theres quite a few guilds that pull me in frequently to help out with their DPS. I take great pleasure in being the top DPS when I get pugged into guild runs. Not sure why… there’s probably some deep seated issue there that is better found on one of those cool psychiatrist couches.

    Anyway. Because of this, I’ve seen a few different loot systems, but I’ve never really gotten totally comfortable with any. But my story for today lies around EPGP.

    Theres a guild on Llane (I’ll leave them nameless for now) that mainly runs 25 man ToC. They pugged me and my healer buddy in for a raid one time, and we ended up being their top DPS as well as top Healer. Because of this, I’ve been pulled into their raid every week for a month now. They run an EPGP system, which I have absolutely no understanding of. To make it fair to pugs, however, they put in a rule that if a pug wants something, they pm the LM and say they want to roll on . Then if a guildee wants that same item, the LM rolls a 1-5. If it hits a 1 or 2, the pug gets it, or if theres more than one pug, the pugs roll against each other. 3-5 means the pug loses and the guildies use their strange epgp thing. That all goes on behind the scenes, and all I know is everyone goes silent until it randomly gets handed to someone and people “gratz.”

    I find this system very fair to us puggers. In a 25 man raid, with about 4 hunters, rogues, etc, I get a 2/5 chance on winning whatever item I want. I can only win 1 thing per raid, but I’m happy with that. Moreover, I have successfully won something every single week I’ve raided with them. The first week, I won a trophy. That got a lot of groans from the whole raid. The next week, they put in a rule that pugs couldn’t roll on trophies, which I was fine with, since I already got mine :) I affectionately call that the Kraigus rule.

    Since then, I’ve won the 25 man Bracers of Silent Massacre, some boots, and some legs. Everytime a hunterish item drops, everyone simply says, “Just hand em to Kraigus and get it over with”. When I won the bracers, they hadn’t put in the Kraigus rule yet. I wanted em. The LM rolled a 1. I got em. Then the Trophy roll came up, and the Raid Leader told me to roll in vent. I was surprised, but rolled anyway. Right as I hit enter, he said “Oh crap, you just wont he bracers, nevermind.” My roll was a 95 and would have won the trophy again. I just laughed as I got flamed for being the “Luckiest SOB….”

  18. Malania - Draenor EU says:

    Why would you need to pug if you have a guild you could raid with? It takes the chance of idiocity and falling apart after 1 boss.

  19. When I say I Technically have a guild, it basically means Im in a guild with some friends. We don’t raid. At all. So I pug. A couple of them pug with me sometimes. /shrug

  20. Omogon says:

    Our guild is not large…we are spread out over a huge bunch of time zones..(from Europe to Mid-West North America) some work shifts ….etc etc so we often find it hard to put together a 10 man…………………….so like Kraigus, lots of us pug………and it is fun getting into a pug and pulling top dps.

    Another “advantage” of sorts is that when I get invited to a pug and there are toons there that I know are “asshats”……I can just leave. There are no “loyalty” issues to deal with. I don’t pug unless I get to roll on all hunter loot though.

    And we all know that “everything is hunter loot” :D

  21. Clin says:

    Like others our guild uses dkp, having tried rolls which totally fails and causes much resentment by people who raid a lot but are unlucky on rolls. Our real problem is we spend all our time gearing up new people who then leave taking the gear with them. The result of this is we always have under-geared people who are seriously stopping our raid progression and this in turn is causing people to leave and fuelling the cycle. I saw something recently about the next expansion having “guild owned” recipes, patterns etc and I would really love to see this extended to include gear that drops in raids optionally becoming owned by the guild (perhaps for a period of time) and reverting back to the guild if the person leaves so we can give it to someone else. I would also be interested in hearing how guilds overcome this problem and maybe stop people leaving.

  22. Purp says:

    My guild uses the EPGP system to give out the loot. Basically you get points for showing up (every half hour it ticks for 250 points for everyone) and staying in the raid, this is the EP. The GP begins at 100, and every piece of gear is given a GP so if you win it, it gets added on to your GP. The EP is divided by your GP to give you your PR (priority) for the loot.
    After a while the people who have gotten many pieces of loot will have a lower PR, and the people who have been saving up can throw it away on whatever they choose :D
    My only problem with this sytem is early on, if I was late for a raid I was placed in the dreaded group 6.. I would basically sit there for 3 hours outside the raid unable to do dailies or anything :(
    We set it up now though that the top people with PR who show up on time get priority placing in the raid group as well :D

  23. Niol says:

    Zero sum here totally not fair system im number 3