Tuesday, March 28, 2006
I spent an evening playing D&D, but as all of the members of my D&D group now also play WoW, we talked a lot of WoW as well. Two of my friends are in a raiding guild which already got Ragnaros to below 20%, and has Onyxia on farm status. And they were telling about 6 of the most hardcore members of their guild leaving, over some issues of raid loot distribution. The last couple of days discussion about raid loot distribution is all I hear, everywhere.
The clash is basically always the same. Player A goes on 4 raids per week, player B only on one of them. In that one raid an item drops that both player A and player B want. Who gets it?
There is no easy answer to that question. There are basically two extreme positions, with a lot of possibilities in between. One extreme is a simple loot roll, giving both A and B the same chance to win the item. The justification for that is seeing every raid as an isolated event, with every participant having equal part in its success. Or in other words, player A, by doing 4 times more raids, already has 4 times the chance of finding and getting something good. But in each individual raid he only gets a 50% of winning a loot roll against player B.
The other extreme position is saying that the player with more raids gets priority on all items, so if both A and B want the same item, A automatically wins. The justification for that is seeing the success of each raid as a result of the practice acquired in previous raids. Player A spent a lot of money on repairs, potions, etc. in the other 3 raids, and if he didn't find the item he wanted in those raids, now he gets absolute priority. That helps the whole guild, because that item will be used in more future raids than if it went to the casual raider. So in this case player A gets a 100% chance of winning the loot against player B.
Of the intermediate versions there are too many to count. In my guild player A would have gotten 40 raid points for attending 4 raids, against the 10 raid points of player B. Thus having more raid points, he would have received a +50 to his loot roll. The math is a bit tricky, but the chance of player A winning a loot roll with +50 against player B is 87.5%, or 7 in 8. If there is a whole troupe of casual raiders rolling against player A, he still has a chance of over 50% (he just needs to roll 51 to be unbeatable) to win, while the casual raiders have a less than 50% chance divided by their number.
I like our system, but there is no way I could say whether a 87.5% chance of winning the loot is the optimum point between 50% and 100%. What I do know is the consequences of either extreme: If player A has 100% chance to get the loot, player B will turn up once for each boss fight as a tourist, to have seen the boss mob, and then never go again. If the guild has enough hardcore raiders and few or no casual raiders, that is not a problem. But if there are casual raiders in the guild, whenever player B turns up at a raid, due to having been excluded from looting in previous raids, he won't have the gear which would enable him to contribute as much to the raid as player A, even if he played equally well. Thus the two groups develop away from each other, and sooner or later the guild splits up. Another disadvantage is that if you give all the loot to player A, and player A for some reason decides to leave the guild, the guild as a whole suffers a huge setback.
If player A only has 50% chance to get the loot, the progress of the guild as a whole will slow down. If it takes dozens of wipes against the same boss mob to be finally able to beat him, and being wiped isn't rewarded at all, there will be not much interest in the harder raids. You try the hard boss after killing the easier boss in front of him, wipe three times and go home. While the loot is more evenly distributed than in the other extreme case, player A still has more loot and definitely more experience than player B. So A, who will most likely think that 50% chance is less than his fair share, is likely to leave the guild for a more dedicated raiding guild, further hindering or even throwing back the progress of the guild as a whole.
If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny that whatever system you install, you have *both* players A and B accusing the other of being greedy and wanting to grab more than his fair share of loot. Even with my support for the 87.5% chance for player A, while being more a player B type of player, I'm still accused for wanting too much loot. I sure want *some* chance of getting loot, even if it just a 1 in 8 chance. Guess that proves that greed rules the virtual worlds as much as it does the real one.