Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Distributing Naxx loot

So today our subject is Naxxramas and the "new raiding". Some guilds already started, others aren't too far from their first Naxx raid. And sooner or later the raiders will find themselves confronted with the question of how to distribute the epic drops. Of course established raiding guilds have systems to do that, but they might find some new complications: Wrath of the Lich King blurred class roles and stats to some extent.

Imagine you have a raid with 10 players, one of each class (yeah, I know, probably not the perfect setup). An epic piece of plate armor with +defense bonus drops. Do you automatically give it to the warrior, or would the paladin or even death knight have the right to roll on it too? Even more tricky, what if a cloth epic drops, giving +int, +sta, +spi, and +spellpower, and it would be an upgrade for the priest, the mage, and the warlock. The time where healers had a separate healing power is over, so what would make such armor "healing gear"? The spirit bonus is probably slightly more useful for a priest, while lets say +spell hit or +critical might be slightly more useful for a mage. But would you automatically assign all gear with spirit to priests, or would a mage have the right to roll (or spend DKP) on that gear too?

Leather and mail are somewhat less complicated, because there are less classes needing it, and in some cases there is still only one class who can use it; for example leather with spellpower is a druid exclusive. Of course a rogue and a druid could be interested in the same sort of dps leather armor, but there is less overlap than for plate or cloth. I don't really know how raid composition will work out in Wrath of the Lich King, but of course it is totally possible that a raid has 4 or 5 cloth wearers, or some other accumulation of people vying for the same loot.

And of course the old loot distribution problems haven't gone away: Do you try to spread gear as evenly as possible, which slows down progress? Or do you concentrate gear on some strategically important characters, which speeds up progress, but risks huge setbacks when somebody leaves the guild or stops playing. So guild drama isn't going to go away anytime soon. But there is some hope that with Naxxramas being somewhat more accessible than Karazhan, plus all the other ways to gain epics from badges etc., random raid epic drops aren't the one and only way to upgrade your character. We'll see.
This is one of the many reasons that I dislike combat systems that are so dependent on items.
Most guilds will be caught up in the catch-22 situations that you describe in the latter part of your post, simply because their goals are not predefined in most cases. Most guild leaders should be prepared for these things to occur and realize that there's not much that they can do to prevent them from happening. In most cases a guild should look to how it populates its raids, and predefine what the long term goals of its progression will be when determing how to dole out loot.

My guild uses a sign-up based system, where guild members have to watch the forums for the announcement of a particular raid. 12 spots are made available(first come, first served), with 2 of those as standby positions in the case that Real Life™ rears its ugly head prior to the raid. Being that we use a sign-up based system of populating our raids, and 10-man content is essentially our main goal in all of this, we use the standard C->N->G rolling system in which everyone rolls based on a predetermined "declaration of spec"(healers dont need +spell hit for example) that each player is required to make prior to being allowed to "sign-up" for the raids. So basically you declare your spec, watch the forums for the sign-up post to be made by the raid leader, be one of the first 12 people to sign up, and you roll on loot based on your declared spec. We then go one step further and limit each player to ONE epic per run. If something gets sharded during a run, we place those shards/dusts/ect in the G-Bank to help with enchanting those items previously won. We allow each player to get ONE free enchant with G-Bank materials, and the enchant must pertain to their pre-declared spec. We also place the burden of managing all of this on the shoulders of the weekly raid leader. Any and all disputes are to be handled by the raid leader, as outlined in our guild charter, prior to the raid disbanding for the night. No drama is allowed to enter guild chat after a raid, ever.

I think that planning is critical in any given instance, regardless of the method of populating your raids, or the loot distribution that is used to award loot. We've had 4 years now to get acquainted with all of the possible drawbacks involved with managing raids, so no guild should have an excuse when it comes to minimizing the occurance of such.
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Designing gear to be suboptimal to everyone has been promoted to a design goal now, so I wouldn't worry about that. It's not like mages could avoid spirit gear before.
+defense loot goes to the tanks, Warrior and Paladin having the most use for it, Deathknight, then Druid due to the way it works. Typically the first 3 will only be interested in plate loot, and the same loot so its a strict toss up.

Saying that I left a guild over stuff like this :P, so what do I know.
I don't see the problem really. Thinking about class is redundant nowadays with regards to loot. Think "role", if the item in your example dropped, give it to a tank, whether is a warrior, paladin or DK. If it's a mail item give it to a mail wearing class (unless it has spelldmg on it, hunters hate that stat). Same goes for leather items (with the same exception for rogues).

I can see this being a problem with cloth though, as all cloth wearers want mostly the same stats. With plate items it's much easier to define role gear as tank stats =|= dps stats =|= healing stats. I've already experienced a minor loot drama over a Naxx cloth drop with spirit on, but if your guild isn't filled with "loot whores" that shouldn't be a problem.

Guessing from the example you used it looks like you're still a bit stuck in the pre-TBC world with regards to tanking though. A better example would've been the cloth one, as it's actually valid due to several roles wanting the same stats. I'm sorry, but there are no ultimate tanks anymore (same counts for healers and DPS too), Blizzard is actively trying to design away from that.
Question though: do you prioritize gearing certain people in your raid first? I mean, do you weigh your MT more than other plate wearers because his mitigation directly improves raid performance? Would it be better to improve your healers with the epic cloth drops because it increases overall survivability?

And not to criticize (I've hardly any experience as a raid organizer), but the practice of capping epics at 1 piece per person per raid and sharding the rest just seems ridiculous. Why would you shard something that could be a serious upgrade for someone, even if they've already received one piece that raid? Presumably you'd shard it because no one else could use it, but the bonuses of the gear have to surpass the bonus of any enchant you could get with the mats, right?
There has certainly been a lot of drama caused by Naxx loot in our guild. The deliberate blurring of loot boundaries is causing more grief between players, not less.
Lucky for me I am still some way off 80. Hopefully by the time I get to Naxx there won't be as much competition for drops.
Doesn't this harken back to Blizz's desire for us to "bring the player, not the class?" I think the main benefit you're overlooking, although this is less applicable in raids than in instances, is that with the new system, less loot will get DE'd or vendored.
It does, but there's still the problem of people not wanting to "waste" DKP/goodwill/whatever to get sidegrades.
Honestly, it's not that hard, and 10 man Naxx shouldn't bring that much drama into play. Simple rule: People can roll on items for the role they are in. Defense stuff goes to tanks, DPS plate goes to DPS warriors/DK/Ret Pally. Cloth is less hard than you think it is. Priests should want spirit, Mages are going to stay away from it. The amount of loot that Naxx drops, relative to how many players is insanely high. In a few weeks, you will probably be DE'ing 50% of the gear, so fighting over the first few drops is very silly and short sighted.
And not to criticize (I've hardly any experience as a raid organizer), but the practice of capping epics at 1 piece per person per raid and sharding the rest just seems ridiculous.

If this was in response to my post; I need to clarify. We have the cap for a reason, and yes, sharding something that -could- be used by someone else in the raid would be ridiculous, so we allow anyone to roll on the item after the initial roll is done using the C->N->G principal. Since we have our raiders declare their spec beforehand, rolling for an item based on a "offspec" desire isnt allowed. Plus, some of the new high end enchants require upwards of 6 epic shards, so sharding something this early in the game is actually a good pratice for our guild, overall.
"+defense loot goes to the tanks, Warrior and Paladin having the most use for it, Deathknight, then Druid due to the way it works. Typically the first 3 will only be interested in plate loot, and the same loot so its a strict toss up."

Well thats just silly because almost all of the tanking trinkets are going ot have +def on it and you are stating to the DK's and Druids "lolsillyfool loot goes to someone else first". just because it has +def on it does not mean that a Druid or DK shouldn't get it first. it will have other stats on it that are equally as important to all of the tanks.

On to the original topic.

10 man loot in naxx (and for any of the 10 mans) is being done on a roll system. If you have already won a piece you are out of the roll unless everyone else passes.

25 man loot we are going to use a half bid DKP system with the same 1 epic limit unless everyone passes rule.
The guild i'm currently in works via DKP with the highest bidder winning. This causes some commotion though when someone who arguably would recieve an upgrade that is significant gets beaten by someone who gets a minor upgrade. I had to sit through a raid where a Hunter bid on two different 2hand weapons and won them both whilst myself (running as a DPS warrior) was left wielding my Blue axe because I didn't have the DKP to compete against him (even though I bloody well tried :p )

Another run, actually only two days back, we were low on tanks for 25man Naxx and I opted to come as one - I still have a passion for tanking but was effectively 'forced' into going DPS because I wouldn't be accepted into any raids otherwise (the joys of having guild leaders as MTs I suppose). Anyway, I jumped at the chance, and tanked my way quite happily through. At the end upon the death of Grobbulus a cloak dropped. A tanking cloak. The other tanks said they didn't need it to I bid on thinking it would be given to me. Admittedly I was bidding on it as an offspec but I figured as I had tanked through the place something in the way of main > offspec would be applied. A restro druid won it -_-''

It's funny in a way because the TBC guild I was in was awesome. People passed loot around alot and there was in truth no need for DKP. At times it was hard to give loot away because people wanted others to benefit from such things. We only had 35 members, most were very active and we simply cycled through the loot/content easily without much problems - and more importantly, without much drama. More so everyone was genuinely friendly and polite. We were a guild of manners. But because the guild got dissolved at the end of TBC I ended up having to put myself into one of the other realm guilds and sufficient to say it doesn't live up to what i'm used to. I find myself almost becoming quite possessive of whatever loot drops now, because of the sheer lack of control on how loot is distributed.
I personally like a DKP system that lets you bid if you can use it. Progression is slower that way but seems to have less drama from my experience (mileage may vary). Example, I have 10dkp and another plate wearer has 11dkp. We both want the "Ring of Coolness", well because it's cool :) So we blind bid our DKP points to an officer who then states the highest DKP bid and the number of bids. Highest bidder wins. If I'm willing to spend all 10 for the ring, the other player will have to spend 11. If I'm only willing to spend 2 because maybe it's no so cool after all, the other player would win it with a bid of 3, or may vice versa.

It's definitely not perfect and people still complain optimization, but overall people seem to respect the "you earned it so you won it" foundation. Like I said it's not perfect but has minimized some of the drama since you take the decision out of people's hand (i.e. no "you like her better" drama, or "I'm !337 so I gets all da l00t$!".
My guild uses loot council. Tanking pieces went straight to MT and dps items went to main raiders and was evenly distributed imo. The guild leaders used this approach for faster progression and in the end it work, we managed to nab all server first kills.
I find the best method for distrubiting loot is to just "/roll". DKP complicaites things to the point where it isn't worth it. As far as who gets to "/roll" that should be entierly based on role. For example if a +defense sword drops and it is an upgrade for the warrior tank and is also an upgrade for the rogue. The rogue doesn't get to roll because he no use for +defense. In a similar manor, if the sword has nothing to do with tanking(no defense, low stamina) then the tank can't roll because it is an DPS item. Caster gear gets a little more confusing because every caster can make marginal use of +spirit. I'd say if the gear has a ton of spirit then the healer gets priority on it, just as if the gear has no to very low spirit then the mage gets the priority on it. Making all this clear through vent or guild info makes the runs a lot smoother. No one needs a mage wining because he missed on an epic chest that ISN'T an upgrade for him since it lacks crit and has spirit.

"Well thats just silly because almost all of the tanking trinkets are going ot have +def on it and you are stating to the DK's and Druids "lolsillyfool loot goes to someone else first". just because it has +def on it does not mean that a Druid or DK shouldn't get it first. it will have other stats on it that are equally as important to all of the tanks."

Wrong. First, not all trinkets have +defense. Second unless the druid is stacking defense(which would be very odd, druids use stamina and agi). The small amount of +defense from one item is going to be useless to the druid, making this a wasted stat and a wasted item. Priority on this would be for a warrior, pally or DK tank.

Also keep in mind that any serious guild is going to be running these places over and over again, there is a good chance that an even better trinket will drop for the druid, or perhaps the same one after the warrior/pally/dk tank doesn't need it.
"Wrong. First, not all trinkets have +defense. Second unless the druid is stacking defense(which would be very odd, druids use stamina and agi). The small amount of +defense from one item is going to be useless to the druid, making this a wasted stat and a wasted item. Priority on this would be for a warrior, pally or DK tank."

Notice I didn't say "all tanking trinkets will have +def on it". It doesn't change the fact that just because an item has +def on it should mean it auto goes to Warrior/Pally, as long as their are other stats on it that can be used by the other tanking classes.

By your logic this which has a lot of str and Stamina plus dodge rating and hit rating to go with the +def would automatically be an FU to the Druids and DK's. The gains in Dodge for the DK and Druid can be just as important as the gain in +def is for the Pally/Warrior especially since you can hit 540 Def on a Pally/Warrior before you even step foor inside a heroic.
"Quote: Random Poster

Quote: 2nd Nin
"+defense loot goes to the tanks, Warrior and Paladin having the most use for it, Deathknight, then Druid due to the way it works. Typically the first 3 will only be interested in plate loot, and the same loot so its a strict toss up."

Well thats just silly because almost all of the tanking trinkets are going ot have +def on it and you are stating to the DK's and Druids "lolsillyfool loot goes to someone else first". just because it has +def on it does not mean that a Druid or DK shouldn't get it first. it will have other stats on it that are equally as important to all of the tanks."

Defense loot goes to tanks, based on raw item value Paladins and Warriors get more use from a defense item than DK (4/4 useful stats vs 3/4), however as I said it is basically a toss up since all of these classes need defense rating to get uncrit, and maintaining uncrit while gearing up is more difficult than getting there. Druids should really not be needing on +defense trinkets / rings unless it is a significant upgrade (and never on plate) because of the benefit to the other classes, if it is a significant upgrade for a druid and there is no alternative then of course they have a right to roll, but a Druid needing on an item like:

+90 str
+90 Def Rating

Is an ass.

A Druid needing on:

+500 Armour
+80 Stam
+20 Str
+40 Def

Is a lot more reasonable and that 2nd one would likely be an open item. Again it is all about giving gear to classes that can use it, same way healers don't get +hit gear.
You know if that ring would have dropped and all our Main spec/Full time tanks already has it or will only be a sidgrade for them it will just be /roll for people who wish to offspec =P.

I saw some healers needing on +hit gear. I'm like "WoW i guess your heals miss that much eh?"
You have to be careful about the spirit and crit part. Warlocks get 30% (39% skilled) of spirit as spell power, which is a lot more than every other class. The spirit based regeneration is a lot less important because you have replenish which works on max mana and is unrelated to spirit.

As priest, especially discipline, you get a lot of nice stuff which procs from critical heals, a warlock on the other side doesn't get anything besides double damage. There is nothing that procs from a crit for a warlock. (Improved Shadow Bolt has long passed its glory days.)

So, while priests start to have a usage for crit, warlocks have now a real use for spirit.

It will be important to think outside of the classical "this is xyz gear" scheme, which will take time.
"+90 str
+90 Def Rating

Is an ass.

A Druid needing on:

+500 Armour
+80 Stam
+20 Str
+40 Def"

Again I never said a Druid should roll on EVERY SINGLE +DEF item. Read it again. I said that +def should not automatically mean it goes to Warr/Pally.

A certain amount of common sense comes in to play. I agree the first item a Druid rollin on would just be stupid. But the second item according ot the guy who originally posted that about "+def goes to Warr/PallY+ would go to those guys first with no chance for the Druid or DK to roll on it.
Our guild runs 10-man content, and is small enough that a loot system of "/roll" is working ok. We have some social conventions in place, such as encouraging people to pass they already got loot and someone else didn't, or pass if it is a sidegrade for one person but a huge upgrade for another. The system works for us. (It may not work for a large guild, or a guild that is focused on server-first kills or a guild with players whose primary motivation is loot.)
Justice is often portrayed as a blind goddess. Let everyone who has need roll for the item.
Yes we're seeing the same issues coming up, and self-styled authorities will often announce in vent who the piece is for (rather like some of the comments above)

Happily, our RLs ignore the vent comments, and go with their own feelings atm. They are planning to go through all the loot and come up with a best guess priority list. All raiders are welcome to question and discuss these lists, and once set, that will be that, unless an individual questions the priority before a raid and before the piece drops. I think this is a cool system; right now though, since numbers, specs & classes are all over the place, we're just doing some basic loot council, based on who's received the least loot recently, and how appropriate it will be for them as an upgrade. We're moving back to DKP very shortly... thank god!
I thought this was a pretty odd post, Tobold - apart from cloth gear, I don't think there are any changes in Wrath that would make you question your existing loot system (assuming you like the one you have). Cloth is a bit tough, because it seems like they have blurred the lines a bit. Then again, I have no clothies over 10. ;)

But you use the example of +Defense plate and ask if it would be auto-looted to the Warrior...bizarre question. Many of your commenters have already covered this, but it would be prioritized to your tanks. What's a Warrior? Your question's wording indicates that a Fury or PvP Arms Warrior would be a pretty likely recipient for Defense plate. If a pally or DK is tanking, then they have priority, and that's only natural.

Again, other people have said this, but gear should always be distributed by role. A Warrior tank can Need on defense plate but not on a 2H sword. I'm sure you know this...were you being coy, to encourage discussion? I'd rather see you demonstrate your excellent grasp of MMOs than feign ignorance to get us talking. :)

What's really going to be interesting, and we are getting a preview via DKs, is Dual Specs. Now you'll have all kinds of folks wanting to need on gear for two roles because they have specs for both of them. Imho smart guilds will stick to having one declared role for every person, and they can get loot for their second spec when no one else needs it for their primary role.

Main tank gets first priority for all tanking loot. Granted plate vs. leather in the case of druids most tanks will pass to a druid tank on leather, but an upgrade is an ugprade.

Healers next. If it's an upgrade for a healer, it goes to a healer. Granted items like +Spirit need to go to priests over pallies for instance, but greatest need helps determine where it should go.

DPS gears up last.

Tanks die. Raid wipes.
Healers die. Tanks die. Raid wipes.
DPS die. Fight takes longer. May or may not lead to a wipe if healers can sustain mana.

Basically, it's a matter of longevity. Gear up those that keep the raid alive the longest first.
Right now it seems like the only difference between cloth caster and cloth healer gear is that the dedicated caster gear has +hit and the dedicated healer gear has mp5. Healers weigh hit at 0, and most casters don't even factor mp5 into their models.
We have, and likely always will, use a loot council for loot distribution. A number of things go into this, but we are exceedingly fair with our distribution and keep an open database of attendance and loot for all of our members to view. This has worked well for us for the past 4 years, and we rarely see complaints from our members. This gives our officer team the ability to make some decisions that a straight DKP system may not, such as "a neck with +hit really should be prioritized to a class that is going to have benefit from that stat".

That being said, with the new itemizations that have been implemented we are testing something new for our guild. We have added a forum topic called "wish lists" where we have asked everyone to go through all of the current available gear (10 man/25 man/badge) and locate what they consider their "best in slot" item that they would ultimately like to have. We are hoping that this will help our members better educate themselves, and others, on what loot is available and for them to have a better idea of what they would like. We are hoping that this will help alleviate people taking loot over someone else and then going "oh, this isn't as good as I thought, and item xyz is better for me". I am frequently surprised at how little time and effort people put into figuring out how they would like to gear themselves, so I am hoping that this will end up being a useful exercise for everyone =)
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We go with on-spec, then on-spec won already, then off-spec, then off-spec won already, then duplicates for diff enchants (usually only happens with melee weapons).

The raid team's leader may choose to declare the winner, if it would be a sidegrade for one but a major upgrade for another.
Our guild has had great success with a tiered DKP system. The guild raiders are broken down into several ranks awarded for attendance over long stretches of time (roughly 90 days since guild invite). The guild leaders can and do exercise the right to fudge the time cut off if a person shows exceptional attendance and dedication, preparation, and teamwork, etc…. The ranks are divided by a large percentage cutoff, something like 90% for the highest rank followed by 70% then 50% and so on.

The higher the rank, the higher the priority, so a 90% person has priority, regardless of DKP, which by definition would generally be higher than the next lower category. If no one in that category wants the item for whatever reason, the next category has access to it. If more than one person wants it, whoever has the highest DKP wins it unless they actively pass it. Each item has a set DKP amount. The Guild bank “purchases” any item that is sharded with its own virtual DKP.

DKP is awarded based solely on attendance beginning at the time of raid start. Items that drop have their DKP added together and pooled then divvied evenly similar to Zero-Sum DKP. Late raiders forfeit attendance for that raid unless they had previously notified via the website or communication in game to an officer of late status. Excess raiders are allowed to disjoin the raider or log to an alt after the raid begins and periodically an officer will call an “OOR check” in guild chat. A player that responds is rewarded DKP as if they were in the raid outside the instance.

I’m not sure if it’s the quality of character and perspective or merits of the system itself that have made loot dispersion non-existent. Probably a bit of both, but whatever it may be this system works extremely well for us.

Rarely do DKP systems work that well however. The majority of players in an average raiding guild will do some pretty underhanded things to destroy what DKP you have. While I won't go into that, the way gear is now will cause some stir. Most guilds will want to gear up their healers first, which is very pragmatic. However with healer and dps caster gear roughly benefiting the same from each item, DPS classes will not like having to wait to get their upgrades, no matter how much sense it makes to better the guild " as a whole ".

I personally only see complaints, though I can see how as an individual it will help only because less items will get shared due to more players needing it.

Just my 2 not very well thought out cents.
It's a very interesting question.
A piece of cloth drops that has Spellpower on it. How many class/spec combination 'could' use it? Mages (3), Warlocks (3), Priest (3), Shaman (2), Druid (2), Paladin (1). That's right. A straight piece of spellpower gear could be use by 14 different classes. If you add in other stats like: +hit - you can drop the healers from the list; +spirit - you can drop those who don't get any benefit from spirit from the list; and so on.

It's still a crazy mess unless you run with people who all know what gear and gear stats everyone else they're competing against needs for improvement.

We used to do a 'don't be an ass/think about your raidmates' /rand to show interest, followed by loot council awarding the winner of the roll, or whispering that person explaining why they should pass to the next person on the list. This added lots of time to the loot distribution to the point where it could hold things up.

I've proposed another loot system to my fellow raid officers, we'll see how that goes.
This should be an easy one...
1. award players points for the length of time they have been part of the guild/raiding system.
2. Award another set of points based on how much the gear will help the player-character/guild raids, stat-wise.
3. Distribute loot according to highest point totals per player from both categories
or am I missing something
I don't play WOW, but I played FFXI for years, we had a system something like this and there were almost no arguments about drops.
In FFXI you could have multiple jobs on the same character so you had to declare before hand what job you were putting forward for the NM battles, (raids)
To continue the Druid defense discussion. Druids do gain dodge from defense so once a druid hit a point where he has so much agility, the dodge from Defense can be as good or better.

So yes DPS leather goes to Druids(Tanking and DPSing - there is no difference now - Blizzard took all the tanking leather out) and Rogues. Tanking Rings, Necks, Backs and Trinkets will be problematic and they have been problematic since Vanilla WoW. I tanked MC and BWL as a Feral druid and had to fight with the leadership to even be able to get the items over DPS Warriors.
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