Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Few Words on Loot Assignment

Talking with a few guild mates last night on voice chat it occurred to me how different people really are when it comes time to talk about loot in general.

I was mentioning some pugging I did this week, laughing, about how some groups are looking to get people buy saying things like "All Monk loot reserved" or "Agility trinket reserved".  I said, it really limited the potential sign up, or could create problems from people that do not read, which is most, reserving loot like that.

Someone said they would never join a pug with reserved loot, even if they were a guaranteed one shot group, even if the loot that was reserved was for a class they were not on, never never never.  Another one said they have no problems joining a group with reserves as long as they are all mentioned beforehand.  Me, I lean more toward the second person, as long as I know about it before hand than I can make an informed decision on if I want to join or not.  Also with coins now at least I would have a chance to roll so even if something is reserved I can still win what I am looking for.  In theory anyway.

The comments ran the gambit from one end to the other, some even getting rather hostile over the idea that people would even reserve something.  The one logical comment made, and really one I agree with 100%, was "if I helped them down the boss then I have equal rights to all loot that drops from it".  I agree completely, unless you are a carry if you helped in the downing of the boss you should have the same right to loot that drops from it as any other person.

I mentioned that when looking for a raiding guild for my horde hunter last expansion I used that same line.  I got invited to join a few heroic (now mythic) guilds that offered to trial me.  All well and dandy, until they told me that I could not roll on loot for the first 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how the trial goes.  No thank you.  I do not care if you have downed something 20 times and it is my first time.  If I can not roll on loot there is absolutely no reason for me to help you kill the boss.

Needless to say I had a dreadfully hard time finding a guild, but I did end the expansion in nearly all heroic (now mythic) gear because I held out for groups where I would be allowed to roll on gear.  I believe, as I said, unless it is a pure carry, if you contribute to the downing of a boss you have the same rights to loot as anyone else there.

So we went back and forth about our opinions on pugs, laughing at some of the requirements they ask for, like the one normal archie group that wanted 740 item level only.  Or the one that wanted AotC for normal, not as bad as asking for 740 but lets get real.  One of my favorites was a reserve one where the guy put, random loot on reserve.  What exactly does that mean?  I have no problem joining a group I know there is something on reserve in, but I am not going to join a group that said random loot on reserve.  How do I know that what I want to roll on you won't say, "Oh, that is one of the things I reserved, sorry.".  Eh, no thanks, I'll pass.

Then we got to talking about our guild and one of the members that just left because being on the topic of loot someone got upset because a player left guild and switched servers after "we geared her up".  I told him not to think of it that way.

Sure we ran a few normal clears to get her gear when she came back to the game and then we carried her through some heroics until she started to get back into the swing of things, but she tried her best based on the gear she had and once geared she did contribute just as much as anyone else in the group.  She was a great player and she was starting to get back into the game.  Maybe she wanted more.

I do not know were she left to join.  Maybe to join a top progression guild again, as we did originally recruit her away from blood legion, and she came to us because she still wanted to be in a good guild but without the hardcore pressure any longer.  Or maybe she left to go play with her boyfriend again as she had mentioned she wanted to do for a while, who happens to be horde side, who knows, we did not talk before she left.

Either way, I do not look at it as "we geared her up".  I look at it as we helped her gear up as she helped us down bosses.  Sure we did run normal a couple of weeks were we could have spent the time getting more gear in heroic or working on progression, sure it sucks losing someone we invested time in, but it is all par for the course if you ask me.  It is not last expansion.  The raiding scene is dying a painful death as a whole, we are no longer the #1 25 man guild on the server and #3 10 man on the server where people are fighting to come to us, we are just another run of the mill casual raiding guild once more.  So people will leave, it is the way it is.

But he got so offended, took it personally, and I think if ever she decided to come back to the guild he would cause problems with it.  All because in his mind "we geared her up and she left".

It is amazing how possessive people get over gear, even if it is not gear for them. Be it in pugs, in guild, what have you, they have the idea that it is "my gear".  I'd think if anyone would be that jaded about it that person would be me with my piss poor luck.  Yet in the end I think I am one of the few people that have, what I believe, to be a healthy outlook on gear.

I wonder what other peoples opinion on the matter is, in respect to pugs reserving things if you would like it or not, join them or not, and in respect to having people gear up and then move along in your guild.  As it seems from my discussions last night, some people have very strong views on these loot assignment issues.  What are yours?


  1. I think you have it right. If a person contributes to the downing of a boss, they should have a fair and equal chance at loot.

    Sure, ppl can set up their own pug groups and put whatever restrictions are on it as long as they are upfront, frank, and honest about it from the start. I just wish people would never sign up for those pugs, because it reinforces the notion that a person that set up the raid "deserves" whatever piece of loot they want if it drops. I can understand wanting a return on the investment of setting up a group, but in the end, I think its just an unhealthy, selfish way of conducting oneself.

    The real complexity comes in when people start using various point systems to manage to evenly distribute gear. Any system can be gamed.

    Luckily, I am part of a couple groups who take the longview. We acknowledge what we want and are aiming for, and then if it drops we roll on it. More often than not, the 2+ ppl rolling on the same piece have a quick "is it a big upgrade for you? its a minor one for me" conversation and the gear usually ends up in the hands of the person who needs/benefits from it the most. But that's not a pug, that's a team, and that's why raiding with a pug will never compare in my opinion.

    1. I agree. More often then not I do not sign up for groups with reserves even if what is reserved is something I do not need. I do not sign up out of principle, however when the week rolls on and I want to down a boss, I do tend to get a little less picky.

      My core group is much the same, even if many people roll on it we usually defer to the person that needs it most. It is a group effort. There are some people however that try to hog all the gear. We have a few of those also, I think every group does. I often hear myself saying something like, "but you have the four piece already and this will give so and so the four piece which might help us in downing the next boss." Usually they listen to me, sometimes they don't. The ones that don't get on my pay no mind list after that however.

  2. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Makes me smile to see you still hold to the belief that we play as a team, for that is what you describe in your attitude toward loot. As for the specific player, she was a super asset while we had her, and truth be told, she more or less enters into our veritable legion of former members who have played with us well for a bit and then moved on. Pretty sure I know or rather could guess those who might have the "we geared her up" blues, but what they are really saying is "damn but we lost a great player."

    The way to explain it to them is simply to note that no one ever truly leaves us. We still claim you regardless of your guild name, provided you left on even moderately decent terms and have some one around in the guild who remembers you. That is one of our strengths as a guild, and why some players will always consider us an alternative home and return to our banner when the time is right. We both have seen that occur time and again.

    1. I've always been a team player. Sometimes I hurt myself doing so in the process, but I know I need them and they need me, so it is a group effort. Nothing dies alone.

      We have had many players leave and come back and I would not say it is out of the question for this to happen again in this case.

  3. In non-guild runs I consider myself a mercenary: I fight - I get paid. I don't really care about off spec reserves but everything else better be fair game. I'm not a charity.

    1. That is how I look at it, either if I pug or if I invite a pug to join us. You are part of the team and have the same rights as anyone else to gear.

  4. Agree on every point. A team is a team. Pug reservations/requirements are totally absurd these days, but if they are honest upfront I'm ok with it. I've never understood getting upset about gear.

    1. People get really upset over it. I hear people rage over it and they are not even in the pug with the reserve and they will not let it go.

      I'd like to think I have the best attitude for me, maybe that is the best for them, even if I do not agree with being upset over it.

  5. I generally don't join pugs with loot reserved (especially tier) for more selfish reasons. For example, if 'prot tier' is reserved it's going to discourage war/hunt/sham/monk from joining. So you end up with a group that is heavily conq/vanq and diminish your own chances if your tier piece does drop. Or a caster trinket on reserve = a group heavy on hunters and melee. It effectively reduces everyone's chance at loot, regardless if you want the actual item(s) on reserve.

    The other thing I don't like about these groups is that it is generally in the leaders best interest to make them as large as possible. More loot dropping means greater likelihood that their reserved item drops. I find that once pugs get bigger than 15 or so people, success rate starts going down and wait time up. At least on my server, when you look at group finder, the personal/no reserves groups are all targeting something close to 2/4/9 and fill quickly. Groups with stuff reserved are generally sitting at 20 dps and 'NEED HEALS'.

    1. I never actually thought of it that way. Very good observation. So even if I am on my mage, I should not join a group that is reserving prot tier because that means there will be more people on my token to contend with. Can't believe that never occurred to me. So very true.

      Not sure the large as possible thing is that big of a deal. I've done groups with small numbers and very "good" players and struggled and I've done groups with many poor players but we downed things no problem. Scaling is horrible, the more people you have the easier the bosses die. But I do get what you are saying. They make them big to increase their chances of getting what they want. Sorry, but I do not work for them. If I am working to get the piece for them the least they can do is pay me.

      Beauty of being a healer is that you can suck, I mean really dreadfully suck, and even tell the raid leader that, and they will still take you. That is how I managed to get into a heroic ToT run on my alt priest last expansion when it was current. Was on my hunter and we were looking for a healer for 20 minutes, the raid leader asked if anyone had a healer alt. I said, I have a priest I do not play much, its item level is okay but I am really out of practice, he said, who cares, switch. So healers always get groups, even bad ones, with no problems what so ever.

  6. When I ran my guild and raid we used a loot system so it got very complicated bringing in a pug or a trial.
    When someone was trying out for the guild they were not allowed to bid on loot. They were told this up front but if they were accepted into the guild they would earn the points for the run so they could start bidding on things sooner. I also let them soak up any loot that was going to rot if they wanted for free. This was actually quiet lucrative as they then would not have to spend points on that piece of gear most trials joined got a few pieces of loot free and points but they didn’t have first dibs. Any recruit that complained about this set up was a big red flag for me on if I would vote yes or no. When you’re trying out for a raid spot in a progression raid team I expect more.
    For Pugs which was very rare and not needed for anything except hitting that mythic cap of 20. I let them know the loot rules ahead of time. I gave them a roll against all the other people in the raid that would have been bidding on it if one of the guild members won then we would use our loot rules and the pug wouldn’t get it if the pug one he received the loot. Essentially they had the same chances as if we weren’t doing a loot system. Again I rarely had to pug as I had more apps then spots so it was pretty easy to bring in a trial instead.
    I personally don’t mind if something is reserved ahead of time I just don’t join if it’s something I want. If it’s something I don’t care for or can’t use then it isn’t going to even matter. That being said and all things being equal I would pick the raid that didn’t have loot restrictions to join. Of course that takes out other factors like if it was a good run that I know would get the clear or not.

    1. I understand how those types of loot systems can be great, but also they screw the new guy, this is why I never used on. I do not want the new guy to feel screwed. It is also why I would not join a guild that used a loot system like that. If I have been there 5 years or 5 days should not make a difference if I am eligible for loot, in my opinion.

      I sometimes do not even mind if what I am looking for is reserved. If I am really desperate thanks to coins I figure I will just roll and try to win. Hasn't quite worked well for me, but I keep trying. lol

    2. the flip side is you are stuck whining about RNG and how cruel it is to you. New people arn't punished like I said they all still earn the same points new people skyrocket to the top in epgp if they haven't looted anything that's why I need to protect the people that have been there putting in the effort. You just are thinking of it wrong. You think of loot as the payment for raiding. In my raid you aren't paid in loot you are paid in effort points that you spend on loot. everyone gets the same effort points and gets to decided what item is there priority The best part is it gives you a nob to turn to turn to control your raid. Are people showing up late and not letting you know there going to skip Reward Effort points for on time bonus and give cancellation notice effort point reward. works great and is a good way to motivate players with incentive instead of a stick. This is why when you whine about how cruel RNG is to you I just roll my eyes anymore.

    3. Its not whining, it complaining, there is a difference. Whining is when you are upset you do not get anything while doing nothing to get it yourself, complaining is killing manoroth the 10th time and still not even either a hunter tier piece or bow drop. Which in that case, your loot system would still mean jack shit. Can't win something that does not drop.

      I do see the virtues of your loot system but it could never work for me. With not even getting 10 people some nights we can't really be adding a loot system that would make even less people come. If I were sitting on a group of 30 raid ready and raid capable people, I would switch to your loot system in a heart beat. I just do not have that option.

      In the end the problem is not the system we use to assign loot, mine or yours, it is the loot distribution. My problem is not so much not winning loot, even if I did lose some sad rolls like losing with a 96, it is more so nothing ever drops I can use to begin with.

      Blizzard needs to ditch this "welfare for the lucky" loot design and move to a reward system were you earn your gear and not luck into it.

    4. We move the guild from a dead server to a really bustling server. it was a hard choice but the other option was to die with the server. So I understand where you are coming from. Part of what made the guild successful for me was finding a vision and sticking to that and advertising the guild as such. It's really hard actually and was one of the reasons I ended the guild when I did I had lost my passion for my vision and decided to go out on a high note rather then let the guild slip into a shell of its former self. I wish I could help you guys but some of the solutions to your problems are really painful.

      and you whined about that Teir tokens last raid. :P

    5. I do whine sometimes. But it is maybe 70% complaining (not dropping) and 30% whining (not winning).

      I am thinking of using a 100 boost to a populated server just to pug there. The in game group finder sucks. The best way to pug is still on server and good servers are the best for that. I would not ask my guild to move for various reasons. But I do know from a raiding standpoint that would be best for them instead of being on a dead server.

  7. Raiding = a 'job'.
    Loot = training.

    If you aren't doing your job, you don't deserve training.
    If you don't get training for doing your job, you can't contribute.
    If you're job can't/doesn't give you training, you move on.
    Just because you trained someone, doesn't mean they have to stay with working for you.

    1. Actually, it does. At least in my country. It's in the contract with your employer - if they invested in a training for you or certification, you have to stay for 6-24 months, depending on the cost. If you decide to leave earlier, you have to pay back part of the cost proportionate to the time you didn't spend using your training for them. In real life, where money is involved, you never get something for nothing and investing in people has to have a return.

    2. I get what you mean. Sometimes people do not think that way. I've had some guild members leave over the years, even going to world first contenting guilds, only to come back because they felt at home here. I taught them how to play, they felt they owed it to me. Not sure they owed me anything, but I was always grateful to have them.

      I think that is why I am still with my guild, I feel I owe them. So maybe I am a little the same. It does not seem like there are many like that however.

  8. I read this and I think, wow you must think my guild is really mean.

    When I trial someone for our guild, I say to them that they are unable to loot an item over any other guildie that wants the item, but they are welcome to loot that is to be sharded. I have always thought this was reasonable - if they weren't in the run, we would have killed it anyway. So we don't really need them.

    However, the last people I recruited found it a great affront that if they came as a trial they weren't entitled to loot. If we killed a boss they wanted loot from and weren't entitled to it, then they couldn't pug the boss again and get loot unless they used a coin to roll on it. I honestly thought that was a bit silly - after all, for our guild had farm kills that they could use loot for, so they could take those, and on a progress fight we had put in the hard yards and they would be a good 10-20k dps below our best players and would be considered carries - yet they thought they were entitled to loot over our main raiders? I found their thinking strange.

    This however is very different from a PuG with reserved loot. I wouldn't join a PuG that had a reserve on loot I wanted, but happy to join pugs that had reserves on loots for hunters, for example, since that doesn't affect me.

    About "gearing up people who leave the guild"....
    My guild works on EPGP, so anyone who took lots of gear who was new would be at the bottom of the EPGP, so really they would only get stuff that nobody wanted. By the time they geared up, and moved on, I also think that I would rather someone found a guild that suited them, than one that they weren't happy in. We all pay our money so we should all play where we want. I don't feel the need to hold on to people - though my recruiting and turnover is quite low - and I think people should think the same. That person who left contributed damage, maybe bloodlusts or healing cooldowns - and boosted the numbers in a group. You don't own someone because you gave them some stuff. Imagine if you went to a restaurant and ate there a few times and then they gave you a 1% discount for being a great customer. So then you want to try a different restaurant and the restaurant you ate at before gets angry at you because they gave you discounts and this is how you repay them by going to another restaurant? Sounds silly doesn't it. Just like trying to hold onto someone just because you geared them up.

    That's my 2c.

    1. I could agree to that under "some" circumstances. For example, if my horde hunter were to join you, he is being carried, so I 100% agree. I only get the scraps no one needs. But if my alliance hunter were to join you, he is at your level, contributing just as well as anyone else in the group, and as such, he deserves just as much consideration.

      I do understand why a lot of guilds are like that however. It must suck having person after person join, get some gear, and leave. It has happened to me. So much so I wanted to be like that, make people have a trial. But I have not come to that point yet. It is also why when I bring a trial I bring them to normal. Tell them I just want to see how they can do. If they are willing to go through something they do not even need anything from, and even carry some of our alts, then they earned the gear they might get in a heroic.

      Someone made a solid point earlier about reserve gear for something not of your spec. Being you used hunters as an example. If they have hunter tier reserved then you might have fewer warriors, hunters, shaman and monks and you might have more rogues death knights mages and druids in your group because of it, which in turn makes it harder for you to win stuff. Even if the tier you do not use is what is reserved, your chances of winning something else could still be reduced because of it.

      I agree with the "you don't own someone" idea if they got gear. It is funny how some people in the guild think that way however. And honestly it surprised me how many actually thought that way. I would like them to stay, sure, I hate turn over personally, but I do not fault someone for leaving to go somewhere that they think they will enjoy it more. After all, as you said, we all pay our 15 bucks a month.

  9. Overall I'm not fine with reserving loot in PUGs, but as long as it is mentionned beforehand, you know what you've sign up for.

    Our guild somewhat did pugs with reserve loots (tiers essentially) but that was a different situation.

    It was at the beginning of HFC, when we wanted to get tier bonuses, the friday alt run turned into a normal run for tier, so we told our friends that came with us usually that they could roll on anything but tier. But it was bosses they would not have down without us anyway AND they were not random pugs, but long-time friends of the guild, so the situation was in my opinion a bit different than the random pug you can find in group finder.

    1. I agree, if it is mentioned beforehand then it is the decision of the people that join if they accept it or not. So that is fine in my opinion. Not saying I would join a group if someone I want is reserved, but as long as it is noted before hand I see no problem.

  10. Ahh, I forgot to check your site, and now there's all these non-random thoughts articles I need to reply to! :-P

    My ally guild made the switch from 10 - 25 player raiding in ToT. We had several points where we struggled to field all 25, and had to pug in people. And it was always a really hard decision.

    On the one hand, if someone is willing to come help us (in the case back then, we would not have been able to raid at all if they weren't there), they should have just as much a chance at gear as anyone else.

    On the other hand, if your mindset is, gear is for progression, not for anyone personally, then giving gear to someone who wasn't going to help the guild progress after that night isn't the right decision.

    I always erred on the side of giving gear to pugs. There were a couple times when there was a trinket that was just incredibly OP (I think maybe RoRO for monks was one) for a spec/class, and we hadn't had any luck getting it to drop, and we'd tell the pugs up front that that particular trinket was being reserved. And I didn't feel too bad about that (though, iirc, we mostly tried to not pug in people that would give competition for the items we really needed to reserve).

    It's definitely a difficult decision, I think. I can't remember what loot system we were using at the time, I think some sort of zero-sum DKP.

    When I'm pugging, or if I'm trialing, I have no problem not getting gear. I rarely pug because I want gear (though I have a couple times, if one of my guilds locks out and there's a piece I really want from a previous boss). But in general, I pug because I want to practice the boss. Or I want to progress faster than my guild on that particular character is progressing.

    So if there's another hunter that also needs a weapon off manno, it's no more fair that it go to me than it go to him. And despite how it makes people feel, there's definitely nothing inherently "fair" about /roll for gear (most of the time, in fact, it's quite unfair).

    Anyhow, yeah. I don't know. :-P

    1. Back when ToT was out we were running 25 man with about 19 people, and were doing well enough to stay #1 on the server. We did not reach a tough patch until anima really. That was always the beauty of 25 man, it is so much easier than 10 mans.

      The only real strict rules I have is that tier is for mains. If someone needs it and is on their main and you are on an alt, you can not get it over them. I think that is fair.

      You can tell me all about /roll being "unfair" because I have bad luck. lol But to me it is the only thing that does not count "service". With the amount of kills I am in on, gear I still even pass on, times I've switched to an alt just for progression to help the group, I would have so many points anything that ever dropped would be mine. And I could never do that, I would feel as if I were being greedy.

    2. We were just talking about this subject in one of my guild's /o chats the other day, oddly enough (now that I think about it, I wonder if one of them read this article and it sparked the conversation). Anyhow, I've felt like I was a little bit cheating this whole tier, because other than the belt from HFA, pretty much everything I really want is from the second half of the instance, which also happens to be where the higher ilvls happen to be. Since I would never roll on a haste/mastery piece if it is an upgrade for a melee shaman (i forget what their spec is called, enhanced?), so I passed on a bunch of gear, thinking I was doing the right thing, letting the players who needed those stats most get the upgrades first. But then by the time we got to the later bosses, with lots of crit/multi pieces, my "dkp" for lack of a better term is waaaaay better than anyone elses in my gear type. So basically I get first dibs on all the really good pieces. I guess if they all had the same ilvl, I wouldn't feel as bad. meh...

    3. That is how systems like that work. People stock up and wait for the "right" piece instead of bidding on the "better" piece. As it works out for MM hunters, as you said, you build a ton in the lower half during progression that when you get to the upper half everything is basically yours.

      Would I call it wrong? No, not at all. If you are using a loot system like that and got lucky enough that all your stuff drops later, it is the smart move to save it for that.

      However, this is one case where it shows why I do not like a loot system like that. People will pass on gear that is clearly an upgrade because they want to save their points. But I guess you use the same thing were if no one bids it goes to straight roll before shard right? So you could still get it that way I guess. But the smart move is to save for the "best" upgrade.

    4. right, we actually have "upgrade" "sidegrade" "I want this for free" and "off spec" options. The "I want this for free" button has to be approved, it's for cases like, if there are some trinkets that are going to be worse than something from the previous tier, even though they're technically an ilvl upgrade.

      So it's not like anything is getting sharded. I wouldn't pass on something all together, I'll just wouldn't roll against someone who needs those stats more than I do.

      Anyhow, my goal is to get every team I raid with to switch to loot council anyway. :-)

    5. I personally believe a loot council would be the best way to do. I know who will get the most use out of an item, I know who it would be the biggest upgrade for. I know who shows up one time and who I never have to give flasks and food and potions to each week. I know who has put in the time on their own to get better.

      So in the end I know where I believe the loot should go. So a council of one would work. And even if was added more, everyone respects my opinion so they would side with however I said to go.

      But I have one major problem with that. I would feel entirely uncomfortable ever awarding myself with something in that situation. Which means I never would.

      So would I run a loot council? No. Would I join a group that used a loot council I was not part of? Sure, because I know damn well that anything I could use would always get given to me. I have all the markers that are a worthy investment in loot, I show up on time, I show up ready, I know the fights even before we see them, I pay my class fairly well and am even able to help others with theirs. I'd be a gold star candidate for getting loot. So yeah, I would join a group with a loot council, but I could never use one myself.