So, I hate DKP.
Hate hate hate hate hate. I spent a lot of time raiding under a DKP or similar system when I was just another grunt raider and not a guild leader. When I became the head of my very own guild, my raid leader and I agreed that DKP was a tool of the Adversary, and we wanted to use something better. So we used a nested loot ladder system.
The basis of the loot ladder system is that all the raiders are ranked from one to whatever. The way we did this was that all the people who showed up to our first raid did a /random 100 and that’s the order they were in. Anyone who showed up after that was placed at the bottom of the ladder. Then, when a piece of loot dropped, the person at the top of the ladder had the option to take it or pass. If they passed, the loot was offered to the person on the next ‘rung’ down and so on. If they took the loot, they were moved to the bottom of the ladder.
It was a ‘nested’ loot ladder because we had a seperate ladder for the tier piece tokens. The ladder for the token might be warrior –priest — druid, and then the first warrior on the main ladder would be offered the loot. If he refused it went down the ladder to all the other warriors. If they all didn’t want it, off it went through the priest ladder and so on. If a warrior did take it, then warriors went to the bottom of their tier token ladder. We also rewarded folks for attending raids. If you came to a raid, you went up one rung, regardless of whether you received loot. We hoped that this would help us combat our huge problem of raider apathy.
This worked pretty well for us while we were still a small guild, running one team for Kara every week, with the odd Gruul’s Lair thrown in. As we got larger, this sort of system became cumbersome and the fiddly work that raid leaders needed to do became a larger and larger task. As well, people started looking at the ladder, looking at their spot on it, calculating that there was exactly a snowball’s chance in Hellfire Peninsula that they’d get loot that night, and not showing up to raid. So we ended up with the same problem we initially had, plus the micro-management of the ladders to boot.
When my guild merged with another, we looked at their roster, looked at our ladder and junked the whole damn thing. It would have been a monumental task to make a whole new ladder for the new, combined guild, and managing it would just consume more time than our officers were willing to put in. So, we needed to find something better. Something that was also not DKP.
We didn’t want DKP for a few reasons. One because I personally feel its is unfair and subject to too much abuse, including the type of hoarding Larisa talks about. Two because I, and a good deal of our other raiders have a really negative attitude towards it. Actually, it was more of a deep and desperate loathing for the system. Imagine the entire guild squinting one eye, raising a clenched fist in the air and shouting “KHAAAAAAAAAAN!” every time someone says ‘DKP’. People really didn’t like the idea of it. So, the last thing we wanted to do with our brand new guild was to bring this sulphur-scented pile of felhound excrement into our midst. What we decided to go with instead was the EPGP system
EPGP works sort of like a combination of DKP and loot ladder. It’s actually really hard to explain to folks, and we even had one raider ragequit because he just so offended by the mere thought of it. But, in my mind – and in the minds of the rest of the officers that decided on it – it really is the most fair loot system for our guild. I think it might even be worth looking at for your guild! I think it’s just great and I hope you bear with me while I explain it.
The first thing you need to know about EPGP is the terimology. There are three main acronyms: EP, GP and PR.
EP: Stands for Effort Points. These are points you earn by putting effort into the guild.
GP: Stands for Gear Points. Every piece of loot is worth a certain amount of gear points.
PR: Stands for Priority Rating. PR is the ratio of EP:GP.
So, the short and sweet version is that you earn EP, you “spend” GP and your PR goes up and down depending on which you are doing more of.
Now I know all your greedy little goblin minds want to know, “How do I get as much EP as possible?” The answer is simple. EP is earned by putting effort into the guild. The mod can be set up so certain people can award EP (in my case the officers) and they can award any amount at any time to anyone.
How we do it in Impossibilium is like this. We award EP for boss kills – usually 50 EP for non-progression and 100 EP for progression. This EP goes to everyone in the raid. The mod also allows you to do something called Recurring EP, which lets you give EP over a time period. So our raiders also earn by having their butts in the raid. (Usually 10 EP per half hour for non-progression and 15 EP per half hour for progression.) We like to reiterate to folks that boss attempts are an important part of progression as well, so we will give EP for boss attempts when we are learning fights. We don’t always give it out for every attempt, but good solid attempts where people are actually trying to learn and not pissing about or facepulling or anything are rewarded with some EP as well – typically 25% of what a boss kill is worth.
So far, I know this is sounding very much like DKP. But the thing we like best about the EPGP system is that you can reward any effort, not just showing up to a raid (a discussion about how someone who just shows up to a raid isn’t necessarily putting good effort into the guild and its progression will have to wait for another time). We can award someone who goes out of their way to farm up a bunch of flasks to give out at raid. The person who pays for our Ventrilo server gets a small amount of EP every month. Our Webmonkey who pays for and maintains our site and forums gets a bit of EP every month as well. As does the hardworking officer who maintains our guild vault and the system we use to manage it (a topic for another post!) One thing that we in Impossibilium pride ourselves on is being a very human guild. We understand that our raiders are people with lives and families and goals outside of the game and that you can be an important contributing member of the guild without being at every single raid. EPGP is the perfect system for us to reward that ‘extracurricular’ effort that is so important to our success.
Now all those little goblins are counting their EP points and wondering what shiny things they can spend them on. Here’s how! The EPGP mod will set what each item is worth. When an item drops, the mod shows the raid (on a tooltip) and the loot master (on a pop-up window) its GP value, and then we do a secret bid for it. You’re allowed to bid either NEED or GREED and a greed bid must be followed by a percentage from 50-100. If you bid need, that means you need the item and you agree that you will pay the full amount of GP for it. If you bid greed, it means maybe it’s a side-grade for you, or just for certain situational fights, or maybe an offspec, so you want it, but not bad enough to take it from someone who actually needs the item. The percentage after your greed bid tells the loot master how much you’re willing to pay for the item. Anyone who bids need will automatically win the item, and pay the full GP price for it. If no one bids need, it will go to the greed bidder with the highest greed % bid, and they will pay the GP price they bid for it. And of course if no one wants it, we will shard it and the shard goes to the guild bank.
I know you’re all thinking, “But what if there is a tie bid?” That is where the PR comes in. If two people have the exact same bid (need or greed %) then the item will go to the person with the highest PR. The reason for this is that PR is a direct measure of how much gear you have compared to the effort you’ve been putting into the guild. So if your PR is low, you’re either not putting in very much effort or you have already gotten a bunch of gear. So the idea behind giving the the item to the person with the higher PR is to make sure that loot is being spread around equally and in proportion to the amount of effort you’re putting into the guild. If there is a tie in PR (rare, but it happens) then there is either a random roll, or if one of the people in the tie has our special “Dedicated” raider rank, they get the item. (Again, our Dedicated rank is a topic for another post).
One of the best things about EPGP is that it circumvents the hoarding of points you see in a DKP system. For one, it’s a ratio of the effort you put in divided by the gear you’ve already received that determines if you get loots or not, not just a straight amount of points like in DKP. As well, the EPGP mod allows you to apply a decay. You can set the decay to any amount you like, and you need to manually apply it. We have a 10% decay every Monday night, and the decay applies to both EP and GP. Your PR thus does not change, as both the numerator and the denominator in the ratio that determines PR changes by the same amount when you apply decay. Your absolute position on the ‘loot ladder’ portion of the EPGP system does not change, but your ‘purchasing power’, as it were, does. This means that you have to use your points or you will eventually lose them, so don’t hoard them. It also weeds out people who show up to a bunch of raids, collect a load of points, then disappear off the face of the earth for a few months then expect to get all the loots when they get back to raiding.
Another thing I hated with DKP was that it quickly becomes a debtor’s prison. If your guild does not allow you to go into negative DKP, then this can solve the problem, but if you can accrue negative DKP (like the guilds I used to run with) then when someone new comes into the guild, they start at 0 DKP, which is effectively above you. Then not only does someone brand new come in and grab all the loots, but you’re ever furthur down the loot totem pole. And if you’re raiding is sporadic or not as ‘hard core’ then you just get yourself deeper and deeper into DKP debt. With the EPGP system, new people to the guild still start at 0 EP points. However, they are not allowed to bid NEED until they have accumulated 1000 EP points. This means that someone brand new can not take loots from anyone who acually needs it, but will get gear over folks who just want something for an offspec or maybe just for a few restricted fights. This is something inherant to the mod, but you have to tell it what your minimum EP will be.
The EPGP system is that it can also act as a discipline measure if needs be. We can “fine” people EP for breaking rules, and I do have to say that just the threat of losing even 10 or 15 EP is enough to make people sit up and take notice. One of our biggest issues is that folks will sign up for a raid, and we will of course plan on them being there. Then when they don’t show, we’re left sitting around and in some cases the raid doesn’t go at all. So we instituted a 25% EP penalty for a sign-up, no-show (SUNS). Of course if that raider comes to an officer the next day and explains that they had some sort of real life issue that didn’t allow them to raid, we’re not ogres, we give that EP back to them, but it’s a hefty enough amount to make people realize that the rest of the guild is counting on them to be there when they say they will. We also had an issue with people taking extended or unannounced afks in raid. Those are worth -5 EP for every minute afk, with a maxiumum of-50 EP and a boot from the raid. We very rarely have to enforce this policy which says to me that it’s working. It also shows the raiders who are at our raids on time and when they say they will be and don’t waste time by taking unannounced or extended afks that their time is valuable to the guild and people who waste their time will be dealt with.
Something else that I just can’t talk enough about it the amazing flexibility of the EPGP system. Because the officers can award EP for anything we like, we generally do. And because those EP points directly translate to gear, people are willing to go through great lengths to get them. When we were learning the Magtheridon fight, I had a lot of trouble getting our ranged dps to stop pewpewing and to focus on cube clicking. To drive home that point, I would award a whopping 25 EP to the cube clickers if we didn’t wipe due to poor clicking. Not only did we down Magtheridon two attempts after I started doing that, but I had dps just clamouring to be cube clickers. And with WotLK, we knew that some of our raiders would storm ahead and try to get some realm firsts, but that a lot of our raiders were slightly slower at leveling and getting heroic gear. So we started a system we called LAWLs or Little Achievements While Leveling. If someone who was already 80 helped out someone who was levling, then the person who was helped could nominate that helper for a LAWL, which were rewarded with cold hard EP. This gave the people who were already 80 motivation to help the slower folks, as well as gave them a leg up when we did start raiding.
Gevlon over at the Greedy Goblin is several orders of magnitude more clever than I when it comes to working a system and getting the most for yourself. So, I’m sure that he could come up with ways to beat this system as well. The only ‘trick’ that I know of – and one that I encourage my raiders to use – is to bid low when you know no one else wants the item. Let’s say some warrior loot drops, and you’re the only warrior in the raid. You need it, but why bid need and pay full price? No one is going to bid against you, so bid greed 50% and get it for half price! So far the only loot drama that EPGP has created for us is people bidding need on items that other people don’t think they needed, but that was only at the begining of the changes to the ‘spell damage’ system. We do have an as-yet-unused officer veto clause in place. For example if a mage bid need on a plate spell caster helm, the loot master would just tell him no. We’ve never had to go that route and I hope we never will have to.
I know that this is a huge post, but there are a lot of subtleties to the EPGP system. It is so malleable to the needs and goals of a guild, that it was just incredible when we stumbled upon it, and I’m really shocked that more guilds don’t use it. The mod itself is not a memory hog, it’s pretty user friendly, it’s very intuitive to use and most of all it’s very fair. You put effort in, you get loots out. And in my mind, that’s what being in a raiding guild is all about.