DKP Killed My Father

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.

I'm melllltiiiing!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.

.what is that smell!?
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.

I got what you need!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.

Yeah, whaddaya want?
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.

ka-BOOM!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.

18 Comments

  1. Galadria said,

    January 20, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I have a question about your “greed” bid. If the greed bid goes to the person with the highest EP/PR why have the %. If the amount you bid has nothing to do with whether you win or not, why would anyone bid more than 50%? Maybe I misunderstood how it works.

    My guild also uses EPGP and I really like it. When I ran my own guild we had a complicated bidding system that I thought was much more fair and distributed loot better, but it was too hard to mantain and there were a lot of errors made. It’s tough to juggle large #’s after 4+hours of raiding. You can’t beat the simplicity of EPGP.

    Great post!

  2. oriniwen said,

    January 20, 2009 at 9:50 am

    @ Galadria: I explained it bass ackwards. Sorry:/ I edited the post to make it a little clearer, thanks for pointing it out to me!

  3. Bummer said,

    January 20, 2009 at 10:49 am

    My only concern would be the Officers in control of handing out ‘extra credit’ EP when ever they feel like it. As long as their integrity is true and equal to all guild members, then all is good. If they play favorites, take more notice to certain players ‘efforts,’ then it might be bias.

    What do you think?

    Best option would be to make sure all EPs awarded are public (guild) knowledge and fair.

    Thanks,
    Bummer

  4. oriniwen said,

    January 20, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    @ Bummer: The mod does come with a log that is viewable by all. It’s a nicely transparent system. There is actually quite a bit of chat spam associated with giving or removing EP or GP, so we have a special channel set up just for that. If you as a raider want to watch in real-time what the officers are doing, you’re certainly free to. Otherwise, if you just want to look at the mod’s log every once in a while and make sure that all the officers are on the level, that’s easily done as well.

  5. Yakra said,

    January 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I’ll defend DKP, in that I think it can work if set up correctly. I’ve certainly heard of (and played with) terrible DKP systems, but I think for all of those experiences, that LOKI has settled down on a system that works for us.

  6. Larísa said,

    January 20, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    This sounds good when you’ve worked out all the sorts of rewards and penalties… I guess it takes quite a lot of job to set it up and make people understand the whole system. But once it’s in place.. why not?
    I think it’s a good idea that you can be rewarded for doing services to the guild outside of raids.

  7. Nick (bruski) said,

    January 20, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks so much for a post explaining EPGP in detail!
    My guild uses it, and I love it, and I’ve posted on a couple different blogs recently that have been complaining about DKP, but I’m glad someone put together a full, thoughtful, coherent post on the matter.

  8. Esdras said,

    January 21, 2009 at 3:33 am

    I hate dkp too and any sort of system like this.

    Its a shame that some greedy people ruin it for anyone as they are the only reason we use things like this.

  9. You Know Who said,

    January 21, 2009 at 3:46 am

    I dont think your *entire* guild does The Kirk in reply to DKP. Im sure there are people in your guild that, like myself, prefer DKP. I have always prefered DKP, and probobly always will. People see DKP get used badly, by bads, and we regress to “fire burn small minded ape creature, fire must be bad!”. I like to pretend sometimes that we’ve evolved beyond that. You could say, in counterpoint, that continuing to go back to be burned is also dumb, but if you fill your guild with smart people, that wont happen. Its a stretch, I know, to find 25 smart people to put in a guild.

    I didnt see you mention that GP also decays. Has that changed in Imposs? The EPGP system can be “worked” like DKP can, and points *can* be saved, you just have to work a little harder at it, is all. But, ssshhhh, dont let the secret out, Im sure it would upset “The Proles” that need to be assured that they are safe from DKP coming in the night to kick them and rape their puppies. Or is it kick their puppies and rape them? I can never remember.

    Cube Clicking: Dont you think its maybe a touch sad that you can brag about having to reward people for doing their job in a raid? That’s like, giving points to “Insert Buff Class Here” for casting “Insert buff Here”. Hey, maybe you should offer points to your half retarded core of DKs, so they fucking spec right for raiding, since they cant seem to figure out the simple fact that “bringing 3 Unholy DKs to a raid is a bad idea, fucktard”. To counter the “but its their 15$ a month”: youre right, it is, but its everyone elses 360$, so we win, quit being a Terribad, and spec properly. Its not like your guild is RIDDLED with rules that are so hard to follow, that the simple ones get ignored. It’s a slippery slope, I think.

    Remember, that while Imposs is a very “human” guild, you get the bad parts along with the good parts.

    Thats it for now, I think. Im pretty sure I missed a point or two that I wanted to address when I was reading, but Im quite tired, even though I cant sleep, so my brain may not be working at full capacity.

  10. oriniwen said,

    January 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    @ Yakra: I’m glad to hear DKP works for your guild! I know it’s not the solution for everyone, so that’s part of the reason I wanted to post about EPGP. Any loot system that makes your guild happy is the right one for you.

    @ Larisa: It’s not as complicated as it seems. You can run EPGP in such a way that it is DKP for all intents and purposes. What I wanted to highlight here was that it’s more variable, more versatile than a pure DKP-style system. You can reward/punish for more than just boss kills. You can decay it or you can leave it. You can change your bidding system and it’s rules to whatever works best to prevent loot drama in your guild. It can be many different systems to many different guild.

    @ Nick: I know that loot systems are the thing to talk about in the WoW blog community these days. There doesn’t seem to be much talk about EPGP, so I’m glad to hear that there are other guilds using it to great effect.

    @ Esdras: If your guild is small enough or close enough that a simple random roll or even a “oh no you take the loot, you need it more than I” works, then that’s a great situation to be in. However, big guilds need rules just like big cities or big companies do. There’s just too many people and too many personalities causing too many permutations. There needs to be some sort of rigid system in place to distribute loots fairly, no matter how altruistic and generous each individual may be.

    @ YKW: I didn’t say this guild, I said the pre-merged guilds. And oh yes, they hated DKP. And I think you underestimate the importance of keeping the masses happy, regardless of how right or wrong they may be. And if EPGP keeps them happier than DKP with the added bonus of EPGP being a more flexible system, then it’s worth using.

    Yes the decay is being applied more rigourously these days. I could have sworn I mentioned it Monday and Adi the Monday before that we were doing it, and doing it more regularily. The system works best when those in charge of administrating it do so correctly.

    It’s not bragging by any means. I was illustrating that our guild had X problem and we solved it by using EPGP as a reward/punishment system. The relative lameness of the cube clicking problem compared to the other problems we’ve had or other guilds have is immaterial.

    As for the DKs, that’s something that someone with a more in depth knowledge of DKs and specs and raid viability needs to discuss with a Raid Leader/ Guild Leader type. But I think I mentioned that once already. I’m open to suggestions (preferably with EJ links or other references) re: raiding DKs.

    As for whose 15$ is more important than whose – Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

    Post (Comment) Scriptum: I re-read what you wrote about the decay. Yes both EP and GP decay at the same rate. I’ve edited the post to make that more clear. But I stand by what I said about Imposs’ officers actually applying that decay more assidiously in WotLK than we did in TBC. It is indeed a slippery slope.

  11. January 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    In response to You Know Who…

    If you’re that vehement about needing a DKP system in order to function, then why would you suffer through this EPGP system? It’s obviously not giving you the game you would prefer to play, and it’s also obviously bringing out the worst in your attitude.

    That said, it’s likely that people would hate the way my guild handles loot. Coming from EverQuest (as most of us did), we were familiar with a game system where you might get lucky and get one item every other month as you geared up towards later and later content. DKP or EPGP would have been required then, so it was no small surprise that as our guild started raiding, we geared toward a system that just hands out gear based on random rolls, and whether or not you won something that night already. There are some other rules, but I won’t go in to them here – I’m not here to get all Big Bear Butt on your comment box. 😀

    Our system is pretty lax, is impossible to exploit, and we especially like it because we hate bookkeeping. The amount of loot that comes through the game on a regular basis is so astronomically high compared to the old days of EverQuest that it didn’t make sense to us to stay tied to an antiquated system that required keeping track of individual accomplishments over huge amounts of time that often ended with little to zero payoff.

  12. You Know Who said,

    January 21, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Decay: I thought it happened every monday, like clockwork, from the mod. I was unaware that it had to be done manually. Hell, I was unaware that it wasnt being done at all.

    15$: Its not who’s 15 is more important, its one persons 15 agaisnt 24 peoples 15. Group of people > a single person. I apologize if I was unclear, its not “my 15 vs his 15”, its us as a group vs the person in question acting like a fool. Also: why is your nose trying to beat up my fist, anyway? (thats almost a joke, almost.)

    Keeping people happy: its always been important to keep the masses happy, and maybe more importantly, to keep the people happy whom the masses look to for guidance. If one person can rally a group of people behind himself or herself, and that person becomes unhappy, it starts a kind of domino effect. Its sad that there are that many sheeple in the world, but those are the facts, no matter how sub par they may seem.

    PE: I dont think you need a DKP system in order to function. You dont even *need* a loot system in order to function. A hunter named Avatar used to run a guild back in the day, who ran his guild loot by “Avatar gets whatever he wants, and everyone else gets the scraps”. Sure, thats an amazingly poor way to run loot, but he got a lot of progression back in the day. EPGP isnt a horrible system, but I personally prefer DKP. Whatever works for whatever guild is the way to go. If people prefer EPGP, then cool. If that changes sometime in the future, like when the loot ladder changed, thats ok too. Failure to evolve and adapt to new things, and close mindedness are the worst things that could happen, when it comes to running a guild, in all aspects of leadership, especially loot. Since that is the thing that causes the most drama, after all.

    Yes, I enjoy getting loot (everyone does, dont let them tell you they dont), but Im not “suffering” in any way, under the EPGP system. I dare say that I am thriving under EPGP. I dont roll on stuff I dont need, so that when something I’d like to aquire comes along, I can bid need on it, and usually recive it. Not being greedy or wasting my points gets me what I want. The game I prefer to play is smashing content in a raid group full of at least mildly competant people. Loot, while important to that goal, is almost secondary. Honestly, in all the raids I did as my old main in Orin’s guild, I can count on probobly the fingers of one hand the upgrades I recived. I came from a guild on ZJ that had server firsts of pre nerf gruul and magtheridon, and a server first of doom lord kazzak. Before that, I was in one of the top 5 guilds on the entire server. In fact, Im still wearing the mail legs you get off kazzak on that character. I play to raid, and if there’s loots, cool, if not, I can wait. Its not like the loot is going to just up and vanish like smoke in the wind.

    One last thing about my attitude. This is my usual attitude. I used to be a lot worse, and people (still) sometimes say Im overly negative. I prefer to think of myself as more realistic, but Im trying to change for the better. I apologize if I offended you in some way, that was not my intent. Orin knows how to contact me, if she feels Im bringing her blog down, and I will follow her rules, because this is *her* space, and we’re all just visitors here, having discussions like adults. (myself almost included as an adult)

  13. Herc said,

    January 22, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Nice read.

    I made a post regarding this topic at

    http://purplz4mywarrior.blogspot.com/2009/01/loot-system-discussion-epgp-vs-dkp-vs.html

    If I misunderstood anything you said about EPGP feel free to correct me.

  14. January 22, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    @YKW – No offense taken, and I wasn’t calling you out on it; merely bringing up a point of perspective. I have a personal belief that if the people you’re guilded with frustrate you, you have two options; relegate them to no-contact (which I have done on a few occasions myself), or find a different guild to participate in. Doesn’t matter how bad a player someone is – if you let it get to you personally, nobody wins, and it ends in high blood pressure. 🙂

  15. Tpx said,

    January 23, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Very interesting read, thanks for sharing.

    We’re gonna be facing a loot distribution dilemma pretty soon (guild about to grow up, hopefully), and this all will bring some matter to use for solving it.

  16. March 19, 2009 at 8:02 am

    […] There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. And loss of EP. […]

  17. March 30, 2009 at 9:17 am

    […] raid-required mods are Omen and DBM or BigWigs. We dole out loots using the EPGP system, and you can find the mod here if you like, though it’s not required for anyone other […]

  18. September 14, 2009 at 7:48 am

    […] The Hope You Like Text award goes to: DKP Killed My Father […]


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