Distribution Systems – DKP Alternatives

The last post on distribution systems looked at DKP variants that tried to overcome some of the problems, like inflation and DKP gap, that DKP systems faced. However,  many of these variant systems faced challenges of their own, or became increasingly complicated and potentially difficult to maintain in order to overcome their weaknesses. As such, some other distribution systems which forgo DKP entirely have been adopted by the community.

3 Suicide
Kings

Other distribution systems exist that do not utilize a form of currency. One such system is the ‘Suicide Kings’ (SK) system. In SK, raiding members of a guild are initially placed in an ordered list, which may be based on the outcome of a random roll or some other means. The system works by granting raiders higher on the list a higher priority in loot distribution. Once a raider obtains an item, they move to the bottom of the list and the order is continually rotated in this manner.

The
 system
 has
 potential
 advantages
 over
 DKP
 systems.
 It
 is
 easy
 to implement and maintain, and is transparent to all members. The lack of a currency within the system means it avoids
 the
 issues
 of
 currency
 inflation
 and
 the
 DKP
 gap
 as
 veteran
 raiders
 cannot
 build
 up points to easily outbid other members. This is particularly helpful for new recruits to the guild who can immediately be placed in the rotation list to receive loot.

As receiving loot instantly demotes a member to the bottom of the list, those at the top will typically wait until an item that is a large upgrade can be looted before being demoted to the
 bottom.
 Consequently,
 more
 items
 which
 might
 be small upgrades
 to
 those
 at
 the
 top become available to those lower down. Under DKP systems, raiders with a large DKP advantage face
 no
 consequence
 for
 taking
 items
 that
 are
 only
 a
 small
 upgrade,
 taking away loot
 from those that might need it more. However, a potential downside is when those at the top desire a particular item and will not move to the bottom until that item becomes available. Such a scenario is common towards the end of a raid tier, when players need only a few items to complete their sets. In this case, it pays to be at the bottom. As players at the top pass on items save for the one they desire most, they are offered to those lower down the list, that face a much smaller consequence for receiving the item, having far fewer places to drop.

SK faces many other issues. Without a currency underpinning the system, SK like some DKP systems also faces difficulty providing incentive for raid preparation, attendance and performance. As the system revolves only around loot distribution, there is no specific reward or incentive to participate in raids where no loot is obtained, such as progress raids.

The only possible course of action is to bump players up or down the list, as akin to rewarding or taking away DKP from a player. However there are several reasons why such an element would work poorly in SK. A player will always gain or lose out by obtaining more or having less DKP, but a player at the top of the list cannot be moved any higher nor a player at the bottom be moved any lower. Similarly a player at any point in the list may gain no advantage or disadvantage from being moved up or down a place in the list depending on the class, or role, of the players around them. A dps player sandwiched between two tank players will see no change in their loot priority compared to other dps players by moving up or down a place on the list, as they were never competing with the tank players for the same loot.

This reminds us of the problem of class imbalance that was present in BDKP systems, which remains a problem for SK. Players fulfilling a tank role essentially rotate around a sub-list made up only of other tanks. If there are 4 tanks in a 40 member guild, a tank moving from the top of the list to the bottom does not potentially have the other 39 members ahead of him, only the other 3 tanks as they are the only other players interested in that type of loot. As such the system punishes players with the most competition for loot in a way similar to BDKP.

3.1 Loot
Council

One popular method of loot distribution is to eschew any kind of rigid system and instead opt for the flexibility offered by placing all decisions in the hands of a leader, or selection of members. These systems are typically found in well established guilds with a core of veteran members. The success of such systems depends entirely on those that operate them. While a fair and impartial leader, or council, can maintain balance within the guild and still enjoy the flexibility to advance certain members according to the needs of the guild, the system is inherently susceptible to friendship bias and exclusion. A loot council system poorly implemented will quickly cause tension within the guild, and disagreements over loot allocation, having no other systematic basis can become highly problematic. We take a look at loot council in action for Ensidia in the second part of DKP in practice.

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