Monday, December 15, 2008

Loot Council - Consistency Matters

Some Background

So the guild uses Loot Council for distributing the shiny wealth. You're likely aware of that, since I've been harping on and on about it.

Why all the fuss?

Kinda strange that my official position is "loot is secondary, and only serves as a key to open the door to additional content", and yet, loot takes up a decent amount of bandwidth on this here blog.

While that official position hasn't changed, there's perhaps a corollary. When an Officer states "don't worry, yet, but there will come a time that low dps is going to be replaced", all of a sudden those shiny pixels that make a big difference to our personal performances become much more important.

Luckily, when that statement was made, I already had my Improvement Plan in place for a while, and had been through three iterations/updates to the plan with demonstrable positive results. So no worries, I'm generally proactive about these things.

But an Officer making a statement like that does cause the guildies to put emphasis in places that're maybe distracting to the team. I digress.

So, back to the Council

Generally, the Council remains doing an excellent job. We're plowing through content, and epics are dropping hand over fist. The Council has lots of work to do every raid (well, every raid except for Malygos, but that'll change soon).

Looting goes relatively quickly. Maybe could speed up a smidge, but honestly, if we were going to extract more time out of our raid, I'd prefer it happen via chaining trash pulls than through rushing loot.

Most of the loot decisions are focused at raid benefit above anything else. They do reward good raider behavior with loot. They do also try to round out Tier sets for people, specifically those at the front of the pack.

Any of the loot that's directly involved me, I've been a big supporter of the decision, whether the loot goes to me or not. I can see why they rewarded each of the pieces, and I'm a big fan.

So why the post? Just stroking the Council's ego?

Then there was one item the other day. Some tanking some-such item. The two tanks present (yeah, we were gunning through Naxx-25 with only 2 tanks, it was so cool, actually required a drop of restraint on the part of the AoE'ers. The horror!) both indicate interest.

Normally in this situation the Loot Council would deliberate in private, most likely considering raid benefit, rewarding behaviors, who got loot most recently, and so on. Or maybe just talking about hockey.

Seems that the Council couldn't or perhaps wouldn't make a decision on this one and asked the two players to /roll, highest roll gets the loot.

Not a big fan.

Maybe I'm over analyzing this, but that's why I'm here. And I'm in a guild of people who all generally over analyze things. That's why we like to play together.

I think this move undermines the trust that the Council is building.

1) Consistency - next time two people are interested, will the Council offer a roll? Or will they make the decision? Next time two players want something, and LC flat-out rewards it, should the "loser" protest and ask for a roll?

2) Decisiveness - one of the strengths of the Loot Council as implemented by Conquest is decisiveness. The raiders put their trust in the Council to distribute things in such a manner that our collective progress through content is efficient. Surrendering this power to the Council is done with the mind that the Council members will make decisions that benefit the raid. Letting it float to a roll is not decisive.

3) Favoritism - I'm not claiming that this is the case, but it opens the door for a pattern to develop. Take for instance players A, B, and C. Players A and B want a piece of loot. Council says "roll", which could be interpreted as "we like both these guys equally and can't choose between them." Then, next week, players A and C want a piece of loot. Council flat out grants it to one or the other, no rolling. It doesnt matter whether A or C gets the loot. Its the concept that matters. If this happens over time, the perception will become that certain players are sort of viewed "equally" by the council leaving them unable to decide, while other players are clearly viewed differently and make it easy for the Council to decide between them.

Bottom Line

This is a single loot decision that left me wondering, amongst a sea of very solid ones, so don't take this post to mean that faith in the system is gone.

However I do want to call things out as they come up so the Council (who may or may not actually read this blog) can take it into consideration before it becomes a habit or a big thing.

Maybe they change their behavior, maybe they dont, either way isn't going to make or break the Guild, but it is some food for thought.

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