Monday, January 12, 2009

Bribe vs Reward

Matticus wrote about a Conquest guild member, Wayne, who got geared up very quickly and then decided to put his raiding on hold until the next raid dungeon, Ulduar, is released. Summary of the Article: Wayne's decision puts the guild in a tough spot, and also may cause Wayne difficulty when he chooses to return. There are social consequences to the decision.

Greedy Goblin wrote up his thoughts on the subject. Summary of the Article: Wayne's decision puts the guild in a tough spot, but Wayne will have no difficulty getting what he wants when he chooses to return due to ease of finding a new guild for well geared, good player. Player acting correctly like goblin.

Both of those write-ups, plus my own vested interest as a member of the guild, lead to the following gem of a post...

Does Loot Council offer bribes or rewards?

The return for performance of a desired behavior; positive reinforcement.

Something, such as money or a favor [edit: or phat lewtz], offered or given to a person in a position of trust to influence that person's views or conduct.

There's a bit more to it than just the dictionary definitions. A reward is given only after the desired behavior is observed, and a bribe is given before the behavior is observed in an effort to influence future behavior.

Lets look at the Conquest/Wayne situation.

To do this properly, we're going to need to look at it from two time periods....

When Conquest first started raiding: Reward

We first started raiding. Some of us were in level 80 dungeon blues, some were in a mix of level 70 epics and level 75 greenies, and some even had a smattering of starting level 80 epics.

So, the guild has a reward to offer Wayne. Provide the team with the desired behavior (show up on proper nights at proper time, know your class, execute your job well), and you get the desired reward (fun raiding experience, phat lewtz).

Wayne, and the rest of the guild, provide the desired behavior.

The whole guild is rewarded with fun raiding experience.

Regarding gear, two things made Wayne's situation unique. (A) The RNG dropped large amount of Wayne-specific gear, and (B) at this time Wayne was typically the only toon who could make use of that gear.

Cause: Wayne put in the desired behavior -AND- the RNG loved him.
Effect: Wayne got rewarded with phat lewtz, perhaps disproportionately more than the rest of the guild.

Fastforward: Conquest farming, Wayne well geared: Bribe

A few weeks of the RNG smiling and a raid composition that leaves Wayne running unopposed for most of the Wayne-applicable gear, and you've got one hell of a well geared Wayne.

At this point in time, since there appears to be no reward for the Guild to offer to Wayne, what was once a reward can now be viewed as a Bribe.

Besides a fun raiding experience, the Guild has nothing to offer.

But there is an expectation that Wayne continue to raid, and help those who the RNG and Raid Comp didn't reward quite as quickly. We call it social responsibility, or peer pressure, or giving to the greater good.

Greedy Goblin calls it boosting dumbs.

Right, wrong? Who knows? But these sorts of situations occur in every walk of life: WoW, work places, politics, within circles of friends and acquaintances.

Is it an inherent problem with Loot Council?

Loot distribution systems like DKP or Suicide Kings all continue to offer a reward to a player, even after that player has gotten all the loot they want. In DKP you earn points which will leave you with big pile to spend on new gear when Ulduar is released. In SK you will bubble higher and higher to the top and thus be near the top and get priority when new drops come from new dungeon.

This doesn't seem like its a question of how the Conquest LC made their decisions. Most of Wayne's gearing up was uncontested, and thus not a real decision.

Its more of a question of LC philosophy in general.

Once you're geared up, the only thing LC has to offer is the hopes of future drops. If those "future drops" don't exist yet, no reward at all.

What was once a reward has now become a bribe. Bribes fail in the long term.

What else does the leadership of Conquest have to offer to incent players to continue raiding once that player's personal needs have been met?

A brief tangent, simply here to boost my leadership-ego

An IRL story from when I served as a manager of a team of software developers. The company I work for gives a manager a variety of tools to compensate employees, some examples include pay raises, one-time monetary bonus, stock options, promotions.

In corporate america, those above things are viewed as "desired by everyone", and as such get folded into corporate policy.

Beyond the official letter of that policy, there are other things my own personal style offers, that vary greatly in how much each individual cares about them. Since they vary so greatly in value from person to person, they're not codified as gospel from Corporate HQ. Examples include flexible work hours, assignments that are of particular interest to a specific employee, cubicle location, travel opportunity, and so on and so forth.

A real story about three different employees:

Employee A: Gets performance review, score lower than she thinks she deserves. She asks manager what she can do to improve. She improves performance consistently over next review period, at which time reward given (pay raise, promotion, yadda yadda yadda). Employee continues high level of performance year on year, consistently earning reward, which is given at end of each review period. We all win.

Employee B: Gets performance review, score lower than he thinks she deserves. He asks manager what he can do to improve. He does not change his behavior over the next review period. He does not receive desired reward at end of next review period. He blows hissy fit (you had to be there, it was classic) and demands reward. Reward not given. He leaves company to work for someone else he thinks will reward him how he deserves. We all win.

Employee C: Gets performance review, score lower than she thinks she deserves. Demands promotion with threat of leaving team. Manager outlines two available options: there's-the-door, and here's-what-behavior-will-get-reward-you-seek. Employee stays. Employee does not receive reward at this point. Employee does not change behavior, still under performing at end of next period. Employee does not get reward again.

The Beauty of the Situation - Let me share with you a small sliver of the spiteful side of my personality. Company does a re-organization so Employee C's manager (me) gets moved to different team. Employee C offers same demand for bribe from new manager (hated through-and-through to the soul by old manager, me). New Manager (hated) immediately provides promotion, raise, and obscene bonus. One month later, Employee C quits and takes job with different team and new manager (hated) is left scrambling for replacement. Everybody but new manager (hated) wins, which is even more win (spite) than if everybody won, in opinion of old manager (me).

Lesson Learned: Bribes don't work.

For best results, offer rewards for desired behavior.

Unfortunately, this little tidbit can't help a Loot Council that has no more loot to offer a player.

Even if the gear given to that player were given as rewards at the time they were given, lacking any upgrades, they have become bribes.

The leaders will need to look into the other rewards at their disposal for continued motivation in the Guild.

Either that or Blizzard needs to release the next dungeon XD


Sydera said...

Um, I can reward all Conquest members with tree hugs. Bark splinters and ticks extra.

Gevlon said...

Very good point. Reward and not bribe must exists. I didn't think of that (no manager experience, keep myself away from all jobs where I have to herd sheep)