How to decide who gets the raid gear? A look at DKP

Character progression is often central to the reward system for MMORPGs and one of the big reasons that we choose to trudge through the 40-man raids each week in WoW Classic. In most games we see a simplified random roll system where you either indicate that you would like an item or it can be randomly assigned to you. In this 15 year old game that has its hooks in me once again, we have opted to create a more complex system that takes into consideration a players level of dedication to the overall group. This system is complicated further by the fact that we are tracking this all for three separate raid groups all at different phases in progression.

My guild uses a system of DKP which stands for Dragon Kill Points. As a participant in our guild you will earn points which can be used as a currency to buy gear and upgrades for your character. While DKP isn’t the only method that guilds use to distribute gear upgrades, it is a popular method.

Benefits to using a DKP system:

  • Autonomy – the players get to pick their items
  • Transparency – the players know where they stand in relation to those also competing for gear upgrades
  • No Favoritism – since players decide when and how to spend their points they won’t be forced into

Negatives to using a DKP system:

  • Collusion – players can work together to manipulate the system in order to gain more favorable outcomes for themselves
  • Punishing New Players – in some systems the veteran members can get so far ahead in points that they will always get every item before the new players can. Making it so that a new player can go many months without receiving any rewards.

Any loot system should allow for new players to come in and feel like their time is being rewarded. This is why catch up mechanics in loot distribution are so important. There are a couple ways that you can allow newer players to catch up to older players.

Decay

Adding in a percentage based decay to a players total balance of points is one way to allow newer members to catch up. This means that new players will get those items that are not highly sought after. Veteran players will keep their standing in relation to the others provided that they do not spend any of their points. Eventually this allows the veteran player to have first pick of one very impressive item.

DKP Reset or Wipe

When new content is released it is common to take the historical points and bring everyone back down to zero. This is another option to help newer players gain some of the more competitive gear. Some guilds opt for periodic resets of points which encourages players to return at the start of new content, which historically can be when you tend to lose people.

Is it the right system?

There is never a right or wrong system for distributing gear to your players. There will always be the potential for conflict or drama around how loot is being awarded. What works for some guilds may not work for others. It largely depends on the leadership that is in place and how everything functions as a whole.

If DKP is not the system for your guild you can explore other methods of loot distribution:

  • Zerosum DKP – points awarded based on how much is spent
  • Loot Council – Small group decides where items go
  • Suicide Kings – Players are in a priority list, once receiving a piece of gear they go to the bottom of the list
  • Need before greed – often used in pug groups, who ever can use the item and rolls the highest, wins the loot.

There are many systems out there for loot distribution. Keep in mind that you can never please everyone in a large group of players. In any of these systems: Keep it simple and easy to understand, keep it transparent, and spread the wealth.

I know a lot of you out there have experience raiding in large groups. What loot distribution method did your guild use?

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