A new DKP system - Balance for Hybrids?
Our guild is going to try a new DKP system out. I'd like to share this system with everyone here, and you can make your own comments about it, or use it for yourself if you find it helpful.
First things first - DKP systems are issues of much emotion. People have a very, very hard time of being objective about this beyond how their own system works. Generally it is "Our system works just fine, why doesn't everyone use it?" Or mostly nonsense along that lines. Our system works great too, but this is an attempt to be more fair to the players - and we've taken it on in a proactive sense.
This is a zero sum system. The rules here pertain to zero sum users - of both types: upgrades and complete fixed zero sum DKP. I don't care of even wanna hear about how bid systems are the next coming, or how loot council works wonderfully for you. I didn't choose either system for my own reasons, and this discussion is about this system and zero sum variance - or how your zero sum system works. We all know why you like bid/loot council/etc... trust me, it isn't for everyone.
OK, lets go over the caveats and bonuses of the zero sum current systems:
Full fixed price zero sum DKP (incentive DKP is optional):
Like all zero sum DKP systems it is self regulating.
Contrary to public opinion, you can easily add an incentive DKP system by taking a portion of kill DKP and accumulating that in a reservoir - essentially loot purchases are mostly rewarded on that night, but the remainder trickles in on learning nights (take an arbitrary 20% of the DKP earned and store it). One could describe this as, the loot you acquire in the future/past was partially earned by the fruitless learning efforts of the past/future (of course this assumed IDKP points are already in the system, but thats just chicken and the egg once the reservoir is full). Classic full fixed price DKP does not have IDKP, but imo it does wonders for incentive nights.
Caveats to both systems:
For non upgrade: Sidegrades cost full DKP. Downgrades cost full DKP. Now generally, no one takes downgrades unless they're really upgrades anyway, but sidegrades are often better for some fights. Keep in mind: sidegrade situations are exceptionally rare.
Upgrades though don't truly cost much less in a full price system:
You could purchase your tier 4 helmet at 8pm, pay full, purchase your tier 5 helmet at 9pm and pay full. Now, I don't see this as a problem, since in upgrade DKP, you're essentially paying the full price anyway - its just easier to swallow:
If tier 3 was 30 DKP, Tier 4 was 40 DKP, Tier 5 was 50 DKP. You pay 90 DKP in full fixed, and 20 DKP in upgrade rules. Yet, the value of DKP earned is basically 5 times as much, and once everyone is populated with their "upgrades" this doesn't actually cost the purchaser less in terms of their own raid time, other than the minor creep of item prices (assuming they take off in a non linear sense... which they usually don't). There is something to be said for the item creep values though, so that a wand upgrade may cost half of what it would in full-fixed (in a RELATIVE sense)... but this is can be solved by pricing (the hardest part of full fixed imo is pricing, although its not that hard).
Some of the problems with upgrade DKP:
Initial zones earn more than final zones - some guilds solve this with "caps" on what you can earn in a particular instance.
Newbies entering the system are really shafted. I would personally assume newbies coming in have their slots act as if they were purchased in guild. A problem if you don't do this is you break the zero sum rule since some points are accumulated as an invisible reservoir in your items (just as IDKP is accumulated by the current members, and newbies shouldn't be allowed to dip into it, starting at IDKP/members in the red). Zero sum is more than "everything equals zero when totaled" - which is meaningless... the idea is supposed to be that newcomers enter the system at 0, averaged with everyone else - including all hidden reservoirs, positive or negative for their expense.
Downgrade/sidegrade "Declared" purchase competitiveness: Even if its truly an upgrade, if it costs you 0 DKP, many systems will not allow you to competitively take the item from someone paying for the upgrade or paying in full, unless you yourself pay in full. This makes it so that the order in which you purchase something may affect what the totals of what those items cost - this breaks a golden rule IMO of dkp systems. Now generally, people don't pay this even in upgrade systems. But basically its either wait for that real 0 DKP upgrade, or pay in full.
My solution would be to allow 0 DKP purchases to remain competitive, assuming it is truly an upgrade for the purchaser - and not just some terrible player hording going on. DKP itself is a priority system, and just because it doesn't cost DKP for the individual shouldn't change that priority. If it is an upgrade that somehow costs 0 due to point management (lets say tier 1 earthfury helmet for a shaman who has tier 2 as an example), then the 0 DKP purchaser could take it. But if its a true upgrade for another who would pay for it, and a toy for the 0 dkp purchaser who just wants it for free, I believe this would be an issue of priority.
Now, this kinda breaks one of those nice issues with hands-off of zero sum, but it seems that 0 cost side-grade/downgrades are sometimes truly upgrades, and need to be addressed individually.
There are more caveats for both systems that I'm sure I missed, and reading over this I'm not very objective myself in describing upgrade rules... but I'll get on with it.
The hybrid problem: also classically know as the "DPS Plate Problem."
Many guild's solution was to make DPS plate cost half DKP. The problem is that 1 + 0.5 = 1.5 which is > 1.0 that everyone else pays. So instead of paying double to remain viable, you now pay 1.5 as a warrior, but you're still of course, behind the rest.
The problem is that all tanks aside from the MT, at some point are going to NEED dps gear. No other class can truly say that they aren't largely raid viable (barring some respec/stacking fights - or resistant fights like Al'ar) without 2 unique types of gear. And most classes don't even have these offspec or side-spec sets to begin with.
People can declare all they want that mages need as much gear as warriors, but they don't. They just don't - the theory does NOT match the reality. The numbers in everyone's dkp system doesn't lie, and its not a coincidence that hundreds of guilds discussed this issue for a long time on how to fix it.
Now I'm focusing on warriors, but druids even moreso, and really everyone with an offspec item can be shafted for taking all their true upgrades - off-spec or not (you want your shadow priests to be able to heal one day for instance).
Some classes simply need more loot than others - a really new concept in WoW, that wasn't really seen in EQ where almost all of these loot systems were derived.
Our solution will be to make individual slots of gear (lets say: gloves) for a particular tier, cost a total fixed amount for all the epics that slot entails.
A Warriors DPS plate + Tanking plate for gloves might cost 25 DKP total.
A mage's DPS gloves would cost 25 DKP total.
A druids moonkin gloves + healing gloves + tanking gloves + dps gloves would cost 25 DKP total.
If later down the line, some fantastic frost mage gloves drop, they cost the mage 0 DKP, cause he's already paid for that slot (assuming they are commensurate with that upgrade slot).
This essentially bins loot - and is very similar to upgrade (and can even be used in upgrade systems).
Sidegrades would be included in this.
How you charge could be 7 DKP for the DPS plate, and 18 for the tanking plate. You could charge it for most classes in full for the 1st PvE purchase, and the rest are free (PvP gear and shadow priest gear for instance for a holy priest are free if the PvE item is obtained, and if not, cost some amount that counts toward that purchase - or just always free, assuming they're going to get their main spec item).
The caveat to the system imo is where to declare the break point of side-grades - when is it truly an upgrade to the next level... As long as the points are fixed, we think this could work.
Normally classes are self regulating - but some form of normalization and balance to total purchases needs to be implemented since things like "Warrior, Rogue" in Naxxramas were seen on tier sets. Plus rings and cloaks are shared between classes as well. All things being equal, a rogue and warrior at 100% activity, taking all useful loot (even dagger/rogue) - the warrior will be behind after a year... probably by a hell of a lot of DKP.
The difference between this and an upgrade system is potentially in how upgrade systems treat hybrid/"DPS Plate" loot (in that it might not be free with the PvE equivalent) - and in that downgrades would cost DKP so that people don't pay more for buying Tier 4 before Tier 5. My feeling is that if its truly a downgrade, then it doesn't matter anyway. It is also assumed internally (as Elitist jerks does), that upgrades don't rot here... and with binned purchases being a reality, the only way that wouldn't happen is if someone is hording for gear a full tier higher.
I think this method resolves a few issues:
You bypass the cost issue of side-grade and off-spec loot costing a player his priority on the gear that really matters - paying a hell of a lot for such gear. You're earning DKP in a manner that reflects the actual gear contribution to raid improvement - PvP toys don't make you richer.
You bypass the issue of hybrids paying more to remain viable - this includes all classes really; fire mages taking that crappy frost item, and so on, and so forth.
You bypass the issue of weird happenings in upgrade systems with old instances and newcomers.
Anyway, like ALL systems, this one isn't perfect, but its a very simple change - and we haven't put it in play yet, so not everything is fully flushed out. Our goal was to really solve this hybrid issue - and at the same time we tossed side-grades into the discussion. Its some sort of mutant hybrid of full fixed and upgrade rules; almost binned zero sum dkp? It is very similar to both systems essentially, so its not exactly a dramatic DKP paradigm shift.
Namely, when you spend points is a matter of discussion still, but I wanted to share it with folks here so they could offer their opinions... I know that the system is flawed, as is the one all of you are using (otherwise we'd all be using your system) - its not easy for someone to post their DKP system here and say "OK, have at it" - since as you can see no one really has done this in a long time. But if people do have suggestions or ideas on a better set of rules, I would be more than interested to hear them, as would likely others.
One initial thought:
I'm a shaman. There are healing boots, enhancement boots, and elemental boots. I'm a resto shaman. I am never, ever going to decide "hmm I should wear my enhancement set for this fight and melee the boss." An elemental shaman, however, will need an adequate healing set for those times when extra healing is necessary or when a boss is nature immune (sup Hydross). Under this system, do I simply get away with paying less for my boots slot than other shamans and thus have a competitive advantage elsewhere, or am I forced to pay DKP for an item I don't really want at all and will never use even situationally?
If you create different rules for healers taking DPS gear vs. DPS hybrids taking healing gear (i.e., if my boots fill up my budget for that slot but hybrids only pay a portion of the cost), what if someone ends up respeccing permanently down the line?
And, finally, on a more general note: Given raid size, spec diversity, and how narrow some of the itemization is, doesn't it seem like a bit of a waste to have such an elaborate system to handle loot that maybe one or two players in a given raid will want?
For us, right now, for example, we don't have 7 warriors in a raid like we used to pre-TBC. If Morogrim drops his plate DPS boots, if there's one DPS warrior present, he gets it. If there are two, they figure it out between them (/random, consensus, or whatever). If all DPS warriors present have it, the tank gets it. If Leotheras drops his plate belt, the MT gets it. If the MT has it, there's probably only one other DPS warrior presents, so he gets it. My question is: Why do you need DKP to govern these transactions?
Right now, for us, the EJ Loot System sticky is mostly there as a reference for posterity. We have a system for handling set drops which are likely to be desired by 7+ people in a given raid and thus need some better handling, but almost every other drop is just done by consensus or /random these days. After a couple of months gearing up in Kara and experiencing the relative freedom of not worrying about DKP or loot priority or the like, a lot of us weren't in a hurry to jump back into a rigid loot structure. I could go on, but don't want to derail your thread.
Each person in the guild picks or is assigned a weight to their hybrid status. The main tank might have 95% tank gear, 5% DPS. Feral Druids might have 60% tanking leather, 30% DPS, 5% healing, 0% spell damage, and so on. This estimate is supposed to match roughly what percent of the raid time that type of player uses that particular gear set.
The cost someone PAYS is the base cost of the item times the multiplier for its category. However, you can only take the item if you're within 10% weight of the person in the raid with highest weight for that item that can still use it.
For example, suppose some spell damage cloth belt is worth X points. Mages and Warlocks (100% damage) could take it for X, or a shadow priest (95% damage, 5% healing) could take it for X * .95, and whichever of these people is highest on points would have first priority. A healing priest (95% healing, 5% damage) would not have priority unless all the damage classes opted out. But if they did get it, they only pay X * .05 points.
A warrior that's 50% tanking, 50% DPS wouldn't have priority on either DPS gear or Tanking gear versus the main tank or a primary DPS warrior, but they would always have secondary priority, and so on.
In this system, everyone should (in theory) pay the same amount of points. And hybrid classes like druids will get more loots. The trade off they make, however, is reduced priority. A feral druid would not get DPS leather until the rogues (100% melee DPS gear) have what they need, but the feral druid also pays less for it.
Standard caveats apply about pricing the weights being difficult, just like pricing the items. But the system seems sound.
EDIT: I wanted to address a concern Gurgthock brought up-- what happens when a hybrid class respecs to their primary healer role?
I don't believe this system would have issues with that occuring. Yes, you might have the situation of someone getting healer loot at some cheap 5% rate and then getting to use it full time. But the number of pieces of loot they are likely to obtain is very small, since they could only loot it if no "real" healer needed it at the time of drop. The item is in low demand and high supply, so it makes sense than the price decreases. If they've somehow gotten a lot of pieces at the cheap price, it's still not the worst thing in the world. After all, that just means there's fewer things for them to spend their points once they respec, so being high on points doesn't help very much.
We've come up with a simple solution to Hybrid gear, it's free if it's not your primary spec. Sometimes people decide who gets it amongst themselves and sometimes I have to do it based on DKP. You only pay points for your primary spec. This has it's flaws, in that someone could come in and just take every off spec item imaginable, but in my opinion the smaller raid size promotes not doing this and being friendlier about loot than people have been in the past. What I like most about this is that Hybrid classes have no penalty for gathering alternative gear and at some point we may need them to be a different spec than they are now.
For us if a Hybrid class was to respec, for example a Shadow Priest respeccing to Holy, their shadow gear would be reduced to zero and their holy gear would be raised to the full price. However it is more than likely that they will have spent more points on Shadow gear than Healing and now they will have a very large amount of points. Therefore the points that they gained from the zeroing of their Shadow gear are temporarily locked and their DKP when they were shadow is what they temporarily will have. As they spend points on healing gear we will first take it from the Shadow refund pool of points. This is very very lenient on role switching, but I don't expect this to be a common thing whatsoever.
My guild is currently have similar issues with Hybrids suffering from our loot system. We use a suicide kings system, but it does not leave room for people getting gear for alternate sets.
As a Shadow Priest my priority is getting DPS gear, however if a piece of healing gear drops and the specced healers pass on it I should be able to get that item without sacrificing my spot for damage gear. Its in the guild's best interest if hybrids can have solid sets for their alternate roles, in case of respeccing, or just temporarily doing a different role in a raid. However our current system is, I have to sacrifice my SK spot for off spec gear, and as a result many pieces of perfectly useable gear are DE'd.
Does anyone have experience with Suicide Kings systems that handle passed hybrid gear differently?
Yes, in a way, with this system hybrid loot is essentially at zero cost. At least - either the system assumes you are going to take it and lowers other items accordingly, or it is included in that bin - a shaman's offspec gear would be free for the reasons you stated above, exactly.
I am interested that you guys essentially went loot council. It seems like a decent way to do things at times, but when tier 5 items drop we still have 5-6 people going in on it, and assigning loot from my experience is generally fairly drama intense. What has your experience been with this - as you say, in TBC - loot competition is fairly minimal.
The downside to the two-tier list are frequent spec/role changers, so you will need to lay down some sort of framework for this.
I've been under 4 different loot systems in my day. My current guild uses a loot council. They are very fair and objective about it, and people receive loot based on what they've looted recently, attendance, size of upgrade, etc. People are generally happy with it. In my previous guild, we used a straight-up open bid system in which points were gained per half-hour and the minimum bid was 1 point. If you wanted an item you payed as much as you were willing. In my guild before that we used a closed bidding system with much higher minimum bids. My first guild used a zero-sum system which I hated because new members were put hundreds of DKP in debt for getting set upgrades, etc.
All in all, the system that seemed to work the best was the 1 point minimum open bid system. People saw what people wanted and what they were willing to pay for it. Open bidding also discouraged so called "spite bidding."
I do like the sound of what you've come up with however.
well thats the main issue. I brought up the idea of a second SK list, but the whole point of a single SK list is its extremely easy to keep track of. (we use an SK addon to track it)
My personal idea was all off spec people with interest random on the item. In kara this will be at most two-three people randoming on something so it shouldnt become an issue.
The officers are overly concerned with being fair, and that hybrids are getting extra loots for free. Eventhough it is in no way helping me with my primary role, and I personally very rarely if ever heal.
The other issue with open bidding is behind the scenes deals. This can happen with any type of DKP, but it is more likely to occur (even mid bid) in an open bidding system where you get situations of "you scratch my back I'll scratch yours" this can be especially problematic if its a class alliance. People within the same class will allow eachother to get class items for very low values so they have more points to bid on items that multiple classes may bid, and compete on.
I'm kinda with Gurgthock here, we dont use a dkp system anymore, we dropped it when tbc came out, i really dont think there is a need for one.
There will always be inconsistencies, with certain people/classes getting more than others, but we have such a small tight knit group of players now, i dont think anyone has a problem with it.
Activity > upgrade > sidegrade > non raid item.
We use a loot council to decide all tier items, and have the class leader nominate one from each of the classes an item can be used by. with the exception of the tanks as they get prio on everything.
Sorry for the derail.
One relatively simple solution that I have not seen mentioned here is to have a zero sum system that is split based on the tier. Kara/Gruul/Mag in the Tier 4 system, SSC/Eye in the Tier 5 system, etc. This lets everyone start fresh when working on a new tier of content and discourages DKP hoarding since you can't take it with you anyway.
The way I see it, when you are starting progression through a new tier, hybrid gear is not really a big concern. Everyone is still working on gear for their primary roles and will not be taking gear that is a sidegrade for them over someone who is using it for an upgrade. As you progress through the tier and really start to farm the instance, that is when you really start to fill out the hybrid gear sets. But at that point, who really cares if the hybrids go deep into the negative since there really is not much competition for gear at that point and you won't have this pressure to save DKP for the next tier of content.
First of all, we run zero-sum for all items of higher ilvl than the Karazhan non-set drops (soon to be 115). It's the same system we've been using since the beginning of raiding, basically.
While drops are frequently not contested, yes, it's nice to try to stick to the same principles of even loot rotation. The reduction in raid/guild size did directly result in an easier time running the system. Rarely do we spend much time debating an item on a corpse, even when RP'ed.
The chart is here, for an example of how things look:
As far as cross-class goes, we simply allow upgrading between all items of a particular slot, no matter what "role" they're for. The end result is that everyone, hybrid or not, loots their first set of gear for about the same cost and at about the same rate, and hybrids can amass their alternative sets at very little cost afterwards. I even extended this to Warriors and their heap of weapons, simply because the minor oddity in all the cross-upgrading was less significant than the effort of doing anything more complex.
We actually don't have a "loot council" as such unless "ok druids, you guys can figure out who gets the Wildfury staff" counts as one.
My current thoughts on what a loot system should do can be boiled down as simply as:
1) A loot system should make sure that people are rewarded proportionally to their contributions (i.e., attendance);
2) A loot system should make sure that someone who receives a desired and contested item is less likely to win the next one, while those who lost out are, in turn, more likely to win the next one; and
3) A loot system should not incentivize behavior that is contrary to the good of the raid, such as letting small upgrades or situational sidegrades rot.
The biggest thing that bugged me about fixed-price zero-sum DKP, as we used it pre-TBC, was that situations frequently arose where individual players' rational incentives were contrary to the interests of the raid. Taking loot should never be bad. When you run Kara, if a POS item drops and not many people want it, hey, someone rolls for PvP use or whatever, and it's no big deal. If they had to spend points or forego the chance at really good loot later on in the zone in exchange, they wouldn't touch the item. And if something is a small upgrade, as a raid leader, you want it to be looted, but then the player who has to loot it feels punished as a result. People who took stuff like Romeo's Poison Vial, Legacy, and the like, because there was no reason not to, are quite happy now. Under a DKP system no one would've wanted to touch those items, and you'd have ended up pissing people off if you forced them to take them, and why should anyone be upset over taking loot?
As a player in a zero-sum system where priority is tied to the point ordering, I should pass on all small upgrades and also on all loot that isn't hotly contested until I can get dibs on the best and most-contested drops. If I'm a healing shaman farming AQ40 I should dodge all loot until I'm the #1 healer so I can get the Cloak of Clarity that 15 other people want because it's the best cloak in the game for the next 10 months, and then once I have that, I can easily scoop up stuff like the Emps' belt, Gauntlets of Kalimdor, and other pieces that are pretty much uncontested. But the problem arises that when those things drop, someone has to take them, and Shaman A who loots them first is now screwed and pretty much never going to get the Cloak he wants unless a dozen of them drop. That strikes me as illogical.
Allowing people absolute priority on items based on their point totals also encourages gaming the system, even if people aren't doing it maliciously, because it's the only rational behavior. If I have a 100% chance of getting the loot I want if I'm #1 on points, and a 0% chance if I'm #2 on points, then I'm going to hoard. Systems like that are what led plenty of guilds to have three rogues running around in 5/8 Nightslayer wielding Barman Shanker while a fourth rogue with all blue armor gets the first Perdition's Blade since he saved his points (at the expense of contributing more to the raid on a week-to-week basis).
Anyway, what this means is that even if a piece of loot is good, if it's uncontested or nearly so, I don't think it should count against a player. If we only have one druid along on a raid, and we run TK and get Bark Gloves from trash and the Girdle of Zelatar from Void Reaver, grats to him, but what the hell else would we have done with those items if he hadn't been there? Does that mean that he should now get his contested set pieces after every other priest and warrior? On the other hand, if we kill Vashj and she drops her healing Scepter and every healer present wants it, whoever gets it should lose priority on the next contested items down the line.
Now, this sort of variable and situational weighting is ordinarily what a bidding system would provide, but bidding encourages manipulation and gaming the system at the expense of the raid group as a whole, and turns loot into a more competitive element than should be the case.
Anyway, it's a lot easier to tear down other loot systems than to build your own, that's for sure.
EDIT: Dam Gurgthock beat me to it.
In the situation where two items drop for a class, the weaker one first (say points/attendance/whatever is perfectly even beforehand), you have two options, regardless of your loot system:
--have one person make an short-term weak decision by looting the weaker one and letting his guildmate get the stronger one.
--allow one person to get both items.
The purpose of the RP is to discourage the latter. Understanding that the former is simply part of fair loot distribution is up to the guild. You should expect that people work within the system rules to help gear up the guild in an efficient manner. The system provides a framework for people to work towards their most desired gear, but it is not a license to do everything in their power to improve their own characters at the expense of others.
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