“This system will eventually fail and bring your guild down with it. You can’t count on a single person’s (or group’s) ethics to hold together such an important system. The reality is that if your council has the power to take unfair advantage, eventually it will. That’s why democracies have checks and balances.

The only place a loot council should have is applying common sense for the best interests of the guild to the decision on who should roll on drops. Basically ensuring that nobody rolls on off spec stuff while main specs could use it, or nobody with better gear rolls on a downgrade by accident.” – A comment on a great blog, “World of Matticus“.

Loot Council is one of few methods that guilds may use in order to distribute loot to raiders.  This system is unique in that a leadership team will use their own judgment and criterion in order to reward raiders with much needed gear.

The positives in this method is that no one can hoard DKP as there are no points to give out.  DKP also can reward those with minimal effort with maximum output of gear.  Not to mention, if the math is being calculated by an officer and that math is not correct, you have issues across the board (yes, I’ve seen this happen… won’t name names).

The negatives in this method is that there must be 110% trust amongst the membership and those who are deciding on where loot goes.  There will, unfortunately, always be doubt to what goes on behind the scenes.  Corruption is a fear no one can afford to ignore.  Also, depending on the focus of the Loot Council, people who do minimal work may get more gear than those who do.

The Lowered Expectation’s Loot Council system works based off this:

  • Rank in guild – People freshly recruited start as Initiates.  After a two week “trial” period, they become Raiders.  Initiates can only get access to loot that Raiders pass up on.  This Initiate period is to oversee DPS rotations, performance in guild, behavioral issues, etc.  We also informally observe behaviors after the period when they are advanced to Raiders, as some people tend to be fake during an unstable period. This has always gotten at least one person caught off-guard.
  • Performance in raidThe understanding in terms of “performance” relies heavily on the individual and the ensemble. The individual should strive to be better every raid in their own personal goals (e.g. DPS should aim to be higher every raid, healers should maximize efficiency and minimize “emergency panic moments”, and tanks should maximize threat and make their own playing encourage stronger DPS through movement).  The ensemble should work on not standing in things that are potentially dangerous (or very dangerous, like a void zone).
  • Attitude – The general attitude of a raider is weighed heavily.  If you can’t control yourself when you don’t win a piece of loot, if you talk trash in trade and in general chats, if you cause issues and drama in a guild… that’s a big no-no.  I unfortunately cannot ever claim subjective thinking is in control all the time.  That is an impossibility.  But that’s the thing.  If you know what you’re doing could possibly be a disruption on any level, then why are you doing it?
  • Attendance – A minor one, but we do look at consistency.  We understand things arise.  But when things keep happening, that’s unfortunately a problem.  Knowing that you may have huge attendance issues is something you should admit to any guild you join, even if you know that pulls your chances out of the door. At least they know you’re not one of those people who will join, get a lot of gear, and then have attendance issues that could be questionable.  And possibly they can help you with a guild that could cater to your issues!
  • Upgrade – Some people need the upgrade.  Some people don’t.  We look at gear, ask questions, and find out what exactly people need.  For the most part, people do understand why these things happen.  When you have a blue or a green equipped, we understand the need for an upgrade, but it solely depends on the other factors before we hit this point.  The effectiveness of an item is only gauged when a raider uses it to the maximum effort it can be. It sucks when you put in a lot of time to see that one piece of loot go to another person who just got there.
  • Player Pass/Priority – Usually when something drops, we have people who will not only send the appropriate tell but will let us know they are looking for a certain item.  If they do, we know what they are seriously looking for and will try to prioritize.  If two or more do this, we then fall back on the above methods.
  • Equal Distribution – We try to pass out loot as evenly as possible, using a combination of spreadsheets to track loot and a mod that tracks it actively so we can parse that data after.  We like to be equal, but sometimes it doesn’t end that way.

Loot council is a method that there seems to be very little gray areas to debate on.  It’s either “it sucks” or “it’s awesome”.

I’ve been in DKP guilds.  I’ve been in only two loot council guilds, and those were the ones I either helped create or lead in currently.  The DKP guilds I’ve experienced were ones that were competitive but in all the wrong ways.  Here’s a fun story.

I used to raid on Elune in a guild called Knights of Bad Karma.  We were part of a guild alliance with two other guilds.  For the longest time, I wasn’t able to get the Beaststalker Helmet for my Dungeon Set 1.  I’d been raiding Molten Core for a time.  One evening, the Tier 1 helmet dropped.  I almost peed myself.  I quickly threw out my tell for an opportunity to win.

Instead, I lost to another hunter who was wearing the Tier 2 helmet.  He also had the Crown of Destruction.  I had lost because I had less DKP than him, and it was the purpose of that Raid Leader that evening to follow it so religiously that she didn’t even see the green, level 52 helmet I was wearing.

Guess how angry I was?

Rhetorical question set aside about my emotions, look.  I know there have been awful things in Loot Councils.  It always sounds so appealing: people will give you loot and it will be fair and everything will be fine.  In reality, I’d say 90% of guilds who do that always fall into pitfalls of favoritism, of little subjectivity and no logic except that of gearing up the individual and not the raid.

But realize this, folks.  Loot Council is dependant on two factors: the virtue of the council and the trust in the entire guild.  If you’re joining a guild with Loot Council with people you do not know and have few friends in there, you’re doing something wrong already.  Go find another guild that runs something else.  If you join that guild and find yourself doing everything you can but still not getting gear… just get out and find somewhere better for you.

To those who argue that people who do the less work get the most gear due to laziness of not running things and trade skill working, that’s the fault of the Loot Council, but not of the system.  The system isn’t flawed inherently but the people behind it are.  Don’t blame the system.  We cannot forget one bad moment will not mean every moment like that will be bad.  It just means you found the wrong people at the wrong time.  In our guild, we know who’s been working and who hasn’t.  There’s usually a huge correlation between effort in raids and effort outside of them.  We do have a few people (myself included) who don’t have enough time pre-raids due to school, work, and other important events but do a lot in those raids (but, we do know them ahead of time).

Loot Councils should have a sort of check and balance component.  In ours, we rarely find ourselves at a point where we have to sweat and take some time to deliberate.  To be honest, it didn’t even happen that much at the start of our Naxx 10 and 25s and all of those raids.  We had a few people up, and it was obvious to all of us where it should go.  When you have a group of people that are like-minded, with various backgrounds and information and raiding experience, you know there’s a binding reason.  And to be honest, sometimes it’s two or three who deserve it, but they know it will drop again because we are an efficient, competent, and intelligent raiding guild focused on progression and speed.

So, stop being angry about Loot Council.  Disagree with what you want.  But know that it’s your experiences that were bad and don’t ruin what could be the most amazing teamwork experience with your own bad mojo.