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Officers' Quarters: Loot system for mounts

The Clutch of Ji Kun mount
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

One situation that officers and raid leaders are frequently unprepared for is a rare mount dropping from a boss. Many times, players aren't even aware that specific bosses drop mounts, because they drop so rarely. Without a specific policy in place, you have to make one up on the spot -- which is not a great idea. One guild just ran into this problem, and they want to know the best system for mounts.

Hi Scott,

Last night the officers of our 25-man raid group encountered a bit of a dilemma. Heroic Ji-Kun dropped the Clutch of Ji-Kun mount and we, the officers, had to decide how to deal with it. We use the EPGP lootmaster system, but didn't have any rules in place for how our raiders should roll on the mount. After a brief discussion we decided that we would just put a free roll for all players of Raider status and it would go to the highest roller.

Other officers began to bring up valid points for the future, the next time a rare mount drops. What sort of requirements should we put on who is allowed to roll on mounts the next time one drops from a boss? Most of the other officers are saying "Raider" status, at least 1 month with the guild, and 90% attendance should be required before we roll. I felt the attendance clause was a bit strict, because it's not a combat item and it doesn't enhance the raid's performance in any way. The others feel that we should be rewarding people for having good attendance, which I feel is a valid point.

In an attempt to make it fair for everyone last night, we let everyone roll on it. Luckily for us, a member with close to 90% attendance who has been with us since 5.1 won the roll, so we didn't have to deal with drama. But we want to make some clearly defined rules for the future. How do other lootmasters deal with this type of situation?

Curtis
aka Supertek of <Taurential Reign>, Mal'Ganis (US)

Hi, Curtis. Love the guild name, by the way. I think you guys did the right thing here, but it's better to have the policy ahead of time. Today at least we can warn others to have a plan in place.

Rare raid pets also fall into this category. We'll focus on mounts here, but the same systems could apply to pets.

Factors and methods

1. Points

Although this is possibly the most fair way to distribute a mount, it encourages point hoarding. Point hoarding is bad for your progression overall, because you end up sharding anything that isn't a solid, absolute upgrade. Some players won't care and they'll spend points as they normally would, but your raiders who are mount/achievement crazy may cling to every possible point to make sure they're the high bidder when that Clutch drops.

The other problem here is that it feels bad to spend a boatload of hard-earned points on anything that isn't usable equipment.

2. Rank

Including rank as a factor depends on your guild's structure. I think it's OK to limit the eligible players to those who are full guild members, no longer in a "tryout" rank.

However, I don't agree with limiting eligibility to officers only. It sends a bad message that the officers think they are more important and more deserving of special rewards. Leave it to your raiders to decide whether you are. You never know -- they might all pass so that an officer can receive the mount. I've certainly heard touching stories of this happening before, as a thank you to an officer who went above and beyond.

Any other rank cutoff is likely to feel arbitrary, so I don't suggest using a specific rank as a factor beyond the full member rank.

3. Attendance

Attendance is critical to raid success, and raid success leads to mount drops. It's not the worst criterion out there. However, if you're going to use it, you need exact numbers. You can't ballpark this and say, "Well, I'm pretty sure Raider A has better attendance than Raider B." You have to track it for every run.

Attendance has its own set of problems, however. If someone has only been in the guild for three or four months, they are likely to have a better attendance percent than someone who has been in the guild for three or four years. Resetting the numbers during each expansion or each tier is probably a good idea.

Players may also feel slighted if they had great attendance but recently missed raids due to unavoidable health or work issues or a change in raid schedule. I foresee some drama if you make attendance a big factor.

The best way to encourage attendance is to have fun in your raids. A 1% chance at a mount isn't going to make much difference to most players when it comes to showing up or not.

4. Chance

Chance is always fair. It can't be corrupted. It's totally unbiased. Without a better system in place, rolling for a mount should be the default.

The other side of rolling

The unbiased nature of chance is a double-edged sword. Here's a perfect example. During a Cataclysm-era Firelands farming run, my guild brought in a nonraider to fill out our raid for the night. The Flametalon of Alysrazor dropped. We all rolled, and the nonraider won it. There were no hard feelings -- we congratulated him and moved on. Then, on the same run, the Smoldering Egg of Millagazor dropped from Ragnaros. We couldn't believe it.

We all rolled, and the same nonraider won the other mount too.

Now people were angry. It wasn't really about his lack of raider status. It was the fact that the same person was about to get two very rare mounts from the same run.

Granted, the gracious thing would have been for the player to pass on the second mount once he won the first mount. The officers briefly discussed whether we should give the mount to the next highest roll, but our policy didn't have a contingency plan for this situation, and we stuck to our existing rule. The same player got both mounts.

While rolling is a solid system, it does have this flaw.

My recommended system

Have an officer create a list of every active raider. The next time one of these very rare mounts drops, every eligible raider who wants it will roll. The player who wins it gets crossed off the list, and they are no longer eligible to roll. When everyone on the list has one, create a new list. It's kind of like the Suicide Kings system, but without a specific order for priority.

It is likely to take years to go through the entire list. That's OK. Your raiders will know that if they roll on a mount and win, they probably aren't getting another one for a very, very long time. That means people won't roll on a mount unless they badly want that particular mount. If it's a mount they aren't super jazzed about, they might pass.

When new raiders join your guild, add them to the list after the next mount drops. That way, your current raiders don't have to worry about someone joining and snagging the first available mount.

I like this system because (a) everyone who's never gotten a mount is more and more likely to get one, (b) someone who won a mount actually wanted that specific mount, and (c) one or two people won't get all the awesome mounts because of dumb luck.

I admit it's a better system for 10-man guilds. In a 25-man guild, a single raider who gets a mount has almost no hope of ever receiving another one. For that reason, you may want to reset the list every couple of expansions or after a lot of turnover in your roster.

It may seem a tad involved for something that comes up so rarely. As my example above illustrates, though, it's not impossible for a guild to have a streak of drops.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a policy spelled out before those loot buttons pop up.

How does your guild deal with mounts? Tell us below!

/salute
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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