Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guildleader chores: Updating our raid looting system - should we go to EPGP?

Raid loot can sometimes be a real pain in the ass.  Watching people argue over loot causes grief - kinda like how money is the root of all evil - grief not just to me but to the parties involved.  In a perfect world, nobody would whinge about loot or who deserved what.


Our guild, being so old went to DKP a long time ago, and we still use it today.  It used to be Fue and Lush's job to keep the DKP updated and it's annoying having to try to remember who turned up, who got what, enter it in etc when I would really rather be catching up on my arenas or killing Warbringers.

Over time people have commented about why we should be using other methods like Loot Council or even just rolling because now that we're just in 10s, there aren't that many people to argue over loot against.  However, Loot Council has its own problems because even though you'd want it to be fair, there will always be the disgruntled person who thinks deserve something more than someone else and the person to point the finger at would be whoever distributed loot.

When I was on Eldre'thalas levelling my paladin (yes OMG I have an alt that is level 20!) guild chat would be full of EPGP stuff.  I didn't understand it but I knew it was something to do with loot.

A screen capture of the mumbo jumbo I was wondering about
It looks like a whole lot of mumbo jumbo to me.  It's an add-on - I went to go try to read about it but it was pretty confusing!  Luckily Matticus has a post on it with an interview by Valen who clarifieds a lot of it for us noobs who are simple minded.
Sometimes known for being somewhat “mathy,” EPGP tries to provide a fair, transparent, configurable, deterministic, and reasonable loot distribution system. The word “fair” is somewhat ambiguous when it comes to handling loot, and is highly subjective. Can loot systems be fair to every member of a guild, and to the guild itself? Probably not, but when people think about fair loot systems, often words like “unbiased” are used, with sentiments of objective, even distribution. EPGP provides such features.
I like fair. I like maths.  There dislike unfairness immensely and anything that is open and transparent is good so nobody feels like they're being shafted.
Many familiar loot systems, such as DKP and its variants, use a single point pool, whereas EPGP uses two. Those two kinds of points in EPGP are in the name — EP and GP. EP, which stands for Effort Points, encapsulates the contributions of a raider to the raid (primarily attendance). GP, which stands for Gear Points, encapsulates the loot a raider has received from the raid.
So that explains what EP and GP are, but not really what they MEAN.  I'm getting to that bit.
Dividing a raider’s EP by their GP determines a raider’s Priority. When a piece of loot drops, the player who is interested in it with the highest Priority gets the loot along with the Gear Points the loot is valued at — there is no randomness or rolling in EPGP. This therefore increases the player’s GP, which lowers their priority once the division takes place, putting them below many other players (depending, of course, on the other players’ EP and GP values).
Am I losing you yet?  So as you keep taking stuff, your GP increases, so EP divided by GP becomes smaller and smaller, putting you lower on the priority list.
Left unchecked, EP, which grows as raids are attended, and GP, which grows as loot is received, would increase unbounded since neither are reduced inherently in the loot process. Instead of spending points, both simply accumulate. To prevent infinite growth, EPGP uses the concept of decay — at the start of every raid, or every raid week, or any other interval, everyone’s EP and GP are reduced by a fixed percentage. This results in EP climbing quickly at first, but then eventually sloping off towards a natural cap. GP, on the other hand, tends towards zero as it accumulates only when loot is rewarded rather than every raid.
So that is a clever part of it.  You can't just hoard it forever.  It tapers off - kind of like how your conquest caps taper off if you don't keep playing to keep your points up, even if your rating for ratedBG or arena is very high.  I like this concept, but it's a little confusing.  So how much does each item cost in terms of GP?
By default, every piece of loot has a fixed cost across all guilds and servers, based on the slot it is used in and the item’s level (aka, ilvl). Deep inside the game, there are formulas used to determine how much of a each stat such as Haste Rating or Intelligence a piece of gear has; this formula is based on the ilvl and slot, so, for instance, an ilvl 359 two handed sword has more strength than an ilvl 359 one handed sword or ilvl 359 ring. EPGP uses this formulation to derive a price for each piece of loot, normalizing around a chest piece with an arbitrary cost of 1,000 GP. Weapons cost more than 1,000 GP since they have a bigger impact than a new chest, whereas rings, carrying smaller item budget, cost less.
Like how iLvL is calculated as different items weigh differently with stats.  That's cool.  Because someone might take a ring and neck and someone else gets two pieces of tier and yet they get a huge upgrade for the same cost of DKP as the smaller stuff.  I think that's good.  Here's an example of value of items from WoWWiki.

quipping SlotSlot value
Head, Chest, Legs, 2H Weapon1
Shoulder, Hands, Waist, Feet0.777
Trinket0.7
Wrist, Neck, Back, Finger, Off-hand, Shield0.55
1H Weapon, Ranged Weapon, Wand0.42
EP is more fluid; typically guilds award EP based on attendance, both who is present at the beginning of raid and who is present throughout its duration. Even players on the bench receive EP and thereby loot opportunities when next they are in raid.
That's important to me.  I need to reward people who sat out to make sure we don't get dropouts from being denied a raid spot.  And also for the volunteers too.  So how does it look in action?  Velen used his guild as an example.
- 15 minutes before raid starts, a decay of 7% occurs- on time bonus of 1250 EP awarded to each member of raid- every 15 minutes therafter until end of raid, 300 EP is awarded to anyone in the raid and on standby- at end of raid, another 1250 EP bonus is awarded- some guilds opt to award EP when bosses die- small fixed weekly amount of EP for consumables donated to raid
To keep track of all this there is an addon - EPGP addon - which puts all the EPGP stuff in game rather than externally like we do on the website.

There are heaps of other advantages - with our current system, if we killed a boss who was hard work and no loot was taken we don't get any DKP for that, which is crap.  With EPGP we will still accumulate points anyway.  One of the disadvantages with EPGP is that new raiders will become equal to long standing raiders quickly because of the decay.

Why has this suddenly come up?  Well, it came up because Asys said a funny comment the other day.  We were talking about ... something, I can't remember what ... and I mentioned that our guild is very old.  As in, we had been a guild with core officers since Vanilla.  2004 or 2005?  Anyway, he said he could tell because when he did our first raid and we mentioned DKP, he thought, wow who uses dkp anymore?

Anyway, it's something to think about.  And will have to discuss with the other officers.  And we'll lose all our officer notes I hear, if we use the addon for EPGP!  I will miss officer notes :P

14 comments:

  1. EPGP is really good from an officers point of view and it's also fair for raiders. But... people will keep complaining.

    When we introduced EPGP in my old guild, people were loud against it. Most of the complains were because: they didn't understand or realised that it was much harder to play the system to their advantage :)

    EPGP has a great advantage, it's very flexible and you can use it the way it suits your guild.

    EP for standby members? sure. In our case, standby people had to send a /w to get their EP. So AFK, no EP. That encouraged people to be ready to jump in and reduce downtime. They can even be on their alts and EP will get added to their main.

    Encourage progression content? Give EP for attempt + kill.

    Need more people to help those farming sessions? Give EP for boss kills (helps speed up and reduce wipes).

    Left early without a good reason? -EP
    No show? -EP

    We used to penalise those 2 cases with the equivalent of a full raid night EP (I think).

    There used to be an addon for managing bidding which was a must (http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/epgp_lootmaster). That addong and EPGP pretty much eliminated the admin headaches for the officers. One caveat tho, the loot addon works a lot better if everyone is using it (but as an officer you kind of want that as it saves a lot of time).

    Take your time to understand the formulas, how you want to use it and the proper values. Again, take your time and play with the numbers.
    Grab the other officers and go do some low level instances with alts using EPGP to see it working. Let the other officers use EPGP and the loot addon (if you decide to use it)

    Sadly, people will always bitch :)



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    1. Thanks for that input! I took your advice on board but used it during live raids whilst still using the old DKP system, and it seems to be accepted.

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  2. I've mentioned before that SR used EPGP during Wrath when we were a much bigger raiding guild. I always thought it worked really well. People generally got the gear they wanted without headaches.

    It also helped with keeping the gbank stocked. Each week guildies (raiders and non) could donate to the guild bank and receive EP. There was a maximum allotted to each week. For example SR had a 500 EP max each week. You could donate 500g or various items that would add up to 500 EP. Red gems = 20 EP, enchanting crystals = 20 EP, etc. Our GM at the time was very anal retentive and had all the EP points posted on the notes for each bank tab so you could easily see how much each item was worth.

    I agree with anonymous above, you will WANT the lootmaster addon. You need to make sure that every raider has the EPGP addon or you will have issues with handing out loot.

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    1. I am trying it without everyone having the addon and so far it seems ok... but fiddly.

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  3. In my old guild when we did 25 man raids we used EPGP. It was great because it didn't just rely on boss kills but also the time raiders put into raiding.
    You have the options to set point scales etc for different aspects of the game. ie points per hour of raiding.
    It was easy to use back then so I would think it is even better now.

    Sabre

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    1. It's not so bad so far Sabre. I likeit.

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  4. I am happy with any loot system, loot is just a bonus on top of the fun times imo!

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    1. LOL I wish everyone thought like you Luxy!

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  5. EPGP sounds like a massive improvement over DKP if you are DE'ing loot a fair bit now, I didn't realise DKP didn't really address the problem of unwanted loot. Koala's suggestion to award EP on GB donations sounds like a great way to encourage that too.

    The downside for you, of course, is the admin effort in setting it all up, but it looks like a fairly self-sufficient process after that.

    In Cadence we used Loot Council, but then again we never really had any problems over loot anyway. Most often the loot council ended up going to a roll-off for those interested anyway, with the winner not getting into the roll-off on later pieces. But yeah, loot council really requires that a) your entire raid is mature enough to not complain, and b) that they all trust the loot council to be fair. I guess that perfect storm doesn't happen very often.

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    1. Loot council is hard because people will always whinge about unfair because the decision can be biased a little. I like the idea but fairness is what clinches it for me.

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  6. I like it as it has inbuilt support for Effort decay and applies participation based rewards. These two aspects are not standard in most DKP systems, but in built for most EPGP systems. It also has minimum effort to bid and a few other features under the hood. It does take a non-trivial amount of time to admin, but then so does DKP and every other point system.

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    1. I like that aspect of it too. It's really no brainer compared to the work I have to do for DKP.

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  7. Decay is definitely a big one that got me to read through all of that loot talk when I'm a) not a raider and b) no longer GM. We did DKP in Firelands and hoarding was a massive issue.

    Using your healing team as an example, I'm pretty sure all three of you get your non tier armour by default, yes? Does that then mean that you guys are disadvantaged when it comes to tier items because you will naturally have a lower GP purely because the loot gods decided that nothing but healing cloth would drop all night?

    Alternatively, does that mean your leather agility wearers (Druid, Druid/monk tanks, rogue, yes?) not only have to compete with each other for armor, but they also have to compete with a hunter for agi rings, trinkets, etc. That doesn't even take into account druid tier tokens! I dunno about your leather wearers, but I think I would risk decay if it meant I had a better chance at something I really need, meaning I pass on a lesser upgrade that the others already have.

    TL;DR even with this new system, your agi wearers are still getting the short end of the stick while holy paladins steal all the lootz purely because they're the only one who can wear it :P

    I think if fair distribution of loot is a really high priority for you, then having better class balance would be the first place to start.

    ** This comment was brought to you by a washed up ex-GM who gave up the job because she was too harsh and business like, and therefore her words and understanding of complex loot systems should be taken with a grain of salt ;) **

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    1. LOL Neri! I have only just found all the comments on this post - I have no idea where I was or why I hadn't replied!

      There are certain classes which are lucky for loot. Caster shamans. Plate DPS. We only have one of those. The caster clothies are competing for the same gear, as are the caster leather, agi leather, and of course agi rings and trinkets with hunters/rogues/druids. I think most people are not MASSIVELY fussed on gear at the moment, and fortunately we don't have huge dramas over loot but I do like to avoid drama and this seems to be the fairest way.

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