Monday, October 20, 2014

Should Your Guild Use "Personal Loot"?

With the overhaul to the raid difficulty system, we saw the added loot option of "personal loot". Personal loot is how loot is distributed in the LFR difficulty, and was the unchangeable loot distribution method of flex. Now that "flex" is no longer a difficulty but rather both normal and heroic modes are flexible, personal loot has become a choosable option, just like group loot or master loot.

First, a bit of explanation:

  • Personal loot will work like it always did. Each person in the raid has their own individual roll chance to receive loot from a boss and the loot received is based off of their loot specialization choice. 
  • Within a flexible raid construction, group and master loot will award an amount of loot based off of the amount of people in the raid. Instead of a flat scaling, it will scale in percentages, meaning there may be, for example, a loot droprate of 3.6. That means that sometimes there will be 3 pieces of loot, and sometimes there will be 4. This helps dissuade groups planning on utilizing ML or GL from picking exact numbers of people to guarantee a certain number of drops. Other than this functionality, it works as it always did.

As the raid leader in non-lfr difficulties, you can choose to use personal loot. So now we have the question on whether or not we should use personal loot or master loot for our groups. This of course is different for pugs and constructed raid groups.

It is my opinion that personal loot is unquestionably superior to ML in a pug setting. Master loot in a pug has the same challenges it always did - you have to stop and roll after each boss for loot and there is the possibility of the ML giving out loot incorrectly or unfairly. Personal loot is simpler, faster, easier, argument and grief-free. Furthermore, it allows people to choose which loot specialization they are receiving loot for in your pug - they may join as a healer simply because you didn't want anymore dps, but they want to receive dps gear.

There is a question however of whether or not personal loot is better for guild runs. A lot of people are asserting that personal loot would be superior to use while first clearing a raid with your guild, as all players are in need of all available pieces of gear. There is the assertion that some gear will go unused.

If you've been paying any attention to gear from the new UBRS, or taking note of development in general, you've seen that gear will have both intellect and agility or strength. They are taking many steps to making gear useable for someone regardless of who is in your raid. You won't throw away an intellect plate piece because your guild doesn't have a holy paladin - that same piece will also have strength on it.

While there is still the possibility that a piece of gear may go unused, as non-armor classed pieces do not follow this standard and the secondary stat spirit is still useless for many specs, I still contend that ML will be superior in constructed guild raids.

The argument that no received piece of personal loot will go unused is sound, but unless you have an incredibly undiverse raid team, you probably won't see much loot go to waste your first few runs with ML, either. Healers will need things with spirit on them, loot without an armor class will be useable to at least one person, and loot with armor class has interchangeable stats. Maybe if your raid doesn't have any hunters or shaman, you may see a piece of mail go to waste, but I'm not sure that's the best reason to use personal loot over ML.

Within the very nature of personal loot, you have a chance for no one to receive loot off of a boss. Now, you have a statistically equal chance of receiving overall more loot from a boss than you would get with ML. However, you're playing with chance. I don't know any Warcraft player who really thinks RNG is on their side.

RNG at work

How awful would it feel to down a boss for the first time only to have zero loot drops? I can't even imagine a good enough argument to take that risk.

Furthermore, if your guild uses any kind of outwardly maintained loot system, it would be a nightmare to attempt to start accounting for dkp or epgp with personal loot. You think, well clearly, someone receives a piece of loot, so you simply award/take away points thusly.

Personally, that doesn't sound very fair, especially if you're planning on changing it to ML later on, as some people sound like they are planning on doing. Someone receives loot, you automatically adjust their DKP. Wait, what if that loot isn't an upgrade? What if it's a sidegrade, or what if they just got a piece of gear for that slot last boss? Now you read your chat log, see who got gear, and individually question each person if that piece of loot is applicable. Well, what if they lie? What if I simply didn't want to upgrade that particular slot? Tons of people pass on gear to other raid members to save their points for things that matter more to them - weapons, trinkets, set pieces. If I keep winning belts and bracers, I will never be able to catch up once we start using ML because I won't be able to receive loot for months due to winning personal loot items without choosing to do so.

There's a myriad of guild management issues that arise with attempting to use personal loot your first few runs with your constructed guild raids if you use DKP or other type of outside system, not to mention a severe lack of shards available to your raid for enchants if you continue to use it once people have started to get gear.

Sure, if you don't use a type of loot system at all - maybe your guild is casual, or you don't plan on progressing into mythic where personal loot isn't an option - personal loot will probably work fine for you. However, any serious progression guild would suffer from choosing personal loot, regardless of for how long or at which point in their progression.

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