Loot Distribution Systems


Distributing loot in a fair and beneficial way is one of the more important functions of a raid organizer. A guild which uses a method that is perceived as unfair by its members will not last for long. This guide discusses the many different ways that raiding guilds can distribute equipment. We will explain DKP, suicide kings, need over greed, loot council, EP/GP, and more. The guide also includes information to help you decide which system is right for your guild.


==What it Should Do==

There are two major points to a loot system:
*Distribute loot so it most benefits the group.
*Distribute loot in a way perceived as fair – in proportion to effort put in.
Which of these two points is most important depends on the situation. For example, a long term and hard-core raiding guild would most likely see point #1 as most important, while a PuG raiding group would definitely see #2 as most important.

==DKP: Raid Points==

“DKP” is a term thrown around by a lot of guilds, and often loosely encompasses all loot distribution systems other than loot council and roll-offs. The term originated in Everquest when the only raid encounter was a dragon, and groups who regularly killed the dragon kept tabs on “Dragon Kill Points”.

Today DKP just means raid points. In all DKP systems, you get points for the effort you put in and lose points when you get gear out. Sometimes the system includes penalties for “bad” behavior or bonuses for “good” behavior. Within this framework, there are tons of variations. We’ll talk about the different elements of a DKP system and the possibilities in each, present the advantages and disadvantages of DKP, provide some examples, and finally talk about what is needed to implement this kind of system.

===Earning Points===

DKP systems all award points in one way or another, in an attempt to represent effort and contributions. Possible ways of measuring this include hourly DKP, boss kill or boss attempt DKP, and a flat award for attending the raid. Hourly DKP is favored by some since it clearly measures the amount of time put in. Boss kill DKP might encourage players to work harder to kill bosses. A flat award for a raid is an easy way to distribute DKP, especially if you are not using an automated system of some kind.

Assigning point values to each of these awards requires a look at the total system. See “Setting the Numbers” below for advice on how to do this.


Whether to include bonuses and penalties in your system depends on the level of complexity you would like. Bonuses might include on-time, full-run, and donation bonuses. Penalties may include late, not showing up, or leaving before the end of the raid. These adjustments may encourage “good” behavior in players and discourage “bad” behavior, but also complicate your system. As an officer, you need to decide the maintenance level of your system and the amount of upkeep it will require. There are many addons out there to automate DKP, but adding bonuses like these usually must be done manually.

Assigning point values to bonuses and penalties requires a look at the total system. See “Setting the Numbers” below for advice on how to do this.

===Spending Points===

The spending system you chose will have a large impact on the way that loot is distributed, and can cause a lot of complaints in your guild members if not chosen carefully. There are three broad categories out there: Slot based pricing, item level based pricing, and auction. It is possible to have even simpler systems where all items are one price or complex systems where each item is a different price – but these will not be covered here.

In any price-based system, the person with the highest DKP out of those who want the item will receive it, then have the price deducted from his or her total DKP. In auction systems, the highest bidder receives the item.

”’Slot Based Pricing”’
:In this system, each equipment slot is assigned a price. For example, all chest items are a certain price, all one-hand weapons are a certain price, and so forth. The system might break things down further, giving different prices to cloth, leather, mail, or plate items. Tier or set items may be more expensive than normal items, since there is more competition for these. This system accounts for the difference in value between slot pieces, but does not account for increase in quality from one raid to another.

”’Item Level Pricing”’
:In the item level system, the DKP price is based on the item level – often it is equal to the item level divided by 2. The item level can be looked up on a website such as or found using an addon such as Auctioneer. This system accounts for the increase in item quality from on raid to another, but does not account for the difference in value between different slot pieces.

:The auction system is attractive because it makes setting DKP values much easier. In an auction system, players bid on items. Most often this is done “silently” – by whispers to the master looter, so no one knows the bids of the others. The players set the price of the item based on how much they want it and their perception of the competition – so highly sought-after items are automatically priced higher. Often these systems include a minimum bid, and sometimes a policy that if only one person bids, they receive the item for the minimum bid. Auctions can take longer than standard point-buy systems, and can also be perceived as unfair since people can purchase the same item for different prices in different raids.

For information on setting specific prices, see “Setting the Numbers” below.

===Decay or caps===

Unless you are using a zero-sum system (explained in the next section), having a decay or cap on DKP may be necessary. The reason for this is that it can be fairly difficult to properly balance DKP gain and loss, and you may see people accumulating vast amounts of DKP. In an auction system, this isn’t as much of a problem since the players set the prices and people will most likely eventually equalize. However, in a price system this can result in rampant DKP growth.

A ”’decay”’ usually refers to a percentage that is deducted from every player’s DKP total after a certain period of time (a week or a month). Choosing the right percentage can be tricky – you don’t want people to feel like the DKP they earn is evaporating, but you want to keep things in balance. It’s best to look at how much someone earns on average in one week, then look at the maximum DKP you want them to reach (basically you are introducing an artificial or soft cap). Set your decay so at that cap, they will lose the same amount of DKP they gain each week. Here is the formula:

:Decay = 100 x Gain / Cap

A ”’cap”’ refers to a hard number at which no more DKP can be earned. Limiting DKP in this way may seem more unfair to players but requires less upkeep than a decay. It may also be perceived as more fair to those below the cap. However, in this method you may end up with several players all at the cap, making it difficult to determine priority.

===Setting the Numbers===

Choosing specific numbers for your DKP system is the hardest part about setting one up. We will give some general guidelines here, with specific examples provided in the “Example Systems” section below.

*”’Find a baseline first.”’ This is something to fix the rest of your numbers around. If you are doing an auction system, this might be the ammount of points awarded by one hour or one boss. If you are doing an item level pricing system, this will HAVE to be the price of the item. If possible, choose a small number for this base line. It’s easier to deal with DKP in small numbers – use 1 instead of 10 for example. For item levels, you can cut them in half and make that the price instead of the full level.
*”’Balance earned and spent.”’ If you chose a “earning” value as a base line, figure out how much a person would earn in one week or month and about how many items he or she would receive, then make the items the right cost to balance their earned and spent DKP. This step is highly dependant on how often your guild raids, whether you do 10 or 25 man content, and how many bosses you down per session (or per hour).
*”’Check your assumptions.”’ Make sure your assumptions – how often people will be raiding, how many bosses killed per hour, how often a person might get loot – make sense. Again, this is very guild-specific. Ask your officers for help making sure everything looks right.
*”’Test it!”’ Try out your system. If things are really out of whack, change it. However, keep in mind that if a loot system changes often, it is hard for guild members to understand the rules and can cause trouble. Try to keep things constant unless something is definitely unfair or unbalanced.

COMING SOON: A step-by-step example of setting numbers for a DKP system.

===Advantages and Disadvantages===

As you have seen, there are so many types of DKP that it is hard to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of it – since some types have specific traits while others do not. However, there are some things all systems share.

*Versatile – DKP can be molded specifically to fit your guild.
*Complex – A DKP system can satisfy detailed needs.
*Concrete – With DKP, players feel very grounded, since it is a form so like money.
*Fair – DKP is more likely to give loot to those who have not gotten it recently, and awards those who have put in more time.
*Effective – DKP awards those who raid more often, which in turn makes those who raid the most more powerful – thus helping raids.

*Complex – DKP systems can be incredibly complex, and can leave players confused.
*High Maintenance – DKP systems have the potential to be very high maintenance for officers.
*Outside Tools – DKP systems essentially require you to use some sort of web database and/or addons.
*Cumbersome – During raids, parceling out loot can take a long time with DKP, and this downtime can be a raid-killer.

===Example Systems===

Here are a few ready-to-use example DKP systems. Please note: If your guild uses a system that is significantly different than these, and it works well, feel free to write up a wiki article on how it works and link it here.
*[ Complex Auction System]
*Simple Cost Based System – COMING SOON!

===Implementing a DKP System in Your Guild===

Starting up a DKP system can be difficult. Initially, you will run into two problems: people having the same DKP and people having to go negative with DKP. One solution to this is to run a few raids using a roll-off or loot council system (see below) while people gain DKP, and start using it a few raids later.

Additionally, you need to train your officers to record DKP for raids you do not attend. For a small guild you may be in every raid most of the time, and that is fine. But even then you will get sick or have RL issues occasionally. Make sure all the officers are trained to record DKP, however you choose to do this.

Finally, you need a way to keep track of DKP. I highly recommend an automated method, ESPECIALLY if you have a complex DKP system. You can get addons which record DKP while raiding. Some display these totals in game, while others interact with a website. See the “Loot System Tools” section at the end of this article for a detailed description of many of these addons and websites. It is possible to keep track of DKP by hand if you have a simple system and a small guild, but if the tools are out there, why waste the time and effort?

==Zero Sum DKP==

Zero Sum DKP is a special type of DKP system in which the sum of all the DKP in the guild is equal to zero. This means that some people will have negative DKP and some will have positive. This system ONLY works with a cost spending system (as opposed to an auction).

In zero sum DKP, the cost of the items a boss drops is equal to the total DKP the boss gives to the raid. This is best illustrated by an example.

:A ten person raid kills a boss. This boss is worth 1 DKP for each person in the raid – that is a total of 10 DKP. The boss drops two items. In total the items must be worth 10 DKP, so each item costs 5 DKP.

As with normal cost-based DKP, when multiple people want an item, the person with the highest DKP will get it. Having negative DKP in this system is not a penalty in any way, and is actually natural – about half the people should have negative DKP at any given time.

More details COMING SOON!

==EP/GP: Effort and Gear Points==

An EP/GP system is a special type of DKP system. In this system, a raider receives Effort Points (EP) for raiding (these can be awarded in any of the ways talked about in the DKP section above) and receives Gear Points (GP) for getting gear (see the cost-based DKP system above for methods of awarding these). Instead of spending points, in this system the raider’s EP is divided by their GP to determine ”’priority”’ – a ratio of the effort put in to the amount of rewards gained to date. The person with the highest priority gets first dibs on items.

More details COMING SOON!

==Suicide Kings==

Suicide Kings is the simplest form of DKP, and in truth it isn’t even a point system. Initially, a list of all raiding guild members is created in a random order. When a piece of gear drops, those at the top of the list get the first pick. However, once they receive a piece of gear, they go to the bottom of the list – “suiciding”. Those at the top of the list are “kings”, getting first choice – hence the name Suicide Kings.

More details COMING SOON!

==Loot Council==

In a loot council system, one or more people are designated at the beginning of the raid to be the “council” (this could be just the raid leader). When a piece of loot drops, the council decides where it should go. How they decide can vary, but the criteria should be decided ahead of time (tanks/healers first, based on amount of upgrade, based on raid attendance, etc). This system has the potential to provide the most benefit for the guild but is often perceived as unfair or biased.

More details COMING SOON!


In this system, raiders are given ranks based on attendance brackets (for example, 0-20% attendance may be the lowest rank). The raid leader can quickly and easily see who has the most attendance based on their rank, and these higher ranked people are given first choice of loot. In-rank conflicts are settled through roll-off or loot council. Attendance can be calculated based on boss kills, hours, each raid as a whole, or some combination of these.

More details COMING SOON!

==Need over Greed Roll-Off==

The simplest system and that most often used in PuG groups is the need over greed roll-off. When an item is an upgrade for someone’s main spec, they roll need. When it is an upgrade for their off-spec, they roll greed. The loot is randomly distributed between those who need it. This is great when everyone has put in an equal amount of effort and there is no worry about gearing up the group as a whole – like in a PuG group.

A possible modification of this system would limit rolls to those who have not yet received loot during that raid.

More details COMING SOON!

==GDKP System==

The GDKP system is similar to most other DKP systems, with one important twist. The G in GDKP stands for Gold.

If you haven’t guessed by now, the basic premise of this system is that when a boss drops loot:
* The raid leader is Master Looter. He loots all the loot, then bids off each piece of loot to the highest bidder. There is no such thing as main spec, off spec, or vanity item (You want that tanking sword for your warlock? Go for it!).
* When bidding ends, the winner trades gold to the Master Looter, who at the same time trades the item they bid on to them.
* If nobody bids on loot, it gets disenchanted/vendored. It does -not- get given away. You are free to lower the initial bid price, however.
* Throughout the raid, the Master Looter accumulates all the gold from all loot auctioned into a GDKP pot.
* At the end of the run, once all loot has been auctioned/disenchanted/vendored, the Master Looter divides the amount of gold from the pot by the number of raiders, and EVERY raider gets a share.

People who didn’t win anything come out happy because they made money.
People who won stuff come out happy because they got loot they wanted and some of their money back by the end (and could even have come out of it with a profit, albeit smaller than that of those who didn’t win anything).

Other advantages:
* People aren’t likely to leave a group early when gold is on the line. So they’ll stay the full run rather than forfeit their share.
* You can more easily organize people that want to succeed rather than goof off. Mistakes are still made, yes, but you’d be surprised how much fewer are made when the gold pot only grows if bosses are downed.
* You have good control over what loot you’re going to get simply because you’re going to be more willing to spend money on certain items versus others.
* As mentioned above, there is no such thing as main spec, off spec, etc. Your only limit is your spending limit.

”’Where can you get more information on hosting a GDKP run?”’
Visit []

==Greens, Mats, and Other Stuff==

Usually the loot systems discussed thus far refer to equipment only. Most guilds have a separate policy for greens, materials, gems, and special drops such as bags, quest items, and mounts. Make sure that you know what is coming and plan for it accordingly – it’s bad news to suddenly have a rare and much-desired mount drop and not know how to hand it out.

For some of these things, using your normal loot system might be appropriate (such as for rare mounts). It really depends on the group of people and how your system works.

For greens, materials, and sometimes gems, many guilds have them put in the guild bank (after the greens are disenchanted). Other options include random roll-off for these items.

==How to Choose the System for You==

This section COMING SOON!

==Master Looting Advice==

Regardless of whether you actually have the loot set to “master looter” (you usually will in a raid setting), if you are in charge of loot then you have the final say as to where it goes. Here are a few tips for successfully distributing loot:
*”’Always follow your own rules.”’ The fastest way to lose a guild is to lose their trust.
*”’Be the sanity check.”’ If a warrior is rolling on caster gear, make sure you call it out and stop it. The player may not have done something wrong on purpose – they may have simply misread the stats or just be a newbie, so be firm but not angry.
*”’Advise for better upgrades.”’ If you think one person would be far better off with an item, you should voice this concern. However, if your system is not loot council, in the end it is that player’s decision as long as it is within your rules.
*”’Advise for fairness.”’ If someone just won an upgrade, and is rolling again against someone who hasn’t won anything, advise them of this. Again, you shouldn’t force the issue unless it is listed in your rules.
*”’Make sure you are giving loot to the right person.”’ There is a confirmation message when you pass out loot – read it!
*”’Keep things moving.”’ It is hard, when making sure everything is handed out right, to keep the raid moving. Let people know ahead of time that if they miss loot because they weren’t paying attention, it is their own fault.

==Loot System Tools==

This section COMING SOON!

===Web Tools===

This section COMING SOON!


This section COMING SOON!

==Tell us Your System!==

The beauty of a wiki (and WoW-Pro in general) is that everyone can contribute. If you have a loot system that works well in your guild, we would LOVE to see it! Here is how you can share:

#Check out an [ Example Loot System] that is already here on WoW-Pro
#Create a wiki page for your article
##Click “Create Content” on the right menu
##Click “Wiki Page”
##Title your page “Loot System Example:YOUR SYSTEM’S NAME HERE”
##In the “Wiki Information” section, please replace the text with: “This guide is a wiki page – feel free to add to it! It can be edited by anyone who is currently logged in. Before you change anything, please make sure to read our FAQ. This is a subpage of the Loot Distribution Systems article. The principle authors are Jiyambi and Shikamaru, you can contact us with any questions.”
##Tell us about your system in the main body of the page. Try to format it similarly to the other pages, but don’t worry too much – we will come back through and fix it up later if needed.
##Submit your new wiki page!
#Once your page is created, make sure to add a link to it on this page, under the proper section’s examples.

You can always leave a comment here if you have any questions!

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    Oct 23, 2010 @ 2:47 am

    Why would I mind? =pWhy would I mind? =p

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    Oct 23, 2010 @ 0:15 am

    I moved your GDKP section upI moved your GDKP section up to the other loot distribution systems, hope that’s okay 😀

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    Oct 22, 2010 @ 11:53 am

    *nods* I’ll figure out*nods* I’ll figure out posting GDKP stuff for it tomorrow or something.

    I’m mostly just slumming through old guides and stuff right now because I can’t fall asleep, but I’m too sleepy to update my guide drafts or do anything else that requires a lot of thought. God, it’s almost 5am… >_<

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    Oct 22, 2010 @ 11:47 am

    It’s definitely a valid lootIt’s definitely a valid loot distribution system, and I think sometimes guilds organize these types of pugs anyway – but this guide is about loot systems, not guilds necessarily, so that’s not so important.

    This guide has been sadly languishing, so I’d love it if you wanted to add to it. It’s a wiki so you should be able to edit it by default. It is using wiki formatting, though, which you may not be used to. Just be aware 🙂

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    Oct 22, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    I figured I’d comment toI figured I’d comment to mention a different sort of loot distribution system: GDKP

    To simplify it: Instead of earning points as with normal DKP systems, you earn/spend gold. You bid for loot by offering gold, and at the end of the run, the ‘pot’ of all the gold earned from bidding on loot is split equally amongst all raid members (even people who spent gold, so they could still come out with a profit at the end of the day).

    It’s not really meant for guilds though, so not sure if it’s appropriate to add to this particular wiki guide. It actually works best with PuGs, albeit an organized one (haha, oxymoronic ‘organized PuG’). It’s fairly popular in my server (or was until just before patch 4.0.1, as people aren’t as interested in gearing now that they know cataclysm is close by).

    I can go more into it if given permission to update wiki guide with info about it.

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    Apr 4, 2009 @ 16:36 pm

    Very Nice!It looks great! I have never raided because I missed both 60 and 70 caps, but I spent 99% of my time in raiding guilds because they loved my talent suggestions. Kind of weird, but I was like some kind of blind advisor. This helps me understand how loot gets to the people. Thanks!

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    Nov 24, 2008 @ 21:45 pm

    Freaking Wiki-code

    IFreaking Wiki-code 🙁

    I can’t even change a little bit of text formatting *sigh*

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    Nov 21, 2008 @ 17:58 pm

    Moving SectionsI’m debating whether the Need over Greed Roll-off and Loot Council sections should be moved to the top. The DKP section is probably what most people would read the article for, but it references both of those systems so they should maybe be explained first.

    Any thoughts?

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    Nov 20, 2008 @ 0:45 am

    I’m blown away really.I’m blown away really. Expected nothing but the best from you but I’m still impressed anyway! 😛

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    Nov 19, 2008 @ 22:39 pm

    Coming soon – really!I added coming soon notes to the unfinished sections, to let both readers and authors know what still needs to be done. Trust us, this really will be completed soon – it is an ongoing project and has not been abandoned.

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