I’ve been putting it off as long as I could but I’m afraid that it’s time to deal with that controversial subject of loot rules. Which system is best? Which is most fair? Obviously, the hard core progression guilds won’t have the same type of system as a pug operation. Let’s talk about what is out there and share the systems you readers have in place. In the end, the type of loot system is going to depend on the type of guild or operation you are in.
Auto Assigned Loot
The default story mode operations automatically assign loot to whomever it deemed could use the item which dropped. It was a nice sentiment for fairness but once more geared players started helping lesser geared players this became a problem. There was no way for the system to look at what the players were currently using and it would sometimes automatically assign loot to a fully Rakata geared player instead of the one in green-blue gear. Fortunately, the master looter option exists so that items can now be assigned to the appropriate player.
Free For All
While you will rarely see this in an operation, there are some casual groups that will just allow a free for all. This is a good way to ask for drama, especially when you bring individuals who may not know what to do and autoloot everything or someone who is just wanting to cause trouble. This is not to say that this can’t be used efficiently. If you have a good group of players you trust to only pick up items that they really can use then it can be a fast way to distribute loot and move on to the next boss.
Need before Greed (Round Robin)
This is probably the most common type of loot system in place. It is essentially an open roll for players who can use the item as an upgrade. The problem with this type of loot system is that it doesn’t reward attendance and dedication to the operation group. You can also run into the same situation with players who are unknowingly or knowingly rolling on inappropriate loot for whatever reason.
- Suicide Kings – This variant is a way to ensure most people have a chance for loot. Essentially, a master list is created randomly then, when an item drops, a roll is made to show interest in the item. The person highest on the master list will roll the item (no matter the roll result) then that person drops to the bottom of the list and everyone moves up. This doesn’t guarantee loot for everyone but it tries to distribute it as evenly as possible for what it is. It is a little more organized version of the “One piece of loot per run” version that some operations use.
- Mainspec – Offspec – Mods – Compantion – This is one where you won’t see in any other game but SWTOR because of how the game mechanics are designed. It is a variant of the Need-Greed system that my guild uses which helps players min-max their gear before they gear up their companions. The loot is set to master looter and for each piece of gear we ask for main spec rolls, then offspec rolls, then roll for mods, and finally roll for companions. While this can take a little longer to distribute loot, it offers the chance for players to gear up useful offspecs and also rip out mods they can use for upgrades before it gets relegated to companion duty.
DKP or Points Based System
The points based system allows players to bid or buy items based on the number if points they have. Points can be awarded for various contributions based on the guild’s own preferences. Most of the time you will see them awarded mainly for attendance and boss kills. This system can be a way to award those who come to every operation but it also can be be abused via collusion or points hoarding or inflation.
- Auction – There are even further variations in an auction style points system. Single bids, escalating bids, public and private bidding are all options in this style but in the end the highest bidder takes the piece and either all or some of the winner’s points are taken away.
- Purchase – An item can be assigned a points cost and players can roll off on who will win it. That player’s points are removed and now the players rolling against the winner has a higher chance of winning the next item that drops.
Oh, the dreaded loot council! This system has gained a terrible reputation because it can be, and certainly has been, abused. The idea is that the loot council, which are usually officers, will look at who will benefit the most from the upgrade as well as who is likely to be a consistent ops team member and award the loot accordingly. This can lead to the impression that favoritism is in play, whether it be true or not. The idea is to gear the tanks and healers first to allow the team to survive the boss fight as long as possible to learn the mechanics then gear up the dps to beat the enrage timers.
However your operations group decides to distribute loot, keep in mind that gear should be considered a tool in order to get a job one as a team. The end result should be that bosses get killed and people feel a sense of accomplishment. It never ceases to amaze me how much players get up in arms over not winning a certain piece of loot. That just gives you all the more reason to go in next week and kill the boss again!
Ready check done? Pulling in 3… 2… 1…
I’ve tried every looting systems you described in your article.
For operations, my favorite is the DKP system with private auctions. It works really well if everyone trusts the raid leader.
For non-operations (e.g. flashpoints, heroics), my favorite is the Need/Greed/Pass system. It works really well if everyone is willing to follow the system.
At the end of the day, if every involved players are civilized and use common sense, any looting system can work imo.
Great article Ghoztt!
I agree with Sam, that it really boils down to the players you group with in OPs or even regular quests. If you group with jerks, guess what when it comes to loot they will probably act like jerks lol.
The one thing that has sort of made the looting, in SWTOR, a bit muddled is companions. I like being able to change my companions armor, but if they would have made “adaptive armor” for companions it might help some. I mean the companions, depending on their class/role they would level up with a given set of stats and even armor level. So no matter what look you give them their stats remain the same for companions. Yeah, I know this won’t happen, but just a random idea I had and thought I would share 🙂
Thanks again Ghoztt for thee article.
What sort of loot systems do the rest of you prefer to use?
Hey Sam, thanks for the comment! The trickiest part of loot systems is finding civilized individuals as you say. This has been a massive problem in the past in other games but so far in SWTOR I have been pleasantly surprised. I’m sure there are a few bad apples out there but, for the most part, the community is great. Though you’d never know it by the TORums. 😛
Hey Jason, I actually like companions being able to wear the same gear as players, actually. Things I hate to see is gear going to waste. They aren’t really worth REing because the mats you get are hardly worth it. Giving gear to companions is a nice alternative to vendoring or REing them. Not to mention, people don’t seem to care if they win a piece of gear for their companion or not. 🙂