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The Loot of Damocles

July 26, 2011

Dear Reader,

As I’m sure most of you already know, there’s an old story about a system of government wherein anyone could be a ruler, but should they take up the power, they had to sit on a special throne.  Above this throne held the sword of the man who came up with idea, suspended by a  single hair.  At any moment, the hair might break, causing the sword to plunge headfirst (literally) into the ruler below.  The thought was that people would only rule as long as they fervently believed in what they had to say and would leave power willingly when their ideas ran out.

No one knows if this myth is true or not, but it brings to my mind a loot distribution system.  To be fair, I have heard from others about this general idea, but then expanded on it in this post.  If someone has a working system like this, I’d be very interested to hear about it.  It doesn’t hold the peril of the Sword of Damocles, but it does embody the idea of shared power and willingness to step down.  Here’s how it works.

The core concept is that of a loot council, which I like.  The problem with loot councils, of course, is that you have to trust them.  If you’re new to a guild and don’t know the players or if the loot council is very secretive and unwilling to discuss its positions, trust can be a major spoiling factor to this distribution system.

I’ve only operated under a loot council once; in one of my previous guilds, the best of them, we frequently in 10 mans just gave the loot to whoever needed it most.  Technically, the officers were making the decision, but I never felt that I couldn’t voice an opinion in those situations, which made everyone feel that they had some input.  It was a tight-knit group (tighter than I realized at the time, in fact), and everyone basically trusted one another, so it worked well.

The idea for this distribution system, the Loot of Damocles system (since I steal ideas all the time, why stop now?), is that the loot council be a small group of players, preferably 3, that rotates on a monthly basis set up so that a new member rotates in almost every raid (like the American Senate). This can be a little confusing, so if you get it, skip the next paragraph.  If not, read on.

So in a month of raiding, there would actually be 5 people on the council: Week 1 would be players A, B, and C; week 2 would be players D, B, and C, week three would be players D, E, and C, week 4 would be the same, and then on week five C would be rotated out, and so on.  Week 5: D, E, and F.  Week 6: G, E, and F.  Week 7 G, H, and F.  Week 8 is the same.  Week  nine G, H, and I.  I’m sure you’ve got it by now.

Loot is awarded to whomever 2 of the members believes deserves it most.  No one can serve on the council more than once in a given amount of time (maybe 4 months in a 10 man, maybe a year in a 25 man guild).  Each member of the loot council can suggest someone to follow them following those guidelines (so they can’t suggest someone that’s recently served or just trade months on the council).  Lastly, members of the loot council can only give themselves loot with a unanimous vote.  This makes sure the group is not just scratching its own back the entire time they’re in power (though of course it’d not be for more than a few raids, anyway, should that happen.  There’s that darn trust again).

This system still relies heavily on trust, but less so I think than a static loot council comprised solely of officers.  For one, since it rotates a lot, it’s hard for a clique to form, or for underhanded deals to happen that have more than a 1 week effect (they shouldn’t happen at all, of course, but there’s part of the trust).  Also, it’s suggested that a standard of distribution be set that each council should use (like a writing rubric for standard grading) based on attendance, amount of upgrade, performance, or whatever your guild values most, but that’s not necessary.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s tons of flaws, but I think it’s a relatively simple system with virtually no math that is an improvement on the standard loot council scenario.  What do you think, dear reader?


Stubborn (who frequently lived under DKP + roll to help veterans but not prevent new players from being able to get something)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lowtec permalink
    July 27, 2011 4:48 am

    This can work neatly as long as every member of the raid is actually willing to take the responsibility of a loot council position. From my personal experience as an (ex) raid and guild leader though those willing players are few and far between.

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