In a raiding guild generally the biggest source of drama and confrontation is caused by the distribution of loot.  That is why it is critical that the loot distribution system used fits the guild.  There are two pretty standard loot systems out there for guilds, DKP and Loot Council. Before I get too far into which fits your guild better a great place to start is ensuring that everyone understands the basics of the two loot systems being discussed. Luckily TenTonHammer has a guide to each of these loot systems.  They can be found here: DKP Guide and Loot Council Guide. Take a few minutes and review the links if you are not familiar with each system.

Now that everyone knows what they are and how they work let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of each one, which is better at handling different situations, and which fits what type of guild better and why. Lastly I’ll give my take on the two of them and let you know which I would use.

The Absolute Basics

Raid bosses are often long and hard fights and everyone feels owed something by beating them.

Both loot systems work, or they wouldn’t have lasted as long as they have, and would not be around any more.  Both try to solve the very real problem of who gets better gear and why.  Very simply, and perhaps oversimplified, DKP awards gear based on attendance while Loot Council awards gear based on merit. 

To many players DKP is a merit system, since you earn points by being there and contributing to a raid.  Attendance is only a very basic merit though, since the DPS player that does the most damage, and the one that does the least earn the same points.  After several runs the player that has attended more of the runs and been with the group as they defeated more bosses gets priority on gear, until they take a piece then the other does.  So DKP is not really a merit system but an attendance system.  It does however do a great job of getting those that do not need anything from older content to continue to show up to earn points for newer content. This helps lower geared players as they will be able to defeat the old content and the geared players will not ever want that particular loot.

Loot Council, done correctly, is an entirely merit based system.  The loot council will look at a number of things before giving out loot.  They look at attendance, loyalty to the guild, the amount of an upgrade the item is, how often you have or have not gotten loot, what helps the guild the most, and more.  The key thing here though is the ”done correctly” statement above.  Loot councils can go south easily if the council starts playing favourites too often, or at all.  Even though your friend is competing for a piece of loot, the council must keep what is best for the guild in mind at all times.

Pros and Cons

DKP has some pretty big pros that are important to most people, primarily that it is completely transparent.  Players show up, earn points, and then the player with the most current points gets the gear if they want it.  Simple, clean, and efficient.  There are addons to manage it which is a plus, and makes it even simpler. Lastly it supports multiple groups in a guild, where you can attend different raids and the points work across all of the guild runs.

There are a few detractors to DKP as well that some players do no like. For example, even though there are addons to track DKP it can be a lot of work to manage a busy guild.  There are always mistakes, exceptions, and corrections to worry about.  Many guild leaders that run DKP get frustrated with it over time.  Also when running DKP it is very hard on new players.  It takes a long time to earn points to be able to compete with existing players.  Luckily, they will likely have most of the gear they need already.

Loot council also has pretty big reasons that it is a favourite of players who use it.  Firstly it allows a lot more control for the guild and ensures that the gear goes to the player that will provide the guild the biggest benefit.  Also when done correctly many feel it evens out over time better than DKP as it is not strictly based on attendance, so even players that can only attend infrequently get gear.

The cons are big as well though with loot council, the biggest being that it is not transparent at all.  There is no way to tell who will get the next piece until the council decides, and it could be the same person that got the last drop.  Many players simply can not stand not knowing and view almost any decision against them as some form of favouritism going on or a slight against them personally. Loot council also takes more time and effort to run than DKP during a run.  After loot drops players need to express interest and then the council has to deliberate on who gets the item.  Sometimes this is super quick as only one person wants it, other times 3 or more would like it and the merits for each have to be discussed.

Which system suits who and why?

Who gets gear like this really makes a loot system important

As you can tell from the above section, both systems have good points and bad points.  Which system is best for your guild though? Well that comes down to a few things, but can be simplified into the following two groupings.

Loot Council works best for a few types of groups.  These types of groups include runs that are pre-set week to week and run with the same players over and over, and hardcore progression groups or groups of friends that care more about what is best for the group than what is best for them individually.  If you are in one of these types of groups then I really suggest giving loot council a try, it’s simple, clean, and really easy to run. This is a pretty small selection of the raid runs out there, which is probably why DKP is a more common system.

DKP works very well for many more types of raid runs.  DKP is a great system for groups that change a lot week to week since it tracks overall attendance and rewards those that show up more. It also provides very predictable loot distribution, over time it will ensure everyone gets gear, instead of potentially skipping people.  It also ensures that long term raid members will get priority over new players, which is important to many guilds to keep the best gear away from the new recruit so that they don’t join, get loot, and leave.

Lastly, DKP really appeals to type A control-freak personalities.  Most players willing to lead raids or guilds, or to take on handling loot for these raids or guilds generally fit the type A classification.  Players like the control of knowing who is going to get what when.  They like tracking the points and competing on saving, spending, pretty much anything.

Personal preference of the Messiah

Personally I like loot council over DKP, but that may be because I have been involved with a few loot councils.  When you are on it and running it, it seems better, and you have more control over where things are going. If not involved in the decision making process though I could see how loot council could be viewed as playing favourites or doing random things.

Really though it comes down to personal preference, both are good systems.  Using either one is far better than going in and doing a raid awarding gear by a random roll. By pure randomness gear can end up going to anyone, week after week the one PUG person could get it, or the worst player, or the best player.  You have absolutely no control and no guarantee that eventually everyone will get something and be happy.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.