Raiding 101: Is Loot Council Right For Us?
In this Raiding 101 series, we will discuss tips and tricks for various aspects of running a guild, which can range from guild leadership duties, to raid leading, to growing as a player. Today, we’ll talk about whether loot council is the right choice for your raid team!
If you’ve been around in the raiding scene at all, it’s likely you’ve heard a bit about the loot council system for loot distribution, or seen a few of the memes it tends to generate!
But what is loot council, behind the memes? Let’s talk more about the specifics of the system, and the pros and cons, to help your officer team decide if this is the right choice for your raid.
Table of Contents
What is Loot Council?
Loot council is a system designed to facilitate a more precise loot model via a council of raid members (typically officers) who vote on the distribution of each piece of gear. Loot council can provide a method of loot distribution that does not rely solely upon Blizzard’s group loot system, thus allowing guilds to assign loot as they see fit rather than letting RNG rolls do the work for them. The primary goal of a loot council is to assign loot precisely where it will benefit the team the most.
There are several key benefits to a loot council system:
IT IS IDEAL FOR OPTIMAL PROGRESSION
For teams aiming to complete a raid tier as quickly and efficiently as possible, loot council is an integral part of reaching that goal. Controlling exactly who receives gear aims to maximize gear acquisition across your entire team, instead of relying on RNG. This can lead to a major boon for some raiders while being a total bust for others.
Additionally, many high-end guilds use loot council because it allows for precisely gearing classes and specs that will be the most important on upcoming fights, especially on the final boss of a raid. Assuming the skill level of your raiders is about equal, fine-tuning your gear distribution in order to benefit the strongest classes is generally the best choice for teams who want to rush to the finish line, particularly in Mythic content.
IT IS THE BEST OPTION FOR ASSIGNING LOOT TO TRIALS
Many guilds implement a rule that gives trials much lower priority on loot than main raiders, but this rule can be extremely difficult to follow through on if you’re relying on standard group loot. Asking only trials to pass on loot rolls (or hand over their loot) can feel pretty bad, and may come across as singling trials out, even though the rule makes some sense for progression guilds.
In a loot council system, everyone is passing on loot together, and the loot council is distributing it from there, so nobody is winning loot and being asked to trade it away, or being told not to roll against raiders.
IT IS VERY EASILY MANAGED
These days, the addon RC Loot Council is the best and easiest way to run loot council and track your loot history. The addon’s functionality allows for many customization options, and makes loot council far easier to handle than it may first seem. Members of the council can see a raider’s currently equipped gear, overall item level, and even any notes the raider may have made to indicate the strength of an item. All this information is displayed in a very clear voting frame, so each member of the council has all the necessary data right in front of them to determine the outcome of each piece.
Additionally, the loot master can generate loot history reports in order to easily track historical distribution. The history can be exported in a number of different formats, allowing for guilds to save their history in Excel, Google Sheets, BBCode, and even Discord messages. Tangible data like this is ideal for guilds hoping to maximize both fairness and efficiency in loot.
Loot council may not be the best option for your team, and that’s okay! Here are some factors that may make it a less ideal method of loot distribution for you:
IT RELIES UPON THE TEAM’S TRUST IN THE OFFICERS
There is a very good reason that loot council has generated so many memes! The process relies upon council members with a good moral compass and a team-based mindset. Loot council in the wrong hands can feel more like watching leadership pat themselves on the back as they walk away with the best gear!
Once upon a time, when my guild was very new, we had an officer team mostly made up of friends. They had been founding members of the guild, and were knowledgeable about the game, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that they all exhibited ideal leadership qualities. With this officer team, we asked the guild for a vote on whether or not we should be using loot council, and the guild came back with a resounding, “NO!” As a leadership team, we had not cultivated enough trust with the guild, and they didn’t have faith in us to be fair with our loot council system.
Ideally, your leadership team is not as dysfunctional as mine once was, although many guilds go through some serious growing pains on their way to being a fully-fledged raiding guild! As leaders, you should hold your team’s trust in extremely high regard, and work constantly to ensure you are being fair and transparent with your decisions to continually reinforce how much you value your community. However, if you are a newer team, or are rebuilding after a difficult situation, it may be an arduous process to build (or rebuild) your guild’s trust in you, too. In this case, it’s never a good idea to implement a loot council. The raid team must be in support of loot council too, and must feel that you as leaders will be fair and balanced in your loot decisions.
Don’t be like I was…don’t feed into the loot council stereotypes!
IT IS MORE TROUBLE THAN IT’S WORTH
The work spent on developing loot council rules, customizing your RC Loot Council, tracking and reading your loot distribution history, and looking through player wishlists outside of raid time might simply not be worth it for your officer team. For guilds whose ultimate goal is to reach AotC or do some casual mythic bosses at the end of a tier, loot council may simply be more trouble to you than it’s worth. This is, of course, for your raid team to decide as a whole, but if the ultimate goal is fun and casual progression over speed and ranking, it may be that loot council simply doesn’t fit that vibe. Group loot is an excellent loot system for many teams, and can be more suitable for a guild who aims mostly to go mess around in the raid with their friends.
IT REQUIRES A LARGE TIME INVESTMENT
As an addendum to the above, loot council absolutely requires a pretty substantial time investment. Even with RC Loot Council to streamline council votes and loot distribution, loot council is necessarily a more costly system than personal loot or group loot. For each item that drops from a boss, the loot council must vote, perhaps discuss their decisions in the appropriate chat channel, and sometimes even wait on raiders to run quick sims and provide info about relative power increases. This extra time contribution may not be ideal for your team if you are just looking to have fun with friends and progress at a more casual pace. Don’t forget, the process of running sims, council members voting, etc will likely also pull your loot council members and various raiders out of trash fights, which may cost you more time in the raid overall.
Details to Consider When Choosing Loot Council
If you are considering loot council as your loot system, here are a few details you may want to contemplate before your first raid:
- Plan to actively track your loot distribution to ensure fairness, if that is a goal.
- Make your loot history public to guarantee transparency in the loot process for your whole team.
- Utilize a website like WoWAudit, or even a guild spreadsheet, to track raider wishlists (and to ensure that your raiders are aware of their best pieces before the loot drops.
- Plan to track 2 and 4 tier set power gains if at all possible. Typically the raiding community generates spreadsheets tracking this data, though as with most theorycrafted numbers in WoW, there will be some debate about the accuracy. Still, plan to have some idea of which classes benefit the most from their tier sets, so you can distribute tier pieces accordingly.
- Consider adding a regular raid member to the loot council for additional transparency. This can be a role that rotates every week, or remains the same across the tier.
REMEMBER: No loot system is perfect! You will likely always field a few complaints about loot, because at the heart of an MMO like WoW, personal character progression is the ultimate goal.
However, as we discussed in our article about raid trials, prioritize recruiting raiders who are team-oriented and community-minded. PLUS: Don’t be afraid to remind your raiders that the heart of progression raiding is accomplishing boss kills together, which necessitates gearing up the TEAM, not just the individual.
Loot council can be a very powerful system of loot distribution for guilds looking to push their performance to a higher level, as it allows teams to gear up their best players/classes with far more control than relying upon loot rolls can. The prevailing addon, RC Loot Council, is an easy way to manage an otherwise complicated system, and guilds who choose to use loot council can also manage loot priority and implement loot rules that might otherwise be difficult to enforce. However, loot council does demand more work and time from guild leadership. Most importantly, a loot council can only function properly when the raid team trusts their officers or other council members to make decisions for the good of the entire team. For guild leadership teams who are new, rebuilding, or otherwise have not quite earned the full trust of their raiders yet, loot council is more likely to be a problematic system.
There are a variety of loot systems available to you; loot council is not the only one used in successful guilds! As always, make choices that feel like the best fit for your community!
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About the Author
Gogogadgetkat has been playing WoW since late BC, and has been the GM of her guild Propaganda since its creation in 2014. As a career healer, Kat has a number of CEs and old-school heroic kills under her belt, all on a variety of healing classes and specs—she’s a serial altoholic! In addition to Mythic raiding and a little Mythic+, creating safe, inclusive spaces in gaming is her longtime passion; Kat has been an admin for the Perky Pugs community since late BfA, and is also a founding council member and the community manager for the DEIBAJ initiative Liquid Women in Warcraft. She is excited to bring her wealth of experience and love of writing to the Raider.IO team.