Does everyone hate DKP?

October 14, 2009

Since when did DKP become a polarising factor? I quite like it, and I’ve seen a few different versions. Each DKP system  can be tweaked for a specific raiding group/guild, it’s up to you how you award points and how to spend them. But it seems people either love it, or despise the very concept.

Dragon Kill Points. Something we’ve all become aware of since the old Everquest days. Who knew they’d become so fixed in the MMO world?

In the days of massive raid numbers in Dark Age of Camelot we had a pretty simple system going. Turn up for a Sidi raid, get 10 points. Spend points each week bartering for items that dropped at the guildhouse of the guild running said raids. Either save up points for armour or weapons (at say 40 or 50 points per piece), or spend 10 points on the cheaper loot, such as respec stones. Perhaps from this I started with a good opinion of DKP.

What makes it less fair?

1. Bind on Acquire loot that requires not just your presence, but the presence of the character you want to have the item in the raid on the night/day it drops.

2. Non-fixed groups in the days when raid size is mandated by the game. So if you’re not lucky enough to be picked for the raid, but you signed up for it, is that rewarded or not, and at what level?

There’s probably a thousand other little nuances of unfairness… being docked points for turning up a little late through no fault of your own, or for mucking about during the raid. As I said at the start, each DKP system can be tweaked to be that little bit different, depending on game and group.

If I was doing a LotRO Moria one, I’d probably award points for helping people get radiance gear, but that already gives benefit to those who can play more often and have the time, or those with especially useful classes. All things you don’t and shouldn’t think about when picking a character class you love and want to spend time with.

Our kin in LotRO doesn’t use DKP. It uses something called the Suicide Kings method. I hate the name. It was, of course, devised for World of Warcraft and is supposed to suit casual raiding where loot isn’t the primary concern. We have separate SK lists for barter coins and set gear loot. But anything that isn’t covered, such as jewellery ends up being rolled for because everyone knows that if you choose not to ‘suicide’ over it, it goes to a roll. It’s not the most satisfactory system, and I have a few problems with it. But it’s hard to think up a DKP system for our kin that would work.

Why? Because we’re a supposedly casual kin (and in many ways we are casual), but we also have a core of raiders, such as myself, who have both the time and the desire to hit raids hard. Currently our pool of raiding-geared characters means we have quite a rotation system set up, and we need a specific member of the kin to decide who goes and on what night. It’s not ideal, but it lets the widest pool of people participate in the raid. Of course, it also means some of the more focussed raiders have to sit out, and don’t really get to choose what nights they sit out on.

And, at some stage, we’ll have enough geared up people to run the raid twice, but who wants to go on the discovery (ie. full of wipes) raid, when you can go with the established group. It’s a problem that isn’t going away. In trying to please everyone on both sides of the casual/more hardcore divide, we’re left with a compromise raid. It’s working, but it’s definitely more of a slog.

Lootwise, I generally don’t care too much about loot. But it always makes me sit back and wonder what the truly fair way to do it is. It isn’t fair to be told you can’t go even if you have the time and commitment to. But then it also isn’t fair that I ended up with a class that gets to go every time I want, more or less, purely because Captains are seen as raid-desirable and very few people in our kin have managed to get one to 60 and geared them up. While recognising it’s not fair, I also like it, from my perspective. I don’t get time to forget the fights, I see it work with different sets of people, and of course, I keep my place on the SK list. 

I can sometimes show my hardcore colours. I’d like a loot system that rewarded punctuality, helping others, sitting out if you have to, participating, coming with a full set of potions, tokens, and having traited appropriately. Less so the first kills, because it’s no longer in anyone’s power to decide if they get to go on the night we kill something. Multiple wipes would be nice to reward, as they cost a fair bit in LotRO – I’d rather reward those than the first kills, I think. But, I’d also like the full Captain set, and that ain’t going to happen anytime soon. Shame, it has a nice bonus – which not all the sets do. 

I wish I had the time and energy to work up a DKP system I felt would work for our kin. But truthfully, many people don’t see any problem with SK. They raid when they can, and get gear in some kind of rotation made fairer by the intervention of the raid leader.  And while that’s the case, there’s no real push to change things.

It’s a bit of a ramble. But I mainly wanted to spew my thoughts out to see if anyone out there had any kind of solution to a raid looting system for a casual-ish raid with rotating members, I don’t really think there’s one out there. But it’s been a while since we went and looked, and I want to be fully prepared to suggest something better for the Mirkwood raids on Dol Guldur, if possible.

ps,. this post is made more awkward by the fact I know some of my kinmates read this blog. Don’t take any offence anyone, and don’t read into this anything other than what it is, a consideration of how much I dislike SK for our current loot distribution system. With the new, revamped NtC blog, I’m spending very little time considering other people’s opinions and this is just me, on the moment I write the ramble! Liable to change my mind in 5 minutes, but unprepared to change what I write to save any hurt feelings.



  1. I lead raids in a guild in vanilla WOW that used Suicide Kings. It worked “OK” for the 20 man raids of ZG and AQ20 of the day. It did not translate over to 40 man raids very well. The most punctual and reliable members of the raid were left waiting at the top of the list waiting for that ONE drop that never seemed to come.

  2. It’s hard to come up with a loot system that’s both fair and rewarding. In WoW I was a part of a casual-hardcore raiding guild and we usually gave a person 1 successful need and greed roll a night and then would hand out gear to anyone who had used them both if no one else wanted it. And it was definitely difficult to see things go to someone who was there for one night, but in reality it’s not that big of a deal. I mean there’s eventually going to be some item that will better down the road. However, I still believe that DKP is the most fair system, but it’s a pain in the butt to keep up and will still result in fights and bad feelings. In the end, it’s up to the raid members to make a system successful by keeping a good attitude about it rather than harboring bad feelings.

  3. I think that in the end DKP has more potential to be fair and rewarding all around whereas SK is just too punishing and not flexible enough especially if the group is not fixed enough… and over the time so many web-plugins and interfaces were created for it that it really is quite easy to maintain it, once again unlike SK, unless you count that small web-thingy that Elak did for Rift 😉

  4. If you need me to, I can get in touch with the GL of the old Ni guild who use a casual/rotating not-just-for-wankers DKP system in WoW, and ask them how they work it out. I’m not sure how it has evolved over the last 3-4 years, but it was designed to be relatively flexible as I recall. (Bear in mind I never actually USED it, but I do know the guy who designed/adapted it and he’s a clever lad.)

    • I’d love to hear what they came up with 🙂

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