Loot Distribution, how I hate thee

This isn’t a bitchfest but just an examination of some of the issues we’ve faced as a group and our solutions to them. The nature of the game is such that things have changed a lot over the years and that adds complications.

Whether we like it or not, allocating drops is a royal headache. Points systems do help a lot but they have to be suitably flexible to deal with your particular linkshell setup and frankly they’re often not. People love to play points systems, it’s like a sport in its own right and we have often favoured other ways of doing things. The changing nature of the game means that too many variables change to make it an easy business. We’re doing well in Abyssea, with a simplistic wishlist system where priority is only given over others if your attendance is significantly higher. So we allow people to wish 5 items in order of importance to them. These include sets of gems for +2 items or sets of seals for +1. We have recently ruled out sets of Empyrean weapon upgrade items because they just take up so much ls time.

Essentially if you show up to events during the month (they’re not mandatory) then your number one wish (#1) for Abyssea will be fulfilled. If you show up more than others, you’ll probably get yours first. Wishes #2-#5 are used to allocate all the other stuff we get along the way. Previously we’ve been moving onto #2s once #1s are complete but this month we’ve dropped that in favour of doing other events. This month we’re going to try and get caught up a bit with Voidwatch before September’s update.

It works pretty well because essentially if you don’t show up, you’re not much of a priority or won’t be around to be the focus of a run. If you show up, you usually pick up bits and pieces of other stuff along the way. Everything is zeroed at the end of each month and whilst we keep a running total of attendance, we only really use it to decide who we start with each month. It’s kept most people happy and now almost everyone is well geared, making it faster and faster to complete wishes.

The problem is, this shell is over 6.5 years old and hasn’t always instigated points systems ahead of doing events. Also, because of the nature of our membership, we’ve had a lot of people who have weird schedules. For example members who show up religiously when they can but work odd shift rotations and so can’t always be around. We never felt we could apply a points system across the board because it just wasn’t practical for us.

With Limbus, we pretty much went on a loot council system based on attendance and utility. Of course interest in Limbus died off pretty fast once the level cap went up. Dynamis we had a points system which worked, but was in all honesty, flawed.  We applied it pretty fairly and were applauded for that but later we would have liked things to have been a little different. Over time a few people built up so many points, it got kinda crazy. But then their attendance was so high, it was hard to argue with.

Of course the time needed to achieve things these days is much less. So it’s easier for people to be patient. Waiting a month for something is nothing compared to the years people spent waiting for say a Duelist Chapeau to drop. Dynamis drops are such casual things these days that a few runs farming and you can cap out on most stuff in Xarcabard and Glacier with little effort. Ironically Windy is worse but even that is manageable.

Einherjar I never felt comfortable with. I never felt we got it right honestly and our goodwill was somewhat exploited. However in the end we got very little of consequence out of it before everyone’s interest in it disappeared.  Getting a Dalmatica was awesome, but then +2 EAF bodies and in fact even Pluviale rendered it pointless except for the odd magical defense build. Even then you could argue it’d be better just to wear the extra 150 HP…

In Einherjar we employed a bidding points system based on attendance. But because it took us so long to actually beat the bloody thing, some people had a ton of points. So few items dropped that it just became a matter of stubbornness for some people that they’d show up. We tried to ensure that people couldn’t dominate drops forever to bring some hope in but some people (I was the worst but there were 3-4 of us) had so many points it was crazy. Good players who joined us later were at such a disadvantage. We eventually did get Odin on farming status but then the drops were completely destroyed in almost all cases by Empyrean gear.

These days we’re a bit savvier about how to handle things. And those events we didn’t have a points system for in the past (loot council) became less of a hassle because they became so easy. So whilst we eventually had to say that we couldn’t merc Kirin pops for people or allow people just to buy Kirin pops and have the shell pop most people dealt with it. Sounds crazy I’m sure, if you’re not a member of the shell and it did put some people off; but we couldn’t really do much about our lack of w legs drops. Eventually of course interest died in Sky and we’d go up for only the odd thing or the odd Kirin. When we decided to revisit Sky for one last shot at getting bloody movement speed we got so many pops and saw so many unwanted drops, it was nuts. At least there is a use for them now. Being able to take as few as 6 people to do Kirin helps a ton also. Finally SE broke our bad run with 4 pairs of Wlegs within a month and now no one else seems that bothered.

But we do have some issues with some legacy stuff and one reared its head with Sea recently.  Fact is that some people have been in the shell for a very long time and we never really did much Sea as a linkshell. Some of us did quite a bit but it was always low man stuff. Of course the membership of the shell has changed a lot over time. Way back, we tried to put in a points system for Sea but couldn’t come up with a fair way of doing it.  Certain jobs had so much advantage, not everyone had access, not everyone could make runs… it just all added up to a headache. The drop rates on torques completely put people off too. Why farm for hours to get pops when you’d never see anything drop anyway.

We did have the odd run in Sea trying to get Hand-to-hand torques for example. Mart organised at least one run more recently (in the last 18months) but essentially Sea has never been a scheduled ls event. Just groups of people on and off showing a brief interest, farming for a while and then getting bored.

Now of course the whole thing is a lot easier. We beat Jailer of Love (popset from junk sitting around) with 12 people and you could do it with less. But that’s a big deal for us. We finally opened up the door to the possibility of furnishing people with Love torques and shiny earrings. Our first win, gave us full drops.

But then you’re back to what the hell to do with the loot and boy has this given us headaches. We have people like me who have been in the shell forever who have sat on personal, group and shell pops forever and you have people who got through to Sea a couple of months ago. A lot of the people who were involved years ago have left or quit. Some pops were lost to people dropping/selling/quitting them. How do you balance the new and old? It’s causing headaches. Thankfully we don’t have many people this applies to but when you are talking about effort put in 3-4 years ago and before quite a few people were around (including sacks) it’s hard to quantify things and know how to deal with it. On the one hand you want to ensure we’re not favouring older members just because they’ve been there since 1843 but on the other hand you don’t want to completely neglect their contribution to popsets and shell runs. It’s our fault we didn’t have a system in place and personally I am one of the most headache-inducing individuals to deal with. Unfortunately SE announced XIV was on the horizon at the time we were trying to construct a Sea points system and the game went through a low point. We never ended up with a points system for Sea or the shell as a whole, because a lot of people saw XIV as the end of XI and interest just died.

Moving forward, I hope we’ll be fine.  There is renewed interest in Sea; we only have effectively one more Jailer of Love legacy pop and a few odd lower tier Jailer pops around. We know we need some form of system to move forward with and I think the experience we’ve picked up over the years will help.  Dealing with our first Jailer of Love pops has just thrown us a curveball though that we weren’t really ready to cope with. Here’s hoping there will be many more, with something sensible in place to record effort and that SE will give us a break and let us see some Torques along the way.

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Categories: drama, game mechanics, linkshell

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