How do you handle loot in your raids?

Shiny purples!

Few things in the World of Warcraft have more potential to cause drama than loot. There is something about the potential to acquire a piece of shiny new virtual gear that causes otherwise reasonable people to quickly morph into selfish jerks. If you’ve been raiding for awhile, then you’ve undoubtedly experienced this phenomenon – angry arguments that explode out of nowhere over who “deserves” a piece of loot more, or why that epic mace isn’t appropriate for the person that just won it, and so on. If you’re not careful, loot issues have the potential to become a constant source of conflict in your raids. Fortunately, putting a bit of thought into your loot policies can prevent the great majority of this silliness.

In this post, I’ll take a look at a few common loot systems in-use today, while identifying the advantages and pitfalls of each.  I’ll also cover the loot system that my own guild has been running with, drama-free, for years.

First, let’s take a look at some of the most common looting systems that guilds use. They all have their pros and cons, which I’ll attempt to highlight:

DKP (or other point-based system)

DKP is simply a system where the raiders in your group accumulate points by raiding, and then use those points to bid for loot that they want. Exactly how raiders earn points varies from guild to guild, but it is common to award points to raiders for showing up to the raid on time, being present for a boss kill, being present for each wipe on progression nights, being prepared with consumables, etc.  When a piece of loot drops, each raider may submit a bid (up to their current point total), with the loot ultimately going to the person that bid the most points. The winner then subtracts the amount of points that they bid from their running total.


  • Generally perceived as fair – everyone has to “earn” their loot by building up points first.
  • Promotes guild loyalty. People with a bunch of points stockpiled have a vested interest in remaining with the guild.


  • Can be a logistical nightmare. There are addons that will assist you, but keeping track of all point totals for everyone in the guild is no small task.
  • Slows down the looting process. 
  • New raiders may have a hard time getting loot (and thus become disgruntled) if long-time members are allowed to stockpile a huge number of points.
  • The system can be abused by a subset of people that privately agree to fix their bids.
  • The DKP system does nothing to ensure that loot is awarded appropriately – items simply go to the person that bid the most.

My take:

DKP adds a considerable amount of extra effort to your looting process, and doesn’t gain you much compared to random /rolls. DKP can certainly be modified to address some of it’s flaws (zero-sum systems, etc), but to me, you shouldn’t need spreadsheets and/or mods to help you figure your loot out. The only time I feel that DKP might be worth considering is when you’re having a hard time holding onto raiders – and if that is the case, you probably have more serious issues in your guild than loot.

Loot Council

Loot council is simply a system where a person or group of people (typically guild officers) determine who gear is awarded to. No points, no rolls – loot simply goes to whoever the council deems appropriate. In theory, loot council has the potential to be the fairest, most beneficial, drama-free looting system that your guild can use. For that to actually be reality, however, the people on the loot council need to be fairly extraordinary. The loot council members must be quite knowledgeable on every class/spec in the game (including stat priorities and caps), they be capable of quickly weighing relative upgrades against the gear that each interested party already has equipped, they must be capable of being fair and unbiased, and they must hold the respect of everyone else in the guild. Those requirements are fairly steep.


  • Simple. Loot goes where the council says it does.
  • Potentially very fair.
  • Potentially ensures that upgrades go where they’re needed most and/or are the most beneficial.


  • Huge potential for corruption, favoritism, or simple incompetence.
  • Huge potential for perceived corruption, favoritism, or incompetence – even when there isn’t.
  • Can dramatically slow down the looting process.

My take:

Loot council works best in a group of mature friends where one person is the universally acknowledged “master WoW theorycrafter”. As long as the rest of the group respects that person’s judgment, loot council can work extremely well to ensure that loot is distributed in an efficient, beneficial manner. If the loot council is even the slightest bit suspect with regard to fairness or competence, you’ll have quite a bit of drama on your hands with this system.

Random Rolls

Ah, good old random rolls. Nothing could be simpler or fairer, right? Anyone that is interested in the loot simply /rolls, and the gods of chance determine the winner.


  • Simple.
  • Fast.
  • Fair.


  • Random rolling does nothing to ensure that loot goes to people that it is appropriate for.
  • Can be perceived as unfair in the short-term if somebody gets a lucky string of rolls and others don’t understand the law of large numbers.

My take:

For the majority of guilds, I believe that random rolls are the best system as long as you add a few basic guidelines (see next section). Over the long term, your raid will gear up at approximately the same rate, and nobody can dispute the fairness of a dice roll. The potential for drama is very low as long as you don’t have a bunch of people that are completely ignorant about gear mechanics in your raid.

My Guild’s System:

We simply use random /rolls, with some added guidelines. To speed up and automate the rolling, we keep WoW’s internal looting setting set to need/greed, and simply tell everyone to adhere to these rules:

  • If an item is a mainspec upgrade, roll need. If it is an offspec upgrade, roll greed. Otherwise, pass.
  • If you roll need on an item that is not appropriate for your class and win, the raid leader may instruct you to pass it to somebody else (in practice, this very rarely happens).
  • If you already have an item for the same slot from the current raid tier, you may not roll need. This prevents situations where somebody wins Incineratus, and then later tries to roll on Blade of the Witching Hour because it is slightly better for them.  Meanwhile, several other casters in the group still have pre-raid weapons equipped and would clearly benefit far more.

We’ve been using this system for quite some time, and it has always been drama-free. It is also extremely fast – there is no need for the raid to pause at all when loot drops. The few basic rules that we’ve set up ensure that loot is basically distributed in a fashion that maximizes the overall benefit to the raid, while keeping things fair.

If you’ve been having loot difficulties in your raid, or you’re simply looking to institute something simple that works, I invite you to give our system a try. In addition to minimizing drama, you’ll likely find that your group gets to spend more time actually playing, and less time fussing over who gets the drops.

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