Joined: 06 May 2009
|Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:39 am Post subject: Suicide Kings FAQ
|I am going to start a FAQ here. It is by no means complete yet. I'll add to it as I have time.
Q: What is Suicide Kings?
A: Suicide Kings is 2 things mainly: a loot system "template" designed for World of Warcraft that you can customize for your needs, and a WoW UI mod that runs the system.
Q: Why Suicide Kings?
A: I could expound for pages upon loot system philosophy, but I won't. Suffice it to say that SK was designed to fill an empty niche in the loot system ouvre. Most loot systems out there are designed around an "adversarial" environment, as in guilds that no one is really friends with each other, and the system is designed to counteract the "every man for himself" environment common in high-end raiding guilds. These loot systems are also typically a large chore to administer. My theory is that this is due to the legacy of Everquest, where only the hardest-core of players ever got into raiding. In WoW however, it is common to see guilds with more friendly and casual environments in the raiding game, and SK is designed for them. It's fair, but sacrifices air-tightness and exploit-proofness for ease of administration and fun.
Also, SK is fully transparent. There is no hidden bidding or any sort of competition. You can know for 100% certain when you are next in line for a piece of loot and plan accordingly. SK encourages cooperation among guild members...passing on stuff one guildie may need more than you in order to hold out for something you need more. It also encorages open discussion among guildies about loot and about who needs what, and I believe this directly creates a more effective guild overall.
Finally, SK makes it possible for casual gamers to compete with hard core gamers for loot. People that play more will still get more loot, but with a traditional inflationary system, it might be literally impossible for someone who plays significantly less than average to get a piece of loot EVER, until everyone else has it. Many loot systems are designed around closing this problem with traditional DKP (zero sum, relational DKP, etc.) but in my opinion, SK does it with the least added complexity.
Q: Where is Suicide Kings?
A: The mod is hosted on Curse Gaming at the following page.
Q: Does the mod have a manual?
A: The manual is in a sticky post on this same forum.
Q: How does it work?
A: The basic idea is very simple: you run one or more ordered lists of players. You get to develop the rules that say which list is used for which loots/sets of circumstances. When a piece of loot drops, the highest person on the appropriate list that wants the item gets it. That person (the "king") then "commits suicide" (hence, Suicide Kings) and is sent to the bottom of the list, relative to players currently present on the raid. It's that last part that is most confusing to most people. Players not on the raid are frozen in their same position relative to the top of the list when a suicide occurs. Everyone else moves "around" them. That means if the bottom player on the list is not present, then the suiciding player won't go all the way to the bottom. Likewise if the top player is not present, he/she stays at the top. This, we believe, is a fair way to account for attendance and reward good attendance, without overly penalizing those that cannot raid all the time.
Q: Does everyone in the raid need to run the mod?
A: No. At minimum, only one person needs to run them mod -- the person running loot distribution. We recommend that at least a few run the mod so that if someone crashes, or their hard drive blows up, or someone is simply not there for a few nights, you have redundancy. The mod will automatically sync the lists between players running the mod. In our guild, many players ran the mod just to have an easy way to see where they are on the list, but that is optional.
Q: How does the mod's "sync" feature work?
A: When in a raid or party, only one person is the "SK master." They assume master with the /sk master command (only party/raid leaders or assists can do this). Only the master can make any sort of change to the lists (insert, delete, suicide, etc.). When the master makes a change, anyone in the same party/raid (or same chat channel if a custom chat channel is used) will see the update automatically if they are running the mod also. They can use this to track everyone's position on the list. Note that you will receive a prompt asking you if you want to synch to the master when the master first types "/sk master," and you may refuse to sync if you wish.
Q: If I am sync'ed to a master who is lacking some lists that I have, will those lists of mine be deleted?
A: The answer to that used to be yes, but since SK 3.0.1, the answer is no. The master only sends out the lists he has. If you have some lists that he doesn't, they will remain unchanged.
Q: If I have more than one raid or instance going on simultaneously, can I run all of those on a single list and synch between them?
A: Yes. To do this, you must select the "custom chat channel" feature in the options dialog and have everyone in all the raids/instances select the same chat channel. Note that this was not a common use case prior to the expansion, and I am currently improving support for it. See this thread for details: http://www.blackcompanywow.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=657
Q: It takes a long time to give everyone a chance to pass the loot down to the person below him/her, especially if the loot goes to the bottom of the list. Any way to speed this up?
A: The mod includes an automated bidding system that is meant to deal with this inefficiency. See the SK manual sticky post on this form for details on how to use it.
Q: Any advice on which lists to use for what loots?
A: Well I can tell you how our guild did it. For 40 mans, we ran one list called "Raid" that everyone was on. We ran another 8 lists named after each class and containing members of each class. Any time a piece of loot usably by exactly one class dropped, it went to the appropriate class list. An item usable by 2 or more classes went to the Raid list. One important detail is how we defined "usable". By our definition, if you could equip an item, it was usable by you. We did not make judgements like warriors couldn't have plate with +spirit or whatever. We found this cut down on drama a LOT. There was the occasional person that was like "but...XYZ is totally a <some class> weapon!" Which was usually met by taunts of "l2thottbot newb!" I guess this is a good time to mention again that SK does not work well in "adversarial" environments...
Q: I would like to display the SK lists on my guild web site. Is there an easy way to do that?
A: Yes, if your web server supports PHP. There is an excellent third-party (as in, not written by me) PHP app called SK_List. This guy allows you to upload the raw LUA save file from the SK mod, and will display it in a nice pretty-printed form on the web. Others can also download the LUA file if they want to "sync up" offline. Get it here:
Q: How can SK be used to reward and/or penalize people for attendance, tardiness/punctuality, good/bad performance in raids, etc.?
A: The short answer is "it can't." If you are looking for a loot system that allows you to use loot to reward or penalize players in the guild, then the first thing you should do is look for another loot system. Inflationary DKP is the one that is best-designed to allow loot rewards or penalties to be given by guild leaders (50 DKP minus!). SK was designed to be a system that distributes loot in decently fair proportion based on attendance at the time the loot drops, and nothing else. If you choose SK as your loot system, that means you are going to have to find some other way to get players to perform well and show up when loot isn't dropping. This gets back to why SK works better in more casual and friendly guilds where people show up to play first and foremost, and loot is but a happy consequence. If loot is the main (or only!) reason people show up, SK is maybe not the right system for you.
Q: What if everyone in the list passes on an item?
A: That is up to you. Some guilds allow rolling on the item, though we have found that is open to exploitation. Some guilds automatically DE the item. What we did is we would DE BOPs and send BOEs to the guild bank to be used at the officers' discretion (usually to sell for cash or award to a player that needed it later). It occurs to me that it might also be nice for officers to reserve the right to loot council items that are passed on by everyone, or at least to strongly suggest that a player take an item if he's sacrificing something that is anb obvious upgrade for him (and the entire guild by extension) in order to hold out for some more uber loot.
Q: What are some common modifications/additions guilds have made to SK, and why?
A: I've heard of quite a few, and I'll try to maintain as good a list as I can here:
- "Loot classes." Guilds will often establish some class of player that can always beat another class for loot, no matter what. For example, mains can always bid before alts, even if there are some alts higher on the list. As another example, people with more than some percent attendance can always bid before people with lower. In our guild, once we were firmly into BWL, we said that mains can always win t2 pants/head from Rag/Ony before alts.
- Separate lists for separate instances. This allows people to gear up in "lower" instances like MC whilst not sacrificing priority for loot in BWL or Naxx or whatever. Note that this cuts both ways: a new person to the guild who might have nothign from MC can gear up fast in MC while not sacrificing position for BWL. I have seen this handled in a couple ways. Sometimes new players (< 1 month in the guild or whatever) are suicided on both lists if they get something in MC. Or maybe they aren't even added to BWL AT ALL (and can therefore only take loot everyone passes on) until they are with the guild for a certain amount of time.
- If an item is passed on by everyone, you can /random roll on it. Although I have seen guilds that do this, I do not like it myself, since people could collude to all pass on an item and keep doing so until they all win a /random, then never lose list position for it. I prefer to loot council or DE passed-on items.
Q: How can SK be exploited?
A: Well, to my mind, it's pretty hard to exploit, at least in any way that harms other players. I have only seen SK used in 2 ways that I would consider "exploits":
- Abusing the fact that SK allows new players to gear up very quickly, then leaving the guild. I have seen 2 good solutions to this: 1) Don't recruit players that will do that, and live with it if you make a mistake once in a while and do (this is what we did), and 2) establish "loot classes," meaning classes of people that can always win an item over others even if they are lower on the list. Say 50% attendance for instance. When an item drops, only people with 50% or greater attendance get to bid on it at first. Only if no one in that "class" wants it are people with less than 50% allowed to bid. Or maybe say this is for people that have been in the guild longer than a month. I have also seen this done with alts.
- Letting items that you can use rot or get DEed, just to wait for a time when you can take them from lower in the list and sacrifice less position. Also known as "camping." Any "spend all" system has this problem. Many people would even disagree that this is an exploit, but in practice it makes the people below the person that is passing feel like he is unfairly "blocking" them from getting loot, since he is only passing on stuff people below him have already, and holding out for stuff they don't, denying them their "turn." Really the only solution I have found to this is to not use SK if you have this type of person in your guild.
This gets back to SK not working well in "adversarial" environments -- wanting to forego an item you know you need, only so you can get a better piece of loot before your guild mate is an "adversarial" way of thinking. The one idea I had on how to solve this with policy was to say that if you pass on an item, you may never take it. But that has several holes: what if a sword rogue respecs to dagger? Does that mean he can't take that dagger he passed on before? Isn't it unfair if you just happen to get lucky and the item drops the first time when you are on the bottom anyway?
I think the best solution lies with giving the officers the authority. Maybe you establish the rule saying that if you pass on an item, you can never take it. Then the person can later appeal to the officers to have that restriction removed for a particular item, and it's then up to the officers to decide if his reason is legit or not. Whatever loot system you pick, you must maintain the authority to override it if it does not work the way you want. You should drive your loot system, not the other way round.