the loot system is farked

In another post’s comment, I wrote that “the loot system is farked in wow“. It really got me thinking that such a negative statement could gather up how I feel about PvE raid rewards in World of Warcraft. It is worrying. Not only for PvE raiders, but for the fact that other games will look to WoW and copy the reward system as a fundamental. In this case Blizzard has it fundamentally wrong.

I promise that this will be one of the last posts about loot, gearing, and the cycles involved for a while. Just one last rant to get off my chest.

a skinner box

A skinner box session in progress. I think the bird is DPS...?

The system is based upon grinding for gear, in a most inefficient manner. When you kill a boss a random sub-set of items is presented as awards and the team get to decide who gets what. I like the fact that we get to decide how we divvy up the booty, but there is no consideration to who participated, or what is needed in the team. And that is just broken.

We have entire systems (ilevels, gear points, reforging, enhancements and enchantments, etc) to classify gear, and improve the gear we have, but no way to reward repeat raiding effort to gain specific items. These items are often needed to move forward efficiently.

You might think that I am forgetting that you get widget-points for killing a boss (who cares what they are called – widget points is fine), which can be use to purchase items? I’m not. That is a good system, which is logical, and places the control back with the player to participate in the gearing choices. Widget points are well loved as a system, the real contention is how fast you acquire them, not if the system is useful.

I’m raising the idea (yet again) that we need the game to facilitate improvement through effort in a better manner for boss loot.

Examples of the issues:

  • There is no point dropping Priest specific gear if we don’t have on in the raid. It is useless.
  • There is no point dropping an item that cannot be used by anyone in the raid at all, like Spell plate with no Paladins.
  • No prohibition on rolling for items which are irrelevant for a spec as a “Need” item.

Oh, but am I forgetting that it will get converted to a shard, and shards have value? No. An item being “sharded” in early content is a total waste, as the team really need upgrades to progress, and it late content you have so many that they are almost irrelevant. Shards only have high value and high use in the middle of the game, when you have gear worth using the shard on, but also don’t have 90% of your raid geared.

It is all really illogical.

But then is it really illogical to everyone? The drop randomness keeps a percentage of the players raiding each week. They can do nothing except raid to clear, and hope an item drops. This means they keep at it, and keep playing longer. It is not a stretch to suspect that if the loot system was improved then we could see more players switching to alts, or switching to other games.

Perhaps it is only illogical to keep doing it.

Well then you might ask what can be done. Well if you go digging through this blog you’ll find all manner of suggestions. In the wider wow community you’ll see more, and if you look as far as outside the wow community (gasp), there are plenty of good examples of other ways to handle rewards and loot. Far too many to bother with a summary here, but a few driving principals apply:

  • Minimise the amount of wasted loot
  • Balance loot amongst the classes and specs present
  • Guide loot distribution using the assigned role
  • Minimise the impact of greedy players

However here are a few I prepared earlier: Better gear rewards from runs, and Algorithm for need vs greed by role.

The opportunity to change this in the current 4.2 game is not a reality. It is probably too large a change to be made except by change in major version like the next expansion, but it could be made.

May your dice roll high, and you always see your loot. TyphoonAndrew

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Better gear rewards from runs and raids

a lot of gears

Not that type of gear! Damn it.

Another enhancement (adding to a post about Need vs Greed by class & role) which would not hurt the Warcraft game at all would be to constrain the types of drops to at least the classes present in the run/raid. This an old idea, but a feature which seems blindingly obvious as a value add to players. It is the kind of assumption that a new player has, which is adjusted when the gear drop discussion happens.

Would you rather play for a slim chance of reward to your team, or a consistent reward to the team? Is there a significant disadvantage to adding this?

The suggestions is to mod the loot system mechanics so that:

  • Don’t drop gear for a class that is not present. Especially the class tokens, or class specific gear.
  • Don’t drop the same item, unless there is more than one of the class.

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