Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mists of Pandaria's New Loot Systems Analyzed.

Because Community is back on the air and we're talking about random things. I present a relatively random song. Seeing this fan video, one of Community's earliest, let Dan Harmon know that the show had "made it" to a certain degree.

I've talked before about how no voting system is perfect. It seems perhaps that no loot system is perfect either. Blizzard has announce that a new loot system will be used in Mists of Pandaria for LFR and the two world bosses where instead of rolling for specific pieces, the game will randomly pick people to get loot. If the game picks your player, it will pick an item appropriate for your class/spec. They haven't decided if every player has an X% chance to get loot or each the game will randomly choose X people to get loot.

Later in the thread, Zarhym went on to note that the X% chance to drop version of the system is flawed because the number of items a boss will drop will then become random, which could lead to abnormally high numbers of drops or even zero drops on a boss.

The game will roll for you, and it won't say what you rolled. You also don't have the option to pass. If you win loot it will be randomly picked from the items appropriate for your class. So you may get something you already have or something that isn't an upgrade. Furthermore, you won't be able to trade loot obtained by this system.

The advantage of this system is that it removes other people from affecting your chance at loot. Nobody can take your loot from you, it's all up to Lady Luck. With the current LFR loot system, some people roll on everything that they are eligible to roll for and then hold the item hostage to trade for something that they need. This is a dick move.

On the other hand, people can't pass on loot via this system, so loot can go to someone who doesn't need any when there are plenty of other people who might need it. People who might even need that specific piece. This does bring concern about loot waste and making it harder to gear. While that is a concern, keep in mind that only gear that is appropriate to people in the raid will drop. So gone will be the days when spell plate drops and you have no Holy paladin.

Another concern is that this will prevent you from obtaining off-spec pieces. I have a personal address to that concern. If you want off-spec gear, then run as your off-spec. My understanding of LFR is that it's quite easy. This loot system won't be used for normal or heroic raids. In a 25-man LFR raid, there will likely be a person for every type of gear that can drop, with the possible exception of spell plate. So if you're taking an off-spec piece, you're likely taking away from someone's main spec. If you're running a premade LFR or an LFR with a large number of friends, then you're likely to be organized enough that you can afford to run on your off-spec.

This new loot system will affect boss loot tables. In order for this system to work, it will require that all bosses in LFR will have to have at least one item that appeals to every specialization. Between armor, jewelry and weapons this shouldn't be hard. However, it is comforting to have that assurance.

Furthermore, there is talk of a system where out-of-raid actions can give you a charm that will allow you an extra roll for loot on any raid boss, regardless of difficulty. This roll also doesn't impact other players, but gives you an extra chance. Furthermore, if it fails to give you boss loot, it will give you something like gold or consumables. When the boss dies, a prompt will ask something along the lines of, "Would you like to use your charm?"

This system too, seems to bear the consequence that all bosses, even in the world of normal and heroic where loot is typically not shared across bosses, must have something that can appeal to everybody. The alternative is that the charm loot would have to come from some sort of shared loot table, which would make it not unique to the boss, which would somewhat defeat the point.

I was all ready to go into this post to tear down and examine the problems with these new loot systems. However, as I started writing it and reread some things to make sure I didn't misstate anything, I realized that not only did I like it (which I already did), but I think it's brilliant. I feel this is a great system and will be a fantastic upgrade to the preexisting LFR loot system.

I'd like to do an investigation into the loot distribution that happens with this new system and how much loot does get wasted in using this new system versus the old system. I'll have to run some simulations to get it done, but I think it will prove to be very interesting.