Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Loot Piñata: or Who Has a Right to Roll?

So yet again I have a post inspired by Syp over at Bio Break, but this time also inspired by Syl's Raging Monkeys. Today, Syp has asked what is the appropriate etiquette on rolling for loot when you join a PUG on late in a dungeon run, in this case on the last boss. Syl gave a nuanced response about the problem of loot rolls and merit.
Syl put forth a great set of arguments for a merit-based distribution system, like DKP in an established raid guild. However, in my not-so-humble opinion, all that logic goes out the window in a LFG-tool-based Pick-up Group. Syp didn't ask to be put in a PUG that only had the last boss to kill, the random system put him there. Therefore, whatever went before was irrelevant. Though I answered Syp a little differently, I reconsidered and would now say he would have even more right to roll if he were asked specifically by a member of the current group to join and help finish the boss. After all, as was said in the comments on Bio Break, they wouldn't have been able to finish without him.

I voted for the first option in Syp's poll: "You fought in the battle, it's an upgrade, and you have a right to roll on it." From Syp's description of the group dynamic once he had joined, I’m guessing the player he replaced probably left voluntarily after they couldn’t take the douchebaggery of the other two. Even if the missing player was vote-kicked, they still needed a fourth—Syp—to kill the last boss. Therefore he has a right to the roll, no matter what entitlement the other players felt they had to the loot.

In a broader sense, this highlights an issue I have with the way most MMOs distribute loot. Which is to say, based on random tables. I'm not sure if I've written about this before, I'll have to look, but I want to get this post out quickly. I'll pretty it up later.

I don't know if the loot system in WoW and its many competitors comes from older MMORPGs or Tabletop games or what, but I really think it's got to go. In some senses it is realistic, after all, if we were real treasure seekers, there would be no guarantees that we would get something we need by killing creatures and rifling through their pockets. On the other hand, even if something does drop that we can use, how is it that it is always a perfect fit, whether clothing or weaponry, most of which is custom made for the user?

Questions of realism aside, there is a fairness factor that has been touched on by both Syp and Syl, and varying opinions given regarding what is a fair way allocate loot. Syl advocates a Dragon Kill Points, or some variation thereof, the rewards players for continually contributing to a raid over the course of weeks or months. While I don't completely agree with DKP, it is a reasonably fair way of doing things. When I was raiding, everyone in the raid had a chance at the loot, based on the good of the raid, need, and suitability. Unfortunately, WoW's system of stat allocation during WotLK meant that, while as a healing priest I couldn't roll on something with, say, increased hit (because heals always hit anyway), all the mages rolled on everything cloth, because there was nothing that indicated healer-only gear. To me, that wasn't fair.

TishToshTesh, commenting on Syl's post, mentioned that DDO has a system that guarantees something useful to each member of the group. I would prefer the DDO system more, or a currency/vendor system. The tokens in WoW were sort of like this, but each time a new tier of tokens came out,  it basically invalidated any work done to accumulate prior tokens.

I would prefer a standard currency (gold or whatever), with more being available to loot for more difficult bosses/dungeons. Then have meaningful items available at the vendors, and/or craftable. There certainly shouldn't be more than two currency systems in a game, again in my opinion, preferably only one. I'm sure there are those who would disagree. This would have solved Syp's issue from the get-go, as everyone in the PUG receiving and equal share of the gold, rather than three-quarters of the group walking away with nothing to show for their efforts.

12 comments:

  1. I referenced DDO, actually. I'm not sure how LOTRO does it. I never did get to group content in LOTRO.

    ...but yeah, I really don't like random loot tables. I'm not a fan of gambling in general, and loot tables are just a source of frustration and drama. Where the idea came from, I'm not sure either, but it's time to leave it in the past.

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    1. Well crap, and I teased Syl about the Rift/WoW confusion in her post. XD Thanks, I'll fix it.

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    2. Just wanted to say: LOTRO is old fashioned in this regard. Need/greed/pass and random loot tables, so there's always a chance something drops that nobody can use and that's "bound on acquire". :(

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    3. Yeah, that has been a problem in WoW as I recall. Another reason I think token systems work nicely. There's no really perfect answer, I guess.

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  2. The MMO Tesh referred to was Dungeons&Dragons online though :) - I agree it sounds like a great system.

    I wonder why not more MMOs go the way of crafting resources for loot; in many ways this would make more sense, not just thematically (it's kinda most realistic) but everyone could make use the resources and then use different professions to craft different gear for himself. this could be lots of fun imo and give crafting and trade so much meaning.

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    1. Karma caught up with me and my snark. O.o

      Your idea of crafting- mats for loot is a good one. And the mats could still be divided fairly evenly.

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  3. I absolutely loathe "get tokens and buy off a vendor" systems. I first encountered the system in Darkness Falls back in DAOC circa 2002 and a more depressing, miserable, puritan system I could scarcely have imagined. Go down this hole, get on with your murderous work, earn your pay then spend it in the company shop on gear that helps do your that same work better next time.

    Where's the adventure in that? Or the fun?

    DKP systems are almost as bad although at least there you do get to see stuff drop. And that is important, to me at least. It is about treasure hunting, not about having a job. It's about chance and luck and poking your nose in where it shouldn't go. It's all about Lucky Bags.

    What really puzzles me about loot rolling is why people care so much in the first place. I almost always roll "Greed" because the concept of "needing" something in a video game just seems weird. I've always espoused "Can And Will Use", which seems to me to be a much more appropriate description. I'd roll CAWU on items that I'd never roll Need on.

    One of the (many) reasons I never really got into raiding was an experience I had in DAOC. My guild was raiding somewhere (the old-style raid where you piled through a dungeon killing everything in your way). People were leaving corpses unlooted which infuriates me at any time so I started opening them up. Not taking anything - I wasn't interested in having what might be there - I rarely am. I just have to know what they've got. I type that over and over when grouping, as soon as we kill anything that might have loot "What's he got??!!" Anyway, the inevitable happened and someone told me not to be greedy (even though I wasn't taking anything at all). A huge row ensued and I left the guild on the spot.

    Pretty much killed any interest I had in raiding after that. If you can't open the Lucky Bags, what's the point of even being there? When I did more raiding later and had to sit around at the end waiting for whoever had ML'd to announce everything for bids I just about lost the will to live. I used to raid, then say goodbye and log out before the loot was divided up.

    One way to deal with it would be to allow everyone to loot the mob and get the same No Trade item. I'm a big fan of No Trade. There should be much more of it. That way, no arguments about who gets what. Everyone gets it. Can't use, just destroy it.

    Alternatively, we could all just deal with getting nothing more often than not. Nothing that is apart from the fun of playing the game, which is presumably why we are there in the first place.

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    1. That "work" system is the only way I see any fairness in a game where the devs are controlling not only what drops but when it drops, etc., and also what is required to progress to the next stage. I agree that raiding is horrid. If there were a way to go completely through a dungeon once, just for the "story," and never go back, I would take that choice every time. To require 8-40 people to go through a dungeon and only reward maybe 4 of them (often less) is a crappy game mechanic. But then, I also think gear-based progression is crappy, too.

      I had a friend who raided MC and Naxx during Vanilla WoW, and he said it ended up feeling like a second job that he didn't get paid for. I've said it before, if I am going to be going through the exact content, stuck with the exact same clown (whather my guildmates or not) over and over, we might as well be playing Madden, or some other sports game.

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  4. Common sense should prevail in matters such as this, but it almost never does in PuGs. This is why I try not to involve myself in completely random groups if I can help it. It's much easier when everyone is on the same page, be that with dkp or any other kind of loot system. Even then, I will still say things like "mind if I roll need on that?" in a guild group, so everyone knows my intentions. Loot has been the cause of too much drama.

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    1. Loot does casue a lot of drama. One such incident in a PUG Raid caused me to forswear doing any PUG raiding again. The Master Looter accidentally gave a hunter a spellcaster trinket, which he refused to give back, and was very immature about it. I told the person who'd invited me, "sorry, I don't tolerate that" and dropped group.

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  5. If the question is "what system should we use" then the venture has already failed. Every group, every moment of joining, every boss, every contribution - all must be weighed by those present in the group and none other. A system of any sort that tries to create a generic overlay is doomed to failure.

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    1. I have basically zero experience with any LFG tool besides WoW's because my experiences in that game. They do lock the loot distribution to "Need before Greed" and in every group I can remember, there was no drama over loot. There was plenty of drama over other things, but not who deserved the loot.

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