We’re all really excited about Warlords of Draenor’s release, and we all pretty much know what’s in store for us. But, oddly enough, we haven’t been getting too much info on changes with loot distribution in raids. We know a few things, like how Blizzard wants to remove Justice and Valor points from the game, and taking personal loot “a bit further”, but we’ve received really nothing too concrete; just little snippets here and there to keep us engaged on one of the biggest reasons why we play these MMOs. It’s hard not to speculate on this topic considering that our whole world revolves around items and progression. Items get us excited, they keep us motivated, and, most of all, keep us paying the monthly subscription for the game. That or PvP. But, come on, even the PvP side of things also has a large focus on gearing, though I imagine it to be a distant second to just the actual action for most people.
Wai U Complaining? Better Stuff!
Even with WoD’s changes to gear in general and the arguably better expansion of flexible raiding, it still does not answer how players will get their time’s worth. Choosing what to gear you want is one thing, getting it is another. Learning a boss for the first time or for the next few times is always a fun thing. Taking down a difficult challenge is one of the most rewarding feelings any gamer can ever have, and I have no doubt that Blizzard will deliver a great adventure through the raids, however, the impending fate of every gamer and raid they enter will always be the same; boredom. Boredom because loot, when it counts or matters, never drop, despite having even too much loot, but just things you would never need. Loot distribution at its current state in WoW is an odd thing, and cursed to a point, I say. Sometimes, I think that there really is a pissed off Blizzard employee ruining our lives.
That One Item For Three Months…
First and foremost, the current loot system is tedious, grindy, and archaic. Many of us have trudged through endless hours of the varying raid difficulties for months and have all but squat to show for it. You could either be one of the many who keep getting that single damned item each time you go through a boss. “Urk! I hope those goddamned <insert item name here> drop this time!” is probably a line you say more often than not and end up just as disappointed as you felt the past week and the weeks before that. Sometimes, you just may not get anything at all but 19 gold, 54 silver, and 33 copper, perhaps a tad bit more, if you’re lucky, I guess. Though personal loot has been fantastic, it’s quickly become identified as a fancy gift card for extra gold and sometimes does little to alleviate all the bad luck raiders go through for months.
As WoW has gone down the road of age, Blizzard changed the way loot has been distributed with every patch and expansion, and we can all admit that warforged seals or other tokens in exchange for a chance for extra loot is far better than the vanilla standards WoW used to have, and it has gotten easier and easier. But it is because of this, the focus of PvE, is why raiders want more information on how Warlords of Draenor will fix the current problems of the present system, despite how much better it is compared to those in the past. The whole idea of personal loot, again, is great, but the randomization of it, the small chance to actually get something is debilitating, and even if you do, the current system has a way to screw you over by giving you the same item over the course of months if it so happens. Raiding then becomes just as archaic as the normal loot distribution, making everything so repetitive and, most of all, boring, negating the very thing they’ve been trying to fix. It’s been stated that loot distribution, in terms of personal loot, will be much smarter in that the computation for your chance at loot will take into consideration the gear you’ve already acquired from a boss, all the while, increasing the drop rate for loot itself. It may sound great on paper, but RNG is still RNG; it’s random no matter how you look at it.
Alternate gearing paths, like those purported to use gold rather than alternate currencies like Justice and Valor points, don’t seem to be much considering the ease of acquiring the universal currency, and we can expect Blizzard to still limit its use lest they have another issue with RMT like in vanilla. The previous alternate gearing paths, at least, shaved off the grim grinds players go through, but now, we won’t really know where it will go until WoD’s release. Their aims to avoid a repetition of Trial of the Crusader’s structure might be met with disillusionment when all things are considered.
Perhaps one of the reasons why Blizzard is so hush-hush about loot distribution is that there really won’t be much of a difference between Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor. No Seal of Tempered Fate or garrison buildings will ever indicate how looting will be easier in the long run, and, in fact, it may have become even harder and grindier. Taking into consideration that the abovementioned seals are the first of WoD’s loot tokens, akin to this current tier’s Warforged Seals, and how much more effort there is to get them doesn’t make it any better for us players. These new fangled-seals are obtained one by one through four optional quests and a fifth one via a garrison building and are a farcry from how easy obtaining Warforged seals are at the moment, and since they are harder, it makes obtaining them more personal, thus making their possibilities of being converted into 19 gold, 43 silver, and 33 copper rather than a useful item may be far more frustrating than our current annoyance due to the effort required to obtain them.
There have been many tweets, blue messages, interviews, and other recorded media where Blizzard spoke about some of the little changes they want to undertake concerning loot, and we can definitely count on them to make them true, but they still do not speak about how else it could be different or, for that matter, improved.
It’s Still An Upgrade
Tertiary stats, though they seem like minor things, might play a pretty big role on how loot is treated in future raiding. Say you get a piece this week with your static or guild, beating out all the others that wanted it, then the very next week, it drops again, but with a tertiary stat. Won’t this become another form of loot drama veiled in a different raiment? It’ll definitely be better, no matter how small that tertiary stat is. It opens up new doors for new problems to come in, not making the acquistion of gear any easier that it would have previously been. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite excited for these, but I can’t help muse about how people will treat these when they come. Loot distribution, therefore, for whatever plans they have in accordance to personal loot or master/FFA looting may be undone by this simple stat alone.
Also, as I’m sure most have heard, primary stats are no longer tied to a piece, but shift to a new primary stat that follows a player’s spec. This could also cause issues with player loot distribution in the long run, considering that a lot of items, weapons and armor especially, are shared between many classes and many specializations. Imagine more scenarios where a simple sword is greatly sought after by the possible mix of classes in a raid group and, given the right kind of people, could cause a lot of drama, again, inciting the previous travails of those in older WoW.
Still Not Helping!!!
We all have our own opinions and feelings about the way item changes are handled for this expansion. Some may be jumping for joy, while others are yelling and screaming a multitude of profanities at some or all changes. But still, the biggest change that may or may not come, or at least, not very noticeable, is still unconfirmed and not finalized. No loot layout or distribution will ever be perfect, but it can be seen that Blizzard might not do all that well from changing the grind today to a relaxed tomorrow. Will we be spending months and months of killing the same kind of content over and over with a thinly disguised semblance of redesign? There really does not seem to be any real revamp of the system, other than simple restructures on how looting works today. I’d like them to reconsider a lot of their new plans, but I don’t see them doing that any time soon. It’s all well and good that they want to streamline gearing, but certainly, none of that is going to matter if no one even gets anything in the first place.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Expansion, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday