Loot Containers: The End of Loot Drama?

‘Loot containers’ (name is still a work in progress!) do indeed exist and are designed to alleviate the frustration some feel around high-level loot drops.

As it’s currently implemented, at the end of a key encounter within an Operation, upon looting a high-level opponent, everyone in the Operations group will get an individual container which has a chance to give you a random piece of loot that’s specific to your class. It could be part of an armor set, a weapon, and so on. If you don’t get loot, you’ll get commendations which can be used to purchase gear.

Please note, this feature is currently in Game Testing and may well be modified before launch. -Stephen Reid

A long standing problem in MMOs is “who gets the loot?” I’ve seen loads of drama and read about worse drama in six years of playing World of Warcraft all on answering that exact question. There are a ton of different ways to answer the question but every one has their advantages and disadvantages. In a flashpoint (or small group instance) it is generally pretty easy to tell who a specific piece of gear is intended for and who in the group benefits most from it. But in Operations (8 or 16 man ‘raid groups’) that question becomes more difficult as you will likely have multiple people who could use a specific piece of gear.

Bioware has taken what I think is an interesting step in answering the loot question. They have essentially said “every plays, everybody wins”. This is good in many cases, but could be bad in other. I’d like to quickly outline what I see as the benefits and the potential harms.

Benefits
There is not a question of who gets what. Operation Leaders cannot play favorites because everyone essentially has a grab bag and the random number generator is deciding who gets what, not a loot system.

Since your loot container is tied to your class, any loot that drops will be class appropriate. It may not be your spec, or might be a duplicate of what you have, but it won’t be like an operation of Jedi Knights, Consulars, and Troopers finds themselves with Smuggler drops they can’t use.

Even if you get no gear, you still get something. The commendations that drop are an in game currency that can be exchanged for gear. So for every loot container you get where there aren’t pants, you still get something that when saved up will go towards new pants, or armor or a weapon.

Don’t need an external system for tracking and allocating loot. There are a lot of possible loot systems people use in World of Warcraft, and most require some addon or offline list/spreadsheet to figure out who can get loot. A loot container gets rid of the need for that since everyone is on their own loot path.

Drawbacks
The drawbacks I see are relatively few and mostly can be mitigated if gear can be traded. Let’s assume that what is provided in a loot container is bound to the owner of that loot container. There are operations I’ve been on that are farm nights. And what farm nights are really good at is helping to quickly gear some one up so they are ready for even more difficult operations in the future. For example if a Trooper who was slow to level, or had to take a few month break from the game comes to a farm night, then no matter what trooper gear dropped from a boss, they could be designated to get it. This would likely happen since all other troopers would likely already have that gear and not want it.

Another drawback is while loot containers are class specific, it isn’t necessarily spec or advanced class specific. If all I care about is tanking, DPS boots do me no good. But Furiel will want DPS boots and if the loot is linked to me and I can’t trade it, we are at a net loss.

Both of these drawbacks I think are relatively minor, and easily negated if Bioware allows for Operation members to trade loot containers within a certain time limit from opening.

Comments

Loot Containers: The End of Loot Drama? — 5 Comments

  1. 2 things I find unlikely, 1) that they will allow loot trading since everyone gets their own bag, and 2) that the loot is truly class specific. I have a feeling that it will be advanced class or even spec specific.

    To address them individually, it seems logically inconsistent to me to go with a design that guarantees everyone to get something each boss kill, but then allow it to be traded willy-nilly. If you do that then you might as well go back to the current WoW paradigm because if you allow loot trading then there is no difference other than the raid leader not having full control over loot distribution, which will lead to more issues and QQ than any currently accepted loot distribution method.

    As for #2, I have a feeling Mr. Reid misspoke when he said class, and I have a feeling he meant at least Adv Class, perhaps even to the point of meaning spec within Adv Class. It’s not hard to add either a role check, or instead of checking class to check AC or even talents when doing the loot bag, it’s just a matter of changing the code to look at database field Y instead of X so I fully expect that the gear you get from loot bags will be tailored not just to your class, but to your AC at a minimum but possibly also to your spec.

  2. You might very well be right on both points. Like so much at this stage it is speculation.

    On #1 I think that even if trading is allowed it will be very hard for raid leaders to exert the kind of control necessary to hand over loot that would be an upgrade for you to benefit someone else. It is one thing if the raid leader is taking loot from the boss and doling it out, but having it in a players inventory and able to be traded would be something else entirely. Likewise if I already have those gloves or weapon or whatever, I’d like to give it to someone else to speed up their gearing so we can get through content more easily.

    #2 I hope Mr. Reid misspoke as well, but you have to entertain the possibility he did not and that you will sometimes get loot in your container that you don’t want because it isn’t appropriate to your AC.

    Like with all things SWTOR we shall see.

  3. Conversely on point #1, the reason I say we’d be back to loot systems is more tied to point 2 and if it is tied to class only. While it is true that it would be hard for a RL to convince me to hand over an upgrade for me to someone else, I think the bigger issues come in when it’s gear we can’t use that more than 1 person can.

    Like I get Trooper Boots of Blasting in my loot container, but I already have them. Meanwhile Eke and Kit are both playing DPS troopers as well and both could use the boots, we’re back in the situation where we have 1 tradeable upgrade for 2 people in the raid, and therefore a system to distribute would be required otherwise I get to hope on the drama llama and take it for a ride, which I believe BW is trying to avoid.

    Ultimately what I’m hoping for in loot containers is that they detect and give gear based on AC role and also on what gear you have. So if Boss X drops Trooper Boots of Blasting or commendations, once I get my boots I’d rather not get the boots on our next 8 kills and 0 commendations, but rather I get one or the other until I get the loot, then I only get commendations going forward.

  4. If loot drops I already have or can’t use I’d much rather be able to give it to someone else (and if that is my choice fine, if that is a raid leader’s choice fine) of course inline with what the group decides is an acceptable system. What I’d hate though is the eight operations, eight boots I already have and no commendations and no ability to give the boots to someone else to help them. That would be horrible.

  5. I think it will simply be class vs. adv. class, which means that it will take longer to achieve the loot you want, meaning you’ll play longer.

    I don’t think these will be ‘leader’ led raids like in the past, but more friend or pickup groups that want a chance at the raid loot that would otherwise be unavailable. I think the trend is tending away from the 50 man group raids and toward smaller, intimate raid groups.