‘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.
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.
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.