Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Is Loot Changing Me?

Loot corrupts. Epic loot corrupts to an epic degree.

My guild held an "open" Molten Core run last week. You could bring your alts and your friends to the run, and all loot would be randomly rolled on. You could win one item from any of the first nine bosses, and one item from Ragnaros. I brought Coriel, because I don't have any alts anywhere near that level.

One of the non-guild friends who came on this run was a paladin. This paladin, who I will call JC (not his real name), had *really* bad gear. He was wearing a [Triune Necklace] from Scarlet Monastery, and the rest of his gear was a mixture of 40-50s blues and greens.

I think you see where this story is going.

We get to Golemagg, and [Azuresong Mageblade] drops. JC wins the roll, and gets his shiny sword.

Then we get to Ragnaros. [Judgement Legplates], the single item in Molten Core that I want, drops. I roll, and Lady Chance laughs at me. JC wins the roll and gets his Tier 2 leggings.

My reaction to this surprised me. I was actually physically upset that I had lost out on the T2 legs, and worse, someone who I thought did not deserve it had won it. And this kind of shocked me. After all, I say I raid for raidings sake, and not for loot. I am an Explorer, not an Achiever, and I am happy with that. Or so I thought.

And further more, it's just pixels on a screen, data in a server, ephemeral and transistory. I know all this, and still I felt upset.

Finally, JC was actually a decent paladin. He judged, healed and cleansed, and generally did a good job, considering his gear level. He did his best, and played by the rules. Maybe allowing the second roll on Ragnaros loot was a bad idea, but that was our call. If Lady Chance smiled on JC that day, I really can't hold it against him.

I've thought about it a lot since then, and I've resolved to try and be less concerned with loot. Somewhere on Skywall, there is a paladin running around with a [Triune Necklace], [Azuresong Mageblade], and [Judgement Legplates]. It's actually kind of funny, and I can kind of laugh about it now.

Still, this episode has perfectly illustrated to me why rolling on scarce loot is a bad idea, and why God created DKP.


  1. I believe the best loot system on non-guild raids, 20 or 40 man, is as follows...
    When an item drops, everyone who wants it and can use it rolls for it, and among the players with the lowest number of items looted so far, the highest roll wins the item.
    I'm sure there are better ways to explain that, but hopefully you understand what I'm saying.

    As a regular reader of your blog for a long time now, I believe your outlook on loot, and everything really, is a healthy one, and will no-doubt remain that way for the entirety of your WoW career.

  2. Just because you were upset about the look drop doesn't disqualify you from being an 'explorer'...

    If I recall correctly, people are supposed to be composites of the various types. It just turns out that 'achiever' has a higher percentage of the composite than you thought. I suspect you're still primarilly 'explorer' though.

  3. I feel horrible about it, but I get angry every blasted time I lose a roll for a piece of paladin gear in a raid, and especially so to those who a) do not raid with my guild, or b) are guildmates that do not log on often. Let me relate a story:

    My guild, Prophecy, farms BWL and most of AQ40 regularly. I joined them about 3 months ago and jumped in on my first day of membership in AQ40 on a Tuesday, so it was a fresh instance. There were 7 or 8 other paladins on the roster that raided with any frequency, but 4 of them had full or 6+ pieces of Judgement, so I was optimistic about achieving my goal of acquiring full tier 2.

    We killed off Skeram pretty easily and there were 4 paladins in the raid, including myself. The Hammer of Ji'zhi dropped, a very nice epic 2H mace with INT, STR, STA, and spell damage. Perfect paladin weapon for either a Holy or Retribution paladin who wants to retain a hybrid nature. My jaw dropped as no one bid. It was about to be disenchanted when I put in my bid and bitterly spent DKP to put myself in a nice hole to start my new raid career with Prophecy. No problem, I told myself, I can earn it back. They use a zero-sum DKP system, in case there was any wondering about that.

    Next week we go to BWL with 5 paladins again. I've earned a little DKP back, but I'm still in the negative. 1 paladin had 8/8 tier 2, so no competition. 1 paladin had 6/8, missing only the bracers and breastplate. Then there was me, with 2/8 (helm and belt) and two other paladins with 2/8 and 1/8 respectively. BWL was kind that night, dropping a set of Judgement Bindings, Sabatons, shoulders, and 2 breastplates. Thanks to my Hammer of Ji'zhi bid, I won exactly zero pieces, and BWL went relatively dry afterward, dropping Judgement very sparingly since then. The 1/8 paladin was able to acquire 5 more pieces of Judgement... and then subsequently stopped playing. The 6/8 guy grabbed a breastplate and now plays his rogue often. It boils my blood thinking of the gear that's rotting on characters either deleted or relegated to alt status now, or not played at all, that I watched pass me by.

    Its true, epic loot creates epic anger and jealousy. Maybe I need anger management when it comes to this sort of thing, but I still feel a twinge when I lose a roll and I feel like I've earned the gear.

  4. Be happy when your class loot drops, even if you don't win, usually it brings you one roll closer to winning.

    The worst is when your class loot doesnt drop often, and other class loot that does drop is getting disenchanted. :(

  5. Lol i also think that the *lust* for epic gear corrupts! :)
    I have added your link on my blog and I hope it is ok. If you like my blog please feel free to reciprocate!
    Find it at

  6. As Joshe said and is, (I'm also a regular reader of your blog)

    No worries about the loot, your views on it are still healthy ;)

    Oh, and you've been tagged!

  7. I've been reading your blog for some time, in fact it's part of the reason I made a paladin after my other characters, and I've enjoyed your writing.

    Of late, I've had more experiences similar to yours because I'm still missing a few small pieces from certain raids that I'd like to pick up.

    I don't think that your reaction is a result of epic loot corrupting, but more a result of the influence of an item based game with limited new content. Basically, WoW is a game driven by items and raiding. However, once you get as far as your guild can go, you start experiencing new content very slowly at endgame as you gear up a little more so that you can beat the next boss and then move on.

    That leaves items as the only new thing that one can get, and requires you to run the same instances over and over, unless you get very lucky like JC did. And, I know that for me, running the same instances over and over gets old fairly quickly because once you have the strategy down, you do the same thing, over and over.

    Now, this will be mitigated by more easily accessible content with the expansion and further leveling looming, but once that's finished, I don't see Blizzard bucking the trend of phat lewtz because they need something to keep people going, and their choice for that is items.

    The first time I got upset about someone else winning an item that I thought I should have was when I realized that WoW has changed me as a gamer. I played an MMO previously that was not item based and after becoming emotionally invested in the little purple pixels so much that I resent my fellow gamers for getting them instead of me, I look forward to leaving WoW in favor of another MMO that ensures that I enjoy the company of my fellow gamers and I won't have to compete with them for items that really do affect gameplay.

    Qhoryn - 60 paladin - Mug'thol

  8. It appears to me that WoW is moving away from direct loot competition in changes and in new content.

    The new PvP loot system essentially replaced a direct player competition (the rank system) with an honor grind.

    It sounds like the endgame loot in the BC will move in a similar direction with earning points towards the top-end loot.


    IMO, loot doesn't change a person; rather, a person's perceptions change - over time endgame loot comes to be a goal, a symbol of accomplishment, a sign of moving forward, and a status symbol. Loot is the only way to advance in the WoW endgame (until the expansion opens up advancement to level 70).

    In my own case, I'm thoroughly enjoying a run back through existing content in tandem with my wife's character (and we're trying several things I didn't in my previous run to 60). But I get pangs of regret when I see players decked-out in top-end PvP gear, because I PvP-ed for several weeks (up to Blood Guard), got 'cut off' by the patch, and didn’t pick it back up after the patch. By now I could have had several more PvP pieces, but realistically I know I would not have enjoyed the PvP honor grind as much as my current play experience. It's really kind of funny that I'm having more fun playing my modestly-equipped 30-ish priest than I do playing my blues-and-epics 60 warrior.

    And I have to step back and realize that people who have played the beta and looked over the new equipment agree that everything in WoW today will become obsolete (over time) in the BC. One of the things that dissuaded me from an all-out push for PvP epics (Tier 2 equivalent) was that it will be roughly the equivalent of level 65 gear. So my heart wants cool-looking status-symbol huge-upgrade epic shoulders for my warrior, and my mind says to choose fun (or something of lasting value, like epic mount training) over purely gear-oriented goals, because I'll replace *everything* I now have in the coming months. And so will everyone else...

  9. Laynee of EU-Durotan4:16 AM, January 12, 2007

    I just landed on you blog by accident and decided to read the first few posts. Just wanted to tell you that it's nothing but normal that you are upset. Because the reason isn't that hes running around in his fancy skirt and you aren't, the reason is that he got it within one run, while you were raiding MC numerous times. Same thing if you work somewhere for 10 years and the guy who's been there gets promoted after 6 months and is now your boss. What i'm trying to say is, the purplz didn't corrupt you, your just a human who lost a competiton :)


  10. Don't think for a second that this human nature of jealousy is not only used but encouraged by Blizzard. Primarily to keep raiders raiding! The pieces of armor by themselves have a low drop chance, then you have twenty or forty other people to roll against, and when you're SO CLOSE and see it slide by you it intensifies your drive to repeat the raid, spending money and time, for another shot at the gear.

    A DKP system is almost necessary for this, and I wonder sometimes why blizzard didn't include one by default - randomly handing out loot to people who want it may work when it only takes two hours and five people to repeat a run, but a multi-day 40-person trip through an instance would be unbearable if you lost the very thing you're hunting for to someone on their first trip, over and over and over again based on how generous the crappy PRNG is feeling.