Gear and tier sets especially, are a big deal in World of Warcraft. We’ve seen Blizzard continuously reform their loot system for raiding sets since vanilla WoW, sometimes with better or worse outcome. I always found the tier distribution a fairly tricky topic, with potential for juicy drama.
But if we were the ones to call the shots, what system would you personally opt for? This is what we’ve had in the past:
- Bosses drop slot-specific tier items randomly for every class: this is more or less what we had in Vanilla WoW whereby a certain boss drops the tier legs for every class randomly. If you got no use for the item, it gets sharded.
- Bosses drop slot-specific tokens randomly for every loot-group: representative of TBC, Lady Vashj would for example drop the head-slot T5 token randomly for loot-group A, B or C. No more shards, instead more gear for off-specs in the raid.
- Bosses drop tokens that are neither slot-specific, nor class/loot-group specific: this was done via trophies for T9 in the Trial of the Crusader (Coliseum) raid instance in WotLK.
- Bosses drop non-slot-specific tokens randomly for every loot-group: a mixture of the two previous loot distributions which we have seen in Ice Crown Citadel in WotLK.
Me, I have mixed feelings about it. I would definitely never ever want to see loot-groups again because that particular system is a real can of worms. My own guild was stuck with some really foul loot-luck in the priest/paladin/warlock loot-group for several weeks in the past, while at the same time the “pink-whites” (as I call the priest loot-group) made up more than half of our most active raiders roster at that time.
It does not only get very tense during raids when mages and DKs (who in our guild were more or less alone in their group) start collecting off-spec tiers while your 10+ pink-whites in the raid still sit on 1 tier each, but it hits guilds the wrong way as a whole. Especially nowadays when Blizzard themselves want guilds to bring the player instead of the class and we got all sorts of very different raid setups in every guild; we were often very low on druids, shammies, warlocks and rogues for example, with sometimes three times as many priests and paladins to make up for it.
Your most active raiders might belong to the unlucky (or simply over-sized) loot-group and there’s nothing you can do to gear them up, while the rest is forced to collect offspec-gear because you can’t shard tokens. At the same time you will have to deal with the inflation of DKP for those that cannot bid even if they’d really love to.
And personally, as a very active priest healer, I was rather frustrated that I paid 200 DKP for a T8 token that went for 15 DKP in other groups, because this forced me to save on other slots like rings, trinkets etc. where I couldn’t compete against those anymore that got their tiers so cheap. All you can do in such a situation is to say “sod tiers, I’ll get everything else first and the tiers last”, but that is only so much fun.
I actually loved Trial of the (Grand) Crusader exactly for this reason: finally all raiders had an equal chance on tier loot and the distribution was very mixed and even, even if the most active raiders might finish a little sooner (and there’s really nothing wrong with that). There was no tension anymore and we could actually focus on other things rather than rolling our eyes in advance over what the boss might drop.
The only thing I missed about the trophies was that a certain item could not be associated with a respective bosskill no more: I like the fact that gear tells a story. I’d like to see some of the raider’s or raidguild’s achievements or their current state of progression on the player. I think we lose a bit of content-depth without this. So ideally, I’d like the opposite of what was done in ICC: slot-specific tokens yes, class/loot-group specific no. You can still associate the item with a boss if it goes into a defined slot.
Do I think tokens as a whole are a good idea? I can see why you would dislike them: how “realistic” (fantasy-speaking) is it that a mob carries generic raider-tokens around, rather than just gear? Not very much. Gear has the one advantage that you can produce shards for the guildbank if nobody needs the item. Tokens have the advantage that your raiders can gear up their secondary spec (depending on how you handle this, but there’s little point in trashing tokens).
There’s certainly pros&cons to every loot system, and I guess some of us would even love to see something entirely different for WoW. I’ve never been invested in endgame raiding à la WoW in other MMOs, so I can’t draw comparisons there, but I’m sure there’s some interesting, different concepts around.
What is your favored loot distribution? And do you see an issue in tokens and badges?