Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Would we want bosses that only drop useful loot?

I've been enjoying reading Ghostcrawler's "dev watercooler" posts about Warcraft's game design. His latest entry is on how specific to make gear.
One suggestion that pops up fairly often, both internally and externally, is to make gear more tailored for each and every talent spec.[...] The problem with that approach is that boss loot tables get really long.[...] There is a reason that Argaloth and his ilk feel like slot machines -- because they can drop so many items, the chance of them dropping the piece you want is pretty low.

With the exception of intellect plate, I'm pretty happy with how gear works right now. There's a primary stat--intellect, strength, or agility--that is so good you would never take gear without the right one. The secondary stats, excepting hit, are always good to a varying degree, but some are better than others. All gear ends up being interesting to a few different specs, so even in a 10-man raid, any particular drop will usually be interesting to someone in the raid. They can at least use it as an off-spec.

As an aside, I love paladins, but I don't like intellect plate. Even aside from the fact that only one spec wants it, plate just doesn't seem like an intelligent sort of gear. Plate is not smart. Plate is about raw, brute force. Ghostcrawler suggests but rejects turning normal melee stats into healing stats for holy paladins. It's a good thing to try. Occasionally someone mentions a potential healing design where you'd wail on a boss to heal your own group. If that is ever tried, holy paladins would be a good spec to try it on. Imagine smite healing, only with a mace.

But I digress. Several of the commenters suggested making loot drops be definitely useful to the raid, rather than just probably. The idea is that when a boss dies, and the game calculates what it will drop, the only choices are drops that look useful to the current members of the raid. If there aren't any mail wearers, then no mail would drop. If there are ten paladins in the raid, then only plate will drop.

That approach doesn't sound as fun to me. While I'm glad there are tokens in the game, so that I can make some progress on gear even if the drops are unlucky, I overall prefer getting gear from drops. If all gear was automatically useful, it would be like tokens all the time. It would take a little bit of the thrill of a game that is already pretty laid back.

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