MMO-Champion - Dev Watercooler - Mists of Pandaria Looting Explained
Personal Blog (Boubouille) - Working Hard and Hardly Working

Dev Watercooler - Mists of Pandaria Looting Explained
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Hey, how about that landslide of Mists of Pandaria information? It has taken a few days, and will probably take a few more, for the nuance of everything to really sink in. One of the topics we've been getting lots of questions about is the crazy new loot model we're introducing in Mists. We've answered several related questions in the forums, but thought it might be prudent to just put all the information in one place.

I should clarify that the systems we're introducing are actually pretty simple in practice. I'm only going into a fair amount of detail because those are the kinds of questions we are getting. You don't have to understand all the particulars to participate, and we're certain that it will just all make sense once you are experiencing it in-game instead of hearing it described (that whole "show, don't tell" thing). Let's begin:

Personal Loot

Here is how looting works in today's Raid Finder groups:


  • The boss dies.
  • The game randomly decides which items off of the boss's loot table drop.
  • The group rolls Need, Greed, or Pass on each item.
  • If you were raiding with a group of friends, you might discuss who should get each item. Even if you ultimately lost, hopefully you are happy that a friend got an upgrade and that your group as a whole is now a little bit stronger.
  • But if you're in Raid Finder, you are quite possibly alone with a bunch of strangers.
  • So, if you can Need, you probably do, because there's no time for discussion, some of the rollers may be AFK, and even if you piss someone off, you aren't likely to have to pay the social cost of doing so since you'll never see them again.
  • The highest roll wins.
  • Drama ensues.

Here's how the new Raid Finder system will work in Mists of Pandaria:


  • The boss dies.
  • The game automatically decides who won some loot, and gives those players a spec-appropriate item.
  • Some players may still get mad, but hopefully they are mad at the laws of probability and not at the rest of the raid.

So, realistically, that's really all you need to know to understand how it'll play out in-game. For those looking for more detail, here's what's happening behind the scenes:


  • The boss dies.
  • Each player has a chance to win loot, independent of the other players.
  • For each player who wins loot, the game randomly assigns them a spec-appropriate item from that boss's loot table. This subset contains only items that the game (meaning the designers in this case) thinks are appropriate for your class and current spec.
  • Notice that you aren't rolling Need or Greed. You don't have an option to Pass. The game just says "Take this."
  • You can't trade this item, or that would defeat the purpose of removing the social pressure on groups of strangers. If you don't want the item, you are free to vendor, delete, or disenchant it.

The big difference here is that instead of kill -> loot -> roll, the new system uses kill -> roll -> loot. The loot is not determined until the winners are determined. It's all automatic, and you're under no obligation to pass or roll — these choices no longer exist. The game decides who gets loot, not the players. The end. Nobody is going to be a callous jerk and take the item that you rightfully deserve. Nobody is going to try to talk you into trading an item to them because they are down on their luck and can't ever win a weapon. No DPS dude is going to ninja the tanking shield that you need for your guild to progress.

We understand some players are interested in off-spec or transmogrification loot, and we will consider future changes to the system to accommodate those desires. However, we're not sure fundamentally that Raid Finder is the best avenue for acquiring that loot. You would either need to take it from another player who actually desires it for their main spec, or a conversation would have to take place to make sure nobody else needed it more than you do. In other words, you would have to stop people from just rolling Need whenever they could. I've seen some suggestions that we allow an option for essentially "I'm happy to get loot beyond just what my main spec can use," and maybe that's the kind of approach we could take, but let's make sure the basic design works first. For now, there are other avenues, such as dungeons, faction gear, normal raids or older content to provide off-spec or cosmetic gear.

Here is a model I've seen some people say they want:


  • The boss dies.
  • I get the exact item or items I want.
  • I never have to come back and kill this boss again.
  • I politely ask Blizzard when there will be new content for me to run.

I added that, somewhat tongue in cheek, to point out that the intent of the new system is not to make killing bosses or getting loot more efficient, or to let you choose buffet-style which items you get. We like random loot being random, as long as it isn't so frustratingly random that you stop enjoying the experience. The intent of the new loot system is really to relieve social pressure on a group of random and anonymous strangers. We think it is reasonable for groups of friends, such as the typical raiding guild, to have a discussion about how to divvy up loot. That discussion is a tried and true RPG tradition going back to D&D or earlier. We don't think that is a reasonable expectation for Raid Finder, though.

The personal loot system will initially be used for Raid Finder and for world bosses. We want to use it for world bosses because we want it to be fairly easy to form PUGs to take down these bosses when they're up. If my raiding guild is about to take on a world boss, and some lonely hunter is asking to join the group (it's always a lonely hunter, isn't it?), it would be nice to be able to bring him on without worrying about that jerk taking loot away from me or my friends. We want to foster a "the more the merrier" attitude with world bosses.

This is why it's so important to us that the size of the group shouldn't matter. We don't want guilds to try to kill a world boss with the smallest number of players necessary in order to maximize loot per player. When everyone has their own chance at loot, why not make the group as large as you can? Note that you still have to be a member of the group that taps and kills the boss. We want to have a little bit of competition for world boss kills, especially between the Horde and the Alliance. We think that is part of the fun of world bosses; otherwise, why not just stick the gronn in a cave? (That sounds dirtier than I intended.) We don't want everyone in the zone to get credit just by lurking around. We want you to cooperate with other players, and we're trying to remove barriers to cooperation by eliminating loot drama.

Bonus Roll

We have one other new system that will use part of the personal loot model. This is what we're calling the bonus roll.

Once upon a time, raiders had to invest a lot of time and effort every week preparing for a raid. This felt kind of cool in the abstract because it built anticipation, rewarded players who prepared for raid night, and otherwise just added a little more ceremony to the act of entering the dragon's lair to seek glory and treasure. The reality is that you spent your time killing mobs to farm flask materials or gathering Whipper Root Tubers. The reality didn't match the fantasy and we eventually greatly minimized the need to farm consumables altogether. Of course, that led to another problem, as raiders would log on for raid nights, finish, and then have nothing to do the rest of the week. The bonus roll is intended to give those players something to do that is hopefully more enjoyable than grinding elementals or Blasted Lands boars. We want to see players out in the world doing stuff, and we want that stuff to be a little more interesting (if not downright fun) than farming mats.

The way it works is like this: We have two major Pandaren factions, the Elders and the Craftsmen. Completing daily quests and scenarios for each group earns you one of two currencies. The Craftsmen tokens are spent mostly on cosmetic items. The Elder tokens are spent mostly on power items. The intent here is to let players who want some optional content to be able to devote time to both Craftsmen and Elders, while more min-max focused players or players who don't want such a time commitment can stick to Elders. The Elder tokens can be used to purchase head enchants, some nice purple items, and the kind of gear you've come to expect from factions. However, they also sell an item called a Charm of Good Fortune. Imagine you can complete a quest once a week to buy one Charm for 25 Elder Tokens. You also might be able to save up a few charms, but you won't be able to hoard them until the next tier of content.

If you have one or more Charms of Good Fortune, then whenever you kill a raid boss (in Raid Finder, normal or heroic) then a new UI window will pop up asking if you want to spend your Charm on a bonus roll. If you click yes, then you'll instantly get another shot at that boss's loot table! You will always win something from the bonus roll, such as a pile of gold, gems, or flasks. However, you also have a small (but not miniscule) chance of receiving a piece of epic loot. As with the personal loot system, the item will always be something designed for your current spec. Also, just as with personal loot, the game doesn't analyze if you already have the item, if the item would be an upgrade for you, or if you prefer axes to swords or anything like that.

Most importantly, winning a bonus roll has no effect on what other players win on their bonus rolls or what the boss drops normally. If you have saved up several Charms (this will probably happen when you play but don't raid every week) then you can use one per boss, but you can't cash in multiples on a single boss kill. If you want to save up all of your Charms for the final boss because he (or she in the case of the mantid raid) drops weapons or whatever, that is your prerogative, but you'll only be able to spend one per kill. If you want to save up your Charms for heroic bosses, go for it.

Here is an example of per-person loot and the bonus roll in action:


  • Stan is a death knight.
  • Jim Bob is a warrior.
  • Naomi is a hunter.
  • The three friends run Raid Finder together and tackle Mogu'shan Vaults. They get matched with a bunch of random folks from across their region. On the fourth boss, the Council of Kings, the game decides that Jim Bob wins an item. Jim Bob is a Fury warrior, so the game is either going to give him a two-handed Strength axe or a Strength bracer, because those are the two Fury-appropriate items on the Council of Kings loot table (in this theoretical example). Regardless of what Jim Bob wins, Stan might also win the same items. Naomi won't ever be offered those items, because they aren't appropriate hunter loot. If she had gotten lucky and earned loot for the kill, it would have been hunter appropriate.
  • Let's say Naomi is frustrated because Bob and Stan both won loot and because the trinket she wants won't ever drop. So, she decides to use a Charm of Good Fortune. Let's say she gets lucky and the game decides that she won an item instead of gold, flasks, etc. (Thanks, game!) She might get the trinket she wants, or she might get an Agility neckpiece that is also on the Council of Kings loot table. Her winning an item doesn't affect Stan or Jim Bob or anyone else, even if they use their Charms as well.

Okay, we're almost done here, but I did want to mention two other relevant changes.

Area of Effect Looting

Yes, we are doing area looting. After killing a group of enemies, you may have a bunch of corpses lying around (perhaps because you went all Bladestorm on a bunch of hozen). If you loot one of the corpses, the loot window will include items from all of the nearby corpses for which you have loot rights. Some recent games have incorporated a similar feature, and it's one of those things that players just want in their MMO these days. It's already in and it works fine.

The Future of Valor

The second change I want to mention is that we plan to adjust the role of Valor points. Valor (or the various other names that the currency has had over the years) was originally added to WoW for two reasons: it helped to mitigate really bad luck, for those times when the boss just refused to drop the item you wanted, and it helped encourage players to stay with the group even if they didn't need anything off the next boss.

Over time, we have felt like Valor has taken on too prominent a role, to the point that it risks becoming more important than actual boss loot. This is particularly the case when the tier sets are available on the Valor vendors. We think killing dragons and ransacking their hoard is more epic than shopping at the magic armor store, so we want to shift back toward boss kills being the primary source of epic PvE gear.

In Mists of Pandaria, Valor will be used to power a new feature that allows you to increase the item level of your existing epic items. This means that each week, you can become a little more powerful, hopefully allowing you to kill that boss that has eluded you thus far. There will be a bit of a game in trying to decide when to upgrade your gear versus hoping for a new piece to drop from a raid boss, but our plan is that even heroic gear can be upgraded slightly in this way.

We won't allow you to upgrade Raid Finder gear so much that it becomes better than normal gear, but imagine if you can increase your item level by around eight points. At this time, we're thinking there won't be gear on the Valor vendors at all, but we'll see how that shakes out. Valor will come primarily from dungeons (including challenge modes) and scenarios. You might earn a little from daily quests and raiding as well, but that won't be as efficient.

Final Thoughts

That's a lot of information to absorb all at once I know, and I'm sure it will lead to dozens of questions. It'd be more helpful to us if you were to focus your discussion on how things will feel, and the basic rules of the system, instead of immediately leaping to the conclusion that you've figured out some exploit and ergo the whole thing is doomed to failure. We've stitched up a lot of the egregious loopholes already and the system is a little more complicated behind the scenes than I figured was worth getting into here.

Check it out in beta if you get the chance. Let us know how it feels. We have time to iterate and refine this stuff. Good luck on getting the loot you want, too... but not too quickly.

Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street is the lead systems designer of World of Warcraft. The first epic item he can recall getting was the Drillborer Disk.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Dev Watercooler - Mists of Pandaria Looting Explained started by Boubouille View original post
Comments 524 Comments
  1. davep's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    Damn long explanation to say that they are taking SWTOR's normal mode looting.
    You mean taking Rift's normal mode looting. Yes I know it's crazy, other MMO's steal stuff from other MMO's. What has the world come to...
  1. Lecan's Avatar
    Players: It's not fair that people can get good raiding gear outside of raids!
    Bliz: OK, you'll have to raid to get raid-quality gear, especially past the first tier.
    Players: It's not fair that we can't gear our alts unless they raid!

    Players: People in LFR ninja gear they can't use!
    Bliz: OK, people won't be able to ninja gear, gear will be awarded independent of anyone else and it will always be something for your spec.
    Players: Now I can't pass because I'm altruistic and would never ninja! I don't know why this is bad, but Bliz said it, so it must be!

    Players: We want AoE looting!
    Bliz: Go AoE loot.
    Players: This is just like another game!

    ---------- Post added 2012-03-27 at 02:33 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by davep View Post
    You mean taking Rift's normal mode looting. Yes I know it's crazy, other MMO's steal stuff from other MMO's. What has the world come to...
    It's bad when an MMO, movie, song or book takes an idea from something else. When Steve Jobs does it, it's brilliant and he's suddenly an inventor who changed the world.
  1. martinboy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Vanguardboomkin View Post
    i do agree with this, as a person that passes on loot i dont need in the current LFR, if i know i dont need any loot from this boss in LFR/5 man, why should i not hav the option to Pass?
    Because it wouldnt benefit other players if you passed. its a personal roll system, so no need at all for need/greed/pass.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Illitti View Post
    LFR is not only one boss, one item. Maybe I want the ring from boss X but got the neck that I don't need from boss Y. Also maybe, in the same run, there's someone that gets loot right to the boss but doesn't need the item he gets while I get the item I don't need but he does. All this new system does is that a lot of people will get stuff that they won't need, which means the whole gearing process through LFR is going to be more tedious.

    Also, speaking of myself, I consistently run LFR with my hard mode geared main. Sometimes I do it to test some new spec, rotation or other thing, sometimes I just do it because I find it fun. I certainly don't need any loot and will automatically pass on everything. With this new system, I won't be allowed to do that, and that pisses me off.


    These two cases are entirely different. If I pass on loot, you have 24 people to roll against. If there's 4 others like me, running on high geared characters, testing stuff and having fun, you have 20 people who roll against you. With the new system, you always have 25 people rolling against you. This certainly does affect your chances of getting the item.

    The scenario you presented is entirely different, since someone getting an item from their personal satchel indeed has no impact on my chances of getting the item.
    Dude, again:

    N
    O
    B
    O
    D
    Y

    will be rolling against YOU.

    And it doesn't matter if the game gives you the necklace you don't want. In todays system, you could still get the damn necklace dropping instead of the ring. And instead of all others having a chance of getting the same necklace more than once, you get a few ppl needing on the only drop of it to even troll.

    But again: NOBODY will be rolling against YOU! It's exactly the same thing as the satchel!!!!
  1. Sicc's Avatar
    +1 for the new system
  1. molster's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bloodlover View Post
    While reading the newest Dev watercooler about the new MoP loot system, I notcied a major flaw in the system. Based on what Ghostcrawler said, the game would be handing out loot to players, even if they didn't want or need it. Let me quote two specific points fron the Dev Watercooler post.:"What? So to put this in current content terms: If I have legendary daggers, and I happened to win the "background roll" after killing a boss, I could potentially be awarded the downgrade dagger off the boss, even when there are alts and others who need this gear more?Also:This one just flat out confuses me. I'm not sure where this social pressure is coming from, i've certainly never experienced it in any of my LFR runs. Going back to my previous example of the daggers, why not allow me to give those daggers to another rogue who actually wanted them for an upgrade?This system would be a disaster if the expansion launched with it as-is.


    You guys really need to start reading all the blue posts

    Your wins DO NOT effect other people. You winning a roll, does not mean one less person will win now.
  1. Wutsefag's Avatar
    how about letting every boss drop his brain for every single player, and if someone collected all brains including the enboss, they are finally able to understand why passing to an item makes no fcking sense in this system!
  1. Nelrock's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by VanishO2 View Post
    Don't need to heard, just read the news post

    "If you have one or more Charms of Good Fortune, then whenever you kill a raid boss (in Raid Finder, normal or heroic) then a new UI window will pop up asking if you want to spend your Charm on a bonus roll. If you click yes, then you'll instantly get another shot at that boss's loot table! You will always win something from the bonus roll, such as a pile of gold, gems, or flasks. However, you also have a small (but not miniscule) chance of receiving a piece of epic loot."
    Which is what I said...there's only a gold chance if you use a Pandaren token for a "bonus roll". If you dont win loot with it, you get gold.
  1. dizzzave's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Grimord View Post
    I did exchange a couple posts with Wryxian about this on the EU forums, and I admit it, I got sold on this system... But I have ONE issue: It should not apply to Guild Runs on World Bosses.

    Why?

    Random loot is random, and the new loot system will ensure that whoever wins an item actually gets something they need. If you are gonna try and pull loot council on world bosses, piss off seriously.
  1. theturn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Azrile View Post
    But now that other person making a roll does not affect your roll. Is it really so hard to understand??

    Old system

    Hunter with ilvl 800 gloves rolls ´need´ on 372 gloves
    You roll need on 372 gloves.
    Hunter rolls 99, you roll 98... he gets gloves, you get nothing. You cry because he doesn´t really need the item and he ´took´your item.

    New system

    Hunter with ilvl 800 gloves rolls
    You roll
    Hunter rolls 99, you roll 98... he gets gloves, you get gloves.

    Stupid people should not ´lol ´ at people who are obviously smarter. Blizzard is doing EXACTLY what their intentions were.. they are removing loot drama. This system is NOT to make drops more efficient to get.. Do people know how to read?? they said that like 5 times.
    Actually in todays system the Hunter will either hold it for trade, or pass it off to someone who was actually helpful in killing the boss. Sure we have a few asshats who need just to piss on everyone's parade but they are far from the majority. So continuing with your analogy the hunter may pass you the loot, or pass over you because you sat afk through the entire fight.
  1. martinboy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by cbeefman View Post
    Im a bit slow today so forgive me of the answer is staring me in the face

    I see in the write up that the new system will affect LFR, normal, and heroic, but I dont recall reading anything that said i can turn it off.
    My guild prefers the use of the human mind in deciding loot in our raids so we just throw up master looter and do /roll for main spec etc.

    Is master looter still available?
    The new rolling system will only affect LFR and world bosses for now and maybe LFD later on depending on how well it goes in LFR. Normal rolling system like masterloot, need/greed and so on are still there for normals and heroics.
  1. Calamari's Avatar
    Rest in pieces LFR drama once and for all, you won't be missed. Welcome Lucky Charms, papa needs a new pair of T14 boots. I'm impressed with the new loot model, they really did a good job with this one.
  1. Gallahadd's Avatar
    I like the sound of this new system, should streamline the loot process, which is always a good thing, and I like that the only thing that effects my chance of winning is my rolling, not if some frakkin 12k dps Arms warrior rolls on my Souldrinker..... no I haven't just come out of a LFR..honest.. There still seems to be some confusion, as to HOW the loot is divvied up, as far as I can see it works like this: They set an amount of loot per boss.. say 5 peices, and then when everyone rolls, the top 5 rolls are then given spec appropriate gear from the bosses loot table, if there is none, they get gold. What I don't know.. is how Tier loot fits in with this system, are tier tokens considered part of the bosses loot table? Or a seperate system?
  1. videotape's Avatar
    This is the correct way to do all roll-based looting. Kudos.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nelrock View Post
    Which is what I said...there's only a gold chance if you use a Pandaren token for a "bonus roll". If you dont win loot with it, you get gold.
    If you win a roll on a boss that does not have anything usable for you, you will get gold instead.

    So yes, you can get more gold in MoP raids than you can get today.

    What do you get when the boss you kill does not have a drop for you? The possibility to roll greed/DE if NOBODY rolls need on it?

    Exactly, nothing. In MoP you can leave at least with some extra gold.
  1. Mekh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lecan View Post
    Players: People in LFR ninja gear they can't use!
    Bliz: OK, people won't be able to ninja gear, gear will be awarded independent of anyone else and it will always be something for your spec.
    Players: Now I can't pass because I'm altruistic and would never ninja! I don't know why this is bad, but Bliz said it, so it must be!

    I like this one.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by davep View Post
    You mean taking Rift's normal mode looting. Yes I know it's crazy, other MMO's steal stuff from other MMO's. What has the world come to...
    Except that Blizzard itself said they're taking the stuff from SWToR since they have ppl playing it since launch to keep an eye on it (and putting on it's tab the loss of all those subs)... don't think they're playing Rift anymore for a long time after it was "dead" (as a competitor stealing their subs).

    (and it's worse when swtor, altough it's "newer" than Rift, it's actually "older"... crazy stuff there).
  1. martinboy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bloodlover View Post
    While reading the newest Dev watercooler about the new MoP loot system, I notcied a major flaw in the system. Based on what Ghostcrawler said, the game would be handing out loot to players, even if they didn't want or need it. Let me quote two specific points fron the Dev Watercooler post.:"What? So to put this in current content terms: If I have legendary daggers, and I happened to win the "background roll" after killing a boss, I could potentially be awarded the downgrade dagger off the boss, even when there are alts and others who need this gear more?Also:This one just flat out confuses me. I'm not sure where this social pressure is coming from, i've certainly never experienced it in any of my LFR runs. Going back to my previous example of the daggers, why not allow me to give those daggers to another rogue who actually wanted them for an upgrade?This system would be a disaster if the expansion launched with it as-is.
    Or you could be one of the many asshats that needs on it to then sell it to highest bidders and then find out that you cant trade items to ppl from other realms.

    Just because you win daggers doesnt mean you have taken a chance from another daggert user to also win daggers from the same kill. Read what the blue says. Its a PERSONAL loot system.
  1. Nelrock's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by VanishO2 View Post
    If you win a roll on a boss that does not have anything usable for you, you will get gold instead.

    So yes, you can get more gold in MoP raids than you can get today.

    What do you get when the boss you kill does not have a drop for you? The possibility to roll greed/DE if NOBODY rolls need on it?

    Exactly, nothing. In MoP you can leave at least with some extra gold.
    Yeah...that's not what it says.
    In fact, the post doesn't address at all what happens if you win your internal loot roll and there's no spec specific loot item on that boss for you.
    The only mention of getting gold...is if you use your pandaren luck charm for a bonus roll. If you don't win loot with that roll, you get gold to compensate your use of the charm.
    "You will always win something from the bonus roll, such as a pile of gold, gems, or flasks. However, you also have a small (but not miniscule) chance of receiving a piece of epic loot."
  1. theturn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Lecan View Post
    Players: It's not fair that people can get good raiding gear outside of raids!
    Bliz: OK, you'll have to raid to get raid-quality gear, especially past the first tier.
    Players: It's not fair that we can't gear our alts unless they raid!

    Players: People in LFR ninja gear they can't use!
    Bliz: OK, people won't be able to ninja gear, gear will be awarded independent of anyone else and it will always be something for your spec.
    Players: Now I can't pass because I'm altruistic and would never ninja! I don't know why this is bad, but Bliz said it, so it must be!

    Players: We want AoE looting!
    Bliz: Go AoE loot.
    Players: This is just like another game!

    ---------- Post added 2012-03-27 at 02:33 PM ----------



    It's bad when an MMO, movie, song or book takes an idea from something else. When Steve Jobs does it, it's brilliant and he's suddenly an inventor who changed the world.
    Yeah wild and crazy thought people helping other people. You do realize if your mindset was the worlds mindset the world would have ceased to exist millions of years ago. People do nice things for other people often, just because you don't doesn't make it the norm. Just makes you an ass.

Site Navigation