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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. Howard Moon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by VanishO2 View Post
    it will be freaking fast to gear.
    Well that will all depend on what they set the % chance of loot to. But yes, otherwise you are correct!
  1. Wolfie of Medivh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Crowe View Post
    I like the sound of what GC wrote. Not only the actual features but also the tone.He sounds like he's really confident about the changes and has a clear perspective on how they'll work out. That's always good to hear when a designer has a clear vision. Something I felt a bit lacking in Cataclysm.Now if only they added the item-squish, I'd be a lot moire excited.
    They did the math, going forward and I guess they feel the Item Squish isn't required right now... when they talked about it, they were more concerned about the future, I think. and they did go with the MegaDamage option they talked about - just shrinking numbers down.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Prokne View Post
    So the question I have is, how do mounts work? They said the world bosses will drop mounts and now they are also using the new loot system which if you want your guild can use in normal raids. So if you kill the world boss and win a "roll" does it have a 50:50 chance of giving you the mount if only 1 piece of gear is useable for you or is it like 95:5 in favor of gear? Also do the lucky charms also give you a chance to win mounts?

    Im really interested on how the world bosses are going to work. It seems that you will want a full 40man raid to take them down but how many people would you actually need to kill it without interference? It will probably end up more as 3-4 guilds banded together rather than a random guy waiting gets invited like GC thinks. I also think they are the reason Have Group Will Travel is going away so that 1 player cant camp the boss and summon everyone right when it spawns. They want people to fight over the area with full groups for a while but you will probably have a bunch of mounted flyers that try to swoop in and tag the boss when it spawns.
    The same way the mount drops work from world event bosses like brewfest. Mount is a loot that every class is elegible for, so everyone will be able to get one.

    But unless they grant the mount for each kill like a heroic final boss from a xpac raid like H-Rag or H-Madness, it's probably really low chance like the world events. So you need to win the roll for a loot, then roll a mount instead of a gear.
  1. Nelrock's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Xebu View Post
    Every player in the raid has a probability of loot, independent from other players. That's what the blue post says. That means that in theory, all 25 players can win something, and it is also possible for nobody to win anything. At least, that's how I understood it.
    Way it sounds to me.
    I'm sure folks will argue the probability of either...but...I wouldn't think the same dagger would drop every single week from MoD...yet it seems to.
  1. meifumado's Avatar
    the problem I see with this is now you will not be able to loot for OS, also i don't see any mention of not getting duplicates, if it can tell your class and spec before it gives you loot will it look to see if you have said item?
  1. Squeezus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackkice View Post
    This new system is just as terrible as the last. The LFR way wasn't perfect by any means, but the biggest problems were that some people needed on items they didn't need, and the tables were broken seeing as how Ret Paladins could win holy gear etc. This new way does not solve either of those problems. Now instead of having a 1/7 or 1/8 chance of winning your piece of loot, you have a 1/25 for every single drop. And oh, Good Guy Timmy the full Heroic warrior decided to run his LFR today, he wins 5 pieces because he's a lucky guy! Too bad he can't trade you the items he doesn't need but has been assigned with no way to pass. Why would you not enable a pass loot option. If someone is nice enough to say, I don't want this loot because I'm not a jerk, LET THEM PASS ON IT.

    This whole post just makes me want to cry due to your lack of understanding.
  1. Wolfie of Medivh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by VanishO2 View Post
    The same way the mount drops work from world event bosses like brewfest. Mount is a loot that every class is elegible for, so everyone will be able to get one.

    But unless they grant the mount for each kill like a heroic final boss from a xpac raid like H-Rag or H-Madness, it's probably really low chance like the world events. So you need to win the roll for a loot, then roll a mount instead of a gear.
    Well this system won't be active for Heroics - so that's not a giant concern. I doubt any Raid Finder boss will have a mount attached.
  1. Sensa's Avatar
    In my opinion the valor changes are bad for 2 reasons:

    1) it's another attempt to force more and more casual/solo players into raiding by providing fewer opportunities to earn gear outside of the raid environment - GC says so much in the article - and the fact there will be some epics from the Elders faction available doesn't minimize the issue because those will only be useful in the 1st tier of MoP (they have never upgraded the fraction loot during the course of an expansion).

    2) the fact that valor points will allow you to upgrade your gear by up to 8 ilvls (see article) means, quite contrary to their brief flirtation with item squishing, that the difference in the ilvls of the tiers will have to be that much greater to compensate. So not only are they not squishing they are actually increasing the inflation rate of gear stats...just amazing that could do such a 180 degree turn on this subject and make the situation worse and the ultimate item squish they will have to do seem that much worse by comparison.
  1. Squeezus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Alka View Post
    Pretty sure still only set pieces of Loot drops, it just gets rolled internally for each piece of loot and assigned to a player that can use it.
    No, certain pieces are avaiable, but unlimited copies can be handed out.
  1. Relentless's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Achaman View Post
    im assuming those who do the most work so most dps on a boss would get a higher chance of getting an item?
    Why would you assume that?
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by buggerlugs View Post
    you (blizzard) said when MoP was announced that you wanted to put the fun back into the game and to that end all end game gear would be available to everyone - you said i would be able to get end game tier loot without raiding, but that it would just take me longer to aquire it.
    Well... it remains true... let's be honest... LFR isn't raiding... at all... lol it's just a "heroic 5man" with 25 players in it... lol
  1. ambigiouslynamed's Avatar
    valor to upgrade gear? lame
  1. Azrile's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nathanyel View Post
    And there I see a problem.

    Everyone will roll, whether they want or not, whether they need items or not, whether there is even appropriate loot for them on the boss. At worst, the 4 rogues win the rolls, but there is no leather or Agi weapon on the boss's loot table, so they all get some gold, but no one gets an item. A let-down for the whole raid.
    Another, personal example: you are helping a friend's alt of the same class by queueing as a healer/tank. You win many rolls for gear you don't need anymore, but your friend wins nothing.
    You cannot even pass to increase the chances of your friend, or just those of the randoms you queued with.

    Basically, instead of the 3-10 applicable players rolling on a drop now, all 25 players roll "Need" on anything that drops.
    . I am very certain that every boss will have an item on it´s loot table for every spec. If you go look at Cata boses it was probably true, and will definitely be true for the new system. Secondly, players will ONLY get gold/gems(boobie prize) if they use the Lucky Charm item.

    Your second example is true.. but it is also an exploit used frequently in the current system and unfair to the players not in that guild. Yes, you are helping your guildmate, but it is at the expense of other players in your group..
  1. aggression's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nelrock View Post
    Dual wielders?
    Sure, if the serverside client can keep track of it then np.
  1. Squeezus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamial View Post
    How and why do people find this a good system?!? It's like the ultimate stupidity. You might win the same item four weeks in a row, while not getting the item you need (EVEN IF IT DROPS). There HAS and NEEDS to be some sort of "This person already got this item, so if he wins the roll he gets something else class/spec appropraite - if nothing is available this person gets the ability to pass to the next highest roller or take the piece of loot for offspec/sell/de".
    Two parts to this. One, you, like a few other people are still not understanding that you winning an item does not mean someone else does not get that item, multiple copies of the same item can be won. Two, in the case of getting bad luck and receiving the same piece when you want a different piece of the boss. It's not a reasonable concern. That can heppen now. Not only do you currently need that specific item to drop off the boss, but then you have to fight other people for it.
  1. Matchu's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamial View Post
    How and why do people find this a good system?!? It's like the ultimate stupidity. You might win the same item four weeks in a row, while not getting the item you need (EVEN IF IT DROPS). There HAS and NEEDS to be some sort of "This person already got this item, so if he wins the roll he gets something else class/spec appropraite - if nothing is available this person gets the ability to pass to the next highest roller or take the piece of loot for offspec/sell/de".
    Items don't "drop" anymore. If Person B wins the item you really wanted, that has nothing to do with the boss.

    Also, loot should be random. Not "what item do I need this week?"
  1. Polarthief's Avatar
    So someone who already has item X may just win item X again? That's probably the dumbest way to distribute loot I've ever heard. So now rather than that person not rolling at all, the game automatically lets that player win an item he already has that is now non-tradeable against his/her own will. Blizzard, you just get more and more dumb every passing day...
  1. greenskye's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Thiron View Post
    This system is better if you have a LFR run with low etiquette (ok, that happens often - but not always), but worse if it's not so. Most of all, I don't like that people who can't get any useful loot from certain boss can't pass on roll.
    Why would you want to pass on a roll in this system? Ever? Even if you already had the 1 item in the loot table that could be considered useful, you would just get that item and vendor. Free ~20g for each time you won a roll. You passing has no affect on anyone else. You would just be voluntarily be throwing away money. If you really want to do that, just destroy the item each time.
  1. Gabreaal's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamial View Post
    How and why do people find this a good system?!? It's like the ultimate stupidity. You might win the same item four weeks in a row, while not getting the item you need (EVEN IF IT DROPS). There HAS and NEEDS to be some sort of "This person already got this item, so if he wins the roll he gets something else class/spec appropraite - if nothing is available this person gets the ability to pass to the next highest roller or take the piece of loot for offspec/sell/de".
    Agree. Although, my problem isn't really this so much as it is just my own rotten luck. I've been exalted with the oracles and have purchased enough eggs to fill Grommash Hold and have gotten several of everything EXCEPT the mount. I could recount all of the mounts, items, fishing tournaments that have left me disappointed every week, but it would be way too long for one post. This new system virtually guarantees that ONLY luck affects your chance at receiving gear upgrades in LFR. I personally will not be taking part in LFR or any other part of the game that uses this loot system, not when I can at the very least coerce my guildies to take pity on me and give gear to me in normal raids to help me at least gimp along behind them.
  1. Wolfie of Medivh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sensa View Post
    In my opinion the valor changes are bad for 2 reasons:

    1) it's another attempt to force more and more casual/solo players into raiding by providing fewer opportunities to earn gear outside of the raid environment - GC says so much in the article - and the fact there will be some epics from the Elders faction available doesn't minimize the issue because those will only be useful in the 1st tier of MoP (they have never upgraded the fraction loot during the course of an expansion).

    2) the fact that valor points will allow you to upgrade your gear by up to 8 ilvls (see article) means, quite contrary to their brief flirtation with item squishing, that the difference in the ilvls of the tiers will have to be that much greater to compensate. So not only are they not squishing they are actually increasing the inflation rate of gear stats...just amazing that could do such a 180 degree turn on this subject and make the situation worse and the ultimate item squish they will have to do seem that much worse by comparison.
    1) if raiding is no more intensive then a dungeon run, and LFR isn't really, then what's the difference?

    2) That post was just a layout of possible future concerns, not something they were going to do because it was the biggest technical hurdle in the game. They did choose to do the "Megadamage" option where numbers get shrunk down on screen using metric classifers (but not in the game's system) just for screen real estate considerations (So instead of seeing 103239 for my Lava Lash hit, I instead see 103K). Later on down the road, it might get to a point where the gamen can't keep up with the huge math pools - that's when an item squish might be necessary. But I doubt that time is now.

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