I have a suggestion. When I was working at BioWare one of the systems we tried throughout several months of testing with SWTOR was an "overall" loot distribution system. A lot of the issues we faced were players not having incentive to stay once they got their loot. It was actually faster progression to kill the first boss, get your token from the boss kill and turn the token in to a vendor in the home city that you could exchange that token for a new upgrade, or to upgrade a already existing loot. This would prevent countless wipes to bosses most PUG groups would never face, and to address a lot of the mechanical issues we faced with our technically challenging boss encounters that still had a lot of issues when the game actually went gold.
One of the systems I suggested at the time made through several phases of development but due to the complexity of our servers and the limitations we faced "at the time" could not implement my suggestion.
What it is, is this: Once a group would defeat a boss, each player would be faced with a 3 option selection. Kind of like “find the ball under one of the three cups”. They would chose the selection and not know the result until the end of the encounter after all bosses are defeated. Once the player would defeat the final boss, the internal tracking system would go through and randomly choose which gear they would receive (my ratio was 3:1) (since the boss' loot table in WoW are much more diverse, that ration might have to decrease the players odds. Especially when taking bonus rolls into consideration.)
How I would suggest this system for World of Warcraft. (Using Terrace of the endless spring as an example) There are 5 bosses that which I estimate a possible 2-3 items per boss each class spec could utilize. So you double the deficit potential to equal a best out of 6 chance, per boss kill, to receive 1 particular item. If a player would use a Coin for bonus roll, these odds would reduce by 1 to a best out of 5 chance, rather than using no coin remaining at best out of 6. The game would track through an internal tracking database per 1/25 slot (25 internal tracking’s each assigned to the random players as they enter. This tracker would follow each boss kill for each player with those odds per boss *6:1, *5:1 if coin is used for a boss)
Then after defeating the final boss, the tracker would review each boss kill and determine if the player would receive an item out of those odds. The player would either receive a cool game themed, "Sorry no loot for you!" message, or "Congratulations, loot for you!" message. The player would then receive the item as they found the result, and then the tracker would move on to the results of the next boss of the encounter and rinse and repeat until all bosses were covered. This was extremely successful with our testers! They loved it since gear would seem to come “all at once” even if there were only 2 items. The fact that you would receive them back to back would seem almost overwhelming compared to the current system.
The issue with this would be a few things: Class roles during each kill. Each player would be able to appropriate a “favorite” spec. (This part was kind of complex in programming) the player would have the ability to assign a preference per boss, before they engaged that boss. Example:
Protectors of the Endless Spring (I already have best possible Retribution gear, so I would prefer to have a better chance at receiving a protection piece for my off spec) So I would change the weighting (this is why there is a best out of three option I mentioned previously, 3 specs)
Prior before pulling protectors I could assign(Protection:3 Retribution: 0 Holy: 0) or (Protection:1 Retribution: 2 Holy: 0) I would have 3 points I could invest into a spec and that would configure the preference/ chance of item I would want for a spec.
Let’s say on Sha, I really want a cool Ret weapon though.. I could put all points into Ret, and have a 3/6 chance to receive that item.. 4/6 chance if I use a coin.
Or if I don’t care, I could simply go 1 point in each spec. This would blanket a option for me, and give the same odds at receive a specific spec upgrade, or have a 1/6 x3 odd of receiving an item for any spec.
The benfit was that players really felt in control of items they would receive, rather than praying they get an item, and praying that the item they do get is specific to their spec. Or be confused if they should have to switch specs per boss to get the item, “messing up the raid composition” or que as a healer for faster que, or whatever crazy things people try in LFR now a days.
This allows people to stay in the spec they “main”, while having a good chance to receive an item they may want for a different spec.
Typically, I find it easier to que as a tank on a fresh toon and since I’m the lowest probability I have a stronger chance at getting tank items since there are maybe 2 tanks out of 25 people. So assuming I now have an awesome prot set, maybe I want to be really effective playing my main spec to ensure better overall raid performance and success. Yet, I also want to really start building a set for a dps or healing spec. Now I can do both by assigning my 3 points to whatever spec I want to “prefer” the loot for. If I want dps, I would put all 3 point into DPS, preventing any gear to be tanking gear or holy gear.
Referencing what I mentioned above, at the end of the encounter I would discover the results of my selections per boss and find out if I receive any loot from those bosses at the conclusion of the encounter. So I could receive all dps items, or specific bosses there were a different item I invested my preference points into.
I was very pleased with the details my loot system provided, but as I mentioned in the beginning of this novel of a suggestion, due to complexities and limitations I can not disclose, we couldn’t make this system implemented into the game. Perhaps World of Warcraft may be able to, I am not sure.
But as I said before, this system I developed was EXTREMELY anticipated. And favored, we had testers that have played every MMO to date, and by far this was one of the features we had not announced that was inclusive to our team that everyone was waiting to see go live. If I can be of any assistance explaining further details I would love too. Also, there are no copyright issues with this system either, since it was scrapped.
Also, to address another possible issue, if a player absolutely had to leave due to IRL issues, the tracker would cut off that particular player and when the player leaves determine if the player received loot on the bosses they assisted in defeating, then mail the item to them. Although the player would receive the loot and technically could just leave, a huge majority of our testing proved players will still stay to see the loot they receive all at once since it was more personal and rewarding than waiting for mail. So this prevented people from just leaving prematurely and allowed them to play their best spec raising the overall chance of success of the raid per boss while also allowing them to receive off spec items that they would prefer to receive, per boss.