Sensible Loot

June 17, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Posted in mmorpg | 8 Comments
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If loot were truly sensible we wouldn't be able to carry much of anything along on our adventures

Every so often when I’m reading MMO blogs I come across a post lamenting the fact that monsters drop strange things.

Why do warthogs drop armour pieces? They don’t need metal pants! They don’t wear pants at all! Don’t developers realize that warthogs can’t wear pants!?

I liken it to early 90’s stand up comedians and observational humour.

Did you ever notice, when you are sitting at a red light, that when the person in front of you pulls up a couple of inches, you are compelled to move up too? Do we really think we are making progress toward our destination? “Whew, I thought we would be late, but now that I am nine inches closer, I can stop for coffee and a danish!

While I admit that is a complete laugh riot, I’ve begun to wonder about the people making these comments about loot. They often follow it up with a confidential aside to developers.

Hey devs! Why can’t we get some loot that makes sense! Warthogs should drop warthog loot! Not paper scrolls!

I wonder why all those devs out there have never thought of this. It could revolutionize gaming! Warthogs could drop warthog hooves! They ought to come in really handy against that 30 ton basilisk that’s trying to bite off my legs. If only I had some metal pants…

In all seriousness, why can’t people think a little more clearly about this subject. The reason we inch ahead at those red lights is because we’re eager to get moving, in a hurry, or impatient waiting for the light to change. Don’t you think the reason for seemingly random drops from warthogs could also be fairly straight forward?

First of all, to insure a fair and even distribution of gear through random drops, most monsters should have a fair and even loot table. How else do you insure that whole, fair and even thing?

If i have 4 quests for warthogs, bears, lizards and bandits, and bandits are the only mobs that drop loot that could even remotely be considered useful, do you think the bandit area is going to be busy? Do you think perhaps it will be difficult to kill the bandits in a timely manner considering the bandits are the only mobs that drop anything of value?

Realistically, warthogs drop meat, hide, and tusks. If we’re in a game that has moved into the iron age, the tusks aren’t going to be worth much. The meat I can eat, if that were a concern in video games. The hides I can perhaps craft something out of. In any generic game, that’s not particularly exciting or valuable.

I think there’s something to be said for the possibility that just about anything can drop. I’d much rather anything drop, than the same things every time.

You know what else? Some of those quests you aren’t reading explain why those warthogs are dropping scrolls. The scholar who gave you the quest was attacked by rampaging warthogs and dropped his scrolls. The warthogs have gone nuts and ate the scrolls. He sent you out there to get them, but apparently you’re an egotistical maniac who doesn’t listen when spoken to.

Lastly I’d like to make a plea for players to use their imaginations. We are playing games in fantasy worlds, with lore and setting. We’re fighting ghouls and monsters. Is the problem here that bears drop swords, or that you can’t fathom one reason bears are dropping swords.

Humans use swords. Giant fantasy bear eats human. Giant fantasy bear eats sword. Boom. All that hard imagination work done for you.

In real life, sharks, goats, rats, starlings, raccoons, possums, snakes, dogs, cats, whales, and pelicans all eat, chew, steal, nest in, swallow, tear apart and otherwise interact with human objects. Why can’t you imagine fantasy animals and monsters doing the same on a bigger level?

If a sea turtle can get entangled with a a digital camera and film itself as it travels 1100 miles, how come you can’t come up with a story about how a warthog killed a human with a sword, nested with it because it was shiny, and then got killed by you.

Some games have loot that is sensible. Guild Wars and Lord of the Rings Online for instance both have monster appropriate drops mixed in with more “unlikely” possibilities.

I’ll leave you with this question. Would you even play an mmorpg if you knew that you would never get completely inappropriate drops? For instance a human armour piece from a three story tall dragon who has no use for human armour pieces.

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8 Comments

  1. Haha Guildwars has some of the best drops ever.
    Though I cant help but wonder why the merchants would actually buy a regurgitated mass or putrid cyst.

    I agree it would suck if we could only get usuable gear from human or humanoid enemies. You think there is kill competition in MMOs now? Wait till you see something like that happen.

    • merchants can get good glimmering dust from those putrid cysts matt.

      • Hmmm whats really in those red bean cakes?

  2. To be honest, getting a sword drop from a bear or wolf is like the least of my gripes. No, what bugs me is when I get a quest to collect boar hearts or drake scales or something, and the drop rate stinks. Like, what? Does not every living boar have a heart? Is the drake not covered in scales?! Why is it that I only collect 1 scale out of every 10 kills? Where’s the “sensible” in that? 😛

    Okay, so maybe the quest giver is only asking for “perfect” specimens and I admit, my careless slashing with my sword could have damaged a few…but I refuse to believe that of all the hundreds of scales on a dragon, I can’t find one that’s of good quality!

    In all seriousness though, yeah, people need to loosen up a bit. I certainly don’t mind picking up inappropriate drops…otherwise, all creature boss kills would essentially drop useless things.

    • that is a pretty good point i have to admit, you should get dozens of scales from a dragon, and the quest should be for hudreds of scales. I mean if you want the quest to be a kill ten rats quest.

      • Haha yeah that bugs the crap out of me too. Runes of Magic comes to mind here. I think just about every quest was like that.

        This makes me think of how some people want a skinning profession for crafting. I hope if they add skinning that it will just be a passive increase in the likelyhood of obtaining said items as drops. I dont want to have to manually deal with all the corpses of every foe I kill. Though I dont know how you would level a profession like that without having to interact. It would probably be unfair to the other gathering type professions miners, wood cutters, herbalists etc. Maybe im just impatient but I have a strong distaste for dealing with gathering nodes.

  3. I have to admit, I get irritated by enemies dropping loot that doesn’t make any sense.

    • but i just made loads of sense out of it 😦


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