Analyzing the Raid Finder Loot Rules in World of Warcraft

Posted Thu, Oct 13, 2011 by Xerin

Loot rules are a funny thing when it comes to World of Warcraft because there is never a “right” or “wrong” approach to them. It’s all subjective. For instance, some players see “need before greed” as the ultimate most pure form of loot distribution, while others use advanced calculus and astronomy in order to determine who can take the coveted piece of loot. Blizzard has, of course, stepped in once more to give everyone a bit of a changeup on the loot rules.

This is likely being implemented as a change for the Looking for Raid system, and it could trickle down into LFG (which would make the most common sense and I’m going to assume that it will) so it’s best to get acquainted with it now before your raid group falls apart from some crazy snafu.

The Basics of the Raid Finder Loot Rules

Let’s look at the new rules: it’s very simple and to the point. In one of the 4.3 raids you will walk in, kill a boss, and an item drops. Need before greed takes first precedence. So if someone needs and someone greeds, those who need will get first dibs. Then it moves into what role the item is for. Let’s say a tanking shield drops and a DPS rolls on it along with two tanks. The DPS will be knocked out of the rankings because the two tanks will get a 100 added to their roll. Of course, should no tanks “need” the item then everyone could roll equally for it.

Do note that this will not look at someone’s specialization. So if a DPS is in a Tank spec (because we all know pubbies are not all there, which is why we need to use PlayerScore to filter them out) then they will still be counted as DPS. There are also other issues, naturally, from using this system. It doesn’t look at more detailed things such as is this item an upgrade, sidegrade, downgrade, or just to be used on those lazy afternoons when you’re having your undergarments washed. Of course, let’s say a Feral DPS and Boomkin DPS roll on an AGI item or INT item, one can’t use it but they will both get the bonus.

There are a few good things to say though, items can be flagged for multiple roles, so if you’re a Boomkin, Shadow Priest, or Elemental Shaman then worry now – I’m sure some of that spirit gear will be DPS/healer.

Blizzard as Big Brother

It’s tough to have someone tell you what gear is and is not yours. Adding in complication to the Need before Greed system is necessary for advancement but also creates unneeded strain on the system. If this applies to normal or even lower level heroics then you’re going to land in a situation where we can’t create new healers or tanks because it’s impossible to queue as a healer or tank without getting the gear beforehand. This is lessened since Cataclysm has aged to the point that you can get really nice epics from daily quests, but it’s still something to look into.

On the flipside, and as a counter argument, I’ll be glad that a tank doesn’t take my much needed healer item. It’s annoying, pompous, and leads towards way too much drama. How many times has your group broken up because someone rolled need on an item that the actual role needed and was denied it? Imagine being with a larger group in a random raid scenario?

There will be complications with this system, but advancements are necessary for us to continue to move forward and avoid stagnation. I fully support these new changes and look forward to seeing them in action, versus just sitting around on my La-Z-Boy with my smoking jacket on debating the merits of loot systems until it’s time for tea.

As always, you can always form your own groups, using a tool like PlayerScore to filter out the drama mongering keyboard face rollers, and go through instances with your own loot rules (including my favorite: duel for it) so, this only applies to random raids (and probably dungeons at some point).

With that folks, leave your thoughts, comments, and random trivia in the comments section below.

Perhaps I am just misunderstanding this. You said the New Loot Rules do not take Specs into account and so a DPS in a Tank Spec would not get the +100 added to their roll on that Tanking Shield. I can only surmise then that it looks only at what gear you are currently wearing? Is that right? So all anyone with the capability to Tank and wear a Shield would have to do is swap their gear into a Tanking Gear-heavy set before they rolled in order to receive the +100 to their roll? This sounds like a horrible Loot System idea and one ripe for abuse. Again, assuming I am understanding this correctly. Please clarify. Thank you.

What happened to "Need for OS" to be accounted for in the roll? We see this all the time, regardless of Tank or DPS gear it can be either way - DPS in RAID, but Tank OS, or Tank in RAID but DPS OS. This can even happen in DPS vs Heals.
So by what you state a DPS rolling for a Tank item has a snowball's chance in hell of winning unless the Tanks don't Need. And if the Tanks don't Need then anyone can Greed.
It used to be, with competent Master Looters, no Plate user could get the Cloth drops unless NO ONE wanted it.
Cloth drop, no one rolls, verified. Then ML opens roll to anyone.
So no ML is involved? And all becomes (sort of) automated?
Maybe if gear set swapping in the middle of the RAID is not permitted will this have a chance to work. As Kolot pointed out, anyone with an OS gear set could do it, Tank/DPS, Tank/Heals, DPS/Heals!

I guess when you queue using the Raid (or dungeon) finder, you queue as a specific role, then it sticks to you no matter gear you're using.
Granted, you may queue as DPS+Tank, or healer+DPS, etc.; however when you actually enter the raid group you get assigned a specific role: Tank *or* Healer *or* DPS.
Of course if you role changes during the raid, this change is not taken into account by the new loot system... And it doesn't take off-spec into account, and (probably the most problematic issue) it doesn't compare the loot with your current gear, as Xerin said.

As a (mainly) healer within the LFG and/or LFR realm(s), I like the idea that the tank warrior or DK cannot possibly win the spirit infused cloth item, trinket or weapon that may drop. However, my OS is dps--so if that DPS piece that I have been looking for drops when I am healing, I am SOL unless someone else doesn't need. long as nobody can need the item that cannot use it, then I think the system might be good. If they are taking that aspect out of the picture (I hope not), then they are moving backward instead of forward in the loot system.

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