Tuesday, January 22, 2013

a little social pressure please

I think Blizz is missing an opportunity with the way they're playing the LFR loot drops. There's fairly large amount of dissatisfaction over loot which I believe could be solved with a little visibility.

I don't raid now, but when I did raid I did so with a competitive 10-man guild. An extreme minority of items were loot councilled as we were a progression guild but everything else was rolled on and later we used a points system which tbh I never truly understood but seemed to do quite nicely from. On the nights where I didn't win any rolls or simply no loot for my bear dropped I was able to come to terms with the process as I could still see the loot dropping. I got a certain amount of vicarious pleasure from seeing loot drop for my guildies as well as the reinforcement that loot did in fact drop.

Now in the current system, as described by Ghostcrawler, they've worked hard to remove social pressure from the conglomeration of strangers that is LFR. That is no one will beg you to pass them to loot you've just won. The boss dies, each player rolls their small chance to get loot, if they win Blizz selects an appropriate piece for them and they walk away anonymously happy.

Outcome: sunshine, lollipops, rainbows.

Only what if no loot drops for you? Or more to the point as the plethora of forum posts have been shouting: what if you've been at this for a while and you've not seen "any" loot drop. Might I present a hypothetical case in point: consider a highly charismatic gnomish warlock who, for argument's sake, let's call... Shortgame. Shortgame has run through 16 Cata bosses and used 6 bonus rolls and got precicely zero loot. I'm not saying that this is unfair to poor Shortgame (... although it certainly feels unfair) but rather that this run of unfortunate chance highlights Blizzard's approach to this issue - they're treating LFR rules as a memoryless process which raid loot in fact never was. People would slowly built their gear over time and if you missed out you knew that you'd get it eventually as others in the raid already ‘had’ that piece. Your raid contained the social memory upon which you relied to get loot in a fair (and timely) manner.

How can we gain back the social memory that was lost as Blizzard dealt with their social pressure problem? Two ways:

Turn off the secrecy
Those who nurse conspiracies feel that the secrecy about drops is purely a Blizzard tool to stop players from seeing what the actual percentage on drops really is (the view being that a lower drop percentage = longer playing time and longer subscriptions). Not our hypothetical warlock of course, he trusts Blizzard and their assertion (could not verify this – only forum traffic available) that the drop chance is 15%.

I wouldn't argue for a reversion of the new process to pre-MoP LFR, the new process is good and it certainly minimises drama. What showing the drops does do is to lift the veil and folks who are putting their time into this pursuit can again see that items are dropping and though they personally are not having luck at least someone is.

Give the process some memory
Simple - provide to players a low percentage chance but raise it by 10% for each unsuccessful boss kill, using tokens progresses the percentage by 10% as well. Reset it when they get a drop. Under this process players know that in 10 boss kills they will certainly get a drop, five boss kills and they’re over 50%. It’s a very small carrot to toss but the forums are reporting people seeing 30+ bosses without a drop.

So while the easier process for Blizzard would be to simply turn off the secrecy my preferred approach would be to add a layer to the process and sequentially increase the drop chance. No more complaints could be levelled knowing that running two three-boss raids would put you over the 50% chance.

5.2 will see the existing raids have their percentages upped according to Blizzard. I’ll try LFR again then.

Stay liquid folks,


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