SWTOR Loot Containers: No more loot frustration

[UPDATE: This system, unbeknownst to the vast majority of people, did not make it into launch.  View our current thread dissecting how the loot system currently works.]

Some fantastic information has come out of the SWTOR forums.  It has to do with raid loot and how players will be rewarded for completing Operations(raids)  (and Flashpoints?).  Ever go on a raid with 10-40 people and walk away with absolutely nothing?  I have.  Ever go on a month of raids and get nothing but a headache?  I have.  Well, no more.  In a move that I 100% endorse, Bioware is trying to eliminate loot frustration.

“Loot containers’ (name is still a work in progress!) do indeed exist and are designed to alleviate the frustration some feel around high-level loot drops.

As it’s currently implemented, at the end of a key encounter within an Operation, upon looting a high-level opponent, everyone in the Operations group will get an individual container which has a chance to give you a random piece of loot that’s specific to your class. It could be part of an armor set, a weapon, and so on. If you don’t get loot, you’ll get commendations which can be used to purchase gear.

Please note, this feature is currently in Game Testing and may well be modified before launch.

  • The items that do not drop for you (or do not appear in your loot bag) from boss kills can all be bought from the commendation vendor.
  • To access new flashpoints you have to clear beginner ones.
  • There will be no pre-raid armor grind. You will enter low-level raids in the armor you finished your story in.
  • Loot bags can contain upgrades for weapons and armor.”  [Official Source]

Yes, yes, yes!  This makes me so happy.  If there are going to be raids, why not make them something everyone can jump right into?  Why not make them something everyone gets rewarded for completing?  We all put in the same time and hopefully the same effort, so why do only a few get rewarded?  Additionally, I think it’s awesome that there is no pre-raid armor grind.  This, hopefully, means that raids and dungeons are less about gear and more about team work or simply something to jump in and enjoy. I am just praying they carry this design choice throughout the life of SWTOR.

My themepark-MMO philosophy is simple: If you’re going to have a themepark, you better let everyone on the rides.  This is a very big step in the right direction for this particular type of MMO.  Before I get flamed by my fellow sandbox or “harder” MMO compatriots, I’m not saying “omg this is how all MMO’s should do their loot!”  I’m saying this is a great way for themepark-MMO’s to handle loot and especially how I want a Bioware RPG with Multiplayer/MMO elements to handle it.

(Thanks go out to those who gave us a heads up on this one! I had not seen this information before.)


  • Tokens?

    One raid instance at launch, and no group content at cap before it?

    I’m still excited for TOR, but stuff like this makes me wonder if it’s going to go downhill; I agree it should have less focus on gear, but why make raiding such a cakewalk? Why not make the act of raiding itself the reward for doing other, teamwork-oriented play?

    Tokens are one of the reasons WoW’s group mentality (and instance design) have become so awful: people just want their SUPER VALOR POINTS GOOO as quickly as possible.

    I’m still holding my breath. But stuff like this makes me worry about the direction TOR could take (i.e. pandering to the whims of people who think all group content should require no communication whatsoever and should be doable in 5-30 minutes.)

  • I hope they will use this system for any significant loot acquired in non solo content. It also quite elegantly eliminates the need for any player driven system like DKP and the likes.

  • @Dril: I don’t think it said raiding would be a cake walk. It said raiding does not require you to grind for gear and that if you raid you always get rewarded for killing a boss instead of having to roll against other people. Raiding can still be hard. I hope it requires some thought and team work. I’m simply glad the GEAR component is being minimized.

  • And Pessimism is a cruel mistress.

    It’s nice to be optimistic about something in this genre of games for a change. It’s not often that a company makes a decision in the themepark genre that merits applause.

    I ripped Bioware for their idea to assign pre-launch guilds to servers instead of letting them pick. Only right to applaud them for an idea I find legitimately beneficial to the genre.

  • The idea sounds interesting, it might even encourage a non-raider like myself to actually raid.

  • I am definitely optimistic about this as Keen is, but i have my reservations. For a couple reasons, i still want the game to be hard, and challenging even for the most hardcore of guilds. Also the loot containers means they’re gonna have to release content wicked fast, b/c the gear treadmill in WoW works because content takes awhile to attain, why the quality of raiding has diminished is because now and since WotLK attaining the gear requires no effort and you wind up clearing a raid and sitting fiddling your thumbs for months waiting for new content. One of the best things RIFT has done so far, is just bury people with so much content lol, as Blizzard did back in TBC, i have high hopes for a EA backed game to release patches frequently.

  • It’s still raiding which is an unnecessary form of loot distribution that I have always hated. It wasn’t a part of original Pen and Paper D&D and it wasn’t a part of 2/3 of the first MMO’s. I just don’t understand why everyone, player & developer do raids because they just don’t have to exist and in my opinion make MMO’s much less fun.

  • A good idea and I hope they implement it well.

    At least WAR drove WoW and other games to use better rewards for Questing i.e. you got choices which almost always included gear you could use. It’s time for Raids to give out loot too and not force gamers to repeat the endless treadmill and manage silly “DKP” systems when they should be celebrating kills and new gear.

  • I don’t understand why you’ve presented the news as a novelty, neiher the enthousiasm of others….WoW’s been like this for quite some time.

    Not that I defend any MMO or the other. I unsuscribed from my last one last year and actually playing LoL.

  • Great news for casual/lower end players and casual/lower end guilds, terrible news for anyone/any guild that takes raiding seriously.

  • @Carl: I think you’re mistaken. WoW is not like this in any way. You may be mistaking the loot bag for random dungeons, which is not the same.

    @Eee: Do hardcore raiding guilds not enjoy getting loot, or do you mean the idea that SWTOR might not be hardcore?

  • There is a huge issue with loot allocation when raiding at a competitive (World/Region/Server First) level.

    When we, as a raid, cannot allocate a BiS item to our Main Tank, and a trial dps Warrior gets it instead, it’s a problem. When a healer gets the same item 3 times and another gets none, it’s a problem.

    Since the RNG still exists at the point of the game distributing the loot bags, there is a not-insignificant risk that this will lead to gear going to the wrong people, others not getting what they need, and top items being left to rot.

    In an environment such as the one I described in the beginning, this is really bad news. Tokens/Badges do not nullify this in any meaningful way.

    Many of us are hoping TOR will be competitive when it comes to both PVE and PVP, this is the kind of thing that flies in the face of that, it’s not a dealbreaker yet, but it shows a mentality from the BioWare team that is worrying to say the least.

  • Everyone gets a bag, technically everyone gets geared equally. An issue I think that may come up is getting the same reward in the bag over and over, but hopefully they’ve thought ahead enough to not let that happen or to allow the player to choose badges over the item in the bag.

    As for the “RNG distributing loot bags”, EVERYONE gets a bag. Not a few, not the best participators, but EVERYONE. If your bag doesn’t have an item, you get tokens. In WAR they were handed out to only a few people. WAR’s system sucked. To work, the system needs to reward all and this one says it will.

    The only way that ends up being a true concern is that it doesn’t let the Server-Firsters set themselves apart as quickly. I have to be honest, though, and say I could give a damn about those few hundred people in the grand scheme of things.

    Perhaps the hardcore raiders need to look elsewhere for a game. I wouldn’t have a problem with that, and I think Bioware won’t either. I can respect that you enjoy playing hardcore raider, but I think you’re looking in the wrong place if you’re looking at SWTOR. My own personal distaste for the hardcore life I left behind aside, Bioware is showing quite clearly they are going for a more straight forward approach. Mass Effect 2 streamlined the first, Dragon Age 2 the same. The writing is on the wall.

  • @ Keen

    With respect to the loot distribution scheme, I honestly don’t see how it is substantively any different from WoW.

    In WoW, there is a chance you will get loot when you kill a boss and everyone gets justice points, which can be used to purchase better gear.

    In SWTOR, there is a chance you will get loot when you kill a boss, but if you don’t, you’ll get a token, which can be used to purchase better gear.

    What am I missing? If anything, WoW is better since you ALWAYS get justice points, whether you get loot or not and in SWTOR you only get tokens if you DON’T get loot.

  • @Balthazar: You always get an item you can use or you get badges. Seems like it’s 33% better than WoW where you can actually raid and never get anything but points for a month. Everyone gears faster. Everyone is rewarded more. Keep in mind that you can’t buy everything with those points in WoW, either. you can buy a select few things. Dungeons drop entirely different loot, often WAY better. In fact, most of my “best in slot” stuff in WoW comes from dungeon drops and NOT what the points buy. The tokens in SWTOR will buy the same loot the bags can drop.

    Is it a revolutionary new system? Absolutely not.

  • @Keen: Aye well I sort of expected you to say that, most people have that irrational negative attitude towards us, it’s still disappointing every time though.

    You shouldn’t underestimate how that kind of competition matters to those who aren’t even actively involved in it themselves however, and neither should BioWare if their wish is to compete with the behemoth.

    Ignoring it and making things like the gear track insignificant would be to their peril in my eyes.

  • @Eee: No disrespect meant to the way in which you choose to play. Hardcore raiding was exhilarating for me once before. Server first all of vanilla WoW content, opened gates, etc. It’s just not for me anymore.

    As for how much hardcore raiding matters to casuals, I don’t see it as a big deal in the long run. It should be apparent that, if nothing else, the hardcore nature is on the way out. It’s even being taken out of console games, and those games are breaking sales records for new copies, DLC, and pre-orders for the next.

    You should check out what “hardcore” meant in UO, DAOC, SWG, and games without gear treadmills. You might be surprised what you learn.

  • Id much prefer they do away with raid loot all together. The reward should be aesthetic only or do like the old school games do and create soem form of alternate advancement at character cap and having raids reward the highest form ‘experience’ toward that alternate advancement.

    Asherons Call does it this way and it works wonders. The other thing that AC does for endgame content “raids” so to speak is to reward the player with items that can be used to upgrade found items, such as poweful infusions that can enchant a weapon with a slayer effect, or housign items, or some other sort reward that every single person completing gets.

  • I like these so called loot containers but I wonder if they will run into other issues down the road.

    If I get a loot container everytime…I would think that I get geared up a lot quicker. Once I am geared up – why would I go on the same raid again…it means that they need to have new content available for me not to get bored. Seems like a danger because they need to provide this new content at a faster pace than games like WOW do. Considering the “high quality” production (cutscenes etc.) of raid content – will they be able to keep up.

    If they cant keep up then there better be something else for players (raiders) to do…

  • Would save a lot of time after a boss kill if we don´t need to spend 5-10 minutes dividing up the loot using dkp systems.

  • As much as it pains some people to admit it, Bioware does seem to know what they’re doing, and the game is shaping up to be a good MMO. Of course it won’t be appealing to everyone but things like this really make me even more eager to play it.

  • I think some people are still missing the point that even if say “Main Tank A” find his container holds an item that’s not an upgrade while “Triallist XYZ” finds a great item (usually if you start with nothing everything is an upgrade) THIS system means more loot for more people on every raid and thus the team’s overall gear quality improves every time (until they have exhausted that Raid’s pool).

    I used to MT for a pretty hardcore WoW guild and had the pick of the tank gear but I would still welcome a system where EVERYONE gets something.

    If the Raids are balanced around this, rather than Tank loot being essentially more valuable than DPS loot, then literally everyone is a winner.

    This is the first good news I’ve heard about TOR for ages.

  • Bioware has said that part of the “end game” will be rolling new characters.. They have that legacy system where you get rewarded wtb new races and other things by leveling Alts.. A way to get everyone to enjoy the 8 stories.

    Also there is more end game then just that operation.. Bioware has said there will be a whole planet dedicated to solo one man end game. Not sure how that will work though.

    Also there’s a whole plane just for world pvp, again nobody knows how that will work either or if anyone will use it over battlegrounds.

  • I wonder if the loot bags will be similar to DDO where you’ve got like a dozen options to choose from, or you simply take the tokens if you don’t want any of that stuff.

    I hope so.

  • If I ever play SW:ToR, I certainly won’t be going into any raids, but I do give Bioware props for this choice. It’s good systems design and reflects well on their decision making process.

    Not much else to say, really, since I don’t plan to play the game, but given the endless trickle of horrible news coming out of the AAA arm of the games industry, I just wanted to be positive and give Bioware some deserved props for once. 🙂

  • @Keen Wow, i’mr eally sad to see you mention that console games no longer have hardcore elements in them and that’s a good thing. Because frankly that’s what has killed teh console market in this generation. Do you not remember the amount of time that went into Final fantasy 7, or zelda ocarina of time? Mario 64? Those were video games if you can even think that games now because they removed the tremendous dedication required are “better” than you’re sadly mistaken. Hardcore raiding is not as small of a niche as you might think, why do you think RIFT has attracted over half a million customers? It’s almost a carbon copy of WoW, but it offers what TBC did, probably the biggest attraction to it, as far as i’m concerned i’m fine with having normal mode raids for casuals like you seem to be now, as long as the hard modes are catered to hardcores. They have mentioned btw that people saying the game will be “too easy” are far from correct, if anything it’s the opposite, and too hard currently.

  • @Joe: Not unilaterally a good thing. I haven’t played Dragon Age 2 but Graev did not like it at all because of its dumbing down. I meant for the console comment to represent where Bioware is at, not where I’m at. I liked a lot about Mass Effect 1 that they dumbed down for ME2. What I am saying is that THEMEPARK MMO’s need to be less about the “hardcore raider” / 1% of the players see the content and more about letting everyone have equal fun. I’ll be writing my thoughts on the idea in general later today.

  • I hope that every single piece of loot each has an individual chances of being in each bag, and when you get each piece, either through buying it with tokens or finding it in the bag, you can no longer get it from the bag.

    That would mean that early on you would be more likely to find a new upgrade you could use in the bag and tokens would not be coming in fast enough to matter too much, but as you keep upgrading, the chance of getting that one final piece by itself goes down, but you have obtained so many tokens from doing it already that you can easily just finish it off by buying the one piece you werent lucky to get with the tokens.

    Sounds good to me.

  • @Keen: Letting everyone have everything for free on a silver platter does not make for a good game, you are underestimating the playerbase of Theme Park MMO’s if you truly believe that the majority would be happy with the way you describe it.

    The challenge is the game, the time consumption is the game, the progression track is the game, the loot treadmill is the game, whatever stigma you attach to it, it still holds true.

    Games have implemented so many ways for casuals to progress and have a multitude of short-term things to do, if you keep pushing it then you end up losing sight of what makes doing anything important.

    If all people wanted was the ability to get everything easier, sooner and mindlessly, they’d go play an RPG and use console codes to give themselves all the best gear.

    It’s the journey not the destination, would you really be happy with killing the biggest baddest boss in the lore/game without having put any real effort into getting there?

  • @Eee: Doesn’t have to be for free or given away. The game can be challenging AND fun. The game can be challenging AND give everyone who beats the boss some loot.

    Honestly, I think we just disagree. The challenge and the time consumption are not what makes “the game” for me.

    Progression is great, but you can have progression without a gear treadmill. The journey is definitely more rewarding than the destination. I don’t consider a gear grind any form of journey, though.

  • @Keen i’m not so much caught up in the gear treadmill either, and i dont think time consumption makes the game either, but i definitely think the challenge does. Having to modify and brainstorm slight alterations to a pre conceived strat to meet our group’s comfort, or mock up is really exciting to me, and finally downing something that took so much effort is such a rewarding feeling, WoW lost alot of it’s luster with this, because downing bosses no longer felt rewarding b/c they may as well put a vendor in the center of each raid instance and said “Here buy stuff for free” because that’s how challenging the content was. But like i said, i have no problem letting the majority of the game’s community see content, i just think there should be possible hard mode such options and casuals shouldn’t be able to reach this, and possibly a hardmode only boss or 2.

  • @Keen: I guess we do disagree and we’ll leave it at that, but I’d just ask you to remember that loot craving is a fundamental aspect of RPG’s and has been ever since their inception, if you think about any you have played (single player or otherwise) in the last couple of decades, then you’ll see I’m right about that.

    I don’t see how players are not able to see all content right now though, WoW (and presumably TOR) completely eliminated any blocked off content by doing 10 & 20 Man Normal & Heroic versions of every raid dungeon. I personally think that defeats some of the point, but I’ve learned to live with it, why do we have to go further?

    If casual players don’t care about loot and gear, why do they feel the need to have the best of everything? Why is being one step behind a problem for them? I never understood why they weren’t happy with how it is now, there is no need for further degredation of the content.

    Time consumption is important, a game cannot be challenging and not time consuming within the boundaries of an RPG design. The only way to do that would be to make gear insignificant and every boss a tank & spank 1shot, besides, the longer it takes to do something, the bigger the emotional, mental and tangential payoff at the end. It’s an unpopular sentiment, but there is no doubt in my mind that if you walked into a new raid instance and cleared it in 1hr, however challenging it was, you would feel unfulfilled.

  • @Eee: What keen is trying to say is that the loot is easier to get from killing boss’s. He has yet to say that killing said boss’s and finishing the raid will be easy. You never know, they top raids might be classic WoW hard. We have yet to see anything as of yet. I get what your saying about progression happening too quickly which makes your sense of fulfillment less. Hopefully that will not happen and they give us raids with “Heroic Versions”.

    My guess of what they said in posts so far. There will be one raid when the game releases. You can go straight into that raid with your story gear on. That DOESN’T mean the heroic version of the raid will be able to be done with story gear and you will need to complete the normal version to get start the heroic version. Never know, maybe the VERY hardcore guilds who are able to Min/Max their raids will be able do finish heroic versions with their story gear. There would have to be a hell of a lot of coordination to be able to do so.

    Also I have yet to read that 10 and 20 man gear will be the same (might have been released but I have yet to see it). There might be a big difficulty increase when you get into the bigger raid. (As of yet in WoW, i find the 25 mans are MUCH easier then 10 mans for the fact if 1 person fucks up it doesn’t wipe the raid).

    TLDR: Doing raids in story gear doesn’t mean you’re doing it in heroic version.

  • @ Eee:

    I’m truly sympathetic to your position, since I also normally find myself on the “make it more challenging, stop dumbing it down” side of arguments. But I also think there are some problems with your position from the “big picture” perspective.

    Based on the latest two WoW expansions, I’d surmised that the majority of players actually *do* prefer the WotLK era easymode paradigm. All I’ve heard after Cata’s “return” to difficult content has been griping and dropping sub numbers. Yes, there are other factors contributing to WoW’s decline, but I can’t think of any historical example which indicates that casual players are OK with more exclusive, hardcore content. I agree that it’s a shame to see the hardcore gamer culture fade away (on console, PC, wherever), but it was really inevitable as games became mainstream.

    Similarly, casual players *do* care about the loot, but it means something different to them. They just want the shiny toy – they don’t really care as much about the feeling of triumph that comes from spending months pursuing them. This can be seen in every human pursuit, from martial arts (where now people just want the belts ASAP, rather than the sense of accomplishment from years of training) to dental whitening and scammy new car loans.

    Lastly, I think it’s a totally specious argument to say that an RPG can’t be challenging without being time consuming. Look to Guildwars (especially the PvP) for an example of a game that is challenging through complexity and constant, engaging decision making. I would also point to roguelikes as examples of RPGs that are more about careful choice and tactical play (and luck) than they are about grinding (since the opportunity to grind is limited by the number of monsters on a floor).

    What I do agree on is that the modern MMO business model relies on things being time consuming *instead* of truly skill-challenging, because that’s the surest way to make the content accessible to the most people. Some players are just so terrible they will never understand their character and how to play it through really hard encounters – but if all they need is to sink more time in, then even that person can feel like they’re progressing and will keep playing (and paying).

  • While it’s true that in an ideal world people raid for story and the satisfaction of completing content with their friends, the reality is most players do it for the gear. Give them the gear quicker and you expire the raid quicker. I’m not opposed to having a loot system like this — and actually find it better than a RNG — but they need to have the endgame content to support it, or people will get bored and leave. Right now it doesn’t look like they have that.

    Story only goes so far in a genre supported by loot-lust (again, in an ideal world this isn’t the case, but this is where we’re at) and is only good for the first play-through anyways. Let’s hope they can add content quicker than games like WoW and LotRO. Given the extensive amount of detail content additions will require, we’ll look at a quarterly patch at best. Rushing people to the end isn’t ideal in that situation. Looks like an interesting game, but that philosophy only increases the likelihood that the game will be a tourist stop.

  • I think this is a fantastic idea. Bioware is doing the right thing by making decisions and designing the game that works best for the majority, and not for the minority. Developers really need to stop making design decisions that only work for the Hardcore raiders and the competitive raiders. I know hardcore/competitive raiders say otherwise, but the truth is majority of the players really don’t care about them or pay any attention to them, so the hardcore/competitive raiders do not carry a game and make it successful, so don’t make decisions based on what they want, cause if you do you are alienating the majority and just making the game not fun. Good job Bioware, thank you for making the right decisions. Hardcore/Competitive raiders can go somewhere else for their play style.

  • I think this is a fantastic system, and one that Blizzard should strongly consider implementing. They already do, to an extent, with the holiday bosses. They could even make it so that rare mounts and such also have a small chance of being looted from the containers/bags. It greatly reduces loot drama, and rewards everyone that participates, instead of the privileged few. And if you get really unlucky with container loot, then you still have a ton of badges to work towards getting your gear anyway. You put in just as much time and effort as the others in your raid, but sometimes RNG just isn’t on your side (either your gear just won’t drop, or your rolls suck). Everyone else is getting all the drops they need, but you’re stuck, and you fall behind.

  • Hey all, I think its a great idea but I’m worried how they will keep up with content. In WoW, I kept doin the same raid over and over for a certain piece of gear and to help guildies. I played EQ for 6 years… imo it took hardcore to a whole new lvl and thats why it lived for so long and was so loved by the ppl that played it. There are good points on both ends but gear keeps a game goin imo…

  • what i like about this setup is, i don’t see any chance that a rude punk, will kick you from raid because the unofficial add-on says in it’s severely outdated version your dps is not as good. what i like about this is, a player can use real skill and that ‘fashion show’ bigotry isn’t required to actually play the game. i find it fun, refreshing and also close to being enjoyable. only problem now is dealing with the mouthy ex-wow-a-philes that think that we want to pay for their juvenile abuse. see, this isn’t a rant, this is the experience of a mid 40’s avid gamer. what i find the most beneficial of biowares innovations so far in this game is how many ‘opportunities’ that players would use to uphold a bias or just blatantly treat others like crud are not there. a perfect example is the warzones. which is all levels , save 50. the system they have now is just really good. really really good. limited ability to see what the other player has for instance is also a step in the right direction. what i find funny is how , the only people i see that are truly against most of biowares application are disgruntled wow players who do not have a valid reason to turn the gen chat into a barrens-que fest. which, ultimately remains the one single disgusting problem in wow. but.. heck shut off the gen chat, limit my game experience so the rude little 20ish year old kids can play so i can chase a childhood dream. even exchange? not really since i agreed to the same terms they did, but definitely this system for raids (as it were) has eliminated cause for it save for the constant needy non class stuff i see. but it is a joke. bop just makes it vendor trash.i wish mostly that bioware doesn’t fall into this apathy that i witnessed wow go into. it is a great game based on a story that spans generations, i hope bioware maintains the atmosphere and geniality we expect.

  • If you want hardcore hard mode, I say go play EQ when the 45 person raids for 1 single loot drop and the boss only spawns once a week