Random Loot Drops

I’m playing a lot of Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls lately.  The game has truly devolved (or evolved depending on how you look at it) to be all about running Bounties and Rifts to obtain random drops.  That’s really the entire game now, which actually brings it closer to what made Diablo 2 so great.

As boring as that sounds, my enjoyment has gone way up.  I’m putting hours into D3 now, and I feel this overwhelming urge to keep going. That next monster is going to drop my Mask of Jeram.  That next Bloodstone gamble is going to have my sword.  It’ s always that drive to see what drops next that keeps my going.  I am a slave to and worship the RNG.

Maybe there’s a powerful motivator here that can be applied to other games, or has already been applied in the past.  I look back to the days of EverQuest, and I remember camping the Cyclops of Ocean of Tears.  I remember Graev spent 2 days straight camping the Ancient Crocodile hoping that he would drop the pants.  I would camp the Efreeti Lord Djarn to try and get the Golden Efreeti Boots for days.

I like world drops.  I like random loot.  I think I find way more enjoyment obtaining loot in this fashion than I do from questing or earning points to buy things.  There are moments of pure rage when I get the same stinking random hat four times in a row, and still can’t get the one I want, but that’s part of the randomness to it all.   I’m a fan of open-world dungeons where people get into groups and simply fight monsters.  I like slaying monsters with friends in any medium.  Doing it known there’s a chance for a great item I need to drop — all the better.

Thoughts? I know much of today’s modern MMO and gaming scene will disagree.  Is there room for more RNG, more meaningful world drops, more camping, etc., in our games?  I think there’s something there worth investigating.

  • I can still remember how irritated I was when DAOC added Darkness Falls and for the first time ever I saw NPCs with unlimited stacks of Good Items on sale for Special Currency. You can gussie it up how you like but the moment you move from RNG to currency the whole process switches from playing to working. Or perhaps gambling to working. Either way it goes to working and that is not good.

  • I agree with the joy of the sudden surprise of getting something great as a loot drop.
    It makes you go all OOOOhhhh look at that.
    And if its really sweet you show it off to others and tell them where you got it.

    Like when diablo 2 was a day old and I found a legendary tarnhelm in the very beginning area just outside town from a radom mob with +1 to all skills.
    That was unheard of. OMG all my skills +1? What sorcery is this.
    Needless to say I was a very happy and proud necromancer!!

    Now MMORPG are differrent from a game like diablo.
    As long as crafters make better gear then the drops found I am all for it.
    If you can find better gear randomly or from bosses, then why bother crafting at all?

    Also the surprise of finding something superb is mostly gone these days.
    Guides everywhere that tell what mob or boss has this much % chance to drop a particular item.
    And even if you do not read into that some guildmate or friend will tell so.

    Give me the magic back…

  • Only as a bonus option. It’s a nice surprise to have when something awesome drops for you, but I hate having to rely on it as the -only- option to reach a level of baseline “good gear.”

    Speaking as someone chronically unlucky with RNG, it’s much less stressful to have something structured to fall back on – I only have to run this X more times and I can afford to buy this next piece, etc. It’s also another kind of motivator and way of looking forward to something, and it’s more guaranteed than RNG.

    RNG is mostly all about the addictive rush of slot machines anyway, and I’d rather not have my emotions manipulated in that manner. But sure, have it around as another option for folks who prefer that route or who get lucky, just not the only option or chronically unlucky people will get frustrated and quit.

  • I love random drops – I believe that any critter that you kill should have a tiny chance to drop something awesome…I don’t care if it is 1 in a million – people play the lottery for the same reason and if there is a chance that something could drop then it makes it exciting every single time you open a loot bag. Who cares if one guy gets some awesome sword without “raiding” or questing for a week…

    I also miss awesome loot from random rare spawns…where you may know the critter is in some area but he spawns randomly and you go hunt and try to track it down…(Asheron’s Call had some of these).

    It is another example of “extreme emotions”…you’ll be frustrated and sick of it if you cant find him or you cant get that specific item but it is totally epic if you do…obviously modern designers go the “unemotional” route…you know that you will get whatever if you do x, y, and z. You go through the motions…you may even have to spend a lot of time doing it…but you know you will get it. Chances of being frustrated are low – but chances are…you won’t be as excited either. Passionless gaming!

  • On one hand you say you love random loot, on the other hand you have fond memories camping a world boss for special loot.

    Those aren’t the same. Actually pure random loot is not good, people on average hate it. They love to talk where stuff drops, websites put databases online showing where stuff drops, even if its random within the encounter (which is fine) world randomness is NOT fine for games of this decade.

    Blizzard made so obvious mistakes showing they clearly forgot what made their previous games great – and on top forgot it was last century they were great.

  • Sure there’s room for it. It’s the same tactic employed all over Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno and everywhere else there are casinos. I work for one. You wouldn’t believe the amount of money people pump into slot machines. It is mind-blowing. RNG has a powerful effect on the human brain.

  • If this is going to work, the game world must be huge…I don’t mean big but HUGE. And there should be hundreds of places around for rare monsters and open dungeons..but even in that way the places will still be camped by hundreds of bots..so no

    I don’t know how it was back in EQ, how many players per server, how many bots, but I can’t see that model works now except for a very very niche product with very few players…also DIablo is a single player game.

  • I agree with bhagpuss about drops vs currency, that’s a total killjoy and it makes everything too linear. But I also don’t think too open a randomness is fun either – where pretty much anything can drop the thing you want. When the chance is so low for any specific item it spoils the anticipation, and it becomes a surprise. Certainly these systems shouldn’t be the only ones in place.

    The most fun, for me, is specific mob drops. Camping a mob for a specific item can be great fun if you know that it could drop the very thing you want every time you kill it – even if it takes you days or weeks, by putting the time in you know eventually it will drop. It keeps the hope alive.

    And if you expand it to crafting, it adds another dimension. On one hand you can you find a recipe which needs a rare mat which only drops from mob x, so you go and farm mob x and eventually get the item you wanted. On the other, you’re killing mob y and it drops a rare mat so you’re then drawn to find the recipe which requires it. For a simple loot table rule it can create a lot of fun and anticipation for the player.

  • Speaking of Skinner boxes and operant conditioning, a variable reward schedule is generally more compelling. So.. yay RNG I guess.

  • My most memorable loot drop from WoW was Deathbringer from Onyxia, mostly because after over 100 kills, we never saw it drop, and then the week after I got the axe from Nef, Onyxia finally dropped Deathbringer. I still spent the DKP on it out of principle, though I no longer needed it.

    Had WoW used the token system back then, I would have known exactly when I would have acquired that weapon, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable.

  • Had a blast over the weekend playing DIII:RoS with you two. It’s my favorite game in a long time. Haven’t been this addicted to a game in AGES.

    Oh and I got two upgrades last night. I now slice through TIII like butter.

  • @SynCaine: Exactly! I can even remember way back in Vanilla when the Krol blade was awesome. I got that to drop and suddenly my life changed.

    @Damage: I had fun too! 🙂 Greats on the drops! I need my Mask of Jeram then I’ll be able to do T3. That stinking helm is key to my entire build.

  • “…Onyxia finally dropped Deathbringer. I still spent the DKP on it out of principle, though I no longer needed it.”

    You must have been a popular guy with your guildies. 😛

  • I like the way EQ did it best: Named Mobs with Placeholders, and a loot table of odds. Not only is your loot random, so is the opportunity to kill the mob(s) that drop it.

    Collecting points is not fulfilling at all. It’s like going to work and collecting dollars, and that’s exactly what it feels like: Work.

  • @Gank – I was an officer and raid leader, what where the little people going to do? 🙂

    (At that point in our raiding progression Deathbringer was a weak item if I remember correctly, so it’s not like I out-bid people for a needed-for-progression drop.)

  • It needs a certain kind of brain to feel rewarded by randomness.

    Here’s my take.

    Yaaay, after 8 months of no T2 healing shoulders dropping from chromaggus, THEY FINALLY DROP. I can finally improve my healing by that 5-6 thanks to 8 piece.

    See, I don’t GET excited from random drops, what I think is “FINALLY”. For random to be rewarding, drops must occur often, there has to be many alternatives that are ALSO good AND in a case like diablo 3, the stats on the item you get must be on the higher end of the scale.

    the badge/token system I think is dull, and wish they’d just make ALL drops in the raid available, because ven if I get NOTHING, I can eventually buy that one crucial piece I need if my luck is extreme, like in that blackwing lair case. The only time TRUE randomness gives any excitement when it was a legendary that provided HUGE gains (thunderfury) and pretty much nothing else. And even then, that’s not a “world” drop.

  • I do not miss the days of EQ camping mobs for hours on end. Yeah, it felt great getting the item, but hey it also feels great when you’re *FINALLY* done with a boring job. If any game brought that back, I’d never even look in its direction.

    I’m more of a player that wants to be challenged. I want to be rewarded because I killed the optional boss on hardmode. Or because I soloed something that normally requires a group. Nearing my 30’s I really don’t have time for any b.s. like I did when I was 13 in EQ. Mob camping/reputation grinding/daily quests/raids with crap loot chances – No thanks. I spent the better part of my life ensuring that I don’t have to work a boring job. I’ll be damned before I pay someone to play one.

  • Oddly enough, despite my previous comment, my most memorable drop in WoW was the Warden Staff off a random mob in Azshara just as I was getting bored of my Hunter toon. For those who don’t know, it’s perfectly itemised, purely and exclusively for tanking druids and it inspired me to roll what was to be my main for years just so I could use it.

    This reminds me of a rather sad comment I saw from a Blizzard blue which, to paraphrase, said ‘a lot of Vanilla and BC gear was badly itemised so we changed it so it’s better’. What they really meant was a lot of gear had fun combinations of stats which were either useless but fitted the theme of the item, niche to a particular class, or required some degree of creativity to use effectively; whereas what they really want is A > B > C which everyone can understand and ‘progress’ with.

    I think its very important that (with loot, and all aspects of games) there are outliers, oddballs and niche items/mechanics/builds etc. As Gankatron said a while back and was quoted by Mark Jacobs (sorry for the paraphrase again) we need things to have a bit of epic chaos sometimes just to keep things fun.

  • It makes me wonder what it would be like if an MMO like WoW had solo and small group progression, like Diablo III has. Dungeons would have tiers and maybe individual bosses would also have tiers within the dungeon so it would get progressively more challenging. I think it would be a great alternative to raiding, especially for the rather large percentage of players who prefer to play by themselves, but in an MMO environment.

  • I would like the randomness of loot in D3 to be tightened up a bit. Something like Acts having specific loot tables. They already have this for cache only legendaries, why not do it for whole acts. Rifts would then determine their loot tables based on which act you open it from. Keep one of the acts as a conglomeration of all of the others, just like Act IV Caches are currently.

  • @Whorhay: I do agree, but there is some degree of that already. Torment is the only place to get certain sets, and as you mention the caches too. I do agree though.

  • I loved eq back in the day, but day/week long camping was one of the few things I disliked.
    Anyone who knows if knows o place large value on time, and whilst I don’t want easy, I also don’t want fully random progression.
    Random for some extra items is ok but not for major progression items. If I don’t make some progress then I won’t stay long, like in d3 after no progress in 3 days on ky monk I find it hard to log in, even on my side alts/hardcores

  • The best option is to combine RNG with token earning so that you can let go of the cheated feeling when the item you hope to get never drops, knowing that after 10 runs you are guaranteed a good item(even if it’s not the specific one you are hoping for)