Need vs. Greed

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Need vs. Greed
Mind if I roll need?

You’re in a dungeon group camping the epic sash of awesomeness. This sash is one of the best you can get for your melee abilities. You realize you are the only melee DPS in the group, and the only one who can use the sash. It drops! YES! But wait… why is everyone rolling ‘need’ on the epic sash of awesomeness? You ask, “Hey, why are you all rolling need?,” to which they respond, “I need money bro.”

Need vs. Greed is one of those glorious debates that sorta fizzled out over the years. I don’t know whether it’s because loot has become so individualized, or everyone just rolls need on everything because they no longer care. I for one have an opinion.

Only those present who can use the item as an upgrade are entitled to a chance at obtaining the item. I believe that the warrior filling the warrior role should get the warrior drops, and a wizard filling the wizard role should get the wizard drops. No, it doesn’t matter if you have a warrior alt! I don’t group to feed your alts. Greed rolls, or FFA rolls, are for items that no one can use as a direct upgrade.

There’s a school of thought out there which supports the ridiculous idea that any item is up for grabs by anyone if that item can provide any use — whether that use be liquidating it for cash or being used by an alt. These brilliant people seem to completely ignore the ‘greed’ side and lump everything into a need.

Some games have a built-in system to protect players. Warrior items can only be rolled on by warriors, etc. Some systems are more loose where you can roll if you can pass the check of simply being able to equip the item. While better than nothing, you’ll still lose items to the guy who wants to fund his other melee character when that awesome melee gear drops that he already owns.

Advanced Loot Window
EverQuest’s Advanced Loot Window

Some games do not have any of these systems at all. EverQuest is a prime example, and the source for my recent thoughts on the subject. I know that the advanced looting system was added and will be present on the progression server. This introduces a rolling system like WoW has/had where players can roll need and greed, etc. I fear this system may induce idiot loot

How to protect yourself against idiot looters:

  • Start your own groups and use master-looter
  • Decide on the rules upfront when forming a group
  • Know the rules of the group you’re joining before you join

As I alluded to before, this debate over the years has given rise to the clamoring for individualized loot. Such an idea isn’t completely out of the question for me, as I have often championed this very thing be present in all raid environments. However, something about forming a group to go into a dungeon and camp an item makes it more real if that item has a tangible presence for everyone. I think it all boils down to the world feeling connected and shared between everyone, and no part of the game being instanced — even the loot.

I welcome your thoughts.

  • Back in my EQ grouping days I usually refused to roll “Need” at all. I preferred to go without rather than claim I “Needed” anything in a video game. So long as it was a fun session, who cares who gets what? When I ran groups, which I did quite often for a while, all rolls were open. Why should I care why you want something? I’m not your mother. I’m not going to tell you what you need. If people were more hung up on what dropped rather than how much fun we were having then best they find a group that thinks the same way they do.

    The main reason I never took to raiding was that when I finished my first raid, which I quite enjoyed, I found we were all expected to stand around and roll or pass on every item the Master Looter had in his bags. Personally I preferred to go to bed. I said as much and discovered that apparently NOT being interested in getting your share of Raid Loot is unacceptable behavior. I refused to stay for any rolls, went to bed, never raided formally again and have never regretted it.

  • I hate gear progression. Leveling is much more fun. I would prefer a game that allows you to just keep leveling and putting points into things. I think like EQ’s AA system but expanded like 100x. Then gear would just be cosmetic pieces or have bonuses low enough that it really doesn’t matter if you have the +4 sword or the +5 sword.

    In D&D most of your power is innate in your character. You can get by with mediocre weapons and armor that you are proficient in and still do amazing things. If you have a +4 sword that’s pretty good. You can still kill stuff just fine if you never find the +5 sword.

    In MMO’s your base character is usually much weaker by comparison. Sure you have all those abilities but they are nothing without constantly upgrading equipment. You’re expected to upgrade your +7000 dmg sword with one that has +9000 dmg. Later the sword that has +13000 dmg will drop and if you don’t get it you’ll fall behind.

    I just wish we could get away from the gear grinds. How did it become “the way” to build an MMO around?

  • I think Diablo 3 has really done the best job of sorting out loot between players that I’ve ever seen. And it basically accomplishes that by each player getting their own drops, that aren’t visible to anyone else in the group. If you are so inclined you can share the drops you don’t want/need with the other people in the game. I’m not real keen on the account binding of everything but it seems to work out alright. Drops have an 85% chance to be for your class which means you still get drops for other classes. The fastest way to get gear for a twink is to play as your strongest character and group with 3 players of the class you want to twink.

  • I’m assuming we’re talking about PUGs here and not groups of friends, because in the latter of course it’s going to work that way.

    I like your take assuming the game has random item drops, or at least a wide variety, and item binding.

    I don’t like it in a game like classic EQ with static item drops and no item binding. Why would a healer go to frenzy, a 30 mana ring? Who would tank magi? (again, assuming pug) People rolled because they could then trade the item for what they wanted. The economy in Everquest was fantastic specifically because everyone was “greedy” and never was shamed for it, it’s just how the game worked and it was awesome.

    Of course I was in plenty of guild and friend camps to get a specific person a drop, and those are ideal, but things aren’t always ideal.

  • we didn’t have this in early EQ which is what coined the term ninja looter. I seem to remember we would all have to type /random 1-100.

  • However I should point out that the huge need to group in the early days pretty much prevented anybody from being a ninja looter more than a few times. With the store selling xp I’m not sure you are dealing with the same situation.

  • @Baba black sheep: It happened to me only a minor handful of times in the classic EQ where I got a group and the leader of the group blatantly is like “I’m rolling on the x if it drops.” That usually meant I was either leaving the group or if I wasn’t there for what they were rolling on, and just wanting exp, I’d stay.

    It’s true what you say — grouping required a reputation, and a bad reputation meant you were screwed.

    @Jenks: 100% PUG talk here. PUGS are a big part of EQ, or were, for most people.