I thought I'd deviate slightly from the WoW posts to talk about some MMO design. Specifically, I want to talk about loot.
What's your ideal MMORPG loot system?
Mine is pretty simple: Everything you do is rewarding.
That's pretty broad, but I want to talk about that for a second and then we can go into specific examples.
The ideal loot system never leaves me feeling like I just ran a dungeon or a raid and ended up with nothing to show for it. I don't want to do something for an hour, or maybe even 4 hours, and end that night frustrated that absolutely nothing dropped for me.
Whether it's an item, character progression, or some kind of reward, my ideal system gives everyone something.
That's one reason why I really like the 'personal loot' system. I think everyone should only compete with themselves and RNG for loot, never against others. I agree with Blizzard's new philosophy. I don't like master looter, I don't like need before greed, and I don't like free for all. I want personal loot/rewards.
I'm also a big fan of token systems. I loved how in Wrath of the Lich King I could run content and if an item didn't drop for me, I would get tokens. I could then take those tokens and save them up until I could buy a piece of loot -- the same loot that could have dropped outright, or something else.
I do not believe this system is exclusively for themepark MMOs. In fact, I think this could work for any MMO. If it's a sandbox we're talking about, there are plenty of ways this concept of 'everyone being rewarded' can be worked into the lore and feel of the world. Players who didn't get that rare sword could perhaps get some crafting materials and other baubles looted off a corpse than players could craft or an NPC could sell -- ideally it works even better in player-crafted economies.
Loot mechanics definitely fall into the quality of life mechanics for me, and I hope we continue to see MMOs designed to help players always feel like they are progressing, and never feeling frustrated by bad luck or player greed/control.