Friday, August 12, 2011

PUG Loot Solution

One of the biggest frustrations I have faced in the last month has been the Random Dungeon Finder. 

I took the last month off from the AH to work on my alts. I rolled an Orc Mage and leveled her to 85. I have been working on my main server alts, gearing them, running dungeons. Then I focused on my Druid (now 85) and my Shaman (also 85 now).

We all know the RDF system is fucked up. Blizzard knows it too, bribing tanks to get them to run more randoms. The Satchel of Medoicre Goods is not enough to help this situation a lot. Bottom line: tanks get insta-queue, healers (like my Shaman) get fairly good times, and DPS get screwed. 

Even though I began to see demonstrably longer queue times the closer my mage got to 85, suddenly at 85 *ZOMG* queue times went down to sub 10 minutes. 

I thought this improvement was super. 

Then the other shoe fell. 

Tanks queue for a certain piece of loot from a given boss. When they get to that boss they drop group whether they happily loot that Tanking Trinket of Superior Awesomeness or not.

What to do?

You are a DPS (or even healer) looking for a group. You patiently wait for up to 45 minutes to find a group, running dailies or working on your AH auctions. When that dungeon pops, you are like "Yea! Let's rock". Then one boss in, the tank drops. Now the rest of the group waits another 15 minutes or more to fill that spot.

Heroics are the worst. Instead of every fourth dungeon or so, now we lose the tank about 1/3 of the time before the run is over.

Maybe this has always been a problem but I think it has gotten worse recently. Now that more players are familiar with addons (or even the new Dungeon Journal) to see what loot drops in each instance the players who need a certain drop to fill out their gear will just drop group when that boss goes by and the desired item remains elusive.

The Solution

This is an easy fix. Whether Blizz has the balls to fix it remains to be seen.

Don't award any loot until after the last boss is defeated. Put it all in a big chest and when the final boss goes down the players click on the chest and get to roll on all the accumulated drops. 

In this system players would be able to earn experience and even rep for partial runs. Even the gold drops would be immediate. However, all the greens, blues and purples would accumulate to the end. 

Say the run is over, you just nuked High Priestess Azil in Stonecore on Heroic. 

A window pops up that all players can see, showing all the items that have accumulated in the chest for that run. There is a scroll bar on the right side where you could arrow up or down. Mouse over the item icon for stats just like now. Beside each item name is a roll need, roll greed, disenchant (if applicable) and pass option. Players would then select the radial button for each item in the list, hit "submit" at the bottom of the screen and then wait for everyone to complete his selections.

The actual rolling would happen based on the selected choice for each player, results appear in the chat window and items you win appear in your bags. 


This system would create a few (manageable) objections.

  1. Incomplete run, player dropped group before the run finished. Whether due to PC error, wife aggro or some other unforseen circumstance there are sometimes valid reasons why someone drops out of a PUG before the run is over. It would be easy for the dungeon loot system to note which players were present for the defeat of which boss. When the run is finished the loot system would roll greed for anyone who was present for a boss fight but dropped group prior to the end of the dungeon. We have all gotten those messages from Blizz before with some item "out of the twisting nether". This would be no different.
  2. The "this is unfair--Blizz is making us finish the run" objection. Really? Do I even need to provide an answer to this? Yes, Blizz is making all players finish the run to see what loot the bosses dropped. This is the fairest way to ensure all players have an opportunity to finish the instance in a timely fashion.
  3. The "I don't have time for a complete run, I just want to see loot from the first boss objection". Too fucking bad. Then queue when you have time to run the whole thing asshole.
  4. The "this will make queue times longer because tanks will be less likely to run RDF if they know they have to finish the whole thing" objection. I would rather wait an extra 5 or 10 minutes upfront if I knew there would be a complete run coming. I don't consider this a valid objection because it is invalid to suggest that it is ok for tanks to run a partial dungeon. The expectation should be to finish it all. Period.
I have floated this idea in PUGs recently. Not a single player has said they think it is a bad idea. Granted, that's a small sample size. Ask your guildies and other players in PUGs what they think. Post a suggestion on MMO or the Blizz forums.

I would love to see this idea become reality.


  1. Will never happen because this doesn't tailor to casual players like Blizz has been shifting focus towards.

    Here's a thought. If no loot is awarded to the end, you think that will make people stay for the whole run? Nope.

    It will just make people not run the dungeon at all, so the wait times will increase worse than ever.

  2. @ Cold: nice to see you slummin' man. Lol, seriously, always nice to hear from one of the heavy hitters.

    I think if you give it a chance this system might really work.

    Each of the reasons you give above are actually reasons why it WOULD be a good system, and thus why it SHOULD be used.

    If Blizz actually is tailoring content and play to the casual player then not only will these casuals be less inclined to complain about a loot system changing than will the "old timers", but also the casuals will find a greater likelihood of completing a PUG as a result, a worthy changed indeed.

    If the trade off between reducing the number of tanks who drop mid-dungeon is that there is a longer wait upfront then I for one would accept that. Many other players would too I believe.

    Most of all, if the folks in your scenario who stop running dungeons are the tanks who are abusing the current system then I say huzzah! Let them eat cake. Ish.

    We all know there is a problem with the RDF system. Blizz knows it too. IMO there are many problems, one of which is that tanks drop after a certain boss fight given their gear needs. To solve the RDF issue Blizz must solve many different issues. This is just one of them.

  3. Oddly enough, this has never been an issue for me. Most people seem to be geared beyond the drops from heroics, and are doing it for the JP and/or VP. The one exception seems to be Stonecore, where twice, 2 or 3 out of the group leave after the dragon, hoping for a mount I guess.