Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

LU 43 is out on Test, and a couple of things caught my eye:

Group Looting Method Changes

  • Need before greed: Players are given the option to select "need", "greed", or "decline" for each item in a chest. The item will be assigned to a random player who chooses "need". If no players choose "need", it will be randomly assigned to a player who chooses "greed".
  • Round-Robin: Items will be assigned to players automatically in round-robin fashion.
Group Looting Item Rarity Option
  • You can now specify an item rarity level in your group options, such as Treasured, Legendary, Fabled or All Items.
  • Items of the specified rarity and above will be awarded to group members according to the specified looting method (Lotto, Need before greed, etc)
  • All items below the specified rarity will be assigned automatically via round-robin.
  • This applies to No-Trade items as well, so if you prefer to not have any items assigned automatically, select "All Items" and every item will be awarded according to the selected loot method.
This is welcome. Have you ever had the following experience? You're in an instance, and a set piece drops. It isn't that great compared to what you have, and you're trying to figure out if you want it or not. Somebody else, says 'ffa' and when you finally say you want it, and click "select" the item goes to someone who responded to the call of "ffa". Ugh.

OR, you get tired of waiting on an item that you could sell or sacrifice, and decline, only to have the person in group that could use it say "FFA" after you've clicked through. Annoying, but they're your friends, so you shut up.

What this new feature will give us is a "Need" button, a "Greed" button, and a "That junk isn't worthy of my precious inventory space" button, also known as a "Decline" button. World of Warcraft has long had this form of loot distribution, and it works really well. I don't mind at all that they seem to have borrowed it wholesale. If you wouldn't mind having something just for the money, click greed. If and when someone clicks "Need" they will get it, or roll off versus anyone else who clicked "Need".

Yes, this is still open to certain types of abuse, namely those sorts who will click "Need" on everything. But that soon becomes obvious. But I think this will speed things up enormously.

There's another change that's related. Harvesting of shinys will be changing too:


  • Harvestable Shiny objects ("?") will now act like treasure chests.
The beautiful part about this is that it allows groups to random on them quickly and efficiently. Often with a group of friends, we try to figure out who needs some shiny, and hand it off. This change, along with the above change, will make this work very smoothly.

There's one downside of the Shiny harvesting that worries me, though. Now, you will be able to look at a shiny and decide whether to pick it up or not. The obvious thing is that you leave stuff you already have, and pick up the stuff you don't have. The more advanced version of this is that you learn what the rares are, and pick them up even if you have them.

Without extra care, what this will do is leave lots of non-rares about, and no rares. We see this effect in old-game nodes. When a node that is harvested is replenished with a randomly selected node, then soon all the desirable nodes are gone, and the Thundering Steppes landscape is littered with the least desirable nodes. Like bushes. Or herb nodes, remember them?

In Desert of Flames, this problem was solved by regionalizing node types. In the crocodile caves in Sinking Sands, you would get only two node types, ore and stone. When a node is harvested there, another node of one of those types respawns, in the crocodile caves. So the spawn rate of these two node types is still controlled, but the relative desirability of various nodes ceases to be a factor.

I don't think this works for shinys. They might have to do something a little more complicated, such as tracking the spawn rate of the rares, and jiggering the chance of spawning a new rare based on what's currently spawned in the zone. It's all managed server side, anyway.

In any case, these changes will make the gameplay experience much nicer 90 percent of the time. Even if they did copy it from WoW.


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