Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No Ninja's Need Apply

Recently my guild had been dealing with a serious drop in attendance due in part to the delay of the Burning Crusade expansion. Some people took a break, some just decided to quit, and others like me are just doing a lot of overtime at work. Having only thirty people show up for our raids was starting to hurt our Rag and BWL attempts so the guild finally decided to start heavily recruiting. Which leads us to our last run where we only had Domo and Ragnaros left to clear. Those of you who are experienced in the ways of WoW already know where this story is going. Basically one of our recruits managed to use feign death to ensure his survival in the Domo fight right at the place where the chest spawns. The quick fingered thief then popped right up when Domo went down and grabbed the chest contents.

Our ventrilo channel lighted up like the National Lampoon Christmas tree since one of the rare +46 healing bands was in there. Most of the other gear was substandard for us so outrage was a bit lower then it would have been say two months ago. Still most people were shocked to learn that there is no penalty for ninja looting an item in a raid. A lot of our newer members thought surely a warning or temporary banning would result. But in the end the only thing the guild could do was post about the ninja in the forums. However, the thief delighted in informing general chat in Ironforge that he was soon transferring servers and that his name would be changed also in the process.

For as many steps Blizzard took to prevent ninja looting in the game it still occasionally makes itself known. The need/greed rolling system helps prevent a lot of group looting hijinks but still leaves room for some manipulation. A group leader could switch to master looter right before a boss or a person could simply roll need on armor and weapons they can't use. Especially sneaky ninja looters will often wait for everyone else to select greed roll before they choose need. However, when you have a situation like a chest then it doesn't matter what the loot settings are since the first person to open it can loot all the items. I guess Blizzard thought a MC raid would know each other well enough that ninja looting wouldn't be a problem.

A lot of other games had much worse systems for managing ninja looting. Early Everquest simply allowed the person or group who dealt the most damage to loot items from the mob. Thus often when a rare mob would spawn several people would start wailing away each hoping they could out damage the other and gain the xp and loot. Other games like City of Heroes simply decided to do away with the idea of having equipment for players. Still others made it so the game always divides items based on some sort of system like round-robin.

All these systems were invented in part because digital property is not protected under any sort of real law. In a MMORPG the only laws are those that control how a player interacts with the game. The EULA for most games try to set additional laws that are really only enforceable by direct GM intervention. And to be honest GM intervention becomes unrealistic when the player population is so much higher then the GM population. The current GM to player ratio for World of Warcraft has to be somewhat like having one police officer for all of New York City. So when you think about it the only real way to enforce digital laws is to program them into the game.

Short Summary: I'm pissed that someone stole from our guild but I am more pissed at Blizzard for not putting chests and vaults into the loot rolling system.

Note: A song a dwarven rogue was spamming in IF one day, yes he did have the devout set.

I am a little ninja, short and stout,
I'll steal your gear and hearth on out.
Everyone on teamspeak will curse and shout,
Cause I am the rogue in full devout.


Anonymous said...

Never did understand why Blizz didn't change Domo's loot system but there are no more boss loots like this in the game.

Relmstein said...

True but regular tresure chests still spawn in 5 man dungeons which are also not on a roll system. I wonder honestly how hard it would be to add in the ability that green or higher items in chests should be rolled on if group loot is selected.

Wolfgangdoom said...

I've seen the master loot switch in person and we handled that scenario perfectly. Right when the group leader changed to master loot, I pst'd the other members in our group to see if they noticed the change. They saw the change and followed my example when I stopped fighting and sat down to welcome death. We wiped, and refused to continue until the Master Looter changed me to leader; then we all rolled need just to spite him.

It's a rough world out there and people are sneaky. It would be nice if there was a foolproof way to assure loot distribution but realistically, I don't think it can be done.

I wish there was a player reputation system in WOW so I could post feedback on these shady ninjas.

Relmstein said...

Yeah instead of a reputation system WoW effectively implemented the opposite by allowing server transfers.