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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Useless Loot

Posted by MikeB Monday September 9 2013 at 2:52AM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Why waste time with useless loot?" by Vermillion_Raventhal:

"Shouldn't by now all loot be useful in someway to use at least for crafting? Why waste resources making loot that we can never use? Or is it just to help sell bag slots?"

Read on for some highlights from the thread!

Aines is fine with the "useless loot":

"I have always considering these items as gold. Basically instead of dropping gold, they drop these items that you can sell later. I would not want to change that. Maybe it is just me, but if everything that any mob dropped would be useful for something...meaning, all items would be useful for something, it would feel wrong. I want this junk in my inventory :P"

Morrok feels its there for immersion:

"As was also said above: immersion.
It doesn't make much sense that a rat carries gold pieces around, but it makes some sense that a NPC would be willing to pay for the rat's whiskers or tails, if only as a proof of extermination.
(Think of the skalping practice in the wild west, or the cutting off ears)

Same for a goblin (or other mobs):
Such a creature might carry some equipment that is crude to you, and perhaps have a different monetary/barter system (think salt or sea shells or stones that were used for currency in some parts of the world, but being totally useless to the conquistadores).
But the goblin's beads might be worth something for someone.

I mean, why did euopeans in the 19th century pay big money for mummies only to unwrap them at a party?
Think that the egyptian grave robber much cared WHY got his money instead that he simply cared THAT he got it?"

MMOman101 likely gets it right:

"Useless loot is the most realistic--not fun--but realistic.

If we assume that many of these bi-pod creatures are less advanced then we should assume that their weapons are less advanced.  A monster that is not very smart may have  a make shift blunt or sharp item that would be useless for many adventures. 

Most of the monsters that are killed in MMOs have very little society or trade.  We should assume that their weapons. armor, and equipment would be of lower quality. 

If we are talking just pure game mechanics, I can still see a reason for "useless" loot. 

1) It makes carrying space have some value.  It furthers the need for larger bags and more of them.  This in turn creates an avenue for one of the few crated items in most MMOs. 

2) It forces people back to hubs at some point.  Without this players would be able to quest for longer and longer without returning.    This creates more natural breaks in game play and can give people a reason to go to the AH or have possibly have contact with another player.

3) It gives people multiple carrots on a stick without giving to much value.  If everything that dropped had value it would make grinding on mobs even more valuable.  If Mobs dropped almost nothing it would not incentivize killing.   There needs to be a balance reward for killing.  If people only got useful items quests may not be valued for the players. If people got nothing players may only want to do quests and focus on quests that had little to no combat. 

I honestly so little reason to drop useless gear in the current MMO structure.  Now if an MMO was heavy in crafting I guess it would make sense to have Mobs drop a lot of items that could be deconstructed or used in some way.  There are not a lot of MMOs that focus on crafting and crafting does not seem to draw enough people in to make a change like that in all MMOs."

MMOman101 pretty much hits the nail on the head. Players like to feel like they're constantly picking things up and forcing players to go back to town and sell helps break up the gaming session so that there are necessary lulls between the action. That said, I really hate junk loot even knowing all of this. It's just annoying and I find it refreshing that I don't have to deal with it as much in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Everything you pick up in that game is either an item or some sort of usable material. Is it always useful? Not necessarily, but it's not just straight up junk to sell to vendors, either.

What's your take? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

drowelf writes: Junk=coin, cash, moola,money. Not a problem for me and you never can tell what might be usefull at some time. Mon Sep 09 2013 7:47AM Report
Ozivois writes:

Loot "processing" requirements should be well-planned by the developers as it should be one of the critical components of game play.


As others posted, a mob's loot table should fit the lore.

All loot drops should serve some purpose; either useable items or crafting components. Un-needed useable items can be broken down into crafting components as well. NPC vendors pay very little for these loot items, which encourages players to find player-buyers for these components.

The dropping of loot items whose only purpose in the game is to be vendor-sold needs to stop. Instead, offer some loot that has high sell value but only to one particular NPC.

Public auctions need to be limited, and player's bank storage needs to be increased. Auctions remove player interaction and devalue goods so they shouldn't be included in the game. Players should be encouraged to come back to town often to offload and store their plunder. And to try to sell these items to other players while in town.

Loot drops should have a shelf-life. You can't store most crafting components forever. body parts like animal meat should expire or degrade after a few days if not used or sold. Crafted food should expire after a week if not consumed. Skins, woods and metals used for crafting should degrade over time. rotting leather, drying out or warping of wood, rusting of metal, etc. keeps resource gathering and crafting a fresh and active component of game play.


Mon Sep 09 2013 1:49PM Report
Steelhelm writes: I don't get excited about gray items. I believe they shoudn't exist. I understand if some witch wants rats tail, but the person buying those off the player should be someone special not just anybody, different person for different stuff. And the price should be correct, if you wanna make the effort to sell the grays to some bloke that lives on the farthest block, you should get a good price out of it. And maybe you would even have to ask around find out a buyer and he would tell you what else he needs. And what's this realistic shit about, all merchants buying rats hair my ass. Mostly I think there's way too much loot in mmo's. Less loot more meaning say I. Mon Sep 09 2013 3:13PM Report writes:
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