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Danshir's Blog *Where I rest after I stop my stabbin*

To talk about a large variety of MMORPGs honestly with no prejudice. Also to simply talk about the insane, funny, or just plain outrageous MMO experiences we as players have had.

Author: Danshir

How to prevent ninjas, and how developers can put an end to it for good

Posted by Danshir Sunday December 14 2008 at 3:34PM
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I cannot fathom that there is a single player of MMORPGs that has not experienced the horror that is a Ninja. If your new to the whole scene of online games, let me explain. A ninja(short for Ninja Looter) are people that will steal items from bosses/other mobs that would normally be rolled upon by the whole group. You will rarely see this during a guild raid, but PUGs(Pick Up Groups) and PURs(Pick Up Raids) are where you can see this pretty frequently. I've seen it in every MMORPG I've ever played, from EQ all the way to WoW. We will now discuss them, these evil jerks.

Things YOU can do to prevent Ninjas.

1. Watch for someone looting nonstop, even as the group is fighting. While this isn't a guaranteed way of spotting a ninja, it's bad group conduct and can endanger the group. Mention it politely, sometimes people just don't pay a lot of attention to their surroundings and it could be an honest mistake.
2. The Silent One. As cliche as it sounds, most ninjas I've come across never talked in group or responded to needing them to perform something, like crowd control. While there ARE some people that just won't talk to people for a variety of good/bad reasons, just keep a bit of an eye on them, especially if they're the leader of the group.
3. If your grouped with someone that won't shut up about an item he's been trying to get for days from a boss your about to fight, if the item drops be careful of pilfering. I've seen this a few times especially at lower levels.
4. Wait on rolling. Most good groups will have everyone pass if they're using WoW's built in dice rolling system for loot. This is what you SHOULD do so everyone can roll on loot when everyone is ready. However if for any reason you think there is a threat of ninjas about(shadows moving, that kinda thing?) wait to pass. Don't roll, but wait. If said ninja rolls by "accident" you can then ask the group if you can roll. Most groups will shout for you to do so, if anything to prevent the ninja from making off with the goods. Remember when doing this always ask the group, make your intentions clear, and be polite.

Sometimes however there is nothing you can do to prevent a ninja's vicious attack in your gullet as they take the goods. While World of Warcraft has some loot protection against ninjas, it's at best a paper shield. Some of the worst cases of loot stealing I've seen has been done by the leader of the group, who has full control over loot rights. If you've ever been fighting the end boss of an instance/raid and suddenly when at 1% health the loot is changed to Master Loot, you know what I mean. While this is more rare than the common Ninja, it is all too common if you play on a private server. So what can we do to combat these evil rogues?

Most people report these kinds of "accidents" and other forms of loot stealing to forums. There a large majority of players are warned by that persons actions. While this cannot stop the first occurrence, the player in question will quickly find themselves blacklisted from groups and guilds. Guilds also at times keeps lists of people to avoid and share that to their guildies on their websites. None of these or any measures I've found have stopped ninjas. What could the game developers themselves do?

What about a better leadership system? Why not have a VETO system. If the leader wishes to change loot rules after a time limit of say 10 minutes once the group has entered an instance or formed completely, he must get the approval of more than 50%(or more) of the other players in the group. This will completely axe any possible ninja action by the leader due to the other group members keeping him in check due to VETO. Without the approval of the group the loot remains the same, which means yay for those who are not losers.

Ok we have an idea of how to combat stealing by the leader, but what about someone rolling on items when the group asked to pass on an item? I propose giving the leader the ability to cancel any roll made as long as 2 other group members agree with the action. The scenario in the picture above wouldn't happen. Of course there would have to be like a minute delay between winning a roll and receiving the item to make this even remotely possible.

While these ideas are hardly perfect, they ARE ideas. While most people can get over these kind of griefers, they still ruin what would have been a perfectly good experience. Some stronger defenses should be put into place. If you have any ideas leave a comment on what you think game developers could do. Until then we can only report them to a GM, and hope SOME sort of action takes place.

To read the original post go to The MMO Experience