Greed Isn't Good
New in FFXIV patch 4.3 is The Ridorana Lighthouse, the latest 24-man raid in the Return to Ivalice series. It picks up from where the Rabanastre story left off and is one of the most artistically impressive dungeons released to date. The instance is also chock-full of old FF throwbacks, with XII music thrown in to boot.
But it’s also the first raid that’s featured a greed-only loot system on release, and it’s that aspect of it that I want to talk about today. Before this patch, drops in 24-man raids were offered on a need-greed system that was locked behind the job you were playing. So, if you were on a tank, you could need tank gear, and people on other jobs could roll greed and pick it up if nobody needed it. That’s standard fare in most MMOs for a reason: It’s simple, and you’re largely insulated from ninja looters and people rolling need on stuff they can’t use for the sake of it.
Now, nobody can need anything. It’s greed only, meaning everybody’s rolls are counted the same. Some tank gear drops? Your tank can’t roll need, so they and the seven other players in the party (24-man raids are split into three groups of eight, or an ‘Alliance’) all have the same chance to get it. This only applies to 24-man raids — all other content is need-or-greed.
I suspect the reason this was introduced was so you weren’t forced to run raids on jobs you might not feel comfortable playing to have a decent chance to gear them up. Healing an alliance raid can be pretty stressful, so it’s probably not the best way to get equips for a freshly-leveled healer. Equally, eight pieces of loot drop every run, and you’re limited to one piece of loot per week, so in theory, if everyone rolled, everyone would get something.
Like a lot of things, though, it breaks down in practice. If a chest piece would be a huge item level upgrade for you, then before now, you’d be able to run the raid a few times, wait for it to drop and need on it. Now, you have to do that and potentially roll against many more people than you would have done before.
I can’t speak for everyone, but the way I’m reacting to the change is to just greed anything that might be kind of useful, because in my mind there’s no point holding out for anything that might be valuable. I’m rolling against seven other people, so I’m only about 12% likely to win anyway, and given that alliance raids frequently end up being 45-60 minutes long, there’s no way I’m going to run one multiple times in order to get a piece of gear.
The loot rule has been applied retroactively to all old 24-man raids, too, which is baffling. There are some among us who care deeply about glamour’s, and while I’m not one of them, I sympathize with those that want particular pieces of gear (particularly those with no craftable alternatives that use the same model) that are no longer able to stack the odds in their favor by playing the raid on a specific job. These also don’t have a weekly loot restriction, so you can theoretically roll on everything and take home all of it. Note that there’s nothing really wrong with doing this — it’s your right — but it’s very annoying for people hunting individual items.
It just seems like a poor solution for something that was never really a problem. If running these encounters required players to bring their A-game, I might understand — it would mean that you wouldn’t need to drag everyone down by bringing an under geared alt. But the fact of the matter is they don’t. With the exception perhaps of healing, 24-man raids haven’t been difficult for some time; not since Ozma back in Weeping City have any bosses required any real, sustained focus from the vast majority of players, so coming on a job that just barely scrapes the item level is fine. Equally, if you’re not willing to actually play it in relatively easy content, it begs the question why you’re gearing it up in the first place.
It’s particularly odd given how good the loot system for 8-man raids is. Tokens are a really good solution for giving everyone a shot at what they want without forcing them to rely on RNG. It’s cool to have gear drop that you can get excited about and use right away, rather than burying everything new in vendor menus, but tokens would be much more appropriate if they wanted to give players some flexibility over what they choose to loot. Maybe there’s a reason that I’m not seeing, or maybe it’s something the Japanese community wanted and I just don’t have that context, but the system that’s been imposed as of 4.3 feels like a huge step backwards.