How much loot is too much (or too little) loot?
In Battle for Azeroth, the loot flowed like water. Drops in dungeons and raids were plentiful. World Quests gave mountains of loot, and plenty of upgrades. You could hit max level, do some questing and a dungeon or two, and you could be ready to get into raids and other end-game content in record time.
It was great if you were leveling alts and wanted to get into end-game content with all of them. It made gearing up so easy that you never really had to think about gearing up — it just happened as you played, and you didn’t need to make much special effort to hit ilevel requirements for Heroic dungeons and LFR. There’s a particular joy in looting new gear all the time, and one that the Diablo series captures perfectly: in Sanctuary, everything is a loot piñata, and the game is a continual stream of tiny dopamine hits as you continually pick up new shinies.
But WoW has never been quite that free with loot, not even in BFA when World Quests were so lucrative. And Blizzard decided it was too much, and Shadowlands loot is a bit more scarce. Or a lot more scarce, depending on your perspective. In today’s game World Quests drop little loot and mostly downgrades. As an example of just how minimal World Quest loot is, let me present my newest alt, who hit level 60 over the weekend. She’s ilevel 145 and there’s currently one World Quest that offers any loot… and it’s a downgrade. I’ll have to spend a lot of time running dungeons if I want to delve into LFR with the character. And when (or if) I get the character into raids, loot will still be hard to come by, as bosses only drop a couple of pieces of gear, and there are no bonus rolls to add extra loot opportunities. PVP seems the best — and fastest — way to gear up these days, but it’s not my thing, so I amble forward slowly gathering gear one dungeon at a time. My main is ilevel 204 and has similar problems: sure, I’m perfectly geared for raiding, but during raids I mostly get anima, and in this past week’s Great Vault was full of downgrades. It doesn’t feel good to work through content with so little to show for it.
Ion Hazzikostas has commented that they’re happy with how PVP loot is working, with the implication they may not be happy with the difficulty in obtaining PVE loot. But still, we’re three months out from the game’s launch and the loot system has stayed the same.
So let’s get back to the question I asked in the headline. How much loot is too much loot? When gear is too easy to acquire, the game can lack challenge. But when gear is too hard to acquire, it becomes a tedious grind. I think there must be some happy medium between the two, where your efforts feel rewarded without turning the entire game into a loot free-for-all — and Shadowlands hasn’t quite found it.
If BFA was too much loot, and Shadowlands isn’t enough loot, what is the right amount of loot? Where is the happy medium for this particular loot piñata?
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