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WoWSep 29, 2022 5:00 pm CT

Dragonflight is ditching personal loot for the old need/greed group loot system

After an interview back in May where World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas talked loot systems, hinting that Master Loot may make a return. Now it turns out that Master loot isn’t on the agenda, but Blizzard is making big changes to loot mechanics. For the first tier of raiding in Dragonflight, Personal Loot will not be an option for players. Instead, everyone will use Group Loot:

Originally Posted by Scariizard (Official Post)

Group Loot:

  • While inside Vault of the Incarnates, Group Loot will be the only method of loot distribution. There is no option to select for yourself or your group to return to Personal Loot.
  • Some items, like professions reagents may still use Personal Loot where appropriate.
  • Need & Greed UI will return, and we’ll be monitoring feedback to make the rules around when and how players can roll on items be as intuitive as possible.

Loot Trading

  • While inside a raid, all item level restrictions placed on trading between members of that group are removed entirely. This means that even small item level increases that aren’t upgrades (as is often the case with rings and necklaces, which are budgeted high in secondary stats) won’t be locked to a player even in the case that they roll and win that item.

You’ll note that these changes are specific to raiding — including LFR, where they’re most likely to cause loot arguments. There’s no word yet on whether this system will be used for dungeons or Mythic+.

Group Loot means the return of need/greed rolls

The removal of the restrictions on loot trading we currently see with Personal Loot — which prevent people from trading items that are ilevel upgrades — should now allow guilds raiding in Vault of the Incarnates to more easily distribute loot. But this isn’t Master Looter, where one person (usually a guild leader) would decide which drop goes where: instead the group will roll Need or Greed on all drops.

In the past, we’ve seen systems like this invite abuse, as when a player rolls need on everything, including items they can’t use. Blizzard has already considered potential problem cases and added logic to the system to prevent abuse:

Originally Posted by Scariizard (Official Post)

We’ve improved Group Loot a lot from when it was last shown in 2016, and are continuing to work to remove other edge cases. For example:

  • In the past, Need/Greed only knew if something was equippable or the right armor type, not if it was meant for your spec or not. This is now changed.
  • First off, you can never Need for anything your class cannot wear. No warriors sniping cloth robes with a need roll and giving it away or trolling.
  • We also have mainspec and offspec functionality built-in, which changes based on the current loot spec you set.
    Main spec takes priority, then Off spec, then greed. So while a Ret paladin can’t off-spec loot a shield away from a main-spec roll from the Tank, anyone rolling greed could never win it over them. This also means that if you swap specs for a specific fight, like going Holy, you can still main spec roll for your desired items if they come from that boss without having to worry about hurting yourself by being flexible to your group.
  • Players won’t be able to win multiples of the same item – say that 2 sets of Shoulders drop. While you can roll Need on both of them, winning one will ‘remove’ your roll from the other.
  • Additionally, players can’t Need on a piece of loot if they’re wearing the exact piece at the exact item level, though in the event where this occurs but the dropped piece has a Tertiary stat or Socket, that roll would be possible (as those are upgrades).
  • Lastly, even after winning the roll, items remain fully tradeable without restrictions to any player that was eligible as a looter – as-in, if you weren’t locked to that boss previously. Inversely, this means that players who have already killed Boss 1 on Normal for the week can’t join for that boss and have loot traded to them (similarly, the need/greed pane won’t appear for that player).

If the system works as promised, this will significantly curb abuse while still allowing flexibility. But we’ll still have to see how it works in practice.

Group Loot also means getting cloth drops in raids with no clothies

But Group Loot has one big downside that Blizzard hasn’t addressed: it doesn’t take group composition into consideration. With personal loot you were guaranteed to get items someone in the group could use, but this won’t be the case in Vault of the Incarnates. You could see runs where a raid with no Hunters gets nothing but bow drops, and other mismatches. Blizzard is aware of this, of course — it was a major part of the old Need/Greed option, and everyone who ever saw a Rogue or Warrior take Thori’dal because there were no Hunters in the group remembers it. I remember watching our raid full of Pally healers go ballistic because yet again Onyxia didn’t drop any Pally plate, but did drop Warlock tier for the zero Warlocks we had in that raid.

But considering how many raiders I know who hate Personal Loot, I suspect they’re willing to trade the certainty of only getting pieces of gear someone in the raid will use for the chance to freely distribute the loot that drops to specific players who either need it most, or have been making every raid and deserve the upgrade. Either way, it’s the system we’re going to have for at least the first raid, Vault of the Incarnates, once it opens on December 13, after Dragonflight goes live on November 28.

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