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How a quirk in the game can steal your loot

There is a mechanic in game that we are all aware of, and one that exists for a good reason: when we attack a mob, we get the mob's loot. That's the mechanic. If you're solo grinding mobs out in Shadowmoon Valley for some Primal Fire, you want to be sure you're the only one that can get the loot. The same goes for groups – if you're grouping and killing Murmur in Shadow Labs, you want to be sure that everyone is going to get his pretty blues.

But what if the mechanics of the boss fight dictate that you won't hit the boss? In fact, what if successfully killing the boss means that you have to stand on the opposite end of the playing field the whole time? You don't hit the boss, you don't get the loot – but you've done everything right. In this, the game mechanic does not represent fair play, nor does it encourage success. In fact, the mechanics are a complete contradiction of each other.

I've recently encountered this problem, and it's a real pain. Read on after the break for what happened, and what can be done to solve it. It's rather long, but this is a serious problem that Blizzard needs to fix, and all the facts need to be laid out completely and in a way that is full of thruthiness.

Here's the setting: I was in a 25 man raid, going after Azgalor in Mount Hyjal. We've been having a good night – only a few random deaths, and we've one shotted everything up to him. We would go on to one shot Azgalor and two-shot Archimonde, one shot Naj, and then one shot the first four bosses of ZA before people got too tired. Pretty good for an evening, one of the best I've ever had in the game.

The problem with the game mechanic happened while we were fighting Azgalor. We have three tanks – myself (a warrior), a druid, and a pally. Normally I'm tanking the boss, but for the two Horde encampment ones we find they do a tad more spike damage than we like to see on me, so we have a druid tank them. Quick and painless with their super armor and dodge. The pally switches into healing mode for the fight, and I take position up by the Horde Warriors in their camp.

Every once in a while, Azgalor will cast a doom on a random player. That player will die in short order and a demon will spawn in his place. When a player gets doom, they have to run over to me by the camp and die there. I grab the demon, my contingent of DPS and a healer or two deals with him until the next demon appears. Pretty simple really (well, it's easier said than done, of course).

When Azgalor is at about 15% to 10%, we have the DPS run over to him and they help finish him off. That leaves only two healers and myself over by the Warrior Camp to babysit the two or three demons that are up at that point. Azgalor goes down, and the raid comes over to kill the demons, we're done in one-shot. A nice clean win.

Loot time! The two drops that concern me are the Glory of the Defender breastplate, and Gloves of the Forgotten Protector, which were both going to me via my guild's loot system rules. I had also finally gotten Kaz'rogal's Hardened Heart earlier in the evening, so I was pretty happy. When our master looter went to hand out the loot – he quickly discovered that I wasn't on Azgalor's attack table. I was ineligible to receive the reward for doing a good job.

It's important to clearly see what's happened here. One game mechanic, the boss fight, dictates that I stand away from Azgalor the whole time and deal with the demons. The other game mechanic, the loot system, dictates that I hit Azgalor in order to get any reward. These two mechanics are mutually exclusive. In other words, they are in direct contradiction of each other.

This is where there is a clear 'bug' (I use the term loosely here) that needs to be fixed.

Now, one possible solution is that everyone waits and at least hits Azgalor once before moving on to a position that dictates we'll never hit him again. This is all well and good, except if a player gets doomed and a demon spawns. There will be no one up in the camp to pickup the demon, and the demon will run amok in the raid until it can be picked up; quite possibly wiping the raid in the process. That's a no-win situation, and in a boss where you have to clear 25 minutes of trash to get to every time, that solution represents unacceptable risk.

So, what can be done? It's pretty simple really – make it so the demons that spawn are an extension of Azgalor, and when the demons are attacked, you get on Azgalor's attack table. Now I program computers, so I realize this might not be a simple thing to implement. It might require overwriting some basic rules of the game for this fight, but nonetheless, something needs to be done.

My GM/RL has a support ticket that has been open for 13 hours now, and while the ticket has been escalated, no solution is in sight. It'll be interesting to see what the resolution to this problem ends up being. I pray the support specialist we get will be helpful and see the error in the game mechanics, and decided to correct the problem.

I'm interested if any of you out there have encountered this problem before. Is it something that you've seen or heard about? Hopefully someone at Blizzard might see this and take a peek to see if it can be fixed.


*It should be noted that we left the loot on the Azgalor, and did not distribute it to another player.
** It should also be noted that healers healing anything - or anyone casting a spell for that matter - are automatically put on the attack table due to the (however minute) "AoE" aggro generation healing or spell casting causes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Raiding

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