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Breakfast Topic: Drops vs. tokens or points

Breakfast Topic Drops vs tokens or points
I'm a fairly methodical player. I dodge entire swaths of the game (pet battles and holiday events, I'm looking at you) because I don't have time to get sucked into the inevitable completionism. But despite a fondness for checklists and planning, I'm dissatisfied in a system centered on buying gear with tokens, points, or other currency systems. I'm a fan of throwing my fates to the wind and diving into an instance to see what luck may bring me. I like not knowing if or when a particular piece might come my way, and I'm fully open to the possibility that it might not ever come at all. (Although I reserve the right to grouse about it. That's part of the fun.)

For me, this bit of RNG design is part of what keeps the parameters of a game world feeling larger than the sum of my ambitions. The envy of seeing someone in town stroll by wielding the massive two-handed staff that I've always admired, the unchecked line item on my gear list ... I like knowing that there exist parts of this world that I can't manhandle into submission. After all, my dream gear list wouldn't be very dreamy if it were merely a shopping list.

We do need alternatives. We need ways to fill in holes for things that never drop, and we need drops for players who prefer not to run dungeons and raid content. (I wish more of that were based on player-made items, frankly -- but that's another Breakfast Topic.) Most assuredly, we need a selection of rewards for players whose souls crave predictable, regular infusions of upgrade juju.

I appreciate WoW's current mix of methods, although for my own tastes, things have slid a little too far to the predictable side of the equation. Knowing what my upgrades will be and when I will get them feels dully inevitable. I'd welcome a little more reliance on the RNG, with the opportunity for a little more chaos surrounding any given drop (and therefore a little more passionate hope beforehand and a little more unbridled joy afterwards). As Matt Rossi puts it, "loot is the carrot; not getting loot is the stick."

Open country vs. mapped road -- where do you stand? Do you prefer plotting your path to purple glory with gear that lies reliably in your path, or do you wish there were a little more crazy RNG splashed into the mix? Should the mix of gear acquisition methods balance differently in different areas of the game, and if so, do you think the game already does so with success? And most importantly, how has the mix of predictable vs. unpredictable gear upgrades worked out for you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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