Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let's Talk About Ifrit Loot!

On the second session of Ifrit fights (2 separate days, many fights), I got my first Ifrit win. And on my first Ifrit win, I got the Pugilist weapon. Everyone else got Dark Matter. Yelta has won the fight six times thus far, and only received Dark Matter. Which leads to the question, What the hell is with the Ifrit loot system?



For those who have not yet started battling Ifrit, this is how loot works: First, you need to farm Inferno Tapers from a specific beastmen stronghold. Then you bring five tapers to the NPC in Gridania, and he will give you a lantern. You cannot receive any loot whatsoever without the lantern. Next, you have to battle through the latency issues and animation lock problems and defeat Ifrit. Finally, after beating Ifrit, a chest will spawn.Those who brought a lantern can click the chest. They will receive either Dark Matter or a special level 50 Ifrit weapon. Sounds okay, right? In theory this sounds reasonable, but there are several things to note at this point.

The drop rate of the weapons is around 5-10%, which isn't terrible. Huge endgame battles should require multiple efforts for amazing rewards, as well as continuous trips to get everyone geared up.

If you do hit your one in ten and receive a weapon, it could be any of them. It seems to be completely random. And here's the kicker; you cannot trade the item to another player from a loot list. You cannot pass on the item. If you have already won the same item, any duplicate is dropped. These two facts are intolerable.

Here's an example of why this system is ridiculous. As I mentioned above, on my last Ifrit run, 7 members who have won repeatedly received Dark Matter, while I received the Pugilist weapon on my Gladiator. It was my first win, and the others had been patiently teaching me the fight for two days, even though they had a tank who could win every run for them. This isn't fair to me, the linkshell leader, or any of the other players involved.

Even with my elation for the win, I felt guilty. By any sensible system, I would have been able to pass this weapon to someone who has their Pugilist leveled to 50. Or, in terms of a linkshell, the leader should have been able to pass this weapon to the member who had the best attendance, was the most helpful, or earned the most DKP, if that's the system their linkshell uses. The other members should have at least had a chance at saying, "Hey! My main is Pugilist, and I came as Lancer for the good of the group. Throw my name on the list for the weapon." This master looter idea is very popular.

Another option would be the need vs. greed roll a la World of Warcraft, allowing those who need the item for their main class can roll for it, and if no one needs it for their main class, the rest can roll greed for it. At the very least, if I receive two Conjurer weapons, I should be able to hand give one to Yelta, Healer Extraordinaire, instead of having it disappear. 

A third option is that instead of dropping the weapons, Ifrit drops a horn, which could be brought to an NPC and traded for your choice of weapon. this would remove the issue of duplicate weapons and receiving weapons for a class you have no intention of playing.

Sadly, none of these options are possible at the moment. So the next question is why did they set it up this way in the first place?

According to Yoshi P, this loot system was implemented to give players an incentive to level up different classes. Although I understand this in theory, there are better ways to encourage it. That's a different discussion altogether. The point I want to make here is that many people have niches. Yelta is forever a healer first. I will always be a tank first. Period. Yelta enjoys magic classes more, I enjoy physical classes more. It's the way we're wired. If I end up with a Conjurer weapon or Yelta ends up with a sword, we would both be very upset that we could not pass them to each other. I do not want to take a healing class to 50, and Yelta has no desire whatsoever to tank. So why, oh why do we have the chance of receiving these items we will never use and cannot pass them to someone who WILL use them?

Ifrit is the hardest battle in the game at the moment. It should be challenging, take many efforts to get everyone geared up, and should drop the best-in-slot for our classes. We should be thrilled with a win and excited to open the chest, and even more excited to go back and do it again with our friends. The problem is that because of the loot system, that excitement is lost. There's resignation about getting yet another bunch of Dark Matter, or a weapon you will never use. Many people have simply stopped fighting because the odds are so horrific.

As excited as I am by the prospect of future primal battles, I hope Yoshi and the development team understand where we're all coming from on this issue and fix it in future battles. We want our wins to matter, and we'd like to be rewarded with some semblance of rationality.