“Massively Cumbersome Looting” or “I Hate it When a Body Sparkles”
“…we already accept inventory mechanics in which 100 metal ingots take up as much space as a ring, bears sometimes carry swords and multiple hides but have only a 50% chance to have one leg or tooth on each corpse, gold bars are worth less than gold coins, and gold coins take up no space.”
Zubon recently made a post about looting and how convoluted this mechanic is in our favorite MMOs. He touched upon limited inventory space, a thorn in my side for as long as I have played MMOs. Industry standard-setters like WoW are the worst culprits of this disease. When you kill a foe, you much walk up to its body, click it, manually transfer all items to your inventory and move on. Zubon argues, and I agree, if the experience I get goes directly into my character’s level, cash is deposited directly into my coffers, why is it that I need to manually pick up that Great Axe from the squirrel I just downed? (The absurdity of which merits another post.)
Both looting and limited inventory space are archaic and dated concepts in MMOs. Looting is nothing more than a senseless time sink, nothing good comes of it for the player, and it doesn’t serve any other purpose than the alleged psychological advantage of knowing you just teabagged the corpse. I am being facetious, but the point stands: looting is obsolete, and unless it serves some actual purpose, such as salvaging in EVE Online, I think it needs to be automated to allow players to a) get the most out of their experience and b) remove one of the most repetitive, mind-numbing aspects from contemporary MMO gaming. I bet if I put up a poll asking MMO players if they would like to physically loot bodies or just have the items dumped into their inventory, the majority would choose the later.
I know I often champion the need for immersion, but once you have looted that useless piece of junk from the 85,657th body, immersion can suck it. With the advent of new technology, mechanics and the continued metamorphosis of the MMO industry, I believe it is imperative that developers take another look at these dated concept, and remove/revamp those that force players into incessant grinds and repetitive gameplay.