I STARTED WRITING A POST about this a few days ago, since which time Blizzard added a small hotfix to how loot is distributed via the new Looking For Raid (LFR) system. Which is a good thing, because it’s a system desperately in need of tweaking. The good news is that there are some relatively straightforward solutions, if Blizzard is willing to go that route.
One of the big problems that Blizzard has already addressed (somewhat) is people rolling on loot that really isn’t for their class: hunters winning rogue daggers, pallies winning polearms meant for hunters and druids, etc. It’s the kind of thing that just makes you hate the general WoW playerbase, for being either clueless, selfish, or both. To that end, Blizzard has tagged seemingly every piece of loot in LFR with class restrictions. So only hunters can roll on the bow from Deathwing, you won’t have mages rolling on +spirit gear, etc.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t go far enough. You still have tanks and healers winning DPS weapons, which means the new “role bonus” needs to be tweaked a bit. Blizzard has commented that the system can’t detect specs, but since it obviously tracks whether you’re a tank, healer or DPS, it should at least be able to prevent pally healers from walking off with 2H swords off Deathwing.
But the real hole in the LFR loot system is a failure to stop loot whoring. There’s nothing preventing people from winning 3 or more pieces of loot on a raid and continuing to roll while other people walk off with nothing (which has been the case in almost all 20 raids I’ve run so far, across four characters). It shouldn’t be that hard to tweak the system to spread the loot around, to which I have both simple and more complex suggestions.
The simplest, quickest tweak is to disable the role bonus for anyone who wins a piece of loot in a given raid. Once you’ve won loot off a boss, you no longer get a role bonus for any other bosses in that raid that week, which almost guarantees that every piece of loot will always end up in the hands of someone who hasn’t won something yet. It’s not a perfect solution, but I think it gets you 90% of the way there.
The more complex solution, but one that I think is more interesting and more complete, is to add a second type of bonus that increases every time you lose a roll. You lose 2 rolls on the first boss? You get +200 to your next rolls. You lose another roll on the second boss? Now you’re up to +300. And once you win something, your bonus is zeroed out for the rest of the week. So now you have a system where you don’t have to worry about losing items to people who’ve already won that week.
The one “flaw” in this system is that it becomes possible for this new bonus to outgain the role bonus, and theoretically have DPS outrolling tanks for tank gear. Easy solution: make the role bonus +1000 instead of +100, which guarantees that spec trumps everything else. Heck, you could even add this as a new loot system available to all raids within the game, as sort of a pseudo-DKP system to help pugs distribute loot fairly.
While I certainly don’t expect to wake up one day and see these changes implemented exactly as I’ve laid them out, Blizzard has already made statements saying they’re looking to try to do a better job of spreading the loot around. Hopefully that’s something we’ll see cleaned up not long after the new year, as the LFR system has otherwise been a pretty nice success, giving people who don’t normally raid an easy way of experiencing raids.