shortcut iconSee also: Category: Instance loot

In World of Warcraft, loot can mean a couple of things:

  1. Stuff (treasure: items or money) you get from mobs or containers (barrels, boxes, chests, etc).
  2. The act (to loot; looting) of getting the stuff mentioned above.

Looting while solo Edit

When soloing, looting is easy — a "lootable" corpse emits a "glistening" effect, and the cursor will change to the "trade" cursor when you mouse over the corpse. Simply right-click (or Command-click on a Mac with 1-button mouse) on the corpse of the mob you just killed, and a window will pop up containing any loot the mob was carrying. (Sometimes this window is empty, which means the mob had no loot.) Using Shift-right/Command-click "autoloots" the corpse, which picks up all items except "Bind on Pickup" items. For Bind on Pickup items, you will be prompted to accept the item, binding it to you, or turn it down, leaving it in the corpse. You can return and loot the corpse of any remaining items until it disappears.

Looting while in a party Edit

In party situations, looting is vastly more complicated. The leader of the party can set the group looting parameters, as well as the threshold where items of particular quality are automatically rolled for. There are five group looting parameters:

  • Free-for-all: (FFA) First-come, first-serve. You snooze, you lose. This is a good setting if you are assisting someone and intend for them to be able to loot all the kills, or if your party is not in the same area, this setting will prevent meaningless roll prompts.
  • Master Loot: One person in the group, designated by the leader, loots all corpses and distributes the loot. This setting is very unpopular with party members, because it gives the Master Looter a lot of power to abuse, and requires a lot of trust, but if the Master Looter is trustworthy, fair, and knows what (s)he is doing, this can be the fairest system.
  • Round-robin: Party members take turns looting corpses. Seems like it might be fair, "What drops, drops", but a savvy player can manipulate the order that kills are made and get a disproportionate amount of better loot.
  • Group Loot: Like Round-robin, except that there is a threshold set by the leader for which items must be rolled off (see details in following discussion). Group Loot is commonly used because it is a reasonable compromise based on a generally deserved lack of trust for other players. It is a baseline attempt at fairness at best.
  • Need before Greed: "Pass" is automatically selected for party members who cannot use the item. Not a particularly fair system, not nearly as good as it sounds at first glance. Just because you can equip an item does not mean you need it. Just because you can't equip an item does not mean that you do not have legitimate secondary claims on the item, for an alt or for disenchanting.

In all loot settings, money on the corpse is distributed as evenly as possible among all the party members.

Grey or white items on the corpse can be picked up by whomever is looting it. After the person whose turn it is to loot a corpse finishes, anything they left can be looted by anyone in the party.

Quest Loot: Quest loot is on a separate loot distribution and there are two common modes for this to occur. 1) In quests where the party is to collect one of a specific item from a specific mob (Collect the head of (mob name here)) then regardless of loot setting, the mob will indicate lootable by every party member with the quest (and without the object). Each member may loot the quest item off the corpse. The other loot on the corpse is subject the party loot setting. 2) In other quests which require collecting several items of a type (harpy feathers for example), the quest items will drop on some mobs and be looted in the normal way, except that if the current looter can't collect the items (not on quest, already has full set) then the quest loot is FFA for those members who can still pick up the quest items. Other items on the corpse are governed by the party loot setting. On some quests the quest loot is always free-for-all and this may be the above mechanic gone haywire. Some quests where the party is collecting one item will use the named mob mechanism (1) (the Shaman Voodoo Charm from The Sleeping Druid quest, for example, where all party members can get the charm off the same shaman.)

Loot options: Need, Greed, and PassEdit

Items of good (green) quality or higher might not be immediately lootable, depending on the loot rolling threshold established by the party leader. When an item is available that falls within that rolling threshold, the looter is prohibited from taking the item and a 'roll window' pops up for all party members with an image of the item and three buttons — a pair-of-dice button, a coin button, and a red circle with diagonal line button.

Ui-grouploot-dice-up.png Need: Mouse over the picture of the item to see its characteristics, and if you want to take it to use, click the pair-of-dice button to randomly generate a number from 1 to 100. This is a 'need' roll and the item should, at least, be equipable by your character. Warning: If you 'need' every drop, you will be branded a ninja and have trouble finding groups.
Ui-grouploot-coin-up.png Greed: If you want it to sell, send to an alt, etc., click the coin button for a "greed" roll. This will only result in a roll if no one chooses need.
Ui-grouploot-pass-up.png Pass: If you don't want the item, click the cancel button and you will 'pass' on the item.

The high-roller among those who roll is awarded the item, and it goes in that character's backpack. If everyone passes on a rollable item, the item becomes freely lootable to anyone in the party. The roll window has a timer shown as a shrinking bar; if the timer expires before you choose "need" or "greed", you will "pass" on the item. This is generally the recommended action for Bind on pickup items that you cannot equip.

Group policies and other loot optionsEdit

  • Some groups have a policy that, when a bind on pickup item is found as loot, all characters are expected to 'pass' on the item so that a more deliberate selection can be made. It's good to know if your group follows this policy before you find such an item. While this system does nothing to stop a ninja from taking an item, some groups still insist on using it. Going against the grain while in a group usually just creates unrest and fights over loot.
  • If you are the group leader, or the group leader seems levelheaded, it would be wise to use (or ask to use) the normal, built-in looting systems. While a ninja can still roll need on items they do not actually need, other people who do need the item will still have a shot at it, rather than the ninja just picking it up after everyone passes, or rolling after everyone else has passed.
  • Often, Instances will be run with one character of much higher level leading the charge. This is frequently done in clans where senior members want to help others in acquiring good loot. In these cases, it is common that the senior party member will serve as party leader and set loot settings to Master Loot, so as to best distribute all loot.
  • Another common protocol for distributing chest loot is 'high to low', where the highest level member of the group gets first crack at the chest, takes anything he likes, then anything left is available for the next highest level group member, etc., until the chest is empty or no one wishes to take anything else. Money in chests is distributed evenly among the party members who are nearby just like money from corpses.
  • Many players consider it to be very rude if someone intentionally loots a corpse while combat is still going on. To avoid any conflicts, it is best to wait until combat is over and everyone has been rezzed (waiting for everyone to be rezzed is particularly important; a player can't roll on any items if they are not close enough to the body that is being looted).
  • Abandoned loot on a corpse prevents it from being skinned, and it is considered polite for a party to loot all corpses if a skinner is in the party.

Note that loot from containers — chests, food crates, and the like — as opposed to corpses, also uses the party loot threshold (if one is in effect), although the container will always be lootable by any party member. If the container holds a high-quality item, that item will be rolled on (or not), the same as if it were looted from a corpse. Since this is a recent change (Patch 2.1.0), many groups may still require rolling on content, or at least to link the common items such as foods and potions to give to those who need it.

Battlegrounds Edit

In battlegrounds, players can loot enemy corpses. This will remove their insignia so that they must revive at the graveyard, and give the looter a small sum of money. Note that if the player's ghost is running toward the corpse when its insignia is removed, he'll have to run all the way back to the graveyard to resurrect, so it may be wise to wait a moment before looting. Looting the player's corpse will also force its spirit to release, if they have not already done so, thus preventing their ghost from spying on the area around their corpse.

Looting etiquette Edit

  1. Read the item descriptions, know what you are rolling on.
    Know if your character needs the item, or can even use the item.
    Know what stats are important for your character class, and for your spec.
    Know what gear you already have.
  2. If you think you need everything, you need to do more research.
  3. Speaking of research, research the instance for what loot that drops and decide ahead of time what you need.
  4. If it is a Bind on Pickup item, you can not give it to an alt. You can not auction it. It probably has a poor vend value. Don't be an idiot.
  5. Think beyond yourself. Stretch, you'll get better at it.
  6. Loot your kills. Even if your bags are full, open the corpses that are yours to loot (other than on free for all). This distributes the gold to the party and makes the corpse available to your party members when you close it.
  7. Communication goes a long way toward solving anything. You may want something that doesn't fit the mold, that's OK, as long as you are honest about it up front and give potential party members a fair chance to turn you down and look for another party. You want to farm for a twink alt, OK, just don't spring it on everyone after you enter the instance.
  8. If you are the group leader (have the controls), do not tolerate a ninja. Try education first, but if they insist on being a bonehead, quickly move to draconian overlord mode and kick the member. Realize that this may mean being undermanned and having to restarting an instance, but a bonehead will get your party killed anyway, so better now than later.
  9. If you are in such a group, politely make your concerns know, if nothing changes, ask the leader privately if (s)he intends to take action, if not then politely state your intention to leave the group if that is your desire.

Secondary rolls Edit

In the event of two or more rolls being equal (for example: if 2 players have a 'greed' roll with the number 56 for a certain item), the system performs a hidden secondary roll to determine which player will receive the item.

Loot systems Edit

Groups and guilds that party regularly go beyond the built-in loot distribution mechanisms that Blizzard provides. There are numerous loot systems that can be used to distribute loot, with their own set of trade-offs.

Notes Edit

Taken in isolation an item has a fixed chance to drop however cumulative kills without a drop increases the probability that your next kill will contain the item. The following example demonstrates this with an item which has a 10% drop chance.

  • 1st kill: There is a 10% (0.1) chance that your item will drop and a 90% (0.9) chance that it won't.
  • 2nd kill: Assuming your first kill didn't drop the item the probability that the second kill does not drop is (0.9 x 0.9 = 0.81) 81%. From this we can calculate that the probability that your item will drop is (1 - 0.81 = 0.19) 19%. [citation needed]
  • 10th kill: Still assuming that your item has not yet dropped the probability that it won't drop this time is (0.910 = 0.34) 34%, which means your item has a (1 - 0.34 = 0.66) 66% chance to drop. [citation needed]
  • 50th kill: Still no drop. Chance not to drop (0.950 = ~0.005) 0.5% so the chance it's going to drop is (1-0.005 = 0.995) 99.5%. If you haven't got it by now you're really unlucky!

If you want to work out what your chance of getting the item you want on your next kill use the following formula:

1 – ((1 – d)n)

d = drop chance, n = number of kills

So take heart, probability is on your side. Eventually it is extremely likely that your item will drop!

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