Friday, March 1, 2013

Mob Sharing

With 5.2 blizzard has added the second phase of mob sharing to the game.  The first phase was the shared end quest mobs.  Those big baddies that in the days or yore were elite mobs that you needed a group for but are now mobs anyone can solo but it just might take a while thanks to the higher than normal health pool.

That first phase was long over due.  Instead of having to wait for the end quest mob to respawn as long as it was there it was there, even if someone else was already attacking it.  Just join in and you too get credit and can move along with your quest line.

Phase one of mob sharing was only the start of something that was quite honestly long over due, very very long over due. There were however still problems with phase one of mob sharing.  Like loot.  The loot that dropped was basically available to whomever grabbed it.  Anyone that had hit the mob would be as eligible for the loot no matter what was the extent of their contribution to the actual kill was.

This never felt well with me and not because I felt it was a sense of entitlement or fair play or what have you.  I felt that it was just another way to bring out the worst in people.  It was not about some eighteen silver piece that dropped off the mob but it was about the fact that I did 99% of the damage to a mob and then someone comes by, does one hit, and loots the mob.   That is just wrong.

That is, in my opinion, rude and unacceptable action.  That would be like asking someone to cover for you at work while you went to the bathroom and they took your entire weeks salary while you were gone.  You did the work, the pay is yours, not theirs, they were just helping you.  Except in this game case, they were just helping you AND getting their quest done super easy thanks to you doing all the work for them.  So what entitles them to take your pay?  That eighteen silver is your eighteen silver.  Even if it is only eighteen silver it does not matter, it is the principle of it.  They do not deserve that loot.  Their quick and easy kill thanks to you doing all the work was reward enough.

In phase two of the change to mob sharing that is going to be addressed, but not fully when you look at it in context.  It would seem other people have also brought the loot issue to their attention as they are making some adjustments to it and that is why phase two has everyone getting some loot.  Glad to see I am not the only person that got upset about someone coming along for one hit as the mob dies and taking some stupid eighteen silver piece.  As I said, it was not the silver that mattered to me, it was the principle of the matter and I am glad that is going to at least attempt to be adjusted.

In phase one the mobs were shared 100% as is.  One person or one hundred did not make make a difference to the health, level, ability or loot a mob dropped.  It was what it was no matter what.  I know that while doing the golden lotus quests when you had to kill those three serpents I would oft times just see someone fighting one and shoot off one shot at it and continue along the way with what I was doing thinking, thank you for the easy kill. 

Of course being I am not a jerk I would never think to loot it.  I believe the person that did the work should get that awesome eighteen silver, I was happy to get the quick and easy kill to finish my questing faster.  On the days when you had the colossus and the serpents finishing the quests was usually super fast thanks to this type of questing.  One shot here and one shot there and I can do the other three while other people finish those two quests for me.  I do not think that I am different from most.  I would bet most did that and only helped down it when the person fighting it looked like they needed the help.  If they didn't I kept doing something else. 

This was good design.  It did not change the battle someone got themselves into.  They had decided to take on a mob with 4M health alone and that is basically what they will end up fighting.  My one shot does not change the fight they are having in any way, shape or form.  Phase two of mob sharing will not be as generous.

While the change from phase one and phase two loot is an attempt to adjust the issue of loot in some way, the phase one to phase two fight is not helping the actual fighting part of it at all.

From the loot perspective I think the everyone that hurts it approach is not quite the best design.  Should I really get loot from those shared mobs I only hit once?  Nope.  So why add that?  If I want loot I should make a sizable contribution.  Not saying a lot, not saying the most, not saying a completely effective and sizable contribution, just not only one hit.  I should at least have to attempt to contribute to the kill if I want loot.  One hit should count for finishing the quest, I am fine with that, but it should not entitle me to loot.  Allowing people to be freeloaders is not good game design.

However, the loot changes are not what I think could be the issue with the new mob sharing, even if those loot changes will need a fair deal of adjusting in phase three I believe.  And I do hope there will be a phase three soon because phase two has the capability of being worse design than phase one mob sharing was.  Shouldn't each step in design get better and not take a step backwards?  Phase two very well can be a step backwards.

There are some good and bad changes in phase two of mob sharing.  The good of course, to an extent, is the loot sharing.  Everyone gets something.  That is kind of nice and it does remove the "son of a bitch threw in one shot and took my fucking loot" complaints but it doesn't change that people will throw in one shot and get something more than they deserve just for being smart enough or quick enough to make sure they tag something.   That will need to wait for phase three to be adjusted, but it is a step in the right direction. 

It is also a nice plus that phase two is about sharing those rare mobs and not just quest mobs.  Now instead of people trying to get you killed so they can get the tag they would be more likely to just help you because they get the loot too even if you are already fighting it.  Gone are the days of some paladin pulling everything in the area on top of me and then dropping aggro on to me in an effort to kill me.  But then again, gone also are the days of me still killing them and then laughing at him because he is an idiot that does not realize that shit does not work on a hunter. 

It really will remove a fair deal of griefing and animosity that the game created by having those rare mobs.  I can not tell you the number of times people have tried to get me killed so they could take the mobs or the number of people that told me stories about stuff like that.  So sharing will actually help the community in that case.  About freaking time if you ask me.  Blizzard has been adding too many things to the game that seem to be implemented for the singular purpose of making the community worse.

So if I think there is some good coming from the changes to mob sharing what could be all that bad? 

What I believe will be the bad part of phase two is the increased life of the tagged mob when it is shared.  They removed the wanting to kill someone else so you can get the tag as a way of griefing and added the I'll only hit it once and make it harder on you but still get the same loot as you griefing. 

How is that griefing one might ask?  A player is purposely increasing the difficulty of something you are doing for their own fun and benefit.  They get loot for doing nothing and you get a longer fight.  Isn't griefing doing something that disrupts someones game play for your fun?  So isn't making the 5M mob that someone is fighting a 7.5M mob and getting loot out of it while making the fight longer on them something that would fit neatly into griefing?  You increased the length and possible difficulty of the battle they intended to get into for your own benefit.

Many people are saying that people will still help because the faster it goes down the faster they get their loot but that is logical.  Logic might work on me.  Logic does not work on the large majority of the player base.  Just like the logic that, damn, I missed Lon the Bull, tells people no big deal it spawns once an hour, I will get it next time, but they still will try to get you killed, spam you with group invites, curse you for tagging it first or bitch at you for stealing their kill. 

While the people that act like that are few in numbers they are the ones that stand out and we tend to remember them more often and for a longer period of time.  I would guess I have killed 500 or more rares and had it happen maybe 25 or so times to me when someone bitched at me or tried to kill me which would put it at a 5% rate, maximum, and even if that is a completely unscientific number I would would like to guess that is a fairly accurate maximum amount of about how many times, percentage wise, we have all run into those rare mob jerks that do things like that.

But with phase two and the shared tagging on mobs it will be more likely for not only that 5% to hit it and run but many many others to do the same.  Not because they want to grief but because they see a mob being attacked that will get them good loot if they tag it so they will. 

I will be the first here to admit I would do that myself, in a heartbeat without even taking a split second to think about it.  I will then continue killing whatever it was I was killing for the quest I was on and then when I am done I will help them finish off the mob.  Maybe.  If they are doing fine, I will leave it to them and move along and maybe even tag a second and third rare so I can get loot from three mobs while other people do the work and I finish off my quests.  Yeap, I admit I will do it the same as I tag the serpents and colossus while doing the golden lotus dailies.  If I am questing, I will tag and move on and if I am not, I will help.

I will do that not because I am a bad person or what to grief.  I would hope anyone that reads here knows me better than that by now.  I will do that because it is habit.  It is habit to tag a quest mob when I see someone fighting it.  It is habit to only help when I am done doing what I am doing to help finish it off and get along with my day.  I would not consider myself the bad person for tagging a group mob, who would?  And that is where the problem with phase two mob sharing comes in.

The smallish 5% that made the rares a problem when it came to who gets them will be greatly bumped up by most people, even the decent people, tagging rares just for the loot while they are doing their thing and making the life of the person fighting it harder. 

Increasing the life of the mob is not a bad idea, not at all, but a 50% increase when you know that most people will just hit and run, even the decent people, is something that can easily become a problem.  Even more so in those early days when everyone is trying to get their quests done asap and the area is packed.  Can you imagine you picking out a mob with 5M health and starting on it and 16 other questers all tag it and continue along with their questing and out of nowhere you are now facing a 45M health mob alone?  Excuse me, that is not what I signed up for. 

I signed up for a quick one or two minute kill, not a 15 or 20 minute battle so other people can get free loot from my work and effort.  If they got free loot from my quick one or two minute kill more power to them, I would not care.  But if I am going to be doing some epic battle for the ages with some random mob for 20 minutes because they tagged it, fuck them, they deserve nothing, they deserve a ban for griefing by turning my two minute battle into this.

This will be a problem.  This will be a big problem.  This will be something that will greatly exceed the 5% number of rare griefers and criers and whiners from before.  Because the one hit and you get loot thing is a little too much when you are thinking it add 50% health to the mob for each person that joins in.

Phase three, which will come some day, and soon I hope, will make adjustments for the people that go above and beyond.  If everyone that tags it can get loot, the person that does the most damage should get the most loot.  If damage done is what you are basing it on, but then what about the poor healer friend of yours that is helping you and only put on one hit while keeping you alive?  They would be there with you while you did 45M damage for other people that were too lazy to help.  You would get your double loot for doing the most damage and they get squat?  Well, it is better than nothing I guess.  Perhaps whomever is in the group with the person that does the most damage gets double loot?  That seems more appropriate.  I think a 5% boost for each person that joins with a cap at 25% extra would be more than ample for this type of sharing, anything more will lead to issues, like phase two will show you.

Phase three is going to need to add something that encourages people to help down the mob and not just let people share and get the full rewards for minimal or no real effort.  Phase two is a definitely a step up and in the right direction for mob sharing, but it is not the last we will see of this design.  At least I hope this is not their end result because when even I will be doing things that might classify me as the dick you know you are heading in the wrong direction.  Things should never be added to the game that reward people for bad behavior.  Increasing the life of a mob someone else is fighting just so you can get free loot without the effort is something that rewards people for bad behavior. 

Phase two of mob sharing is coming and like it or not, you will tag those rares if you see them even if you know you can not or will not help down them at the moment.  Maybe 5% of the players behaving badly over the old rares was not enough for blizzard, they want everyone behaving badly  Perhaps they are trying to sell an internet reality series called Gamers Behaving Badly.  Seems like they trying to even make the best of us behave badly with phase two of mob sharing if you ask me.

Mob sharing still has a way to go, but they at least know it is the way to go now.  It will just be a matter of them cleaning it up and finding what works for the game as a whole.  Perhaps they should play rift for a bit and see how rifts work, while still not perfect, that is a much better reward for contribution system when it comes to mob sharing.  Blizzard will get there.  Just sometimes it feels like it takes them forever to catch up.


  1. The increased mob health is a colossally bad idea!!! Furthermore, it should absolutely not stack; that's just asking for trouble.

    1. It is not a horrible idea as a whole but the 50% increase and the seemingly no cap, at least not that I have heard, are both bad ideas.

      I think the key for this design, if they are using a such, is that the person that does the most work, or the people that do the most work, get extra out of it.

  2. How about the person who joined in and tagged the mob then has to stay within a certain distance to get the bonus loot, if they tag and run, once they go outside the area, they lose the tag and the increase in the Heath is removed.

    1. There can always be complicated workarounds for bad designs, but they just make things more complicated. In software, the KISS principle (Keep It Stupid Simple) is always the best approach when it comes to user interactions.

      There are already far too many systems in WoW where most of the players don't understand how something works and since there's no documentation for the game, they never really figure it out. This usually leads to frustration rather than fun.

      Blizz tends to go overboard with complexity and then add more complexity to workaround the original complexity. The initial Mob sharing was relatively simple. A simpler version would have been that everyone got credit but the one who tagged got the loot. This would have been the same principle for all other normal mobs. They just needed to add code that other people get credit for the kill. It's simpler to code and simpler for people to understand. But Blizz never seems to go for the "simple" options. And now, they're just adding complexity where complexity isn't needed.

    2. +1 on Blizzard tending to do things the complex way just to add even more complex workarounds for various problems that the first round of complexity doesn't solve.

      WRT increasing health pools on rares, I think it would have been better if they never changed mob tagging and simply radically reduced the spawn timer if the mob is being hit by more than one guy. Eg, if you are killing the rare alone, it respawns in an hour, but if you are being helped by someone, it respawns in five minutes (because let's face it, the other guy was there, so he *was* lucky to see that rare mob in the first place, he was just not the first one to tag it). That's not perfect, but, I think, miles better than nothing or the help increase.

    3. "the help increase" in the last sentence should read "the health increase". :-)

    4. The distance idea is a decent one, better than most out there, but that too could be gamed. Tag it, sit there and do nothing. Tag it, and drag your quest mobs back into the area so you are still in range while doing your quests. Things like that. If there is a way to game the system people will find it, it is human nature.

      Jaeger is right however. Blizzard loves to add complexity for the sake of complexity and instead of making things make more sense they add another layer of complexity to it and then even a third.

      Take the reputation grind for example. The fact you need to do GL to open SP and AG was enough to confuse nearly everyone that did not read. Then there is the gaining reputation requirement.

      Easy fix, raise rep, open doors to SP and AG, and everyone is happy.

      Blizzard solution, still keep it gated, which confused people, but add something they can buy and use to get double reputation on alts, but don't show that you are getting double reputation anywhere.

      New fix, add something in the rep page to show you what you are getting double rep on.

      More fixes and fixes when none were needed. Just could have removed the GL gate to SP and AG after that first month, and upped the reputation gains from quests flat out and not needed to buy anything for it to happen.

      Nope, had to go the complex route.

      Do you know how many times I have been asked things like, where do I get honor gear, where do I get wrath PvP gear, where to I get my valor gear, where can I but some BC PvE gear, where do I trade in this tier token, and this one, and this one, and have to remember the locations of dozens of locations.

      Stuff like that is unnecessary complexity. Why not just have one central gear hub? Because that would be too easy and blizzard loves to make things complex for no reason.

  3. Lol I had no idea that the loot was shared. I'm normally melee so I guess I was just grabbing and moving on. Apologies to everyone who's loot I stole :)

    1. Exactly. If the mechanics aren't clear, good people end up doing "rude" things without even knowing.

      The only way to find out that loot is "first come, first served" is to be the 2nd one in line. If you're melee, you're always first in line without even knowing there's a line.

      It's just bad design...

    2. I would not be surprised that many people were like you anon and did not realize it was not shared loot. It was however grabbed it first. Blame blizzard for creating bad blood with things like that.

      I am sure more than a few ranged that were downing it threw a few unfriendly words your way. lol I might even have been one of them. I once said to someone, if you really needed 50 silver that bad you could have asked. lol

      As jaeger said, it is not really your fault, it is just bad design. Unless someone else got it before you, you would never know.