I remember when I first started playing the game and got this really great item while soloing Blackfathom Deeps. That is a story in itself, long story short, I was new and did not realize that it was a dungeon meant for 5 people and thought it was just some really challenging content that was optional. I decided to take up that challenge and started my effort to solo it around level 20 or so and I downed that first boss and got this awesome shield that, of course, my hunter could not use. So what is a hunter to do? Sell it of course.
I soon learned I could not sell it because it was soulbound and was forced to vendor it. The first thing I thought back then, and still think up to this day, is that is stupid. This is a great shield and someone out there could get a hell of a lot of use out of it.
Flash forward many years to when Diablo 3 came out and I saw their loot system for the first time. Nothing was soulbound. I could even sell that legendary fist weapon my demon hunter had no use for. The words that passed my mind were "this is f'n awesome, warcraft should be like this".
So what if it were? What if there were no such thing as soulbound gear?
There are a few downsides that people will immediately bring up. People having gear they do not deserve. Someone in all raid gear that never stepped into a raid, stuff like that. Another downside would be that the gold sellers would all become gear sellers and the game could very well become a game of who can spend the most money. Both of these are reasonable arguments, I'll give them that, but does it really matter in the end?
If people really wanted to spend money for gear there are already enough places they can buy BoE items from online and there are even places they can go to by a carry, places that will drag them through content and let them get all the gear. So the money thing really is not much of an issue. The people that would buy gear straight out might be slightly higher than the number of people that would server transfer for a carry but who cares? I know I don't. The gear won't make the player. Even if they are in all heroic gear if they are a shitty player they are a shitty player.
The fact of people getting gear that don't deserve it is already in game.. Do you know how many hunters I see walking around in better gear than I have yet they are not capable of pulling 50% of the DPS I do? They did not deserve that gear because they don't know what to do with it but they got it. So nothing will change. Or maybe something would. Now they would get it because they deserve it. They purchased it. Being they made, or bought, the gold to buy it, they deserve it because they paid for it and I too can get it just as easily if I am willing to put in the effort of earning enough gold to buy it. Or if I decide to go the easy route and buy the gold online or buy the item online. That might seem like the cheap and easy route but gold or cash, you are still paying for it which means you deserve it and did not just luck into it. Either way, it actually removes the people getting gear they do not deserve thing because now the playing field would be leveled and anyone can get it, if they have the gold. Everyone has a 100% equal chance at gear now.
The one biggest side effect I could see coming from it is the lack of high end enchanting materials if everything could be sold. Who would disenchant that new chest piece that dropped that no one needed if you can sell it for 60K on the auction house. Lets see, 60K for the chest piece or 500 gold for the sha crystal. Hard choice right? Let me think about that one for a bit.
For all the bad things that could come from gear not being soulbound there are a dozen great things that could come up with from it not being soulbound.
Things like my raid needing a third healer for the fight we are on tonight and I am the only person that has a ToT capable healer ready at the moment that is scheduled to be on. I can now go on my healer but announce that I am rolling as if I were on my hunter. It would further what they were trying to accomplish with shared achievements. Making people feel as if they could do things on any character and not be tied to a main. Now I could roll on stuff for my main while not playing my main.
Or how about T11 when we did not have a holy paladin and it seemed every single boss dropped some sort of intellect plate. We could have sold that, traded it for stuff the people in the raid could use, or saved it for the priest healer that was leveling their paladin alt to heal so they would be all caught up the second they had hit 85. Instead we just ended the expansion with everyone in the guild having 100s of crystals.
No soulbound items would also mean all those great transmog type items you got while doing your solo runs or fun runs could be traded to the character that actually needed it. I like to solo on my hunter and so often I see things and think, that would be awesome on my paladin or wouldn't my priest look awesome with that. Now you can just send it over to them.
What about the bad luck many people have with drops and how something you need never drops when you are on the character that needs it but always seems to drop when you are on one that doesn't. How many times did you run the mechanar on your tank trying to get the sun eater only to go there once on another character and it drop? No more if items were not soulbound. Get it on your priest, send it to your warrior. Woot.
Sure, for randoms there would need to be a new, smarter, roll system so people don't just need on everything for their alts or to sell. But that can be accomplished. If it is something that could be used, and is an upgrade for you, the need button will be lit, if not, it won't. So if I were to run gate of the setting sun on my hunter and the 476 epic drops at the end even if my hunter can equip it and it is specifically meant for a hunter I would not be able to need on it as I have something better. I could only greed and hope to win it so I could send it to one of my alt hunters that does not have it. Something along those lines. Just like if a shaman can use intellect leather, they still can not hit need on it. Sure, it might even be an upgrade in a sense, but it is not specifically meant for them, so they can not hit need on it.
I think this sort of smarter roll system should also include spec. If you are an elemental shaman you can not need on enhancement gear. Even if your offspec is enhancement. Even if it would be an upgrade. That is not what you are there for so all you could do is greed it and hope you win it for your offspec.
If they are going to expand the LFR loot system they could also expand it so people can choose not only which spec they get loot for but what class and spec they get it for. So I can run the LFR on my priest, for instant queue of course, and get my DK their DPS gear by checking that is what I wish to receive loot for, if I should be lucky enough to win something that is.
That would be required with things not being soulbound, a new roll system. Lets face it, people will hit need on everything they can just to sell it, so you would need to change the need to mean really really need and the system will double check you actually need it and it is meant for the spec you are currently in before allowing you to hit need.
I think the game would be leaps and bound better for everyone if the diablo loot system were added as such but that would not be just the non-soulbound loot. It would be everything. Like great loot being able to drop off anything, anywhere, at any time. The random nature of secondary stats would just be higher off the drops in higher difficulty situations. Just like it is in diablo.
What if there were no such thing as soulbound?
I'll stand by my original assessment, "this is f'n awesome, warcraft should be like this".