Trash Can Woes

So, I have this theory. I reached this conclusion recently during one of the many dungeon runs I do on a regular basis, after opening yet another chest.

Treasure chests in Guild Wars 2 are really nothing more than the garbage cans of the enemies we’re fighting – full of mostly junk, with the occasional real piece of gold that got tossed out on accident. Sure, you might get a rare weapon or piece of armor, or maybe a core or lodestone…but chances are, all you’ll find is blues, with a disproportionately large number of pieces of pirate armor.

garbagecan

I think that this is what made me come up with that theory.

See, the reasoning for this is because drops and chests in Guild Wars 2 work on an RNG (random number generator) system. Whenever you kill an enemy, or open a chest, the GW2 gods roll a giant billion-sided die. Whatever number it lands on corresponds to a specific piece of loot and ta-da, you get your goodies!

That may be a slightly simplified explanation, but sometimes simple is the best. Also it gives me the mental picture of the Tyrian gods playing D&D, which is always funny.

Anyway! I’m not opposed to RNGs in general. I’m a tabletop gamer, I know the capriciousness of the die and I can appreciate how a single roll can change things. However, that doesn’t keep it from being really, really frustrating at times.

I’ve always been known for having terrible luck when it comes to dice rolls. Generally, if someone’s going to fail a roll in my group, it winds up being me. One time a fight I was in was stretched out about five times longer than it should have been simply because I kept failing roll after roll. So I’m used to it, and the feeling that the dice are always weighted against me has definitely followed me into Guild Wars 2. However, here it has slightly different consequences.

For example, last night I got two rare items as drops, and a third for completing a story mode dungeon for the first time on a character. These are the first rares I’ve gotten in about a week and a half. Whereas the rest of my group generally gets at least one per dungeon run; sometimes more *cough*Opt*cough*. I have yet to get a single exotic as a drop, outside of the Lost Shores chest. Globs of Ectoplasm are required for crafting exotic weapons and armor, rare and exotic jewels, legendary weapons, and a number of other things. The only way to get ecto, other than buying it on the trading post, is to salvage rares and exotics above level ~70 and hope for the best.

The nature of the RNG means that rares and exotics are, well, exceptionally rare as drops, and that means that it’s difficult to get ecto, which makes it hard to craft or buy exotic-level weapons and armor.

An example, from my guild. Opt, who is quoted above in the screenshot from chat, has exceptionally good luck with drops. He’s been able to make exotic jewels for all of his level 80s. Whereas I have very poor luck with drops, and thus far have been able to make exactly two pieces of exotic jewelry. I was able to craft a set of exotic armor for my Mesmer, but that was back when rare mats had plummeted in price, ecto were 13s, and I could afford to buy the mats I needed. If I had waited until I had enough ecto to craft the set, I’d still be waiting.

Some people say that magic find is the answer. I have a set of magic find armor. I have piles of Omnomberry bars. The truth is, our experiences have shown, is that magic find does not help you all that much. Increased chance for drops also means increased chance of garbage drops. White armor above level 80 has a chance to salvage into t6 mats, but I really don’t need a stack of porous bones whenever I go out into Orr – which seems to be the only thing that I see increase in drops when using magic find.

Rather, I’d like to see a tweak of the RNG that’s used in dungeons – or at the very least, for chests. Rares and exotics drop with (relatively) high chances in the Fractals of the Mists, even low level ones. For a while every chest I opened in Fractals gave me two golds. Of course, even that changed quickly so that all I was getting was greens, but even so. Make it so that chests in dungeons and after defeating dragons are actually worthwhile. Increase the chance of getting a rare out of there. If you’re doing high level content, then you should be getting rewarded for it.

The other solution could be to adjust how ectos can be gained. I don’t necessarily mean make them be something that can be dropped from enemies (though that would be nice), but maybe something like a small chance that they could be salvaged out of high level greens. That would then make items that otherwise would just be garbage/vendor trash actually worthwhile and useful.

Treasure chests shouldn’t be trash cans. They should contain actual treasure. And right now, because of the RNG, they don’t.

4 thoughts on “Trash Can Woes

  1. I had a very, very good couple of weeks in terms of loot drops around Christmas and New Year’s. I was in disbelief when I got my third Onyx Core in the middle of my second dungeon run on my best night. My monster loot was excellent as well, and I don’t even bother with magic find armor or omnomberry bars. On the other hand, I’ve definitely have weeks-long stretches of not getting a single valuable item and having to rely on selling merch food and gathering to accumulate any money.

    RNG lotteries are grind, and GW2 is full of them. Not getting a single rare for a week is frustrating. Finally getting a rare and not getting any ecto from salvaging it for the 5th time in a row is disheartening. Getting blue pirate hats from chests when your party member(s) get cores, lodestones, and exotics is frustrating *and* disheartening.

    On the plus side–90% of rare items in GW1 were merch fodder, not worth salvaging unless they had a max upgrade on them and not worth using unless they were max damage, req 9. And that was an *improvement* from the time at launch when 99.99% of rares were useless because max upgrades were incredibly rare and inscriptions were inherent. So you couldn’t afford weapons you needed unless you got a perfect drop, and the drop rate for worthwhile items was exceptionally low. So while GW2′s loot system is still very frustrating, it’s a step in the right direction.

    Like you, I would like to see better loot from chests for sure. Remove all the crappy items from the loot tables. Give fewer, better items. Add more ways to get ecto, and less emphasis on accumulating piles of materials for high-end crafting.

    • “Getting blue pirate hats from chests when your party member(s) get cores, lodestones, and exotics is frustrating *and* disheartening.”

      Yeah. And as that’s my situation 99% of the time…yeah. It’s extremely frustrating and, as you say, disheartening when we’re in a dungeon and you and AJ and Trigger are pinging golds and I’m like “yay…another blue cleric’s pirate gloves…”

      It sucks.

  2. Pingback: This week in Guild Wars 2 | Guild Wars 2 Editorials, Magazine, Media & Podcast | GuildMag

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