Bastion Stair is my favorite PvE instance in the game. That being said…
Take any Instance boss in the game and figure the odds of you getting a useable drop. Unless you’re running Hunters Vale or ToVL, chances are pretty f’king slim right? Something like 1 out of 12 pieces might be for your class? This wouldn’t be so bad if you could bring all 12 classes into an instance, at least SOMEONE would get the damn drop. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for that phantom player to collect all the drops from a single run.
Sunday night, we had one of those runs.
When I get a couple of the old school guys online, we tend to run through everything like crazy. These are the same guys that had Bastion Stair down to a 90m run at sub R40 levels. I only take credit for tanking it. However, this also means that we run Bastion Stair A LOT. Like, every night that 3+ of us are on at a time. Of course you’re probably wondering, why the hell would you guys run BS so much? Well, half of them are hopeless altoholics that seriously need 10 R40’s on a server before looking at Sentinel runs. My personal reason is that for the majority of the dungeon, the shit just makes sense.
Bastion Stair is an instance CHOCK FULL of PQ’s. Literally, every mob you fight is tied to a PQ somehow. This means lots and lots of bag drops and Master Looting going on. When you get good enough that purple bags drop from the middle wing PQs, you can actually end up with some very decent gear. The problem is always the bosses however, and this is where the phantom player comes in. Any boss in the game drops career specific set pieces, which unfortunately means that you have a 2 out of 12 chance (most of the time) to get what you need. Multiply this by the standard 5-6-7 piece set and you’re looking at a statistical mountain of runs before you’re guaranteed a full set of anything.
Then you have phantom players. I shit you not, on Sunday we ran Bastion Stair, Bloodwrought Enclave, and Bilerot Burrows, EVERY SINGLE DROP was for a Marauder that wasn’t even there. Literally every boss dropped a piece of Mara gear. That means if we had our Marauder online he would have gotten his full Bloodlord and Sentinel sets in one run. Oh, but they’re not called phantom players for nothing. The more and more I hear about players running dungeons and repeatedly getting gear for the same class that isn’t present, it just makes me more and more paranoid. Is there code in the game that creates these phantom player drops? What’s our real chance of getting something useable? 2 out of 15? 2 out of 30? Is this kind of loot distribution really what the game needs to thrive?
To all of this I say hell no. Perhaps initially a low drop chance was needed for the ward granting sets to slow down the rate of players attaining gear, but these days the significant playerbase is running multiple pieces of Invader, Tyrant, Warlord, and very soon Sovereign gear. Is anyone going to really give a crap if I snag my Sentinel pieces sooner? Does anyone even WEAR Bloodlord gear? I’d even go so far as throwing some PQ’s into Lost Vale since ToVL really stole it’s thunder (ToVL really should have required Superior instead of Greater wards imo). I really have no problem with gated content, it makes sense and pushes people to play the game in a designed path. When the path ends at a dead end 10 out of 12 times however, you start smacking your face against the wall in an attempt to mine it for your precious loot.
USE THE PQ SYSTEM. IT WORKS GREAT.
It worked great for Gunbad Mountain in T3, and it worked great for Bastion Stair in T4. All that needs to be done is to convert the instanced boss fights into staged PQ’s, and let 1 of each color bag to drop for beating him. Now you can go multiple directions with loot distribution. The most obvious, but probably a bit too drastic would to simply put an armor piece in one gold bag and call it a day. However I’ve heard of another way to do it, which would be a fragment type system. Each bag has a number of fragments that can be used to repair into the appropriate armor piece when enough are collected. Add in a single dropped piece at random from each boss, and you’ll have the normal cross-your-fingers-and-pray drop system along with a rinse-and-repeat fragment system.
The goal here isn’t to give away gear willy-nilly, but to give players a sense of progression instead of having to rely on blind luck. Not that luck is bad by any means, but it shouldn’t be the sole source of gear necessary to move into the next tier of content. It’s already being done for RvR gear via Medallions and Insignias so you guys know that the system works just fine. It wouldn’t really be a new currency, as each set of fragments would be unique to the armor piece. Ideally this change would have come over a year ago when the FIRST medallion system was put into place, but then again people seem to like doing these dungeons anyway.
We’re never going to escape the fact that players are going to collect every piece of gear in the game. Even if you make it ass-fuckingly ridiculous to attain, players are still going to get their hands on it. In fact, one would imagine those players that would dedicate themselves so hard are already some of the most elite players anyway, and will pass that ass-fucking along in PvP. No lube. All I’m asking for is a little lube to make the experience slightly more enjoyable. Is that so wrong?