Tobold's Blog
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Dungeon Finder and ninja-looting

I've been doing basically nothing but dungeons since patch 3.3 came out, and the experience was mostly positive. Yes, people still leave in the middle of a long run, but replacing them is a lot easier now, and if it is a dps who left the group is back up and running within minutes. Hint: If the group needs to gather the new arrival at the entrance of the instance, using the eye icon next to your mini-map to first teleport out of dungeon and than back in is the fastest way to get everyone together at the entrance. Yesterday I did BRD several times with my paladin, as tank, and in one case the healer I was originally grouped with stayed with me, while replacing dps several times, until we had completely cleared BRD, and killed every single boss in that huge place. Who would have thought you could clear BRD in a pickup group?

I don't know if lower-level people are just nicer, or whether different servers have different moral standards, but one reader wrote me to tell me he had serious problems with people ninja-looting on the last boss in level 80 heroics. Basically the idea is that the ninja-looter counts on you never seeing him again, so he is safe to roll need to an item he can't even use for his class, and get a few more gold pieces out of the run. Hasn't happened to me yet, so I can't say how frequent that is, but it certainly is possible.

Blizzard *did* think of countermeasures to ninja-looting though: You ignore list now holds up to 50 people, you can set people from other servers on ignore, and the Dungeon Finder won't group you with people you have on ignore. Thus if everyone in the group sets the ninja-looter on ignore, especially the tank and healer, he still might run into problems finding a group in the future. Not a huge threat, but then, ninja-looting doesn't really result in a huge gain.

Did you have problems with ninja-looters in patch 3.3?
I guess there is little protection from the guy who ninja loots the last boss. I find the issue of ninja looters sort of insignificant since the ability to get insta-groups (I am a healer) for anything means I can run instances ad nauseum within seconds of entering the queue.

For a guy like me with 30-45 minutes of playtime here and there, this feature may be the best thing that happened to Wow.
"Basically the idea is that the ninja-looter counts on you never seeing him again."

Actually I think Gevlon nailed it when he said a few months ago that ninja looters actually count on you not remembering them when you meet again.

I'm probably more anal than most but the only punishment I could really find to inflict on ninja looters was the ignore list. Then if asked why someone was on my list a few days later I'd usually have no idea why.

Most people don't even do that.

And that was before it was cross-server.
I think you cannot choose need for an item you cannot use now.
I encountered another problem yesterday. Not ninja-looting, but AFKing on auto-follow. The guy did seem to press a button from time to time to that it looked like he was doing something, but he clearly wasn't paying full attention, as his DPS was way below what might be expected from his gear & achievements.

Of course it might be a bought character, but the aimless wandering made it look more like someone semi-AFK.
I think you cannot choose need for an item you cannot use now.

Yes but even if so - Can a hunter use a dagger with spellpower?
The only griefing I've seen:

DPS 1 disconnects and is kicked so we can replace him.
DPS 2 starts AFKing at instance entrance.

The problem here is that unless DPS 2 actually clicks on 'confirm my role', the system won't replace the empty slot - this means that the remaining 3 have to either continue slowly (which is doable in many cases, but sucks) or quit and reform. You can't kick a person when your group only has 4 in it, it appears.

And if the remaining 3 do suffer through, the afk person gets a reward bag and xp.

Also it's quite hard to ignore a player with accented characters in their name.
There's also a problem - kinda related - with loot rules. Previously, if you had a disagreement about loot on the last boss of an instance - for example, a healer had rolled on +hit gear, not strictly ninja-looting (because it is an upgrade for them), but a bit dubious - you had at least some comeback. Now, if someone rolls on something that really should have gone to another member on the last boss of the instance, you got nothin'. They'll log off straight away.

This is possibly a more serious problem than ninja-looting, at least for classes with some crossover in their stats (notably casters, healers and DPS - OK, everyone except tanks).

Personally I'm just avoiding running any dungeon with a Dungeon Finder group if I'm there for a specific piece of loot - finding friends to run it might take longer, but avoids loot drama and stress.
From the patch notes:

"•Need Before Greed will now recognize gear appropriate for a class in three ways: the class must be able to equip the item, pure melee will be unable to roll on spell power items, and classes are limited to their dominant armor type (ex. paladins for plate). All items will still be available via Greed rolls as well as the new Disenchant option should no member be able to use the item."

I have no idea whether this is working as stated.
The patch notes certainly say you can't choose Need on an item your class can't use, but that still leaves huge room for dispute.

In the one dungeon I have done using the new system we had a Hunter who kept rolling Need on items he could use but which the Rogue in the group had already asked him not to roll on if they dropped. The Hunter never replied, indeed he never spoke at all and in there was a vote to kick him.

I voted against kicking him, twice. As far as i am concerned, if the game permits him to roll, he can roll. Nothing says he has to defer to another group member who feels the items suits him better. However, after much swearing and namecalling in party chat and two unsuccessful attempts to remove him, the Hunter left the group of his own accord and we replaced him.

He still hadn't spoken, but he must obviously have seen what was going on. Does the person against whom the vote is being taken get to see the pop-up? Does he indeed get to vote on his own survival? Or maybe he could understand English after all and heard what was being said about him in group and decided it wasn't worth the abuse.
I've run several instances using the new tool, from Deadmines to early-Wrath instances (not level 80 or heroic instances yet). My experience has been overall positive, generally how you described. I have not experienced a ninja loot yet. (This is only as healing or dps, I don't have the skills to do the tank bit just yet.)
I've been running quite some low level dungeons this weekend. I absolutely love the dungeon finder. My priest has gotten almost 4 levels now by just running dungeons as a healer. I don't think I'll even have to bother unlocking dual spec now :)
I've also seen a lot of ninja-looting. It seems like a lot of players just click Need whenever they can. And I don't really mind, it's a bit like Diablo; grab what you can! ;)
But it's absolutely fantastic that from what it looks like now, I'll be leveling my priest to 80 in dungeons only. No more boring soloing.
What I have seen is, epics are worth a lot less then greens or blues. The guy is not very smart if he ninjas a purple for the money. Unless it is BoE, but you were talking boss fight ninjaing. Makes sense though. Ninjas aren't that smart anyways.
The closest I've seen to ninjaing was a shaman who was a bit too eager to get offset gear (not really ninjaing since there was n one else rolling) and people needing orbs, which just seems to be a new standard.
As far as ninja looting goes, what I see a lot of is if they can use it they need it. It's not even close to being fool proof.

DPS on tanking items and so on. Mostly it's jewelry/trinkets, weapons and cloaks I see this happen on.
I'm slowly starting to see a trend of haphazard speed runs with the plethora of paladin tanks that you find in the random LFG system.

It's happened several times to me and it seems limited (right now) to paladin tanks. They don't wait to buff the group, or casters to regain mana, they just rush along and start chain pulling.

They are especially notorious for doing this after a boss fight when the group is recovering, rezzing, etc. They don't check to see if they have a healer nearby or if the group is ready, they just run ahead.

Something needs to be done to rank players or be able to see what kind of group you are getting into before going into the instance. Otherwise, should this trend become more prevelent, most people I believe will stop using the LFG because they don't want to deal with idiot tanks.
That is not Ninja-looting. Ninja-looting is impossible in the new loot system.

Look, in a group of PUGs you have no more "right" to a specific item than anyone else. Especially because of the enchanting changes that Blizzard made where you can't even green roll and expect to get something that someone else rolled DE on. And I won't even get into the whole Enchanting change again. I'm still outraged over that BS.
Unlike you Tolbold I hate the new LFG tool. I have now run 16 different times at all levels and completed exactly three of them. I have never successfully completed a below level 80 instance despite three hours invested. A complete waste of time.

As it stands right now I won't use the new LFG tool, period. I've gone on to do other things in the game.
The game cannot make sentient choices for its players. More often than not, you actually have to execute some form of social behavior, to be recognized as a fellow player. As such it is advised to abstract from your little bubble once in while and take a positive attitude towards your group members and their needs.
A random pug where you most likely will never see anyone again, is the perfect proving ground for your social abilities ;).
I run level 80 instances with my healer and my hunter. Neither can use anything out of 5-man instance short of ToC or ICC. In those groups, the closest I saw to ninja looting was the 5th roller rolling need on an orb...and when called on it, agreed to a reroll. Turns out he won that roll as well, so no idea if he'd actually have traded the item.

In another group, I had a hunch, and waited to roll on the orb till the others had: They rolled need, so I did as well.

Overall, I'd say the group members I've had are about 80-85% people I'd be happy to group with again. Others...probably just a matter of style.
I gave the LFG option a test today. It was a quick and fun run.

I do wonder if there's some kind of gear match to prevent a guy decked in epics to be mixed up with someone in green gear.

And also about the loot distribution. Say I'm a dual specced deathknight who clicks "tanking & DPS". Now I can join the group as tank. But my main spec is DPS. So I'd obviously prefer to roll on DPS items but is that "fair" to the DPS warrior?
Just hypothetically does it matter if everyone rolls Need on everything?

The amount of instances you can power through is staggering and the main reason for running them is the badges.

What I'm saying is when people are starting to talk about not grouping any more because of ninjas what you seem to be saying is "I don't want 4 50% chances at something when back in the good old days I would have got one 100% chance."

Maybe it's only an issue if you let it bother you, if you don't worry about it you'll gear up much faster than you ever did before.
I ran 3 lv 80 heroics so far and they were mostly good experiences. But then again, as someone who never ran dungeons before 3.3 this is a big thing for me.
I'm not playing on a retail server anymore but a few years back when I was, and Pre-BC era I did BRD pugs all the time and several of them were full clears. And that was as a Warlock which were really underpowered back then. I guess back then BRD runs were such an integral part of the game and the player's progression that there were tons and tons of players doing runs back then. Doing a full BRD run now even in this current time really would be pretty cool though, man that place is huge! It really is a whole underground Zone unto itself. Lots of good (and horribly bad) memories of that place.

"Also it's quite hard to ignore a player with accented characters in their name."

Type /ignore (space)

Then shift-click the character's name.

It will insert his name into your chat :)
There's currently a bug in that ignore list, where it turns out to be 50 names total across your ID. Not a single character in wow. Not that big of a deal if you're playing only one character but if you've got a major case of alts, this can be a problem.
during the past week I've ran countless heroic runs. Not sure how many but I ended up buying about 5 pieces of badge loot, so A LOT. So as you can see I'm a big fan of the new tool. I love it.

I've only encounted one item ninja. A hunter who rolled for a defense sword. Perhaps it wasn't an intentional ninja as he had two green swords. The tank(me) certainly didn't it, so no one really cared. Some one lost 20g from the vendor.

The orb situation bothers me a only because not everyone is on the same page. Some people roll need on orbs antcipating other will be rolling need. Some roll greed. I always tell the group "ALL ROLL NEED ON ORB TO AVOID NINJAS", but not everyone listens. Not a huge issue as orbs are now on AH for 7g.
I must admit that the vast majority of PUGs have worked out fine for me, even with a weakly geared level 60-something alt.

Low-level instancing is obviously less smooth, with many people either new to their class or to their role, and often somewhat oddly geared. But I've found that a bit of patience and sense of humor a lot can be excused.

The worst are the people that do not know how to get into the ICC heroics after dieing. One complete idiot ended up in Dragonblight, got dismounted from his ghostly gryphon, and had to walk to Crystalsong and be pointed to the entrance. I cannot understand how people like this ever accomplish anything in this game.
Seems like the easiest thing to do would be steal an idea from Warhammer.

Give the group leader the option to set Need on use only so you can only need items you can use. It reduces the risk, though not eliminating it.
How is ninja looting not possible with this system? Last night a hunter "needed" on a shield in Scarlet Monestary that the tank needed. I was under the impression you could not roll on things your class can't sue
The needing on the last boss has become an issue. As more and more players become aware of this manipulation of the Dungeon Finder system, the more I've seen it happen.

I'm on a Refer-A-Friend linked account with my friend on Aeries Peak. We've run two of our toons from 1-60 purely on the Dungeon Finder. We started our accounts a few days before 3.3 came out. It's happening more and more often as we progress through levels over the last month and a half.

Just wait, it will get wide-spread. It's not just Needing on end-boss gear that the ninja looter cannot use, it's ninja-looting BOE drops as well. There are 3 reasons:

1. Sell vendor for gold

2. Using an exploit, you can pass the needed ninja loot to a friend whom wasn't even in the team in the first place.

3. Disenchanting mats. (Vendor or Use to level up your prof)

There are 2 ways a ninja looter can abuse the dungeon finder for this.

A. Don't roll on the last item dropped by the end boss. Wait, and let the timer run down. Most people will just leave, even if they need-rolled on it..they just assume that they will win it. Like a tank needing a shield that nobody in the team can use. If that 1 person stays, and won't leave.. you just kick him. Since nobody is around for the vote, that person is kicked. You then need the item before the timer expires and it's yours.

2. Need roll. When you win, leave party, start up the dungeon finder again.
There are many people reporting on Supports many games (WoW includeed) and may be useful for all people who want report ninja-looters outside Blizzard or other companies rules.
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