bungie should radically change the way loot is distributed
Disclaimer: This is a pretty long post. I have bullet points at the bottom of the main points.
So, we have random roll items. This is good, it's a loot game. But, with random rolls comes rng. The odds of getting the weapon you want in Destiny, when a weapon can have 5 slots with many variables, are astronomical. This, in itself, is not a bad thing at all. This is just what random rolls are.
BUT in loot games with random rolls, there are things that have to be done to reign in the rng, and Bungie does not do it. I think Bungie should drastically change their attitude to how they distribute loot, as right now it is [i]unfocused and unrewarding[/i].
There are two basic elements that are the cornerstones of loot games:
[b]1.[/b] drop a lot of loot
[b]2.[/b] spread loot around different enemies so players can pinpoint an enemy to farm for a specific thing
On the first point - drop a lot of loot - this is a practical thing. When you have weapons, such as in Destiny, where the odds of getting the roll you want can be 1:20,000, you need to reduce those odds or you risk the player feeling cheated, and that their goal cannot be achieved. By dropping a lot of loot, you reduce the odds by giving the player more chances to get what they want. There is also a psychological aspect, as being presented with half a dozen shiny engrams that have the potential to be what you want is exciting, and releases dopamine, which reinforces the desire to keep playing. This phenomenon was visible with the menagerie exploit, where player engagement was at a high due to the high drop rate.
On the second point, you cannot have hundreds of items in the game and have every one randomly drop anywhere, the rng would be insane. There has to be limits. So you assign items to different enemies and activities. Destiny does this in some places, but due to the terrible drop rates the entire system falls down. Think of lost sectors, for instance. You can kill the boss and get nothing, or get a single blue 3 times in a row or more. As a player of Destiny, you cannot say "Today I want to keep farming for that Waking Vigil with opening shot kill clip, and I whilst I know that Waking Vigils can drop from taken captains in the dreaming city, the only taken captains that can drop a Waking Vigil with Kill Clip is in the shattered throne, so I will go and kill captains in the shattered throne." Most of the time in Destiny you just have to play and pray. You want a bygones? Just play gambit for the rest of your life and hope to god that you get all 5 elements of the roll you want, because it doesn't make a difference what enemy you kill, it's just one big loot pool and if you are lucky you will get one legendary drop at the end of the game from it.
Another strong point about loot pools, is that it makes all content have a reason to be played. The saddest examples of content rot in Destiny are the secret missions for outbreak, whisper and bad juju. Once you have the weapon, ships and catalysts there is no reason to return, because the enemies there do not have loot pools and loot any different to the rest of the game, and the drop rates mean that even if they did, who the hell would even bother? If the enemies in those missions had random roll items, if there was a reason to farm them, that would give players a reason to continue to return, possibly giving hundreds of hours more playtime to those missions that took so long to create.
Crafting systems are also another way to give a player more chances to get what they want, and to give the player more control. Bungie has attempted multiple versions of crafting systems in D2, but each one has been narrowly focused and neutered in some way. The chalice is the one best received, but even this is half a system, at best. A crafting system is supposed to be universal. You should be able to craft every random roll item in the game. It's also absurd to tie the crafting of a single item to the completion of an activity, or a set of chores such as with BA. In a crafting system, the grind exists in gathering materials. This loops back to the point about loot pools. A crafting system can also help keep all content rewarding by spreading crafting materials around different enemies and activities e.g. you want to craft x but there is one rare material needed that can only drop from the boss of A Garden World, and another common material that can only drop from Dul Incaru in the shattered throne.
There are loot games that employ these aspects of loot systems that have been played for years by players, and that is without the need of any daily or weekly, timegating mmo-lite systems that Bungie has, the loot system itself is enough to drive their engagement with the content.
* high drop rates brings down rng to reasonable levels
* high drop rates drives player engagement and feels very rewarding, low drop rates do the opposite
* loot that drops directly from an enemy reinforces the action of killing the enemy to receive a reward and is more satisfying than an end of activity reward or chest
* enemy specific loot pools reduces rng
* enemy specific loot pools gives player's choice and agency over their rewards
* enemy specific loot gives all content a chance to be relevant, replayable and rewarding
* crafting systems also give players more agency over their rewards
* crafting systems and the material grind can also give all content relevance and make it rewarding
* crafting systems in Destiny so far are too narrowly focused and being tied to an activity or chores for crafting is a mistake, as the challenge should be simply getting the materials in the first place