BioWare revealed important news today announcing that SWTOR 6.3.2 will remove the Master Loot feature. The update is expected very soon!
Sometimes important changes should be delivered ahead of time and as an alert, because they usually have a significant impact on large parts of the players and the community as a whole.
One such change is the removal of the Master Loot option that the party leader can choose to use as a means to distribute loot. It will not be liked by everyone, but it was nice of BioWare to warn us ahead of time.
The “Community Team” account posted a message on the forums to notify us all about the upcoming change. The main reason stated for this was that the Master Loot feature is easy to exploit and hard to fight-back when someone with bad intentions uses it to literally steal gear from the team they lead.
The Master Loot option has existed in SWTOR since… I honestly can’t tell how long. It feels like it’s been there forever. I want to say it’s been present since 2.0, but it might actually be in the game from the very beginning. If you know the exact patch it was introduced, help me out.
How does Master Loot work currently: The team leader can opt to activate it for a specific boss fight or for the entire duration of the raid. When this option is active, the Team Leader can choose which item should go to which player.
With the launch of Onslaught 6.0 BioWare begun a process of moving from random loot towards a more personalized loot system. The first step was to introduce gear drops based on your character’s current discipline. That was one of the best features of the so-called Spoils of War system, if you ask me.
With the release of Game Update 6.3.2 the Master Loot option will no longer be available for any group formation, in any instance on any difficulty mode.
The devs are aware, or so they say, that it was a very convenient and popular method to distribute loot after a boss fight for organized teams, but the amount of exploits they have detected over the years, apparently, forced them to make the decision to remove this option completely. “we are working to build an efficient process that removes this type of negative player experience and potentially harmful behaviors” – the team stated in that forum post.
I think the real reason is to off-load some of the work the customer support has to deal with – tickets of complaining players. Technically someone delegating a piece of gear to themselves as a leader is not an exploit, because the whole team agreed to grant that leader the chance to distribute loot as they please via the Master Loot system.
And to mitigate the loss many team leaders would probably suffer after 6.3.2, the items that players receive in their inventories will still remain tradeable for two hours after they have received them. This will still allow free trading when and where it seems appropriate and players decide to do it.
Since the release of 6.0 the ultimate goal for the developers has always been “to bring us closer to what we are calling the Personal Loot system“.
With no Master Loot option all gear you earn will be placed directly into your inventory. There will be no more rolling for gear and holding your breath to see if you get the valuable item.
BioWare calls this “modernization”, but I actually liked the strange feeling of joy when I “win” something I have been chasing for quite some time.
Meanwhile we’ve also learned that the next update to SWTOR – patch 6.3.2 – will arrive by the end of August or possible in very early September. 6.3.2 will likely not bring significant changes to the game or any new content. It is more than clear that the team is now focusing on the 7.0 content and the Sniper/Operative PTS 7.0 update clearly shows that.
With BioWare’s standard release practices we can expect this update to be rolled out to the live servers either on August 31 or September 7 – these are Tuesdays – the most popular day for patching any live service or MMO game globally.
Below you can read the full message as it was posted by the “Community Team” account:
We wanted to let you all know about an upcoming change that will be happening with Patch 6.3.2.
Currently, SWTOR has a Master Loot option which allows the party leader to choose who receives each gear piece and a Group Loot option where gear must be rolled on by members of the party and highest roll wins. This has led to unwanted friction during the loot process, so we are working to build an efficient process that removes this type of negative player experience and potentially harmful behaviors. In order to achieve this, we will be removing the Master Loot system to bring us closer to what we are calling the Personal Loot system.
This means that gear you get will go directly into your inventory. No more rolling, no more choosing who wins items. Part of our modernization efforts include improving the loot experience for all players. We know there are groups who used the Master Loot system to distribute gear. We want to reassure you that with these changes gear will still remain tradeable within your group for 2 hours and chat logs will still record who gear was given to.
We took a first step towards Personal Loot during the Onslaught expansion where gear was given based on your discipline. This has worked well, promoted a healthy player experience, and we want to continue building upon this system. Patch 6.3.2 will be the next step along that path as we move towards our 10th anniversary.
6.3.2 is currently targeted for end of the month/early September.