Loot Biasing offers you better drops to complement your current equipment. Join Lead Seasons Designer Patrick Smedley and Systems Designer Blake Philley for a technical overview of how it works, the development process, and more.
What is Loot Biasing?
Loot Biasing is a system that gives you more loot geared towards your current character’s equipment. It focuses on two of the biggest pain points for players—Attribute Perks and item type (things like armor weight class of armor and specific weapons).
Our primary goal was to reduce bad feeling results. Stuff like “I keep seeing Great Axes but the only weapons I use are an Ice Gauntlet and a Fire Staff” or “how am I supposed to use this new chestpiece? It has Focus on it, but I’m a damage dealer and don’t use any Focus on my character.” Those moments don’t feel great, especially after going through difficult content like Mutators or competitive modes like Arenas and Outpost Rush.
We understood our loot system was great at giving lots of stuff, just not always the items you specifically wanted. So, our implementation focused on removing less desirable options. We made other changes in the past as a guideline. For example, weapons previously had a pretty equal chance to drop with any Attribute Perk, even ones that wouldn’t be useful for their scaling. We couldn’t really do that in practice for all loot in the game, but it was a helpful starting point.
How It Works
Loot biasing focuses the odds of certain item types from your potential drops. For instance, if an AI out in the world can drop any weapon from a bucketed source (a type of generic ‘container’ that we can attach to a loot roll so that there are lots of potential options when you get loot from a specific source) then loot biasing comes in and actually removes certain entries from that bucket. Let’s say you have a Great Axe and a War Hammer equipped, then that bucket of potential weapons becomes weighted towards Great Axes and War Hammers.
It’s a complex balancing act since our loot is managed in so many different ways. We’ve come at it with a mindset of trying to focus our loot better, especially around more competitive content. There’s a generic chance for loot biasing to kick in whenever you get loot, but we usually either increase that rate or flat out guarantee it for some content like PvP modes.
We’re making an educated assumption, but I think it’s a pretty safe one, since we’re assuming that you go into PvP content with your favorite gear. We’re trying to give you more of that loot type so you don’t feel like your loot is bad when you see a bunch of Bows on a Void Gauntlet/Life Staff character. There’s definitely still work to do here, and some of the loot biasing rates might have room for further improvement. We’re keeping an eye on how it feels for all of our players.
The system isn’t perfect by any means. Named items cause a lot of potential issues, because many AI are setup to only have a few. Because biasing only allows certain types of equipment to drop, you might land a roll to get a named item or Artifact and not get it because you were farming for Featherweight with a Medium chestpiece on. We had to prevent Named Items and Artifacts from factoring into the system at all since they’re more unique cases than standard loot.
The Impact for New, Returning, and Current Players
We wanted to help preserve the broader swathe of loot for newer players so they have more opportunities to experiment with different items. Running around the world and finding a new type of weapon is pretty fun, but we tune up the loot biasing odds for higher level players. Generally we assume that higher level players, it’s more pronounced as you get closer to the level cap, have settled down on certain weapons and armor weights, so they’re more likely to look for loot that’s similar to what they equip. We expect the system to have a much bigger impact on returning and current players than newer players.
We’ve seen loot biasing help players gear up a lot faster and more effectively. Overall, it’s helping players find specific loot for their characters. We’re still evaluating our system because Rise of the Angry Earth made some major changes to the ways players acquire loot, but so far loot biasing looks to have been a solidly positive part.
The Future of Loot Biasing
We’re still evaluating what we’d like to do for future improvements, but don’t have anything to share right now. Hopefully we’ll be able to better target every player individually. At the moment it’s only able to gather data about your current attributes and equipment types for weapons and armor at the surface level. It can’t read into player desires or intentions yet. It’s possible that you have weapons or armor equipped but are looking for something else entirely. Maybe you joined a group as a healer to fill a slot for a friend, or you’re wearing a different armor weight setup than what you typically prefer.
New World is an ongoing work so we’re always evaluating our systems and looking for ways to improve your experience. Let us know which topics you’d like us to cover in future deep dives. Thanks for your support and we’ll see you in Aeternum!