User:Tennessee Ernie Ford/Shortcuts/Loot scaling
The amount of confusion on this topic is staggering. ANet has posted precious little about anti-farming code and loot scaling, but what they have published is generally disregarded. This page is an attempt to collate official statements and repeatable experiments so that this is no longer the most mysterious bit of code in the game.
The short story
ANet includes anti-farming and loot scaling code to make it hard for that small percentage of players up to no-good, primarily bots and Real Money Traders. It is not designed to punish repeat farming.
- Loot scaling is the code that encourages people to farm in groups while still reward solo play. The key point is that:
- Soloists should expect more common loot, but not as much as they would get if farming more often with more players.
- Anti-farming is the code that punishes the tiny fraction of players. People reading this are almost certain to be exempt.
- Exempt items are those that are not scaled.
- Soloists should expect to receive just as much of these and they would farming more often in groups.
- Drop rates measure the number of times an item falls from a dead foe, but could also refer to number of drops per hour.
- ANet has never given an official word about whether there is any code that affects drop rates over time.
Most of the conversations about loot scaling and anti-farming code are based on anecdotal stories that players have. The fact that 1000s of players believe these ideas doesn't make them true. TEF's favorite RL example of this is that nurses and police fervently believe (based on experience) that crime rates and crazy behavior spike during/near the full moon. However, actual research proves this to be false.
In particular, I have yet to see any repeatable research that supports any of the following claims; in each case, players remember confirming instances and ignore those that do not support their beliefs (this is officially known as heads I win; tails you lose).
- Unproven: drop rates vary with the time of day.
- Unproven and unlikely: drop rates vary with the number of players farming the same area.
- Demonstrably false: drop are reduced by repeat visits to the same area.
- Poorly tested (or at least, the results have not been published): there are fewer drops when foes die simultaneously (usually from AoE).
- Specifically included
- Common (white) items, including common materials.
- Skill Tomes
- Rare materials
- All rare (gold colored) items
- All unique (green) items
- Special event items
"People who play in normal size parties, including parties of heroes and henchman, will see no difference at all from loot scaling. At the same time, they will notice that normal mode is now much easier to farm, and that the introduction of Hard Mode provides a place they can play where the loot is better than ever before. Thus, people who play the game primarily in parties will simply make more money than they previously did. "
- Translation: Historically interesting; of zero value to those farming in 2011.
- Casual farming
"People who periodically enjoy farming solo (with no heroes or henchmen) but are casual about it are also likely to see an improvement. They'll find that solo farming is much easier than it was before, because monsters don't have the anti-farming AI that they used to have, and because the game no longer prevents players from repeatedly farming the same monsters over and over. Many types of builds that didn't work in the past, or that haven't been effective since the earliest days of Guild Wars, can now be used for solo farming. Thus, casual farmers will find the game much easier to farm than it was before, and that they can earn more money than before even with loot scaling in place. "
- Monsters do not have anti-farming AI.
- The game does not prevent repeat farming.
- Advanced solo farming
"People who were advanced solo farmers and who were earning vastly more money through solo farming than through playing the game normally will see the full effect of loot scaling. They will earn less gold and common loot from solo farming than they did in the past. The loot scaling for gold and common loot is not linear with the number of players in the party, and it includes an element of randomness, so while the difference is not easy to quantify, it is by no means a factor of eight. Advanced solo farmers may now earn about twice as much gold and common loot from farming solo as they would if they farmed in a party. While gold and common loot are thus reduced for these players by loot scaling, certain other types of loot are completely unaffected. For example, Skill Tomes are completely unaffected by loot scaling, so they still drop eight times as frequently for solo farmers than they do for people who play in parties. Thus, advanced solo farmers will find that certain types of farming are still extremely productive for them, but they may have to change what and where they farm if they want to earn as much money as they did before. "
- Advanced solo farming is defined as earning vastly more money through solo farming than through normal game play.
- Advanced solo farming earns less gold and common loot than equivalent group farming.
- Advanced solo farming has no effect at all on rare items, which are exempt from scaling.