Is there loot scaling in WoW?

I was reading up about some of the new loot in Wrath the other day and an interesting thought struck me.  I’ve seen a number of anecdotal comments about how when Wrath was first released that item X (say Arctic Fur) was dropping at a high rate, but over time this seems to have declined.

Looking through some of the old comments about Primal farming in the Burning Crusade I see a similar pattern.  Primals, or rather Motes, dropped a lot initially and were common, but their commonality appeared to decline rapidly soon after launch to as stage where they were uncommon or even rare.  For example anecdotal comments have players estimating that the some loot was initially dropping 1 in 3 or 1 in 5 kills, but quickly declined to 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 type levels.

Is this undocumented patching/changes to the Wow system by Blizzard or is it built in loot scaling?

Now you might just assume that Blizzard realised, via internal drop statistics or other means that valuable loot was dropping with common frequency, and manually turned down the drop rate.  The Wow community appears to be very patch focused generally so this is a natural assumption.  However is it a correct assumption?

I’ve search the interwebs a bit on this and it doesn’t rate a mention.  This is a bit strange to me as I fairly recently came from GuildWars where loot scaling, implemented to discourage bot farming, is a commonly known concept.  What this means at a practical level is that if you continually farm an area with the hope of retaining a certain piece of loot, then the overall quality of the loot (or perhaps just the chance of that piece dropping) from the area decreases for you therefore reducing the value of farming.

Blizzard have shown that they are recording data on all sorts of unusual topics for Achievements, so recording data on the number of Arctic Furs that have dropping in a certain zone wouldn’t be any stretch of the imagination.  Likewise recording the number of gems mined from Sardonite nodes throughout the game would be fairly straight forward.

So what if there is loot scaling?  What does this all mean?  Well not much really 🙂  Perhaps you should try to farm over a wide area, preferably several zones to maximise the value of the loot you receive.  Perhaps the decreased drop rates of some of the uncommon and rare loot will be around for sometime and only improve once a significant chunk of players reach the level cap and are in some of the earlier zones less.

One caveat to keep in mind is that i’m no Blizzard employee, nor do I have any special knowledge about how their systems work.  This is just my musings and observations.

Insightful thought or random babbling?  Make up your own mind.

Gobble gobble.

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