Blizzard announced that guild raids will no longer have a Master loot option – all loot will be Personal loot.

As it stands right now – on Personal loot if you win an item that is a higher iLevel than any other item you own for that slot, the item cannot be traded. If the item is equal or lower iLevel, it can be traded.

In a recent dev Q&A, Ion Hazzikostas (Warcraft Game Director), explained some reasons for this change:

  • All other loot in game has been on the Personal loot system (dungeons, world bosses, etc)
  • Master loot puts your fate in someone else’s hands, and you no longer have any control over it
  • If you help kill a boss, you should have a chance to get loot
  • It was not to take away split runs, however, they mention that is a welcomed side effect. (A split run is where a team takes their roster of 20 and split them up into 4 farm teams, for example. Each team consists of 5 ‘real’ players and 15 alts. All items that drop are Master looted to the 5 ‘real’ players, allowing the team to gear up faster).

The dev Q&A video from April 26 is queued up to the Master loot / Personal loot question below:

Watch Live Developer Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas from Warcraft on

This change is pretty controversial. A lot of people really love it, or really hate it.

The Internet is full of debates on the merits and flaws of each system. Instead of adding to that, I’ve done what we do best: run the numbers and let the data do the talking. (Click for full size)Master loot vs personal loot infographic - how does it affect mythic raid teams and other loot?

Personal vs Master loot system – a few thoughts from Mr. Robot’s team

Is Master loot better for your team?

A typical Mythic team that isn’t doing split runs and is trying to gear up a team at the same time (everyone starts around an equal level of gear, as opposed to alts trying to catch up), won’t see much of a difference between the two loot systems.

That’s because as a team is progressing, Master loot doesn’t provide much of an advantage over Personal loot.

Even if a few items get ‘wasted’ because they go to a trial who leaves or a TF item goes to someone who already had that non-TF item… the impact on the team as a whole will be small enough that you won’t feel it. Loot funneling efforts would make the boss would die mere seconds sooner.

(Of course, split raiding will be greatly impacted).

Will I fall really far behind if I get unlucky with Personal loot?

As the infographic shows, if you fall 3 upgrades behind other players on your team, that would result in about a 2.5% DPS loss compared to them.

Of course, 2.5% is definitely greater than 0… but I argue that it would barely be noticeable in-game. To put this in perspective, here’s a screenshot of what a 2.5% DPS difference looks like on Warcraft Logs (or a damage meter).

Damage loss master loot

No one is going to look at those two people at say, “Wow, that one player is falling really far behind.” Instead, people will say, “Whoa, that warrior is killing it. Those middle people are doing really well. And why are the bottom 5 not performing better? What do they need to succeed?”

Gear isn’t the only thing that you can get lucky (or unlucky) with. Your trinket procs, crits, and how things time up are all subject to randomness. This randomness ends up with about 10% swings in damage, even when you execute your rotation perfectly. So that helps put this in perspective.

Calculating loot chances: assumptions & other details

A lot of assumptions were made to calculate the loot-chance section of the infographic.

Blizzard hasn’t ever made the exact loot drop chances public for either system. So some assumptions have to be made. Here is the full list of those assumptions.

  • On Master loot: the boss drops 1 item for every 5 people.
  • On Personal loot: you have a 20% chance to win an item. I assume no trades are happening.
  • The boss has 20 items it could drop and you can equip 5 of them.
  • “High competition” for those 5 items is as follows:
    • 1 ring: usable by 10 people in the raid
    • 1 cloak: usable by 10 people in the raid
    • 2 pieces of armor: usable by 5 people in the raid (like plate wearers, or leather wearers)
    • 1 spec-specific item: usable by 3 people in the raid
  • Medium competition is calculated with the following:
    • 1 ring: usable by 5 people
    • 1 cloak: usable by 5 people
    • 2 pieces of armor: each usable by 3 people
    • 1 spec-specific item: usable by 2 people

Gear / DPS increase assumptions:

  • I ran tests with different slots, favoring the larger ones like Helm and Chest
  • I did not run tests on weapons
  • I used a patchwerk / training dummy fight in order to find the highest damage gain/loss potential

Loot system usage:

We ran a survey in December, 2017, that asked about all sorts of things from people’s teams, to their personal rankings on Warcraft Logs. It also happened to ask about loot systems, which became very relevant with this Master Loot change for BfA – I was able to have survey data from before the change was announced.

  • The survey asked people what content their team was progressing on at the start of the Antorus tier
  • It also asked, “What loot system does your team use?”
  • Which was followed up with, “Do you like that loot system?”

In Summary:

After looking at the data, and seeing how little impact it actually has on team progression (outside of split raids), we like the change. We’re not claiming Personal loot is categorically better, but we are saying that it won’t dramatically affect team progression.