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The joy of loot in videogames

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It's never enough

My first "loot-based" game was Diablo. I blame my addiction entirely on my friend Joey, who I played the game with online by way of a dial-up connection. Yep, it wasn't my fault at all in the slightest.

He just had to tell me about the coolest uniques in the game, and how he had a few and I had none. Many hours were spent chasing that loot in the darkest depths of Diablo's dungeon, attempting to best or at least meet my friend's newly found equipment.

This is just one of the many reasons juicy loot in games can be addicting, but that doesn't inherently make it a bad thing as long as the squeeze is fun.

I've done a piece in the past about my love of MMOs, and how grinding can often times be therapeutic. I've gotten about a 50/50 response from that, with people ranging from "you're crazy," and "I can totally relate." Although grinding and loot often go hand-in-hand, they don't always have to be the same thing. The joy of loot can go much deeper than that, as it has a tangible result at the end -- more tangible than stat increases anyway.

A perfect example of satisfying loot is Destiny. In that game loot matters so much that it fundamentally changes the way you approach almost any event. If you have a sniper rifle that re-generates ammo on its own, you can now employ brand new strategies that you couldn't before -- that is, if you have the item -- and if you don't the addicting sets in. Guns in Destiny are far more than an extra statline increase, as you can change your core gameplay by getting Exotic weapons, some of which make it feel like an entirely new experience.

Developers are counting on this of course, leading you to a path with gold at the end of it. Things like that pesky RNG (random-number generator), weekly caps, and high ceilings can often prevent you from earning loot, but plenty of offline games offer an addicting loot system, like JRPGs.

Often times each character will have an "ultimate weapon," which is usually earned through some difficult feat of strength or in some super-cryptic manner. I'm in love with this mechanic, and I get a lot of joy out of kitting out my favorite party members with the best possible equipment.

The Souls series is another perfect example of a game where loot can utterly change how you approach everything. I would spend hours searching for certain items that I heard mere rumors about, and often times I'd get attached to that loot, never wanting to change it out for the rest of the entire game. The Cling Ring, which allows you to keep more energy while in Soul form, is something I would want to keep forever.

A truly great loot-based game will diversify their items to allow you to essentially customize the experience to your liking, and that's a large part in why I enjoy lengthy adventures focused on RPG elements. It's an amazing feeling to go from rags to riches, and I find myself booting up old games just to play around with a character I've spent a couple hundred hours building.

It's for these reasons and more that I love loot. That sweet, sweet loot.

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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures


 


 



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