What's Your Favourite Loot System?

What's Your Favourite Loot System?

Thanks to its notoriously treasure-filled tunnels, Destiny has sparked a new discussion around an important and often overlooked part of video games: loot. Let's not allow a popular shooter's moment in the spotlight pervert our sense of history, however. What video game, in your view, has the best loot?

I'll get us started with a personal favourite as a template we can all follow:

What's Your Favourite Loot System?

Game: Fallout

How Its Loot Works: Fallout is an old-school CRPG, which means that it required a great deal of mastery to play effectively. I had to always be honing my skills and earning experience points to unlock more powerful abilities — making every shot I fired more accurate, every weapon I used more durable, every step I took in combat require less energy, stuff like that. This, in turn, meant that I had to always get the best weapons and armour and start using them the moment I could.

Fallout is also a lengthy game (when you first play it, at least), so my focus on loot remained pretty consistent until the final few chapters when I had a reliable combination of power armour and a few different energy weapons. Getting to that point takes a lot of work, however — time and energy spent going through various dungeons with a fine-tooth comb. There's one particularly memorable passage set in an abandoned military defence contractor research facility that's a veritable goldmine for high-level weapons.

Why It's So Great: I want to write a full piece about this, but I remember I started thinking about the whole topic of video game loot after talking to a friend and fellow Fallout originalist one day about how the West Tek research facility is the best loot cave we'd ever encountered. It's presence in the game, and the way players were made aware of it by specific quests, fit so perfectly inside the Fallout universe. Scavenging for loot (or harvesting it, as the case may be) often feels like a gross concept to me, but combing through the West Tek facility is one of the rare cases when grinding complemented my experience with a game on a deep, emotional level. I remember spending a lot of time in that weird little hole in the ground when I first played Fallout as a kid, my brother and I trading notes and ultimately consulting strategy guides to make sure we never missed anything.

We were being incredibly diligent and thorough, all in service of finding trinkets in a video game. But that's what Fallout's world is supposed to feel like: it's a dismal, brutal post-apocalypse. The game's loot helped reinforce something important, therefore: it didn't feel like I was playing this game, it felt like I was just trying to survive inside of it.

What's Your Favourite Loot System?

There are plenty of other video games with a similar emphasis on loot out there, so let me know about one that sticks out to you! Write a note about your favourite kind of video game loot in the comments below.


    spend hours getting painted and colour coded gear and bulk food.
    Then get killed or server reset. 10/10 would do again.

    I think I have to go super cliche and Diablo 1 or 2. Nothing like an exploding monster revealing shiny loot; but I also loved how every now and then you would get a really plain white item that despite have no abilities had such a higher dsp that you couldn't resist using it. That, and varying weapon types would actually affect your playstyle drastically...at least at lower levels.

    I also love the way TES handle loot, in particular Skyrim. Playing a proper role-playing run through (HUD off, no fast travel, playing to your characters personality, expert/master difficulty) treasure chests are super appealing because even if the item you find isn't good for you, disenchanting and selling are weighted really well and super rewarding. That and it is awesome on high difficulties seeing and enemy with awesome looking enchanted weapon/armour from a distance and knowing they will probably kick your ass, but knowing there will be a decent reward.

    For Random looting it's hard to beat Borderlands however I really like in Dark Douls how specific items are in specific places and getting to them (or levelling your stats in order to use said items) is often a quest in itself!

    Really? You think loot is an overlooked aspect of video gaming? AHAHAHhahahahaha!

      I think the author is referring to the actual reviewing of the loot system, as opposed to a developer implementing a loot system, which is obviously quite common.

    an important and often overlooked part of video games: loot. I hope that was meant in the sense of only being given lip service and not as in being ignored as a gaming mechanic because loot systems are incredibly common. They are, however, very rarely implemented well and either end up being done as either a loot-splosion system which makes loot pointless very quickly or a loot-drought system which usually indicates that it should have been designed better or was never needed.

    As for my favourite loot system, I'd have to say that games like Legend of Zelda and Secret of Mana are my favourite systems. Systems like Destiny and Borderlands rely on quantity and randomisation in the hopes that the player will keep playing to find that weapon that has the numbers they want, which means that there is a lot of loot that is redundant and unnecessary.

    On the other hand though, games that follow the systems behind games like The Legend of Zelda have very little in the way of redundant loot because everything has a purpose. Looking at it another way, the loot system is meticulously designed to describe your progression through the world, not as a way of wasting the player's time as they wait for that one random drop with the biggest number.

    Team Fortress 2 had a good system too in its earlier incarnation where everything was designed to allow you to tweak things to your play style while not giving you an unfair advantage. It's gone a little overboard now, but systems like that are also great loot design.

    I always felt like the loot in Skyrim was quite satisfying.

      Too many brooms, for mine. I like everything to have a function, even if I don't know what it is yet. Like the herbs and such. I take your point though - early on I did get a thrill from picking up a head of cabbage and hurling it across a room, just because.

    I liked the loot system in Vagrant Story. Not because of the loot itself, which was pretty much pre-scripted, but because of the crafting system and using those weapons/armour changed it's properties = kill people with this particular weapon and it gets better at killing people but worse at killing beasts...

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now