What if, hear me out, we stopped ruining games with worthless loot

I play video games for many reasons: to flood my brain with dopamine from intense action, to hang out with my friends on Discord, to explore imaginary worlds I could never have imagined on my own. I don’t play video games to spend hours sifting through garbage. If I wanted to put my hands in piles of rotting rubbish to rummage around for anything of value, I’d go to the dump and lose my mind in sheer ecstasy. But – and I don’t think this is a particularly popular activity – picking up garbage sucks, Actually. I don’t want to do it. So why do so many video games think I’m some sort of garbage-loving freak?

Loot is now the pink slime of the game mechanics: some filler you squirt between the flesh

There was a time, not too long ago, when I felt I could safely identify a “loot game” from a distance. If not really a genre, loot games have mostly been a subset of RPGs that use a constant trickle of new gear as bait and a key element of combat. Diablo gave us color-coded loot, and a few years later it became a defining feature of MMOs like World of Warcraft. It’s an obvious combination: MMOs want players to stick around for hundreds or thousands of hours anyway, so why not give them a steady stream of rewards to sell, with the occasional thrill of a truly awesome item drop?

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