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Glitter effect indicating that there is loot.

In World of Warcraft, loot can mean a couple of things:

  1. Stuff (treasure: items or money) you get from mobs, bosses, or containers.
  2. The act (to loot; looting) of getting the stuff mentioned above.

Looting while solo

When alone, looting is uncomplicated - a lootable corpse emits a glittering effect, and the cursor will change to the "loot all" icon. caption=Lootable corpse in range. Right click the corpse of the mob, and a loot window will pop up containing any loot the mob was carrying. (If the window is empty, this normally indicates a bug, as corpses that have no loot on them never provide the option.)

Using ⇧ Shift+Right Click "autoloots" the corpse, which picks up all items except Bind on Pickup items, which need to be manually confirmed. Autoloot can be made the default in the settings.

Looting while in a party

Personal Loot

Personal loot is the default for all dungeon difficulties, including Mythic+. Under personal loot, the game chooses a number of players (based on group size) and permits them to loot a random item for their Specialization, while everyone else receives an amount of gold. Mounts can also be won via this method from bosses that drop them. Like solo looting, the drops are retrieved by directly looting the corpse of the boss, with the chat logs showing who's won something. Loot from Personal Loot is tradeable to anyone in the group, as long as it is also not an Item level upgrade for yourself.

Certain items like Legion legendaries and world boss drops are treated as what's called 'personal push loot', meaning these items do not need to be directly looted from the boss' corpse and are instead directly placed in the player's inventory.

Group loot

Main article: Need before Greed

Group loot (or Need before Greed) is the default loot distribution setting for all raid difficulties.

Quest loot

Quest loot is on a separate loot distribution and there are two common modes for this to occur.

  1. For most quests that require collecting several items of a type ( [Searing Collars] for example), the quest items will drop on some mobs and be looted in the normal way, except that if the current looter can't pick up the item (not on quest, or already has enough) — then the quest items are FFA for those who still need them. Other items on the corpse are governed by the party loot setting. On some quests, the quest loot is always free-for-all.
  2. For most quests where the party is to collect one of a specific item from a specific mob (like  [Dar'Khan's Head]) then regardless of loot setting, each member may loot the quest item off the same corpse. The other loot on the corpse is subject to the party loot setting. Though less frequent, this sometimes occurs even on quests that require looting multiple items from a type of mob (such as the  [Shaman Voodoo Charm] for A [1-30] The Sleeping Druid).

Legacy Loot Mode

Introduced in the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, Legacy Loot Mode is automatically enabled when a player enters an instance at 11 levels or more above the maximum level of the content. Under Legacy Loot rules, drops will include a chance for all items that would drop for a full party or raid at the instance’s level.


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In battlegrounds, players can "loot" enemy corpses. This provides none of the player's items, and instead gives a bit of money. More importantly, it removes their "insignia" so that they must revive at the graveyard, and awarding the looter a small sum of money. Looting the player's corpse forces it to Release Spirit if they have not already done so, to prevent corpses from monitoring their enemies. If the player's ghost has started traveling back to their corpse when their insignia is removed, they will need to walk back to the graveyard, causing them to remain dead for longer.

Rare drops and bad luck

When farming for a rare item it's easy to buy into the Gambler's Fallacy, that one is bound to get an item drop after a certain amount of attempts - this is not true. The drop chance for a desired item from each individual attempt is always constant; it does not increase with each subsequent kill. What it does raise is the cumulative probability of obtaining the item at least once over multiple attempts. For example, the first time a player slays the Lich King, their chance to receive  [Invincible's Reins] is 1%, and on their 100th kill the chance is 1%. But after having killed the Lich King 100 times, their chance of having received the mount at least once is about 64%.

However, there are certain cases where Blizzard will implement "bad luck protection" into certain item drops in order to gradually reduce the chance certain players would never see an item drop. For example, when farming the legendary weapon  [Fyr'alath the Dreamrender], both  [Lesser Ember of Fyr'alath] and  [Greater Ember of Fyr'alath] would drop from the raid bosses, items that would increase the individual chance of having the weapon drop from Fyrakk the Blazing.

Blizzard has announced before when the drop-rate for something rare has changed, like with the  [Reins of the Heavenly Onyx Cloud Serpent].[1] There is no evidence of Blizzard changing drop-rates for returning players or players who have just made a real money purchase.

Older loot methods

Icon-search-48x48.png This section contains information that needs to be cleaned up.

Removed from game The subject of this section was removed from World of Warcraft in patch 8.0.1.

The other loot methods available to parties before patch 8.0.1 were vastly more complicated. The leader of the party could set the group looting parameters, as well as the threshold where items of particular quality are automatically rolled for. There are five group looting parameters:

  • Free-for-all: (FFA) First-come, first-serve. You snooze, you lose. This is a good setting if you are assisting someone and intend for them to be able to loot all the kills, or if your party is not in the same area, this setting will prevent meaningless roll prompts. It also makes sense when grouping somewhere that isn't a dungeon when it's very unlikely a really valuable item will drop.
  • Master Loot: One person in the group, designated by the leader, loots all corpses and distributes the loot. This setting can be unpopular with party members, particularly in pick-up groups, because it gives the Master Looter a lot of power to abuse, and requires a lot of trust. However, if the Master Looter is trustworthy, fair, and knows what (s)he is doing, this can be the fairest system. Sometimes Master Loot is used in place of a random-roll system in raids, in which case the designated master looter loots the boss and then announces the looted items one by one. Whoever needs the announced item then types /roll in the chat prompt, which initiates an individual numeric roll. The one who has the highest roll is awarded the item. This loot type is only available to guild-group raids.
  • Round-robin: Party members take turns looting corpses. Seems like it might be fair, "What drops, drops", but a savvy player can manipulate the order that kills are made and get a disproportionate amount of better loot.
  • Group Loot: Like Round-robin, except that there is a threshold set by the leader for which items must be rolled off (see details in the following discussion). Group Loot is commonly used because it is a reasonable compromise based on a generally deserved lack of trust for other players. It is a baseline attempt at fairness at best. It is also the default setting for all groups outside Random Dungeons.
  • Bonus Rolls: Introduced in Mists of Pandaria, the bonus roll system is a token-based system that operates alongside Personal Loot. Players in possession of a specific token, such as the [Seal of Broken Fate], will be given a chance to spend the token for another try at loot from a recently defeated boss. This can be done on any difficulty as well as on world bosses. The chance of obtaining loot from a boss drop is currently theorized to be approximately 15% (equivalent to an average of 3.75 items from a 25-player kill), but this has not been confirmed.

In all loot settings, money on the corpse is distributed as evenly as possible among all the party members.

The group leader may set an item quality threshold. Items below this threshold are handled in a round-robin way preventing people from wasting time rolling for vendor trash. By default, uncommon and better items are rolled for. In raids, it's common to raise the threshold to rare or epic, since uncommon items are insignificant to players equipped enough to raid.

Looting and group etiquette

  1. Read the item descriptions, know what you are rolling on.
    Know if your character needs the item.
    Know what secondary stats are important for your character class, and for your spec.
    Examine what gear you already have.
  2. Research the instance you will be going into for what loot has a chance to drop and decide ahead of time what you need.
  3. If it is a Bind on Pickup item, you cannot give it to an alt. You cannot auction it. It probably has a poor vendor value.
  4. Think beyond yourself. Stretch, you'll get better at it.
  5. Loot your kills. Even if your bags are full, open the corpses that are yours to loot (other than on free for all). This distributes the gold to the party and makes the corpse available to your party members when you close the window.
  6. If you need an item for your off spec, either ask if you can roll need on it, or look at the loot window and wait until everyone who could possibly need the item for main spec picks an option other than need.
  • The generally accepted looting policy is to need on items you plan to use now or in the near future (1 or 2 levels). Generally people greed or pass on gear, and pass on profession recipes they do not want or need. If a Need Before Greed option is selected in error, benevolent loot winners may allow a reroll with /roll.
  • It is normally wisest to use the normal, built-in looting systems, when playing in a Pickup group or any untrustworthy individuals to avoid scams or tricks.
  • Some groups have a policy that, when a bind on pickup item is found as loot, all characters are expected to 'pass' on the item as a sort of pseudo-Master Looter option. It's good to know for which items your group follows this policy, if any.
  • Some players consider it to be rude if someone intentionally loots a corpse while combat is still going on. To be most courteous, it is best to wait until combat is over and everyone has been rezzed before looting or sorting your inventory.
  • Abandoned loot on a corpse prevents it from being skinned, and it is considered polite for a party to loot all corpses if a skinner is in the party. The same applies less frequently to mobs that can be 'skinned' via engineering, mining, or herbalism.

World of Warcraft: Classic exclusive:

  • Sometimes group leaders will state an item is "on reserve", normally while they're forming their Pickup group - this means they or someone in their group intends to take the item if it drops. Ensure you are okay with forgoing your chances at that item before joining.
  • Chests in a dungeon are normally rolled on by all interested party members, with the winner getting to distribute the loot in any manner they see fit.
    • See example scenario.
    • Note that loot from containers — chests, food crates, uses the party loot threshold (if one is in effect), although the container will always be lootable by any party member. If the container holds a high-quality item, that item will be rolled on (or not), the same as if it were looted from a corpse.


Patch changes

  • Dragonflight Patch 10.1.0 (2023-05-02): Added transmog option to the group rolls; It replaces and takes priority over greed rolls if the player does not know the item's transmog appearance.
  • Battle for Azeroth Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): The ability to change loot modes has been removed. Personal loot is now the sole option in all situations.
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2015-09-21): Fixed an issue that could cause characters to receive loot for the wrong class in Personal Loot mode on Mythic difficulty.
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.2.0 (2015-06-23): Rather than treating loot chances independently for each player—sometimes yielding only one or even zero items for a group—we’ll use a system similar to Group Loot to determine how many items a boss will award based on eligible group size. As a result, groups will receive a much more predictable number of drops when they defeat a boss. We're also increasing the overall rate of reward for Personal Loot, giving players more items overall to offset the fact that Personal Loot rewards can’t be distributed among group members.
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2014-11-21): Reverted the change to the default loot mode for random matchmade groups in Dungeon Finder back to Personal loot.
    • In Personal loot, each player in the group will now always receive an item from the final dungeon boss.
    • In Need Before Greed, the dungeon boss will now drop 3 items to be shared among the group as desired, up from 2 previously.
    • Full premade groups queuing in Dungeon Finder now defaults to Need Before Greed and they can change the loot mode if they want.
"Reverted the change" was in reference to an undocumented change from a few days prior.
  • Warlords of Draenor Hotfix (2014-10-14): Resolved an issue in Personal Loot mode where multiple players were unable to loot a boss or chest at the same time.
  • Warlords of Draenor Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14):
    • Support for personal loot mode has expanded to other Raid difficulties (Normal, Heroic, and Mythic) on Siege of Orgrimmar and in future Raids.
    • Loot is no longer automatically deposited to the player's inventory after defeating a boss in personal loot mode. Players eligible to receive loot should now be able to loot the boss to see what they received.
      • Note: Siege of Origrimmar on Raid Finder difficulty uses the new personal loot system. Players should now loot the boss or a chest that spawns after defeating them.
    • Raid Leaders can now elect to use Personal loot mode for their Raid under Loot Options.
    • In the event a character that's eligible but was unable to loot the boss, contents of what they would have received is automatically mailed to them.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Personal Loot setting added.
  • Bc icon.gif Hotfix (2008-03-30): Looting Bind on Pickup items now properly brings up the confirmation dialog while using the Round Robin looting method
  • WoW Icon update.png Patch 1.7.0 (2005-09-13): Need Before Greed and Group Loot options have been improved. The rolling window that appears when an item of the threshold and above is looted now has three buttons: a Need button (the dice), a Greed button (the coin), and a close button. Any players who select Need will get a chance to roll first for the item, with the high roller winning. If no one selects Need, all characters who selected Greed will then roll, with the highest roll winning the item. If everyone closes the window, the item becomes lootable by anyone in the group.

See also