Wondering why suddenly it doesn't seem so painful to farm a dozen wild boars for quest drops? It's because Blizzard changed World of Warcraft's item drop mechanics, but they haven't told anybody until now.
Any World of Warcraft player knows the fatigue of killing endless waves of generic creatures to farm items you need for a quest. When the items actually drop, it's only time-consuming and sometimes oddly satisfying in a rote, mindless way. When they don't drop, no matter how many you've killed, just because of bad luck? Well, that's when computer monitors start getting broken.
Blizzard has, in secret, been looking out for computer monitors since the release of Wrath of the Lich King. Whether you've noticed it or not, when Lich King launched, the developer added a new item drop mechanic for quest drops called "progressive percentages."
In the standard system, a quest item will drop around 35% of the time, at all times. "We found that this had a lot of problems where players would run into streaks, and they only remembered the shitty streaks," Jeff Kaplan, ex-WoW lead designer, said. "So what we decided to do was we took a page out of Warcraft 3, which had a very elegant design which they referred to as 'progressive percentages.'"
Progressive percentages work like this: any mob that has the quest item will have it at all times, and whenever you kill one of these creatures, your percentage of getting the drop will go up, meaning you can eventually get to the point where the percentage is 100, and you'll get a guaranteed drop. So it's not that you've been luckier since Lich King came out - there's actually a system in place here.
It wasn't completely perfect at the beginning, though, Kaplan admitted. "The problem was, when we put it live in the beta--and we didn't tell anybody this--we found that while it was great that it got rid of the bad streaks, it also got rid of all the good streaks," he said.
Better that than shattered monitors and bloody fists.