The system which is called "progressive percentages" is used for critical hits in Warcraft 3 and now the more creatures you kill in WoW the higher the percentage grows and can eventually become a 100% drop.
Jeffrey Kaplan about the old and new drop rate system: "We found that this had a lot of problems where players would run into streaks, and they only remembered the shitty streaks," said Kaplan. "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.
So what we did recently with Wrath of the Lich King, and it's something we've never really talked about before, but in Lich King, every creature that is part of the collection quest has the item 100% of the time," continued Kaplan. "But we do a progressive system where we up the chance the player [gets the item] each time he kills it.
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. And overall we needed to raise the base drop percentage to around 45%."
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