Are we past the point of clicking on bodies? Just put the loot in my inventory. Give me some sort of message, great, but most games do not benefit from the extra step of having me click on a body, bag, etc. Experience goes directly on to my character, cash sometimes goes directly onto my character; just put the loot in my inventory.
City of Heroes does this. Global Agenda does this. Team Fortress 2 does this. Rift does this with rift loot. LotRO skirmishes are half-way there with most rewards appearing in your barter wallet as a quest reward mechanic.
The downside is the question of limited inventory space. What do we do when inventory is full? When we click on bodies, the loot is just there, waiting for us to open some inventory slots. Do we just miss out on loot if we are full? My immediate notions would be:
- Yes, so watch for the big red FULL alert and the continued red text on your screen.
- Stop limiting inventory space. That might be a really bad idea in a game with lots of trash loot, which leads to the next step of stop with the trash loot. Alternately, have some sort of genericized system that takes less (server) storage space rather than having dozens of things to remember per item.
- Have a loot overflow holding area. It would be a buffer that lasts for as long as you are logged on, kind of like buyback at the NPC merchants. As long as you stay online (plus time x, to deal with connection isseus?), your bag is infinitely large, but make sure you decide which items you are keeping/selling before logging off. If your connection is lousy, you will want to check that more often, but then you would have the same issue about corpses de-spawning with your loot still inside, and you would still be checking your inventory just as often with the question, “Which of these am I keeping or trashing?” Be sure to move the epic loot to permanent storage after the boss fight.
Any version would be purely a gameplay abstraction that makes no sense even after the best stories I concocted justifying it in-world, but we already accept inventory mechanics in which 100 metal ingots take up as much space as a ring, bears sometimes carry swords and multiple hides but have only a 50% chance to have one leg or tooth on each corpse, gold bars are worth less than gold coins, and gold coins take up no space. Of course, I usually use ranged attacks. I can already imagine sniping one target in a dangerous group and running, where now I would need to go in if I want the loot from that kill.