Looting in a gaming context, specifically in massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) and MUDs, is the process by which a player character obtains items (or loot) such as in-game currency, spells, equipment, or weapons, often from the corpse of a creature or possibly the corpse of another player in a PVP situation (cf. looting). These looted items will be placed into the player's own inventory. Loot is considered a reward for killing a creature or other player.
Looting, using the alternative alphabet of leet speak can be written as "lewting", derived from common misspelling.
The term "ninja looting", or just "ninja-ing", applies to a number of common looting practices. A player exhibiting any of these behaviors might be labeled a "ninja looter", or simply a "ninja":
- Looting treasure off enemies that a party other than his own has defeated but not yet looted. 
- This situation could arise in a number of ways. The killing party could still be involved in a protracted battle with additional enemies, or that party could be having difficulty deciding among themselves who should loot the item, or they may have decided it should go to a friend's or guildmate's character who is not in that party and are awaiting his arrival from elsewhere in the game. (The latter two cases are particular to MMOGs where powerful and important items typically become permanently bound to the first player who picks them up. Otherwise, the item could be looted by anyone and redistributed to the proper individual later.) Similarly, at times there may be a physically accessible treasure that is being guarded (e.g., a treasure chest), such that any attempt to loot it will provoke the guardians into attacking; a player who waits near such a treasure for another player to engage the guardians - and then loots it himself while the other player is occupied in combat - is considered a ninja looter (effortlessly acquiring a treasure at someone else's risk and expense).
- Looting specific items off enemies that the player's own party defeated before the party has formally decided who should do so, or in direct contradiction to a decision that someone else should loot.
- Consistently looting all defeated enemies at the earliest possible moment, thus precluding any other party member from receiving any treasure, even when nothing special is to be had. (This is also known as "loot whoring".)
- Looting items that the player cannot use for the sole purpose of selling or trading it. Sometimes this may be discovered after the fact if that same item (through an in-game trade system, such as the Auction House in World of Warcraft) is later found to be for sale by the player who lied about needing it. This may also occur by misuse of the in-game loot distribution system, by misleading or confusing loot rules, or simply by a lack of established loot rules. Taking advantage of these last two situations is often thought of as a mild offense and may be overlooked as carelessness or poor planning.
Many MMOGs have various loot distribution systems built into the game that attempt to take fairness into account, and can prevent some of these practices. Others have none at all, or only simplistic systems, or optional systems that can be turned on or off by the party's leader. Official player conduct policies also vary from game to game, as does player attitude.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2010)|
The term "scavenging" is used when referring to the process of acquiring loot other players have not picked up, often purposely so, without actually helping them defeat the enemies. By means of scavenging, players may acquire gear they would not have access to by means of their own prowess. Players known to scavenge are called scavengers. Scavenging may be seen as a nuisance by some players, yet the scavenger is normally tolerated if he lets the active players pick their loot first, but this can also turn against them as most loot left behind is useless, "low gold" (low in-game value) items. For example, in RuneScape, the bones of a slain monster are normally left behind, which most other people are welcome to take when they become visible.
Scavenging often occurs in levels where risk is minimal (e. g. the level has been cleared already and there will be no respawns) and lots of neglected loot can be obtained. A prime example for this is the secret cow level in Diablo II, where low level players will often come in to scavenge after the level has been cleared by high level players. The neglected loot is often weak or worthless to the players who cleared it, but extremely powerful and valuable to starting players.
- "'City of Heroes' is a massively entertaining online success". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. August 31, 2004. p. 3E. Retrieved Jan 31 2010.
- http://mmohuts.com/editorials/mmorpg-etiquette 'MMORPG Etiquette – Do’s and Dont’s of MMORPGs'
- Onlife #32: Good game ninja loot at GameSpy
- MMO Bits and Pieces: Looting at MMOFringe
- Scavenging in MoP at MMO Champion