“Ninja looting” is a common term used within many massively-multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) to describe the act of looting items from corpses, chests, and the game environment without permission.
This term predates World of Warcraft by many years, and was originally coined in virtual worlds that did not possess the same looting mechanics that are available in-game today. Because of how loot dropped in these other worlds — frequently in the form of free-for-all chests on the ground — it was possible for players to loot items they did not personally help generate. Stealing loot in this manner often required speed and subtlety, so the title “loot ninja” was born.
The World of Warcraft looting system was specifically designed so this sort of item theft cannot occur. In order for a player to loot an item, they must contribute to the corresponding kill or be a part of the group responsible for it. Players who do not meet these requirements will be ineligible for any loot that drops. As a result, players are only able to loot items they are entitled to own; they cannot “ninja” or steal loot directly from other players.