I've long retired from the game, so haven't seen the current "gold gear climate" on my server lately, but when I was still playing it was basically a GUARANTEE that if someone was specifically awful and/or noobish, or someone who was a 'casual' that logged in maybe 3 nights a week and ended up in a raid or instance, they'd get a gold piece. A gold piece they might not even ever use in a setting that isn't a daily instance or landscape quest. It was definitely one of the compounded reasons I ended up quitting, as there really was no way to advance my character anymore than grinding mind-numbing instances for days, and since I tended to always be a contributing member of the group with a good build, I was guaranteed to get absolutely nothing. Then I had to watch all these people with no use for the items bragging on them.
For example, when you could still do the DDG skip, I asked a champion from my kin to chank it and said there's a chance he could get the +16% crit multiplier boots as incentive.. I'd been running this repeatedly farm mode for a single TEAL ring for weeks. This champ comes in and chanks it for us, gets his GOLD BOOTS AND THE TEAL MIGHT POCKET in three runs. His FIRST three runs in DDG since 65 cap. Now, he was a great champ and all, but this seems to support the "run random casual instances, get gold" theory.
There were also various awful players on our server who, over a period of a week or two, had completely decked out characters with multiple golds and teals from hard-to-acquire instances (rings from Lost Temple, even some Stoneheight and Fornost jewelery). It was quite sad and amusing at the same time to see them using these pieces paired with other types of gear that really didn't make any sense, but still enraging that random luck is all that matters.
I'm fairly certain some characters also have better RNGs than others, possibly tied to specific instances as well. I know plenty of people who have characters that are swimming in gold items for no apparent reason (my girlfriend's minstrel got SIX of the gold hats from BfE. Yes, SIX of them.), including multiples of the same that have no use except happening to be dyed differently. I noticed a trend where if someone managed to get one gold, there was a very good chance they'd end up with quite a few more.
Anyways, in my opinion, it is unacceptable that dumb luck is now the only requirement for good endgame loot. I spent 6 years playing and refining my classes and skill rotations, instance and raid strats, putting in the effort to know my roles inside and out, just so that I end up helping random "2 week program" fresh 85s get better gear than I could ever have in that amount of time thanks to the broken RNG. Why don't they just run daily lotteries with these items in it for one person on each server a day instead? It wouldn't be any different.
[center]RIP Character signature generator, June 2013.[/center]
[center]Theiol, Fervar, Turthonn, and Vanka, [i]retired LOTRO[/i]|Croue, Folter, [i]Rift - Shatterbone shard[/i][/center]