When Should You Not Roll – Even If You Can?

If you can roll on an item, you should roll on it. Right?

That’s certainly an argument we’ve heard advanced before, particularly about LFD, LFR and similar PUG runs. But just because you can, is it actually fair or reasonable to do so? That’s the debate that has started today between Syl of Raging Monkeys and Syp of Bio Break.

Syp started it all off, with a post about an experience he recently encountered in a random RIFT group

“So last night I queue up for a random dungeon in RIFT, and quickly get placed into one as damage (in RIFT, of course, you can swap between roles, and I have DPS, heals, and support on deck). When it puts me into the dungeon, I see that my party is very far away and most of the dungeon is cleared. To me, this isn’t a good sign, because it usually means that someone quit or was kicked.

Whatever. I run all the way to the end, where the party is about to tackle the last boss. On the way, two of the members are ripping into our support person, telling him that he should be using such-and-such skill with that build and why wasn’t he and did he kill puppies as a hobby you heartless monster? Another not great sign. Silently, I dare them to say something, anything about me.

We head into the boss battle, take him down, and a mace drops with nice stats for Clerics. There are three Clerics in the group, myself included. It’s an upgrade to us all.

So what’s the protocol on rolls?”*

Syp goes on to say that he rolled and won, and was subsequently insulted for it. However, rather than simply being annoyed by that, the experience left him thinking about the “unwritten protocols” that other players abide by – and he started a poll to find out what other peoples’ opinions were.

And that’s where Syl came in, as she wrote a lengthy, thoughtful response to the situation, which ended up as a blog post

“I think every last MMO player knows that dungeons consist of a great deal more than just bosses (unless they’re called Trial of the Grand Crusader); why else are there dungeons in the first place instead of loot piñatas lined up for us to plow through? Of course the entire journey through a dungeon, the trash packs, the little traps and annoyances along the way that make up 80-90% of the duration, are how players earn the rite of passage to bosses and loot. And therefore too, bosses and boss loot are not isolated events but rather the result and reward for beating the whole dungeon. Sure, for beating boss mechanics too – but if you’ve ever been to harder dungeons or heroics, you know that everything that comes before and in between bosses is often just as tough or even tougher than many of them. And it’s certainly more numerous.

Add to this, that in many dungeons the final boss is also the boss with the best loot – not necessarily because he is the hardest, but because it took friggin’ AGES to get there! I’d like to name good old WoW Scholomance, just to name one example: even in its 5man version, Scholomance was absolutely huge and a group could easily spend ~2 hours in there (certainly a PuG). The very last boss in Scholo was Gandling who, in comparison to the onerous 2 hours before him, wasn’t all that hard – but he dropped the important Tier 1 headpieces that everyone wanted.

Now, had you joined my party right before Gandling (which is the boss I had to farm the most in vanilla WoW due to loot luck from hell) and then outrolled me on the drop, you can bet I would’ve been absolutely devastated and furious. Did you have “a right to”? As long as no other rules were established – I guess. Equally, I would’ve had every right to grind my teeth though. Just because you can do something or have the right to do it, doesn’t mean it’s particularly thoughtful or “deserving”. If people always got what they deserved…well, what a beautiful world that would be.”*

Syl goes on to discuss lockouts, single chances and more – but nonetheless presents a viewpoint a world away from the alternate “if you can take it, you should” attitude.

This is an old discussion in the MMO world, but one that’s constantly adding new twists and new things to consider as MMOs evolve. So – what do you think the loot protocol is in today’s MMO world?