Poll: What’s the protocol?

Let’s play a quick game I’m going to call “What’s the MMO protocol?”  I’m going to describe a situation and let you vote on what should be the protocol to follow.

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?

Did you vote?  I’m honestly curious.  I rolled on the mace, of course, and won it.  That really cheesed one of the guys off, who went on a long rant that I shouldn’t have done that because Mr. Tanky wanted it more and I had just joined.

My thought was, so what?  They needed me for the fight, I filled a position, and I earned a shot at it.  I didn’t ninja it.  It’s not my fault if the dungeon was cleared already.  And while I do try to exist peacefully with other players, I’m not going to roll over for a bunch of angry puggers.

It just made me think about how players have all these unwritten protocols that they assume everyone should follow, and how none of those rules are the same.

41 thoughts on “Poll: What’s the protocol?

  1. Jacob Ratliff (@Gameronomist) June 19, 2012 / 10:06 am

    You’re very right about the unwritten rules. They’re so hard to know.

    I voted for the “wait to see if someone else needs it” just because I’m of the opinion that more gear will drop soon. I don’t care too much about gear though. 😉

  2. seanxxp June 19, 2012 / 10:10 am

    I think you behaved correctly. They wouldn’t have defeated the boss without you, and as such you deserve a shot at the reward like everyone else. You weren’t running it out of the goodness of your heart after all.

  3. 00james June 19, 2012 / 10:10 am

    You should roll on it just out of spite since they’re being doucebags…as long as it’s something for your class.

  4. Bridget (@BridgetTRU) June 19, 2012 / 10:11 am

    If they needed you for the boss fight, then you have a right to roll on the boss’ loot… unless otherwise clearly communicated prior to the fight by whoever was leading the run.

  5. Syl June 19, 2012 / 10:12 am

    hehe…3rd one for me although I don’t disagree with your choice either. if you feel okay to roll, you’ve every right to, as you said you WERE there too for the kill.
    but personally, I would feel obligated to let the other clerics have first pick, out of courtesy and empathy for sticking all the way through such a (seemingly) sucky run / group. which they might have had a fair share in of course, but yeah….I don’t see boss loot as an isolated thing; often the last boss in a dungeon really is also the best one for loot and the whole reason why people run it for 30 minutes or however long. I’d feel like a freeloader because I was only there for 5mins. but that’s me and I wouldn’t berate someone in my party for choosing differently (although if they outrolled me like that I would grind my teeth).

  6. Fuzzy June 19, 2012 / 10:13 am

    You gave them the chance to finish the instance and roll on phat letwz. Considering that their only other alternative is to abort the run, I think it’s fair that you get a roll. If you’re really nice, you could flag yourself as “greed” instead of “need” if the drop system supports it.

  7. Syp June 19, 2012 / 10:16 am

    I’ll throw in a little P.S. here. When I first teleported to the dungeon, they had killed a guy who dropped a pair of blue pants that was an upgrade for me as well. But I didn’t roll on it because I wasn’t part of the fight — even though the system gave me a chance to.

  8. Capn John June 19, 2012 / 10:31 am

    If you’re in a PUG and you helped defeat the Boss then you earned the right to Need Roll on anything which is an upgrade for you.

  9. Shintar June 19, 2012 / 10:35 am

    I voted for option #1 but I’m with Syl on this: even though I think it’s justifiable, personally I might not roll in such a situation, feeling that I didn’t really deserve it. If I was the one being outrolled by a new joiner I would also be a bit cheesed off, but at the same time I wouldn’t say anything about it as it’s not the new person’s fault that they came in when they did.

  10. rowan June 19, 2012 / 10:35 am

    I voted for the first option. They didn’t contact you and ask for help with a boss, the matchmaking system threw you in there. If you fought in the fight, you deserve the loot for the fight. I’m guessing the missing player probably left voluntarily after they couldn’t take the douchebaggery of the other two. Nothing steams me more than than players berating another player for not having some spell in their rotation or including a spell that is not optimal. It’s all in the approach, someone offering friendly advice is a lot different than “L2P n00b, ur rotation sucks, lulz.” I’ve dropped out myself a few times over that.

    The other question about unwritten rules is an interesting one. When the cross-realm LFG tool launched in WoW, I discovered a lot of “standard techniques” were not the same between servers. I wish I could remember some now, but the vast majority didn’t pertain to me when I was on my priest.

  11. Syl June 19, 2012 / 10:39 am

    On further consideration, I think you made a legit choice within a system that is inherently flawed. the fact that raid guilds replace the whole rolls system with DKP, which pays a lot more tribute to meritocracy, is proof of that people don’t get rewarded for just showing up but spending time. one could apply this to the much shorter dungeon runs too but for obvious reasons of time and missing authority, one cannot establish such ground rules for pugs.

  12. Moxie June 19, 2012 / 10:43 am

    I voted for the first option – if you were in the fight, you are justified in rolling Need if it’s an upgrade.

    However, the context is important too. If they had been nice friendly folks, I’d let the other players have it, just because. But since these guys were being jerks anyway, I’d have rolled Need out of spite. 😉

  13. Wilhelm Arcturus June 19, 2012 / 10:49 am

    If it were WoW with cross-server dungeons and a huge population, I might have gone need. Not to be mean or anything, but somebody elses ire isn’t likely to sting and I was in the fight and it is an upgrade.

    Rift though… when I do things like instant adventure or even cross-server warfronts, I see the same people over and over. So my ability to have a good time rests far more heavily on a small group of people. So I would have probably just passed or gone greed. But that would still help me in the long run. An upgrade for a tank I am going to probably group with again helps me out as well.

  14. ChaosConstant June 19, 2012 / 10:54 am

    It’s a tough call. Normally I’d say roll on it, but if they’ve already ragekicked one group member and they’re clearly not shy about being jerks to another, I’d probably wait to see if they’re going to need it before I did. No sense in risking stirring them up more.
    That said, you’ll likely never see them again and if you do they’ll probably have changed maces half a dozen times by then so it’s really not that big of a deal.

  15. Mark June 19, 2012 / 10:56 am

    If you were there for the fight I say you have earned the right to roll on it.

  16. bhagpuss June 19, 2012 / 11:19 am

    I voted 1 because there’s no doubt you had the right to roll. The item dropped off a mob you helped kill, there’s no grey area there at all. If you’d arrived with them standing over an unlooted corpse of a mob they’d killed while you were running in there’d be a strong argument that you shouldn’t roll on whatever it had, even if you were in the group when it died, but this is much clearer than that.

    Personally I’d have rolled Greed, but then I almost always roll Greed anyway. I have an issue with the concept of “Need before Greed” since I don’t believe there’s anything in a video game that justifies the use of the word “Need”. I’ve always much preferred “Can And Will Use”, which seems a much more meaningful differentiation.

  17. SlothBear June 19, 2012 / 11:22 am

    What Capn John and Mark said. If its an upgrade you roll need. I understand why the other guy was annoyed but its not like its your fault you didn’t join until the end. Life is too short to pass on stuff you need in PUGs.

  18. Psnacky June 19, 2012 / 11:23 am

    I voted wait and see if they need but needing is also a fair option.

    In that situation I would have needed based on who was being an ass to the support class when you first walked in. Where the two other Clerics harassing the support? If so, Need. Was the support player one of the Clerics? Wait and see.

  19. Ald June 19, 2012 / 11:25 am

    Rolling on something that is an upgrade and you can use should never be an issue in PUG’s.

    I’m the type of person that would have passed and spent the rest of the week regretting it as i drag my guild mates through the dungeon over and over until it drops.

    So, nothing wrong with rolling as you had the right.

  20. rowan June 19, 2012 / 11:41 am

    On a completelyt unrelated note, it would be nice to know what the different games are in your rotating banner. I haven’t nearly as many as you and am intrigued by some that I don’t recognize.

  21. Danania June 19, 2012 / 11:51 am

    You were part of the group. You killed the boss. You have an opportunity for the rewards.

    It looks like most people who are reading this post agree. Sure, the pugger was upset, but by the sound of it, he probably would have gotten upset regardless.

  22. ZombiePirate June 19, 2012 / 11:58 am

    The loot dropped from the boss you fought. It didn’t drop from the trash that you didn’t fight. You were in the fight that mattered, not your fault the dungeon finder dropped you in when it did. You fought, you have an equal share of the booty. if they don’t like it they could either reset the instance and start again, or not kick someone the next time hehe.

  23. quadzi June 19, 2012 / 12:05 pm

    I voted #1… and only because there was an option 4 which should have stated “I fought the boss, therefore I have every right to roll on the loot. If you have a problem with that, I have an ascii finger with your name on it.”

    This whole situation is why I hate pug’s and rarely group with people at all. The greedy loot monster turns some people into giant jerks. On the same note, I think many of the people who picked option #3 to “wait and see” mainly do it to avoid confrontation. The problem is that by standing in the background and letting the Type A-Hats get loot without even rolling, it furthers their sense of entitlement.

    I could be completely wrong though and if anyone feels so I await an ascii finger of my own.

  24. Buhallin June 19, 2012 / 12:17 pm

    I find the most consistent unwritten rule in loot distribution is that every player feels they get to decide what anyone else can roll on.

  25. Rakuno June 19, 2012 / 12:24 pm

    I voted #1. You did your part in the group just as much as anyone else in the party so you have all the right to roll on something you can use.

    Like others here though, I might have passed on it, if they were nice, since they cleared most of the dungeon already. Since they were jerks though I would see it as a sort of “payment” for not only helping with the kill but also to having to put up with them during it. :p

  26. ScytheNoire (@ScytheNoire) June 19, 2012 / 12:45 pm

    Thankfully there are games smart enough to do away with this stupidity.

    Loot fighting is just bad design. There is no reason to still have it in any MMO.

  27. Roger Edwards (@ModeratePeril) June 19, 2012 / 1:16 pm

    I have frequently ranted about other peoples subjective “Code of the West” many a time on my podcast and blog. The only rules that count are the TOS from the developers. If it isn’t breaking the game rules, then go for it. You have the option to temper this with your personal philosophy if you like.

    In this case you fulfilled the role the PUG required of you, so had every right to roll on an item that was of use to you. if you had taken the moral high ground and not rolled in this situation, you’d have walked away empty handed. That get’s old very quickly.

    MMOs are such a paradox. It’s the players that make the game and often the players that ruin it.

  28. Fumbles June 19, 2012 / 2:16 pm

    I would roll need if there was not an explicit comment prior to the kill asking for special loot rights. And to qualify as such it would be “hey we are here to try and get this mace for cleric X so if it drops it’s his, you cool with that?” Which I would be.

  29. Paeroka June 19, 2012 / 2:48 pm

    I assume that they asked for another player and if they hadn’t initiated it, then you wouldn’t have joined? Either way, it’s not “loot for finishing the dungeon”, it was loot for killing that boss. And you did help kill the boss. So the loot’s for everybody who helped kill it.

    As Fumbles said, if they had made the rules clear first and had given you a chance to agree/disagree, it’d be different. But in this case, they did not have a right to deny your rolling on loot that dropped off the boss that you have helped kill.

  30. sente June 19, 2012 / 3:06 pm

    A flawed reward system design will get people into this kind of situations.As @ScytheNoire says, there are MMOs that do things in abtter way than this approach – fighting over loot is not an issue there.

    I vote #4 – file a bug report/change request to make a better reward system to avoid too much drama because of arbritary unwritten “rules”.

  31. kiantremayne June 19, 2012 / 3:07 pm

    I’m with the majority, with one proviso. It’s loot from the final boss fight, which you participated in, therefore you have as much right to loot from that fight as anyone else who participated (and zero right to any loot from fights you did NOT participate in, like the pants you rightly passed on).

    The proviso is this – was the mace an upgrade for the role you played in the party, or for an off-role you might not play so often? If it was a mace with tanking stats, I would let a cleric who was actually tanking this instance have priority over a cleric who had healed or DPSed, even if they also have a tanking role set up.

  32. Pai June 19, 2012 / 4:05 pm

    I think the only unwritten protocol most of these types of people have is ‘I (or my friend) deserves the item more than anyone else, regardless’.

  33. Green Armadillo June 19, 2012 / 6:30 pm

    Point of clarification:

    “a mace drops with nice stats for Clerics”

    Which Clerics? I view this as more important than when you joined the group. If it was a tank-appropriate weapon then DPS should not roll against the tank. Tanks rolling on DPS items is a bit more of a grey area if they are DPS who are agreeing to tank in order to solve a societal shortage of tanks, but forbidding DPS to roll on DPS gear is a special loot rule. If you want special loot rules, form your own group.

  34. Syp June 19, 2012 / 7:39 pm

    @Green – I don’t think that applies as much to a game where you do have multiple roles. The tank may have been tanking, but guess what? I can tank too if I swap out roles. I have both a staff and a 1H/shield setup that I swap between. In RIFT, tanks aren’t always *just* tanks.

  35. kaozz June 19, 2012 / 8:05 pm

    From your points on the behavior of this group, I think we already know you joined up with a group of tools, why bother sweating it? Do you honestly feel bad? Don’t. The treated you as if you didn’t matter, didn’t help.

    Did you join the group to model your gear and stand off to the side? No, you participated and helped them clear the end, you have every right to roll. If they didn’t want anyone else rolling on ‘their’ loot they should have finished it without looking for help or asked friends/guild members.

    That’s the nature of the beast with these LFD automated systems, you randomly meet every jerk under the sun, or rather… every rock.

  36. Atnor June 19, 2012 / 9:50 pm

    yeah, you fight in the boss fight, you get to roll on the boss loot. Pretty straightforward for me.

    Also, if they had thought differently, they should have established that in chat before the boss fight, and given you an opportunity to bow out if that’s how they wanted the rules to be. Since they didnt, they really dont have much standing to complain about it after the fight…

  37. Feliz June 20, 2012 / 7:52 am

    You were part of the fight, you can roll. I might have second thoughts if it is only a small or marginal upgrade, or an upgrade for a secondary spec of yours.

    Having said that, I have become mostly deaf to the post-roll whining and rationalizing why somebody else deserved an item more than you. Most of the time, the person crying over it is just annoyed they didn’t get the piece and is trying to get it anyway. It helps if you are a gambler like me, who’s seen so many games of chance and their outcomes, that you’ve grown a thick skin when it comes to the whims of Lady Luck.

  38. Imakulata June 20, 2012 / 10:23 am

    I voted #1. I think it is justified and I think a request to you not do so is only justified on “ask politely, sometimes people comply” basis. 😀

    I don’t think you took anything from the other 4 people. They had ran the dungeon in its entirety and they got their 20% chance to drop – same as they would get if the 5th player stayed with them to the end. If they wanted to have a higher chance, they should have tried undermanning the instance or running with people who promised to finish it and pass on loot.

    An argument could be made the quitter deserved it more than you but there are quite a few problems with the reasoning – first of them is that you do not get a chance to pass the loot to the quitter. Second one is, chances are they quit based on their own decision, thus passed their roll to whomever replaces them.

  39. rowan June 20, 2012 / 11:03 am

    That’s an interesting concept in and of itself: that the replacement player inherits the right to roll from the departing player, regardless of the circumstances of the departure.

  40. Skro June 22, 2012 / 5:46 am

    I think rules should be clear when you group, not when you loot.
    If the group has specific looting rules, they must tell you which they are before you start, and it’s up to you to accept them (my first Balrog down was made with a group who told me that the armor and te Quest item were reserved – I had the right to roll on everything else).
    If there is no rule defined at the start, it should be an equal chance for everyone to roll and win for the item (an alternate option I’ve seen is that everyone rolls, and the “regulars” get a suicide king rule that give the item to the person who needs it in the group if someone from the “regulars” won).

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