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Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Biggest Regret

May 30, 2014

Dear Reader,

I’ve written about my regrets plenty, as I’m sure you’ve seen over the past few years.  However, when Amerence put out her call on Twitter to respond to this Blog Azeroth shared topic, I figured I’d lend a hand; it’s a lot of work to keep BA going, and with dwindling interest in WoW as a whole, I want to assist any chance I get.  Thanks, Amerence, for running BA for several years now; I know you don’t get nearly as much gratitude as you should.

So my biggest regret is a tough call, but I think it probably goes back to that first guild disintegration.  If you’re not versed in that travesty, you can read the linked post.  If you’d rather not, here’s the TL;DR version: the guild had a bully that everyone tolerated; I acted very intolerant of the bully, which caused a guild schism, for which I was largely blamed.

I’m not sure if I really regret the intolerance of the bully, but I’m sure there were things I did that exacerbated the problem rather than helped remedy it.  In particular, after having been threatened to be kicked by the bully involved, I told him that it wouldn’t matter, as my buddy, the guild leader, would just let me back in.  I think that caused my buddy a lot of grief, as the bully’s wife started attacking him on a regular basis, harassing him about dealing with me and so forth.  My point then was that his power over me was largely imaginary, but it was taken by several people that my statement meant that I believed I was untouchable and could behave any way I wanted.  In the end, it was the first nail in WoW’s coffin for my buddy, as the constant harassment made him come to hate the game.

I’m not sure how I should have handled it differently.  I went back and read the post and went over the details again with my buddy, which he doesn’t like to talk about, and I’m not sure much has changed in my perceptions of the event since when it first happened.  I was angrier then, but bullies still annoy the hell out of me, so as much as I’d like to say I’d be different now, I’m just not sure.  I did a similar thing in a guild years later, when I was being quite literally harassed about speccing into Lightwell and finally outted the guy publicly about his behavior.  He left the guild not long after, and, since he was a valuable healer, I got secretly (at the time) blamed for that, too.

I’m not sure if I just don’t understand some basic social mechanism where it’s better to not make waves than to defend oneself or others against a bully.  I can intellectually step back and acknowledge that may be the case, but emotionally when I see someone unfairly lording over someone else – whether it’s me or someone I care about – I simply don’t care about the intellectual part.  I see bullies, and I want to break them.  It’s as simple as that.

That may make me a bully, in fact.  Sometimes I have an overly-prickly response to people that I think may be a bully, and later it may turn out that it was just a misunderstanding.  You may remember that I wrote about a guy saying something very homophobic in vent out of the blue one day, and I bashed him on the blog.  Nothing excuses what he said, but he turned out to be an otherwise decent guy.  We later discussed it, and I admitted to perhaps prejudging him, and he apologized for what he said.  We were cool about it, in the end.

Of course, that peace lasted only a few days, until others in the guild began behaving in some bullying behavior, which I wrote about here, and they came and attacked.  Again, I refused to back down, and it led to more guild problems.  I went ahead and left that guild, but it turned out the troublemakers left not long after.  I don’t regret that one at all, as it led to my being where I am now, in which I feel comfortably situated, but it further goes to show my somewhat out-of-control nature when dealing with that type of personality.

So perhaps my regret comes not from one event but just that I react so strongly to what I perceive as bullying behavior, and those reactions may be exacerbated by bullying that I perceive as being accepted by others.

Though while it is a regret, I don’t know that I’d want it to be another way.  The alternatives – being a bully, being a victim, or being accepting of bullies – seem worse.


Stubborn (who wants YOU (pointing) to support Blog Azeroth!)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. kaleedity permalink*
    June 2, 2014 1:31 pm

    Bullying is weird in WoW; it seems that the majority of your stories involving it are similar to mine. I should say that this is “tech-bullying”, or bullying as a result of what spec you play, what skills you utilize, or what gear you use as opposed to other possible elements such as a player’s actual age, gender, or race. Those latter three and similar are ever-present in anything online, but they’re not the subject of this post.

    I say it’s weird because most of my time spent playing this game was in a vanilla-through-burning crusade raiding guild where I was the “tech”; when we had new recruits the recruitment officers would ask me to pay attention to their output in raids and analyze recount data. I had often already done this for fun before the guild officers asked. I was also, to a lesser extent, asked to evaluate their decision making on their gear and specialization choices. I was the final word, and I had more power than I apparently thought I had at the time. In other words, the guild didn’t have any players seriously bullying or criticizing others for their gear or spec, at least through /g, /o, our forums, or our warriors’ channel. It was my job to “tech-bully”, and I can’t remember ever denying someone over something trivial.

    The most tech discussion disagreement I remember having was between three primary warrior representatives. Openly in our public forums, we had Pep, our main tank, who argued the case for more than 31 points in protection (read: early vanilla warrior talents). The then-server-leading raiding guild’s main tank — not even in our guild, on our forums! — argued the case for the traditional 31-5-15 spec that permitted for the threat generation talents out of protection combined with mortal strike. I argued for 31-20 arms-fury if you already had optimally geared tanks. You merely needed enough +defense to avoid critical hits, and the optimal gear gave you enough strength so that threat should never be a problem*.

    Most purists and virtually everyone I’ve interacted with since our guild disbanded would have been aghast at my argument. A main tank without a point in protection? Unspeakable. The fact is, at the time, protection was terrible. It provided solid benefits to undergeared warriors, but the block value from the 11 point block talent was a trivial amount of protection that was worthless against ragnaros’ fire damage. Nothing through molten core provided enough of a physical damage challenge to even warrant requiring the +armor% talent. Mind you, these are tanks that had already dropped Ragnaros before BWL had been released. Those protection talents would have helped against the much more challenging minions of Nefarian — there just wasn’t enough of a challenge in molten core from physically damaging bosses if you already had the gear. If your tank had proper +defense and fire resistance, you needed no talents to be successful. My point was, by then, why worry about talents at all? Just spec into whatever you like to farm outside of raiding.

    You see, my argument wasn’t about min-maxing; it was about meeting requirements. The most common outlook I see on this matter is the absolute reverse. I’ve seen guilds deny healers for not having 100% of their talent points in their restoration tree, even if those talents don’t apply at all to raids. That doesn’t make any sense! The talent redesign doesn’t even permit that logic anymore. While I’ve been leveling (I’m level 41, paladin, “Wieg”, btw ), I’ve been harassed in groups for having tanking and healing pieces. I can simultaneously tank and heal every leveling instance because they’re easy as either prot or holy, so who cares how I’m geared? How is harassing someone in random groups going to matter to you long term, especially if they’re not slowing you down at all? Just try to vote to kick me instead and make your run take longer. I should say I’ve become accustomed enough to the random dungeon system to actually run prot when queued as a tank and holy when queued as a healer, even though that’s unnecessary in the early levels. I don’t intend to terrify random people, I swear 😀

    It’s possible that the extreme difficulty of the higher end raids of vanilla naxx and later encouraged the outlook that anything short of perfection should be sacrificed. It’s true that dropping patchwerk demanded a minimum level of dps exerted from each of your dps classes, but the amount of damage you needed typically could not be garnered from shuffling ten points between unimportant talents. Most of the player evaluations I’ve seen demand 100% gear and spec decisions to match the guild officer’s demands regardless of actual success or output. That kind of blows my mind. If you can function at 150% of your role’s required output, who cares whether you take 2/2 impale or 5/5 improved 2h specialization in the old arms warrior tree? I would always be able to say that the improved 2h specialization was straight up better per point back then, but I wouldn’t outright deny someone over such trifles. It’s more important that you can coexist and get along with everybody long term.

    A few months later, the other guild’s main tank posted in that tank thread that he had switched to 31-20 arms-fury. The next time there would have been a discussion, shield slam and other buffs were implemented for the protection tree and the high end raid bosses suddenly dealt blockable physical damage. Since shield slam was so much better than a 1h’s now-normalized mortal strike, there was no argument against it.

    *The coda to my story is that I’ve forgotten if Ragnaros could deal unlisted crushing blows. In previous versions of the game, a fire elemental’s melee attacks could be “blocked” and revenge could be triggered, but no damage mitigation or block would occur in the combat log. It is possible that these elemental attacks used Crushing Blows the same way that physical bosses did, but this is something I never tested thoroughly. Also, I have no idea how crushing blows interacted with fire resistance, or even if they interacted at all. Since we never had a tank drop to ragnaros unless Something Else Bad happened, I’d always ASSumed that fire elementals couldn’t land crushing blows.

    • June 3, 2014 1:24 am

      “While I’ve been leveling (I’m level 41, paladin, “Wieg”, btw ), I’ve been harassed in groups for having tanking and healing pieces. I can simultaneously tank and heal every leveling instance because they’re easy as either prot or holy, so who cares how I’m geared?”

      I don’t think it’s as simple as you think, for several reasons.

      1, THEY don’t know you can simultaneously tank and heal every instance. From their perspective you’re mixing and matching gear sets and look like you have no idea what stats you want — like you’re just grabbing random plate pieces. Which a lot of new and/or bad players actually do.

      So from their perspective, why SHOULD they give you the benefit of the doubt and say nothing when 95%+ of people gearing like are actually very bad either due to being new or general lack of skill?

      2, it’s less of a big deal from a healing perspective, but you would be doing more DPS in full strength plate than half strength/half int plate — so you’re slowing down the run. Now, in practical terms, it might not make more than a 5% difference in total length…but it sends the SIGNAL that you aren’t trying your hardest and that you don’t care.

      Imagine if you were DPSing in half str/half int gear — would you think people would have a right to object because you’re dealing noticeably less DPS by wearing int gear? If so, why do tanks get a pass — tank DPS is actually very relevant, doubly so in leveling dungeons.

      “It’s possible that the extreme difficulty of the higher end raids of vanilla naxx and later encouraged the outlook that anything short of perfection should be sacrificed.”

      It’s more than anything short of perfection sends a signal that you don’t care about doing your best and thus you likely don’t care about OTHER aspects of your character and playing the game.

      For example, is missing one 160 agility gem really a big deal on a character with like 30k+ agility? Not really. But the people who don’t care enough to fill that gem socket are the same people who don’t care enough to play well in general — it’s a strong correlation.

    • kaleedity permalink*
      June 4, 2014 12:33 pm

      I’m probably failing at wordpress, but this is intended as a response to Balkoth:

      1: We were halfway through the instance; if they were predicting my success or trying to build an optimal run in terms of speed they would actually be right to block me. I wouldn’t be attempting to apply to groups attempting optimal speed running because I don’t have every piece of available gear and I gain nothing from optimal runs. For me, runs are optimal enough if I am in them. I don’t intend to find optimal gear for leveling via instances as there are no restrictions on need/greed yet and many players “need” on every drop. Since I can complete every non-tank role while naked, I don’t care — I’ll still need stuff I can use for my primary role, which further stunts my (unnecessary) alt spec gear quality.

      In the case of the harassment, we were half way through an instance while I was healing. We were pulling very aggressively and I was spending most of my time denouncing at 90%+ mana. I was particularly surprised at this incident’s specific timing, as there wasn’t any prior conversation or event to spark it. It was such that the other folks defended me without attempting to insult the instigator — also unusual. I wonder if he noticed that the group’s hunter wandered off the path and killed a boss down an alternate path (in dire maul east) solo.

      2: I’m fortunate enough that the strength classes are uncommon enough in lower levels and gear drops common enough that I’ve acquired a full tanky/strength set. It is my healing set that has a few empty slots. It is actually surprisingly prohibitive to have a full healing mail->plate set on a fresh character without heirloom items! If I could AH something for the amount of gold one obtains leveling on a fresh server, that’d be something I could do, but that’s no longer possible. Fortunately, healing is so overwhelmingly powerful prior to new content that it doesn’t matter. When each expansion hurdle comes it’ll be prudent for me to run a few intro quests for super powerful greens or run as exclusively healer for a bit, but that’ll come when it comes.

      3: That’s reasonable for situations such as guild applications, not attacking someone in a smoothly run random dungeon queue. Running a tanky/healy set is ironically pretty beneficial while healing in pre-60 dungeons as you don’t need to stop if the tank DCs or afks and cannot be kicked. Fortunately, I have the random dungeon queue and don’t need to face poor, unnecessary evaluations while leveling. If the queue was player-run you’d probably have something absurd like full-heirloom-only runs.

    • June 4, 2014 8:02 pm

      “I’m probably failing at wordpress, but this is intended as a response to Balkoth”

      Congrats, you didn’t fail! 🙂

      “Since I can complete every non-tank role while naked”

      Serious question — if you were playing, say, a mage and literally DPSing naked, would you think it would be unjustified if people noticed a few pulls in and wanted to kick you for it?

      “It is actually surprisingly prohibitive to have a full healing mail->plate set on a fresh character without heirloom items”

      Oh, I agree, and it’s a problem — caster gear that isn’t cloth (and sometimes leather) tends to be very rare outside of heirlooms. Which ironically leads to the situation where a holy paladin should be healing in a lot of cloth gear, at least until level 60+ most likely (5% int bonus for all plate pieces isn’t worth it unless you actually HAVE mostly all decent plate pieces).

      “Fortunately, healing is so overwhelmingly powerful prior to new content that it doesn’t matter.”

      Yeah, prior to 80 it’s basically impossible to realize you even HAVE a mana bar compared to pressing whatever buttons you want whenever as a healer. But at level 80+ in Cata dungeons what you’re doing could easily be a significant problem. And people will tend to apply that logic (Cata dungeons need proper gear/spec + Cata dungeons are leveling dungeons = leveling dungeons need proper gear/spec) to lower level stuff that most classes could technically solo near the appropriate level.

      “That’s reasonable for situations such as guild applications, not attacking someone in a smoothly run random dungeon queue.”

      But would you object to someone calling you out at the start of a run when it’s not clear it’ll go smoothly when they don’t actually know you can pull it off?

      “If the queue was player-run you’d probably have something absurd like full-heirloom-only runs.”

      Of course there would be SOME runs like that. But I don’t see why that’s absurd — it makes runs faster and is an easy way to filter out people who don’t know what they’re doing which again leads to faster runs (and a full group of experienced players steamrolling dungeons with no downtime would be insane experience). Plenty of other people who don’t meet that requirement who can make their own groups.


  1. Tech Bullying: Optimal vs. Meeting Requirements | Sheep The Diamond

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