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Tech Bullying: Optimal vs. Meeting Requirements

June 2, 2014

Dear Reader,

Two of my buddies, Malchiah and Kaleedity, (both of whom have posted some guest posts here in the past), wrote extensive comments to my previous post on my biggest quasi-regret.  Both comments are well worth your time to read, but something over the weekend happened that was pretty directly related to Kaleedity’s comment.  I’ll quote the most relevant sections here and then tell my brief-but-related story, but if you want a more full picture, read the entirety of his comment.

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*…

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!…

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….

So regardless of the likely-more-intense-and-interesting philosophical argument over meeting requirements or min-maxing, my wife, my buddy, my new guild buddy, and I had a really interesting related incident this weekend.

My wife wanted to try to steal a few more runestones this week so she could be guaranteed to finish the legendary cape next week (which she now is), so we decided we’d queue for wings 3 and 4 of ToT.  However, a very solid guild healer (the druid I’ve mentioned before) had also recently dinged 90 on a new toon, so to lend her a hand a group of us decided to do ToT 1-4.  Unfortunately, though, we had no tanks, as my tanking buddy had already done it on his warrior (because he’s impatient).

Well, my new guild buddy runs a warrior, a very well geared warrior.  We talked about it a bit, and he finally decided that he’d be willing to tank, as he had before for a guild heroic boss, but since it was LFR, he was going to tank in fury spec.

Which he did.  Perfectly.  Three of the healers in there were from our guild (myself included, on the new Stubborn), and we had no trouble healing him at all; he had more than 800k hp, so it was largely a laugh.  His threat generation was better than anyone else there because he was top dps; even the other “properly” geared and specced tank couldn’t hold off of him.  By Kaleedity’s argument, this shouldn’t have been a problem, since he was clearly meeting the requirements for tanking: damage absorption and threat.

But the other tank in there was quiet annoyed.  He whispered some garbage to my new guild buddy, calling him a “doucher” at the conclusion of it.  Clearly, doing what you’re expected rather than fulfilling requirements is still an integral part of the WoW groupthink.

Of course, since there were six of us from that guild in there, we gave the other tank a hard time for the rest of the run.  We didn’t say anything directly to him, mind you, nor did we not heal him or anything of the sort, we just exposed his nasty attitude and harassment of his fellow tank to the group and let the prosocial piranhas go after him.

It was a very smooth run overall, and we all had a really good time.  So it seems that even now, 8 years since vanilla, an exceptionally well-geared tank can tank in fury without any problems.


Stubborn (raid healing)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2014 5:51 am

    I don’t know how I feel about this example. I don’t want to excuse anything that other tank said, but I know that if I zoned into a group with a tank in dps spec, I would at the very least be… sceptical and concerned for the healers, unless they said outright that they were all from the same guild and had it covered.

    Also, didn’t you talk about being peeved while levelling as a tank in LFD if dps ran ahead and pulled? (Maybe I’m projecting, I know it’s one of my peeves.) You could argue that if they don’t die, dps pulling “meets the requirements” of the dungeon and you shouldn’t criticise them for it…

  2. June 3, 2014 9:08 am

    Yeah, I understand why the other tank had that attitude. He didn’t know your guild mate, or what his abilities were. So, I would probably have supported what he said, if he had said it at the start of the run.

    I didn’t quite understand from what you said, if he did say anything at the start, or if what he said was at the end (as you mentioned name calling at the end of the run, but you also mentioned giving him a hard time for the rest of the run, which suggests what he said was earlier on).

    Anyway .. I understand the attitude, but if it was explained at the start that your guild mate was fully aware of his abilities and had no problems tanking in that spec, and indeed had done heroic boss(es) in the same spec/gear, I can’t see why he would cause a fuss (other than the usual problem of some people are just douches!)

    I’ve been in plenty of LFR’s where one of the tanks has bailed, and someone else has eventually said they’d give it a go, whilst waiting for a new tank to join the group .. people are quite happy in that event.

    Saying that, I’ve also been in a few groups where someone has quite obviously queued as either a tank or a healer, yet is unable or unwilling to carry out that role.

  3. Ming permalink
    June 3, 2014 10:12 am

    I’d have to agree that without more details the other tank’s complaint feels pretty reasonable – you wouldn’t want a DPS taking up a tank or healer spot just to have a faster queue.

    Although that does remind me of a thing that happened to me once in LFR. It was during 5.2 (so ToT just came out) and I was healing the first wing of Mogu’shan Vaults. After the first boss, the Pally tank pipes up “How was my tanking?” I go “A little squishy, but otherwise fine?” at which point another healer goes “also she’s specced holy”

    I didn’t even notice.

    We finished the run without any problems, and when we were done she was talking about how she was looking forward to tanking more LFR as Holy.

  4. June 3, 2014 10:55 am

    Nope, I think everyone is missing the point. There is a huge difference between queueing for a role with no intention of playing it, and performing that role in an offspec way. From what I understand of Stubborn’s story, the other tank was annoyed that he couldn’t keep threat – which is a legitimate concern and if that was the only thing they did would have been no problem. But obviously they went on to give the fury tank shit *because he was in fury*, not because he wasn’t tanking.

    I’ve been in LFR’s where we’ve had one of the tanks in dps spec and refusing to tank at all – no taunt swapping, no picking up adds, anything that his role required. That is clearly not what Stubborn’s guildie was doing, so there is no need to give him crap about his spec.

    I’ve also been in a lot of LFRs where hybrid healers have queued as heals only to spec dps and not actually do any healing. That only became a problem when we started wiping – oftentimes I would notice it but because we were getting through the run smoothly I wouldn’t mind. I was a bit irritated that they were abusing the system like that, but in the end it was only a problem if it affected the run.

    And the dps-pulling argument is bad, because again, it is not part of the role of dps to decide what to pull when. If they can tank what they pull, great, let them go for it. But if they deliberately make the tank’s job harder by doing so, then they should be called out on it.

    Going back to a more general observation, the whole tech bullying thing is one aspect of the MMO genre that I have come to hate. I instinctively bristle at being told that I’m playing the game wrong if I choose to do anything that is not regarded as optimal. If I am doing well enough to fulfill my role, then that should be enough.

  5. kaleedity permalink*
    June 4, 2014 2:29 pm

    It should be emphasized that tech bullying is not clear cut. It is widespread for good reason; play this game long enough and you come across an encounter that you cannot complete. Perhaps your arena team cannot beat a specific makeup. Perhaps your undergeared tank gets one shot by an autoswing. Perhaps your healer refuses to use a spell appropriate to an encounter. Players have every reason to try to minimize their failure rate; what’s the point of wiping needlessly for no gain, anyway?

    The problem is that the game is complex enough that a player can easily lose sight of “why” things are happening. You might have a perfectly reasonable expectation of someone that isn’t set up to run an appropriate role. Why should you have to deal with a shadow priest healer spamming flash heal in a heroic until they’re dry and doing nothing else? Maybe you can’t beat a raid boss’ enrage timer because you have a holy priest trying, ineffectively, to fulfill a dps role. At the same time, have you ever had a really well-geared and appropriately set up tank blame a healer for the group’s wipe after the tank stood in a deadly fire? Even moderately skilled players are quick to blame a wipe on an unrelated scapegoat like a player’s slightly low gear quality instead of determining what actually happened. You don’t even need guild or loot drama to see that.

    The majority of the encounters throughout the game can be easily completed with lower quality than expected gear or specializations, especially if you out gear something. Knowing your limits when you’re undergeared, when you can play around, ,what you need to improve, and when you need to min/max to hit a requirement — these are all part of being a good player.

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