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Assessment vs. Assumption

June 4, 2014

Dear Reader,

The last post caused more disagreement in the ranks than I expected.  A lot of people defended the “other” tank’s initial issue – that my buddy was tanking in fury spec – though none condoned his nasty approach.  Other commentators suggested that my buddy who was in both tanking and healing pieces was also in the wrong as he wasn’t maximizing dps and was thus slowing the run.

I disagree with both, but the specifics of the issue aren’t really what bother me; more the philosophical approach people are using to decide what side they’re on makes me worried, as I think it shows a pretty fundamental shift in how we treat others in WoW.  I – and I fully acknowledge that it may just be me – would always ask first if a person realized they were in an off-role spec.  It seems here that making an assumption about the other player before the situation is assessed has become perfectly acceptable.

That bothers me.  I’m not sure if perhaps I’m simply misunderstanding the core of these situations, but it seems to me that players involved in these sort of “tech bullying” situations virtually always make assumptions before they try to see what’s going on.  It’s a situation of assumed “haves” and “have-nots,” then, as the people who think they “have” the knowledge and know what they’re talking about are attacking people that they assume know less, when in fact it’s them that’s in the wrong.

Of course that happens; I’ve been as guilty of it as the next guy, but I also recognize that in odd situations it’s usually a better approach to assess first, to see if perhaps I’m the one that’s confused or ignorant.  That comes down just to self-image, I guess, as I’d never be arrogant enough to assume that I know more than the next guy in WoW (maybe in other things, but not WoW), but clearly there are many players out there who do assume they know more than a stranger (perhaps rightly so, of course, but not in these cases).

So in whatever situations you may find yourself, I’d suggest you make sure you assess before you assume.  A fury tank can and has worked.  A pally tank in part holy gear pre-level 60 seems to be valid (though you’ll have to take Kaleedity’s word for it).  Hell, shaman tanks were a thing for a while back in BC.  Sometimes things aren’t what they seem in WoW, and it doesn’t hurt to just ask.


Stubborn (and willing to assess first)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2014 4:57 pm

    Oh I completely agree, and I love shouting for the underdog/unexpected. I remember doing plenty of dungeons back when shammies could tank, I’ve done a lot of raiding with druid tanks back when they were VERY unpopular (and I loved them for it .. heck, did it myself for a while) … I’ve done boss fights where the tank is a warlock, or a hunter pet … I’ve even done a few where I’m tanking (by design or by accident) on my priest … if it works, don’t knock it.

    My reaction to the previous post was simply understanding WHY the other tank reacted the way he did. It wasn’t condoning his actions .. especially not once your friend had proved himself very capable of doing the job.

  2. June 4, 2014 5:27 pm

    I don’t know. There is a time and place for weird experiments, and that time/place is not when playing with random strangers.

    I think it’s reasonable to expect people in transient content to be playing normally. Tanks in tank spec, healers in heal spec, dps in dps spec. Each spec wearing the proper gear.

    Here’s an old post I wrote about Carrying A Tank. Is what you and your group did really so different?

    • June 4, 2014 5:49 pm

      I’d say yes; it’s completely different. This dps had more hp than the other tank, had no trouble whatsoever keeping threat, taunt switching, and so forth, and was doing more dps than anyone in the raid. He was easily fulfilling his queued role as well as dpsing. The other tank just assumed there’d be a problem and complained. This dps was carrying the raid, not them carrying him.

      As for weird experiments, I’d argue that since he’d tanked Dark Shaman on this toon, that it was pretty safe to assume that he could tank ToT LFR. I can’t comment on Kaleedity, but I’d assume he knew what he was doing ahead of time.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • June 4, 2014 7:26 pm

      “As for weird experiments, I’d argue that since he’d tanked Dark Shaman on this toon, that it was pretty safe to assume that he could tank ToT LFR.”

      Maybe there’s some confusion here — you’re aware he tanked Heroic Dark Shaman in PROT spec with PROT gear, right?

  3. June 4, 2014 5:33 pm

    I always wait to see what happens before saying anything out loud. They might know something I don’t or maybe they’re just half asleep, neither of which are crimes. I mean everyone has done the equivalent of raiding in a fishing hat at least once… haven’t they.

    My husband tanked all the five mans for us back in the day as a resto druid without any issues (pre MC/BWL raiding) and we did plenty of Zul’Gurub raids when it was current content the first time around with an Arms warrior both tanking and topping damage. Sometimes cookie cutter is just plain boring.

  4. June 4, 2014 6:00 pm

    For me, the situation is always one of risk management. The “best” builds for every spec and role and even gear-levels are well-known and theorycrafted; they are likely listed on the same sites someone should have been visiting for raid guides to begin with. If you deviate from that established path, you introduce risk into the group equation solely for your own benefit.

    Having said that, I don’t bother inspecting anyone until problems present themselves. In the specific story you related, the other tank was likely being an ass out of jealousy, seeing as how he was unable to match your friend’s threat levels. So when you concluded:

    Clearly, doing what you’re expected rather than fulfilling requirements is still an integral part of the WoW groupthink.

    …I don’t think that is entirely fair. Yes, I would rather everyone do what they are expected to do, all other things being equal; everyone conforming to preestablished norms is as close to a guarantee that we will pass the content, rather than wasting 10+ minutes on a wipe. That said, you can only be said to be “fulfilling requirements” in retrospect. Until he successfully cleared this LFR run with this group, he was introducing risk by having a nonstandard tanking build. Maybe the risk was reduced by his having outgeared the raid by several orders of magnitude, but even then, how are the total strangers in the group supposed to know that? Are we to take it on faith?

    In any case, I don’t think the philosophical angle is as interesting as you do. Look at the real world: we require teachers to have licenses before letting them demonstrate they can perfectly teach children without them. An unlicensed plumber is suspect, someone without a driver’s license is a threat on the road, and so on. “You can tank in Fury? Great. I’d still feel better if you were Prot though.” That’s less groupthink and more rational, IMO. Especially in a “raiding with strangers” situation.

  5. June 4, 2014 7:48 pm

    “I – and I fully acknowledge that it may just be me – would always ask first if a person realized they were in an off-role spec. It seems here that making an assumption about the other player before the situation is assessed has become perfectly acceptable.”

    I think the problem is that 95%+ of the time it IS a problem. Take this hunter I’m helping on the New Player forum:

    Half their gear has int or spirit and their weapon is from like 20 levels prior. This sort of thing is exceeding common — and this is from people who care enough to seek out help on the forums like that!

    And we also see lots of situation like an Arms warrior asking why people keep telling him to hold aggro — obviously he queued as a tank without understanding how things work. Even though I’m sure Bury could tank as Arms while leveling simply by using Defensive Stance.

    As a result, when you see something like hunter in spirit gear or the tank in Arms spec or the prot paladin in half int gear then your natural assumption (because it’s nearly always true) is that something is very wrong.

    On top of THAT, you see things all the time in LFR like DPS queueing as tanks and trying to have the other tank one tank bosses or DPS queueing as healers and DPSing. Or flat out having people troll LFRs by intentionally wiping groups by “tanking” as the wrong spec.

    At that point you still look for a mitigating factor — if that Arms warrior signed up as a tank is in full heirlooms with good enchants then he probably knows what he’s doing. If that Fury warrior in LFR has 580 ilvl (which most people don’t know how to check easily they just probably see his HP and spec) and has the H Garrosh Title he’s probably just there to troll the group and cause problems…UNLESS you also see he’s there with like 5 other guildies with worse gear who he’s probably carrying through with faster queue and faster runs.

    But that is a lot of information for people to try to process and wade through to get an accurate answer compared to “Do these things not match? PROBLEM!” which works 95%+ of the time.

    Again, I don’t think ANY of us endorsed the insults and general word choice of the off-tank, nor the fact that he only brought up the issue AFTER it was clear it wasn’t a problem — but I think anyone looking at Bury and thinking “Fury warrior as tank? Uh-oh” was perfectly justified. And subsequently perfectly justified in bringing it up at the start of the run (which apparently didn’t happen in that case) — at which point ideally Bury can convince people he’ll be fine but in the Wild West of LFR would sometimes lead to a kick simply because people don’t want to risk a problem and they’re simply not good/smart enough to realize Bury WOULDN’T be a problem.

    “It’s a situation of assumed “haves” and “have-nots,” then, as the people who think they “have” the knowledge and know what they’re talking about are attacking people that they assume know less, when in fact it’s them that’s in the wrong.”

    True enough. But what if the people who are in the wrong THIS time happen to be correct 95%+ of the time in general? The people who can pull off what Bury did make up like 1-5% of the population and most of that population would never be in an LFR like Bury was — so in this case assuming a fury warrior tank would be a problem would be correct 99% of the time.

    That’s different from saying they WERE correct in this case (they weren’t) but it’s understandable WHY they thought that. Really not that different than optical illusions that prey on shortcuts our minds like to take — 99% of the time the shortcut works but the optical illusions show how it can be flawed. And Bury was that 1% optical illusion.

  6. Cain permalink
    June 9, 2014 12:38 pm

    I had a friend do the same sort of thing, only he was healing as a dps. He queued as a healer for LFR while playing enhance, but he was like your friend in that he was completely heroic geared and top tier player. A number of people called him out on it, but the difference was that was before they’d seen what he could do. They questioned him and he responded and said he did still intend to heal and he had the skill/gear to do so while still dpsing. When he topped the heals chart and the dps chart everyone stopped asking questions though.

  7. June 26, 2014 6:10 pm

    My personal rule is to simply run the best possible spec/gear for the task… if my plate dps wearing mostly 540-559 gear are asked to tank something, they’re going to stay in that gear rather than subbing in 463 gear with dodge and parry on it. While the 540-559 gear may not be tank gear per se, it’s BETTER for tanking than the alternative. If someone gave me grief I’d simply point out that “it’s the best gear I have available for tanking.”

    I wouldn’t fundamentally have an issue with your buddy Fury tanking but I think the approach was a bit flawed as it was positioned. A simple “Due to gear I’m going to be tanking in fury spec, healers shouldn’t have any issues keeping me up and I shouldn’t have any threat issues but let me know if you run into problems” might have headed off the issue going in. I wouldn’t expect a random LFR group to accept a fury warrior tank without some grief or explanation and him being able to hold threat on an actual tank could easily be construed as showing up the other tank, which is sounds like is how he took it. It’s also a bit risky to assume that your buddy will be the highest dps out of 17 other people… sounds like he was but there was a chance he wasn’t going to be, what was the fall-back plan if a warforged heroic warlock happened to show up? Would the warlock have been expected to curb his dps so your buddy could hold threat? What if the other tank had been geared enough to pull threat back off your buddy, would he have been expected to stop dps entirely when not actively tanking the boss?

    In premade groups I really don’t care who does what… we sign up as a group and we’ll figure it out. Randoms are different, though… I get really annoyed when someone queuing as a healer dpses instead and when called on it inevitably comes back with “pfft, this is low-end content that can easily be done with 5 healers”. Maybe true but fact is, he doesn’t know who the other healers are going in so he shouldn’t be assuming that he WON’T be needed to heal.

    Hell, there was a time I was tanking 5-mans as a dps due to gear (I could have soloed the places if I could have gotten VP doing that) but even knowing that, I’d make sure to check with the healer first before I started pulling… they never had an issue with it, especially since it saved them significant time, and most were willing to stay on for chain-queuing. It’s really about the presentation more than anything.

    And I still get a “why are you dpsing?” 25% of the time when doing randoms on my disc priest in leveling dungeons (rarely at max level, though)… sometimes even doing it RIGHT requires an explanation when a healer is out-dpsing the dps while actually doing their job.

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