Thursday, November 18, 2010


I saw this Frostheim story making the rounds, and I've wanted to comment on it, but didn't really find the right words until today.

For those who don't know, Frostheim is some kind of hunter personality. He writes for WoW Insider occasionally, and runs Warcraft Hunter's Union, a big hunter guild. Apparently Frostheim joined a random Dungeon Finder group, saw that it was Old Kingdom, and announced in party chat that he did not have time to do the optional bosses. The other party members did not say anything. Later on, the other four went to do an optional boss. Frostheim went off on his own and attempted to solo the last boss. The boss managed to get the rest of the group into combat and the group wiped. Drama ensued.

In my view, there were three mistakes made during this fiasco:

1. Frostheim should not have signed up for a dungeon if he didn't have time to complete it.

2. The group should have decided about the optional bosses at the start and communicated that decision to everyone. Then people could leave if they were unhappy.

3. Frostheim should not have gone off from the rest of the group.

In any case, the main point I want to make is:

Sometimes, you get outvoted.

Sometimes, you're in a group, and the majority of the group wants to do something that you don't want to do. The right thing to do is either leave the group, or follow their lead.

There is no shame in losing the vote. "I wanted Y, but more people wanted X, so we did X" is okay. It leads to a functioning group or society. "I wanted Y, but more people wanted X, so I attempted to force them to do Y" just leads to strife.

But a lot of people seem to take being outvoted personally. Like it's a judgement on you as an individual, and it's vital for you to "win" at all costs. And this seems to be happening not only in WoW, but society at large.

For example, take all these schemes to introduce new voting systems like Single-Transferrable-Vote. I can't shake the feeling that the backers feel they can't win normally, and so are trying to rig the game so that they can magically win. We all know Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, so why try and make life more complicated?

Though, to be fair, I am unreasonably conservative on the subject of voting. I disapprove of absentee voting, computerized voting, machine voting, assisted voting, write-in candidates, punching holes in ballots, internet voting, non-secret voting, counting votes by machine, butterfly ballots, releasing results to the media before voting closes, and pretty much anything that is not going to a polling station and marking an X on a paper ballot beside the name of your preferred candidate.

Anyways, went a bit off-topic, but the point remains: when you're in a group, sometimes you get outvoted. You either leave the group, or you abide by the results. Of course, this isn't absolute if we're talking about something like slavery, but for the vast majority of life, it's a pretty good rule to follow.


  1. I didn't read it as him getting outvoted. I read it as the tank pulling a fait accompli, in which case they got what they deserved.

    The three of them were up pulling trash for the last boss when the tank took it upon himself to double back to the optional boss with the guy who wanted it. Unless tanks count twice, that's not outvoted.

  2. 3 went one way, 2 went the other way. Two of the three went to join the other group.

    To me, that's the vote being cast. The moment an actual choice had to be made, rather than just following along. Four for the optional boss, and 1 against.

  3. I think you're right, a lot of people seem to get really bent out of shape if (omg) a group wants to do something that they don't. But you're right, they always have the choice to leave.

  4. At the last line you gave a perfect example why "accept being outvoted" will never work.

    People have an inherent FEELING (as opposed to rationally proven/challengable opinion) about what is right or wrong.

    Whenever the majority votes "wrong", a social person will consider these voters "wrong" or "evil" and feels urged to punish/change them.

    Like you CAN'T accept slavery even if great majority of your country would support it, Frostheim can't accept "these kids ignored my earlier statement and did not respected me enough to care to tell me that they will go for optional bosses"

  5. Frostheim wiped a Random Dungeon Party acting selfish and then laughed about it. Typical attention seeker.

  6. Your "vote" was at the beginning of the dungeon.
    1 vote to skip those bosses
    0 votes against it

    if the group wants to screw you afterwards you have every right to go ahead and finish the dungeon on your own.

  7. My layman's reading of Arrow's proof (as presented by Wikipedia) is that clear group preferences cannot always be drawn from a collection of individual preferences. Or, more simply: you're gonna have intractable disagreements.

    Given this, maybe voting isn't an always effective way to think about group governance. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, perhaps the appropriate response in such 'other' cases is the bold exercise of power. Or, as described in Catch 22, "we can do anything you can't stop us from doing." Tanks can refuse to tank, healers can forget to heal, and hunters can misdirect entire packs of bad guys at you. Arguments are brief when all three of these roles are filled by myself and close friends.

  8. The problem with this as with many other pugs is simple, rudeness, frostheim stated at the beginning that he did not have time, simply being polite enough to reply and state the rest of the group wanted to do the boss would have been sufficent. Unfortunately the lol kids know the game is for the main part annonymous and behave like spoilt brats because of that.

  9. Two points: First, who cares about the quality of DPS in Old Kingdom? We ran that nonsense in blues and greens and did fine. Lick the complainer & get another DPS before you are done clicking to join the random queue.

    Second, Who runs Heroics for anything other than Justice points anyway? Skip Jedoga and that fungus guy and lose out on (approximately) 30 points? Why would you do that?

  10. I'd like to cast my vote on this in the form of a comment :).

    Others have said it, but when Frost said he didn't have time at the beginning, that should have been the time to voice any objections. If I read it correctly, nobody even said anything when the group split up.

    Also, he was acting on the assumption that his actions on the boss would have no effect on the rest of the group. I don't see that as attention seeking, I just see that as sticking to his word that nobody bothered to voice their opinion too.

    In the end, I'm assuming it was meant as a humorous story not a social commentary.

    Moral of the story, just like voting, if you don't speak up, you shouldn't expect your opinion to count later on.

  11. It came down to lack of communication. One person said full clear, another said no. The rest of group kept their heads down and went with the flow.

    It were me, I would have said something like "I have to leave in 15 mins" and left it at that. When the time was up, I ditch the group.

    Perhaps one of the issues is this comment he made "I can’t stand people who leave halfway through a heroic — as if they didn’t know how long it would take them." Would have been a little hypocritical to leave the group part way through, time limit or no. At least, that is one way to look at it.

    Because you feel you have been wronged does not mean "you have every right" to do what you feel like. You have every choice (and the consequences that come with them). For example, telling yourself " Screw ‘em... I’ll just finish off the instance on my own. Goddamnit I don’t need them — I’m a hunter!"

    Entitlement can be so ugly.

  12. If you're dps, sorry to tell you...most of the time the healer and tank can down a boss in the dungeon without you, so you're stuck going where they go. Tough. Get over it.

  13. The key error here by Rohan is the assumption that there was a vote, that this was a democracy. It wasn't. There was only one vote that counted... the tank. Why? Because the tank has the power to enforce his will on the group. If all four disagree, he can just drop and get another instant queue. If he and the healer agree, then the rest are entirely superfluous and can be ignored.

    The real story here is that Frostheim recognized and resented his complete lack of representation or power. His consent, presence or absence was not important... until he chose to make it important.

    As long as we have the tank / healer / DPS trinity, this will continue to be an issue. Tanks have the most power, healers have a veto, DPS are unimportant and can be replaced trivially.

    Mind you, the *real* error was in remaining queued when he didn't have time. Clearing the rest of OK would have taken, what, 10 minutes? Foolish.

  14. I agree — if he didn't have the time to complete the instance he should not have queued.

    If somehow communication broke down, he should have tried again to clarify whether they we're doing the optional bosses since he was short on time (and we only have one side of the story here so who knows what was actually communicated). Being an experienced player, he should have know to get this clarified before continuing and if it didn't get clarified, let the group know he was leaving and then actually leave so they could get a replacement.

    Most importantly, once it was clear that the optional boss was being done by the other members, Frostheim should not have gone off to solo the final boss. He got upset and made a conscious decision that his needs (wanting to finish the instance) were more important than the group's needs, damn the consequences.

  15. I pretty much agree with Rohan. If time was an issue, Frostheim should not have queued. If he saw them going the other way, he should not have pulled, even if he thought he could solo the boss.

    Communication isn't that good in a pug. People vote with their actions, not with their words. Maybe they missed what he said in chat. He could have taken the high road, and he didn't. Worse, he thought he was in the right of it.

    Some people do something like that and regret it or acknowledge that even though they did it, they felt bad about it afterwards. What bothered me is that there was no regret.

  16. A bit off topic, but since we're talking about rudeness and pugs...has anyone else had a tank just bail mid pull because the elemental bosses opened up? Had a guy do that to us in Violet Hold of all places. I was almost tempted to logon to his realm, make a level 1 alt and least say something to the guy.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. When people were first gearing up it was all about max bosses. Then when frost badges were rewarded for the last boss it was suddenly all about finishing fastest. Then came Justice Points and suddenly every boss is worth as much as the last.

    When queueing for a random I think it's one's responsiblity to know the current climate of the game. People who are running randoms are doing it for JPs; why else would they be running them? Why else would anyone be running them? If someone can't dedicate their time to what everyone needs they should not expect to be catered to, IMO.

    I don't believe it's right to say that if you can't do all the bosses don't queue. If I were to queue for a random I could get something epic and long (H CoS comes to mind) or something as short as ToC or Azjol Nerub. I might as well try my luck. But I do think that, if someone doesn't have the time to finish or do something the rest of the group is set on doing, that person should be willing to bow out instead of making a fuss about it. Long post is long. :S

    Reposted for clarification.

  19. So in the last few weeks of "LK" a hunter that just happens to be part of wow insider (of what degree I have no idea cause I've never heard of the guy) decides to go it alone and wipes the group?

    My next question is what difference does it make? Since when cant a DPS be replaced? Why wasn't he voted out of the group?

    I think the answers to any of those questions are irrelevant, I think the real question is why did a "story" of something that happens almost hourly in WoW become the topic of conversation?

    My apologies Rohan for not staying on the topic's course, I mean no disrespect, I just don't understand what the big deal is.

    So hes a prominent part of the WoW community and hes an a$$hat, nothing uncommon there!

    BTW newcomer to BoK, glad to be here.


  20. I'm new to your blog (and blogging in general), but I know what I want to read about.

    I became a follower of yours last night and I just want to say "keep it up." Your posts are fun, quick reads.

  21. Is it off topic to ask why you don't want people who use wheelchairs or scooters*, blind people, and people in hospital on election day to vote?

    * polling places in many countries are frequently inaccessible to people who use wheelchairs/scooters/other mobility aids.

    If it is off topic, feel free to not let the comment though moderation. I just wanted to mention it in case you didn't think of it.

  22. Katherine, I am exaggerating a bit for effect. I'll try to give you an explanation of my view, but the truth is that I may be wrong. The other point of view may very well be the correct and rightful one.

    The thing is, I believe in rituals. I believe that rituals are important, that they bind us together in a vital manner. That they are necessary to our species in a way that is rather hard to articulate and unfortunately rather easy to dismiss.

    The most important secular ritual that we have is voting. At the heart of the voting ritual is a duality: we vote together, and we vote alone. When you cast your vote, you cast it in the presence of your community. As a group, you come to the same place and vote together. The community bears witness to the fact that you have voted.

    But at the same time, you cast your vote alone. The actual vote itself is secret, and no one else sees how you vote.

    Those two elements, the public and private halves, compose the heart of the ritual of voting. But a lot of the changes to make voting more accessible hurt the ritual aspect, from both sides. Some changes attack the public witness of voting, and some changes attack the idea that you vote alone.

    Now, if you can make accommodate people without hurting the ritual, than you should. For example, you mention blind people. Printing ballots in Braille would be a good way to include them inside the ritual itself, and is something that should be done. But allowing someone else to mark the ballot for them cuts at the private aspect of the ritual.

    In the past few years, we have made voting easier and more accessible to everyone. You barely have to put in any effort anymore. And yet the percentage of the populace that actually does vote keeps going down. I believe that these two things are related. Rituals are important to us as a species, and by cutting at the ritual aspects of voting, we have made it seem more and more unimportant.

    In my opinion, I would rather keep the secular ritual that is voting strong, rather than ensure that every possible corner case of voter eligibility is covered.

    But I could very well be wrong. Perhaps ensuring that every single person possible has the chance to vote, regardless of whether the act is witnessed by the community, or if the vote is absolutely secret, is truly more important.

  23. I had this happen last night and 1 wanted extra bosses one did not and 3 did not care. So we had the 2 roll and highest roll was what we did. Worked out just fine and nobody bitched.

  24. Frost was right though. You'd get more points by rejumping into the random queue than pulling the extra bosses.

  25. If even one person wants to do a boss or a quest in my parties, then all of us help the person do it.

    I don't understand how people can be so selfish with their all important "time" in a video game.

  26. I was catching up on your site which I haven't read in a month or so but usually catch up on it. I read this then read your elemental invasion post.
    How do you justify not healing vs pulling the boss like this?
    I completely understand frustration of asking a group to wait up to pick up a quest. I Maldonado understand the frustration of wanting to do only the last boss, asking to do that and receiving NO response from the group.
    in both situations its a lack of communication and in both instances it seems like its "tanks rule, dps drools" mentality.

  27. I don't justify it. As I stated in the other post, not healing the tank was wrong of me. I should have just sucked it up and finished the fight. Or I should have left at the beginning of the instance, when it was obvious the tank was just charging ahead.

  28. Thanks for being honest :).
    I really do think its ok to do something like that. I don't think that its a selfish thing at all to not heal or pull a boss when you've asked a question or attempted to get feedback and receive no response. As a tank I always ask if the healer is ready and I often end up just pulling not knowing if they are ready because I've waited 2 minutes for a response and I've seen the healer moving back and forth.
    Its extremely frustrating when there's a lack of communication.
    I equate it to being in an elevator with someone, asking them to push your floor and them just staring ahead spaced out.