Asshole Chicken

Posted: 18 March, 2011 in Cataclysm, Dungeons

I noticed an interesting response to a forum post by a blue reported on MMO Champion this week and it’s in regards to a subject that’s been causing me no small amount of bother lately.  Dungeons with optional bosses, and Halls of Origination is the major culprit here, tend to get skipped through straight to Rahj, the last boss, avoiding the optional bosses completely in order to just get the place done and collect your daily Valour points.

This is a curious problem.  Skipping the question of the social dynamics behind the whole thing for the moment, there are some drops from those bosses that are for particularly hard to fill slots for certain classes.  The thrown weapon from Ammunae being a good example.  Rogues, unless you kill Ammunae in Halls of Origination and get lucky with the drops, the next best thrown weapon you can get is a lvl 318 green from a quest in Twilight Highlands.  There are no other options outside of raids or epic pvp gear.  Sorry, you’re shafted.  Enhancement Shamans and Hunters are up Shit Creek too, since there are NO other Mail shoulders available from drops other than the Bloodpetal Mantle, also from Ammunae.  Shamans and Hunters may be up Shit Creek, but they at least have a paddle in the shape of the justice point Wrap of the Valley Glades, although the stats are going to sub-optimal for certain specs.

I’m also finding it hard to find expertise gear on Fingers, my Rogue, so that means no Mouth of the Earth from Earthrager Ptah.  Healers are missing out on the lovely Scepter of Power from Setesh, Ammunae’s Band of Life Energy and Isisets’ Blood.

So.  Lots of useful loot, not to mention bonus justice points and reputation from bosses that are being skipped entirely, against the wishes of up to 80% of the groups doing them, just to get the dungeon over as quickly as possible.  Why?

Blame the tanks.

Yeah, I know it’s bad luck to speak ill of our lords and masters, but it’s true.  If the tank doesn’t want to kill the optional bosses, they don’t get killed, and if the group revolts and demands those bosses get done, the worst thing that’s going to happen to the tank is that they have to take a deserter debuff and do a cooking and fishing daily while they wait until they can get their instant dungeon queue again.  Everyone else is stuck in the instance for another twenty minutes waiting for another tank, and the next tank who zones in is going to take one look at which bosses are left and think Christmas and all their birthdays have come at once, pull Rahj before the group can say “Hi and welcome, the last tank was a selfish prick” and leave faster than it takes for the game to report “You have earned 70 of currency: Valor Points.”

In a nutshell, it’s a big game of asshole chicken.  The tanks don’t need any of the loot from the optional bosses with the possible exception of the bracers from Isiset, since bracers are one of those slots where relatively few other options exist.  They have no incentive to not be assholes.  They want to kill Rahj and be done.  The dps and healers may want to kill the optionals, they have no incentive to rush straight to Rahj, so they try to impose their wishes on the reluctant tanks.  Everyone’s being an asshole, you just sit back and wait to see who blinks first.

You can blame it on poor design and to some extent it’s true.  The setup of Halls of Origination lends itself to people being selfish assholes, no argument there, but people still have to make a choice about whether or not they’re going to be pricks to the rest of the group.  To be fair, this kind of rampant dickheadery isn’t actually the norm.  What I tend to see is the tank asking if anyone minds if they just kill Rahj and be done, and one of a few things will happen.  Either no-one cares and everyone’s happy, or a minority want to kill other bosses and get outvoted (usually the rogue), or the majority want to kill more bosses and the tank says “Tough shit” and pulls Rahj anyway.  Or he doesn’t even bother to ask.

The problem here, and in other situations like this, isn’t down to dungeon design.  It’s that there are no penalties to being an asshole.  This is a social game whether we like it or not, and regardless of how special the tanks of the world think they are, they don’t solo current heroic content, it’s a team effort.  When you submit to that dungeon queue what you are actually doing is accepting a contract to work together with four other people to achieve a common goal.  That common goal may be to blitz through the content as quickly as possible and get out, but if the majority of the group want to farm everything in there you need to either submit to the majority decision and go along with it or say up front that you don’t want to do that and find another group.  The time to do this is when you zone in, not when you’re looking Rahj in the face.  There’s nothing wrong with being selfish, just be up front about it.  Otherwise you’re just being an asshole.

And in Other News
I’ve not been idle the last month, although the lack of blog updates could have easily led you to believe otherwise.  I’ve been levelling alts like a thing possessed, working on heroic 25 man raid content, filling gaps in one of the ten man raid teams and generally keeping busy.  Our work in 25 man heroic Blackwing Descent was rewarded last weekend with this:

So that’s two down, ten to go!  In more amusing news, I noticed this particularly inventive guild recruitment ad in the trade channel:

Yeah, good luck with that.

Cya next time!

  1. Klepsacovic says:

    It’s an age-old problem: when interests don’t align, the one with the power decide who loses (not themselves).
    Shameless plug: I wrote about this a bit back. With the reduced social structure in WoW people have shifted more toward selfish standards of instance completion and away from group-oriented. The addition of the instance completion message and loot bag/bonus points adds an arbitrary, and arguably premature, ‘official’ indicator of instance completion. Simply shifting the completion bonus to include all bosses killed should do the trick.

    • Calli says:

      While I can’t think of a single better way of fixing it than what you suggest, I suspect, knowing people the way I do, that implementing what you suggest will simply further increase the “Tank zoned in and dropped group without a word” syndrome.

      People. They’re great!

  2. Stubborn says:

    I like the idea you put forth about the social contract, and I’ll probably hold on to that one to irritate some selfish jerk with. Unfortunately, it seems that the arrogance of tanks wasn’t deterred by Cata but instead magnified. It’s gotten to the point that I might as well macro “oh look, another arrogant tank” to one of my dps buttons because it seems that every pug tank I get is. I cannot think off the top of my head of a pug tank I’ve had since started dpsing heroics a week or two ago who didn’t make some demand, complaint, trouble in the instance.

  3. Calli says:

    I like to call it “Lead Singer Syndrome”. Just look at your favourite rock band and ask yourself who’s in the news being an asshat the most. Chances are it’s not the drummer.

  4. ST says:

    It’s actually funny – the only time I’ve ever run into this problem, it was while I was tanking, and I was the one who wanted to kill everything (because wasting loot, rep, and justice points for my tank alt sucks). The healer, mostly (a couple of the DPS agreed with him) wanted to just kill Rajh and peace out.

    So I facepulled Rajh and his adds, left the group, and teleported out. Let them wait for a tank who’s as much of a jerk as they are.

    The icing on the cake was that when I requeued, my instant queue put me BACK IN THE SAME GROUP. To which my response was basically “lol have fun waiting some more /bye”.

    I consider having to alt-tab and do something else for 15 minutes well worth the opportunity to inconvenience people who like to screw over their groups.

    • Govir says:

      In addition to what Calli said, you also screwed yourself. As a tank you have instant queues. By dropping group early you did a couple of things.
      – You increased your next queue time to 15min (or whatever the deserter debuff is, I hardly ever drop a dungeon group).
      – After spending probably 30-45 minutes in the instance minimum, you skipped out on the last boss which would have given Valor Points, arguably better than Justice or Rep (which you would have gotten as well).
      – You increased the amount of time you had to spend on your tank ‘alt’ (which you seem to be concerned about since you want to maximize JP and Rep gain from each dungeon) because now you have to do another dungeon to get in your daily random.

      What you should have done is finished the instance, getting Justice and Valor points and then queued again (getting an instant queue) to get the other Rep and Justice points you wanted.

      I agree with Calli, you win asshole chicken.

  5. Calli says:

    So 80% of the group just wanted a quick run, you didn’t bother to find this out until you’re standing in front of Rahj and ended up screwing them over not once but twice. Congratulations, you win asshole chicken. This works both ways. It sucks when the group doesn’t want to do what you want them to do, but that’s something you need to negotiate when you zone in. Or you end up having to choose whether or not to be an asshole.

  6. Calli says:

    The thing is, it’s called Looking for Group. Not “Looking for a bunch of people to do exactly what I want or I’ll throw a strop and leave.” If the majority don’t want to do what you want, exercise your democratic right to leave and find a group that will, but do it at the start, not right at the crunch point. Anything else is just playing asshole chicken.

    As a tank, you’re even negotiating from a position of strength. If you lay out your position at the start, you’ll probably find 90% of the time the group will agree to go along with you, since the alternative is waiting 20 minutes for another tank. You don’t have to be an asshole unless you choose to.

  7. Dwism says:

    “As a tank, you’re even negotiating from a position of strength. If you lay out your position at the start, you’ll probably find 90% of the time the group will agree to go along with you, since the alternative is waiting 20 minutes for another tank. You don’t have to be an asshole unless you choose to.”
    .. Isn’t that just bullying the others at the gate to follow your pleasures, then?

    ‘hai gais, imma tank, I want this and this boss, we all agree?’

    /tank pulls.

    • Calli says:

      You’re at least giving them the option. There’s only one person in any dungeon group working to lessen the power of the tank over his group… The tank! Just by virtue of being a tank who’s prepared to pug you’re adding to the number of tanks in the pool and therefore lessening the power tanks have over their groups. The current level of influence tanks have isn’t their fault, it’s the fault of the rest of the group – the four guys who didn’t roll tanks. At least by being up front about your intentions you give your group a chance to decide how valuable their time is. Sure, it might be a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, but it’s a choice. No one likes being dictated to. Especially not right at the crunch point of the instance when you’re staring the optional bosses in the face, are already locked to the instance and only THEN someone decides to mention the might like to kill boss X / skip the remainder entirely. That’s just Asshole Chicken.

  8. Darand says:

    The root of this problem is bad design. Gate it like the Nexus in Northrend – you can’t engage the final boss until the other bosses have been downed, of change the loot tables to make them truely optional. Problem solved. “Optional” bosses in a 5-man shouldn’t be a roadblock to getting pre-raid gear.

  9. Calli says:

    I agree. The problem is that Blizzard want to wave the banner of player choice. And invariably players are going to choose to be assholes if they can get away with it. Since you’ve never met anyone else in your random and you’re never going to again, the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory comes into play. It’s a consequence of the LFG tool, unfortunately.

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