In defense of Frostheim

Yesterday, Frostheim (Warcraft Hunters Union, WoW Insider) posted a story on his blog about a Heroic Old Kingdom that he ran just prior to the recording of last Saturday’s Hunting Party Podcast.

The post, entitled “Story Corner in which Frost is a Bit of an Ass,” can be summarized in this way:

  • Frost queued for a random, and it took forever for him to get a dungeon. Just when he was about to give up, he got into OK.
  • The tank was doing fine, and Frost was having no threat issues.
  • At some point early in the dungeon, a member asked if they could do the optional bosses, and Frost politely let them know that he only had time to do the required ones. He got nothing but silence in response.
  • After the second boss, he and two other party members went up to the trash before Herald, and then he noticed that the tank and the person who asked to do the extra bosses were nowhere in sight.
  • Meanwhile, one of the members who were with him drew proximity aggro on one of the Faceless Ones, so Frost sicced his pet on it, taunted, and proceeded to solo-kill the mob while the other two members ran away!
  • Once the mob was down, he said “Hey guys, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we were doing the optional bosses. I said I don’t have time, and I don’t have time for them.” He received several articulate, mature responses, including “Hunter come here” and “Hunter get down here.”

At this point, with limited time before the podcast went live, Frostheim, a big fan of extreme soloing and testing the limits of his hunter abilities, figured “Screw ’em, I’ll just finish off the instance on my own.”

He pulled the Herald, and when the first insanity phase began, he quickly learned the reality of the fight (which I did not know), which was that the insanity phase is instance-wide. Therefore, the other party members were experiencing insanity without being prepared for it. People started dying, and after a few comments like “WTF hunter?” everyone left the party, Frostheim was booted from the instance, and he didn’t get to finish the boss fight.

Frostheim ended his post by expressing his excitement over the idea that he could have soloed the Herald on Heroic mode.

* * * * *

 

Reactions may vary...

Reaction the post has been varied. Extremely varied.

Most of the commenters on the post itself have cited the coolness factor, along with the idea that being tersely addressed as “Hunter” when he had been polite to them is a put-off. A couple of others suggested that he should have dropped group rather than ruin the instance for the other party members.

Today, there are people on Twitter decrying what he did, even calling for him to be fired from WoW Insider. Ambrosine (I Like Bubbles), in a piece called Responsibility., scolds Frostheim for displaying this type of behavior (being an ass) as a prominent member of the hunter community.

* * * * *

My take on what happened, with some thoughts about Frostheim and opinion on whether he should be fired by WoW Insider, follows.

Communication

The LFD situation that Frostheim described is one that many of us have encountered hundreds of times along the way: a group of people who do not put forth the effort to communicate. After Frost clearly communicated that he would not be able to do the additional bosses, he got no response. Being greeted with silence, he faced an uncertainty: either the other group members were resigned to the fact that they would just finish up the instance, or they would willfully ignore this person who was playing well within the group and go their own way. Personality will help determine how a person perceives the meaning of the silence; Frost interpreted it as acceptance of the fact that the hunter only had a short amount of time, and assumed that everyone would simply finish the instance as quickly as possible.

Clearly there was confusion, as half of the remaining party members were with him, and one was even in front of him (as evidenced by the fact that one member drew aggro because he was too close to a mob).

I assume that, if nothing else, the tank had the impression that Frost was simply a dumb huntard, only there to do DPS, and would comply with what the tank silently willed.

Ineptitude followed by asshattery

When the other party member drew aggro, Frost stepped in to save him. Quickly sending his ferocity pet to take the heat off of the guy, Frost proceeded to work on finishing off the mob while the other two ran away. To quote Frost, “Then the other two turned and ran off toward the tank, leaving me and my pet with aggro. Well, with cower and Mend Pet and a lot of DPS I managed to take the Faceless One down…”

Well, that was nice of them. I’m assuming that one of them was the healer, which would have greatly benefited Frost’s pet, and the other was a DPS, which would have greatly benefited both the pet and Frost himself. But no, they ran away, effectively saying “screw you, buddy!” while he did his best to prevent anyone from being needlessly killed.

Responding to respect with disrespect

After finishing off the Faceless One, Frost typed the following (again, quoting his post): “Hey guys, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize we were doing the optional bosses. I said I don’t have time, and I don’t have time for them.”

This is where he got the responses addressing him as “Hunter”: “Hunter come here” etc.

Frost quote (again): “I had been about to apologize and leave, but these guys had annoyed me just enough. Screw ’em, I figured, I’ll finish off the instance on my own.”

Acting with respect goes a long way toward peace. The opposite is also true.

I know that there are a large number of people out there who are disrespected in WoW (etc.). Some choose to respond in kind, while others choose to overlook the asshattery and go with the flow, “for the good of the group.” This is how I usually respond, although a certain amount of feeling ignored/ disrespected/ abandoned can push me over the edge. On my druid, I’ve kicked tanks who ignored the spoken will of the rest of the group (running past bosses in UP, for instance) and taken over as tank, or pulled bosses who were skipped and tanked them without heals at times. Sometimes, I’ve felt correct in overriding the tank’s silent “I’m the tank” middle finger to people who need badges/points. But this is the exception, not the norm. Usually, I do whatever the tank wants, or whatever the group wants, however much I’m hating the experience, because I am “being mature” about it.

Frost’s decision

However, even mature people can get stepped on too many times, and I think that this was one of those times for Frost. At some point, a person can reach a threshold where, once passed, he says “screw it, we’re doing this my way, because I just don’t care about you anymore.” Frost reached this point, after being ignored, unappreciated, abandoned and disrespected. In addition, his personality is such that an opportunity to extreme-solo a boss is akin to someone offering you the chance to eat a free, delicious meal – most people wouldn’t pass it up, and neither would he. He also didn’t figure that he was hurting the rest of the party, but simply spiting them. As far as I can tell, these were the major factors that led to his decision to clear the rest of the trash and pull the Herald.

Thoughts on Frostheim, his writing and analysis, and whether he should be fired

There are some people on Twitter and around the flame-net who are calling for Frostheim to be fired, boycotted, or chastised. As you can see above, some commenters are saying that Frostheim promotes “huntard,” that he showed no class, that he “doesn’t represent (So-and-so) as a hunter,” etc.

The post at I Like Bubbles contains comments that seem to cover most of the opinions on it.

My take: it’s probably not something that I would have done. However, as Frost had reached a point where he lost his concern for the other party members’ desire to do the complete instance, and understanding his personality, I don’t think that his actions deserve to be flamed like they are.

If one reads the articles that Frost writes, one finds that they are filled with information, helpful discussion, and huge doses of his personality. In his writing, both on WHU and WoW Insider, he continuously preaches team play, and discusses how to get the most out of your hunter in almost any situation while being the solution, not the problem. As a player, he strives to top the meters while being an indispensable member of a raid team. He is a huge fan of hunters, and his enthusiasm for the minutia of hunter play is infectious. His articles are insightful and humorous, and he is tirelessly dedicated to bringing his readers the best information possible, constantly testing and refining and bringing new ideas to the public. His track record is very good, and so, to me, “being a bit of an ass” in this situation, with no intent to actually kill off the other members of the party, is certainly not one of the defining traits of his play. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a very positive member of, and contributor to, the hunter/WoW community.

He even admitted to being a bit of an ass in the title of his post, so he’s certainly aware that the content of his story didn’t follow purist, conventional wisdom.

So no, I don’t think that he should be fired. I found his story to be funny, and I while I wouldn’t have done it myself, it does not strike me as outrageous that he decided to do it. It definitely was not a low move along the lines of a tank intentionally pulling and then dropping group, for instance.

It’s probably not something that he will do again – that’s not the type of player that he is. In the course of dealing with a lost cause, he found out something that excited him, and shared it with his audience.

And to those who argue that it sets a bad example: I am highly skeptical that this one incident is going to put a bigger black mark on the hunter community. There are hunters who play their classes well and are team players, and then there are hunters who define their unfortunate, derogatory nickname. That’s not going to change as a result of Frostheim’s article.

 

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13 Comments on “In defense of Frostheim”

  1. It definitely was not a low move along the lines of a tank intentionally pulling and then dropping group, for instance.

    How, aside from the fact that he didn’t drop group?

    If one reads the articles that Frost writes, one finds that they are filled with information

    Since when?

    • Russ says:

      Your “Since when?” response to my statement that Frost’s articles are “filled with information” indicates that you either refuse to read his articles, or you reject him as a source. Rejecting him as a source of information is your prerogative. On the other hand, whether his articles are filled with information is not really a point of debate – it’s just fact.

    • Sassy says:

      You’ll find that Rilgon has had it out for Frostheim ever since he lost the WoW Insider gig to him, Russ. No sense in arguin’ with him. He’s too bitter to do anything but spew bitterness.

    • Russ says:

      I noticed that in the comment section of Frostheim’s post. Apparently, there is quite a bit of animosity there.

  2. Ambrosine says:

    This is not the first time that Frostheim has done or said something that has caused a negative reaction in a significant portion of the community. We are not rabidly jumping on him for one lone incident. Comments like, “Oh, is Frostheim being an asshat again?” indicate that there’s a pattern of behavior, somewhere (though I’ll admit to being ignorant of a lot of it).

    • Russ says:

      Ambrosine, thank you for your original post on the matter. I want you to know that mine was a general response to the variety of commentary I’ve seen around the internet today, and was not intended to be a rebuttal just to yours.

      I’ve read Frostheim for a while now, and while he’s a guy who likes shenanigans, he’s never really moved me to anger. I can respect our difference of opinion, though. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  3. Achloryn says:

    I have to admit that this was a well written and well thought-out post… but Frostheim doesn’t need your defense really. So he said that he “behaved like an ass” in the title of his post. Does that excuse what he did? No, not really. If I go out and decide i’m gonna be “Extreme” and solo-kill a boss in spite of what everyone else in the group wants to do, and I kill the group for my trouble, does a simple “oh my bad” make up for it? Meh.. It might, but he didn’t even apologize for what he did. He went out of his way to justify his actions, and you’re swallowing it up.

    Now don’t mistake my point of view. I’m not calling for Frost’s resignation from WI or anything like that. We’ve all done stupid shit in pugs from time to time, whether it was accidental or just to be silly or just to show your epeen… we’ve all done it. What that doesn’t do, however, is make it any more okay for any of us to start acting like jerks in pugs. Frostheim is justifying what he did because “they pissed me off JUST enough” and that makes it okay? I don’t buy that for a minute.

    • Russ says:

      Hi Achloryn,

      I know that Frostheim doesn’t need my defense. He’ll be fine.

      In the comment section of his post, he even admits that he probably should have just dropped the group. However, he also agrees with another commenter’s point about the lack of communication. Frost attempted to communicate. Communication wasn’t reciprocated. Frost had one of those “stupid shit” moments that, as you say, we’ve all had. It happens. I don’t think that it’s something that he condones as a common practice, and as I said, isn’t something that he himself will make a personal habit of.

      I absolutely love your guild name, btw. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  4. xvkarbear says:

    Thank you for writing this post.

    I don’t have a hunter (well, I do.. but she’s a bankalt) and i don’t follow hunter news. All I know was that editors of wowinsider were tweeting about it with references that”frost” that did something but he wouldn’t be fired for it. Eventually one said “Frostheim” and that lead me to your twitter and this post.

    Whether what he did was right or not, thanks for laying out the facts of the event. The curiosity was killing me.

    • Russ says:

      It was killing me too!

      Today I was seeing all of those cryptic tweets from the WoW Insider people, and I wasn’t sure what it was about. I was like, “was it the Old Kingdom article? was it something else?” I eventually figured it out by searching for “Frostheim” on Twitter, like yourself.

      Glad to be of help. 🙂

  5. Analogue says:

    I just want to address one point. I’m a healer, I almost always bring my husband as tank on randoms. I have had to learn NOT to run toward the one or two dps that are soloing a mob. It’s a matter of party discipline. Maybe one guy can solo one particular mob, but then everyone decides they can do that. They can’t, because there’s only one of me.

    If I go try to help, and I die, the party has to wait around until those of us who died run back. If I stick with my tank, we can go find the corpses, rez them, and be on our way.

    I am reminded suddenly of Gevlon at greedygoblin.blogspot.com yesterday where he devised categories of people as “minions”, “leaders” and the third was something like “independent thinkers”. He said he was being broad with his categories but that essentially leaders can’t permit independent thinkers, even if successful, if that will result in the “minions” trying to do the same thing as the thinkers and failing. In WOW at least, he’s kind of right.

    • Russ says:

      That’s a good point. It’s easy for someone like me to think that all five party members should be thinking with one mindset – in this case, the hunter’s mindset, which is “Oh, this person pulled aggro, I’m a hunter, it’s a trash mob, so I can take this thing down, especially if healer is thinking (like me) that I should have no problem doing so and is comfortable giving my pet and I a few heals.”

      In reality, the healer isn’t thinking that at all – he/she is thinking, “Oh no, I’ve got to get to a safe place!” for the reasons that you stated. It’s quite sensible. 🙂

      If you play as DPS with a PvP-type mindset – that is, if you are constantly sizing up situations on the fly, and thinking about both being the victor AND surviving – that mindset becomes a habit/play-style. However, I’d say that most people probably aren’t thinking that way in a place like OK (or heroics in general). Frostheim would, because he PvPs, greatly out-gears the place, and is extremely confident in his abilities, but it is understandable that other random players wouldn’t have that mindset.

      With regard to Gevlon, you raise a good point about independent thinkers; however, I would argue that, unlike Frost’s OK leader, Gevlon is a decisive, goal-oriented leader who is communicative when he needs to be. In this case, whereas Frost would have normally either followed the tank (leader) or dropped group, he dealt with a chaotic, leaderless, communication-less situation by chucking group-think and responsibility and retreating into his “hmm, let’s see if I can outwit this boss myself!” mode.

      The consequences of that decision have already been discussed, of course. However, perhaps this highlights one of the problems with LFD PuGs: Your performance/enjoyment can be determined by the quality of players (not toons) in your party. There is a least common denominator there – if your party consists of people unwilling to communicate and execute, crazy/bad stuff can happen.

      I’m glad that you heal with your husband as tank. I’ve always loved tanking dungeons with a guild friend healing me, because the familiarity and communication is there. In Cataclysm, I’ve decided that I am going to avoid pugging in LFD as much as possible, running dungeons within my guild for the most part, even if it is to the detriment of my advancement / gear. Leaving the game’s random generator to decide my play mates for me holds less and less appeal as time goes by.

      Perhaps that explains, in part, my sympathy for Frostheim in this situation, whether it’s right or wrong.

  6. Tesh says:

    Seems to me that we’re seeing problems with all five of the players in the group. Isn’t it pretty well known by now that PUGs have vast “suckage” potential? Why rail on a guy for reporting the truth?

    So yeah, he was a bit of a “non-team player”, but I can’t bring myself to condemn him for reacting to an already broken situation. Maybe it’s not the high road, but it’s understandable, and far better than what he could have done to intentionally mess up the other players. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but he’s not the only one with a bit of tarnish on his armor here.


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