Reddit Warriors and Bullying
SquareEnix has made some great strides with combating the toxic culture that invaded Final Fantasy 14 over the past year; however, as an online society, we still have a long ways to go. Granted much like regular society, you'll never truly stamp out bullies, elitists, trolls or anything else, but there is a limit to where these people must be called out and be held accountable for their behavior. Such is the topic I'm posting about. The first post in quite a while after trolls and bullies forced me to resign my regular postings on account there wasn't a mechanism in place to report them.
Social media, message boards and general chats have been around for quite a while now. Reddit has brought forth a great platform to share information, rate said information and help the general public decide which information is "best" based upon a mob and popular vote mentality. In most cases, that information can be used to improve an experience, gain knowledge through the sharing of information, and even improve your game play for a particular title. However, we are at a point where many players simply use that information as gospel without recognizing the limitations of what they're applying.
Raw stats, optimal conditions and trials free from outside influence are often key factors to produce the best numbers available. And, if you're applying those adjustments to your game play in a static party, where everyone else is also utilizing those same conditions, it will produce the best result. The same cannot be said to applying these same variables into a public setting, with random players, each whom might have a different opinion, setup or limited resources to employ those same gearsets, meldings, or even macros.
What today's FFXIV Elitists [Or as I call them Reddit Elitists or Reddit Warriors] fail to recognize (or even acknowledge) is you can take raw stats, put them up against other trials and point the finger to say "this one is optimal." BUT, that doesn't mean it fits everyone else, NOR does it mean everyone HAS to adopt it as their discipline for whichever job their playing.
Think of it this way, just how many different schools of martial arts are in the world? Google reports there's over 170. The top 5, most popular are Karate, Kung Fu, Judo, Taekwondo,and "Mixed." Does that mean the other 165 are irrelevant? NO! Silat from Malaysia is considered the most deadly out of the schools [according to a CBS report]. Does all of this invaliate those 164 schools, their influence, their practice and study? NO!
Some of you out there [especially if you take exception to this entry] need to wake up and realize that the people in FFXIV all have different practices for their respective roles. You ridicule and criticize because you believe them to be "wrong." Yet much like martial arts, there are completely different objectives each player are trying to achieve. I personally won't sit by any longer and take this mob and bully mentality from those who use Reddit as their job bible to put down others who practice alternatives which best suits their experience. Nor will I stand by and be bashed for the shortsightedness of people who bully for the sake of bullying.
We all practice our online profession through dungeons, raids, Fates and quests for fun, for fulfillment and entertainment. And while we all may approach a particular profession differently, it doesn't preclude the chance for greatness by different means. If you're running through content with a constant static, your setup, gear and output can be drastically different than someone who runs the same content with public randoms. In their eyes, they just may be trying to survive. And equiping a DPS layout on a tank who's trying to survive with a healer that barely meets the item level is a far different scenario than having a maxed out White Mage dropping cures on you while you pile on the DPS. The same can be true for any job, any profession.
So, before you scrutinize some random stranger from behind your keyboard, first take into account that they may not have the gil to buy a 450 item set; or the time or the ability to get that 470 item level set (so on and so forth). Or better yet, tolerate them for the 30 minutes it takes to clear something and move on. This constant, whining (which is what it is) of "optimal DPS" "optimal this" "I read it on Reddit" that, you're just creating a whole new toxic environment which results in bullying for the sake of "being right on the internet." Is it REALLY that worth it? Think about it.
I'm quite surprised to read this; I monitor reddit frequently, and in general it is a good source of information. Being an online platform, there are going to be disagreements, but I do not feel there is much bullying going on, unless it occurs in DM. At least I did not experience any.
Regarding what is optimal, I do agree that one should not merely parrot what is called "optimal" without understanding, but rather read with a critical mind and try to apply the knowledge to one's particular circumstances.
I actually cannot do the optimal PLD rotation (11 GCD FoF), for example, due to latency. On average, it is a dps loss if I am forced to disengage or clip the GCD. My rotation is the old one, which puts FoF before Goring.
I accept the small loss of dps, and am happy to admit that my play is not optimal. That said, it is an informed decision that is still made in the interest of contributing as much to the party as possible.
I also feel that strong fundamentals are more important than fancy optimization tricks. I think focusing on keeping the GCD spinning, using important dps abilities on cooldown, minimizing cancelled spells, unncecessary movement and lost uptime will make more difference to the average player.
Another example would be an inexperienced shield healer, who adlos himself because he is not sure of doing mechanics properly. This is far from optimal, but in casual content, it is not that big of a deal, and is much better than a dead healer!
That said, it is still important to be aware that this is not best practice. In time this healer may become confident enough to no longer need self-adlo, and be satisfied at his achievement.
On the other hand, people sometimes do not like to hear that they are making mistakes or playing poorly, and mistake corrections as personal attacks. I think this is nothing but the result of one's ego.
They talk about accepting all playstyles, but what they really want is for their playstyle to be acknowledged as "good", whatever its flaws or result. They don't want to hear that there is a better way, especially if they are unable to perform it.
I think there is value in knowing what is "optimal", even if you are not able to achieve it. As Sigurd once said, if one does not know how to deploy his resources in the best situation, he won't be able to do it in a bad situation.
I think it is valuable to know our weaknesses and limitations, and I think one should be able to accept that they have flaws in something as minor as a video game.
I have a friend that was a mentor. She was trying to explain the difference between end game content, melding and gear sets. 5 (FIVE) mentors began berating her, insulting her, even began telling her the advice she gave was not only misleading but "stupid $#!+" citing their evidence on Reddit as the "only way you're supposed to play" a given job. She screenshot the entire incident. 5 Mentors were reported. A month later SE employed their antibully rules and the Mentor system began it's overhaul.
This still happens, a lot. I've been kicked out of our server's "Hunt LS" because of everything I just said and defending my position. I don't swear, I don't belittle or talk down to people unless they really tick me off. But quite frankly, like I said in my OP, we still have a ways to go as an online community in FFXIV.
And bare in mind, I'm not saying Reddit is a horrible place with "wrong" information. Far from it.
" ...that information can be used to improve an experience, gain knowledge through the sharing of information, and even improve your game play for a particular title."
And it's completely true with skill rotations, farming resources, and information gathering to find optimal play mechanics.
But also, "we are at a point where many players simply use that information as gospel without recognizing the limitations of what they're applying."
It's like saying "Car X is the best car for racing" yet you fail to take into account what type of race, who the driver is, what are the weather conditions, etc etc. The car may be great, but when you fail to account for the other variables, it negates what you're trying to accomplish.
Meat Shield, I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your friend.
While it is fine to have differences on strategy etc, verbal abuse is of course wrong.
That said, could it be a case of miscommunication? Sadly, words such as "playstyle" and "optimal" have somehow become loaded terms.
There are some players who completely misuse their skills with a horrible result, and when confronted about it, claim that it is their "playstyle". thanks to these irresponsible people, "playstyle" has become a bit of a dirty word, sigh. It now brings to mind one who selfishly does whatever they want, without concern for the success of the party.
Similarly, there are people who mistake "optimal" to mean "everyone has to do exactly this all the time", and cannot adjust to the situation or do not understand the underlying principles behind optimal play. Thanks to their dogmatic stance, "optimal" has become a dirty word too...
I think there is a big difference between someone who is not able to play in the optimal way, or who is in a situation very different from the controlled raid environment, and makes informed decisions to adjust; and someone who insists on playing however they like, without concern for its effects on performance, the party's success or other players. The former is common sense, while the latter is irresponsible. Unfortunately, such differences are often lost in online communication.
In the end, it may be best to just avoid loaded terms such as this.
Btw, I am surprised they mentioned Reddit as the premier source for job information. Most people recommend the Balance discord instead (however, as a teacher I still recommend to read any guide with critical thinking, and understand what the guide is trying to achieve, not blindly do exactly what is said).
I really wish it was miscommunication. The whole encounter was extremely hostile from the onset. I mean, I've run into my own share of criticism over my character setup but nothing compared to what my friend did. She won't even think about playing again after her experience.
That said, I hope moving forward people are more understanding and courteous to the fact not everyone follows a singular template; regardless of what platform they may have picked it up from.
The game becomes a lot better when you don't talk to people like that