Viability and Optimality

Eidotrope at OutDPS: Viability and optimality are concerns that come up often in raiding and PVP because in both settings players are very concerned with what works and what is best.  Indeed, hunter theorycrafting and strategizing is driven chiefly by these concerns.  However, viability and optimality do not have independent meanings.  They always depend on context.  Read on after the break for an explanation.

Let’s start with some definitions.  Being viable means being sufficient for success at a given endeavor.  Being optimal means being best-suited for success a given endeavor.  Viability is having enough to get the job done, optimality a condition of being best-suited for the job among the available options.  You can be viable without being optimal, such as choosing to row as a way to get across the Atlantic.  You can also be optimal without being viable, such as being the toughest and hardiest of the non-avian dinosaurs present at the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period.

To further illustrate the difference between the terms, let’s return to a beaten, run-over, burned and buried question, that of BM’s raid viability in WotLK.  Was BM viable for normal mode raiding at the end of Wrath?  Certainly.  It could muster the required minimum of dps such that it was not being carried by others in normal modes.  Was it optimal?  Certainly not.  It was far, far behind MM in dps, making it a long way from optimal.  It could get the job done in normal modes but it was not the best spec to take to progression fights. … Read Full Article.

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