One issue is that it's hard to quantify the effectiveness of non-standard actions, because they rely upon (a) the player having a sufficient grasp of the imaginary situation to picture the existence of the option, (b) the DM agreeing that such an option is something the character is able to attempt, within the bounds of their available actions, and (c) the DM not deciding that it's going to require the use of a skill or ability with which the character has no aptitude. If the warlock blows his action on dragging his buddy out of those tentacles, and winds up having to make an untrained Athletics check using his dump-stat Strength score, it's probably not going to go well.I feel like folks are getting hung up on the examples. :/
In this case, it was a drow ambush. We were trapped inside a cave by darkness / black tentacles, and the enemy casters were on the far side. The options were "hit low level mooks," "try your luck charging through the black tentacles," or "prevent your buddy from getting strangled to death."
My point is that defaulting to the best case scenario can often be a mistake in strategic thinking.