Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Gear Factor

I am going to start off by saying this outright - I hate gearscore with a fiery passion. Yes, it shows if someone is geared enough for a dungeon, but it doesn't show off their skill levels in the slightest. You could have all the gear in the world and still be a terrible player that stands in the stupid, pulls horrible dps, lets the tanks die, can't hold aggro, and so on.

But, how else do I know if someone is good to take for a run?!

You don't. You can't tell if a player is skilled by looking at their gear. You can't tell if they've done the content by looking at their gear (achievements can help with this, but not if the character is an alt). There are a lot of factors that make up a "good player."

First example:

We have a mage in our guild that joined us when TOC25 was hard content. He was barely geared for Naxx, and was still dragging around greens and blues. However, that mage topped the single-target charts because he knew how to play his class. It's a novel concept, but one that helped him immensely.

Triumph and frost bages are also incredibly easy to come across, it makes the whole concept of gearscore even more trivial. One could run nothing but heroics and gear up, and still be bad because they've never stepped foot into a proper raid.

Second example:

The warlock, known to my guild leader as the Lady of Lag. She had one of the highest gearscores in the guild. She was decked out for ICC25 before a lot of us were ready for it.

The problem? Her DPS sucked.

Lady of Lag would pull a whopping 900 dps on boss fights. She would proceed to blame lag (we had a DK who had a worse computer who topped our charts, thanks), having a headache (same DK raided with a bleeding head, and our tank recently ran with a lung infection), or being on her period. My guild leader and I, who are both female, were absolutely apalled by this.

She had a similar problem on her ret pally. Most of the damage she did was done with white damage, because she "ran out of mana too fast" from spamming exorcism.

I could also go on about our holy and prot paladins running heroics in judgement gear, but it might be going a little overboard.

The point, however, is that gear score would never have told any of us these things. We never would have known how incredible our mage is. We never would have known how horrible that warlock was.

I bring this up, because last night was a twisted ICC run. Our main paladin healer was running on her druid, our druid was MIA, so we brought in a (fresh) resto shaman, our main tank switched to his rogue to dps, and our off tank was main tanking with a Death Knight we rarely had room for.

I did have a bit more work to do myself (as a discipline priest), but we all did just fine. We killed bosses, we looted epics, and our severly undergeared shaman and druid did absolutely fabulously. I didn't carry them, they pulled their own weight because they knew what they were doing.

While I cannot force people to stop using it, hopefully people will start to think a little bit more about the various other factors of play before completely disregarding a player as bad because of lower gear.

For further reading on the subject, Altaholics Anonymous has an older topic on the subject, though still completely relevant... and will continue to be relevant until people realize that gearscore =/= skill.



    And erections!