Greedy Goblin

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The GearScore failure

I hate GearScore with fury. Or to be more specific, I hate the idea of preferring geared players over non-geared. GearScore is just a tool for this, yet it's so commonly used among people accepting the idea, that it's correct to label the idea "GearScore".

Of course I'm not arguing with retards who claim "u need 6K GS to do Naxx" or "GS shows u are l33t cos u had 2 kill lotz bossez to get that awsom gear". They are rejected by the "intelligent GS users" too.

I'm arguing with the "intelligent GS users" who say: "Skill >> Gear, yet I know nothing of someone's skill, so I can't find skilled players. The same person with 5K GS will do 1.5x more damage than in 4K. It is possible that it means 3K DPS instead of 2K which is a shame, yet 3K is better than 2K". With even more scientific statement: "GS is uncorrelated from skill at worst, so in absence of obvious unskill-signals like retardspeak, I should choose the better geared player since on average I get average skilled players with better gear".

To battle this idea one must say "GS in negatively correlated with skill" which is obviously nonsense. How could a less geared player in average be worse than the more geared? We know for sure two things:
  • Experience makes the same person better, and time gives more experience. Gear is gathered over time, so more gear = more time = more experience. Of course there are slow learners (low skill - exp ratio), but the correlation is positive.
  • You get gear and badges from killing bosses. Killing bosses needs skill. So having gear is the signal of being skilled. Of course there are carried people, but we can say without doubt that a raid who downed the boss is more skilled on average than the raid which failed on trash. So while gear is a very noisy signal of skill, it's still a signal.
So simply by logic we can conclude that "Gear has a non-negative correlation with skill, therefore preferring a higher GS person gives a better skilled more time than not, and always gives a better geared, whose skill (whatever it is) is boosted by gear." And this statement is true.

However you are not PuGing from the whole playerbase. You are PuGging from the players who are not raiding with a guild (or fixed raid group). My claim is: among this group, GS correlates negatively with skill. On the other hand among people who raid with a guild GS correlates strongly positively with skill, producing an average positive correlation over the whole playerbase.

Why does someone not raiding with a guild (and still wants to raid with a PuG)?
  1. He is an alt of a raider.
  2. He is casual, without time for serious raiding, or new player without enough /played to get there.
  3. He was unlucky this week as he had to sit out or his guild just disbanded, or he transferred here this week or the raid was canceled or his wife was so inconsiderate to give birth to his son on raid night or whatever bad luck happened.
  4. No serious guild takes him.
  5. He is sitting outside if the raid leader can invite any player, household animal or farmbot instead.
  6. He is a special snowflake who is just about to comment on this post why he is not in 1-5 but now that he is properly recognized, doesn't.
Let's see the gear distribution among them:
  1. Alts of raiders are undergeared by definition. If they wouldn't be undergeared, they could go with the guild raid. He is PuGging exactly to gear up to the point when he is no longer carried by the guild but can contribute at least to the ICC 8/12 altrun. At this point he will no longer PuG. So there is no such thing as "geared alt" (who pugs).
  2. Casuals have no time to farm gear. The claim "I'm not raiding because I have no time" is only valid if the person is undergeared. If he is sporting in full badge gear, he is anything but casual.
The alts are skilled, the casuals can be skilled. However if someone is geared, he cannot be alt or casual. If someone is geared, he can be #3, an unlucky raider, but I think we can agree that "unlucky raiders" are less than 5% of the puggers. Also he mostly have guild tag from a raider guild and raiding achievements much higher than aimed for a PuG. So a Kingslayer applying to a "first wing" pug is most probably unlucky. Someone with 4/12 or 6/12 is not.

So if someone is geared and not 10+/12 he can be nothing else but #4 or #5, a retard who farms badges and PuGs day and night. That's why gearscore is bad: it collects gearfarming retards, special snowflakes and excludes casuals and alts who have the potential of being skilled. While GS would collect geared raiders, they don't PuG at the first place.

A person in enchanted-gemmed mixture of blues and 232 items with some badge gear will pull higher DPS than the guy in full badge gear without 10+/12 achievement. High gearscore without a very good reason why he is not raiding a hard mode instead of a 6/12 PuG is a good reason for no invite.

Note to people who can't seem to understand "PuG": if a guild provides 16 people and collects 7 people from friend list and 2 strangers, that's rather and "alt run" then a "PuG". A real PuG is formed on /trade by a leader and few friends, recruiting strangers.


drakenrahl said...

I agree with the general idea. HoweverI don't agree with the fact that you say there cannot be a geared alt who pugs. At the moment my guild doesn't run alt runs and we only run 25mans, this leaves both my main and my alt left to pug ICC 10, and another 25 on my alt and the same holds true with many other of our guild members.
The reason we can't hold alt runs is that no one really cares about 10mans (there was a plan for a drake run, but that was scraped after we got the 25 man ones) and if we could get all 25 raiders online out side of raid times we would use it for4 more progression.

Yaggle said...

My problem with Gearscore is not that people are using players' gearscores to choose who to bring to their raids. My problem is that as Gearscore becomes more popular, it changes the way the game is played in a negative way due to social conformity as you talked about in your space shuttle post.
Gear is important for a character but there are other important things, too. There is a television show by Dr. Seuss called "The Sneetches" which you can watch on youtube if you want about a group of bird-like humanoids who are obsessed with which sneetches has more stars on their stomachs. A person comes to town who will print a star on your stomach for a payment. All the sneetches go back and forth having stars printed to make sure that they are the sneetches with the most stars. Of course it all ends when then all the sneetches run out of money and the person leaves town. Of course what I am saying is that Gearscore has turned the playerbase into sneetches.

Chopsui said...

You are discounting alts of raiders way too fast. Many raiders I know have one or two very well geared alts, that they pug with. They are well geared, because people like to gear them well and in a pinch they may be needed by the guild's main raid at some point.

DKS said...

I posted a few days back that I would use GS today if I was still playing. You did hit the nail on a good vast majority of players, but you did seem to miss one point:

3. He was unlucky this week as he had to sit out.

Now, as for my realm, it was very much the case, and yes they were bad PuGs, but they stood out in the crowd like a dwarf with leprosy.

Now, most guilds in my realm that were more or less seriously raiding in TotC had 4 different raids to schedule. Given 30-35 raiders per guild, you would have 5-10 guys per guild who wasn't saved to one particular version of the raid. Granted, when I was in such a position, my "PuGs" were filled up with raiders with whom I've pugged before and they would advertise in their gchat as people knew me and my pugs.

For a starting out PuGer, who is a #3, GS and Achievement helps that particular person to get a good impression of the player. After you weed out low GS players, you'll armory the ones with higher, weed out retards with PvP gear and suboptimal pieces, and get a group going that has farmed ICC before and intends to clear it actually.

Since attunements and the workload to get into raids have been lifted and the raids are public-domain now, GS is one of the only tools available to a PuG leader who,s any serious to have a raid that can farm LK in 10-men. GS, Achievement, followed by an Armory check.

Anonymous said...

All my alts are geared. My tank alt is currently in full 264 and 2 274 from battleships and marrowgar.
You just have to be strict with the raid and you can easily do 10-11/12 in a pug.
Offcourse, you will have fails that you can always kick.

But i agree with the rest

Jairo said...

Actually Gevlon, even though I generally agree with you in this particular case I think I'm an exception to your beliefs and I really don't think i'm the sole exception.
I'm not saying your point is wrong, the general idea makes sense, what I want to point is the fact that generalizing it, in this case, does not accurately points out the truth.
My main char is a mage, I Play on a 25-man raiding guild, we raid 7.5 hours a week (2.5 hours per night, tuesdays, wednesdays and thursdays) and we are 8/12 on ICC 25 Heroic at this point, so, NO, I'm not the "special snowflake" but i don't think I'm the worst unskilled player out there also (Main is Jabarj and I play on on Aerie Peak-US in case it's important).

As I said we only raid a little over 7 hours/week and since we focus on ICC 25 my mage ends up being free to PuG VoA, ToC or whatever else is running around just outta the sheer pleasure of burning bosses down.
My DK Alt (Arag√£o, also on of Aerie Peak - US) is less geared than the mage, but he is not "undergeared by definition", the reason why he pugs instead of being "carried by the guild" is simply because we try to register people attendance and we count on mains for our progression raids, not on alts.
But since my mage only raids 25-man and my DK only raids 10-man I will pug the other format with any of them at any moment if I have the time for it and I don't believe I would fit in the "he has 6K GS and he is pugging so he must be bad" category that you're selling.

I'm not a GS elitist that asks people to "link 5.5K GS for Naxx or no invite", but I wont deny that I've kicked players from ToC 25 pugs because their GS was below 3k. I know it's pretty much doable in lower gear and your undergeared project has already proven it to us, but in a pick-up-group I usually don't wanna place my bets on 2.5k GS people hoping that they are the most skilled people out there, PuGs usually count on outgearing content to compensate for lack of skill/affinity.

Best Regards, Jabarj

Anonymous said...

"Why does someone not raiding with a guild (and still wants to raid with a PuG)?"

Special snowflake here.

I'm in a guild, but I don't raid with them, thanks to RL scheduling conflicts. "Well, then you should switch guilds", right? Except that while I find raiding fun, there's a lot of other things in the game that I find fun, too - so missing out on raids with my guild isn't much of an issue for me.

When RL relents and gives me a block of uninterrupted time to play, I sometimes go searching for a pug. So while my /played time and high-end emblem gear says that I'm definitely not a casual player, my schedule makes me a casual raider.

You're ignoring a class of players who choose to pug because it's more convenient for them. My pug experience seems to indicate that this is a non-trivial part of the raiding population, at least when it comes to anything other than the bleeding edge of progression raiding.

Anonymous said...

problem in my eyes is that gearscore is wrongly used. when it first arised i figured it was to let pug leaders know who has the minimum gear needed for the instance. obviously right from the start that went wrong and gearscore was used to find the 'best' people.
(mind you i wouldn't know why you need that in the first place, it's not hard to figure out who to take and who not, mostly it's apparant after a conversation of 1-2min)

however what i've noticed is that gearscore actually is a good thing for the skilled ppl. as all idiots seem to only want to raid in a GS pug if you start a pug that doesn't require GS (and you clearly state that along with something if you clearly don't know what you're doing i'll boot you before you can come up with an excuse) and you filter out all the leetspeakers and the ones with other apparant idiots you end up with skilled ppl who in more then 50% of the cases have gear far exceding what the GSpug in trade was asking for. more importantly generally you finish the weekly/VOA (only things i pugged) while the GS pug is still looking for ppl

obviously my viewpoint might be false as i was the main tank of one of the top guilds of my server so ppl who might not respond to trade pugs else might do it if the saw my name

pippen1001 said...

Gevlon you forgot the pvp:ers

when i still played wow i played about 300 arena matches per week (2300+ rating in 3v3, the shaman in the team was in the top 1 5v5 team 2500+ etc) and was doing all possible bg:s so i had full marks at the end of the season, but i still pugged raids like ToC. Mostly i got so tired of failwipes i just started starting my own groups with at least 4 core players from my friends that i could rely on.

But back to point Pvp:ers are skilled but casual in the pve sense however we still like to do them. Every week i did VoA 10/25, ToC 10/25 the occasional Ruby Sanctum/Malygos, And Onyxia 10/25. I stopped playing before icc came out and random raid.

Nehunter said...

I don't think the issue is with GS.
The issue is that we rely on very little information and time to form a PuG.
Now it's GS, but we had
- Achievements and only achievements (to do naxx you need the naxx ach)
- various stats LF Gundrak HC healer 1900 SP (errm that was not the only relevant stat for every healer)

The only way i see fit to abolish GS is to change the hole way of forming pugs. Rely more on server forums. Be open about how many bosses will be done and be fair on what is required to do them.
More groups with different level of goals and requirements :
an ICC 4-6/12 group might only need most farmed gear from HCs
(or a SS with the DPS on dummy target)
an ICC 8/12 will ask for experience in the first 6 bosses

Open to discussion of course.

Anonymous said...

"You are PuGging from the players who are not raiding with a guild (or fixed raid group). My claim is: among this group, GS correlates negatively with skill."

I point you to the shitty guilds that can't clear wings because the guild leader's girlfriend can't spread out for aerial phase.

The fact that they share a guild tag does not amplify their skill quotient. Bad players are bad players, as evidenced by the fact that pugs have killed Lich King pre-absurd buff.

Anonymous said...

As the above have already mentioned, I believe you've missed out a few classes of people who PUG.

- Geared raiders in instances a guild run no longer occurs in. Typically they're bored, already saved to everything useful to them, and will PUG for something to do.

- Second to 9th geared alts. There's only so many guild runs that occur, and I know many people who run with whichever alt is needed for the guild run, and then PUG with the other(s).

- Ex-raiders gone casual, who still PUG raids when they feel like it. Typically their gear, while not exceptional any more, the heroic version of the previous tier's gear is still far better than the next tier's badge gear.

Purplezorlak said...

This time I disagree with you. I'm on a 10 man raiding guild, 10/12 but we don't do 25 man, so I have to pug those. And as pugs suck I only have 6/12 on 25 man. Not all raiding guilds do both 10 and 25 man raids.

Andru said...

Fine. Admitting your explanation.

Proposed solution?

There is STILL no way to correctly identify alts and casual raiders.

Fine, go by the guild tag for the former. But for the latter?

(PS: I'm a special snowflake too. Not casual player but casual raider due to absolutely impossibly haphazard scheduling disallowing me to reserve 4 hours to raid at set times.)

Secondly, you haven't forwarded any proof for your theory.

In fact here it is. Counter-Proof. Its methodology is flawed and the sample is limited but it's the closest we have to some kind of objective proof so far.

Thirdly. Occam's razor applies to a certain extent, though there's really no comparison to such other extent since WOTLK is the first expansion in which end-game dungeons were successfully PuGged.

GS is present because it works. Same as Darwinism. An idea survives if it works.

Noob said...

While reason why geared players don't PUG seems valid in general I'm going to tell about my case. I like CRPGs and I have been encouraged by friend of mine to play WoW since few years. I don't like idea of playing game where others have vastly superior expirience but some day I given up and gave WoW a chance. While I have quite broad expirience in CRPG I'm new to MMORPGs. Taking that into account I had quite long time choosing my favorite class and spec but once I decided it was fast I raced to 80 and beyond. I fall behind similar skilled player due to lack of expirience in WoW, I can only read about tactics while they could learnt encounters one by one when they were released. Second factor is I play for fun. This doesn't mean I like to slack, it means that I want to play when I'm in the mood or have spare time. Guild raiding means that I have to declare which hour I WILL raid. While I usually play more than 2 times a week atleast 3 hours I don't like idea that I have to be on time and be there for 3-4 hours since forming raid to leaving instance. It is just not my idea of good fun. With such attitude it is difficult to raid with guild that is why I PUG raids, sometimes. Am I better WoW player than I was some time, ago? Yep, sure. Do I have better gear, now? Yes. So, in my case higher GS = higher skilled player. Do I like idea of judging players skill by GS? NO, I don't but I can imagine why that could be right most of the time.


mat said...

I love gear score for the following reason; On my server we have a channel that the main raiding guilds use to form pugs from. The general idea being that if you are in this channel then you generally know how to raid, regardless of wether you are on an alt or a main.
However, the one thing that will get you guaranteed kicked and banned from the channel is any mention at all of gear score.
It is so funny seeing new people in the channel trying the same pug forming comments as in trade and lasting about 5 seconds.

Observ said...

Read what the developer of Gearscore said on: ZOMFG!!! GEAR DOESN'T EQUAL SKILL!!?

A really sucky player with high GearScore will do more dps then a really sucky player with low GearScore.

mat said...

"Alts of raiders are undergeared by definition. If they wouldn't be undergeared, they could go with the guild raid. He is PuGging exactly to gear up to the point when he is no longer carried by the guild but can contribute at least to the ICC 8/12 altrun. At this point he will no longer PuG. So there is no such thing as "geared alt" (who pugs) "

This is complete crap.
The whole point of an alt is that it is an alt, regardless of its gear. You raid with the guild on your main, and if, by some chance, the guild raid needs the skills of your alt, they take your alt instead of your main. In general, with most raiding guilds this does not happen as the pool of available raiders usually has redundancy built in without resorting to alts.
As a result, alts will nearly always pug, regardless of their gear level.

But then it depends on your definition of pugging.
If the main raiding guilds on your server form a meta guild then the alt pugs from that meta guild tend to be pretty successfull.
As a result, my two alts now have gear at the same level as my main, and yet I still always pug with them, because despite their gear, there is no room for them in the guild raiding roster.

Anonymous said...

"An idea survives if it works" is an overstatement. I'd rather say "an idea survives if it gets popular". There are plenty of ideas which survive but actually do not work at all, but they got popular for the most disparate reasons.

Anonymous said...

Even though I agree with the common idea in the post, you are sort of wrong because my alt did some pug icc 25s which is 6k gs, and my main is 5900gs just because my alt had some lucky loot roles in a few icc pugs and i had lucky rolls on my main guild's rolls. hence an alt can be better geared... but its very rare like mine.

Olga said...

In a raiding guild there could be no alt runs at all. For example, i have good enough for icc25 normal geared alt (245-264), but there're no alt runs in my guild, and there was no alt runs in my previous guilds.
I think, alt runs are more common in casual guilds. In serious raiding guild most players are busy enough with progressing on their main character, and they have no time and no interest to go on alt runs. Usually there's a progressing 10-man team, some ppl that need something from 10man so run them too, some ppl who like PvP, so it's just impossible to find 25 alts to run something.
Actually, there's no need in these runs on a server with good progression. There're a lot of PuGs for 8+ ICC25, GDKP runs, and, to be honest, GS requirements are not very strict here. Usually guild tag will just get you an invite, even if your alt is not geared "enough".

Zeran said...

I'll join in, since I hate retardscore as much as you. I've definitely come to accept that the muppets running pugs will never let gs die. I've accepted the fact that even if I can dance circles around the mages I'll need more gear to get invited on my 3rd alt. That being said, I think your logic is flawed here, I'm in a 10man guild (lost strict when our GM invited a new tank and his although). Since we're no longer on the strict list we're free to pug 25m. Since I can only commit time for one raid, I'm free to pug both of my alts. Thus, in this one player you have an heroic geared tank/dps pugging icc25, a properly geared tank/healer pugging all relevant content, and an under geared dps putting all relevant and breaking the meters.
Now looking at your post you say that you want my dps (since she's not geared) don't want my healer, and deny the existence of my tank?
Maybe I'm still just a special snowflake, but I would argue that, while I'm good with my alts, I'm best with my main. This shows one point of consistency with gs demonstrating skill.
What I think the problem with gs is that it says nothing about the person's skill/preparation. This is also why I like wow-heroes, it shows me a quick reference 'score' and what they've screwed up (gems, enchants, pvp gear, etc.) Honestly, I think gs can be a useful tool, but I think the mass of players using it are complete idiots.
(Btw, I've never used or needed gs to identify retards in a pug, so I view it as a "keeping up with the Joneses" tool of idiots).

Anonymous said...

The reason why I PuG: I dont like raiding at all. I play pvp mostly with couple of my friends, and IF I sometimes happen to want to do onyxia or something, I just PuG it, although PuGing often leads to wipefest, which makes me even more bored to pve content and makes me play pvp more. That's kind of a vicious circle, and I just realized that maybe I should do something about it.

Anonymous said...

I don't join "LFM /w GS + achi" PUGs because it proves me the raid leader lacks brains to evaluate a raider and relies on dead simple, binary model because he cannot comprehend anything slightly complicated.

I pick pugs that inspect people and ask for experience in "your own words" instead of just "link achi". Alts of raiders have experience, might not "have achi" if that's a fresh char.

Inspecting people also shows who's "geared for GS" such as:
- using level 245 badge trinkets, which are usually awful, especially for dps (600 hit rating is cool, right? 128 int trinket is useful to anyone but holy pala?)
- using pvp gear
- using wrong items for your class because they "just happened to drop" and had higher item level, like hit rating items on healer without dps spec (like holy/disc dualspecced priest), spirit on a shaman or paladin, ret paladins in armor penetration items instead of paladin-tailored tiers, dps paladins and dks with tank / spellpower items... list can go on

Also inspecting / remote inspecting through armory shows fast who's high-GS ungemmed, unenchanted retard (because those don't add to your GS, so waste of gold, right?)

P.S. I PUG on "geared alts". They were once undergeared, but aren't any more after few weeks of pugging. I don't "swap them for mains" in my guild, because I like both chars, and if I'm a main tank I can't tell them "sorry guys I'm coming today on my priest".

My guild doesn't have alt runs because most people there don't want to spend another evening raiding and / or treat their alts just as gathering profession / badge farmers to fuel their mains. I tried to form alt runs myself, but the interest was low ("nah I'd rather go to the pub today") and those who I mustered to gather didn't know how to play, because they never cared to be "good dps", as long as daily heroic pugs didn't kick them, they "were fine", so basically they don't know their skills and rotations and do worse than your blue geared guild dps, by far. So I'd rather pug as there people at least WANT to raid instead of coming because I nagged them in guild and they felt they "should help out a guildie" even though they had no clue how to do it properly.

Anonymous said...

gearscore is used wrong. in my guild its /gkick if you use it.

1) it checks almost all the time if your raid group have have changed theyr gear, and who else have gearscore. so it lags your group _really_ much.

2) if you raid in pug. its mainly your alt, gearscore doesnt know that! i dont have alts. but if you had to choose from skilled hardcore raider alt without gear and 5.8k gs pugger without guild, i would take the alt.

3) some lower ilvl items are better than high end icc25hc items.
i would have 6,1k gs if i changed my ilvl 200 holy light libram to frost one. or used frost trinket instead of algalon10 man.
both items are BiS for holy paladin, but yet they give alot lower GS than icc25hc trinkets/items

Inquisitor said...

My geared alt (who has achievements for 10/12, and was pulling her weight all the way) will pug raids if I happen to be free, and took/will be taking my main to both of the guild raid nights.

Why? Because I want EoF for PvP gear, and a 6/12 ICC pug is a decent way to get them.

Then again, I have never knowingly gone to a pug with a GS requirement.

Anonymous said...

"There is STILL no way to correctly identify alts and casual raiders."

Is there a need to identify them?

I think you ment to identify skilled players and lose the M&S.

Suppose there is a guild, who farms hc 11/12. Suppose, there is 1 individual who was dragged through normal mode 2-3 times, coz he is someones snowflake.
He/she will have 5,5k GS, but will still be unable to put up decent dps, stay out of the fire etc.
Does it matter which guild he/she is in? Does it matter if he/she is an alt or a raider?

thenoisyrogue said...

Gearscore works in this way because it is demonstrable. It is "proveable" in a sense where proof is hard to come by. GS is short term thinking to a problem. You are thinking only of your immediate PuG. Thus it has some short term benefits, (finding players to fill the roles that seem good), but medium term problems, (they turn out to suck) and long term problems, (you are trapped in a GS cycle.)

The long term problem solution is to gradually find a core group of good puggers on your realm and using them as often as possible. This requires more effort but has a better long term reward.

A big obstacle for doing this however, is the recent cross realm LFG system which inhibits finding good players on your own realm, (and a 5 man heroic was the quickest and easiest way to find good players and add them to your friends list, now sadly gone).

Is it any conincidence that GS came about around the same time that the cross realm LFG system was introduced?

nije said...

Ok now I can't decide weather to agree or disagree with your post.
You're bashing GS with which I rarely disagree, but you're doing it in a strange way. The point of the GS/achievement combo (or the way the masses use it) is to have a way of determining who you can safely take to your PuG, that is to exclude people who are more likely to fail for one reason or another. Of course this method is doomed to failure. Your point as I understand it: using this method it's hard to find useful people for a pug because if they are useful they will not want to pug at all. I agree completely with this.

I disagree with the why/how part. You don't really need to divide the people that potentially pug into so many vague categories.
GS/Achie has a core flaw, which can be summed up like so:

Gear < Skill

See, you don't need to divide the potential candidates for a PuG into so many categories when you just have 2: People that preform and those that don't. Because of the way GS/Achie works, you usually filter out more capable players then failures. Let's ignore the Achievement required paradox and say that if you are capable you can get it one way or another (as you pointed out in another post). The amount of GS you ask for determines the quality of the players you will have in your raid in the following manner: If you ask for too little, you will get either undergeared but skilled (less likely) or undergeared AND unskilled (more likely). If you ask for too much GS, you will get either overgeared and skilled (very rare: those would be the alts of raiders and other people you talk about), or much more likely you will get a lot of overgeared but VASTLY underpreforming players. This is the inherent flaw of GearScore. Again: if your criteria is low, you get the people who the addon was created to filter out, and if you ask for too high you get people that have no business being there (6k gs in your ICC25 6/12 pug), that are there because they are incapable of progressing further in the game. The funny thing is that as more time passes, puggers get geared more and conversely ask for more GS and just get worse results for it, because the people that have 5.8k gs and still want to do normal icc already got themselves a guild or at least an organised pug/alt run.

Andru said...


It matters to me, as a PuG leader.

Sure, there might be people like that. But statistically, they're not as common as one would think.

We're not picking holes into Gev's argument with exceptions to the rule, rather want to prove that his list IS the exception.

ardoRic said...

The majority of wow players suck.

If you pick one in random, likely he will suck.

He can either suck with good gear, or suck with bad gear. It won't matter, he'll still be useless.

GS or no GS, if you don't take the time to properly access the player's non-moronicness, you're likely to fail.

Don't judge by GS, judge by how intelligent they seem. Intelligent people will likely be able to understand this game and not suck completely.

If you invite the guy who talks like Tarzan ("me dps or heal" like someone did to my last guild run where we had to pug one), he'll prolly suck even if he is in full 264 on two specs. He didn't realize we were starting on Saurfang even when the recruit post said so and we were talking about it in raid chat. He left the group when he was asked to get saved.... Good Riddance.

sha said...

I think your argument could be even more simplified: If a raid leader has to use gearscore to find pugs, it is a bad raid leader and chances of selecting good raiders is low. That is how you are able to make your argument that gearscore is negatively correlated to skill.

IE: A good raid leader is networked with good players that know good players as well. Those players actually are networked so there is actually more information than just GS. Normally, better results happen when good players vouch for an un-known player than just GSing the un-known player.

cmill said...

I hate GS also. However I do have it installed as it's handy in a 5 man pug to guess who's going to pull the most DPS on the first pull or two, so I can put vigilance on them. After a few pulls recount will show me who's actually going to do the most dps, and then I switch vigilance if needed.

The Gnome of Zurich said...

one thing you may be missing is that PuG runs are often (even usually) not all PuG. A lot of the ones I'ven been in, including most of the good ones, are at least 1/2 made up of either one guild, or a group of players that know each other well, often from an old disbanded guild. My main's old, dead guild has spawn alt runs like this. But since this is not a serious guild run that everybody is committed to, when the time comes, there might be 7 people, or 16 people, rather than 10 or 25, so the rest get pugged.

of course, if you consider only the people who get pugged, the group is not so far from what you say. I do think there are more of 3 in the mix than you might think, and I doubt the correlation is actually negative, even among pugged players, just judging by what I've seen various pugs do (as someone who is willing to pug without worrying too much about GS.

What I do think is that the correlation is nowhere near as large positive as the people who insist on GS think it is, for the reasons you state. A very tiny portion of the high GS + high Skill population is looking for spots in a pug (when they run pugs, they are usually in the core group that is not gotten from trade, but invited by people who know them), while much of the high GS + low skill population is, as well as the low GS + medium to high skill population.

Also, low GS + low skill usually sticks out right away on the logs or meteres for trash, or first easy boss, or is wearing some nonsense that makes low-skill obvious and can be kicked. I gear check to make sure people are appropriately geared for their job, but that's it.

Raddik said...

Agree with the whole post but... I am a special snowflake!!! :D

I used to be a hardcore raider in the #7 progress guild on my server (#5 by faction) but guess what... I have a little baby child born, now he has 20 months and right now I have ANOTHER baby child (2 weeks)... so the reason I don't raind is because the 20 months child normally stops his normal sleeping time to call me for water!!... 1 to 3 times between 22:30 - 00:45... just my WoW play time... So yes, I am a special snowflake... and proud of it... but I miss the raiding days :_(

Anonymous said...

What is needed would be a addon that takes the data from Elitist Group [1] and cross-references it with Recount (or any meter).

Not only will you have the GS, the achievements and the number of kills of a character, you will also have its expected DPS [2]. Add the data exchange GearScore does and soon you will have a single database distributed among all the users which can be mined to find the ratio GS/DPS.

Treeston said...

When I run pugs, I usually ask everyone to come to Dalaran North Bank for an inspect. I check their gems and enchants, and whisper them pointing out any flaws in their gear. Depending on their response I can usually determine how they are going to perform, and I'm right most of the time.

Stubby said...

I say we need a "Skillscore" addon, something like:

your Skill score = your Avg DPS / WoW avg DPS

so a "skillscore" of 1 means your average, numbers greater than 1 is above average and of course the less then 1 scores are our "5k GS 900 dps" snowflakes

the averages required to calculate this isnt that hard to implement either... just requires some play time, or perhaps the "WoW avg DPS" could be shared accross addons.

Though I suppose it would lead to "10 man ICC first wing! 3.6 skillscore or GTFO!" rather than the gearscore version.

Anonymous said...

See I raid full time on my mage and we're a 11/12 ICC 25 HM guild working on heroic LK.

My alt is a paladin who joins a pug gdkp run that is currently 8/12 HM 25 mans.

Due to the nature of loot council and RNG my paladin is currently sitting at 6130 GS and mage at 5980. There are also several members in my guild who have similar experiences with geared alts having higher GS than their mains.

I don't deal in absolutes as there are almost always exceptions.

Jess said...

I think you are leaving out some other options.

What about people who do not have any real interest in joining a more agressive guild?

I am in my guild because I *like* them and want to be in their guild. However, it is mostly a casual guild. We do not have a lot of people, some have alts on the opposite faction that take up much of their time, many have real life time constraints and we also have very different schedules. I have had offers to join other guilds, ones that would be more progressive, but that does not interest me.

As is we managed to try to raid one a week, and often need to pull in friends to fill spots. (again small casual guild). The rest of the guild really is not to the point of being able to raid ICC, nor are most of us hardcore, we do this for fun and a way to hand our and escape. I am ok with that.

I have the best gear, I confess. My lowest piece is one remaining 232 item. Yes I farm badges, I also run 5 mans with my guild. Yes, I run VOA when I can and have been lucky enough to get the two T10/25 man drops. Yes I have joined a pug of ICC here and there for fun and gotten some lucky drops. Maybe I am a bit more than most casuals, but I find the idea that casual cannot be geared a bit odd.

We have had 26 weeks of access to frost badges. Looking at my gear, I have spent 325 frosts. So for the 26 weeks that they have been available I have averaged 12.5 a week. That seems on the casual side to me really. Yet my gear is not horrible and better than many on my server. It is very rare to find someone over 6k on my server though.

In all honestly I do like GS. Not not to be a snob, no not to feel superior, but to see a more tangible increase. There is something I miss about leveling my character and GS is a way to get that same fun. You get a new piece of gear you get a higher number, somehow that is rewarding to me.

I don't consider myself fabulous, but as groups I have pugged into often invite me back, I suspect I also do not suck as much as some. I also do take the time to run numbers. I don't buy a piece of gear before running numbers to see what would be the best option. I don't gem or enchant until I again run numbers to find the best combination. I take the time to do the best I can with what I have. And now because I choose not to join a different guild, I am told I suck since I have put effort into getting gear and perhaps did it too well.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Gevlon makes a dubious claim that could easily be verified with just a few numbers, but instead he chooses to assert things as obvious fact.

A really easy way to test this would just be to ask pug leaders you see advertising in trade how far they progressed by the end of their pug. Match this with the GS requirement they had, and THEN see what the correlation is. Does a 4800 min GS group on average clear as far as a 5600 min GS group? Unlike Gevlon, I won't answer without knowing. But it is very suspicious when someone makes counter-intuitive claims with no data to back them up, and just downright wrong when the data would be easy to collect.

Eric said...

Longish response here

Eaten by a Grue said...

"Alts of raiders are undergeared by definition. If they wouldn't be undergeared, they could go with the guild raid."

What kind of logic is this? Regardless of gear, only one character can raid.

Cecht said...

I have found the addon "Elitist Group" or their armory site ( sniffs out the bad pugs.

Rather than looking purely at gear, it also looks at spec, enchants, and gems. And while Gevlon is correct in that gear =/= skill, correctly speccing/glyphing/enchanting/gemming requires both knowledge of your class and a basic level of intelligence.

While there are exceptions, I have found that people generally play how their gear is enchanted. Someone who is too lazy to enchant or gem a new piece of gear "because he is replacing it soon" is too lazy to move out of the fire while spamming 1 spell over and over again. Someone who gems/enchants poorly (mage gemming for crit over haste, for example) is someone who doesn't understand the basic mechanics of their class. Someone who gems/enchants like an idiot (DPS warrior with +def gems) is an idiot and will be unable to follow simple instructions.

In addition, the trinkets someone equips also tell you a great deal about them. Is that feral druid over the hit cap and still using a +hit trinket because it is high ilvl?

TL:DR- inspecting someone's gear is not nearly as important as inspecting someone's gemming and enchanting choices. People who gem and enchant correctly either a) knows their class, or b) are smart enough to read the forums and follow simple instructions. Either a) or b) make decent raiders.

Anonymous said...
link your alts with your main to show your experience and a quick way to see how many times you've downed a boss and how well you gem and enchant your gear. That should help.

Steven said...

You are missing on the Casual that plays alot =P I myself play quite a bit but i do not raid with a big guild and i have no plans to.

I raid with friends in a guild that isn't serious about raiding i play more than most of them but do not plan on leaving my friends or apping to a "big guild"

Stripes said...

You are discounting a couple of things.

My guild doesn't do TOC any more (the main raiders definitely don't need it, and even the second stringers have very few upgrades in there).

I'm in a regular ICC10 group on my main.

I happen to love the PvP fight in TOC (specifically I love healing it, but DPSing it has it's charms).

In my healing set my GS is definitely high for TOC. However if I have spare time on a non-raid night I would go for a TOC PUG. Hopefully whoever is setting it up doesn't fully believe your post here :-)

There are some alts in my current guild with very high gear scores. Like they have a lot of ICC25 gear. The "alt ICC runs" don't do hard mode. They don't even frequently do ICC25. If they happen to want to do ICC25 they would need to PuG a lot of weeks. If they want hard modes they have to PuG. If there are 14 people available one week 4 get to go PuG.

So that is another source of well geared skilled people.

On my previous server I knew some well skilled people (when Uld was the top raid they had done many Uld hard modes), but they PuGed almost all their raids because they had erratic work schedules.

They were always on our "first to offer fill in slots to" list. Frequently they declined because they were saved or were currently in Uld. When they were available they were stellar at it. In point of fact better then I was.

So another source of high GS but skilled players.

For me that is enough exceptions to your GS rule that I'm gonna just have to ignore it :-)

Anonymous said...

Special Snowflake:

I PUG because my family schedule does not permit me to raid on a fixed schedule. I raid when I can, but I don't know of any guilds which raid in this way, except for the ones that are essentially just pugging anyway. I consider myself a good player and have been invited to several of the top guilds on my server. I do not believe I am alone in this category of player.

Justisraiser said...

You do realize that the Gearscore addon is more than a number, right?

When you type in /gs while targeting someone, it brings up a whole new set of windows to give you more information about a player, including if their gear is mismatched for their spec and how many times they've killed certain raid bosses.

People that don't care about anything but the GS number are obviously limiting themselves. But that's only like 10% of what the addon does. You can hate how people use Gearscore but you shouldn't hate the addon itself.

Narx said...

I'm going to disagree slightly with the statement, "So there is no such thing as "geared alt" (who pugs)."

I have cross faction toons due to a faction transfer, that I now regret. But getting back to the point both of my main toons on either faction are similarly geared. Only one is guilded though (Horde) because that's where I spend most of my time.

My alliance toon is not guilded but is still as geared as my Horde toon. But because I don't have time to raid in two progression guilds, one of them by necessity has to pug - in this case the alliance toon.

So... I do believe your statement is incorrect, but in MOST cases probably is true.

Please note I tried to be one of the weekend raiders in a few prog guilds alliance side but it didn't work out - I simply wasn't online alliance side often enough and eventually got booted.

Squishalot said...

"My claim is: among this group, GS correlates negatively with skill. On the other hand among people who raid with a guild GS correlates strongly positively with skill, producing an average positive correlation over the whole playerbase."

Still just a claim, unfortunately. There's insufficient evidence to the contrary, only hearsay.

"Alts of raiders are undergeared by definition. If they wouldn't be undergeared, they could go with the guild raid."

Presumably, the main toon of the raider goes with the guild raid. Alternatively, the alt raids, and the main is PuGing instead. You can't have it both ways.

"He is PuGging exactly to gear up to the point when he is no longer carried by the guild but can contribute at least to the ICC 8/12 altrun."

That's assuming that his guild is serious enough to have an alt run in the first place. Because until at least 10 people get geared 80s, up to 9 geared 80 alts will be running around PuGing content.

"The claim "I'm not raiding because I have no time" is only valid if the person is undergeared."

Others have mentioned this, I think, but a lack of raiding can be by choice or by timing, if you're playing in a strange location. Besides, you can pick up decent gear pretty fast these days. Daily heroic, weekly raid, VoA and regular WG quests, and you can gear up with a potent mix of 2pcT10 and Relentless/Wrathful Gladiator gear before long. Plus have enough shards for heirlooms for all your alts.

"So if someone is geared and not 10+/12 he can be nothing else but #4 or #5, a retard who farms badges and PuGs day and night."

Poor logic to assume that people who have never raided before must be M&S / retarded.

"That's why gearscore is bad: it collects gearfarming retards, special snowflakes and excludes casuals and alts who have the potential of being skilled."

Funnily enough, that would be why ignoring gearscore is bad - it excludes everybody. The best way to demonstrate your negative correlation would be to call out "LF9M ICC MUST HAVE <4.5K GS" and see how far you get with that PuG instead. You'll have plenty of takers, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

"gearscore" I think is based upon the Fair Isaac FICO credit score - a simple 3 digit number that summarizes your credit situation. No guarantees but it has predictive value. It has become very widely used. Frequently people say "need 730 for ..."

I also agree with @mat, at least for smaller guilds. Mine does one 25-man raid a week. main means main. Besides, even if I get my lock to 5900, my mage will still be >6000; tanks and healers with DPS alts are even more locked in.

Turning it around, if RL really care about performance, then not only do they not use GS, they do not accept PUGs! Serious groups don't PUG strangers. So if you are invited to a PUG you can't really GS the other 9/24. The main information you know is the group that invited you to PUG with them is not top-drawer, or they would not be accepting PUGs.

Olga said...

Yet when i said there're none guild alt runs, i was using your meaning of "PuG". It's not common for a serious raiding guild to have even 10 ppl with alts and spare time to organize a 25m alt run. Actually, i've seen only one guild doing it, and i'm not sure there were 16 ppl from it in, maybe 5-7 at max.
There's a difference between servers though, i play on one with 10+ guilds progressing in icc-25 hm. It's not hard to find ppl capable of doing icc-25 normal here.
When average run stops after Saurfang, and realm is full of 5,5k GS + 3k dps guys, like it's common on EU, there's some sense in organizing alt runs. When you can just go out and PuG 6 bosses any time, and 8+ if you have enough patience and spare evening, it has no sense at all.

Armagon said...

Fully agree with what drakenrahl said. The general tendency seems to fit your description, but I know lots of people with well-geared alts doing pug runs for fun, single drops.

Will said...

I used to pug a lot (6 months ago) when i was playing. I did storming the citadel on 5 toons, and festergut on most - all pugged.

The trick when inviting people to pugs is:
You can see their gearscore / gearlevel - you are interested in knowing it but its a minor factor.
How they communicate their gearscore / role to you often shows a bit of information about them "l0l".
Their guild can sometimes indicate (shift-click name), but often not a great indication.
Try to have more than one line of communication back and forth - people who communicate well will never be the worse end of players.
But most importantly look at gems, enchants and gear itemisation choices.

Anonymous said...

Don't quite get how alts are ment to have bad gear - my main is 6.7k gs hunter 6.1 lock 5.9ish. I never pug with my main, have pugged 11/12 on my hunter and sometimes pug on my lock if I have the time/patience to do icc again. I have no doubt that my skill on hunter/lock is not on par with my skill on my main, I would expect to be outperformed by a main raiding hunter with the same gear, but my dps is very competative in the 11/12 pugs i go with. Our guild hunters would slaughter me on any decent fights with movement etc.
I think one problem with gs is that it's not class specific, a 6k gs rogue should outdps a 6.3k gs of any class but hunter. A 5.5k gs warrior is massively worse than a 6.5k gs warrior due to the class scaling. If it's a proper pug the RL should be recruiting based on raid balance, then based on dps output - GS tells very little about that output unless the RL knows how class specific scaling relates to GS.

Anonymous said...

@ Gevlon.

With your blog you have teached me the value of WoW. What M&S is and how to use AH. The conclusion I took from all your post is:

Don't care, caring doesn't give you any profit.

Might be rude but its so true and it works. Don't think you can't have "friends" and such or be in a guild. You can just be in a guild and server the greater purpose without caring one bit for your Gmates as long as they want to achieve the same thing. If they fail you can choose to ignore them, kick them or just leave.

Now ontopic.

Check my armory
I even got king slayer on my alt warrior. My guild is no serious raiding guild. We do some icc10 sometimes because we all hate M&S but I just pug aswell. Sometimes even make a pug where I reserve items like DBW or Voa. I don't want or have to have time for a raiding uild 4 hours a evening.

What does that make me? Unluckt or that special snowflake?
Or a casual but you state casuals can't have good gear if they do then they are no casuals.


Anonymous said...

All my alts (4 of them) have icc-10 level gear, so I think the "raider alts are undergeared" claim is emphatically false.

Dramoth said...

I think that I am one of those unfortunates that has seen a lot of excellent raiders in the past and I am judging my experiences with GS on those people... the people who know their classes and spec builds to perfection and have their tank/dps/healing rotations down to a T to get the best out of themselves.

I am unfortunate that I am part of a 25m raiding guild that has a guildmaster who cant organise a decent 25 man raid if his life depended on it. We clear 4/12 every week... but never go any further than that. It isnt a lack of geared players,.. it is a lack of skill and experience at raiding that is most of the problems.

I think that GS is a good indicator of where a person should be raiding, but to use it as a metric to say this person has this GS so they should be doing this amount of DPS is just wrong. Some people have never heard of maxdps or elitist jerks or any of the other sites that are there to help you work out how to get the absolute best out of your imba geared toon.

It takes some minimum research to work out what your rotations should be and if you get something like onmicc to help you with the cd's you can maximise your dps output with lower ilevel gear.

skill + experience + gearscore > skill + gearscore > gearscore

BigFire said...

Some of the Alts of the raider are surprisingly well geared. Much better geared than your average casuals. Please note, people also have emotional investment with their main... My happens to have 126 pets and 123 mounts. Unfortunately it's my fire mage alt that currently have the "Kingslayers 25" title and not my main.

Mama Druid said...

“Casuals have no time to farm gear. The claim "I'm not raiding because I have no time" is only valid if the person is undergeared. If he is sporting in full badge gear, he is anything but casual.”

I’ve always considered myself a casual with no time for raiding. The time required to farm badges != time required for raiding. After coming home from a full day of work I can logon, do a quick heroic, get a few badges and logoff. Then I can make a sandwich, or read a chapter of a book, or take the kids somewhere, or pick them up from somewhere, or walk the dog, or watch a movie, or talk to someone on the phone, or get the laundry going, or help kids with homework, or do whatever the hell I need to do. Then I can log back on, do another heroic and get some more badges. You can’t do that in the middle of a raid. I mean to say, a good player wouldn’t do that in the middle of a raid.

So perhaps I’m misunderstanding what Gevlon means by “full badge gear.” Does that mean all your gear was bought with frost badges?

Anonymous said...

I disagree on the alt raiders point. I have a main that does 11/12 hardmodes 25man that I never pug on. He's very well geared with several 277 items. However my guilds do not do alt icc25s so I have to pug my alts. My alts are well geared as well with pretty much bis from normal icc25. It also seems you discount that some servers are just bad for pugging, problems can be low population or few good leaders.

Andenthal said...

I know this is an old post, and you don't really discuss this anymore

My take on GS goes slightly beyond gear =/= skill. My take is that gear doesn't equal anything.

Firstly, with the introduction of badge gear, gear no longer equates to experience. It's impossible to tell what content a player has completed by looking solely at the ilvl of his gear. There's no skill involved with getting ilvl 232 gear, unless you count not being annoying enough to be kicked from LFD PUGs, "skill".

Secondly, gear only provides a maximum potential for performance, not a minimum.

Thirdly, I would argue that even if the above 2 are true (which I argue that they are not), gear is not the cause of most wipes in a raid. I would argue that execution (or lack thereof) is the cause of most wipes in a raid. More gear can not fix failure of execution.

Therefore, if gear does not equate to experience, nor sets a minimum level of performance, it can not be used to determine the future potential of a player. It also is not the deciding factor of encounter success, as what wipes raids is gear independent.

If the above is all true, why use gear as a metric at all? It's about as accurate and meaningful as building a raid group based on the first letter of each player's name.

More nonsense here.