Greedy Goblin

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The gemless archmoron

Running around without gems and enchants is the commonly accepted signal of being useless. They usually come with the excuse that they want to replace that piece fast, so they don't bother enchanting/gemming it. I'd like to prove that it's nonsense and anyone using this excuse is actually worse than "cba 2 buy gem lol".

Let's see 3 gems:
  1. Epic "delicate" 20 agi, 150G
  2. Blue "delicate" 16 agi, 30G
  3. Green "delicate" 12 agi 4G
As you can see, for a pitiful sum you can get 60% of the effect of the best gem, while an empty slot gives 0%. So someone who really don't think his current piece a permanent investment can still find a very effective way. Also, putting a similar gem into the slot (like crit/agi or stam/agi), while even weaker, but still in the 40-50% range of the "perfect".

The same is true for enchants. For every item there are very cheap enchants that give 50%+ benefit of the "proper one", except for specialty enchants like +8% run speed. The 8 stats for chest cost 4 infinite dust and 2 lesser cosmic essence. That's really unreachable without no-life farming.

Using lower level gems and enchants are sign of planning, the guy is aware of the fact that the item will be replaced and also of the different options. He uses the best cost/benefit ratio gem/enchant. On the other hand the one without a gem is not economizing. He is either a moron, who is unable to calculate and honestly believe that a "lol blue gem" is much worse than the "epixx", or he is a slacker who doesn't care about his stats and performance, just his gearscore.


I've seen people doing dailies or grinding monsters for 20G. But this 264-geared warrior in a regular instance beats them all (by Alex):


Squishalot said...

It's not entirely moronic, you can attempt to justify such behaviour. If you can chainpull an entire regular instance and not need to worry about crappy heals and dps, then you can potentially blow through a regular for the triumphs faster than the heroic, especially if you've been sitting around in Heroic Oculus for the last 25 minutes waiting for a healer who's willing to hang around.

(I can't view Armory at work, so I can't check whether he's a tank or not.)

But again - who's the moron (by your definition), the one who has a potentially defensible reason for doing a regular dungeon, or the person sending it to you, who named their character 'Critgirl'?


Regarding the post, I'm a bit disappointed you didn't put more into it. Ungemmed people are slackers, no doubt, but considering the incremental benefit of 12 agi, perhaps 'knowing' that you'll get an Emblem of Triumph upgrade after this next heroic or two, wasting 4g on that run / heroic would be just as 'value' as blowing an elixir for it. Or flasking for heroic farming. Do you do either?

Nick S. said...

I often run around with blue gems in low-end epics... People rage about it surprisingly rarely.

Azzur said...

When saronite/gems was more in demand, grinding heroics was a legitimate way of making money. I calculated about 500g/hr going solo and 600+/hr if I did it with friends.

I once queued the normal dungeon because I thought it was also a good way of making money. I didn't realise that the bosses didn't drop EoT so it turned out to be a once-off experiment.

I wouldn't label the person a complete moron unless he was doing it regularly.

Eenheid said...

Good post, there are lots of very cheap/almost as good alternatives in the game and in life.

The thing is, in life, people do judge you at having 90% instead of 100%, and sometimes they do in the game as well. So, getting the best is worth the disproportional cost of that last 10%.

When something is very temporary, save the money, sure. When something is long term, the investment (whether investment of time, money, whatever) is often worth it.

Kewi said...

Well i have a rule that everything that is not purple is not worth enchanting. And that is not because of enchanting materials but because of armor vellums, each costs over 5g and last time when i asked scribe to mill me 2 stacks of Northrend herbs he said that fee is 30g. Thank you very much but I'll pass. I tend not to enchant or gem even some ilvl200 purples when i see upgrade right behind corner.

Jana said...

Of course, when you really are in a situation, when you get a socketed blue/epic, but you are just 2 emblems or 1 heroic short of major upgrade for that slot, then yes, it's valid reason not to gem/enchant it, since 1-2% less perfomance in just one run won't hurt that much.

However, if you are gonna use the item for a good week or two, there is really no valid excuse not to gem it (hi there, TBC blues with 2-3 sockets!).

As for running the daily normal random his g/hr is approx (~15g (from 2 triumphs) + ~20g reward + ~15g trash) * 4 (~assuming 15min run) = 200g/hr. That is not exactly really awful for average M&S, since to really get the glorious 300g/hr from dailies one really has to plan quite optimal order/route of how to do them.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mill you 2 stacks for as little as 30g fee.
Heck, I won't enchant peoples gear for less than 25 g.

Besides, you are obviously not someone I want to play with.

Gevlon said...

@Jana: if he would run a daily heroic, he would get the same 2 triumphs at the end, some gold and also 3-4 more triumphs for the bosses.

Jana said...

Then again it is wrong even to assume that M&S ever do any g/hr calculations for their activities, since 'doing math for a game is nolife lol'.
His 'logic' most likely was that the final ~20g for finishing first daily normal is more than final ~13g for finishing non-first heroic.

Kewi said...

@Anonymous: On my realm (Auchindoun EU) regular price for cut or enchant is 10g, LW/BS/Tailoring craft also 10 (ToTC 25-30, ICC 50-100). I have maxed JC with all epic recipes but that's not my primary source of gold. ATM I'm buying for example deeprock salt at price of 60s per stack just to sell it for 1,5-2g during winter veil. So if you're gonna charge me 8 millings 30g I'd rather go and lvlup inscription on my mage with free profession slot than pay you that price. It's not goblinish thing to do but money from that inscription and my inner defiance will make me do it.

Thorsteinn said...

Are we talking about no gems/enchants being a mark of stupidity while leveling, or does this only apply to level 80s?

Jana said...

If we look at it realistically, then these 8 millings with all meeting/trading overhead won't take less than 1 minute, so 30*60 = 1800g/hr.

Another problem could be that you did not exactly want just pigments, did you? I assume you want finished vellums. In this case we can drop the scribes g/hr even to 900g/hr.

I don't see anything wrong with someone not willing to do micro-transaction jobs for less than 1-2k g/hr.

Hell, you even got someone actually willing to bother replying his service costs instead of spending another good 30 minutes spamming /2.

So my tip is that in case if you don't have a scribe-alt on a realm, you better order at least 100 of each vellum per transaction, since there is way less communication overhead for both the scribe and you!

Gevlon said...

@Thorsteinn: enchanting while leveling is usually bad idea, since low level items cannot be enchanted to high level enchantments and low level enchants cost a lot. Also you need 5-6 kind of enchantments and finding enchanter with mats takes lot of time.

On the other hand nothing stops you from cutting 50 green quality gems once, keep it in your bank and equip them when you got an upgrade with slots.

Anonymous said...

while leveling my 60s (58s) get a stack of bloodstones. i drool over the prospect of getting BC gear with sockets.

even marginal gear with 2 or 3 sockets can be huge upgrades when gemmed with Wrath gems.

chants - not so much. the few slots with cheap wrath (infinite dust) enchants might occasionallt get one.

at 80 i often leave an offspec set unenchanted / gemmed if i think it might be getting upgrades before it gets used.

main spec set is fully gemmed / enchanted though. even if its ilvl 200 epics.

but i'm fortunate to never have to worry about cost. 2 xmute specced alchs and 2 max level enchanters that are pretty much only for personal use. my income comes from my scribes.

Vegelus said...

Thing is, you rarely can gem anything while lvling in Northrend. TBC 60-70? Yes, of course. But in Northrend Blizz did that dumb decision that you shouldn't bother gemming while lvling fresh char.

Which is kinda silly from profession point of view if you ask me. Every other profession gives you some benefit while lvling (even enchanting, you always can enchant your gear) in Northrend. Jewelcrafting - not.

But that's rather off topic and probably not the best place to rant about it.

Anonymous said...

What if he doesn't care about his gear? Let's assume that he's wearing some ungemmed epic. How is this different than using a good enough (remember that?) blue piece gear? And don't talk about "social" reasons. In the end, all it matters are the numbers.

Also, today's post is stating the obvious: there are cheap gems and there's no reason not to buy one. What will come next? Grinding mobs isn't efficient?

Bael said...

FML i know sejong.
yeah he's an idiot.

Anonymous said...

I'm the critgirl from the moron of the day story. The warrior was a dps warrior.
He was in a true random. Our tank was also an 80, but was practicing to tank, our healer was 79, I was 79 and another dps was 79.

No one knew each other, so it's not even that they were helping anyone else.

We were doing single pulls at a time.

Anonymous said...

The only time I have run without a gem/enchant was when I had already sent my gem off to be cut and was waiting to get it back. Not everyone has a JC/Enchanter at their 24/7 beck and call. Sure I try to plan ahead (i.e. if I know I am going to buy a new frost piece the next day after my daily random, I'll get the gem and send it off that day for instance) but there is only so much you can really do.

If I get a new piece and run the numbers to find that it is still an upgrade even ungemmed I am going to wear it. And I am not inclined to waste the time and money buying a green gem off the AH for the few hours of play I may have to wait for a friend to cut the gem/send the enchant scroll. When you get it back can be a roll of the dice.

Though I would hope that even this site would see some difference between one piece of gear sans enchant/gem is different than all/most gear ungemmed/enchanted.

ardoRic said...

@Anon (14:28)

What matters isn't the numbers.

Numerically a gemmed and enchanted blue cannot win against a 219 epic (even if ungemmed and enchanted).

If he doesn't care about his gear, he doesn't care about the character and the game. It's just something you do to which you pay little attention. If you are not paying attention, you'll suck. You won't move from fire, you won't be hitting the right mobs.

A person who doesn't care about the game plays for crap. A person who does will play well, or at the very least want to get better. These are the people we want to raid with. People who care.

Since the value of an enchant is fixed, it is best to enchant a worst item than it is to enchant a better item. Gems could work the same way, but higher level items usually have more sockets. Each gem has a fixed value, but you can have more gems per item in higher level items. Having an item enchanted and gemmed shows you care about giving your character that extra edge.

You're right when you say it's the numbers that matter. But it's not the numbers in the character sheet, it's the numbers on the combat log. People who care will do better on those numbers than people who don't care.

I never saw a good player in ungemmed/unenchanted gear. Have you?

Bristal said...

My wife considers me a "slacker" for playing the game. But, I'm fully and epically enchanted and gemmed. I have a good DPS spec. I don't stand in fires.

How can that be?!

These posts wherein we judge people based on their awareness and conscientiousness of following esoteric "rules" of mathematically improving your performance by 1.7% in a video game often just feels...sad.

And yet I cannot look away.

Arybeth said...

As I've been leveling my warrior (currently 79) basically doing instances, I'm actually surprised it's quite a common practise to see some 80 people in all-epics doing regular instances for 'first one gives 2 triumphs and queue is faster'.

It's not worthy, not only for the reasons you already presented, but by overgearing your entire group by several tiers of ilvl basically means you'll chain pull aggro from the undergeared unexperienced tanks, demanding more heals from the undergeared unexperienced healers and usually taking longer than most heroics where you're paired with similarly geared people.

TheGrumpyElf said...

I agree 100%, I let people slide if they are not gemmed or enchanted with the best stuff but if they are not gemmed or enchanted at all I would never let them in a run with me.

A crappy gem is better then no gem anyday.

As for the 264 guy, if he was a tank then more power to him. Idiot or not, I do not care why he is there.

He made all the leveling characters query times a lot shorter by doing a random. I wish more over geared tanks would do that to make my daily while leveling 6 minutes instead of 30.

I am all for tanks wanting to make money doing normals. :)

Xaxziminrax II said...

A post was written a while ago on this blog about how using some abbreviations is a social trick because it excludes people, thereby giving you the illusion of being superior. I get what you mean now,

What's CBA? I thought it was a grocery store.

Duskstorm said...

Saying a player is more likely to stand in the fire because his gear isn't gemmed and enchanted is unreasonable.

There is no way to demonstrate a correlation, although I admit it sounds intuitive.

In fact, no set of rules (e.g. be gemmed and enchanted, no 'rofldots' names) can ultimately be determined to yield a positive correlation to raid performance; the whole PuG exercise cannot ultimately determine that the rules themselves are responsible for the success.

The only way we can *prove* anything is if anyone besides Gevlon could take the same rules, form a new guild, and enjoy reasonably similar levels of success. In science, an experiment must be repeatable to be valid. I think the same applies here.

All that being said, I expect people to stick "green quality" gems and baby enchants on gear when I invite them to a raid, but I don't check. There are so few people in my experience that don't have gems and enchants, and so many more people that have them but still underperform, that I've come to the conclusion that determining if someone is M&M "a priori" is next to impossible.

I would rather figure out ways to incentivize good players into joining runs that are half finished (so that I can kick out underperformers) than to try and figure out if someone will suck before hand. The reason:

1. Even good players randomly bail on you, so you need a solid replacement strategy anyways.
2. The threat of replacement can discourage slacking.
3. It's much more time and effort to evaluate someone's "resume" than it is to evaluate their in game performance.
4. Someone with no gems and enchants *could* outperform a geared, gemmed, and enchanted toon, if the skill differential is high enough. Yes, it may not be the statistical norm, but we have the opportunity to directly couple the raid spots with player performance.. why not use "real world" measurements rather than mathematical potential?

Therefore, I actually think that the best rules in the PuG are the raid times and the scheduled opportunities to kick people out.

Andrei said...

Why would you bother with optimizing your gear to run a heroic? This is just wasteful even if it is only 10-15g and completely non-goblin like.

To me it is a surprising rant coming from Gevlon.

Anonymous said...

For raiders, it is an attitude issue, and so is very reasonable requirement for scheduled raiders to be properly set up.

I do not understand the practical distinction between ungemmed 200+ epics and a perfectly min/maxed member of Undergeared?

Someone who does a heroic without being well-fed (Pickled Fangtooth < 20s) or with flasks ( Guru Elixr 1g ) is gimping themselves about as much as missing gems or chants and nobody expects food and flasks for a LFG these days. Yet LFG groups are much more likely to hassle someone who about their slots than their food/flasks.

Gevlon said...

@Xaxziminrax: "cba" is "can't be assed", one of the favorite words of the M&S.

Barish said...

I never play melee classes - is there a reason why the warrior has 646 hit rating?

Anonymous said...

"Critgirl" was inspired by "Batman", she also has a pet "Tankboy".

I now need a name for a dps pet, as the toon is 80 and no longer needs Tankboy to tank for her.

Also, if you haven't seen my other post, the warrior was a DPS warrior, he wasn't groupped with anyone else for a quick run either. We had an 80 practicing tanking, and rest 3 of us were 79.

Andrei said...

@Duskstorm "The only way we can *prove* anything is if anyone besides Gevlon could take the same rules..."

But why would you want prove anything in this game? Proving is akin to pleasing or looking good in somebody's eyes - a social behavior Gevlon is advocating against in this blog.

Ygg said...


An interesting question is, in my opinion, does the M&S attitude in game/IRL transfer to IRL/in game? I think it does not consistently.

Bobbins said...

'@Xaxziminrax: "cba" is "can't be assed", one of the favorite words of the M&S.'

Shouldn't that be arsed?
In I couldn't be arsed to look it up?

ardoRic said...

"ass" and "arse" are the same word in different dialects of the english language.

One is how americans type it, the other is how british do.

Same thing with center and centre, for example.

Duskstorm said...


There is a more important value to proving something. In this case, formally establishing the validity of Gevlon's assertion that a set of rules can and will produce results in the form of content progression holds intrinsic and obvious value.

Furthermore, his rules might be *good*, but it is possible that some of the rules could be removed or altered, and new ones could be added, that would *improve* a groups' chances at success. The only way to really reason about the effectiveness of these rules is to be able to repeat the experiment; in this case, anyone should be able to start a guild with the same guidelines and experience the same level of progress.

If the PuG is successful because of some ineffable quality of his leadership, direction, or *gasp* readerbase that he converts into members, then none of the rules actually matter. So in that case, even if the PuG is successful content wise, it doesn't demonstrate or otherwise prove anything meaningful... which I think is at least one of Gevlon's intentions.

Proving (or more importantly, disproving) is not about social acceptance at all, and it's interesting to see Gevlon's rhetoric about controlling social interaction being applied here.

Andrei said...

@Darkstorm I guess we are talking about a bit different things. I agree with your assertion that the PuG experiment doesn't prove anything at least not what Gevlon wants it to prove. You are right in saying that the PuG progression or lack of thereof is not due to success or failure to control social behavior it is more of a reflection on his leadership skills. Which are mediocre at best as I constantly hear him complaining about people not following his directions and rules and blaming it on M&S crowd.

The point I'm making is on contradictory nature of Gevlon's "social experiments". On the one hand he touts philosophy of goblinism or me first attitude with very little regard for social acceptance. On the other hand his Undergeared or the PuG projects scream for social acceptance. They are not about proving but rather about showing to _others_ that some behavioral patterns are superior or inferior and convince those others alter their behavior. Therefore these experiments would not even make sense outside of social context.

The same problem is with Gevlon's rant about running in gemless gear. If I'm to follow goblin philosophy why would I gem or optimize is some way my gear? Only if fits my personal goals and not to get approval from other players or impress Gevlon so he can elevate me from the lowly status of M&S and start seeing me as a worthy individual. If as a goblin I don't see that optimized gear serves me any meaningful purpose (e.g. profit) I will run gemless and I care less what others think about it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I saw this yesterday, too. Was doing VH-reg on my 75-warrior, and a lvl 80 ret paladin with a 6k plus gear score was on the run. Needless to say, I didn't have to actually tank much and the run smooth.

Duskstorm said...

@Andrei - yeah, I get what you're saying now. I wouldn't say I'm as critical of what Gevlon's trying to do as you are, but I do see the contradiction.

Ultimately, if Gevlon wants to demonstrate the effectiveness of his approach to gaming, he'll need to enlist other people on different realms to try out his approach and report back their findings.

The problem I have with Gevlon's posts on "M&S" is the label itself. If I go and start a "PuG rules" guild, and I fail, you could easily explain away my failure by labeling me an "M&S." Since there's no quantifiable way to defend or reject the M&S label, we simply cannot know whether my test case failed because of me being bad or the rules being bad.

So, the label "M&S" introduces a label into the equation that prevents us from validating Gevlon's theories. At the moment, we cannot really know if the things that make the PuG unique have anything to do with its' success.


As I see it, there's really two choices for successfully progressing with people you don't know to be good:

1. Find a way to reduce performance down to mathematical certainty, and use that "equation" to filter out bad players before you enter the dungeon. For example this spec of this class whose gear, enchants, and gems should be able to achieve x DPS, y% uptime, and zero avoidable deaths. This goal is monstrously impractical. A bad player can be a rockstar during Marrowgar, but how long will it take him to figure out BQL?

Gems/enchants requirements are, in my opinion, a crude attempt at this approach.

2. Use in-combat data to determine who caused you to fail, and replace them.

As I said earlier, the downside to this is that due to lockouts it's often difficult to bring people in to half cleared instances. You need an incentive.

Anonymous said...

Time is money for a Goblin. If low quality enchant/gems help boost your personal DPS/performance in dungeons, they will be done quicker and you have more time.

People need to learn to value their time even while spending it on a video game.

Would you prefer to crawl through a dungeon with bunch of gemless fresh 80s becuase "lulz they're not worth gemming" or have a group of people w same gear but fully gemmed?

Andru said...

@Duskstorm and Andrei

You look at things from a wrong point of view. I will present 2 points.

#1 Raids are run by either PuG Raid Leaders, or Guilds.

Both of them have a set of criteria to be met before actually letting you join their raid.

It does not matter how stupid *you* think their criteria are. You cannot influence others. Their raid, their rules.

If you want to get in their raid/guild, you have to meet the criteria, or GTFO.

If your aim is to actually raid, you need to bite the bullet and meet their criteria.

If you don't, and your aim is to prove or disprove a point, you can get your soapbox and preach to whoever listens in trade chat about goblinism or sociableness or whatever floats your boat.

You, as a person who wants to join a raid, have only the option of joining/not joining. It does not matter to the raid leader whether you think their criteria are 'wrong' or 'right'.

#2 Consider a completely perfect unbiased raid leader.

He does not know anything about anyone's skill, so he'll choose ONLY based on their gear.

You have ungemmed/unenchanted gear. For the attention of the raid leader, you compete with gemmed people with gear 0.5 tiers behind, as well as people in your tier of gear with full gems/enchants.

A gemmed/enchanted person in your gear competes with people only on their tier of gear.

Consider gear distribution a bell curve with a peak at T9.10.

A ideal raid leader will try to fill his raid by choosing people from the 'overgeared' side.

It is obvious that you'd want to push your position as far to the 'overgeared' side as possible, so that you'd rise higher on the RL's pick priority.

If you don't, and stick to the 'goblin philosophy' of cost efficiency, you're not a goblin, you're a moron, by shooting yourself in the foot.

If your ONLY goal is to raid, what is preferable? Being goblin who doesn't raid? Or a moron who does?

Andrei said...

@Anonymous I think you are missing the point not yours to manage. And as a goblin I get to decide what is right for me. I will do it by considering all factors including time I need to spend on gemming/enchanting gear that is likely to be replaced after just few runs. You telling that I need to learn to value my time in the game is akin to people telling Gevlon to learn how to undercut.

In this specific case: since my character has low gear score dungeon finder will match me with players that significantly better gear. Therefore, a little boost in dps/performance from gemming or enchanting my crappy gear will not be noticeable at all. As a goblin I would cynically calculate that in 9 cases out of 10 other players will be willing to carry me. So I would just let them do that. I would only bother with gemming/enchanting when I get the item worth in my opinion spending time and money optimizing it.

Anonymous said...

Whats the overall performance increase? You can pull nice numbers the way you did but whats the a whole set +- a gemmed piece?
Its not much difference

Did you consider the time involved to get the gems from Ah and gem it?

cba is pretty rational in my opinion as the little increase wont make of brake a random run but would take a chunk of your time away

Duskstorm said...


I don't see how you substantiated your claim that we look at things from the wrong point of view.

Yes, gems/enchants are something you can make a requirement out of. The question I'm asking is whether gems/enchants truly correlates to success or failure significantly. My point is that it's sort of unknowable, and therefore we should strive to find "measurements" that demonstrably correlate to performance.

Furthermore, since the success of your group is not provably caused by your requirement for gems and enchants, how do we know the PuG project itself is successful because of the rules that make it unique?