Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The myth of the gear

As you saw yesterday, we cleared Ulduar 10 in blue gear. The question is obvious: why bother? And even better: why spend loads of gold on this?

This plan was a long-long one. Actually it came when my girlfriend's newly leveled (lvl 70) prot warrior was invited to a Gruul run as friend to an empty DPS spot and ended up tanking him successfully after the real tank pulled the combination of falling debris + hurtful strike + missing shield block (in lvl 70 the monsters had a "crushing" attack on tanks that should be prevented by using abilities).

From this display I was sure that gear is vastly overrated in the game. It was further enforced by the event when Ensidia cleared Naxx25+Maly25 in lvl70 stuff. I wrote about how little upgrade gear gives, convincing nobody, despite the obvious math. It took some time to realize that this is not just a mistake of ignorance. It is a Myth that has strong emotional value among WoW players.

Even more surprisingly the Myth is shared by both top and bottom players, despite they disagree in everything. I've seen guilds not accepting applicants if they have non-epic gems or having "wrong race" (non-orc for hunter for example). On the bottom, the people blame all failures on "being ungeared", honestly believing that the guy with 1200DPS is just needs some more ilvl200 replaced by ilvl 213.

I believe if the players would be asked "How much stronger an Ulduar geared player is than a blue geared?", vast majority would guess 2x-3x more. That's why topguilds do undermanned runs but never ever tried blue geared runs. I believe most topguilds would prefer having 1 top geared player and one empty spot than 2 blue geared players.

I've already done the math, won't do it again. As a simple example please compare my stats in blue gear and (mostly ilvl226) epics:
Tree spell power: 1717 (2428)
Crit%: 8.8 (14.7)
Haste: 90 (301)
casting MP5: 246 (368)
HP: 14800 (17700)
Mana: 14400 (18300)
My rejuvenation ticks for 1860 instead of 1660. If we consider haste and assume it could crit for +100% (like most spells) then my power would be 1860*(1+0.147)*(1+0.1225) = 2394 instead of 1660*(1+0.088)*(1+0.0366)=1872. The difference is 22%. If we add 300 more SP and a Val'anyr, we are still at +40%

Another direct example is the damage meters from our blue Ulduar run. I don't see 1200 here:

Edit: I can't believe that I have to explain the obvious. I get "my guild has 8K DPS in epics so the math is flawed" comments without any math. Well, the difference comes not from gear but from raid buffs and synergies. With having a synergic team instead of "anyone who wanted to come" we could increase raid DPS with 20-30%. Just think of the melee zergs or the full-caster teams. Compare plain dummy DPS in different gear for results. Simple example: GF's ilvl 200 hunter does 2.6K on dummy, 5.4K on Patchwerk25. The "bring the player not the class" is a nonsense, just most people are too bad in maths to recognize it.

Last evidence, and I refuse to argue with anyone who doesn't provide evidence just "anecdotes": I downloaded Shandara's hunter DPS spreadsheat. The "sample SV spec" had 7250 DPS in full T8.5 and all juicy stuff. I replaced every gear pieces with blues (and might picked some bear tank stuff as I suck at hunter) and got 4950 DPS. So the increase is 46%.

Now let's see how could this Myth survive, despite being obviously wrong and could be easily defeated by mathematics. The reason it survives within the lower segments of the playerbase will be the post for tomorrow. For today let's see why the top players vastly overvalue gear. There are a wrong and an acceptable, but seriously suboptimal reason.

The wrong comes from the bias of overvaluing everything we worked hard for. The top player may wiped weeks for that bosskill, and while he initially did it for the challenge itself, or being world first or server first or whatever first, he will see the loot as reward. He matches the value of the gear to the effort, while there is no such connection. For example you can get ilvl 245 from facerolling Colisseum while hard mode Ulduar loot is just ilvl 239. If the same loot would come from a vendor for 1000G, the same player would not find it so great, despite it has the same stat.

The second reason is using gear as a primary screening tool for application. Topguilds get several applicants, 90% of them are not acceptable, because they are just M&S want to be carried, or immature punks. Looking at the gear is a 10 sec process and filters out obvious slackers. However this is highly sub-optimal as it forces the applicant to farm 5-mans and Naxx for gear he will dust anyway in the first 2 weeks in the guild. This turns several potential good players away if they don't have the time or the will to farm boring content. For example I would surely not raid if I had to attend 5 raids in 2 weeks, considering that 3 of them are boring farmruns (extending raid ID helps, we keep the same ID until Firefighter goes down, that increases my attendance largely). Luckily there is a goblin solution for this problem: the applicant could get the attention of the guild for gold: "try me out in a 5-man or 10-man, I pay 1K, if I fail, you keep the gold, if I'm not, you get a good new member".


Nils said...

Just look at the dps.
In full T8 you easily do 6k dps - if not more.
So, there's your factor of 2.

Some classes, like mages actually do not even 3k dps in your example, there's you factor of almost 3.

Now, unless you hit an enrage timer, dps gear will never limit you. So, you are, of course, right. You can do Uluar with 2,5k dps on average. It just takes longer, thus allowing more time to make mistakes.

Additionally everybody has much lower stamina and thus dies erlier, while healers heal less. It's hard - but unless you hit an enrage timer or the encounter onehits people due to missing stamina, or you run oom, nothing's gonna stop you from killing arthas in greens.

WTBmanapots said...

Hi, not sure if you touched on this or if others have, but one of the reasons i thought people were asking for [epic] for 5-mas was that they wanted super fast runs seeing as they didnt want to be in the old boring instance 1000 more times. Easier to round up half the instance and AOE it down then pull them one group at a time like usual...

Unknown said...

Gevlon the difference you show is still quite significant (or would be if blizz tuned encounters much harder). Could you get say the dps numbers for the same group of players running in their iLvL226 gear? I'd be interest to see if the dps increase is closer 10% or closer to 100%.

The main thing that players gain by working for hours on a progression encounter is skill and specific experience. There should be a non-binary test of raid/raider skill level independent of gear. Unfortunately the current test is gear dependent and the rest is either wipe or loot.

Eg. An endless gauntlet that increases difficulty each wave that is run naked or in set gear (set gear is better since you would also certainly use different talent builds to be optimized for nudity). Blizz could make such a thing fairly easily, however the ego destruction of many players might cause mass quiting.

GrG said...

Agree with Nils. Maybe your maths is correct for healers but not for dps. 3.6K dps on XT by a rogue is a joke Gevlon.

William said...

Remember, this raid is a 10-man, the 6K DPS that you're quoting is from 25-man raids usually, with every single buff that exists.

Even with full 226, most rogues would only do 4-5K in a 10-man with composition similar to Gevlon's.

So I'd say the improvement in DPS is closer to 50%, from blues to full 226, not 100%.

Neil said...

The value of 50% or 100% or 200% DPS depends on whether you're goal-oriented or performance-oriented.

Goal-oriented view: Did we down the boss? Yes. Then nothing else matters.

Performance-oriented view: Could we have downed the boss better (more quickly, less deaths, etc) if we had better gear? Yes. Then we should get better gear.

Gevlon's outlook on gear has always been goal-oriented - "my gear is good enough, why waste time and gold on upgrades" is a common line of his. And this experiment he did has shown me some of the virtues of that philosophy.

GrG said...

Disagree William. On normal XT melee pulls off 6-7K easilly. They had druid crit buff, they had bloodlust and totems, they had 3 heart phases.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon's a bit prejudiced - coming from the healing world.
Healer: blue->ilvl226: 30% and some survivability
Tank: blue->ilvl226: easier on healer mana / binary encounter success in hard modes
DPS: blue->ilvl226: 50-100% dps increase.

Healing does not scale with anything but spellpower. (crit isn't reliable, mana isn't an issue, and haste is usually dwarfed by reaction time.)
Tanking does not scale unless you're dying.
DPS scales with attack/spell power, crit rate, haste, hit, and expertise.

That said, it appears obvious that Ulduar10 normal mode is doable without epic gear.

Leeho said...

Nice to see that there's a guild that uses extending lockouts to work on hard modes without any weekly farm. You made me think that it's possible to find one for me, thanks :)

softienerd said...

When my DK first got to level 80, in a well synergized group, he was only doing around 2000 dps on Naxx25 bosses. I wasn't gemmed or have proper professions. Now with mostly uld25/col25 gear, he does 5000 dps. I've been blood all the way since the beginning(3.1) so the patches barely affected. My rotation didn't really change either...

Nathan said...

First @ Nils. "Now, unless you hit an enrage timer, dps gear will never limit you."

I believe Grevlon has commented on this, in essence before, but even if he hasn't, it should be obvious that this is incorrect. Healers have a limit on what they can heal. With a well geared healer and a well geared tank, this limit is very high. With a low geared tank and low geared healers this limit is lower. Since DPS gear can help you decrease the amount of time a fight takes, it reduces the amount of time that healers need to have resources to heal. Think of it as a soft enrage. Healers go oom, raid is dead. It doesn't seem to happen as often as it used to (Maybe new players I'm with, maybe easier content), but you shouldn't under estimate the value of DPS gear.

More to the point though, I have two things I HATE to hear when raiding. First and foremost is that we wipe because of "bad luck." Second is "we don't have the gear for this." I realized early how gear was useful, but not essential in two ways. Like you said, guilds who cleared Naxx 25 and Maly in the first week obviously weren't all geared in BIS. Second however was week 3 of the Xpac when we finally started raiding 10 mans. Many leveled slowly so we only had 12 at 80. We initially made the mistake of going to Naxx 25 and killing first spider boss with our 10. We meant to go to 10, but accidentally set it to heroic. It was hectic, but we cleared to him and almost killed him. It wasn't until wipe recovery we realized our mistake. Shortly thereafter, with this new knowledge, we took 12 to do OS. No drakes, but still we managed to do a boss that pugs STILL manage to wipe in with less than half the allotted players.

Gear certainly helps, and some level is necessary, but it's simply a tool to make things easier. Saying gear isn't up to par SHOULD mean that the player isn't up to par at current gear levels, not that it is impossible to do in those gear levels.

Philipp Smirnov said...

"bring the player not the gear"
I can't believe that lots of people couldn't results of this run. It isn't "forget about gear you don't need it". It just skill > gear. 100% dps increase (3k to 6k) helps a lot and better tanking/healing gear too. This run just shows that one blue item on raider doesn't tell that he is bad.

Jacob said...

We haven't logged our normal 10 man runs, Ill upload a log after sunday. It will consist of basically only hardmodes though.

Anonymous said...

You're obviously good players that know the fights well. But as people commented before, you still wiped a lot. The real challenge will be to *learn* a fight in blues :P

chaoskas said...

When my wife and I were leveling we wanted to visit Utgarde at Level 70. We were searching for a healer but nobody applied so I asked my brother to log on his 65 Paladin, respec and heal us.

He was only equipped with some Strath and scholo gear but managed to heal easily this instance (also he had never healed with a paladin before). All was nice when we approached to the second boss.

As you know, they have some kind of random aggro and a charge and everytime they would face our healer the one-shottet him. There was nothing he could do because he just did not met on criteria: Have more than X HP.

Another Example is the "real" patchwork (lvl60 version). You needed to do X DPS and your healers had to do Y HPS while your tanks had at least Z HP. You could not met these requirements in all blues.

But I think you are quite right. Gear does not (really) matter but skill does. Gear makes fights much easier, but it is not required (at least in Wotlk^^).

BTW you actually can see if a player has potential by a look on his gear. A guy in well rounded blues with some nice enchants (not high-end but cheap and appropriate!) WILL be a better player than someone with T8.5 but no sockets nor enchants.
(Just a quick story: Yesterday I went into violet hold heroic with my wife healing. We had a warlock with T8.5 helmet and he did 7-900 DPS. Of course no sockets nor enchants. My wife did 1.600 the day she hit lvl80).

Gid said...

"This turns several potential good players away if they don't have the time or the will to farm boring content."

Having the time and will to jump through boring hoops before even applying to a decent raiding guild shows you have *some* of the qualities of a good raider:

- Time to play the game (so you are less likely to have attendance issues).
- A willingness to do boring, unpleasant things (like grinding, wiping etc.) while heading towards a greater objective.

Yes that gear will be banked within weeks. But the time and effort spent acquiring it will be a drop in the ocean compared to the time and effort you'll spend raiding with the guild.

Anonymous said...

I am going to agree in part and disagree in part with Gevlon. In almost every situation, it has always been true that skills trump gear. Gevlon's Yogg run in blues is ample proof of this fact. That said, gear is frequently a useful signifier of skill. Quality players are more likely to put time and thought towards a quality gearset with appropriate gems and enchants. By contrast, bads are likely to have bad gear. There are, of course, ample cases where these statistical regularities do not hold true, but gear remains a useful indicator of player skill. Furthermore, in the absence of any easy way to test player skill, gear may be the best indicator of player skill.

Shifting topics slightly, how can you accurately assess somebody's playing skill without observing them actually play? I will sometimes check gear, guild or achievements, but none of these are perfect. What have other people tried?

Chris said...

High end players value gear, enchants and gems because its one of the few ways to tell people apart. At the point where you start to become skill capped there is little difference, so if one player is capable of getting 3 more dps due to gemming well rather than averagely then its better from the guild's perspective.

Sure it is possible, my Sarth+2, Naxx, Heroics have no gear requirement on them but then I know I can do that with 10 people standing so 15 failures makes no difference to me. If I actually want a fast run or something vaguely dps related (Emalon for example given the melee's inability to pre-position for the add) means you need to push x dps / dps or you simply fail. Blue gear isn't bad but I put on 500+dps from upgrading some gear on my lock, its not a lot but its massive at the same time

Jacob said...

@Anonymous: Learning a fight in blues is kinda impossible today since there is complete guides for all bosses out even before the patch is out...

Don't think we would've wiped more if we would've gone there the first time in blues, maybe on FL since it's a special fight.

As one of our rogues says:
Screw bossmods, common sense, focus target and enemy castbars gets you hell of a lot longer.

arx said...

High-end guilds have to account for gear when screening through applicants, because many of them don't have anything else to show for themselves. There are simply too many bad applicants to try out every John Doe out there. Having gear at least ups the chances that you're something we're looking for - but it certainly doesn't guarantee it.

Gear suddenly becomes a non-issue altogether if there are other merits like top kills in previous content, success in other games, people in the guild vouching, etc.

As for Ulduar 10 in blues, it's also worth remembering that Gevlon's guild is - zero offense meant - hardly a cutting edge guild (subjective, sure, but last I checked somewhere around #700 in wowprogress). Goes to show that all serious raiders should be able to do the same, not just the top guys.

Heroics are entirely doable in full greens, yet somehow most of the randoms in full epics do less damage than a level 70 toon in Outland greens. Go figure.

boatorious said...

Gear is only important on the margins -- but keep in mind, nearly every first boss kill you get will be on the margins.

I think you are misinterpreting the results of your experiment. You took an experienced group in only blues and blew through a raid instance.

The moral is not that gear doesn't matter, because, despite your success, clearly few guilds get through Ulduar on their first try wearing only blues.

What matters more than gear is experience. This indicates that there is some value in demanding epics (people with epics are more likely to have experience).

Although I totally agree that turning people away based on having adequate-but-not-awesome gear is terrible. Of course you were bragging about doing that for a 5-man not so long ago too ...

Anonymous said...

Cause of having blue gear and not epic you lost a week of hard modes.

Gear matters.

At the very least cause with better gear I can avoid using consumables.

Doora of Lucrum Gaudium (wich interestingly enough means Profit is Happiness) from Emerald Dream EU.

Synnøve said...

Concerning the comments about 'learning the fights in blues', let me tell you that that was exactly how it felt to me. Running a siege engine with one third of the hp I'm used to having meant the fight was completely new to me, and even though I knew what to do from before, the tactics and precision with which we had to perform our tasks changed alot.

And no, we didn't 'lose a week of hardmodes'. This was 10 people taking the time to do this (some of them alts, mine included), which left 20 other members to set up their own run.

Either way, for me it was well worth doing, but I'm glad I won't have to do it again!

Wooly said...

Even though I agree with you that gear is very much overrated, I wouldn't go as far as calling it "a myth".

The fact that a well "trained" group of people can pull off a U10 instance in blues is great, but all it really proves is that the better you are, the less geared you need to be to get the same done.

If you took the best 10 players of the world and put them in a group, they might be able to pull it off in lvl 75 greens. That doesn't make your 80 blues overrated all of a sudden.

I see it more as a trick, something only well trained people can pull of. You can compare it to being able to ride a unicycle: just because some people can after lots of practice, doesn't make a bicycle suddenly "overrated".

Wooly said...

Just thought of this..

Ulduar 10 is meant to be played with Naxx 10 gear, which is ilvl 200. The step from ilvl 200 blues to ilvl200 epics is not that great. So come to think of it, the group wasn't that far of required gear.

N said...

Gear really makes up for poor play. My guild can't clear 25-man Yogg because there's such an emphasis on 25 people performing well.

There are two tanks performing, plus 3-5 DPS who are 25% ahead of the rest of the (similarly geared!) raid.

It's a very frustrating situation, and seeing someone clearing at least the 10-man in blues is even more exasperating.

I hate hate hate doing 6k DPS while people with gear just as good as mine barely break 3.5k.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are putting much stock in progression vs farm content. Gear can help support small mistakes and help get a first boss kill. I agree there is way too much emphasis on gear, but at the same time I don't think you're going to do any uld10 hardmodes in blues. Gear does matter to an extent, but shouldn't be the only deciding factor as far as recruiting/pugging.

Something else to keep in mind is with the new badge systems even the M&S as you call them will have the good gear. In BC and earlier you could quickly glance at a persons gear and get an idea of what content they had downed. Nowadays everybody has good gear and frankly ulduar is easy and being pugged so the M&S have chances to be pulled through.

The M&S / Elite line is getting blurrier the further this game goes along.

Graylo said...

I completely agree that gear is overrated by many. In my opinion class knowledge and fight experiance havea lot more to do with success than gear. Otherwise how do you explain weeks worth of attempts before the first kill and then getting down the same boss the next week after a couple of trys? The knowledge of how to do the fight is much more important obviously.

That said, I defend the practice of players using gear as a filter when evaluating guild applications or pug roster slots. Gear doesn't guarentee quality play, but it is a decent indicator of experiance.

Good guilds see a lot of applications. Quite a few of them down right suck, Most are average, and a few are awesome.

The horrible apps were always rejected regardless of gear, and the awesome apps where always accepted regargless of gear. In fact one of the worst geared apps I ever say was a newly dinged 70 in blue and green gear, but he wrote an awesome app. It was clear that he had raid experiance, new his class, and would be an asset to the guild. He was accepted for obvious reasons.

The problem comes in with that middle group, the average applications. They seem to know what they are talking about but nothing pops out and makes you say wow. Basically they are worth the risk, but your not a 100% of what yoru getting. Now say you have two apps with ver similar apps one has Ulduar gear and another is just rocking Heroic gear with some Naxx pieces. If nothing else separates them then you obviously pick the guy with Ulduar gear.

Ayonel said...

I was talking to my guild leadership about this last night. We have 170 members and exactly one decent 10 man team. We do a okay in Naxx, can down several bosses in Ulduar 10, and so on. But most of the people just plain aren't very good, and raid organization is haphazard to say the least.

The interesting thing is that while the best of us are grinding the daily, H ToC, and as many other heroics as we can, the M&S are complaining that we are not running 25 Naxx or 25 ToC(because they want to roll on the gear), as if we could.

I'd like to see your group run ToC 10 in blues so that the next time we wipe on ToC 10 and someone says it's because we aren't geared for it, I can tell them it's because we suck. (Ayonel's Rule #1: If a pug can do it and your guild can't, ...)

Another good point you make is that people are freakin' clueless when it comes to party composition. As a raid 'lock, I do 2800+ in a heroic with no buffs, 3200+ in a 10 man, and 4k+ in 25's. This is highly variable depending on who's in the party.(I don't know if this is good, but it usually puts me in the top 2 in heroics, 2-3 in 10 man, and 5 in 25's.)

I typically avoid parties with bad composition. I think this topic is ripe for further discussion. In drag racing, there is the saying, "Run what you brung", which refers to people racing whatever they drove up in. This is fine, because it's fun to drag race in your street car, and even if you lose, you're still drag racing. In the case of parties, and particularly raids, this mentality is a recipe for failure.

I say this because after three months of raiding, and reading blogs like this, it occurs to me that the majority of the raid failures I have been in can be attributed to filling slots and going, not building a good raid group. I do not mean that it is a matter of selecting the best available players(gear check, pulse check, whatever); rather, it is a question of selecting the correct(and best) classes and specs. You say, "Well, I need 1 shaman, 2 druids, a mage, ..." and then you end up building a party with 5 death knights, a priest, a pally, 2 rogues, and a warlock. You might have a strong party on paper, but there should be no confusion as to why you wipe repeatedly in EoE, or almost any other raid requiring IC Hots and range dps.(I'm not super-knowledgable of all class skills, so please forgive if I have erred in this example; I think the point is still valid.)

Cassandri said...

Gear checking applicants. Well, I look for two reasons:

a) Have they chosen suitable gear/gems/enchants for their class. This is about class mastery.

b) Are they wearing gear no more than 1 tier below our current members of that class/role? They need to be in the same performance ballpark. If that means you need to take 5 healers to do Hodir with your applicant instead of 4 healers - it's a problem.

Liked that you attacked the "bring the player, not the class" mentality. Buff synergy is still important.

Your blue raiding team was filled with raiders familiar with Ulduar, yes? I would argue that experience is just as important as skill here.

Would I take the alt of an Ulduar raider wearing blues to Ulduar? Yes.
Would I take the alt of a Naxx raider wearing blues to Ulduar. No.

Larísa said...

To be honest I think you're kicking in quite open doors. Is there anyone who doesn't think that skill > gear? Of course we all know it does. The problem is that it's not so easily measured and documented, which makes it hard to check when you're recruiting for a PUG.

But maybe it's time for another challenge Gevlon? You've been metoring players in making business at AH, giving advice that have made not-so-rich players become if not goblins, at least much better off.

Could you do the same with an average or even quite mediocre player who has the will and the focus but lacks the skill and execution? Could you by some watching, mentoring, advising, make a player like me become a potential candidate for an all-in-blues Yogg kill?

Is it doable at all? Or should some players just give up and quit due to lack of quick reactions, eye-hand coordination or whatever? Should we leave Azeroth to the skilled L33t players, letting you rub each other's backs?

I would really like to know, I'm curious about the ratio between hopeless cases and possible improvements.

Rob Dejournett said...

Really interesting experiment, thanks.

What's interesting is when I compare it to my druid who is in half-nax10, the mana/health on mine is increased about 1500, the spellpower is about identical (you have more I think in tree), but the haste is a huge jump up, 358 on me, and mana regen is 482.

I am crazy in that I have another resto druid (opposite faction), with full naxx25/conquest gear. She (alliance druid) has 2300 spellpower and some other upgrades compared to horde druid. Both can heal hTOC fine, with the limiting factor being the dps making my life easier. On phase 2 black knight it's suicide for them to stack up the guys and AOE. On phase 3 i usually need some sort of healing assist, in the form of healthstones or drain life. This is regardless of gear, even in full naxx25 gear I can't heal through...what 25000 damage per second? Or something insane. Anyway my skill is obviously the same, I can do the same job with end result boss dead. However if the dps/tank expect to be carried by the healer, not going to happen. The encounter is just too tough; maybe in icecrown gear but even then.

Varaben said...

While I do agree that gear upgrades do not provide as much of an increase when you look at blue gear + raid buffs, you say valynar+t8.5 gives 40% more healing. That is a LOT more healing. Even if it was 10% more healing, that could quite possibly mean the difference between wiping and saving the tank. I think that is why gear is important. It gives you a buffer, a margin of error. You guys cleared ulduar in blues because you know the fights perfectly and probably made no mistakes. You probably brought the best of the best and got a good group setup together. What you have proven is that skill + synergy can clear ulduar 10 easy modes (I assume you didnt do any hard modes). But who wants to clear ulduar 10 easy modes?

Anonymous said...

actually I think you're just doing the math backwards, a 2k dps to 4k dps is not a 50% increase, it's a 100% increase. You divide the difference by the lower number to get how much it's increased. Think about it, you wouldn't say that going from 10 to 2000 dps was only a (2000-10)/2000=~99% increase, that's easily a 200 fold (20000%) increase.

c0ke said...

Er... where the hell are these commenters' getting their information from? My rogue friend is dumb as bricks. i told him how to spec, rotation and prioritize his stats (in starter blues too). HE DOES 3k+ NOW!


Gevlon said...

@Larísa: that's a simple question. EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING is capable of increasing his skill. The only exceptions (serious mentally retarded) cannot play the game at all.

People with brains are capable to overcome their hardships if they want to. For example you managed to pick the class that is most tolerant to low reaction time. Is it a mistake? I don't think so.

Could I mentor a player? Only a resto druid. I cannot teach anyone how to be a great mage, since I don't know how to. I could teach 80% of the mage-base how to be "average" instead of "useless scum" though, but that was not the question.

Anonymous said...


You mean someone who seems to be running around in M&S gear could actually be someone who has done a cost benefit analysis and decided that buying the best upgrades they can is less rewarding than just getting by?

That maybe I am not a moron for just using Titanium Weapon Chains as my weapon enchants?

So if not gearing to the 9's isn't the most rational way to play the game, what do you use as your M&S filter?

Brose said...

I have played this game since vanilla wow and all I can say is... most players are clueless. Even those in so-called "raiding guilds". Most are freaking clueless about their class and are simply being carried through.

You know your guild sucks when you ask your dps why they are doing such crappy dps and the answer they give you is "My gear isn't as good as yours". Then I will tell them "It isn't the gear.." What I couldn't bring myself to say is "I could probably remove 3 piece of gear and still outdps you"

And when you can't down a boss, they use "we lack class X" as an excuse. Raid composition is important, yes. But getting good players are just as important. There is no point getting a crappy shammy just for BL if you have another good dps around.

Shem said...

I think the skill>gear, while accurate isn't very enlightening. And all the posts pointing out that gear matter seem to miss the point.

The point isn't that gear is irrelevant. Gear is relevant. Especially if you're in a hard mode or top-end guild. But gear isn't an excuse to be struggling on easy mode raids.

IMO if a guild hasn't cleared Ulduar yet then it is either new, or it has serious issues with skill, leadership or both. Gear's DEFINITELY not an excuse anymore, but even pre3.2 it was not an excuse.

Gear makes things easier, sure. Skill on the other hand doesn't make things easier- it just allows you to cope with difficult encounters. Wearing new gear is really just the same as the boss' HP and damage being nerfed. It just makes the encounter easier. I like hard encounters, because of the nature of WoW that means I'll probably need to pass certain gear hurdles, but I like to think my skill is why I successfully complete the harder encounters.

Will said...

I think a LOT of people are missing the actual point of this, and that is that if your dps / healing / tanking sucks, you can't take it out on your gear, in all likelihood, your just an M&S, so shut up.

WoWConfidential said...

If you are the leader of a PUG and inviting people you don't know.. how are you going to tell their skill?

1) Achievements
Achievements could have been had by getting "carried" through instances or getting into a good group.
2) Gear
Unless you consistently get into groups where you are carried and all gear goes towards you, gear is a representation that you've run and had a lot of "experience" raiding and getting geared up.

So for the PUG leader who quickly wants to find people, and doesn't have time figuring out individuals skills, they can base it off of gear.

That is why people make guilds, because you can have those undergeared people but know from past experiences with them that they are just as good as someone with much better gear.

RyanC said...

Nobody gives a hoot how much damage you do...the bosses got downed. Period. You numbers geeks kill me.

Brilliant; truly proves that it is the player AND the class.

Auditioning for a new raiding guild (stepping on up) and thanks to gear and skill we blew through the place in less than 3 hours. No stopping for mana, no wipes...almost running straight through it, except boss fights.

If people could wear a bright orange button that says they're skilled, it would solve the gear issue. Now everyone has good gear, so it's impossible to tell anymore.

It's best to keep up a title that indicates playing skill of some stripe, that way ppl know you're capable of getting things done.

Anonymous said...

Great post Gevlon. I agree there is too much emphasis placed on gear and not enough on skill. A prime example of this is alt runs. Where expereinced raiders bring their favourite alts they can usually complete stuff that you wouldn't dream of seriously attempting with PUGs.

Anonymous said...

Gear is overrated, but sometimes a requirement.

Gevlon, you guys did Yogg+4, the easiest easymode on the fight. You didn't need good gear, the buffs alone from the keepers far surpassed what epic gear gives (+40% damage, +20% hp, +20% healing, -20% damage taken), not to mention the special abilities that they use which makes the fight even more trivial.

Try to do the same thing, except Alone in the Dark. Or even something with a more forgiving dps requirement like Firefighter or Freya+3.

Top guilds do not take blue geared pugs, not because they do no damage, but every additional player you take into your raid is a liability. It's up to the raid leader whether the benefit is greater than said liability, and 90% of the time for pugs it's not.

Examples: having to spend time to invite & summon. Not moving out of the fire, wasting healing. Chaining boss abilities. Increased loot complication. Spreads reputation of guild as one who takes pugs on runs. Or worst, ruining the attempt by doing such things as standing in the raid with the bomb, locking up a demolisher, pulling aggro on a molten golem, standing in the raid with gravity/light bomb, chaining static charge, dragging kologarn eyebeams to others, killing feral defender in the middle of the raid, staying outside the group on freya's lasher phase/standing with people with nature's fury, spreading fires on Mimiron in random directions, healing Vezax, going insane on Yogg. Wait, that's pretty much the vast majority of all encounters.

Why are we bringing a blue geared casual again?

Skill is absolutely > gear, but the two usually go hand in hand. Top guilds look for people who are dedicated to excellence by socketing and enchanting everything to the max - not because it actually helps dps by a significant amount, but it shows that they care about their character enough to try their hardest.

Anonymous said...

You should check out this new blog titled "World of Caedo." It's also being refered to as "the Caedo Project"... heard about it on mmo-champion forums... its about some guy who is taking a new character (next expansion) and attempting to become a pro gamer.. seems interesting, real potential.

Jacob said...

@Anonymous: Point was not to clear the hardmodes, hardmodes are designed for topraiders in the latest tier of gear, just check movies of hardmodes, most first kills is within seconds of enrage timer. Even Stars had a dps problems on Alone in the Darkness, Ensidia had around 2 seconds left on enrage timer of firefighter.

Firefighter does not have low dps demands, neither does any hardmodes. Besides, what casuals that complains that they don't have enough gear tries to do hardmodes of ulduar straight away?

We could probably have done Freya+1 or even +3, but then we would've had to develop a brand new tactic for that and that wasn't the point of the run.

Ayonel said...


The only comment to your last post I would make is this: Amazingly, there are *still* tons of people running around who are not geared. And many people still don't get it.

Last night I saw the guild forming a group to 'gear up new folks'. So what did they do? They ran Naxx 10. Why not run ToC half a dozne times and then H ToC? Better loot faster for less effort. And the idea that top guild raiders are required to gear up new members is also no longer true, given the ease with which Tier 8 and ToC gear can be had.

Anyway, what's wrong with numbers guys? ;p

High said...

I've been in a casual guild for the most of my wow time.

usually there's allways about 5 players in the raid doing worse than everyone else. These are players i've known for 3-4 years of Wow and socially they are nice persons. I think one of the reasons we need good gear is because of these players. I shouldnt be able to do significant larger amount of healing or dps, compared to an almost equal geard guildie, but it has happened a lot of times.

I still remember when we cleared nax 10 for the first time in our heroic gear and some epix, and it wasnt even that hard.

Now Ulduar was a little harder at first, but i think it mainly had to do with tactics and experience. My gear havent changed that much since we our first tries and now we blast through the first bosses.

So i guess gear is for making up for worse players, and just generally making it easier. I think people focus too much on it, but often it's the only way to judge other players, even though it's getting more difficult when everyone wearing > ilvl 219 items.

a good example was on PTR where we all had the best gear, but actually failed on Anub in Nax 10, because people didnt know anything about how to play the class or the encounter.

Anonymous said...

Interesting fact. There is no rogue named Dadan. In existance. Or a mage named Trigz. Either he changed all their names on the recount so they couldn't be wowarmoried (hinting that he might be lying about their blueness?) or they just plain don't exist.

Anonymous said...

Interesting fact. There is no rogue named Dadan. In existance. Or a mage named Trigz. Either he changed all their names on the recount so they couldn't be wowarmoried (hinting that he might be lying about their blueness?) or they just plain don't exist

Alternate theory: You looked at the US armory, not the EU armory, because you're an M&S who didn't read the original post with the armory links?

Anonymous said...

A good example of this would be my own experience. I have an alliance resto druid that is Uld25/ToC geared and recently ran up a horde druid to play with RL friends. The night I hit 80 with my tauren, I was invited to fill a healing spot in a 25 naxx run. I had about 1100sp in all quest greens and blues and yet was on top of the meters out of a total of 3 healers through the night, even with another tree in uld gear. Kinda fun to see my achievment for finishing naxx 25 through to KT on the same day I got my Level 80 Achv. All in all, I fully believe skill>gear any day.

Anonymous said...

This is all well and good but as you said yourself you were in blues and "mostly ilvl 226" gear, and anyone can get a few blues off the AH and do uld for the lulz, but if go into 10 uld with full ilvl 200 gear and questing blues from northrend I don't think your run would have been as smooth. Also gear is huge in the game as much as player skill, and why would a guild look at gear? bc that shows that someone has done the content, and is a dedicated enough player to join the guild, and even so that doesn't always mean that they will get into the guild. If your raids gear was anything like yours blues with mostly ilvl 226 gear then you have done nothing special herem atleast nothing that i can see, you put on some blues with your uld 25 gear and then downed bosses that you've been downing for weeks. Thats all, and as I said early do a 10m uld with gear from heroics and then post about it.

Anonymous said...

"This is all well and good but as you said yourself you were in blues and "mostly ilvl 226" gear"


Phoenixi said...

Personaly. I've read some of your posts. Most all of you are very conceited. The point isn't whether or not you're an idiot for gearing up or not. The point is more along the lines of if you're a bad player, gear really isn't going to change that fact for you. There isn't, and never will be a way to judge how good a raider is before inviting them to guild. That is like asking "Is someone a good person?". With a very good group, yes, things might be harder, but you can still get it done. The other point he's trying to make is.. as a good raider, you're in it for the raiding. Sure, gear is great, but when you're a real raider, and not just someone wanting to go around with the "LUK @ MY EPIC LOL I GUD PLAYER" attitude, you're in it for the challenge, and the content. Not to try and get bragging rights and to be better then everyone else.

Insol said...

I think you're maths is fine and I love the fact you achieved this, I just wonder why you write off a 22% improvement through gear (based on your own maths/assumptions) as insignificant?

That makes you just over one fifth better. Get five players like that and it's as if you're adding an additional player.

Skill allows you to reach your characters maximum potential in any given situation, gear defines what that potential is.

But at the end of the day as long as you're enjoying the game what else matters? =]

Have fun.

Daystar Eld said...

I regularly lead PuGs for everything from VoA to ToC on my Druid, Priest, Hunter and Death Knight, all of whom run from one end of the gear spectrum to the other. Once in awhile I run in other people's groups, but generally I prefer not to unless I just lack the energy to lead. Why? Because when I join other's groups, I see at least a 50% rate of failure for the raids, whereas my own fail maybe one in every ten.

And when I form groups, I use gearscores to vet people. Once in awhile I'll bend the requirement, if people are close to geared or I know they're the alts of good players, but since I can't tell if people are skilled enough until we start wiping, at least I can tell if they're geared enough.

I fancy myself a better than average raid leader, but in the end the fights are the same, and the strategies and explanations are the same. So what can I conclude? Either A) That I personally make enough of a difference regardless of what role I'm doing to swing fights, or B) That only bringing people who meet the recommended gear threshold actually makes a difference.

I'll go with B.

Yes, geared enough, because as many people have stated, you're mistaking "Skill is greater than gear" for "Gear doesn't matter." Throughout BC, I never pushed myself to be on the cutting edge of gear and enchants, and even today still don't. I only put epic gems in 245+ gear, even though I have well over 30k gold and nothing to spend it on. The reason is because I know that 10-20 extra stats don't usually make any difference, even in hard-modes.

But I know my class, and I'm skilled enough to be able to adapt to any fight or mechanic. Not everyone can make the same claims. I've regularly out DPS'd people who had higher gear than me, and know alot of people who maintain their mediocre DPS only because of their no expenses spared armor, gems and enchants.

Gear matters because it makes everything easier. That doesn't mean you can't make things harder on yourself by bringing people who are undergeared, and that doesn't mean that only people with top gear can be an asset to a raid. But you are trying to convince people that a random person in full blues should be brought to Ulduar 10, when most people know from experience that unless that person is very skilled and experienced, you're just going to end up carrying them, or wipe.

And like someone else said, Uld 10 is meant to be done in 200 epics, which isn't that far from blues. Try ToC in blues next time :)

Anonymous said...

I think the most significant advantage to having higher ilvl gear in a raiding situations is actually the tendency to have higher unbuffed stamina (on tanks and non-tanks alike). As you climb through the tiers of raiding content within a given xpac, the amount of damage that raid healing has to heal through increases, so gearing appropriately to that content gives raid healers a larger window of opportunity to keep you alive, and mitigates the effect of bad RNG (for example a boss targeting one player twice in a row for a special attack).

Damien said...

One thing you didn't factor into your math was time. If you're strictly going off of possibility to complete, then yes, running raids in blues is "possible".

However, as a mathmatical example using your own numbers - lets say Johnny is that Hunter you were testing. In full 8.5 and "juicy" (?) gear, he pulls 7250. In blues, he pulls 4950.

Badboss has a total health of 1m. Lets pretend for a second that Badboss doesn't hit back - he just stands there and takes arrows to the face. Lets also pretend that Johnny's rotation is perfect for the duration of the fight.

At 7250 dps, it would take Johnny roughly 140 seconds to kill Badboss. At his blue-gear dps, however, of 4950, it would take him almost 200 seconds. This is an increase of about a minute. Now for the sake of argument lets say there are ten bosses in Fantasyzone, each with 1m health that Johnny has to solo. I won't draw out the math but can you see where this is heading? Less overall dps leading to more time spent in the dungeon. And this example assumes that every rotation is perfect and that Johnny never wipes, goes AFK, D/Cs, argues over loot, or heaven knows what else.

So, bottom line, you can't rely on math to determine how effective gear is solely based on numerical values, without factoring in that people's time is exponentially more important than the gear itself.

Anonymous said...

Course hard enrage timers put a lower limit on total dps required by the raid (Festergut being a nice clean example). So, there are cases where no amount of skill will get you past the boss if you don't a have enough gear.

The problem you are highlighting correctly is that the amount/level of gear needed is actually less that most people think it is. There are great disparities in the output for a given gear level that can only be understood by poor player skill. This is the important thing.