Back in January I wrote regarding Gear Score (GS) and how it needs to be used properly. Well since then, GS has seeped into everything we seem to do in WoW. People ask for it to do any types of dungeons, I have even seen people demand certain scores for 5 mans! People have gone as far as to sell themselves to get picked for groups by using it to distinguish themselves. However recently GS has placed this artificial number on people and no longer is someone allowed to play the game it seems without a valid gear score. In summary, gear score measuring has gotten out of control.
But GS helps you determine someone’s potential right? In theory yeah it would, but there are several issues with this. Lets explore this shall we?
1. Gear is SUPER EASY to get.
Hell anyone can get it. I have 3 geared alts in almost full 232 gear, it took me almost no time to do this either. Leveling them to 80 took me longer. Anyone can get gear if you run heroics until your eyes bleed. And who is to say that 4 guildies didn’t drag some dude’s alt through heroics? That doesn’t translate to skill, it translates to 4 super geared people pulling yanking the chump behind them, who is picking up the scraps.
2. Gear Score is calculated on gear’s ilvl.
This is one of the bigger problems, since we are seeing people not being able to get into some 10 and 25 mans because of a perceived lower GS, so what they do is get the easier to get pvp gear with high ilvl and thus higher stats, even though it doesn’t translate to the best PVE gear, and to some extents, its not even the right type of gear (i.e. melee trinket on a spell caster). This just forces someone to go and look up this person’s gear on the armory or inspect them anyway, so why even use the number if you have to inspect them anyway?
3. Gear Score doesn’t not care about skill!
GS doesn’t calculate what you have actually done in raids and dungeons, or even how much dps you do, how well you tank multiple mobs, or how well you heal under pressure. You know what does calculate these things, logs. There is a reason why most hardcore raiding guilds only want to see example logs of what you have done. Because they too realize that skill > gear. Sure gear is important, but gear in the hands of a noob creates a noob. Its like the multiplying anything by zero, no matter what it still comes out to zero.
4. Gear Score doesn’t care about your spec and glyphs.
GS also doesn’t look to see if you are properly spec’d, your entire talent spec could be totally off the wall and non-effective, which will greatly impact your performance, but no where does this tool look at this. It doesn’t think this DK is unholy spec, but never took the Scourge Strike talent. So even if someone has a 7K GS, their talent spec could be totally worthless, and unless you are an expert in all classes and ideal specs, you may be inviting someone who knows nothing of their class into your group based purely on ilvl.
5. Gear Score, despite the name, doesn’t care about gear!
Going out to wow-heroes I can compare my character with others, and I see others of the same spec and class, higher in GS on my realm, but they don’t even have the best in slot (BiS) gear! Hell some of the BiS gear is not even the top ilvl gear, specifically for trinkets! People can go and buy 2 ilvl 264 trinkets and appear to be a better player to the untrained eye than someone who has 1 ilvl 251 and 1 ilvl 245 trinket for example. The second probably has best in slot, but in the eyes of GS and the people who put so much stock in don’t care about that.
In the end, Gear Score is currently being wielded by children, and like any weapon in the hands of the wrong person, it can be dangerous. GS has created a gaming world where bizarre and ridiculous requirements keep skilled people out of raids and instances. I have seen people requesting 5K gear score to run ToC10, not even the heroic version, the regular version! Its insane, its gotten out of control! What happened to inspecting someone looking to see if they had a reasonable set of gear for the instance and giving them a shot? What about setting expectations to say if you don’t perform at X level we will replace you? Then you put the focus on skill. But sadly, the children who wield the weapon we call GS, keep the good players out and have made the game much less enjoyable.
The gear score tool I am sure had the best intentions, but the path to hell is paved with those, and instead of a good benchmarking tool, it has all but turned out to be an identification tool for whether you can play or not. Which is just sad. Gear Score has turned into the WoW version of a credit score. Don’t have the right score, you can’t play. But in order to get a better score, you need to play. Its a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.
As I told my guild last night, I don’t invite you to raids because of your GS. I invite you because you want to see content, you want to see the guild progress, you want to have fun, and you are committed to being the best player you can be. Do I look to see if someone is prepared to participate sure, see last week’s post regarding that, but I look at the whole package. I look for the person behind the toon, and I respect the whole package and from here on out, I do not recognize GS.