kid-with-gun WoW Discussion

Gear Score – A Child Wielding a Loaded Gun


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.

17 Comments on Gear Score – A Child Wielding a Loaded Gun

  1. stubby

    Gear is not insanely easy to get to achieve some of the higher gear scores without first being capable of completing content. Weapons in particular are weighted heavily by the GearScore addon for the fact that they often bear high amounts of very specific stats.

    GearScore isn’t calculated on iLevel… I’ve not found one yet that works on iLevel. The formula the addon uses has been published and is in no way influenced by iLevel but instead by the cumulative stat values weighted on scales dependent on the role specific needs of a character class. This in and of itself is not a good measure of a character’s performance however there is absolutely no way to measure a character prior to adding them beyond gear score.

    GearScore doesn’t care about skill, this is true. Let me know when you’ve found an effective method of previewing a character’s skill before adding them to your raid.

    Here’s the trouble with talents and glyphs. Take the humble hunter. A vast swath of them use the same spec, the same glyphs, the same gems and many of them are still awful. Ignoring GearScore all together you’ve just supplanted one measuring system for another. The saddest part is by going on specs and glyphs alone you have no idea whether that character is performing at a reasonable level. Alternatively I have performed beyond the means of many high GearScore hunters many times. Condemn that statement all you wish, the point is I know that the others could have performed much better. Most were not horrible by any means but without having any base measurement at all my only assumption is that it’s something different about my gear. Luckily having GearScore I can easily determine what the average should be and who’s paying well. Guess who I’d want to invite the next time I run a raid?

    Beyond that your post is completely valid with the exception of your condemnation of the tool. GearScore is not a child wielding a gun. GearScore is a gun. When wielded by someone who does not make effective decisions given available information it is certainly not being used effectively. Whether or not it is dangerous is another matter entirely. In the hands of someone willing to do due diligence it can be a highly effective measure of raid readiness, loot council decision-making and character progression. The extremes with which an individual uses GearScore to make decisions is entirely up to the individual. Do some go too far? Absolutely. As with many things in our lives it’s not enhancing anything unless used with wisdom and guidance. Those willing to ignore it may not be reaping the benefits but there are, indeed, other ways of making decisions. Those willing to condemn it may be just as misguided.

    • Avatar

      per the previous commenter, and the post he points to on the wow-heroes forum, it does work off ilvl. However even the in-game addon looking at attributes doesn’t equate if those attributes are necessarily the best for that particular class/spec.

      I am condemning it until I see it take into account other factors, are there some who use it effectively sure, but in my experience at least its been few and far between, because it started off as a good benchmarking tool. But for in-guild I have decided to look at other factors when making the determination of raid readiness. And by doing that it has created a more fun and collaborative environment.

  2. Dr. Gearscore, or how I learned to relax and love the bomb

    Taken from a forum post the site admin of wow-heroes made
    Well, all I can say at this moment is that gear score depends on:
    – ilvl of your item. That number will be replaced with “real” item value at some point, but for now, item levels are taken into account
    – value of that specific item (trash, common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary). If that item contains gem slots, gem quality is taken into account
    – resilience found on each item (resilience is useless in PvE 99% of the time, so if that specific item got its ilvl with resilience included, it should have slightly lower ilvl). Yes, I know that some PvP weapons are just as good, if not even better than some PvE items, I’ll look into that problem soon.
    – few more factors which shouldn’t have any big influence on the overall gear score

    Now I’m sure I’ll get flamed now for “why don’t you remove penalty from …. and put penalty for ….. etc, etc” but as far as I see, this formula does the job fine most of the time. I’m not saying it wont be changed at some point, maybe even very soon, I’m just saying how it is at the moment

    ~Overall score is influenced mostly by:
    – gems (their quality and usable value)
    – items (not item level, but value of stats on each item)
    – enchants (their quality and usable value)

    Your argument would be flawless, if it were entirely correct. Resilience and PVP gear, is actually rated LOWER on the WH scale then most PVE gear. WH checks against your SPEC and if the stat values mesh up with the correct stats to use. Dalaran, the realm you play on, uses mostly the WoW-Heroes gear score instead of the add on. Like someone else said, disregarding it completely is foolish

    • Avatar

      The in-game GS addon calc found in this great blog post on Tales of a Priest:
      http://talesofapriest.com/?p=727

      And the realm we play on uses the addon a lot more than you realize, as the addon GS value is much higher than the wow-heroes one, and its obvious if you watch trade and/or LFG for a period of time, especially when people are asking for 5K GS to run ToC10

      Also I am not seeing specifically that pvp items are counted lower? All he says “it should have slightly lower ilvl”. That doesn’t fix that portion on the site not by a long shot. Now the site admin I see is looking to make adjustments, but most of the issues revolve around the inconsistency of people using the wow-heroes site, and the in-game addon.

      Also don’t just focus on the ilvl portion of my argument, notice that gear is easy to get. Gear does not translate to proper spec, enchants, gems, and performance.

  3. Dr. Gearscore, or how I learned to relax and love the bomb

    To clarify, when I posted that it works on ilvl, that was in 3.1

    Currently, WH GS is based off

    Gear (not Ilvl, but stat allocation based on spec)
    Gem (quality and useable value)
    Enchants (Quality and useable value)

  4. Avatar

    It actually does not say stat by spec, it only says usable value in the post:
    http://www.wow-heroes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2661&p=6788&hilit=usable+value#p6788

    That could mean that it takes into account class and a specific spec (since stats for say a Blood DK’s priority is different than an unholy dk) or it could only take into account the major stats like +int, +str, etc. The fact is you can confirm what “usable” means to them

    In one post they say expertise is not a good stat, so items with that as a stat modifier are ignored possibly? But sites like EJ, say for melee to cap it at 26, so it still begs the question what does wow-heroes mean by “usable”

  5. stubby

    Do a summation of raw stats on items (not calculating in your enchants or gems) for all items on your character. Now do a summation the iLevel of all items on your character. You will find that the summation of raw stats on items more closely resembles your character’s GearScore by the add-on. The actual score is a derivative summation of this calculated against the stat-weight for class and build. Ignore “build” if you like but please do note that GearScore provides different values for roles (which is easily determined by querying talent build and identifying role specific talents). You’ll find that if you calculate by using a proper stat weight table (you can pull this from the add-on’s LUA) your numbers will jive precisely with what the add-on outputs. The point being that the add-on isn’t giving you a score to measure a character by the weight of their gear but by their ability to stat and itemize well. If you dissect the code you can see that iLevel does not enter into the final calculation.

    And anyway, while I don’t condone blindly looking at the iLevel of an item, taking into account the iLevel will provide any informed developer a rough idea of what the stat budget is on an item which is a leaping-off point for analysis, but by no means a way to generate an accurate picture. This is why identifying class, talent build and role become vital in then taking stock of the resulting stats provides a more granular view and can allow the developer to identify whether or not the iLevel of the item should be seen as a false positive. Inherently smart? No, but coding in logic is what developers do.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative here. I’m especially not trying to argue a point without being informed in the first place. I’m trying to take a point here and debate it fairly. Understand that I do get where you’re coming from. Nothing in this world is ever going to top true analysis of a player and nothing can account for true skill. The sad fact is we are consumers of convenient data. If it weren’t so everyone would use the default UI.

    I want to reiterate what my actual point was in my previous post. I went through pains to point some things out that I felt were inaccurate but the bottom line is that while gear scoring a player may not be as thorough as one might want it can be one part of doing the due diligence required to make an informed decision. We’re of course talking about using a tool like GearScore or Wow-heroes with some level of wisdom and guidance. The person who ignores these scores is certainly in their right to do so, however, the person who bases their decisions solely on these scores is even more dangerous. Making these sorts of decisions can be considered just as much a skill as playing the game in the first place. In the end success or failure in true content is not reliant solely on the value of items or stats or even the skill of the players. There’s a strategy to making right choices for your group before, during and after any dungeon crawl.

  6. Hey. I just recently started reading your blog. I have to say, I absolutely love the parallel you drew between the WoW community + Gearscore and Child + Loaded gun. I have always felt that way! The simple fact of the matter is that even if everyone keeps pushing the fact that gearscore is a “tool”, yes, it is, but so are guns, cars, etc. Sadly with gearscore there is no “Gearscore License” that only allows people who fully understand the meaning behind gearscore able to use it. So basically the rest of us going about our business who don’t care for the addon feel a bit terrorized by it (I know I do).

    I know this person was trying to be nice, but one time someone on my server sent me a tell and said “wow you have the highest gearscore I’ve ever seen” … I didn’t know what to say except “uhm.. thanks.” I remember a while ago, people would go “wow you got x item from that boss? that boss is hard! grats!”, or attempt to learn something about you in-depth to determine your skill level.

    Oh, and let’s not even mention the fact that I’ve seen MANY times that a player has been invited to a raid, and then instantly kicked because their gearscore was too low. I do a fast armory (taking less than 5 seconds of my own time while not being the raid leader even) to discover that they are well geared, even overgeared for the instance. People are getting kicked because Gearscore is not able to update its score database (because they haven’t been within rage of the people using the mod to mouseover and etc.) and people are too lazy to even look someone up when they see a problem. They just kick. Again, good example of a tool in bad hands, which sadly the only way to get rid of that on the internet is to just not have that tool at all…

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  8. Elvan

    It’s Based on ilvl anyone who says anything different is wack. Go in game and look at any two items in the same slot with the same ilvl they will all have the same gs.

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  10. Maureen, Earthen Ring - EU

    Came from wow.com. What bothers me most about Gearscore is that it doesn’t add gems and enchants in the calculation. Whenever I see a paladin who posts that he has 5700 gs on trade and fully decked with ARP gems, I want to gouge my eyes out.

    Do you know that 245 badge trinket, [Mark of The Champion]? Half my server is overcapped on hit rating enough to never ever miss a spell on Cataclysm bosses, because of it. The ilevel 200 Darkmoon card would be much better for them, but it’ll lower their Gearscore, so no go.

    Back in TBC, we used to check people according to be.imba.hu. Disregard the retarded name, it was actually a good tool. It provided a lot more info than gear ilevel. GS just has a non-sophisticated algorithm.

  11. sserenith

    There is one thing you forgot. sets. gs doesnt care about sets or armor type. im an ele shammy so i wear mail, but lets say i see a icc25hc piece of cloth that has a huge ilvl in comparison to, say… nobundo’s (t9). should i take the cloth to improve my gearscore and lose the higher stats on mail armor and the set bonus?! i have seen a lot of people doing this and ending up doing a lot less dps (in static fights) then me, a tier 9 ele shammy (at the time) which is a lousy dps class anyway. i dont have gearscore installed, and i actually quit the game a month ago for a few reasons, including this GS labeling of players. I havent been able to get any of my alts past 5 t9 pieces and the rest ilvl 200, cause theres no way i can get in a raid with this gear.
    In other words, gearscore will probably be the doom of this game (actually the little gs loving kids will stay) if blizzard doesnt do something about it. if u wanna check my char, she is the only one bearing this name, on european servers.

  12. DickyDick

    Sigh… people there’s a better way it’s called ElitistGroups. Try if for a few days, you’ll love it.
    Average iLVL is only part of what it does. More importantly it checks to see whether a person is geemed and enchanted correctly, places where the character should be able to do well. And most importantly, it shows you the raiding/instancing experience of that person. You can actually see how many times the person was there for a bosskill.
    Stop using GearScore, it’s a gun, and an unreliable gun at that too.

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