GearScore, minus the “Score” (part 4)

So I basically bashed the GearScore addon in my previous 3 posts, saying that it’s stupid.

No, that’s not what I did.  What I said was that using gear as a basis for future performance is a flawed theory.  The addon does a good job at what it was programmed to do – give an overall summary of a player’s gear.  Yes, I also know that you can further inspect a player by targetting them and typing “/gs” to get more details about their spec, etc.  Used in that fashion, the addon really isn’t all that terrible.  It does give an overview of what instances and bosses the player has killed and not killed.  It does also give a good estimate of caps, such as Hit and uncrittability (for tanks). 

It is still not that perfect by any means.  And although, I really do not want this to be entirely about the addon, I fell like I need to explain somethings – mostly to (re)illustrate some of my points.


For one, it subtracts points if you are missing some stats, or have some of another, non-optimal stat.  Missing stats, I totally understand, like being under the Hit or Expertise cap.  Additional stats, does not make sense.  For example, if a tank is wearing the best in slot shoulder enchant, he would be subtracted points, because it has resilience on it – which is useless in PvE.  Although true, it’s still the BiS enchant for that item slot.  Why am I being penalized by an addon for having BiS enchantments?  A tank with a non-optimal enchant – the Sons of Hodir one – would techncially be rated higher than I by the addon, all other things being equal. 

Other examples are less obvious such as a DPS Warrior wearing a piece of Mail or Leather gear with a small amount of Intellect on it – even though it is likekly much better than an equal level Plate piece.  Healers having 1 or 2 +Hit items, even though they were likely huge upgrades, etc. 

One thing to note is it only takes into account things you have on your character, not things you don’t have on your character.  Did I confuse you?  As above, if a Holy Priest has some +Hit items in his gearset, he would be subtracted points, because Hit is a non-optimal (in 99% of situations) stat for healers.  This is true.  What the addon fails to recognize is if that Priest is completely missing any gems or enchants. 

PallyA and PallyB are both Ret Paladins with the exact same 16 relevant slots of gear.  PallyA has maximum enchants and gems, and is a prime example of a cookie-cutter Ret Pally.  PallyB has zero enchants and zero gems.  The Gearscore Addon will give them the exact same score.  Which would you rather have in your group?

Plus – at least for some classes – higher item level gear is not always an upgrade, especially considering trinkets et al.  DMC: Greatness anyone?

Who Cares?

As I’m sure you’ve heard many times, and as I also stated in part 3 of this series, “A bad player with a 5k GS will do better than a bad player with a 4k GS.”  This is also stated on the Curse page for the GS addon.  Firstly, as I tried to prove – or at least state – in my previous posts, low DPS is not the cause of wipes in most raid encounters.  Lack of execution – or as I like to see it lack of competency – is the cause of most wipes in raids.  How can I tell if a player is comptent?  (Plus, you just admitted the player is bad – why would you take them, regardless of gear?)

Proper enchantments.  Although properly upgrading your gear doesn’t automatically make you able to move out of fire, and DPS the correct target instead of mindlessly AoEing, it does tell me one thing.  It tells me that you took at least 5 minutes out of your ultra-busy schedule to read up on a website.  It tells me you are competent.  If you spent 5 minutes researching a basic part of your class (gems and enchants), then I could also assume that you spent another 5 minutes researching the proper spell rotation for your class.  Although this is only inductive reasoning, and not deductive logic, I think it’s a safe pretty assumption. 

Conversely, if a player does not have any gems or enchants, or if they are totally wrong, I can assume that they spent no time researching their class – or they did, but didn’t understand it.   I can also assume the same about their spell rotation.  If they do not fully understand how their own class works, how can I expect them to understand how something they do (or not do) can affect the entire raid?  Again, purely inductive, but I have a hard time believing someone can understand that switching DPSing the adds (even if your individual DPS suffers a small bit) is more beneficial than continueing DPS on the boss – if they don’t understand basics of their own class. 

Show me you know WTF you are doing – what you do with the gear available to you.  The item level of your gear does not show me this.

Truely Overgeared

OK, sometimes, the raw item level of a player’s gear does show me this.  But it’s usually only in the absolute most extreme cases.   Even then, there are other indicators of the player’s competence beyond gear. 

Say you are putting together a PUG for ICC.  10 or 25 man, doesn’t matter.  Assume you are one of the clueless PUG leaders that thinks a higher GS equates to a higher chance of success, and are asking for for a minimum 5k GS before they can join the raid.  You get a whisper from a Mage saying he has a 6400GS.  You of course, invite him, as a 6400 GS player in the raid will surely mean a much higher chance of success! 

While you are not incorrect, there are other ways you could have come to the same conclusion.  For one, he would likely have the Kingslayer title attached to his name.  That in and of itself, says he has experience all the way though, including, the Lich King.  A closer look at his gear would find that he has many ivll 277 pieces, indicating that he’s killed a few bosses on heroic mode. 

And that’s pretty much the only time gear will be a likely indicator of future performance – when it’s basically overboard (the same is true for the very low end of gear).  A look at that player’s achievements would bring you to the same conclusion – and is totally independant of gear.  I’d be willing to bet that all of his gear would not only be gemmed and enchanted correctly, but that it would be the exact same setup you would find on a site such as EJ.  All of this was totally obtainable without knowing the item level of the gear he currently has equipped. The fact that you knew the item level of his gear only brought you to the same place, but only because he’s overgeared and overqualified for what you plan on doing (6/12 or 9/12, whatever).

But I Want to Lead a Raid, I has to use Something!!

Do you?  Successfull PUG raids have been happening since UBRS.  What tools do you think they used back then?  Most likely – nothing.  Part of that was because nearly all players were at roughly the same gear levels.  But isn’t that about how it is now?  With the exception of alts that just hit 80, and those doing hard mode instances, I’d have to imagine most players are in the 5K GS range (+/- 400).  Is that a big enough difference to include or exclude a player from your raid? 

As I stated in my previous posts – why not use another metic.  Something besides gear.  Or at least something besides the raw item level of the gear.  In a pefect world, players would visit a theory site such as EJ to learn about other classes if they plan on leading PUG raids on a (semi-)regular basis.  Of course that’s a lot to ask.  Even as a full time raid leader for a progression oriented guild, I did not know everything about every class or spec.  To this day, I could not tell a cookie cutter Warlock from an off-the-wall one.  But that’s OK, there are tools out ther to help you.

What Matters

Is there a perfect way to guess the future performance of a random player?  No, not likely.  But there are better ways than looking at the item level of gear.  I personally think achievements are a decent indicator – although I admit they are not perfect either.  I do think they are better than looking at the item level of your gear though. 

If a player has heroic modes down (even of the last raid tier), you can assume they know all the mechnics associated with them.  Also – many heroic modes require multiple attempts to get down, meaning the player will likely not bail out on the first wipe of the evening. 

No (relevant) achievements isn’t necessarily indicitive of zero potential, but it is similar to a high school grad applying to an Engineering job.  I’d definately let someone with zero achievements into a run that was going for 6 or 8 ICC bosses, but would not expect that player to be able to handle more than that, and especially not any heroic modes.  If you’re planning on leading a run that’s only going 6/12 in ICC – do you really need people that have a 5800 GS?   (That levle of gear is basically ready to do hard modes. )

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~ by Andenthal on October 1, 2010.

One Response to “GearScore, minus the “Score” (part 4)”

  1. Ande’s back! I agree, at this point in the game, everyone is basically on the same gear level for non-heroic content.

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