If raid invites are like dating, gearscore is…

May 25, 2010 at 8:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


The premise of this post is silly, but I hope to share a useful message by the end.  My observation above was prompted by a whine from Professor Beej about how he can’t get a date raid.  He blames the GearScore addon and “elitist” attitudes for his lack of invites to pug raids.  I commented that raid invites are like romantic relationships. Everybody is free to seek a significant other, but nobody is entitled to one; it has to be mutual.  In this post I extend the analogy a little more and discuss issues involving GearScore and raid invites.

First, about GearScore: I think it can be a useful addon used properly, but I don’t think it’s an panacea to the problems of setting up a raid.  I think it serves as a good first estimate of a raider’s gear and its suitability for a given content level. It is fairly well-known that GearScore does not serve as a very good indicator of raid performance, particularly when PvP gear is involved.  That said, I think it is peoples’ interactions relating to GearScore, rather than the number itself, that are most useful in assembling a raid.

Consider the machine pictured above.  Occasionally seen in arcades, it is a novelty device where the user inserts a coin and grips a handle.  Based on the strength of the user’s grip, as sensed by the handle, the machine displays an evaluation of the user’s suitability as a lover (eg, clammy, mild, wild, hot stuff).  I think most of us believe that there are other qualities that are important in a mate aside from hand strength, so making decisions based solely on the machine’s output would be foolish.  The same can be said for GearScore; it shouldn’t be the sole basis for decision making about raid invites.  What’s important is how people use and react to the data they get from the machine/GearScore.  Here are a few examples (translation into WoW-terms is left as an exercise for the reader):

  • Anybody that thinks a “mild” or “wild” rating determines an individual’s worth as a human being is an idiot.  This should be obvious.
  • Anybody that will only date “hot stuff” is not somebody you want to date.  Possessing such a warped standard for what makes an ideal mate suggests that the person in question holds other warped views.
  • Anybody that is filled with rage/sadness when they get a “clammy” score is not somebody you want to date.  Not because they scored “clammy” but because they’re overreacting to something which (they claim) is trivial.
  • Anybody that thinks they deserve a date on the basis of a “naughty but nice” score has serious entitlement issues. Not only is this creepy, it probably means you are going to have loot drama later.

I think that attitudes towards GearScore reflect overall views towards raiding.  If two people have such different views on the simple issue of criteria for raid invites, it’s likely that other beliefs about raiding are likely to be quite different as well.  That seems like a recipe for trouble.

The value in gearscore, however, is in filtering out bad candidates.  Occasionally I land in a pug with somebody bragging about their gearscore; they look as silly as a date bragging about a “passionate” rating.  If gearscore is the only thing a raider has to recommend himself or herself, it’s usually a bad sign.  Hopefully, both raiders and dates have other qualities, such as skill or experience, to recommend themselves.  Gevlon’s Undergeared project is a wonderful example of skill and experience trumping gear.  His guild has successfully cleared Ulduar, ToC and Marrowgar (so far) in blue gear.  Not only is 5k GS overkill for Marrowgar, he found that 4k GS is too.  Managing such an accomplishment, however, requires a raid of players that are both skilled and willing to endure a few wipes to iron out any bugs in their strategy and execution.

I think that for many players just now finishing the triumph badge grind the problem is that they have little they can point to as evidence of their raiding bona fides.  Building reputation is difficult since the introduction of the LFD system which, though it has produced many tanks/healers/dps with adequate gear, reduces the opportunities for prospective raiders on a given server to observe each other’s play.  (This problem is especially acute for tanks as there are proportionately fewer raid slots for them)  Building raid experience is likewise difficult due to the Catch-22 of needing raid experience to get into raids to get raid experience.  In other words, there are a lot of players for whom a somewhat low GearScore is the only thing they can offer as a credential.  Few people have gotten dates solely on the strength of a “mild” score, either.

In my ideal world of raiding, like-minded players would play together.  I think groups work together best when they have a common goal and a shared plan for reaching that goal.  Complaining about GearScore, as Professor Beej has done, is pointless and whiny especially when the root issue is social rather than technological.  Raidleaders want to put together the best raid they can and GearScore helps them to do so.  I think players can react to this fact either by inventing nonsense explanations in which gear reduces performance or by reflecting on the issues and rethinking their position on GearScore.  As an occasional raidleader, I don’t think I need to say which attitude is more likely to result in raid invites from me.



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  1. I think the problem goes a lot deeper. PUG raid leaders want a sure thing. When I was still running Zul’Gurub you could actually run a PUG with wipes, and people would stick around. These days, that seems impossible. Most PUGs I’ve seen don’t even attempt the harder stuff. They’ll just do the first wing of ICC and call it a day, even though everyone in the raid is certainly well geared enough to progress further. But that would likely involve more wipes, and the minute you start wiping, people start leaving.

    For the same reason I’m not very interested in PUGging anything. The reason I raid is because I like figuring out the fights, putting together the strategy and getting that kill. I’m not there to steam through the content as fast as possible for my frost badges and the occasional piece of loot. Though the loot forms an extra incentive, of course.

  2. […] Lujanera says I’m whining. […]

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