Friday, December 10, 2010

The new gearscore sucks more than the old

I'm not quite there yet, but a couple of guildies of mine are ready and prepared for raiding. They have been gathering rep and cool gear through doing heroics over and over, and that's what I'll be doing once I get to 85. It's what most of us will be doing and what we did back in Wrath/BC too. Same old, same old, and nothing wrong with that. Something is new though. Blizzard have implemented their own Gearscoring system, and it was 90% of what people talked about in my guild chat yesterday, inbetween the curses of being ganked and awes of exploring/experiencing new quests and areas.

I remember a whole lot was being said about the good old Gear Score addon, the addon that started it all, so to say. I won't say Gear Score started the gear scoring - there had been sites doing that for a while before Gear Score came along. But GS brought it into the game and for some reason that turned out be a big no no for some people. I've discussed my stand on GS already, but in essence I concluded that GS is a tool and as such it is only as bad as its users will be. I totally agree that too much emphasize was being put into whatever the GS addon said about you. I was on the wrong side of that deal for a long time with my little warrior. Being scorned in instances and not get to join simple raids because my "GS was too low", although my ability was quite sufficient. What really bothered me was how people didn't even give you a chance if you didn't have some seemingly arbitrary GS score. But all in all GS didn't do anything new. Puggers have for all times tried to estimate your ability by what they can see. They won't be able to see your actual skill until you're in there doing your thing, and by then it might be too late. So they have asked for achievements and gear since forever.

Gearscore saved time doing things people had been doing since the dawn of WoW - inspecting people to estimate their ability. But it definitely had its limitations, and these weren't taken into consideration often enough. It only scored your gear, it didn't take any account to whether that was the proper gear with the right stats, if it was gemmed or enchanted. In this way a site like wowheroes was definitely better since it scored based on all these factors, making the score a lot closer to reality than Gearscore.

But all that is history now. Since Blizzard decided to implement their own gearscoring system, an addon like gearscore has become obsolete. They do basically the same thing after all, and have the same flaws and benefits. Well actually that's not entirely true. Blizzards gearscoring system comes with one additional flaw, one that is so huge it makes the entire system worthless. Add to that that the new system is what measures whether you get to join for a heroic or not and we've got a problem on our hands.

This is how ugly the new gearscore system is.
Blizzard have used limits to getting access to higher content before. You couldn't join for heroics through the lfg-tool if your gear was too bad already in Wrath. But the new gearscoring system bases its numbers not on the gear you have currently equipped, which one would think is at least the first step for any scoring system. No, Blizzard scoring system is based on any gear you are currently carrying, both on you and in your bags. I'll let that one sink in for a moment. And if you still don't get how silly this is I'll say it in plain english - the scoring system is based on items you don't even use in a fight. It's true. I lowered my gearscore by vendoring all the quest-greens I had in my bags, without changing anything in my equipped gear.

So say warrior A could need on a really good caster trinket just because it has a lot higher item level than anything he is currently wearing. He doesn't have to use it, he just has to have it in his bag to increase his gearscore. And now you're thinking "hah, no one would be that stupid... would they?". Remember all those people who ran around with worthless items just to increase their gearscore? People have gone this path already! Blizzard are only making it even more worthwhile to behave in this crazy manner. Blizzard are rewarding people for running around with gear they can't/won't use.

The only reason I see how this is a good idea is if Blizzard are planning to implement shitloads of gear that isn't supposed to be equipped. That can be used directly from the bag, in some way. I haven't seen anything about that, have you?

Apparently you need the arbitrary score of 329 to be able to enter heroics. So if you find some item in an instance, on the auction house or through a quest that has a lot higher item level than what you're currently wearing, you should consider putting it into your bags even if it's nothing you'd ever use. Just to prove a point and maybe Blizzard will reconsider.


  1. What if I queue when I'm fishing? What if I have my lower level PvP gear on? What if I'm a tank but I'm wearing my lower level DPS offset to do dailies while I wait for the Dungeon Finder?

    It does make sense, if you're going to use gear as a gate, to include anything in your bags.

    Also, if it was only equipped items, plate wearers would be able to "game" the system easier than cloth wearers. Which clearly wouldn't be fair.

  2. @Bristal
    Good points!
    But I hope no plate class uses cloth gear since our armor specializations should prevent that kind of behavior.
    As for rp gear, well that's that persons loss imo. The problems aren't worth it for people to be able to wait around in the queue in rp gear (this is coming from a rp gear collector). Tanks probably quest as good in their tank gear as in their dps gear. You might have a point with the fishing however. I do get the general idea, and you've shown that Blizzard might actually have had a thought with this afterall. But it's so easily abused I hope Blizzard find some way to work around it.