Tank like a girl
Aug 27 2009

The gear myth…and other shocking revelations

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When I posted about my guild’s progress in Ulduar this weekend when I was all bubbly and excited, I soon got a downer that really aggravated me. A comment was left cheering the badge changes, making such progress as we had this weekend possible. I resented the implication then and I resent it now. I realize the comment was not meant to denigrate our success as a result of patch 3.2 alone, but it sure sounds like it. I hate pats on the back, but really adore genuine congratulations.

Gevlon, the probably most…hated is probably not the right word, but certainly the most contentious WoW blogger out there, was out to prove that skill > gear, and his guild did that by clearing Ulduar-10 wearing nothing but blue gear.

Impressive feat, isn’t it? And it certainly shows that knowing your class, skill in playing in is a lot more important than any gear upgrades.

Now, I won’t lie, I have received upgrades recently. Let’s look at them in detail.

  • New helmet. Effective gain: 5 strength, 65 armor, 10 defense, 70 parry, 54 hit. Lost 27 stamina.
  • New bracers. Effective gain: 25 stamina, 56 armor, 2 defense, 27 parry, 39 hit. Losing 2 strength, 19 dodge.
  • New chest. Effective gain: 36 stamina, 32 strength, 107 armor, 153 block value, 4 defense, 60 parry. Losing 47 dodge, 38 block.
  • New gloves. Effective gain: 40 stamina, 9 strength, 66 armor, 17 defense, 56 dodge, 49 hit. Losing 43 parry, 30 expertise, 1 socket.
  • New ring. Effective gain: 26 stamina, 34 parry, 26 expertise. Losing 2 strength, 25 defense, 4 dodge.
  • New cloak. Effective gain: 9 stamina, 4 armor, 38 defense, 32 hit. Losing 12 dodge, 21 expertise.
  • New trinket. Effective gain: 15 stamina, plus a frequent armor proc.

Summary: Gained 10 strength, 298 armor aka a damage reduction of 1.76%, 46 defense rating aka 9.35 defense skill, 148 parry rating aka 3.27% parry, 99 stamina aka 990 health, 174 hit (essentially not important for a warrior tank). I lost 25 expertise rating aka 3 expertise (which hurts a lot more than gaining hit outweighs) and 26 dodge rating, aka .57% dodge.

The most dramatic change is the amount of parry. But this is because Blizzard is pushing parry as a stat, when it previously was the redheaded-stepchild of avoidance stats that no one was actively gearing for as you got the lowest bang for the buck.

Parry and dodge are essentially the same for me now, when previously I had a lot more dodge. I phased out more dodge gear in the last couple weeks. I phased out pretty much all of my T7. Looking at the cold numbers I see that my gear improved, but not so dramatically. My avoidance evened out to include another stat. I was able to re-gem because of extra defense, for more effective health. I did not gain dramatic amounts of armor that would suddenly make me take tiny hits.

Gevlon is right when he says all of us are too focused on purples and numbers. I know that a few of our raiders have been grinding heroics for badges every day. Some haven’t at all. Some got maybe one upgrade. Extra mana, attack power, crit, haste, spellpower, they’ll have helped us, sure! But coordinated damage on elementals, focusing on Detonating Lashers and switching to Eonar’s Gift on Freya is not accomplished by gear. The players behind the wheel do that.

The previous week we did not get Thorim down because we had gazillions of adds in the arena and were overwhelmed before the gauntlet team cleared the Ancient Runegiant. Arena was no problem this week, because we had an excellent melee team, including our extremely skilled paladins. On Saturday we did not get Thorim down because adds would kill the gauntlet healer or someone would die in Shockwave. This has everything to do with skill (in this case I failed at picking up adds) and intelligently responding to things like fire/voidzones/poison/shockwave/all sorts of other crap. On Sunday we had two battle resurrections available because we had two druids, so it’s also a question of composition.

Maybe the ultimate revelation is that my guild runs gear requirements, and there are certain limits that you should have reached for raiding, but the most important delimiter for me these days is experience. Earn experience in Naxx, learn to acquire skill, rock the house.

For more thoughts about this, check out what Gravity has to say, and RJK.

And now it’s time to lean back and to find out if Tobold really turns out to be Gevlon, which would be just as shocking as the Ferraro scandal.

15 Responses to “The gear myth…and other shocking revelations”

  1. RJK says:

    Clearing content is always something for congratulations. No matter what gear you are in…wipes can happen in all 245 gear.

    It be da skill! ;)
    .-= RJK´s last blog ..Mish-Mash =-.


  2. Tarsus says:

    I honestly end up finding that the thing that tends to make the biggest difference in gear is whether or not an item has sockets (and how many). All other things being equal, upgrades tend to be, shall we say, a baby step at a time.

    Skill is definitely more important than gear, pretty much always has been. In part, because skill tends to be more difficult to acquire than gear in any case.


  3. Skraps says:

    What Gevlon fails to mention is how many times have done those boss encounters, and farmed those bosses before attempting to clear Ulduar in all blues.

    The only thing gear does for you in progression is allow for mistakes. Mistakes that EVERYONE makes regardless of skill and ability to play their class when running new encounters.

    I for one really love the changes to gear acquisition brought in 3.2. While it didn’t really help me much on my main as I already had the t8.5 helm and chest before they were giving emblems away. It makes it much easier to gear up my new 80 tank alt so he can get into Naxx and early ulduar to learn how to tank again. (It has been since Classic since I tanked regularly)
    .-= Skraps´s last blog ..Should I be offended? =-.


    Kadomi Reply:

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. In the past and now I am the biggest advocate of the badge gear change. Everyone loves getting upgrades, I am no exception. Guaranteed upgrades. Getting alts raid-ready quickly and all that good stuff.

    But my point is that skill plays a huge role in raiding, and that people shouldn’t be fast to attest current boss kills to the new ‘welfare’ epics.


  4. ARA says:

    Oh yeah couldnt agree more. Everytime I’ve switched to a better guild, the most shocking (and satisfying) phenomenon was that the new guild had identical gear, yet played x-times better. Higher dps, better kills, smoother trash, nicer atmosphere. Gear was always low down on my priority list for finding a good guild… and good guilds have access to all the best gear anyway. Down in pug-scrub land, you have to insist on good gear: how else are you going to kill hard bosses when your players are often terrible? At least good gear gives you a better chance. I’ve noticed, too, of course, that the crappier players tend to be more gear obsessed. For the better players, their focus is on playing well.

    Still, what do I care?! Havent logged on now in nearly a month – I just cant quite bring myself to right now :) Definitely a recovering wow-addict here.


    Kadomi Reply:

    What, not even the slightest regret with the announcement of Cataclysm or Icecrown? :)


  5. Everblue says:

    On what you said about parry – I assume the figures you quoted are before diminishing returns?

    Parry still dimishes much faster than dodge, so 3% parry increase may be outweighed by a 1% loss in dodge – it depends where you are on the curve.

    I read Gevlon’s blog (what a great blog!) but disagree with him on this. By his own admission it took them many tries on several fights which would otherwise have been easy one-shots. This was the effect of being undergeared – it either makes the fight an RNG lottery (see his comments about Flame Lev) where you only win if you get lucky, or it puts such pressure on perfect execution that one mistake is a wipe.

    Generally gear does not mean that you can complete or not complete an encounter I reckon, I think it just gives you an acceptable buffer zone so that the RNG+normal human fuck-up-ness doesn’t wipe you every time.
    .-= Everblue´s last blog ..Trust =-.


    Kadomi Reply:

    Okay, the buffer argument is a good one, this is true. Great point.

    Still, going around saying 3.2 is the salvation and otherwise people wouldn’t clear new raid encounters, that’s still wrong to me. The added buffer of the new gear is not that huge.


    Everblue Reply:

    I agree.


  6. Gravity says:

    I agree with what Everblue said “…, I think it just gives you an acceptable buffer zone so that the RNG+normal human fuck-up-ness…”

    Gear creates a buffer for error and skill.
    .-= Gravity´s last blog ..Guild income and repairs =-.


  7. ARA says:

    (offtopic) I dunno kadomi, I had to leave the US and move back to europe, and that prompted a reexamination of how I spend my time. And guess what I discovered? I spent most of my non-working life playing warcraft!!! Shock horror. Hardly any friends, and I can barely string a coherent sentance together to a live, real human being about non-warcraft subjects :P Still there’s plenty of harcore players who ended up in much worse shape than me. I forgot this whole wide world exists. Its so beautiful! Tomorrow I’m taking a long vacation in tropical asia. No time for that in Azeroth, eh?

    Still, I did check out arthas & cataclysm. Tbh (and this is purely personal) no temptation at all!!! Its just a silly game to me now! I never would have believed I would feel this way 2 months ago.

    (and, I even created a horde character so I could spy on dalaran to see when you logged on, then run over for that /wave/tickle…. but I havent logged on :( You’ll have to give Arthas a royal spanking for me.


  8. logtar says:

    My toon grew up during TBC and the guild I ran with back then was all about the purples. They would deny it, but the only way to get into a Kara run was to have the gear.

    Looking back there was a heavy emphasis on the wrong thing, and when skills lacked raids would fall apart quickly.

    Now I have been playing this game for over a year, and there are many simple things you need to learn before you go into harder content. It really has nothing or little to do with gear, and lots to do with knowing your class and the encounter.

    One of our good players recently rolled a DK, and before hitting 80 he was out DPSing 80s in regular modes, last night he out DPSed people in Heroics. He just got his first purple after one of the runs… he is sitting aroun 2500 DPS in mostly blues.

    I’m a tank, DPS is just something I have not geared or learned properly and even though I am dual speced I am lucky if I get close to 2000 … hoever, when I am prot, the spec I know, I out DPS people that are supposed to be DPSing.

    Our guild recently grew, and we are going to start 25 mans… but first step is to get the group working together. We are going back to Kara and studying the basics before we go into even just Naxx as a guild. Half of us have done it, but getting the skills is what’s important.

    I wish more people would understand that gear is nice to have, but it can be detrimental to your progress because it hides deficiencies. If you can only DPS when you are overgeared, then you are not really doing good.

    The new badge system will make gear easier to obtain, but hard modes are still for the people that can work as a group, research fights and know how to do the basic things in the game.

    Congratulations on your achievements, and try not to let jealousy infused comments take anything away from them.
    .-= logtar´s last blog ..Bear Brought To you By BoondockSaints =-.


  9. Naissa says:

    Bah! No way! There is no way that the only reason you’ve gotten a boss kill that you’ve been trying hard for is because some people got a tiny itty bitty stat increase. Unless it was a really really close kill, in which case you’d have gotten it anyway in a try or two.

    I’ve seen you and some of your guildies play, and while I haven’t seen you play in Ulduar I know skill when I see it. Every time I’ve grouped with you and people from your guild I’ve been impressed by the high levels of awesome and the low levels of elitist jerkwadism!

    Be proud of your accomplishments, don’t worry about what people say!
    .-= Naissa´s last blog ..Alts and the fun they bring. =-.


  10. [...] Myth of Gear Some people have pointed out that gear is a myth, and that gear will always matter less than player skill. But what has more influence on an encounter? The gear of [...]

  11. [...] Its been a couple of months since that rude awakening. The 3.2 patch made gearing people up just a matter of grinding. Theydrin made another DK and was doing 2K DPS before he even hit 80. A group of people cleared Ulduar in only blue gear, and that alone cements the view that skills matter more than gear for me. TankLikeaGirl goes as far as saying that putting gear into the myth category. [...]

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