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.