Monday, January 4, 2010

WTF Gearscore

Though not exactly answering the original question, this post was brought about by a question posed by Brigwyn from The Hunting Lodge on Twitter.

I don't really know when this started to be the "in thing," to check Gearscore before inviting people to a group. I don't know who started it or why. I just want to say, in my humble opinion (that you obviously wish to read as you're on my blog), that this is the stupidest thing I've ever seen.

There are multiple sites and addons that check the Gearscore of yourself and other people, and none of them do it the same way. So where on one you have a Gearscore of 5k on another you'll have a score of 2k. When someone asks you for your Gearscore, saying one could get you blocked while another could get you invited with stupidly high expectations of what your gear will turn out to be.

As far as I can tell, the Gearscore math works off of arbitrary numbers assigned to gear ilevel, gem rarity and enchant level. From what I've seen, there's nothing there about actual itemization, talent choice, experience...

What a useless, arbitrary mechanism.

I was in a ToC 25 where someone freaked out and left the raid because our raid leader didn't have a "good Gearscore." Though according to wow-heroes he did, apparently this guy's addon said otherwise. So he left, and we one-shot everything in ToC 25 with our PUG and our bad, bad Gearscores.

What in the world is the point of this Gearscore shenanigans? None of it matches up, you can trick it by just throwing on your vehicle-driving gear set. In fact, the only fights which Gearscore could be applicable would be Flame Leviathan, and even's such a push-over without towers that there's really not even a need there.

I understand what it's trying to do. It's trying to streamline the process of accepting people into PUG groups so you don't have to go to the armory and check out their gear and specs and achievements yourself. But, really, there is no substitute to making sure, yourself, that the person who you are inviting is someone relatively competent in gearing, spec'ing and itemizing.

So, hey, stop being lazy and relying on a broken, arbitrary scoring system to make your decisions for you. And stop asking me about my "GS." I don't know it and I'm not looking it up.

To end on a positive note, if you still want to be super lazy, check out the Elitist Group addon. It's a little more in-depth than Gearscore tripe, but it's still no substitute for actually knowing what to look for in a PUG member.


Lucrosus of US-Hyjal said...

Not to mention, in my humble opinion, gear or gearscore does not equal skill. Imagine taking a little kid driving one of those power wheels things, and putting him in a Formula 1 racecar. Chances are, his gearscore is now through the roof, but he probably can't even get that thing out of the pit. Take that same F1 racecar driver and put him on that kids power wheels, and I bet he can make that thing do some crazy things. Gear helps, but its not everything. If only there were a "skill score" addon.

Kae said...

I had a tank in a PuG 5-man go running off, pulling multiple packs, with low health and no aggro control, and when we wiped he said "we shud be fine, healer got gud GS"

I replied, "I can't heal you getting one-shot by 3 packs of trash." I commented aloud to myself, "I can't dispel your stupidity debuff, either."

I ended up dropping the group--first time I've ever left one in progress--because he kept doing stupid things and not picking up aggro (thus getting me repeatedly killed) and insisting we should all be fine because I had a "hi GS." Welcome to my black list, Mr. Terribad tank.

I hate gearscore.

Dorgol said...

Alliance-side Boulderfist US basically ignores Gear Score. I know about it from blogs, but I've never had anyone really look at it closely.

Then one of our guildies who hadn't been online for awhile showed back up. Apparently he rolled a Horde toon on the same server... and the Horde DOES track Gear Score. Thus he wasn't getting invites.

I know the guy from raiding with him. I guarantee he could out DPS 90% of the random people out there. But Gear Score says he's bad.

Makes me happy I'm not Horde. :)

theGnomeDruid said...

I haven't had any GS-jerks in groups, but I have hear tale of them.

I think the most common "GearScore" is from the GearScore mod. I refuse to download it, even to take it apart and look at the algorithm.

Like you, I don't know my score, and couldn't care less.

And as you pointed out, it's a meaningless number. I could take my farming-toon DK, kit him out in 245 level tanking gear, get a reasonable gear score ... and not know a damn thing about tanking on a DK.

It's not the gear, it's the person behind it. No amount of iLevel can fix 'teh stupid'.

Anonymous said...

I have found the gearscore addon useful for one simple purpose: To roughly gauge how good someone's equipment is without inspecting them.

I like to use it in random dungeon groups. "Yikes, that DK is outdamaging me by a lot! Oh, his equipment is much better than mine." or "Ha! I am crushing the other dps! Oh...or maybe they're both newly level 80."

It's faster than inspecting, say, the DK and trying to place where all his items come from while we're running along killing stuff.

I think that, like damage meters, a gearscore addon can be a useful tool for understanding.

As a way to filter group members, it bothers me almost as much as the people who insist you link your achievement for consideration for inclusion. I think we've all seen people who were carried...or even got their achievement and their loot after spending the whole fight dead.

Maaya said...

For an Add-On to quickly gauge player gear, I'd rather have something like this:

1) Gear: (missing, min ilv, median ilv, max ilv, mismatch)
2) Gem & Enchant: (missing, uncommon, rare, epic, mismatch)

where "mismatch" is the number of items that don't fit their spec/role. For example Strength on casters, Hit rating on healers, etc.

A summary like that is much more informative than a single score, and it is still very compact to take in at a glance.

Those of us who's done introductory statistics courses would remember the five-number summary. This is the same idea.

To take it further, you could even make the add-on have a "inspect raid" function, then plots each player's summaries using a box plot. This will let you instantly get a feel for the general gear level of the raid, plus identifying the very undergeared and very overgeared players, as their min/max numbers will show up clearly.

As for skill and experience, I say achievements mean little when you have so many alts running around, and so many people selling hard mode raid achievements.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you on gear-score <> skill.

However, more times than not it is the case. I have been in a lot of pug 5-mans lately (because of the LFD system) and if you get in a group with a guy with a low gear score, generally he is your bad player as well.

However, with all the triumph gear so easily obtainable, now it is really easy to get a good gear score without ever learning how to play.

Nightwhisp said...

Okay, I think of Gearscore as one of many tools that I use. But I use it to evaluate my gear, not everyone else, I don't run it "live" as it is a memory hog and a lag maker. It is curently being used as yet one more way to point blame for poor play in another direction.

I really think that more players should concentrate on their own performance rather than micro-managing others.

I really think that too many folks forget that this is a game and we are supposed to have fun playing it. It has for many become a platform from which to demean others and boost their own ego.

And last time I checked, my server wasn't populated with expert players that were born knowing everything about WOW. I can imigine of no better place to improve and learn than in dungeon finder, and random PUGs. So if you wish to be exclusive and "elitest" join a top level Raiding guild and only group with them. Otherwise hone your people skills, and learn to "play nice" or STFU.

Toque said...

Unfortunately on my realm (aman'thul), if you pug raids a lot, gearscore has become a necessary evil.

I have it installed because if I don't know it, it seriously reduces my chance of getting into most pug raids.

Thankfully GS is not the only thing that is checked in most cases, but it is the frontline screening method used by pug raid leaders here.

And on Aman'thul at least, if someone asks your gearscore, they are talking specifically about the 'gearscore' addon, so different website/addon's gear scores don't muddy the waters.

gnomeaggedon said...

I finally succumbed the other day and provided my gearscore and achievements for an Uld10 hardmode run.

I normally don't bother... you either want my heals, or you don't.

Turns out the reason they wee checking ws they didn't know which end of a cereal box to open.

Only 2 dps cracked 2k dps...

In the end we got stuck at XT... their solution was simple... more Heals!

2 tanks, 4 heals and 4 <2k dps later... we wiped again...

I wont be providing my gearscore again...

If you want my heals in future peoples, you can beg for them.

Linedan said...

I do have Gearscore installed, but I mainly use it as a comparison of where my gear is relative to the other people in my group. It's a crude indicator of how tough the run might be. I don't really care about people's individual scores--I've seen too many "high score" players be total morons and too many "low score" players do flawless jobs. Also, if I see somebody who has a really high score, I can inspect them and possibly get some information about pieces of gear to shoot for on my alts.

Fortunately, not even my somewhat-undergeared DK with a 3400ish GS (roughly where you "should" be to run heroics or maybe 10-man Naxx) has gotten dropkicked from a group for it. Folks on Feathermoon don't care, and nobody in the Cyclone battlegroup has given me any noise about gear one way or the other.

Nibuca said...

Gearscore give you the maximum amount of damage possible as a result of your gear. Skill/Latency/Attention give you the minimum. A well skilled player will excel even in greens.. but they will excel MORE in good gear. Raid Leaders who demand GS are looking for an easy way to figure out who MIGHT be able to help them get through the fights. The theory being that good gear goes to people who do good raiding. That's not always the case.

I'm currently trying out the addon Elitist Group which does pretty much exactly what you asked for. It evalutates the party's gear/gem/enchants as for how well they fit their chosen role/spec.

It still doesn't fix "standing in the fire" or "stupidity debuff" but it does make it easier to see at a glance according to the gear they have if someone should perform well in whatever dungeon/raid you're in.

I dislike gearscore.. but I also dislike getting into fail raids where we eventually find out that one of the tanks was using a mix of caster/dps/tanking plate.

Brigwyn said...

Great post! Thx Bell!

I especially appreciate how you highlight the difference between GS and the other sites like WoW Heroes. Also, if you couple this with Blizz's own assessments of what iLevel people need to qualify for a Randoms the difference is even more glaring.

Again, awesome post.

Carrie said...

I caved and looked up my wow-heroes gear score the other day, because my guild was going to check it for a run of ICC or something. My paladin was not so bad (she made their cut at least), but my hunter... OHNOES HERS IS ZERO!

I had been riding my chopper around wearing my red Winter's Veil outfit.

My guild ought to know by now how I perform regardless of my gear score, but there are still those in the guild who spout off about it any chance they get.

But here's the thing. My hunter's GS is probably lower than my paladin's. There's another hunter in the guild who just dinged 80 but has been going nuts over ICC rep grinds and emblems of Frost and has got herself a good bunch of gear that is way better than mine. But I'd bet you that me and my Devilsaur could out-dps her in her MM spec with her blue SPELLPOWER boots any day, and I don't care WHAT ilevel her cloak is.

Anonymous said...

Here is how I view Gearscore with regards to PUGs. I can either take a well geared person I don’t know or a low geared person I don’t know, and to me they both have the same chances of being stupid or good at what they do, so do I choose the higher or lower geared person? The answer is obvious; I take the higher geared person. Also, in my experience, higher geared people (not just in all badge loot) are somewhat better just due to experience of raids to get that gear. Basically, the addon is for PUGs. I would definitely take a lower GS friend/guildie than a higher GS stranger. Additionally, you can use /gs charactername to see all the items someone is wearing (no, not their spec/gems, but at least you can see if they are itemizing correctly), which is very useful (can weed out the people with high GS’s because they are wearing their PvP gear).

Armond said...

Gearscore has the same problem damage meters do. It's a tool and the vast majority of people don't know how to use it. IMO, neither should have been made publicly available.

Anonymous said...

I hang out with a bunch of friends that also play so we discuss WoW, dps-numbers, gearscore, healing output and such a lot. And always when we end up at healing-per-second I snigger inside and just say "I'm a Disc Priest, numbers don't mean jack to me"

Oh, and agree with the post - gearscore should be banned!!

Ravenhaart said...

I understand your feeling about gearscore jerks. I really love this blog btw.

However, I have to disagree about this topic. I know some of you organise raids, like myself, on a daily basis. I lead a progression guild and from time to time we have absences which we fill with puGuests.

Instead of wasting people's time I tend to state in my message that you must have a certain gearscore from I do check these people on just to make sure their gear is going to cut it. I also ask for an achievement usually for the raid we're about to do or something equally difficult.

This cuts down a lot of time and, at least for us, time is precious. If I had to go to the armoury (provided it was actually working!) and look up every person who /wsp me, their gear, itemization, talents & achievements - it would be an hour before I got raid going, maybe more! No can do.

Even with my guildies helping to research people's gear on wow-heroes, and cutting out those lowergeared from our search by asking for a minimum gearscore in the lfg message... it still takes us 20-30 minutes. On average we research about 20 people sometimes more, and then make a good decision. If we had to research everyone who wsped we'd be researching about 40 people.

So while you may be offended by people asking you, realise that raid leaders are often dealing with multiple tasks, trying to filter out raiders who are simply undergeared for the content they are trying to raid and also probably have the maximum number of undergeared raiders that the group can carry in raid already.

If you want to be more clear to a raid leader and actually help them make a good decision simply state, my gearscore is xxxx on which is different to the armoury if that's what you mean. I've also raided this content up to xxxxxxxx boss and raid about xx raids per week.

I'm not trying to argue with you guys, just giving another point of view and I think what many of you have said is also valid.

Happy raiding xD

Anonymous said...

I'm neither for or against the gear score add on. But it does help me eye a skilled player from a bad one. Once I see a persons GS I then look them up on the armory to see their itemization. From what I've noticed is that a person with in the GS range of 4800-5000 pretty much have everything emblems can get then and with little to no raid experience. Now the small group of of 5200-5300 are just pretty much trying to stack the highest item leave. The players in the range of 5400-6000( I've never seem some one with a 6k gs.) Are the players that have done some stuff. But don't get me wrong I've seen some of the higher GS players with their itemization all over the place. This gear score add on for me just makes me look you up and see how you've earned your gear. One thing I love to hear from the 4800-5000 GS range is when I pug with them. when they don't know an encounter is " They reason why I suck is because I don't play this game all day." I'm like you play it enough to farm the emblems to get your gear score. lol One last thing the GS add on should have a raid achievement display when you click on their score.

Bell said...

Thanks everyone for commenting. I would like to clarify exactly why I don't like Gearscore, whether it's from WoW Heroes or from the GS addon.

One, it barely tells you anything about the player past just a tiny bit about their gear level. This really doesn't mean anything because itemization could be terrible, enchants and gems could be messed up or mismatched, but without taking the time to look (about as much time as it takes to look things up in the armory) you won't know.

Second, it says nothing about talent specialization. Many people have great gear from bashing their heads against random heroic content, yet their specs are terrible. They don't actually know what they're doing. I know many people with great gear who can't choose talents or glyphs for anything, and their performance shows it, despite their gear.

Third, I know what it's like to put PUGs together. I do it all the time. They are very successful, work very well, and I never use GS. I'm not slowed down by looking people up in the armory. The only thing that slows me down, ever, are the lack of a certain needed type of people available who want in, or having to wait for certain people to show up/come back from being on alts, or are d/c'd and need to be replaced. Looking people up does not take much time at all.

Fourth, gear means nothing but how much content you are able to brute force. That's it. Horrible players can get great gear because most content is easy, trash can be farmed for rep, and the really hard stuff is made obsolete with gear resets. I would much rather look at who is capable of itemizing properly and spec'ing competently (not necessarily cookie cutter but definitely not screwball useless) than who is wearing shiny shinies.

As well, on my server, the majority of the people who put any stock in GS whatsoever are some of the worst players. This has made me incredibly biased against it, I suppose.

Kurnak said...

The issue about Gearscore for me is the same as people LFM and asking for the achievement. Basically... bullshit. As you I understand the basic idea: to get a good group that knows the drill and has a decent gear, but as you say it doesn't tell always the truth. What if I don't have the Onyxia achievement on my resto/feral druid? I have it on my holy/prot pally, my fury/prot warrior and my arcane/frost mage. So I know the tanking, healing and dps roles for that fight. Still my poor tree wouldn't be selected.
I read some time ago an history about a group who wanted to demonstrate skill > gear. They went to Ulduar in quest and hcs blues, without even a single crafted epic. And they cleaned the whole place.

Armond said...

@Kurnak - that same guy is planning to do Icecrown in blues as well. Check out the guild "Undergeared" on the EU armory.

Askevar said...

Gear score is irrelevant. It's an arbitrary number given by any number of sites and/or addons. It doesn't even tell me if the person is stacking the right stats.

As a raid leader, I'm going to armory any pug we pick up. What am I looking for? That the stats they're stacking fit the role they're wanting. I'm not going to take a healer in full feral gear [had someone believe that was appropriate healing gear - no lie]. Gear score wouldn't tell me that you see :D. I also look to see if they've gemmed/enchanted things - at least minimally, and that they meet the appropriate cap or are close [def/hit]

Anonymous said...

How ironic, I just posted a news article on my guild page about this addon.
=>"Elitist Group's goal is to shift focus away from single scores that don't tell you anything about the users choice of gear. Instead of a single score you'll see a variety of information from experience in different tiers of dungeons and raids, to if their choice of equipment, enchants or gems matches their spec."


pugnaciouspriest said...

Would never kick for a low gear score - I have seen lower gs'd people out dps/out heal supposedly better geared players. It doesnt say anything about skill - my dps set had 2 x 200 trinkets even though in my possesion I had much higher ones which would have boosted my considerably if I had them equiped Gs wise.. but would have been utterly useless dps wise.

Anonymous said...

lemme start with aquestion: do u organize raids outside of ur guild where u know ur fellow guildmates and their strngths and weknesses? because if yes than i really do not understand how u are so very "against" GS selection.

if i organize a raid und have to invite rnd players i need to separate suitable raiders from unsuitable raiders. so if i say: gearcheck dalaran, i need to know everything bout the particular class and specc. not my cup of tea.

if i select by DPS i need to ask loads of questions. doing so in a time sensitive situation is a no go and unfair towards people already waiting for half an hour.
especially since damage scales differently during tier content. if i ask: dps? and the answer is 6k that is great in general, but if that figure is achieved in ulduar10, it might be so that he delivers 2k only, in icc10.

I could ask for achievements, but then i would need to know when it was achieved and when the content was nerfed.

so the logical choice must be:

Gear Score

because it is more than prudent to assume that if my tool rates me with a score of 5400 and the healadin has got one 3500 that this gearing is far far away from optimal or just suboptimal. and however skilled he might be it simply doesn't matter, he can't pull his weight.

I might risk that the mage rated 6400 is actually not the player who played this toon to 80 and this particular gearscore, but i actually encounter such situations far less often as the other ones.
but don't u think as well that i a raid leader should be able to differ between a gear set with thougt behind it, and a conglomerate of off deff heal tank and PVP gear?

so u might dislike gearscoring, but the general assumption that a high gearscore doesn't come from naught, is still correct and without equal.

with gearscoring i know in mere seconds, whether the attempt including this or that individual is doomed by default, or that this attempt is at least a viable one because I did everything up front to ensure success as far as I can.

to determine if there is skill or not available inside the player is nigh impossible to determine, since one usualy doesn't know rnd players =)

as an organizator of 10 and 25 man grps twice a week i have an obligation to fill my raids responsibly, so:

don't hate the player, hate the game =))

Brett said...

I just left horde on US-Sargeras for this very reason. It's incredible how many people completely ignore beneficial stats and select less suitable gear for their class in an effort to make themselves look superior by some very very generic number. Since when did it become hard to right click on someone and inspect them?

My absolute favorite though, is when someone substantially geared is removed from a raid due to the raid leader not being within distance to see his "updated" gearscore (the person removed was sporting the kingslayer title too, I laughed).

@Anon supporting gearscore. I say again, when did it become difficult to inspect someone and actually have the brain to determine whether or not the spec/gear is correct? As someone leading regular occurring raids, it should be your responsibility to do this instead of letting an addon tell you how to run your raid...

Anonymous said...

Best thing what happened to our Guild master was that she didnt get invite to PuG ToC25 cause she lacked gs. She is one of the best geared and skilled prist in server.

Rogue Leveling Guide said...

I completely agree with anonymous - GS can help you if you know NOTHING about the player who's joining your group.

If I can choose between an undergeared stranger and a well-geared one, why go for the low GS? This will always be true since Skill can't be measured and if you try, the system will probably fail...hard ;)

Anonymous said...

I'I have 80 pally level tank with a decent gear score, but I have only tanked with her and have tanked the heck out of her. I was berated and yelled at by a DPS b/c my gearscore wansn't high enough to be in Halls of Reflection. They even came up with a mathematical formula that said I would wipe because my crit chance was too high. Needless to say, since I have talent, we made it through without a problem. Someone else congratulated me on tanking so well, but the fail DPS said nothing, just posted the DPS scores with my damage removed.

But I have damage meter too. And somehow I even managed to out-DPS our friend as well.

So yeah, they had a great gear score. Mine was alright. But I new what I was doing. I'm just saying . . .

shaman leveling said...

LOL! Outdamaging the guy who flamed you. I whish I could have seen his face.

People tend to forget that numbers like the gearscore are indicators, not absolute laws. A good gear can increase the chances to win, but even the best gear won't do if you have to play with people like the one you mentioned.