Tuesday, 12 January 2010

On marriage, honeymoon and Gearscore

After a brief break, involving a marriage, a honeymoon in NYC, lots of shopping, Rock of Ages, Nicks vs Bobcats, Nutcracker, Tavern on the Green, lots of walking around, Xmas, carols and a variety of greasy food I am back in the world of Azeroth and my not-so-frequent blogging. Catching up on Frost emblems and Ashen Verdict reputation naturally involved the odd PUG. And although the new LFG gimmick works quite nicely for my 5-man ventures I am still reluctant to join challenging runs of more than 5 toons.

Nonetheless, in an effort to overcome my fears, aided from missing all ICC guild raids this week, I was keeping an eye on the general chat. The debate was on Gearscore, the controversial add-on which you eventually (probably) end up hating. And it made me think...

Using the sum of a set of values and ending up with a scale is a fairly simple notion. Add-up all the item levels and there you go. You just compare sums between them, or categorise them.

Good? Well, not really. Bearing in mind having the best item level in our gear is not always the best option (considering class design, BiS items etc) the scale is not descriptive (or comparative) among classes. A GS of 5200 for a Paladin might effectively be worse than that of say 5165. Or 5200 for a DK is not the same as for a warrior for example. Moreover, its purely indicative of the gear a player has obtained. Which, granted, does say something about someone's experience/skill but can often conceal a lot. On the other hand, Blizz themselves use a similar approach in the achievements score. So as an approach is not necessarily flawed. People end up debating about GS, advocates claiming its a scale that does show effectively how far your toon has been in raiding, where as the opposition claims that it does not depict skill and it is a crude way of selecting people for a run.

I personally hate it for a number of reasons. One, its badly implemented (knocking the add-on, not the scaling method) due to the high lag it causes. Silvermoon EU is probably one of the laggiest servers around anyway. Using GS during raiding is a definitive nono and we often had trouble with it in the past.

Moreover, it definitely does not show how good/skilled one is but it does show how dependable one *might* be - kind of like minimising the risk by getting in a run someone who at least seems to have gone the extra mile. I personally still consider the Armoury as a whole to be more descriptive as its kind of like your toons Curriculum Vitae. Obviously using the Armoury in order to assemble a PUG is kind of an overkill but in my eyes its the only way to maximise the probability of ending up with a decent raid. And that is what handed us a descent run (5/12 and almost 6/12 10-player ICC) yesterday. Not bad for a PUG.

Last but not least, GS disrupts the flow of raiding within the community. The latter being because everyone and their mother is asking for a GS of 5xxx while their GS is crap. Only to be 'carried' on someone's back and get loot. People that have been away from the game for various reasons can not catch up, unless something gives. Bearing in mind people ask both GS and achievements in order to accept one in a run catching-up can be very frustrating.

To sum things up, I am now a married man, the honeymoon was lots of fun, Rock of Ages is wicked, Nicks won, Tavern on the Green was marvellous but stopped serving till God knows when, Xmas is over, greasy food out of the system and GearScore sucks.

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