Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gear: Is it Destroying The Community One Drop at a Time

I posted a short time ago asking if gear was the great motivator.  In my opinion it was.  It is for PvP, for PvE, for soloing, for grinding, for transmog, for every aspect of the game and the better the gear the more people want it no matter how they play the game.

Now I want to ask, is gear also what is partially responsible for destroying the community?

We see it all the time with item level requirements.  Like people asking for an insane 395 item level to do dragon soul normal.  It is not even a new thing, in lich king when they added the weekly raid quest I would see people asking for 5000 gear score for a naxx run.  For those that do not remember that would mean you would be in all ICC25 gear, the last gear outside of heroics in the expansion to clear the beginner raid of the expansion.  People ask for insane numbers for their raids.

If you do not meet the requirements and asked for an invite, god forbid, you would get ridiculed with no end to it.  They might even go to trade to insult you for more of their own fun, laughing at you for wanting to raid DS normal at the lowly item level of 380 even if most of us, myself included, did it with no buff in gear about 380.

It is as if everyone thinks gear equals skill.

I am sure I am not the only one that has seen that gear does not equal skill.  I've seen a player on my server bragging about doing 24K on madness in only 396 gear.  Only?  My tank was doing 24K in less than 390 gear on that fight thank you very much.  But see, I missed what he meant.  It went right over my head.  He was not bragging about his DPS, he was bragging about his gear.  His 396, because that is all that matters.

Then again, I've seen people go wearing 374 gear pulling that same 24K with no gems and enchants but on a non-gimmick fight.  Proof that skill still does matter.  But I wonder if sometimes I am the only person that plays the game that notices this.  Reading the forums you would think no one else notices that gear does not make the player, the player makes the best out of the gear they have.

The issue is that gear only increases the maximum potential.  Skill still matters even if it gets clouded in this huge stat boosts on gear, which I personally dislike.  A player in all heroic gear can beat a player with all normal gear even if the normal gear player does their role 100% perfectly and the heroic player just does 70% of his potential.  So you can see why I hate the gear inflation.  I don't believe that gear should have that much of an influence. An influence yes, covering up for being a lesser player and making them look better than the true good player in slightly lesser gear, no.

And that is what I am getting at.  Gear is ripping apart the community.

It is all because that huge stat inflation can make even bad players good enough to sneak by, to some extent at least.  That is why we see those people asking for 395 item level.  At 395 item level even a bad player can breeze through DS as long as they know how to listen to whoever is leading the raid.  Which is a problem in and of itself of course but that is an article for another day.

The importance of gear has become so huge.  Insanely huge.  Huge to the extent that even non raiders need, or really would like, raid gear.  If you could do 12K DPS while leveling in quest gear and raid gear upped it to 13K raid gear might not matter to the person that does not raid but when it turns that 12K into 36K because of this horrible gear inflation the quester now needs it.  They need it for the same reason the raider needs it.  The raider needs it because it makes the raid easier and the non raider needs it because it makes his questing and grinding easier.

So how exactly is this tearing apart the community?  Let us just take a look at the forums and pick out a few things to see what has people seething.

1) People ripping on people for wearing PvP gear in PvE. 

There could be a very good reason for this too sometimes.  Sure, on the rare occasion you will get a high geared PvPer that can really spank out the numbers in a damage dealing role with all PvP gear but that is the exception, not the rule.  People bark about players wearing the wrong gear because it is wrong. 

It causes animosity within the community.

 2) People ripping on people for wearing PvE gear in PvP.  

We have all been there.  You're in a battlegound and someone start yelling at the noob in all PvE gear because he sucks and is getting killed in three seconds.  Words get exchanged, things get heated, and someone could even find themselves banned if someone reported any of that crap. 

It causes animosity within the community.

3) People ripping on people for putting out low numbers.

The huge stat inflation on gear has skewed every ones perceptions.  They see their raid hunter doing 40K on ultraxion and go into looking for raid and blast another hunter for only doing 30K.  I've seen it.  As a hunter I know what hunters can do and I saw one getting ripped for doing 30K.  I looked at his gear, he was doing exceptional.  I would say near perfect for the gear he had.  But like I said, the gear skews perceptions.  He was a baddie for doing only 30K and I was a baddie for pointing out that 30K for his gear was great because I was playing a shaman and know nothing about hunters, he should have been doing at least 45K in their opinion.

It causes animosity within the community.

4) People ripping on people rolling on off spec. 

In random dungeons or raids we have all seen this haven't we?  There are no main spec > off spec rules in those outside of the few buffers the game throws in that do not really work all that well anyway.  So people can roll on anything they want for any reason but that does not stop people from flying off the handle because of it.

It causes animosity within the community.

5) People ripping on people winning something they wanted.  

You don't need it as much as I do.  This is my main and that is your alt, I need it more.  I did better than you so I deserve it more.  Whatever their reason is they surely have something to say about why the other person should not have won what they wanted.

It causes animosity within the community.

6) People rolling need on stuff they know they don't need just to keep it from someone else. 

I've seen this so often, even seen a guild mate do it in a random and I ripped into him about doing it myself.  He said the tank sucked and he did not deserve the tanking trinket.  I said, but you are not a tank and you do not deserve it either.  I forced him to give it to the tank, that is just wrong in my opinion.  The tank dropped before he could trade it however.  His loss.  This happens a lot.  Seeing it happen was sickening.  Why do people do this over gear in a game?  Just let the guy have it I say.

It causes animosity within the community.

7) People saying that non raiders don't need raid gear. 

Why does someone having the same piece of gear as a raider upset so many raiders?  Am I missing something or is it because I don't actually feel special just because I have raid gear and they do feel special and don't want to lose that special feeling?  Just look at the forums brewing over this one.  It seems like people will come up with any reason under the sun to keep other people from getting gear.  I've read some doozies in those posts.  Makes me wonder where these people come up with some of the reasons why people should not have gear.

It causes animosity within the community.

8) People saying someone doesn't deserve gear.

Have you ever been in a looking for raid where someone did not bring this one up?  The new system won't change it either.  They will just change it from saying, so-and-so should not have won that trinket to, so-and-so better not get lucky because he doesn't deserve anything.  Mark my words on this one.  The new LFR loot design will not stop the loot drama created by people that believe someone else does not deserve anything.  The baddies always win line will live strong, even with the changes.

It causes animosity within the community.

9) I'm better than you because I have better gear.

This one really makes me giggle sometimes.  People that think because they have gear it makes them better.  Like that one person I mentioned on my server that said he had 396 gear as if it made him good or something.  In his mind he is better than anyone that has less gear than him.  Doesn't matter that he sucks, because his gear is proof that he is good and he will make sure to insult anyone that has lesser gear.  Even if they point out his bad DPS he will just say, but I still have better gear than you do so that makes me better.  Those people just don't get it.

It causes animosity within the community.

10) If I had no life I would have the gear too.

The other end of the spectrum, gear envy.  They want good gear but they do not want to do anything to get the good gear.  Just accept the fact that if you don't play that much or don't put in any effort you won't have gear.  It is really that simple isn't it?  Yet everyone that has good gear is a basement dweller and they will be sure to insult everyone that does have gear they do not.

It causes animosity within the community.

While there are other problems within the community, many of them can not be fixed easily.  You can not fix people being bad players if they don't want to get better.  You can not fix someone for wanting to be a jerk to the bad players.  You can not fix people that are rude or obnoxious, this is the internet and you have to understand that some people like to be like that because it makes them feel big and they can get away with it.  They can't fix trade trolls because, for the same reason as above, that is how some people have their fun and it makes them feel like big shots.

For all the things that they can't fix in the game when it comes to gear there is one thing they can fix.  At least I think there are ways it can be fixed, do you?

It might not be the best idea but here is one of my gear fix ideas that I know the special snowflakes will hate but outside of that I can't see how it would hurt anyone. Make all gear purchasable.  Make the raiding gear the same exact stats as the purchasable gear, but with an 8 (or more) set bonus designed around raiding that only drops in raids.  Make PvP gear the same exact stats as the purchasable gear, but with an 8 (or more) set bonus designed around PvP that you can buy with conquest points..

Gear causes animosity within the community.  So why continue to create the great divide that people fight over.  Close the gap and let people spend more time playing the game and less time on the forums complaining about gear, and loot, and ninjas, and wanting to be special snowflakes because of their gear.

It is all over the place on the forums, gear, it is everywhere, even in topics that are not about gear it usually comes back to someone saying something about someones gear.  Hence the reason so many post on alts, because they know that no matter what, someone will comment on their gear and insult them about it or use it as a way to judge the validity of what they said. 

You only have a 375 item level so what you say doesn't matter, learn to play, get some gear and then maybe we might listen to your ideas.  Yeap, that is the forums, welcome to them.

Is gear destroying the community one drop at a time?


  1. You are posting a lot lately why I have been doing more and more soloing.

    1. I used to do that a lot more previously but I can't even bring myself to log in most days now. lol

      I think knowing that AoE looting is coming soon is what is making me wait.

  2. It would be the end of farm raids. Once you'd beaten the content, got all the achievements etc. there would be no reason to go back. Plus gear is the motivator for some people. They want all bis gear, or as bis as it's going to get. When they've got it they're done.

    I personally like gear because of what it lets me do. I like achievements because I'm a completionist and I've been pavlovian sensitised to the whoosh they make. I don't think having raid gear makes me special. I don't look at my ilevel and care. It is what it is, the higher it is the more I can do.

    Others like gear for itself. One of my guildies raids to get gear, to make his character more powerful. When he can't get anymore gear he's not interested in raiding, or in the game, until the next tier comes out.

    It would dramatically decrease the life of content. There would be no farming to kit out in bis. All guilds would progress faster as they'd extend the lockouts, there would be no point in the reset as why do bosses when they don't give you anything?

    I agree with you that gear is very divisive but that's human nature. If it wasn't gear it would be something else.

    1. I agree, you need that gear grind to keep people interested for the most part. For a great deal of people if there is no gear there is no desire to even play.

  3. Gear isn't anything by itself - gear is merely the unit of measurement (of progression). If everyone had perfect gear (or rather, if all gear had no stats), people would stratify themselves by
    Achievements, mounts, companion pets, total gold, and so on and so forth.

    People required ridiculous GearScores in Wrath because A) they wanted a smooth run, and B)the Supply of people wanting to raid allowed them to be picky. GearScore did not always translate into "good raider" or a smooth run, of course, but it certainly demonstrates Time Spent and/or an easy way to determine someone had gear from the most recent raid already (and thus seen the fights at a minimum). Yes, the undergeared alt of a Top 100 raider would outperform a 5000+ GS noob, no question. But the hypothetical raid leader in Trade chat probably got 20+ tells in the last 30 seconds and cannot possibly vet all of those.

    Gear doesn't make the player, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to manually throw a group of strangers together and then have to teach them how to raid, look up fight strategies, and otherwise baby them. The better the gear a toon wears, the more likely it is the player behind it has put some thought and effort into the game. It is a greater likelihood, not guarantee, but it is foolish to not leverage every advantage you can.

    Gear isn't destroying anything. It is peoples' desire to distinguish themselves from one another that is creating this conflict. If not gear, it would be something else.

    1. True, people will always find something to value their own self worth in and gear is the easiest thing to do it with.

      I understand the reason pug leaders ask for it and perhaps agree with it at the start. A 390 item level 2 weeks after DS came out means someone is good. A 390 item level now means nothing because a hell of a lot of time has passed and anyone with enough time can get 390 easily without even stepping into the raid.

      I don't like pugging. More so assembling one and that is the reason. I hate looking though all those people on the armory. In the event of all those whispers it is easier to just take the people with the highest item level.

      Just a word of warning however, that 396 player on my server was a warlock with all spirit gear. Proof gear means nothing and actually looking with your own eyes will always be 1000% a better way to determine if the play is worth taking. Except for alts of course, but I guess shared achievements will fix that.

      My hunter on another server could never get into a DS pug. Low item level and zero raid history but with shared achievements they would see all my raid experience and heroic kills and take me along, even with the lower item level. Again, proof item level means nothing in the end. Thus, in my opinion, gear should never be what people judge themselves on.

  4. I've noticed that a lot of raid groups never got into total farm mode (at least not for long). They just quit after they finish Heroic modes.

    We're working on H Spine right now and trying to finish H DS before 5.0. The gear is nice because it does help a tiny little bit but it's so random and the upgrades so small that we don't really care. For example, I got the heroic leg tokens to upgrade my normal leg token last night. Theoretically, it's a 500dps upgrade but that's in a perfect world where I can actually do 42Kdps; not in a heroic raid scenario where I could be doing anywhere from 20K to 35K depending on the encounter... All I care about is the achievement of downing the heroic bosses; saying "We did it!".

    Once we down H Madness, I'm sure most of us will stop doing DS on our mains. We won't care about those few pieces of heroic gear that we haven't gotten because there is no guarantee we'll get them and they'll just be garbage again once mists comes out because of the insane stat inflation. The only reason we'll kill the bosses again is to help others say "I did it!".

    So on the gear topic, I would really like gear to work differently. The randomness of gear drops just makes gear annoying (at least for us). Valor points are useless once you've bought the valor gear and then it's just waiting for the RNG gods to smile upon you and give you something. You're very lucky if you actually get an upgrade that week. From an RP standpoint, I've never liked having bosses drop gear. It usually doesn't make sense (did the dragon have that in it's stomach? Why did a boss who uses axes drop swords?). And having magic treasure chests is even worse... "Couldn't the 'gods' have given us something we could use? This gear is crap for our comp."

    I would very much prefer small incremental upgrades based on materials that drop from bosses.
    Base items would be bought from vendors or crafted by players.
    LFR would drop items that would allow small upgrades to a maximum of ilvl 384.
    DS Normal would drop items that would allow small upgrades to a maximum of ilvl 397.
    DS Heroic would drop items that would allow small upgrades to a maximum of ilvl 410.
    Every player in the group would get 1 (non-tradeable) item off each boss so that they can upgrade (with the help of a crafter) an applicable piece of their gear by 1 item lvl.

    After killing X bosses from that tier, you would have max ilvl for that tier and then you'd need to do the next tier to upgrade further. The upgrades could be limited to a minimum ilvl and they could give bigger upgrades to lower ilvl items. For example, the heroic upgrades could give 2 ilvl below 397 but only 1 ilvl above 397.

    It could be different types of items from different bosses if they wanted: armor upgrades, weapon upgrades, jewelry upgrades.

    I also like the idea that stats are the same between the PvP and PvE sets but that the set bonuses are only useful for either PvE or PvP. For example, PvP gear could not lose stats for resilience, instead having a certain number of pieces from the set would give you resilience and other bonuses. It would have the same base stats as PvE gear that way but the bonuses would be different.

    I'm sure Blizzard could come up with a better system that would work well, but I'm just not confident that they really care anymore.

  5. I think gear is only part of the problem - the bigger problem is IMHO LFD/LFR. During LK on my ED server I could categorize raid leaders into 2 (ok, actually 3) groups

    a) idiots - identified by "looking for GS..."
    b) ninjalooters (ran into 2 in my lifetime and did my best to ensure they would not get another raid together)
    c) people who wanted to have fun (all the rest)

    couple of times I signed up for a raid while leveling on a twink and it never was a problem. LFD changed the behaviour - maybe due to the time you could use to chat with someone. I think it's far harder now because all comunication uses /2, and you get all sort of chitchat while in the old /lfg channel you almost only found people who wnated to succeed in a GROUP base environment.

    Gear was around since vanilla. It was only harder to get for the average player. Now LFD/LFR opened the floodgates for the socially handicaped, and gave them one more avenue to look down on the less lucky.

    There are quite a few people around who want to feel nasty, or simply feel better if they can belittle someone else. As long as you had some social restraints on them, you did not notice them. With almost all restraints gone....

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT