I was going to name this post "Don't judge a book by its cover" but I did not believe enough people would understand it was a post about gear and item level. Well, at least until they started to read it.
I did the new LFR last night because I wanted to see what they changed with the bosses. I also might need to tank this week so figured I would get it out of the way on the first night. I like doing them all at least once so I can see the fights from the perspective of LFR. It helps me explain the fights to people that might have only done it in the LFR. But that is an all together different post, lets get to the topic at hand.
As fewer and fewer actual raiders do the LFR when I go in I am usually the LFR hero, a phrase most people use for its derogatory meaning, but lets face it, for a smooth group to happen there needs to be an LFR hero. Our group found that said hero was not me. Nope, not even close.
There was a mage in the group that was destroying me. We one shot the first boss, two shot the second and one shot the third. He owned me every step of the way. The closest I came to him was 12K. He was rocking it. I'd get to 150K on the pull, he would do 175K, I could not beat him and I actually was trying.
As normal I take a look at the gear of people that beat me, or people of the same class so I can use it as a means to compare how I am doing to them. If they are doing better I will view over their logs to see what they did that I did not so I could learn. I am a geek that way, excuse me. But when I looked at the mage it was not to learn, it was to see how he was geared and maybe glean into things a little as to why and how he was doing so well.
He had one piece of 695 gear, one piece of 701 gear and then everything else was 710 or higher. It would be very easy for me to just chalk it up to that was why he was beating me. His item level was 715 while mine is a pitiful 687. With a nearly 30 item level advantage he is supposed to be beating me right?
But I don't just take item levels word for it. I looked at what he did, how he did it, and I saw that he was not beating me "just" because of his item level. He was a damn decent player to say the least. As I said, it would be easy to just write it off and think he was doing good because his gear was carrying him but that was most definitely not the case. He knew how to use the gear he had.
There could have been others in there with the same item level as him and they could have done poorly because they did not know how to get the most out of the gear. I see that all the time.
But the big reason for this post was not to point out that it is the person that makes the gear work for them and not the gear itself doing all the work, but that with the T2 gear and 695 upgrades, people need to start to realize that is it not all about item level.
I mentioned my 687 item level, which for a raider is pretty poor, but once again that does not mean I would do poorly. For my gear I do okay and oft times do better than those with much better gear. I could easily get to a higher item level using some baleful upgrades, might even push 700 if I did that, but that would not be the best gear for me. What gear you use matters.
Does the fact I was beating everyone else outside of him mean that I am that much better of a player than them? Absolutely not.
I just made better choices. Sure I had bad luck never winning a heroic tier piece in BRF but I do have the normal 4 piece which means I am stuck with four 670 pieces. It also means I have four very effective, when used together, pieces of gear even if they are of a lower item level.
Put me along side someone that just did the T2 grind, upgraded anything they could get, and purchased a few BoEs off the auction house and you will see someone with an item level over 700 but someone that is not even remotely capable of matching my hunters numbers. Why is that?
Because the stats on gear matters, the bonuses on gear matters, almost just as much as hitting the right keys in the right order. There are those of us that pay such close attention to our rotation that we try to delay a shot if chimaera has less than 0.3 seconds to come off cooldown to try to get maximum damage and while perhaps that is a little more skill based, choosing to wear the best gear you have and not be sucked into thinking item level is no less of a skill.
Choosing a mastery haste baleful belt to upgrade as marksman is like delaying your shot by a full 2 seconds so you do not miss it. It is a DPS loss. All because you made the wrong choice of upgrading the mastery haste belt instead of a critical multistrike one for example.
Two people wearing the exact same gear and at the exact same item level could see greatly different results. One guy upgraded whatever baleful gear he came along and the other picked and chose to get the best stats he could for his spec. One will surely do better than the other, in a large amount, even if equally skilled, because one is wearing the "right' gear for him and the other is not.
What gear you choose matters, it matters a lot. Sometimes choosing a lower item level piece of gear is the correct choice. You can not just judge someone by their item level. It would be like me saying that mage only beat me because he had a lot more gear than I did when that is just not true. Sure it helped him create the large margin he did, but he beat me because he was skilled enough to use that gear to the best of his ability.
You can not say he did well just because of his gear just the same as you can not tell me I will do poorly just because of mine. I applied to a pug that was asking people to be capable of pulling 40K. The guys asked me why I signed up, he wanted 40K and there was no way I could pull that at my item level. He, of course, was wrong. He judged just on item level, which means he judged wrong. Sadly all people have to go on is item level when looking at a glance, but if you want a successful group, taking a look at the gear that comprises that item level matters a lot more than the item level itself sometimes.
You can't judge a book by its cover and you sure as hell can not judge a character by their item level.