Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I've An Issue With Item Level

While it is one underlining issue it manifests itself in a myriad of ways why I believe that item level is just not a great way to judge players, at least not on its own.  A few recent events made me think about how much I dislike the item level system not because of what it does but because of how people perceive it.  Using item level as a gating system for content is fair, to an extent. 

While it might be true I could amass more damage done during the course of a fight with a 455 item level hunter than most people in 480+ gear could in the ToT LFR at least I can not get into the ToTs with a 455 item level hunter.  So that could be considered an issue in and of itself couldn't it?  So while item level is about as reasonable as any arbitrary gate could be when it comes to being easily identifiable it isn't always the best way and there really are no better ways sadly.  So that really is not one of my issues.

I think my main issue with item level is that it causes people to make false assumptions based on it.  Someone with a 526 item level surely has to be better than someone with a 504 item level right?  Someone with a 510 item level has to be ready to down some stuff in ToT if my group first started it without even one person at 500.  It is the misconception of the community, at least the one I see most, the one on my server, that makes people think their item level is proof of what they are capable of doing.  And that is where my issues start.

It is all about potential:

I have often tried to explain to people when they ask things like "what item level do I need for that" when we are doing a real raid that it is not about item level, it is about ability.  I usually get a follow up where someone says but the more gear I have the better I do.

This is right.  The more gear you have the more potential you have to do better.  It is basically a sliding scale.  If a boss needs the average raid member to pull 90K for instance, and your gear is so low that your maximum potential on a patch work fight would be 80K you are not geared for the content.  It is not an insult, it is a fact.  You do not have the potential to do the fight and at least carry your own weight.

It isn't just for damage dealers either.  A tank with more gear can take bigger hits.  A tank with better gear can avoid more hits.  A tank with better gear can do better at equal skill level than he would with less gear.  More gear increases their potential.  Healers too.  Some fights just push out too much damage and unless you can pull your own weight you are asking others to do the heavy lifting.  If you do not have the gear that would make it capable for you to pull your own it might not be a skill issue.  It might very well be a gear issue.

So item level is important.  It shows you have a higher potential than someone in lesser gear.  What you do with that potential is another part of this post however and does not belong here.  Here is about potential.

Two people with a 480 item level do not have the same potential:

This is something that starts to get to the heart of what my issue with item level really is.  People believing that all things are equal.  I'll use myself for example.  When I hit 480 on my rogue and first went into the ToT LFR I think I was pulling roughly 50K or around that if I remember correctly.  I will be the first to admit I am not very good at my rogue, but there was a reason I was that low and it was not all because of my lack of skill at being one.  I had 2 450 weapons.  If, for example, I had 2 450 rings instead of 2 450 weapons and my weapons were 483 and 489 I would have been doing 70K and not 50K.

The difference between two low weapons and two low rings would leave me at the same item level, 480, but with two completely different results of 50K vs 70K.  That is because the weight of the weapons to my performance is leaps and bound higher than that of the minor stat carrying rings.

So even saying you have a 480 item level is not exactly clear cut on what your potential would be.  While I never actually looked at the real numbers I will assure you with 100% certainty that my rogues potential with 2 450 weapons and a 483 & 489 ring would be substantially lower than that of my rogue having a 483 & 489 weapon and 2 450 rings. 

Item level is all fine and dandy for a simple gating system but it doesn't really tell of someones true potential because of the variables involved.  Lets take this hypothetical situation where someone has a mix and match of 522 and 450 pieces.  One has their main pieces, gloves, chest, shoulder, legs, head and weapon(s) at 450 and everything else at 522 vs someone that has those main pieces 522 and all the others 450.  The person with the fewer 522s thus a lower item level will have a much higher maximum potential than the person with more 522 items and a higher item level tanks to the fact of which pieces are the 522 ones.

This is part of my problem with the item level system.  It does not weight which pieces someone has better ones of appropriately and gives people, the uninformed ones at least, the false impression of what potential they should expect of someone based on item level.  In the end you can not expect 2 rogues with a 480 item level to do the same DPS when one has 2 450 weapons and one as 2 450 rings.

What item level do you need?

I swear I despise that question with a passion because there is no cut and dry answer to it.  I get it a lot these questions in the last few months when trying to fill out those last few places for the 25 man.  I'll ask in guild if anyone wants to come along and someone is bound to say, what item level do you need?

I've said a lot of different answers.  None of them were item levels unless I was really just desperate.  You really can not judge someone by item level. 

What item level would I like might be a more appropriate question.  Be at least 510 at this point in the expansion.  Is that what I need?  No.  I need someone that at least has done the fights in the LFR so it makes it easier for me to explain them.  Being I only expect to get the first three bosses down in the allotted time frame we raid I need someone that can run when they got lightning on them and not get everyone killed.  I need someone that will stack when it is time to stack and spread out when it is time to spread out.  I need someone that can hit the appropriate kill targets and interrupt when needed.  I need someone that understands the simple concept that if you are charged run into a position that the head or tail is not in the group when it charges.  I need someone that understand stack for frost bite, but not everyone, and don't stack for biting cold.  I need someone that can switch to the call target the moment I call it and not 15 seconds later.  Basically can you follow instructions, know how to play you class, and have at least the minimum working knowledge of the fights we will be doing tonight.  If so, lets roll.

It is NOT an item level.  There is no item level for a raid you walk into.  I've downed bosses with people that have a 460 item level in the group because they did mechanics right and even if their numbers were a bit lower than most they made a solid contribution and I have wiped in a group with everyone over 520 item level because people did not interrupt the damn venom priest because everyone thought it was someone elses job and did not listen to their interrupt assignments. 

Gear means nothing might be an extreme over statement because gear does mean something, but in sentiment, gear does mean nothing if you don't do mechanics.  So who cares what item level you have sometimes.

Can I just say 500 and move on?  Sure I can but there is a reason I do not do that, and that is the next problem I have with item level.

I have a 510 item level why can't I come?

Because I have run with you before.  That is about as polite as I can say it really.  Should I tell them they suck?  Yes I should.  I tend to go about it nicer than that however.  I will usually tell them I will do some heroics or the LFR with them and when they start to get better with raid awareness they might be invited to come along on the raid.

But I can do high DPS.  That is usually the follow up to me telling them they need to work on raid awareness before they can come on the real raid.  They don't grasp the concept of one person can wipe the group and it is not all about DPS.  I do not give a flying fuck if you can pull 200K plus on the first boss.  If you get lightning on you and stand in the puddle because your DPS is too important you and kill us I will kick you from the group. 

We are not a hard core guild, not by any means what so ever, but even if we are casual in our approach if you can not move when we tell you to move, even yell in vent over and over for you to move, you are not a raider and no, you can no come to our raids no matter what item level you have or what your DPS is.  You are not a raider.

And that is another item level problem.  With a 510 item level and all skilled players ToT isn't really much of an issue once you learn it.  For brand new people you might still experience some mistakes and a few wipes, I accept that, it is part of being in a casual group and having a rotating few in a 25 man.  But when you do not even have the slightest raid awareness you are not a raider even if your item level might tell you that you are. 

Item level means nothing what so ever when you suck at raiding.  No seriously.  I would rather an empty space then having you there when if you get targeted we wipe.  So it will take another 20 seconds to down the boss missing a DPS or two, I'll spend the 20 seconds more to down it and not wipe.  No thank you, your item level means nothing to me.  Keep working on it all you want but no matter how high you get your item level you will not be invited to a raid until you put as much effort into raid awareness as you do in gearing up.

I have a better item level which means I am the better player?

Call this one part jealously because I have my bad luck and call it a second part of WTF are you talking about willis. I see it all the time where people say 526 item level LF something.  As if their item level will sell them.  Perhaps to the unsuspecting person.

I've grabbed a few of these "have to post my item level as often as I possibly can even if I am not running anything because it shows everyone how awesome I am" types for a heroic scenario.  I have yet to meet one that could at least hit the standard that someone in 480 gear and skilled would be doing.

I even see people in my own guild having this mentality and I want to slap them upside the head sometimes for it.  Your item level does not make you a good player.  Being a good player makes you are good player.

One of my hunters, a 523 item level, was in an LFR with me and was saying how he is destroying the other hunter.  I inspected the other hunter and said to him, next time look before you speak, he is doing a hell of a lot better than you are.  You need to step up your game.  His reply was I am beating him by 40K.  I said, you also have him by about 40 item levels too.  He is getting the maximum out of his gear.  You just have more gear, that is why you are beating him.  He is doing exceptional, you are just doing good.

It is as if he has begin to fall back on his gear to use that as a measuring stick to show how good he is.  He is letting his gear do most of the work and beginning to slack off.  Not just him, I see it all over the place.  People in the LFR talking about how great they are when in fact they are not.

Like that one time when there was someone telling the raid how they carried them all in the LFR.  Looking at the person in all 522 or better (this was before upgrades came back) and knowing everyone else in there was barely in 502s mostly and myself on my rogue was not even 500 yet and just behind him, it made me realize how bad people really are.  Not as in how bad the others in the group were, but how bad the person leading the pack was.  In all 522s they were bragging they were #1 DPS in a LFR.  Two things came to mind.  1, in all 522 or better gear you should be pulling a hell of a lot more than 104K and 2, being you are the only geared person in here you should be #1.  It is not something to boast about, it is exactly the place you should be in.

I was in a run with a rogue doing over 300K single target, did he brag and say he was carrying the group?  Nope.  Once I saw these two elemental shaman from the same guild fighting it out both over 250K, did they say they carried the group?  Nope.  When I go with my main damage dealers from my 10 man us 5 are the top 5 with 6th usually somewhere around 90K less than our lowest but do we say we carried the group?  Nope.  Because people in better gear are supposed to be doing better.  It is not something to brag about.

But in his mind he has the better gear which means he is the better player, even if he is not, and that mentality seems to be running through the game as a whole.  It seems that people forget that in better gear you should do better.  Just because you have the gear does not mean you are better.  Like the case of the hunter in my guild that said what he said.  He was actually doing worse than the other hunter.  Your item level does not mean you are the better player, it just means you have more gear.

I don't have the gear for it?

I am a reasonable person, or at least I like to believe so.  I also think I am a fair judge of my own ability.  One night some time back we were doing a ToT run and had only one healer.  We normally three heal it but there were no other healers around.  We were up to the turtle boss and quite honestly I did not believe I had the gear or the skill to switch to heals so we could to two heal it.  Either way, I offered to switch and give it a shot.

Long story short, we did not down the boss with only 9 players and 2 of which were healers, but we kind of did prove something.  I need a lot of practice on my healer and it can be two healed. Yes, it can be two healed even with a lesser skilled and much lesser geared healer.  Each attempt we made it further.  I worked with the other healer, we had people using personals.  We basically took advantage of whatever we could and with enough attempts we pushed it about as far as we could.

I had roughly a 483 item level at the time and the other healer a quite generous 515 in comparison.  I was pushing about 65K HPS (I know not the best judge but it is to show you) and the other healer was closer to 95K.  By the end I think I was in a rhythm where I was doing close to as good as I could with my skill level and the gear I had and I thought, if only I had a little more gear it would be a breeze.  If I were at the same item level as the other healer we might have pulled it off.  We had so many sub 20% attempts but I just ran out of gas.

This proved two things, one, you can two heal tortos with two decent healers, and I would not be one of those two decent healers until I could get some gear.  However, in my gear I would be more than capable of doing it in a 3 heal group.  Gear can make a difference, but in this case I think it was more a skill issue.  A more skilled player in my same gear would have been able to get it done.  So my 483 is not exactly equal to the 483 of a more experienced and more skilled player.  They would have been able to do it if I was able to come that close.  And that brings me to the next point about why I really dislike item level.

Item level is a crutch.

The example I just gave is the perfect example of item level is a crutch.  I said, a more skilled player might have been able to do it in that situation.  But my solution was to do what?  Get more gear.  I could get better at playing my class or I could just get myself to a 515 item level like the other healer and then easily 2 heal it.

That is why item level has become such a crutch.  If only we had more DPS, we get the damage dealers more gear and their DPS will go up.  What about addressing the fact that people are working at about 50% efficiency.  If the gear they have has them capable of doing 100K fully buffed and they are doing 50%, don't just get them more gear so their DPS goes up, get them more skill so their DPS goes up.  Getting them more gear means that their 140K potential gets them to 70K but getting them more skill too means it might get them to 100K.  There is more to be gained with skill than there is with gear in many cases but gear is just the easier solution for most.

Gear, and as long as it is there, is a crutch.  It can hold you up, hold you up to the point you arrive where you do not belong.  So to speak of course.  If I could not two heal that boss at 483 and another more skilled healer could have, I don't deserve to beat that boss.  Sure if I gear up more I can do it, but that means nothing because I took the easy route.

I sometimes wish we lived in that instant gratification world were everyone had all the gear they wanted but not for the same reason other do, just because they want easy gear.  I wish we lived there because then gear could never be used an as excuse for under performing.  Too often I hear, if only I had the gear.

Yes, there will be many times you meet something that you will not mathematically be able to conquer without more gear but in many cases it is only a matter of execution.  If you were better, you could do it.  As long as there are upgrades to be had there will forever be people saying, "I could do it if I had that trinket", "if only I had that weapon I'd do more DPS", "I don't have enough stats for this, I need more gear".  But in truth, many of these cases are not really gear issues, they are skill issues.

So yes, I could use gear as a crutch and get some more so the next time I try to two heal it I can or I could do something so different and so extraordinary that no one would believe me if I told them it was possible, I could just get better.  Item level is that crutch.  That leads to the next part.

It is only easy for you because you have a better item level.

This is true actually.  What is the difference between going into ToT at item level 500 as a group or item level 520 as a group?  Roughly the same as a 10% debuff?  20% maybe?

Yes, fights become easier the more gear you get.  This goes to what ghostcrawler said when he explained how things get nerfed over time when people collect (and upgrade) gear.  The better gear you have the easier it becomes.  That is just common sense.  Yes, even GC does show some signs of common sense once in a rare while.

But this turns into the pug mentality that I once complained about when I saw someone assembling a DS pug last expansion.  Looking for people 395+ for DS normal.  Excuse me?  If I am 395+ I am doing heroic, not normal.  Or at least I should be.

People just always try to choose the path of least resistance and they think item level is the answer to anything.  Just like I saw all 395 people not get past the second boss in DS I see all 520 people not get past the second boss in ToT.

So while it might be true that the higher the item level the more you can do, it does not translate into the higher the item level the more you actually do.  There is still some sort of ability needed.  It is not all about it being easier for people with a better item level.  It should but it isn't always.

I just do not like item level.

I think I have actually completely lost focus on what I was being grumpy about but that is the net result here. I just do not like item level.  I wish there were a better way to judge a player but item level is not one of them.  Not even in the slightest and not as long as the range of top to bottom is so damn wide.  When two people in the exact same gear can give you two completely opposite results on what they do, judging people by item level alone is just not a viable way to base someones ability.  And in the case of my rogue example, when two people with the same item level and the same skill level can have two completely different results because of where that item level came from it shows that item level is really not all that.

What would you suggest being a better way?

Is there another way?

I don't think there is and don't think there ever will be.  I just really dislike that people get all hung up over item level as if that is the only deciding factor on what they are capable of doing.  If I hear one more person ask "what item level do I need" when I am looking for people for my 25s I am going to shoot someone.  Well, being I am a hunter and shoot people all the time that doesn't mean much, but you get the idea.  I really hate this item level society sometimes.


  1. I have a painful question. You had mentioned once on one of your toons doing 38k on autoshot. I am Ilevel 480 and mr robot said doing it myself i was at 92% efficiency! my autoshot does 16k.... No matter how hard i play i cannt break 45k damage and i am wondering: can your damage never theoretically get over a certain percentage higher than your autoshot? In other words: if my auto is 16k then am i already so broken I cannot hope to succeed without new gear? My hunter weapon is a 450 - no luck in LRF on a new one yet.

    1. That is all about the weapon really. I did it as BM, so it was not just auto shot, my pet was doing a fair bit of damage. I meant it as all I did myself was auto shoot. So combined with my pet it was 38K. But still, I did have a much much better weapon and weapons do really make that much of a difference.

      If you are 480 with a 450 gun and doing 45K you are doing quite reasonable. Even getting a 463 weapon you will see a marked increase.

      Good luck getting a weapon. It means a lot.

    2. At least get the Archeology gun and upgrade it to 471.

    3. If he has arch up, I've noticed many don't. But yes, it is a good suggestion. If we could send it cross server I would send it to my leveling alt hunters. It is a sweet looking gun too.

  2. @Anon

    The 38K he mentioned was mentioned later to be unusually high and would depend heavily on the spec you're running. Your i450 gun is what's holding you back at i480.

    Note: I believe the only efficiency that AMR mentions is based on optimal gems/enchants/reforges and has nothing to do with dps efficiency, for that you'd need something like SimC or one of the various class-specific tools (Zeherah is the hunter one, I think).


    Where to start. :)

    I agree that iLvl isn't a good determination of whether they'll be of any use to you or not but it does speak to two things... they've put the time and effort in to gear up (in theory) and they have higher dps potential than someone else. You addressed the second point well so I won't go further and the effort argument may or may not mean anything but generally speaking, if I know nothing else about two people, I'd take one in i520 over one in i480. It's a gamble but if they play equally well the i520 will be the better risk.

    Because of the difference in importance between different gear slots (weapons > trinkets > chest/helm/legs > etc) and tier vs non-tier I don't generally worry too much about iLvl. When I'm looking to quickly size someone up in LFR (say, I'm running #2 and he's #1 and I'm trying to figure out if I have a chance of beating him on future bosses... yeah, I compete to amuse myself), I'll look at two things... weapons and health. I find a health delta of 40K+ is significant gear-wise, a singled upgraded slot will usually get you 3-5K depending on the size of the upgrade... 100K+ is massive. If I'm hanging with someone 40K+ above me I'm happy, if I'm hanging with someone 100K+ above me he's slacking off. NOTE - this doesn't apply to Warlocks in particular if they're using Sac and assumes everyone is buffed equally. Yeah, some classes have a bit more health than others at the same iLvl but it's a decent guideline without being overly picky and it's easy to tell at a glance since I don't run any sort of mouseover gearscore add-on.

    I'm looking for a mix of potential and efficiency when evaluating someone... gear potential is useful but efficiency is better, especially since upgrades for an undergeared but very efficient player will give you the biggest impact per upgrade. You want to have enough dps/hps/tank health to down the content but bringing efficient players is generally beneficial whenever you can determine their level of play in advance or from previous runs.

    1. There is one other reason why I'd generally prefer bringing someone in with better gear that also indirectly ties into health... they simply have more of it, possibly significantly more. You'd be surprised how much this matters. My normal raiding toon has about 470K unbuffed health and is usually one of the last to die. I had a chance to run an i500ish alt with a very good and geared (i530+) raid group recently, they were more concerned about having someone in who knew the fights and had enough gear to contribute, they were willing to compensate for my lower dps than they're used to. Seemed perfect. Except...

      Man, the deaths. All over the place, most entirely out of my control (most, not all). Their healers were used to their dps having 550K health... my 400K health was an issue, I was dying to hits that their guys could survive. I was also on a toon without any real way of keeping myself alive so there also wasn't much I could do about it, I was just doing as much damage as I could before the inevitable boom. Absolutely seriously, I'd have been more useful to them that run if I'd gemmed and enchanted full Stamina on that toon, I'd likely have done more overall damage at the end of the night despite doing lower dps. Still, they managed to down the bosses they wanted to down so I didn't actually cost them anything but I felt really bad at the end of the run. iLvl definitely can matter, even in ways you might not immediately think of.

      Side note - we also downed a heroic boss that run, technically making my somewhat undergeared alt my first heroic toon. If anyone suggests that linked achievements is a reason to consider someone worthy of joining a run rather than iLvl, consider this a solid counter-example. There really is no way to tell how good someone is, iLvl is really the only tool that can be used to differentiate players, flawed though it may be.

      As for 2-healing, I can say with personal experience that the first 7 bosses CAN be 2-healed with a very good group and the first 4 with a good group. I prefer 3-healing with good dps, though, that 3rd healer gives a nice safety buffer, 50% more potential healing with a 20% loss in dps. It's a trade-off that generally works, I think.

    2. I compete to push myself in the LFR as well. I like to look at what others do so if they do better I can try to pick out why and then learn from it. LFR might be a joke but used in the right hands I do believe it can be a very useful tool.

      You mentioned health pool and I totally over looked that as a meaningful factor. You re indeed correct. Sometimes you just need that extra gear for the extra health.

      That is why we usually 3 heal. No offense to them but our healers are not exactly great yet our DPS is well above average. So having that extra healer really allows us to get further than I think we would with only 2. I know we would never have passed horridon trying to two heal it. I have no doubts about that.

    3. When bringing someone with a lower iLvl there's one boss we worry about: Horridon. Last phase, the aoe does 500k flat. If no priest in the group, you better have some personal mitigation or an immunity.

  3. well, I guess. :D I'll never see 460, until a new addon comes out and the green gear is rated at 560.

    It matters in raids because that is how Blizzard has deemed it - it's your ticket to get into their raiding area.

    Certain raids require one to gather higher level equipment to be able to go into the raids and have a chance to survive.

    But as with all things humans (players) do, these ilevels have become the new standards of how well one player is and unfortunately one is now judge in their ability. That's not good.

    to recap - There is nothing to be done about it, because right or wrong, it is what Blizzard introduced as a limiting factor in raiding.

    Not their fault players have used it as a prejudicial way of judging others and their abilities in the game.

    as always,

    "stay frosty..."

    1. If we did not judge people by item level it would be gear score or achievements, or what have you. It is human nature to pre judge people on what otherwise might be seen as imperfect data.

      Sad but true.

    2. aye, thats why there is beer!

  4. Let's say you were doing some raid last day before reset and needed to pug a tank. Say you get two whispers. One is 'Hello. You still need a tank? Paladin here, iLvl 535'. The other one is 'Hi. DK tank if you still need me, know all the fights, I can link achievements if needed'.

    My question is: which would you choose?

    I may be any of the two. My paladin main. My DK alt. So DK has achis from main. May very well be from a healer perspective, you wouldn't know. DK is undergeared. Which you wouldn't know either unless you checked me or my Armory. While throwing my iLvl should probably mean something.
    That I know mormals and even most heroics in and out. That I can probably survive an entire fight without any direct heals, a beacon or something and I'm set. That I count as an extra healer in the raid and something like having more than two healers on Tortos would be overkill. That I have like 800k health on buffs in haste gear and I can cover for anything, I can even solo all your fights, Megaera included.

    Sometimes, iLvl just wraps up what you did do, not only what you could do, is all I want to say.

    1. I agree with you 100%. In the example you give it is clear which one you would choose because it reached a certain item level that can only be attained by doing heroics. If someone can do heroics you have to guess the likelihood they are better than someone else is pretty high. Yes, they could have been carried but those are few and far between for the most part and even if they were heroic carried they would probably still be better than someone else with no skills.

      But two things I would like to point out.

      1) You are talking an extreme example. While it is possible to get 535 with only normals if you have the legendary back and all the possible thunderforged pieces it will still show you needed a certain level a skill to get to it. You are talking the top 2% of the player base, maybe even top 1%. My example is meant to show the average player based on item level, not to compare the elite.

      2) Lets lower your paladin to a more reasonable for the average player number. Call it 520. A paladin says he is 520 and nothing else and the DK says he knows all fights. I will ask the DK a follow up question first. Have you ever tanked it and what is your item level. The person that leads with their item level has nothing to offer except that. Sorry, but you can get to a 520 item level never having stepped into a raid. The person that says they know all the fights would interest me more than the person that thinks he is elite because he has an item level you can get when never stepping into the raid.

      When you push the item levels to extremes they do mean more by themselves alone.

      Saying you are 435 means you are just heroic dungeon ready, no matter what your skill level you can not do current raid content. Saying you are 535 means you are near the top 1% of players in the game and reach an item level that shows you had to down stuff.

      Both are extreme ends of the spectrum.

      I am talking about comparing two melee who want to join my raid, one 526 and one 516. The 526 one does not mean he is better. Trust me, I have seen it. I've had a 526 item level person not be able to break 80K single target and I have a 516 feral druid on my team that can break 150K on single target without breaking a sweat.

      Skill > Item level

  5. @James, perfectly summed up my thoughts , it depends on what ilvl someone is throwing around, 520ish is attainable by every tom dick and harry in 5.3 counting all the valor rep gear and vp upgrades and considering 510 crafted+upgraded weapon and a 484 relic + vp trinket. Anyone without stepping into normal mode tot can have a 525 something ilvl and its not a representative of skill, just pure dedication to grinding gear. If someone is in 535-540 range then they probably have downed 3-4 hc bosses atleast. And however you wanna spin it you cant get carried in Heroic mode ToT (few exceptions being buying a boost run from top 100 guild).
    So ilevel represent the summary of gear , in one 3-digit number , you can judge if that person is a lfr/casual player , normal mode player or heroic player. Just that the boundaries between the ilvls of a lucky lfr/casual and a unlucky normal mode raider are bit vague.
    Now how good you are at reaching the potential maximum of gear depends on what category you belong to. There will be a lot more variance in the LFR/Casual crowd, bit lesser but still significant in normal mode, but for those clearing/progressing heroic modes, most of them will be meeting the simmed dps , with few odd ones at 70-80% of that.
    TLDR- ilvl do work as a measure of skill , depending on what value you are looking at.

    1. That is what I am talking about however. Everyone can get to 520 without even stepping in the raid. So item level means nothing.

      James, while he is correct, is using an extreme example.

      Given two people of equal item level who would you choose from his example?

      Player 1: Tank here, 520 ilvl.
      Player 2: Tank here, know fights.

      I would follow up by asking the tank what his item level is. As I said, it still shows their potential. If he says 520 as well, and if he has tanked it before, I do not even bother asking player one a follow up question. Anyone that leads with their item level has nothing to offer except that. Item level is not your characters self worth. Never has been and never will be.

  6. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    As far as a better measurement goes, the one that would be most useful would be an efficiency rating (ER). The ER rating is a player's percentage of actual damage assessed against the player's potential number. A 30% rating obviously is less effective than a 80% rating.

    The game has mathmetical limits on the amount of damage that can be done in a set amount of time. Use the maximum possible damage as the 100% benchmark and the actual damage done as the percentage rating.

    As the duration of a fight varies, the actual damage done would be measured against the maximum possible damage for that duration of time. Obviously, dieing limits the opportunity to do damage, so the ER would encourage better play in a baseball bat type of subtleness. The one hit wonder who does 250k dps and dies one minute into a 10 minute fight would show very poorly in terms of efficiency. Death is the usual results when a player does not follow the game plan and the ER meter would show who was doing poorly by dieing early when comparing DPS to ER.

    Now, not being a programmer nor an add-on developer, I have no idea how hard it would be to establish such a meter, but I would think that would be the single best measure of a player. I certainly think it would be better than using ilevel or gear score or achievement links to quickly determine the worth of a player. Of course no single score would ever be a true measure of everything. The use of ilevel has value for quickly and rationally assuming a 510 ilevel will have a heck of a lot more health than a 480 ilevel character.

    So an ER %, with ilevel would give maybe the best snapshot judgement for any given player. So with three players looking to fill the last space, one at 77%, ilevel 480, a second player at 55%, ilevel 504, and the third player at 58%, ilevel 520, you would have some idea of who to pick. The third player will have the most health and plays slightly better than player two but not nearly as well as player one. Unfortunately player one is undergeared, so you rather use player one over two clearly, but not so clearly when compared to three. Can player one withstand single blow kills as player three can? If player one can stay alive, then one is the obvious choice as going along with 77% ER will only get better as the ilevel rise, even if the percentage never rises. If player one won't survive single blow kills, then player three will be the better choice as the staying alive part is important too.

    1. That would be a fantastic addon to have. However I could pick apart a lot of reasons why it would not be perfect in many situations.

      One being it can not accurately judge healers and tanks. Healers can only heal as much as people are hurt so they can not be judged on numbers only. And even when you do, they could be healing the wrong person, as in neglecting the tank and taking chances just to get some heals on a DPS that they know will up their numbers. What about the tank that takes the full hits from something he could have used a cooldown on? Would he lost points? I let horridon hit me clear out about 3 or 4 times before I use a cooldown because I know I am better off using them for the higher stacks.

      Even for damage dealers, I know you have not raided at all this expansion but the first boss has a mechanic that if you stand in a certain place in increases damage but people are always be chased from that place. So if someone gets unlucky and chased a million times their damage would be mush lower than it could have been and someone that was never chased might not be as good but having the boost all the time would make them appear better than they are.

      Yes, the idea is awesome. I would love to see an effective rating for a character, but it is not practice in game really.

      If you wanted to do some actual inspection world of logs are still the best way to judge someone, but that required they make logs and supply them. It is not as simple as just looking at an item level like we have all become used to doing.

  7. @Grumpy's GL, That efficiency rating idea gave me a brainwave.For people who log the fights or are in the guild that do logs, you can check them on raidbots/epeenbot, but its not that useful for an average joe pug. But in next patch proving grounds coming out in which a dps/tank/healer fights against waves of enemies. What if blizzard designs another proving ground which is basically a patchwork fight and it calculates your effiency rating and attach a freebie 553(or whatever ilvl item are from normal SoO) item if you reach 100% efficeiny rating, and show this rating on armory along with ilvl. This way players will be tempted to meet that rating for the reward and get rated on armory and you can inspect them and see if the person can at least do the dps rotation properly.
    @grumpy, i know my idea only works for dps and i can not even begin to think how to rate a healer or tanks's efficiency. But as you have said this before, dps are the most important part of the raid , and even with extermely good tanks and healers you cant down a boss if your dps are bad. So its my attempt at solving the problem partially.

    1. That is a nice idea adding something like that to the proving grounds but people would cry if you asked for 100% perfection.

      What about lag, or computer issues, or things beyond the players control.

      Heck, I like to fancy myself a decent player and I doubt I have ever hit 100% of my potential. Sure, I have done more than my maximum potential a few times here or there but that was due to lucky crits, not be being perfect.

      So it is a good idea, but I doubt it would work. To many variables.

      However, an efficiency rating of sorts would be nice. As long as they did not add a reward to it. If they do, the forums would flood from the tears of people that were not capable of getting their reward.

      Just my opinion of course, but I do have a very low opinion of those community.

      Tanks and healers are much harder to judge that way. It is so true. Damage dealers are simple to judge. How much damage do you do. Tanks and healers are complex creatures by design.