In the past, I tried my best not to be one of those, "ZOMGZ, GEAR CHEKZ 4 10 MAN NAXXX PLZ DU 5K DEEPZ," sort of folks that have been popping up all over the place. All I expected out of anyone running with me was for them to do their job competently regardless of gear. After all, I know full well how sucky it is to be a top DPS in a PUG but lowest roll for loot. (Most of my pieces were "pity" wins, because I was the only one who hadn't won anything the entire run!)
But long story short, after a string of particularly horrific raids gone bad (as in, we didn't even get to fail on Thaddius because we never got past Patchwork fail), my friend introduced me to this add on called "GearScore" which allows you to mouse over anyone and immediately pull up their gear scores. So being a nosy brat with the attention span of a lemur, I loaded it up and within 10 seconds of standing in Dalaran, I was addicted. The first day I got it, I spent an hour walking from the Fish (Alliance) Bank in Dal to Krasus Landing just checking everyone's gear score.
You see, the way GearScore works, is that it's an elitist calcumalator that adds up the values of each piece of gear you're wearing, and then displays such as a number and colour (from grey to orange) under a person's name. Before 3.2, you didn't see a lot of folks over 4500 gear score at all. Only the top raiders on our server had that envious tanorexic glow (and usually dirty Alliance raiders), followed by a number of purple people (4000-4499), and then mostly blues (moderate 80s) and greens (new 80s in quest gear). While it was certainly not a DEFINITE indication of skill (an indication of luck maybe), usually, when you grouped with folks up there in GearScore, you saw why they had the gear that they had in the first place because it reflected in their DPS, their ability to hold hate or in their spot on, sexy heals.
But with 3.2 and the introduction of the "ZOMGZ Welfare EPIX OVAH 9000" program, that slight inkling of a clue that GearScore gave about skill went out the friggen door. There's been an Orange Explosion in Dalaran, or more aptly put, an Orange GearScore Bomb.
Now, I'm not a hard core raider any more because I never really enjoyed getting yelled at by some random little shit to put "MORE DOTS NOW" on something or the other. I roll with a moderate sized guild of friends and family, and PUG everything else when we can't run something. I could have gotten carried by my guildies, but since I've got the time to invest, as soon as I got to 80, I PUGed like I've never PUGed before, farmed the hell out of every regular dungeon for blues, moved on to farming Heroics for purples, and then epic'd myself out fully by running, Naxx, OS, EoE, VoA and Ulduar 10 over and over again until I became amply geared for Ulduar 25.
So when people comment, "Dang, you have good gear," I can say with a clear conscience, "I worked for it." And then when they compliment me as a player, I know it's because I chose not to get carried, improving myself and learning as I geared up.
The following folks, however, missed the memo:
- The Death Knight in Ulduar gear that couldn't hold aggro in H UP.
- The Shadow Priest with 4700 GearScore who couldn't pull more than 2K dps on XT2 trash.
- The Ulduar geared Healadin that healed less than the newly nerfed Ret Paladin on Razorscale.
- The Feral Druid DPSing as a BEAR.
There's more, but I fear I would be talking myself out of ever PUGging again by reliving the moment in listing them above.
I'm not saying that you only deserve gear if you have the time. 3.2 has been wonderful for people who work and can only play an hour a night, and great for people with awful luck to catch up on gear. Finally, good players with shitty rolls can take command of gearing themselves. Unfortunately, for every one good player, there seems, about 10 others that suck ass because they got carried, got their welfare gear check and continue to suck despite a 4700 GearScore. It's as if they believe, "I HAF PERPULS; I R GUD."
To those people who equate Gear with Skill. GTFO. All the purples in the world cannot make you into a good player. T8.5 doesn't come with +50 to L2P, so stop resting on your laurels and make yourself useful. (Unsubscribe, please?)
As for me, my love affair with GearScore is now over, and it'll only take me FIFTEEN minutes to get to Krasus Landing from the Fish Bank instead. (I forgot to mention I'm terrible with directions. 50 DKP MINUS!!??)