Names have been obliterated to protect the innocent. The subject we’re about to tackle is fraught with misconceptions, half-formed opinion and occasionally a self-satisfied, self-serving attitude that’s both completely unjustified and (in the worst cases) completely silly.
We’re talking gear score vs. skill. Here’s the typical trade post: “LFM 25 ONY MUST HAS MIN 2500 GEAR SCORE OR DON’T PST KTHXBAI”. Practitioners of the gear score philosophy know only numbers, and believe that given enough gear, any scrub can handle any sort of content. Much to the chagrin of the evident multitude of acolytes to this laughingly false idea, they’re wrong, and I’m going to use a couple of methods to illustrate this fact.
What we can learn from the NFL Draft.
I may lose some of you here, so I’ll keep this brief, but I’ve learned that using multiple types of examples to illustrate a point can be helpful.
Let’s quickly discuss 3 quarterbacks: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Ryan Leaf. You most likely have heard of the first 2, even if you’re not a big football fan, the last guy, maybe not so much.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are two of the better (if not the best) quarterbacks in the game today. Peyton Manning was drafted #1 in his draft class, no one else was picked ahead of him, he had the highest “gear score”. Tom Brady was picked #199 in his draft class, so 198 guys were picked ahead of him, his “gear score” was terribad. Ryan Leaf was picked #2, right after Peyton Manning, same draft class, they went 1 and 2. Ryan had an unbelievable gear score, and was almost picked ahead of Peyton.
Here’s where I make my (now lengthier than I would have liked) point: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are two of the best, Ryan Leaf is out of football fighting addiction to painkillers, has been indicted for burglary and is basically of very little use to anyone. These guys were picked based strictly on their “gear score” coming out of college, and it shows that just because it looks like you have all the tools on paper, real world application of said tools can be a little more difficult to pull off.
Okay, let’s move on quickly, that may have been a stretch for some of you, but think of it as broadening your horizons a bit, it builds character.
Let’s discuss an example from the last VoA 25 I PuG’d.
So, Koralon, he of the big damage #’s cuz unless he gets nasty and plants a bonfire under your butt, you can pretty much just stand there and pew pew. I’ve included some screenshots of the #’s I’ll be discussing for this fight, but given that I have no idea how to embed them into an article, I’m going to discuss this as if you can’t see them. If Garwulf can figure out some way to include them, great, you’ll see proof of what I’m talking about.
We’ll be discussing the tale of 3 hunters, their gear score, and their DPS on Koralon. I’ll discuss what I personally did in this fight, however I can’t speak for either of their actions beyond what the #’s show, as I don’t know either of them personally and didn’t discuss any of this with them.
Hunter C also volleyed for 12 ticks, God knows why on a single target boss.
None of the hunters had a Flask of Endless Rage active, and speaking for myself (hunter A), I did use a Potion of Speed after Heroism wore off, tho I didn’t pre-pot. All 3 hunters were SV obviously, and all 3 had wolves as pets. Looking at the results of the fight, I can only assume hunter C was punching himself in the face every few seconds, but again, this remains only a possibility as (yes, I fail, I realize this) I didn’t ask.
When I looked up the gear score of the other hunters I was surprised, but not shocked. I expected hunter B to have a little better gear than he did, and hunter C to show a much lower gear score and an arrest warrant for violating some farm animal or other direct relation while simultaneously eating paste and sniffing glue.
My argument is simple. Skill is greater than gear score, and these #’s clearly show why. Hunter C could have BiS for every piece of gear he has, and he’s still going to finish third in this “competition”, every time.
To further expound, consider the guilds that run into Ulduar for the achievements like Herald of the Titans, which is downing Algalon while wearing nothing better than what’s available out of 10 Ulduar. That’s not a bunch of people being carried by gear, that’s skill, and that trumps all. Obviously someone with a ridiculous level of gear has the POTENTIAL to do more than someone that maxes out their limited gear, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can, or will.
On a side but very related note: How do you maximize your DPS, regardless of spec?
You maximize the use of your global cooldowns, and while doing so, using the cooldowns that will grant you the most damage for that cooldown at that given moment. Hunter C clearly thinks GCD’s are something to be wasted, and that’s why his DPS is crap. Hunters A and B are very close in their cooldown use, they both used 112 GCD’s on their main shots (BA and SerpSting were pretty close as well, I think) while Hunter 3 used 57 or so of his, depending on how many times he volleyed. So basically half the # of GCD’s used. Wow.
I hope this is interesting and helpful to you. I find it useful to review my #’s after a boss fight if I have the time, to sort of stay on top of where I’m at with my rotation, figure how I might improve things, etc. In doing so this time, these #’s were just too compelling to ignore.