Gear Score Fever

gear-scoreGear score fever has taken hold of a vast number of World of Warcraft players.  It has swept over PUG raiding like a plague, creating a whirlwind of controversy.  Gear score is a calculated number representing a World of Warcraft players level of gear.  Gear score is then used as a measuring tool by raid leaders to determine if a player has the gear necessary to participate in a particular dungeon, with higher scores necessary for more difficult encounters.

The gear score controversy revolves around gear score only measuring what armor a player is wearing, as opposed to the skill of the player.  It has turned into a manner of insult when players find themselves passed over for raids, despite possessing the skill necessary to overcompensate a defeciency in gear.  This has led to frustration, which morphed into anger, and is now evolving into a full-blown screaming tantrum on many-a-forums, as well as in-game chat.

Why Gear Score is Useful

We are going to start by taking a very neutral point of view.  Let’s look at what gear score does.  Simply put, it measures how good your gear is.  This includes enchants, gems, and item enhancements.  That makes gear score a very simple screening method for potential raid candidates.

If I was a PUG raid leader, and I have one slot left heading into ICC 10-man for a melee DPS, I decide to try my search based on gear score, thinking this gives me the best option for success.  Let’s say I need a Ret Pally for my last spot.  I get two whispers.  The first Paladin has a gear score of 2840.  The second Paladin has a gear score of 2705.  Based on those two numbers alone, the first Ret Pally looks the most appealing, because his/her gear is better.

Remember, when making this decision, it is most likely that I have absolutely ZERO idea of the skill of either player interested.  If I did, then of course I would base my decision on the skill of the player, despite gear (assuming it’s a close comparison).  So that said, I choose Ret Pally 2840.

My question to all the gear score trashers and naysayers, is how can you be so brazen and harsh, and just downright awful, to people using gear score?  For those using it for its intended purpose, I myself cannot find any fault for them trying to use it.

The Ugly Side of Gear Score

Here is where gear score gets ugly, and twisted into a nasty raid recruitment tool.  The other day, I see a ToC 10-man PUG being spammed in general chat.  The requirements to come on the run?  A 2750 gear score AND the TOC 25-man achievement.  We won’t even go into the achievement requirement, because that’s an issue all to itself.

A gear score of 2750 is a very high requirement for ToC 10, which can be done easily in under an hour.  So what the hell was this guy trying to do?  He wanted a pretty much guaranteed no-fail run, with over-qualified players to burn him through the dungeon.  Nothing wrong with that because, well, it’s his run and he can do what he wants.  But the outrage that his raid generated was insane.

Many players who need ToC couldn’t get into the run because of the high bar he set in terms of gear score.  Many of them may have been under his requirement, but had the skill necessary to be a very solid addition to the run.  This is where gear score ‘fails’.

Gear Score Tantrums


If you go on any World of Warcraft related forums, you are bound to stumble across a slew of  gear score bitch-fests.  I have never, in all my years of WoW, seen such pointless, mindless arguments over such a trivial subject.  And these aren’t just rants, these are full blown, Red Bull induced hypertantrums that are equivalent of a two-year old screaming at the top of their lungs because they didn’t get their way.

C’mon Man!

Is gear score and impressive, valid method of recruiting PUG raiders?  No.  Does gear score tell you how good a player is, skill-wise?  No.  Are there jackasses who abuse the gear score system for self-benefit at the expense of countless others?  Sure.


If you don’t like gear score, just ignore the in game chats.  If you are shut down from raids for because of gear score, find a guild or different PUG that doesn’t utilize it.  They’re there, too.  It’s such a worthless thing to complain about.

Gear score serves two purposes.  It has entertainment value in the sense of comparing gear to others (for some), and it provides a simple, clean screening option for raid leaders that choose to use it.  That is all.

Whatever happens with gear score has no sway on me either way.  Players need to calm down over the subject.  Seriously.

How I Use Gear Score

For me, gear score is purely entertainment.  I use it to compare my guild’s progress in our raid content by looking at how much gear we have accumulated.  It also is an easy comparison tool so I can see what other plate DPS wearers need certain gear pieces  more than I do, or which ones can afford to pass gear to me.  That’s it.

I hope the gear score bitchery subsides, but with its still prominent and frequent use, I may have to endure a little more trolling and gear score flaming a bit longer.


  1. Sion, Laughing Skull EU says:

    The issue we find these days is WoW is no longer difficult, anyone can get t10 gear without ever setting foot in a raid. Whilst I was never a big raider back in the day I did like the way Blizz handled attunements to raids, that said it also stopped many casual gamers from seeing end game content. Swings and roundabouts i guess.

    I am in a casual guild at the moment and it comes with a blessing and a curse. We dont raid regularly but you’ll get a raid space if you turn up when you say you will. Whilst there is an element of skill required you wont get diregarded because your gearscore isnt top notch…. with this comes many wipes and a large repair bill.

  2. Jansen says:

    Based on the score on your screenshot I think you are using the wow heroes scoring which is not the same as the gearscore addon.

    The latest version of the addon seems to better account for gear matching your spec (i.e. it rates caster pieces higher for caster builds vs. melee builds) whereas wow heroes appears to strictly add up ilvl of equipped items and then adds values for enchants.

  3. Khor says:

    You’re right, Jansen, it is a wowheroes score. The add-on in-game functions just as well, if not better. For me, it doesn’t really matter which one is used, because, as I mentioned above, gear score is just a simple screening method, nothing more.

    I truly wish there was a way to determine the skill of a player, rather than resorting to judging potential success by gear. It is flawed, completely flawed in fact, but until we find another way, it’s going to continue to plague us.

  4. Dokk says:

    I agree with Sion. Measuring gear is so one-dimensional. My druid as 4pT9 and has only raided the weekly quests. By most accounts this would put me in the welfare epic camp. There’s no way to know that I do have some competence with PvE encounters by means of my priest main character.

    My personal preference is to look at WoWheroes. That site scores each toon by the same standard (even if the standard is flawed, at least it’s consistant). It also shows the collective number of achievements and emblems each toon has earned.

    In contrast, the add-on can suffer from version discrepencies, and relies on a peer-to-peer database synchronization that can be out-of-date or in the worst case even spoofed with false data.

    In any case, I don’t form PuG raids or care enough to champion the gear score cause. To me it simply translates raid-time drama into pre-raid-time drama. I don’t much care for either.
    I think the system would work better if it was called Ego score. 🙂

  5. Ayne says:

    The new Armory can remedy this a bit also, since it now shows recent achievements. It probably takes longer to inspect everyone in a group this way, but at least if the leader was truly concerned with a particular player’s experience there is a way to find out.


  1. […] Gear Score Fever | Retribution Paladins – WoW […]

Speak Your Mind