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Posts with tag gear-score

Spiritual Guidance: Gearing a shadow priest for Cataclysm heroics

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Your host for the Wednesday edition, Fox Van Allen, always brings you the latest in shadow priest news, the latest in shadow priest controversy, and the latest shadow priest tactics -- all with the level of maturity of an episode of Maury. After the break: a paternity test, a lie detector test, and you won't believe who we're sending to boot camp!

Eight months ago, I wrote one of my most viewed and read articles here at WoW Insider. It was about GearScore and item levels. Most of us know, of course, that each weapon or piece of armor we equip has a numerical value behind it that approximates how powerful it is. Back then, far too many people were using item levels and GearScore as the sole arbiter of who could and couldn't team up with them in pickup raid groups.
Sorry, you seem like a lovely person and all, but I've determined your entire worth as a raider boils down to a four-digit number. Unfortunately, the four-digit number assigned to your worth is slightly lower than the four-digit number I arbitrarily came up with as the requirement to participate in the outdated raid content I wish to be carried through.
In the piece, I explained that item levels and GearScore provide you with a general idea about whether or not a piece of gear is good, but in the end, having the right stats matters more than item levels. That still holds true in Cataclysm -- stats matter. An item level 333 blue can be better than an item level 346 blue.

Despite that, though, measures of your "gear score" matter more than they ever have before. Cataclysm instances and heroics are gated behind strict minimum average item level requirements. Blizzard has become that guy. We won't spend our time today discussing whether that's right or wrong; instead, we'll be productive gamers and figure out how and where to get gear to clear that item level requirement, get yourself into heroics, and eventually, get yourself ready to raid.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Guest Post: Vetting puggers -- beyond GearScore and achievements

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

How can you tell a good raider from a bad raider?
  • GearScore? NO. Often times, people will rely on a numerical gear score, but this is not a good way to judge player quality. Very good players will have low gear scores when starting out, and very bad players who have been persistent or been carried can have very high scores. GearScore is not an indicator of goodness or badness; it's purely an indication of how much time and luck the person has had on that character.
  • Achievements? NO. Some group leaders request, "Link achievement, please," but this is not a good method, either. All this indicates is that the person was in the raid when the boss died. You don't know if they were No. 1 DPS or died three seconds into the fight, the same as they do during every fight they've ever been in.
So before you can determine how tell a good player from a bad player, you should understand what makes a "good player."

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Filed under: Raiding, Guest Posts

Blizzard to begin throttling GearScore-like inspect requests

It's no secret that some addons, like GearScore, generate a numerical value for the gear of a player or players by inspecting their gear. Other addons also do inspect requests for other reasons. However, as of patch 3.3.5 it appears that the functionality of addons that automate inspect requests will be limited via server-side implementation during rolling restarts.


According to WoWAce, Blizz is going to start throttling inspection requests, thus limiting addons like Gearscore's ability to generate on-the-fly GS of a player's equipment.

It's important to understand that the throttling that is being done isn't intended to break any functionality of add-ons, but merely to control the amount of queries that are being sent to the server at any given time. (Thus throttling the queries.) The queries will still occur, it just won't happen as quickly as they currently seem to. You can read the statements that WoW Ace and WoW Interface have up for a bit more information on these changes. We wanted to give mod authors a heads-up prior to making the change so that they could make any adjustments they needed to on their mods.

Basically, the idea as presented is not to prevent addons from inspecting players but rather to prevent them from doing so as often as they currently do, reducing server lag by reducing the amount of inspect requests addons can flood them with. It's important to note that this is being implemented via rolling restarts; as a result addons that you have that currently make use of automated inspect requests might not function properly. Since this isn't aimed at crippling addons that use the inspect feature, it's likely most or all of them will be able to weather the change.

Filed under: News items, Add-Ons

The cynic's guide to World of Warcraft

We tend to be very careful while composing articles here at WoW Insider. We're always mindful that not everyone plays the game in the same way, or has the same experience on different servers or factions, but every so often a certain madness seizes us and we feel the urge to ... tell the truth. In that vein, I am pleased (sort of) to present The Cynic's Guide to World of Warcraft.

This article owes a heavy debt to Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. If you want to see a real master at work, read that.

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Filed under: Humor

Spiritual Guidance: Troubleshooting your DPS

Spiritual Guidance is a fickle mistress. By the light of day, it hits the outlet malls with Dawn Moore, gets Oreo McFlurries and has light-hearted discussions about last night's episode of Glee. By night, though -- Wednesday nights in particular -- it Shadowcrawls on back to Fox Van Allen for some wild flaying and searing. When you break it down, everyone likes a bad boy.

Fact: According to World of Logs, the top shadow priest DPS on a regular 10-man Lord Marrowgar kill was just over 13,000 DPS. Feel inferior? How about this, then: The top shadow priest DPS on a 25-man heroic Blood-Queen Lana'thel kill is about 27,600. I can't say for sure whether or not that's before the 20% buff went live, but when you're doing over 27k, who cares about that extra 5%?

I don't want you losing sleep comparing yourself to those fine players. For the most part, these numbers are a result of near-perfect gameplay, top-notch gear and sacrificing no fewer than eight mohawked gnome babies to the random number generating gods. Still, with all those gnome corpses piled in the corner of your room, you've gotta ask: "Why isn't my DPS as good as everyone else's?"

To those who expect one quick, simple answer, I suggest the following possible things you could be doing wrong:
  • Dude, your "6" key is totally broken.
  • You still have your fishing pole equipped, genius.
  • The eighth gnome is merely wounded, not dead.
If those suggestions are somehow less than helpful, you might want to follow me after the break to look at some of the real reasons why you might be lagging behind and a few things you can do to turn things around.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: The GearScore is a lie

In the time of ancient gods, warlords and kings, a land cried out for a hero. She was Dawn Moore, a mighty princess ... forged in the heat of battle. The power, the passion, the danger. Her courage will change the world. But she's not available on Wednesdays, so Fox Van Allen is here to take over Spiritual Guidance for her and screw with everything the light holds dear. Sorry.

I regularly get email (fox-at-wow-dot-com) every now and then from the Spiritual Guidance fan club. Some send me awesome screenshots (like the great old school BC one above sent by Igantinos -- thanks!), some ask for advice, and others ask for my best roasted gnome recipes. I'm glad to help when I can.

Every once in a while, though, I get an email that breaks my heart. The start was inauspicious enough: a request to analyze whether his DPS was up to par based on their GearScore. It's a pretty common request.

I wrote him back with a few suggestions on improving his numbers. His gear was pretty good -- he was decked out in a lot of level 232 gear he found in the new Icecrown 5-man instances and full tier 9 -- so I didn't have much to offer there except to suggest he start looking at tier 10. I gave a little bit of gemming advice and closed with a request that he swap out his trinkets.

He had Purified Lunar Dust in one slot and the even worse Talisman of Resurgence (item level 245) in the second. Now, don't get me wrong, there are worse trinkets you could go around having -- an upgrade is always an upgrade. But I was confused as to why he'd spend hard-earned emblems on them over far better gear. The answer was frustrating. He picked them up "to appease the GS-is-everything crowd."

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

AddOn Spotlight: Elitist Group

AddOn Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience - the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond - your AddOns folder will never be the same! This week, we throw together a PUG for Elitist Group.

Last week on AddOn Spotlight, we profiled an addon that works as an alternative to a very popular entry into a very popular category of addon. Elitist Group is part of a category of addon that people either love or hate. There really hasn't been too much wiggle room for opinions on the matter. This week, we look at the Dos and Don'ts of Elitist Group and show the addon's strengths. In addition, I got to talk to the creator, Shadowed, and get his insight on some topics ranging from the prevalence of Gearscore, gear addons in general and some tips and tricks!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

The Dungeon Finder and gear disparity

There is some confusion as to whether/how the Dungeon Finder matches characters according to internal gear score. To the best of my knowledge, it actually attempt to create a discrepancy between characters' gear, so that you're likely to wind up with a few heavily geared members 'carrying' lesser-geared members. This is directly contrary to a claim I've seen circulating that the system attempts to match internal gear scores.

If the system doesn't attempt to create disparate groups, it should, and if it does, I'm glad it does. It may be disheartening to see someone in your group in full blues or maybe even a couple greens, instead of the now-familiar suit o' purples, but as some commenters pointed out in my post on Dungeon Finder bingo, we all started out in blues and greens at 80 (with the possible exception of some crafted gear and BoEs), and heroics were designed to be run with that gear. Where are the epics supposed to come from, for a pre-raid character?

Furthermore, a less-geared character might actually need some of the gear that drops in the ilvl 200 heroics (i.e. everything except CC, FoS, PoS, and HoR), which is a nice change of pace from the usual shardfest. It may take you a few extra minutes to farm your emblems, but PuGs are about more than just you: they're about a group of people coming together to help each other out, and enjoy a dungeon.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Instances

The Queue: Allie gets lost in Icecrown edition

Welcome back to The Queue,'s daily Q&A column where the team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Allison Robert will be your host today.

Alex is popping out for a RL issue, so I'm afraid, dear readers, that you're going to get stuck with the writer who will spend the entirety of a question today wandering off the Icecrown map. HC SVNT DRACONES. Frostwyrms, anyway.

As a warning, the answer to said question contains what some players will consider a spoiler, so don't read past the cut if you don't want to know anything about an upcoming Icecrown encounter.

TAD asks...

Will experience acceleration go away once Cataclysm drops?

We don't think so, because the 1-85 grind for a new character will still be pretty lengthy even with experience acceleration, but truthfully we don't know. I'd argue that Blizzard doesn't have much of a reason to change current leveling speed, because it's only efficient if the character in question is outfitted in heirloom items (particularly the chest and shoulders with the +experience boost). This obviously won't happen for a genuinely new player seeing the content for the first time. As you've probably also observed with alts on a different realm from your main, leveling's not that fast without being bankrolled by another toon or sitting on a pile of heirlooms.

Then again, I'm one of those crazy people who enjoys questing for its own sake and I'll be doing all the new quests anyway, so what do I know?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

In defense of ignorance

Friends, gamers, Earthicans -- lend me your ears.

One of the things that has increasingly struck me while reading peoples' accounts of the new LFG system is the frequency with which people cite getting kicked from groups due to a low gear scores, or scathing comments from other players on the extent to which they are being "carried" after damage meters are posted. Now, while I don't believe that this is an overwhelmingly common practice (most players have had positive experiences with the dungeon finder, and I'm one of them), it's still a problem. People have complained since the beginning of WoW about damage meters and the jerks who spam them, and we've all seen our fair share of the unhappiness wrought by the misuse of GearScore, but this is different. At no point in WoW's history have so many players who don't know each other from Adam been tossed into relatively intimate 5-man situations with the total freedom to be angels or asshats to each other (and, speaking of the Adam we do know, even he's given up and started to expect some bad play in his PuGs).

I am about to propose what I know is a radical departure from the standard gamer practice of reducing someone else's total worth to a number that, ideally, is lower than yours:

Don't bother.

You're happier not knowing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

The Daily Quest: Keepin' the Clouds Away

We here at are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

Filed under: Druid, The Daily Quest

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