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Function, Form, or Psychological: What's the point of gear?

In my ponderings over gear and the state of WoW recently, I came to a central question that needs an answers: what is the point of the gear now, and what should the point of gear be?

In an editorial last week I opined that the biggest mistake WoW made was the constant and never ending gear grind, and I hinted at that I've got a longer idea for a solution in the works, removing all gear as we know it; but in writing that article I realized that I was fundamentally missing part of my logical argument: the point of gear isn't at all clear in WoW.

I don't believe that this obscurity is a fault of communication or use, but through the basic structure of the gear system itself. As such, much of the issues of WoW's gear grind can be traced back through the power structures from the forced paradigms gear inherently provides. Gear makes us stronger, and then we need to fight stronger enemies, from which we get better gear, and so on and so forth. The cycle continues, the gear grind never stops. As the Cylons would say, it has happened before and it will happen again.

Given that we have the gear grind, and putting aside the academic ethical right or wrong for a moment, let's think about what the gear is actually used for. As I see it, there are three primary purposes.

When gear provides a meaningful stat increase and causes your character to be able to do meaningful things that it wasn't before, it serves a function purpose. Note the word in italics -- the increase or ability has to be meaningful. It can't be just a +50 to stamina, it needs to actually account for a large difference.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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