It Came From The P.U.G.: GearScore Edition.

It Came From The P.U.G.: GearScore Edition.

For those who might not know yet, my gluttony for abuse knows no bounds. As a result I find myself in a rather large number of P.U.G. groups. At the end of the day I bring you, my readers, the stories of my travels in the random grouping of Azerothian adventure!

This week I’m going to focus on a mod that’s been getting a lot of attention for a while now, (both good and bad) Gearscore. The irony of this event is it comes right after listening to a podcast (no not mine) but the resident gentleman Dorf himself Brigwn over at The Hunting Lodge podcast. They had the creator of the addon as a guest and asked him all sorts of questions about the mod. Why it was created, if this was it’s intended use and where it’s going from here. Gearscore is a quick comparison of gear assigning a number based roughly on stat allocation per class / role on the item. It does not, in any way shape or form reflect skill. Simply put it tracks maximum potential for a role, the higher the number the better potential healing, dps or tankage you can do. You’re probably why I’m bringing this up. Well here’s why…

Last weekend I got bored and didn’t feel like doing heroics on my Shaman, and my Hunter needed a night off. So I did something I haven’t done since Naxx was THE place to be, I broke out my Death Knight Tank. She was the bomb when Naxx was the raid zone of choice and as a result has Naxx level tanking gear. Not the best, but not the worst. More than enough for heroics, which I can then convert the badges into T9 tanking gear. So I put on my tanking gear, change my specs, and hop into the queue to tank. 20 seconds later I find myself in AN with similarly geared people, everyone sitting there in Naxx (25) level gear, and seemingly good attitudes. So we buff, and I head down and start making pulls. First pull, no problem. Second pull, no problem. Then we get to the watchers. I pull the first group and pull them wayyyy back. I Deathgrip the caster onto me and drop Death and Decay. All of a sudden the healer leaves group! Not a word, not a disconnect, not lag and no vote kicking. Just up and leaves. One of the people in the P.U.G. Happened to be on the same realm as the person, so he shot them a tell asking what happened. The response he got back sort of shocked me.

“I looked at the Gearscore for the tank, too low I can’t heal that.”

I had a good chuckle at that. My DK might not be ready to storm into ICC at all, but she tanked Naxx 25 and is more than adequately geared to handle some measly heroics. So as me and the rogue are laughing about this the Warrior of the group drops, for the same reason as the priest. So what remains is a rogue and a mage and myself, all laughing about it. You would think that the story would end there, but it doesn’t. People joined and dropped the group 4 or 5 times before eventually a healer and a dps stuck. The kicker? The healer was in full tier 9, the DPS was another DK, in full heroic ToGC / ICC gear. I jokingly asked

“I have a low gear score you guys sure you want to stick around? already lost a handful of healers an dps”

Healer looks me over says

“Nope you’re fine, just keep shit off me”

the new DK pipes up.

“If I can’t manage my aggro on you, then that’s on me, no worries let get some badges”

Finally, after waiting for nearly 30 minutes we start really pulling, and blow through the instance, I don’t lose any mobs to the healer, there are no close calls there. And the DK ganked once, stopped attacking so I could taunt and then didn’t gank again. The run was smooth, and quick. With my badges in hand I hearthed back to Dala and logged for the night.

The funny thing is that was my first hands on experience with Gearscore ever, and I do mean ever.  I heard about it when it was created at the beginning of wrath and wrote it off as something I didn’t need. Eventually as people kept talking about it and how it ranked gear and assigned a value, I pushed it aside from my thoughts. When I started seeing requirement levels in gear score for easy content, I got a little bit angry at it’s creation, but I had never run across it in all my travels in Azeroth.

Thanks to The Hunting Lodge, I now know the mod was created at the release of Wrath and it’s original goal was to show that the heroic blues (ilvl 200) were on par with the 70 purples (ilvl 154ish) so that people weren’t excluded from Naxx runs. It has since become this oddity that has people calling for 5k Gearscore for heroic runs. Without listening to that I probably would have looked on the above chain of events with a much heavier heart, and some abject hatred to the mod.

To put this in perspective, I installed the mod and had a look-see at all my characters and even the members of my raid. Lodur, my main who is decked out in T9.5 and Tier 10 / 10.5 only ranks about 5795 on gear score. My alt hunter Abigail, in T9 with heroic level trinkets ranks 4900. My tank, in Naxx gear is somewhere around 3799. Most of my raiders are in the 5500 – 5700 score mark and we’re clearing ICC25. It just seems odd to me to cling so hard to a scoring system that only appraises gear, and not skill or personality.

In other P.U.G. related news, I hit a random up last night with my main Lodur, wound up getting Gundrak. I’ve done this place a million times, yet somehow never managed to get Less Rabi achievement . We stacked a group from guild one day to try for it but for some reason it just fell out of reach each time. So we get to Moorabi and the tank pulls I instinctively wind shear the first transformation, and I notice his health is dropping like a rock. I wind shear the second and pop heroism and drop my elemental. he goes for the third transformation, the DK pounds him with a mind freeze and he dies. I see the achievement pop up and I’m one happppppppy Shaman. The hate tells roll in from some of the guildies yet to get it and I log off to go to bed one contented man.

So, how about you guys? Any interesting stories from the P.U.G.-Verse? Have any run ins with Gearscore? Good or bad?

Until next time, Happy Healing

It Came From The P.U.G. : The Val’anyr Curse!

It Came From The P.U.G. : The Val’anyr Curse!

Every night at 3am server time I log back into game and queue up for my daily random heroic. Normally it’s amusing when people inspect me as the healer and see that I have Val’anyr equipped. They normally make comments about feeling more at ease especially when the random is heroic Halls of Reflection.

But recently two events have occurred and seem to be reoccurring since. I’m referring to it as the Val’anyr curse.

About two weeks ago I was doing a PUG heroic on a Monday in the early afternoon. A decent chunk of my guildies were on, and it was a rather enjoyable day. I queue up to do my random of the day and like any healer will tell you 20 seconds went by before there was a group ready and waiting. The random instance it selected was Halls of Lightning. Not a bad instance, all things considered it’s fairly easy. I look at the people in my group, Full i245 lock, hunter mage and paladin. We all inspect each other which seems to be the custom of the pug tool when the paladin exclaims;

“HOLY SHIT! Wet got ourselves a [Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings] !!!! That means I can do this!”

and then he takes off running. He hits the first group, tags them both, and keeps going down the ramp for the second group. Ok, that’s pretty normal, I’ve had a lot of tanks do that no big deal. After a couple seconds of Consecrate being down he moves on to the group on the right, dragging everything with him. Ok healing gets a little more difficult but still bearable, dudes got some good gear and can take the abuse. Again though after a  couple seconds he drags EVERYTHING with him to the next set of adds. Oh, and the boss was there fully lightning charged too. At this point healing is ridiculous. To the tanks credit he manages to hold aggro on it all and the mage and lock are happily AEing to their hearts content, meanwhile I’m playing Yo-Yo with the tanks health as he’s taking a ton of hits all at once. We get through it somehow and he goes

“That was awesome! Lets do that again!”

and before I can even sit to drink he’s off pulling mobs leading up to the gauntlet room and through. At this point I sit down and drink. The dps is smart enough to stay with me and when the tank does die I see in chat from the tank

“too much huh?…. sorry =( I’ll be good now”

the rest of the run was smooth but I’ve seen this behavior become more and more common in the last couple weeks. I’ve had 9 out of 14 tanks see the hammer and just go careening off. I know it’s the hammer because they ALL said something about the hammer before trying to pull half the instance. I asked in guild chat and none of the other healers had seen this behavior either.

The second event was just a few nights ago. I was in a pug Forge of Souls rolling heroic, we were going to do FoS, PoS and finish with HoR, after the first boss is down the tank gives me a compliment on heals, one of the DPS in the group, a Feral Druid, says

“He’s only good because of the hammer, Shaman can’t heal this shit otherwise”

I laughed at first but then the following statement was uttered

“I’m not kidding, I have a Resto Shaman, I know you can’t heal this shit without that mace”

obviously I’m using better grammar than he did but you get the point. So I relay this to guild, I get a tell from one of the newbies

“So… un-equip the hammer, do it without it you got another caster weapon right? Maybe just do it without a weapon I know you can do it and that will stick in his craw for sure.”

I thought it over for a second, and then off came the mace. Second boss went down, the druid made another comment about

“you must be really thankful for that mace”

I casually reply,

“Oh, that. I haven’t had it equipped since you made the first comment. Don’t plan on putting it back on either, matter of fact bet I can do all the rest of the two without a weapon at all.”

Druid tried to call bullshit, but kept inspecting me. A successful (and flawless) PoS and HoR run later the Druid apologizes and leaves the group. So I asked around to some of my friends on the server that have the mace, and sure enough they all said they had similar experiences. The mace is a fantastic healing weapon, it really is. It’s a great lore piece and a sign that a guild is willing to put in the work necessary to construct it, but the general mentality of non healers that it is a godly healing weapon seems to be rather prevalent. So my New Years resolution in wow has been born as a result of this. When using the LFG tool I will no longer equip the mace. I’ve dubbed this the Val’anyr curse, it gives some people false expectations of your abilities.

So how about you out there? Have you noticed people being treated different in PUGs when they have the mace? Do you have the mace and noticed it as well?

well, that’s it for today, Until next time, Happy Healing

Image courtesy of MMO-Champion

Patch 3.3 Makes PUGing Easier

Patch 3.3 Makes PUGing Easier

new-lfg-header-gfx

Back at Blizzcon we received an announcement from the devs that they were implementing new ways to reduce the wrath of the “additional instance” boss, which was already in place on many realms at the time of the convention. As many of you may have noticed this seems to have gone off pretty well and I think at least for now the instance door boss has been put down. Lets hope his respawn timer doesn’t come back up anytime soon, but so far so good. People have been able to farm Headless Horseman to their hearts content and daily heroics don’t see us spending 45 minutes waiting to just zone in.

At the con they also announced that they were going to refine the LFG system as well as add in cross server LFG capabilities to the game. Well in patch 3.3 PTR we are seeing the beginnings of the system. I for one am incredibly excited and can’t wait to see how this feature shapes up. As it stands you can use the system to go into a completely random group, or you can party up with a couple people and random the rest. You can choose your spec or role that you can fill just like in the current LFG system, but now you have the option of assembling a completely random group from different servers, and you get an option to sign up to lead the rag-tag band of misfits you aquire. As a reward you’ll receive a number of Frost Emblems and a helping of gold for your time and trouble. That alone is a good incentive to use the system as money and badges are always a good thing.

For me the biggest draw of this is the cross server interaction. They put that together for us back in an attempt to balance out Battle Grounds (which more or less worked but that’s a topic of debate for another day). Now the idea of being able to go directly to the instance with people pulled from the other servers of my battle group excites me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a group ready to go but missing a tank, and there were none to be found. I just imagine a tank on another server unable to find a group kicking his can around wondering why no one wants to play with him. With this new system, the problem is lessened in theory. With the amount of badges we’ll likely need when Icecrown drops this will help ensure you’re able to find a group.

In a nutshell this will help eliminate those times where you’re sitting around for hours waiting for a group to do something. Just hit a button and shortly thereafter you’re off on a new adventure.

This is also important because there are also plans to use this for raids as well, at least the random group part, but not the cross realm part. Right now the interface for it is buried in the PTR (you can dig and find if you like). This is good for people like me with an army of alts. There are a ton of raids I would love to run on my hunter, like I would love to run her through naxx, but I can never find a group. This would also help struggling guilds that are having trouble filling in the last couple slots of their roster for a raid, just pop open the tool and find a few more folks to join in the fun.

I’m really excited about this feature and I think it will open up a lot more of the game for many people. It will allow greater accessibility to the content of the game for people that otherwise might not have been able to see it.

What do you think? Like it? Hate it? What do you expect from it? Will you use it?

That’s all for today, until next time Happy Healing!

Sig

Image borrowed from wow.com