Skill vs gear. Its one of the oldest and most discussed topics amongst WoW players. Its up there with “casual vs hardcore” ™ as one of the favourite things WoW players like to argue about amongst themselves. Its like one of the biggest philosophical questions we ask to each other, who cares about the meaning of life: Is it gear or is it skill that is most important?
Gevlon have over the last week been working on a series of post where he tries to really debunk the issue of gear entirely when it comes to raiding. First, he gets a 10 man group together, gets them all in blues and does Ulduar 10. He then goes to argue how this accomplishment proves that gear is only an amplifier for existing skill, and by not any means a prerequisite of progress. In such it cannot be used as an excuse for failing, ever again. Its easier to gain skill then gear, and the ultimate solution is then to buy your way into trialist spots.
The Greedy Goblins contentious writing style has already been well commented this week by Tobold, but this time I will let myself be provoked. I am bated, cause I have been engaged by this age-old gear vs skill debate. Mostly, cause I am not sure who Gevlon is arguing against.
Who is actually saying that gear matters more then skill? Who is fronting the war of stats and pixels over experience and knowledge? I haven’t seen any.
In over 4 years of playing and studying this game – I have never once heard anyone saying that gear is more important then skill. Gear used as an excuse to exclude/include someone in a group, sure. Gear used as an excuse for lack of progress, sure. Gear used as filter when looking at applications, sure. But, when confronted with it, someone actually saying ” gear > skill ” – no way! Gevlon seems to be knocking in open doors.
What I have heard alot of, is people complaining about the skill level of others. Complaining cause other players are not approaching the game with the same mentality as they do. Gevlon has neatly labeled everyone who don’t treat the game with an instrumental approach of reaching goals, critical learning and effectiveness as M&S (morons&slackers).
The argument that skill > gear seems more then anything to be a desire to prove to this M&S group (also referred to as casual players or socials) that they are failing at the game because they don’t have the skill set, and gear will not help with that. To Gevlon they are failing cause they don’t read Elitist Jerks, they are failing cause they cant do more then 1500 dps, they are failing cause they are standing in the fire. Its an argument towards as group of players, who simply bring a different set of ideals and values when they engage with the game. An argument for them to play like him.
Its valid enough to encourage and motivate others to approach the game the same way as you, but is that really relevant in the gear vs skill debate? It sounds more like a hardcore vs casual debate to me. After all, the main argument is that if you approach the game in a hardcore way (defined by reading strategies, theorycrafting, min maxing the potential of the character, doing boring tasks like rep or money farm in order to get benefits) you will have the skill necessary to succeed. Gear is after all irrelevant, is it not?