What if GearScore wasn’t an addon?

If your WoW account recently expired (or you never got one), you would have missed out on the GearScore phenomenon. GearScore (GS) is simply put an addon (user made software modification) that assess the quality of  other players gear at a glance, providing you with a score that indicate the level of items that player is wearing. The addon in itself isn’t that remarkable, players have always been concerned with gear and evaluating other players. What have grabbed me is the surrounding controversy -that seemingly any mention of GS is a possibility to spark a debate over it’s use.

The controversy is at it’s core very simple: Those pro GS say it’s an easy way to make sure that undergeared players don’t waste your time, while those against it say it can be falsely inflated (as it doesn’t actually check for intelligent choice of equipment, just it’s quality) and more importantly that it is not a gauge of player skill.

I understand reluctance towards being boxed up and reduced to a simple number (especially for those of us who have literally spent years in game honing our skills), as well as the growing culture of efficiency (previously only held by powergamers) which have become quite normative. In such, I see a tool as GS as a expected kind of development. For a long time we have had guilds use application templates or require you to answer questions to join. It has not been uncommon for PuGs to have standards for how much health, spellpower or damage is needed to join the group. Players who are unable to communicate in English have been refused, or even players with really bad names. All in attempts to ensure that the players on your team are the best possible.

In such, is GearScore really that different?

In the light of this conflict, I wonder how we would perceive a gear score if it wasn’t an addon? What if it was simply a feature installed by Blizzard?

Limitations based on gear have been a way of locking of player areas for a long time. In Molten Core you needed equipment with suited stats (Fire Resist) and all along the game’s evolvement there have been encounters specifically designed as “gear checks”. Now, these “gear checks” are not as obvious as a gear score. They are made so that if you do less then X amount of damage, don’t do Y amount of healing or can’t take Z amount of hits the group will not succeed. While those checks were largely mitigated by the ability of the player, it’s not correct to say that the gear score have at any point been irrelevant.

Further more, there is already an internal kind of gear score system in place from Blizzard. It’s simply hidden. It’s used on several occasions, through rarely explicit. When entering certain vehicles (notably on the first boss in Ulduar) the vehicles healthpool will scale with your gear, and further more; if you recently dinged 80 you would have noticed how several heroic dungeons will be locked for you in the LFD (Looking For Dungeon, an automated group searching tool) until you acquire better gear.

In such, the problem with GearScore is that it doesn’t have the legitimacy that Blizzards features have. While it’s ironic that much of the hate against GearScore is how it is used when excluding players based on a simple number, which means that hate should be directed towards silly player practice rather then some code which is quite clearly labelled as a tool to estimate player potential, I do wonder how GearScore would have turned out if it was Blizzard who designed it.Or better yet – if it was a feature that existed from day one.

Would we call it unnecessary? Unfair? Or would we simply accept it as one of the many ways we evaluate players around us?

Im glad I’m not the new kid on the block.

The latest report from Activision Blizzard could tell us that apparently only 30% of new WoW players make it past level 10. While we know little of how this compare to other MMOs, it does strike me at somewhat low. So, why don’t people keep playing? Isn’t WoW supposed to be this banale game even monkeys could play? Easier then ever? Levels and loot being handed out for free?

For someone playing the game for several years it will seem that way. It often does to me, and I have to stop myself for blurting out old fart comments about how things were when I was young and were lvling my first toon. Yet, I have also had a chance to speak to friends that started playing the game at later stages – and then another answer starts to dawn on me.

Its just too much to catch up on.

Im not really referring to levels here, or even loot. I am talking about game know-how. It’s easy to disregard new players as kiddies that needs to “l2p”, but not all new players are 12 and aiming for at 80DK with a mechanohog (though surprisingly many are…).  People who are both competent and bright in work and day to day life, faces a massive challenge when starting to play. After all, there is no secrets anymore in WoW. No places unexplored, no algorithms undiscovered, no features untried. Learning the game by trial and error is not rewarded, and is frowned upon by other players. But, how are one supposed to catch up on 5 years of intense debating on the finer points of play?

Captain Clueless. My life after raiding and why bad players stay bad.

In the last month or so, after ditching raiding for random and casual leveling, I’ve come across a well of different types of players. Engaging myself in both PuGs and BGs, joining different guilds and hanging around in big cities at off hours, the players I have encountered is somewhat different to those I met when I was engorged in a raidingguild. Admittadly, my researcher-gamer role meant that I always tried to keep an eye out, trying to not get completely locked into my own little world of raiding and tried to get runs in both arenas, Wintergrasp, PuG heroics and even the odd PuG raid. But, all in all seems to me that I am playing with a group of players I previously mostly read about in blogs or forums.

The major difference?

They just don’t have a clue.

I mean that in the nicest possible way. While I appreciate playing with people who know what to do, it’s nothing wrong with playing WoW without any notion of what rotations maximize dps. As long as people are enjoying themselves, I’m of a live and let live inclination. Im just amazed at the conversations I am now observing, conversations I was mostly sheltered from when being in a guild with strong filtering mechanisms (strict application process) and strong social norms.

What shocks me is not that new players are asking questions, but how many times the advice they get is simply horrible.

Let me give some examples:

Q: I have trouble doing this quest! What do I do???

A: Get a boost

And there I had been wondering why new players walked around thinking shouting for a boost would get them anywhere….

Q: How much is this Aquamarine worth?

A: Nothing. Barely worth vendoring.

Me: Actually, it will fetch a few gold at the AH. Jewelcrafters always need them while levelling.

A: According to my Auctioneer its worth 5 copper, but I just transferred here….

And on your old server you had no jewelcrafters and people auctioning them off for less then what they sell to at vendor?

Q (from a little mage): I just dinged 10. What spec should I choose to level?

A: Arcane. It does kick ass damage. Arcane Barrage FTW!

That the spell he mentiones as the kick ass spell is not given until 50 levels later seems of no consequence.

I guess I should not be surprised that game illiteracy is reproduced by peers, but it’s still sad to see in action. Young hopeful players trying to understand the game (though many of them do so in a unpleasant and rude fashion), and is met with advice that will in no way help them conquer the game.

While making gold in the game is not rocket surgery, it requires atleast a minimum of knowledge when it comes to what items are regarded as valuable – and that the central investment in the game is time. In such, I find the statements regarding gold to be particularely damning.

Me: Mr. Priest – it would be great if you could dispel the hex from me. Hard to tank as a frog.

Priest: I didnt train it. Trying to save money. Its only an alt.

Apparently those 20 silver was too much for his budget….

My current GM: I grinded from 70 to 80 so that I could do all the quests later for money.

That the time it took him to grind could have been invested in a myriad of other ways to make way more money then the time it would take him quest, clearly had not entered his mind.

Moral of the story: If you want to get good a the game. Seek out good players. The scrub-nub guild that invites anyone at anytime, could be a gem – but it is also possible to hold tons and tons of really bad advice.

Sorry about the QQ.

It dawns on you as the battle tethers to an end and you retreat battered and bruised to your corner. It’s a rather painful realization. Far from a proud moment, the insight strikes at full force:

That QQ was my fault.

Not only was it my fault, but it was way over the top. I simply overreacted, and it is no one to blame but myself. Shitty moment indeed. It’s always nice when the noobishness, the QQ, the drama or the fail stem from someone else; to be in the Island of Absolute Right and rule it supreme, simply poking fingers at those who stand in the fire, troll or winds up the emo. But it’s not always someone else.

I for one tend to overreact to criticism, desperately trying to prove that in no way was I wrong and if so: it was not my fault. Of course I like to be challenged, so just cause I hate people telling me where I’m failing doesn’t mean I stay away from those situations. In fact, I seek them out (as proved by choice of career and things such as volunteering to lead raids….).  This invariably leads to moments where I am the one flaming up the situation, the one that take things a bit too far. From not letting a discussion die out, to snapping at someone providing a suggestion at a really bad time. We all do at some point or another, but the real question is: what do you do afterwards?

Just say you are sorry

Sorry is a much used word (soz I pulld!), but a sincere apology is rarer to come across. In WoW where the stereotypical alpha male behaviour of “I’m right, fuck off!” (though often rephrased to take more space and in a more polite tone) is the start and end of many conflicts. It’s a tactic I have used to great success myself in PuGs and other fleeting player encounters. But, it doesn’t work when your supposed to meet them again tomorrow night, and the night after, and the night after etc… In such, I have found that a proper apology goes a long way.

Admittance to mistakes needs to be used sparingly (unless everyone is open about theirs), to not end up looking like one who makes errors all the time. But a whisper saying “Hey, sorry about being cross earlier” have for me invariably lead to nice conversations. After all, who don’t like being told that they were right?

Yeah, I’m sorry about the QQ

And if you were looking for some kind of miracle cure to remove the QQ or to get you out of trouble when your the QQ-master, I’m sorry to disappoint you. To offer such a simple solution as an apology, is perhaps redundant. But, have you ever seen an apology in AV? When did you last see one in trade? The emphasis on being professional gamers who have learned how to “l2p”, is leaving less room for trial and error. Less room for making mistakes, admitting to them and moving on. So, perhaps we should go granny on each others asses, and just say we’re sorry?

Need over greed = fairness over freedom? When the game design decide for me.

What grabbed me about the latest patch notes was how a point of great contention and discussion (loot), were now becoming part of a more elaborate system. Larger player structures such as guilds will not really notice the difference, but for those using random groups to complete 5 man content – or even just uses the group finder tool to get to the dungeon faster – will find that their choices have been limited.

If you haven’t read it yet, what the patch note said was:

The Need Before Greed loot system will be the unalterable default looting system for pick-up groups in the Dungeon Finder and has been updated.[ul]

Need Before Greed will now recognize gear appropriate for a class in three ways: the class must be able to equip the item, pure melee will be unable to roll on spell power items, and classes are limited to their dominant armor type (ex. paladins for plate). All items will still be available via Greed rolls as well as the new Disenchant option should no member be able to use the item.

One one hand I am thrilled that these new functions will be added. After all, I know how annoying it is when someone needs an item they cannot use (aka ninja). By limiting who can need on items, it should at least avoid the most obvious of blunders. Further more, adding a disenchant option just make sense. I remember arriving on the server I am now and learning the hard way that on this server the default is “pass” if you dont need the item or you can disenchant it. So, this new function would definitely make that easier and it’s a function that makes sense.

Then on the other hand, it makes me wonder about how this shapes play. Some of the development of classes and play styles were clearly emergent, they came from the players themselves. Lets take the healing paladins, who for a long time didn’t seem to work well until some people decided to put them in caster gear. It caused a bit of huff and hurring in the start when these plate wearing holy warriors wanted to need on dresses, but they proved their worth soon enough. It’s not an issue anymore as plate items with healing stats have been added to the game in plenty, but would it have been possible for the class to develop in that way if the code didnt allow for them to need on cloth items to begin with?

In the history of WoW we have seen many times that flaws in the design have been overcome by player ingenuity, ingenuity that later on have been incorporated into the actual code and have granted new features for play. Still, this ingenuity have always been dependant on a possibility to choose, the freedom to use alternatives. Is streamlining the systems possibly hurting the evolving of the game in the long run?

The link between player practice and changes to the design is strong. The need/greed system in itself is a proof of that. If you are not a WoW player, let me quickly recap how the need / greed system came to be:

When the game was first released and you were in a group with other players, a window would appear on your screen giving you two options: need or pass. If you pressed pass you would decline on your option to get the item, if you pressed need you would be competing for the item with everyone else who pressed need. This competing is simply done by the computer choosing a random number between 1 and 100 and the one with the highest number wins. In this early stage of the game (often called Vanilla WoW) players quickly realized that this system was inferior. After all, while you might not need the item (by need I mean that you would equip it as an upgrade to existing items) there was clearly a need for a 3rd option as many items were not needed by anyone, but could still be sold to a NPC for gold. So, early on everyone passed on the items that dropped, then we asked in party chat if anyone needed and players declared “N” for Need and “G” for Greed. If anyone needed, they manually did a random 100 and let the winner have the item, if it was all greeds, then everyone did a random 100 with the highest as winner.

This was rather time consuming, but it worked to distribute loot in a better accordance with what was seen as fair. When later on in Vanilla a Greed button appeared, it worked well with existing concepts of how loot had been distributed. Simply press need if you need it, greed if you would like to make profit from it, and pass if you dont want it. As mentioned, this had it’s flaws as it didn’t really account for a situation when someone wished to disenchant the item, or in cases where un-needing persons chose the need option (by mistake or willful and malicious intent). The issue of disenchanting have so far been solved by a collective player practice where the those with the enchanting skill choose greed, and everyone else passes (unless someone needs of course). At the end of the run, everyone rolls manually and the shards generated by the enchanter during the run is distributed. The part about un-needing players needing have to some extent been solved by allowing players to trade items won in dungeons between other players present at the time. If someone did need by mistake, it’s now easy to correct by trading. If they did it to be spiteful, well… You can always try asking.

The point about this story is not that I am against incorporating player practices into the design, nor create design that adds functions to the game that will save players time and effort. What I am intrigued by is how this design is telling us what to do. It’s not just saving us time, its saying that there is a right way to distribute loot, and discourages us to think about alternatives.

Ideas of morality are always embedded into design, into code, into technology. However, their ability to limit our actions will vary. Some guidelines for correct use are simply stronger and more limiting then others. Your car wont start without you buckling the seat belt, the blender won’t start if you don’t put the lid on and Vista goes ballistic if you decide you don’t want to have the firewall up. In all these cases the idea about correct use is a rational one, and for the most part a clever one too, but it also takes away options from the you as the user. I’m not advocating that we stop using seat belts, but I can’t help but think that when guarding our creative freedom we should take a look at the artifacts in our daily lives as well.

Just one more patch. Just one more…

With 3.3 drawing closer by the second I am torn in two directions. To play or not to play… Once more the gamer and the researcher in me are not agreeing.

One part tells me to use this patch to finalize the gathering of data, to finish off some interviews, get some footage from raids and wrap it up once and for all. Furthermore, the idea of a new instance with new challenges (hopefully in the same styling as the last raid encounters) is alluring. Not to mention being in a guild filled with raiders hungry for new content. Only problem is really me…

In my time of playing WoW (which have been since release) I have never stuck with one thing for too long. 6-8 months is usually my limit before I reroll, take a break, change server/guild or simply find something else altogether. My time in my current guild is nearing a year. A full year in the same guild, 10 of them as officer and the last 4-5 months as raid leader. It’s starting to wear me down, and once again the idea of an alt somewhere undisturbed sounds wonderful and freeing.

Of course, I have rerolled enough times to know that the grass is only greener on the other side of alting for about 20 hours, then the grind hits you like a fist in the face. But, the concept still haunts me.

As the collector of Fragments for the legendary mace, I felt more then obliged to join on any Ulduar run. That I with the best of my efforts only got 18 of them is something that saddens me when logging on and feels like a huge failure. Not only for me, but for the guild as well. It’s like I let them down.  I could have attended more raids (several fragments went to other players due to my absence), but I know that the truth is that even if I had attended them all: not enough dropped for us to get a mace, and the guild haven’t even done Yogg +1.  But, now with 3.3 we will stop raiding Ulduar, and the pressure to get fragments are gone.

I dont need any more epics.. Ill have a nap

I dont need any more epics.. Ill have a nap

Of course there are some who would like to keep me as raidleader, but I am sure that some are keen on hearing a different voice commanding them around on VT. I never really grew comfortable in the raidleader role, and at times it became just another place where more preperation, more work and more effort on my part would have been possible and saved us all from a whole lot of pain. But then, I know that appraisal of your raidleader, if it ever occurs (whining is the standard after all), is rarely something that happens face to face. Perhaps I should attempt to delude myself of absolute grandeur, that songs of my wits and skill are sung around Great Feasts from Booty Bay to Dalaran, and it’s only in my raids they shut up about it.

Still, there is my research. It has spurred me on so far, and I am hoping that the joy I get from interviewing and gathering bits and bobs, will get my drive for the game going again. That it will help spark that hunger for more. That I again will care if I gain an item thats 12 ilvls higher then the previous, and would rather spend gold on enchanting and gemming that then buying pets for my alts.  That I again will sacrifice good meals for frozen pizza so I can get that extra hour of grinding in, or some sle

ep for a discussion on DKP.

I dont need any more epics…

“Entitlement is for noobs, I am Oldschool!” – The pain of being mainstream

“Dear Devs
Games are easier then ever, allowing everyone and their mom to complete them and get access to all kinds of game content. You no longer have to work for your rewards. Flexibility and focus on pleasure is taking away from the real gaming. This is ruining both MY play experience, but also the purity and spirit of computer games as a whole!
Sincerely, the Oldschool Gamers aka the Real Gamers.”

Ok, I am exaggerating here. But, its not far from where the discussion is going. If its complaining about new World of Warcraft players demanding to see all content in game, or players abandoning newer MMOs cause they are not easy enough – there is a underlying idea about games going away from something true. That the development of games to more accessible design is a step away from what MMOs were meant to be, or even games as a whole.I also recently read a game review where the game’s ruthless system that punished any wrong choice, invoked a sense of pureness in the critics eyes and it was only advised to be played by “serious players”.

It’s not like it’s the first time a subculture lash out in frustration as it takes a commercial and mainstream turn. Just using the last couple of years as an example, you could ask any heavy metal fan, hip hoper, skateboarder and goth about who the “real” ones are, and who are just posers and surely get very passionate (though different) answers.

In such, the gamer community is not being any different. This one just really bothers me as is effectively arguing against the very change that could get computer games more publicly accepted, and in such; get our passion for pixels accepted as a valued cultural activity. Or at the least: convince public opinion that gamers are not harmful to our soul or mental and physical well being.

It is not that I am against games that are difficult, or think that games necessarily are better or worse depending on how many time you have to try something in order to succeed. I am arguing against using it as a trait of quality, somehow separate real games and gamers – from the posers and noobs.

On a ending note I would then give a thumbs up to Nintendo with their “New Super Mario Bros. Wii”. In this game you can choose a Super Guide mode, which basically plays the game for you, when you get to that point where you are simply stuck. So, instead of ending the game cause you are stuck, it lets you see the solution being played through and you can move on. It doesn’t reveal hidden bonuses or levels, so the skilled player will still be the only one seeing and experiencing those. And for mainstream games, I think this is a step in the right direction.

Don’t think of it as cheating. Think of it as the golden ticket. A golden ticket to see the end game. After all, most players never play through games, they never get to see the last boss, try the final puzzle, see the lair of their evil nemesis. If it’s meaningless for you to face off against a boss if you didn’t get their entirely by “own hands”, then don’t activate the Super Guide mode. If you want to see how it all ends, for the love of God – please do.

I still have haunting nightmares about what was after that dreadful carpet ride and lava sequence in Aladdin on my SegaMega 16 bit. I’m sure I would have kicked Jafar’s ass if I just could get in range of him…

Get them apples!

Get them apples!

Raiding is to be on top of the pile. But what pile to choose?

The time of raiding being equalled with hardcore is perhaps gone, but there seems to be a scale where casual soloplay is at one end and doing world first is at the other. However, for the parts inbetween its so blurry that its very sweet to see how the one and same guild can hold two entirely seperate meanings.

Just this week I saw an example of how my guild (a casual 25man raidingguild who is muddling its way through hardmodes atm) was both a step up and stepping stone for two different people. With anonymity in mind I will call them Jane and Juliet (yes deliberately choosing female pseudonyms here, as well… why not?).

Jane applied to us earlier this week, and told about how she had been playing with friends for a long time, but were hungry for more. Her previous guild consisted of close friends and were limited to doing only 10 mans, and even that was a bit haphazard. She had after much deliberation decided to take the big step, to join a “proper” raidingguild. She wanted 25 mans, she wanted hardmodes, she wanted fun -and we were it! Accepted for a trial, I was happy to think about moulding this new player into a solid raider that would contribute to our guild. Another pupil to teach the ropes.

Juliet however, left us this week. She had been playing with the guild from the start, was a very active and performance oriented player. As an officer and part of the core she was a key player and someone with strong social ties in the guild. Apparently after much thinking she had decided that she wanted progress more then friendship, and was leaving us to join a more hardcore guild. In her farewell thread she highlighted our sense of community and attiude, and while no offence was taken: implied that we were a nice bunch, but we werent good enough players for her to hang around.

So, both players had to do a weighing of friendship versus progress – or atleast that’s how both decided to frame it, perhaps cause it’s an accepted and expected dilemma we can all relate to – but one left and one joined. For one, my guild was a step towards hardcore raiding – for another it was a casual, friendly place that was holding them back. Its not really about being more or less hardcore, or more or less social. Its not even about finding a better guild to be on top of the pile, about choosing a pile. A sense of accomplishment and achievement is not something the game grants, its something that the player brings.

I am sure that in the guild Juliet is going to, people have left them in order to join more progressed guilds, leaving with a goodbye note saying “your a great bunch of people, but I want more hardcore stuff”.  Either way, I wish both Juliet and Jane the best of luck. Hopefully they both find a pile to rule.

Industrial Gaming: Making money from games by not using them as games

Recently I attended the track Industrial Gaming at a conference here i Trondheim. The idea behind Industrial Gaming is for another industry then the Gaming Industry to benefit from developments that are done in and around computergames.

If you haven’t heard about it before, here is a brief into. As a field its just in it’s very beginning, but could be described in following terms:

  • Its  a subset of Serious Gaming
  • It want to take advantage of the symbiosis between industrial competence and game developer knowledge
  • It seeks to employ technological advancements in the computer game field
  • It wishes to use experience and know-how from games to create realistic and entertaining training sessions and a improved work flow.

This is the second time around I have seen Industrial Gaming present itself, and indeed there are some strong links between the Industry (in this case mainly the Oil Industry as it’s organized by Statoil Hydro), and Gaming – links that could benefit both.

First of all, much of the computer hardware used to process data have been driven forward by the development of games – but that could be said about most things done on a computer.  That they focused greatly on the technical side of things wasn’t that surprising, as technical development is alot more tangible then something as vague and ephemeral as “competence”. I commend Industrial Gaming for is trying to see what possibilities computer games can offer outside being a great tool for entertainment, but that is also not new: It’s been well argued that games have much to teach in about f.ex how we learn and how learning could be more rewarding.

What’s more important is that many of the people working with visualization processes in this field have experience from programming games or at the very least: Playing them. The experiences from games can be applied to non-game situation by using game developers knowledge of how to f.ex create good user interfaces, a good workflow and intuitive systems. What boggles me is that so few seems to bother to ask gamers about that?

If one thing has been shown in the history about computer games its’ that gamers often know more about how to improve the game then the developers.

Computergame developers do play games, but its the gamers themselves that sits with the many hours of experience with different systems and interfaces. If you want to know what engages players, ask them! If you want to know what feels intuitive in a UI, ask them! Gamers is a group that have extensive experiences (and usually a very reflected experiences at that) with human computer interactions – extending over several platforms and systems. But, as many times before – so few seem to be willing to recognize this as a type of expertize. I guess that if the gamer community dont, then noone else will…

What would it take for you to aknowledge skills achieved through gaming?

Skill and gear: Who’s myth is really being debunked?

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?