What gear is required for a raid

The reactions to Gevlon’s feat of clearing Ulduar-10 in blues show that many players have fallen into the trap of thinking gear is the only solution to clearing raids. Gevlon called it a myth because he likes to be provocative and sensationalist, but at least on this he has a point.

Here’s the argument:

  1. Good players can compensate for their bad gear.
  2. Bad players need good gear to make up for their lack of skill.
  3. A bad player in great gear can still wipe all night in Ulduar and fail to clear it.
  4. A good player in crap gear can clear it.
  5. Therefore skill is more important than gear.

This is a continuum though, more on that below. Skill is not a binary key that lets you beat content; sure you need some gear too but perhaps less than commonly thought.

People have become accustomed to tanks having loads of HP, and will reject them for heroic 5-mans if below 25K HP. Most tanks know this and equip stam-gear that gets them into the party, which they can then swap for more appropriate trinkets or whatnot before the first pull. Deliberately over-gearing content has become many PUGs’ preference, and for some they have elevated gear to being required in order to clear the heroic.

In most raiding guilds, there are top members who can help carry the less skilled raiders. They compensate in their dps/hps/tanking/mobility skills, and often gear too. How often do you raid with a really good team of 10, and just nail the content, and feel really great? It’d be nice if it happened more. When it does though, you know everyone was pulling their weight.

Mostly you will raid with a few people who are some order of magnitude less capable than your best. You can compensate for this by getting them better gear. This leads to the saying “we can’t do this boss until we get better gear”, which also means “because we need it to compensate for screwups”.

This in turn has led people to adjust the minimum gear threshold they think you need to clear content. That’s part of how this myth was born.

Possible, but hard

Remember when Naxx was first released we had to clear it in blues. That’s possible but hard.

The distinction that has been forgotten is that content can be ‘possible, but hard’. Gevlon showed even Ulduar 10 is possible in blues, albeit it takes skill. The point is that it is possible. You do not automatically wipe in blues, which was the commonly-held belief. Again, therefore showing skill contributes to the level of content you can clear to a greater degree than many people appreciate.

Everblue commented eloquently on Kadomi’s entry about this:

Generally gear does not mean that you can complete or not complete an encounter I reckon, I think it just gives you an acceptable buffer zone so that the RNG+normal human fuck-up-ness doesn’t wipe you every time.

I made a diagram which might help people communicate what I’m saying. I hope I don’t need to argue this point, it seems self-evident to me. Note the diagram is not perfectly matching the gear/content thresholds required but it communicates the principle.

truth and mythYou might also want to read my original post on this topic.

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10 comments to What gear is required for a raid

  • RJK

    Great Graphs! I know this whole discussion has made me want to increase my skill level, before this, not totally, but it was more…I need better gear.

  • If I’d known you were going to quote me I would have tried to come up with something wittier. Perhaps rhyming…

  • Is nice graphs. I would argue though what the lines shifts with familiarity. If ya knows a fight backwards and forwards, is much less chance fer something ta go wrong (assumings ya ain’t cocky and asleep at the wheel). Is been demonstrated what a guild what done farmed Ulduar ta the point where they can sell raid slots can handle doing it in blues, in “hard but possible” mode. Could it be done by a buncha buggers what’s in blues ’cause they ain’t even done Naxx evers, let alone seen Ulduar? I thinks we’s gonna have ta wait a long, long time before anyone pulls that off.

  • This is all so very true and tanks get it the worst I think. Many is the time ive gone into a heroic when I tried tanking and got booted cause the lazy healer didnt like the fact I didnt have 30k+ health or something. I spent yesterday doing a few heroics with my friend who recently dinged at on his prot paladin. He had literally just got def capped and we hit heroics, including more challenging ones like UP. No wipes or deaths.

  • Hinenuitepo

    Trial of the Crusader is not harder than Ulduar. I did all my 25-man work within my guild and it was simple. For 10-mans, however, I tanked it (I’m lifelong dps) in a mix of badge gear that left me 100 short of hit cap with very poor parry (but def-capped at least) with a mixture of alts, alt-specs, and pugs every week. It was occasionally frustrating – and even required returning a later night with less fail, but it was still relatively simple to plow through with mostly undergeared players.
    Once you’re into the Ulduar Keepers, things do become harder and while that Chinese guild in BC and the Tawainese guild in LK proved (as opposed to Gevlon) that you CAN clear content tuned higher than your gear, most folks won’t be clearing Ulduar in blues.
    Now, from what I’ve seen of heroic TOC, at the very least a sub-232 tank will be one-shot on many of the fights and no amount of skill can prevent that.

    In addition, the point many folks have made (not just the Gobby) is that with badges allowing anyone to wear almost full 8.5, there’s lots of poor players in great gear. It certainly saddens me to see people in gear virtually identical to mine pulling sub-2000 dps in heroic daily pugs.

  • Arencey

    You are right my friend I hate this crap, I have yet to step into a raid because people have unrealistic ideas of how much hp I should have as a tank, I literally got booted from a reg toc 10 a few weeks ago while in full t9 or better gear, I’m stuck farming dailys for months to come until I’m overgeared enough for people to allow me into ICC 10.

  • Find Death Records

    I only wanted to drop you a short note to let you know that I really enjoy your blog. Thanks! Keep on the good work

  • [...] Myth of Gear Some people have pointed out that gear is a myth, and that gear will always matter less than player skill. But what has more influence on an [...]

  • [...] What gear is required for a raid? Recently Gevlon’s guild cleared Ulduar 10 in blues, opening a discussion on the relative value of gear and skills. Gravity has some good commentary, but the payoff is the beautiful Tufte-like graphs at the end. [...]

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