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:
- Good players can compensate for their bad gear.
- Bad players need good gear to make up for their lack of skill.
- A bad player in great gear can still wipe all night in Ulduar and fail to clear it.
- A good player in crap gear can clear it.
- 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.
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.
You might also want to read my original post on this topic.