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Reading the T10 Leaves on Game and Player

Reading the T10 Leaves

Heather Richtmyre  //  May 12, 2010

What does a character's outfit tell you?


n World of Warcraft, I am much more observant than I used to be, likely because of my increased experience with and knowledge of the game — especially regarding gear.

In the current Wrath of the Lich King expansion, it is more difficult to tell than before if the character wearing a current raiding tier set obtained such through running heroic five-man dungeons, 10- or 25-man content such as Vault of Archavon or Icecrown Citadel — at least through mere inspection of their gear. Achievement-checking has its uses, though it is less applicable on a character that might be the alternate of a highly skilled and experienced player. In such cases a thorough inspection of talent, gem, and enchantment choices helps to provide a better view of a character's approach to raiding. Add-ons such as the infamous Gearscore can attempt to assign a value to the various combinations of gear and enhancements, though the results are quite mixed.

The random dungeon finder also plays into this, as players using it tend to lack information about the rest of the group except for what they're wearing — due to the sheer number of players online, previous experience is unlikely.

Some of this preference for detailed inspection has even spread to areas and characters outside of the sphere of high-end player-versus-environment content. A friend recently asked me for help improving the damage of his Rogue, whose level is somewhere in the low thirties, a state where I would largely expect a player to just show some interest in stabbing the enemy and letting the tank take the ire of any hostile mobs.

Overall, this thorough analysis, as a way of predicting player performance, is a refinement of my first experiences with noting the player wearing Tier Six gear, or riding an Amani Warbear, and gaining some insight into their dungeon progression and experiences. It is shaped by achievements and more accessible tier gear, but still cannot completely predict how well someone will play.

Michael Ubaldi // May 12, 2010 // 10:15 AM

I notice shoulders first, and the sign of i245 or Tier 9 pauldrons in a group might get me to examine the character. Headpieces from Onyxia catch my attention, too, but they're less an indication of lacking gear than a likely alt with access to a raiding guild.

Occasionally I'll choose players for pugs, and Gearscore would certainly be practical. I haven't loaded the add-on yet, though, as its metric dominates some aspects of the game.

Heather Richtmyre // May 13, 2010 // 1:48 PM

Personally, if I was to try a gear-checking add-on, I'd be more likely to choose Elitist Group, as it has features related to showing dungeon experience as well as a thorough overview of the character's gear.

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