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The Psychology of Gear Scores

January 15th, 2010

While listening to the discussion between BrigwynDaewin and Nassira on The Hunting Lodge Podcast about gear scores and how they should be used, I was reminded of something I recently learned in my Intro Psychology class.

We were learning about the discussion about how heredity and environment effect a person’s intelligence.  As with many topics in the field, there are some who believe intelligence is determined solely by your genes.  In Warcraft, I associate this view with those who believe performance (let’s go with DPS to make explanations easier) is based solely on your gear level.  In both cases, there are many examples out there where you can see that this isn’t true – take two Hunters wearing the same gear, and their DPS could be quite different.

On the other hand, there are those who believe intelligence is based on environment:  how you were raised, how motivated you are, and so on.  In Warcraft terms, I think of these people as those who believe that no matter what gear you have, you can perform just as well as anyone else if you’ve got the skill and know how 2 play.  Again, this is clearly not true – you can see that in your own character: while your abilities and playstyle might not change, as your gear improves, so do your numbers.

In the end, there are grounds for both sides.  What’s important is how they interact.

In psychology, we learned a theory that heredity imposes upper and lower bounds on intelligence, and environment determines where you land between those limits.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  Gear (and gear score) do matter… you can only perform as well as your gear allows.  But your abilities and skill play a very important part, and should count just as much (if not more), as it determines if you’re able to reach the peak of your potential.

So there you have it – I’ve applied my Psychology class to a video game.  That’s what school is for, right?

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7 comments to “The Psychology of Gear Scores”

  1. That is the most intelligent and well written thing I’ve seen regarding the what-the-fuckery that is Gearscore.


  2. A+
    Negathle´s last blog ..In over a hundred games of Wintergrasp… My ComLuv Profile


  3. I listened to the interview that brig and dae did with the developer of gearscore, and he is even like that is not what it is for. He developed it because people were getting into runs over people with better gear. Meaning people in 70 epics were getting into a run over someone with heroic blues because the gear was purple not blue. That was the purpose of his addon… to show the real value of gear. He did not intend it be the reason that people do not get into gear runs. He did not intend for if your gearscore is not x then you cannot run with us stuff. He even states gear does not beat skill. He said people can have the best gear but still not know how to play.


  4. You have written a must read article. Very well done.
    Nochecazador´s last blog ..Thank You Healers My ComLuv Profile


  5. Honestly, the only thing I do with GS is I look at your average item level, and I think to myself, “Okay, assuming you’re not a complete fucktard, we should be fine.” Then I watch your performance to support or not support my hypothesis that the group won’t suck.

    Though I turned off GearScoreLite to try out the Elitist Group addon, this is a spot-on explanation of GS.


  6. [...] Brajana wrote an awesome piece on “The Psychology of GearScore” [...]


  7. Hehe Nice post! :) Some say it’s 50/50 environment to genetics…I’d put another 1/3 into the mix : EFFORT.
    Nassira´s last blog ..The Switch to ArPen Build My ComLuv Profile