Today we’re going to take a break from crazy Cataclysm gushing and instead focus on something that I think is very, very important: skill is more important that gear.
Everyone says they agree with this then attributes every person who out-dpses them and every raid that does better than them it’s about gear.
I’ve railed about the whole skill is greater than gear thing before, on several occasions. While my philosophy (and the philosophy of the WHU) is that you should do everything you can do to optimize your character to do the best that you can at whatever you’re doing, none of that matters if you’re standing in void zones or obsessing over meters instead of shooting what you’re supposed to. I’ve talked about the surprisingly low impact of gear, I’ve shown the math for it, I’ve run heroics naked, and the world is still filled with people who blame gear on the failure of their raids.
Well enter Gevlon, of Greedy Goblin fame, who has been preaching the same thing, in much stronger terms, for a long time. And he has put his money where his mouth is, quite literally. Gevlon founded and funded the guild Undergeared, whose purpose was to raid Wrath content only in blue gear. After leveling up the stalwart band of 3.3k Gearscore raiders starting taking down bosses.
As of the time of this writing they’ve cleared Naxx, Sartharion, Malygos, Ulduar, and TotC. They are now working on ICC and are currently 7/12 bosses in. According to Wowprogress, more than 1/3 of the guilds out there have failed to progress as far into ICC as they have… in nothing but blue gear.
Gevlon was kind enough to agree to an interview for the WHU, to talk about what they’ve done and answer some of the more common questions.
-------------------Frostheim: What made you want to do the Undergeared project? What were you hoping to accomplish?
Gevlon: It is mostly answered in this post
. In short, bad players blame lack of gear for their terrible play and lot of OK players accept this nonsense and “help them gear up”. This means to stick with them, boosting them over ICC first wing and ToC again and again. I want to prove that normal mode content needs no gear and those who do 2.5K DPS or die in the first minute are not undergeared but stupid. OK players should leave them rot and go to better guilds where they can play with other OK players.
You talk about OK players, rather than good or skilled players. What skill level do you find is necessary to do all the raid content in blues?
Unfortunately skill have no accepted metric. So saying “skill must be high” is meaningless. I can say he’d better pull 2500+ DPS on the dummy and 3.5K+ in raid environment with all the movements.What are the rules of Undergeared? What gear are you allowed to use?
Blue quality gear, blue gems, enchants without abyss crystal and profession bonuses (including epic leg enchant and epic head for engineers)So could a hunter engineer make himself an epic Nesingwary 4000? If he wasn’t an engineer, could he have an engineer make one for him?
No. Nesingwary is crafted BoE. The only exception from the blue-only rule is the engi-only head, that requires you to be engineer. It’s like the JC trinket just for some reason Blizzard painted it purple, despite it’s not better than JC trinket.
Can you use rep enchants like Sons of Hodir honored/exalted should enchant?
Only Sons of Hodir honored. When we started it, SoH exalted needed daily quests and people claimed it’s “no life” to have SoH exalted.How much of your gold have you spent funding Undergeared?
When you first started Undergeared, how far into raiding content did you think you would get?
I was sure we can clear all content in time. When I started it, ICC was impossible and some bosses are still hard with 20% buff. However Blizzard will nerf it down enough to let every living body kill Arthas.How far do you think you’ll get now?
I guess we’ll be 11/12 at or before 25% and kill Arthas in the summer.I know many people knew you could do Ulduar in blues, since that’s been done before. I also know you had lots of people telling you what bosses you wouldn’t possibly be able to do in blue gear. What were the bosses that “common knowledge” said you could never beat in only blue gear?
This “barrier” increase by every raid. First Gormok will oneshot the tank. We oneshotted him. Then came Anub who is absolutely impossible. Oneshotted. Marrogar will surely kill us: 3 tries. Saurfang was the next impossible, he died first try after 20% buff. Currently Festergut, BQL and Sindy are the favorites of the naysayers, but soon they will have to find new “impossible” boss.How experienced are the raiders in Undergeared? Do they all have mains doing hardmodes?
I have no idea. However some people clearly show signs of being at that boss first time.
Do you use raid stacking to defeat certain bosses, ie. taking very specific combinations of classes for the maximum benefit?
If we can, of course we do. But stacking is very limited by “who is online”.
How do you make sure you only have skilled players? Did you have any unskilled people join up? How did you handle that?
I simply don’t invite to raid those who are performing well (if I have alternative). However really failure people have not came to us. Such people don’t come here because – you know – “content needs gear” and we have none.Many people argue that while high gear levels may not be needed, they make the content easier, give more room for mistakes, and let you take players who may not otherwise be able to hack it and let you kill bosses with fewer wipes. Do you think this is a valid argument?
No. The gear needs to be gained at the first place. You might save a wipe (10 mins) if you get a badge piece for 60 badge = 30 daily heroics = 450 mins. Bad deal.
Since you can only use the same blue gear from boss to boss… what do you do with the loot?
We have the standard loot window popping up and if someone wants it, press need. They will be good for leveling to 85.Undergeared is experiencing raid content in a very different way from mostof us. Most of us get upgrades before moving to the next tier of content, so while the bosses are tougher, so are we, so other than new mechanics the difficulty doesn’t really increase. I imagine for Undergeared each tier of content actually gets harder and harder. What has it been like progressing to tougher bosses without better gear?
The “bosses getting tougher” is not true. ToC was considerably easier than Ulduar. Even ICC first wing is at the difficulty of Ulduar keepers. Only Rotface and Blood princes reached the complexity and difficulty of Yogg. Ulduar was a failure from Blizzard’s standpoint, very few people killed Yogg. So the subsequent instances were tuned much easier. ICC in relevant gear (245) is much easier than Ulduar was in 213.
Do healers and casters actually have mana problems in all blues?
Yes. But mana tide totem and flask of pure mojo helps.I imagine that in the later content like TotC and ICC the fights are taking much longer than they would with a geared raid team. Have you found the need to adjust any strategies to compensate for low dps throughput and limited mana?
The healer mana can be conserved by limiting avoidable damage (not standing in the fire). Low DPS is usually not a problem, few bosses have tight enrage. The fight is simply longer.
What were some of the hardest bosses for Undergeared? What bosses were a easier than you expected?
The hardest was definitely Thorim, oneshotting healers in the arena. Then came Auiraya and Blood princes in ICC. ToC was surprisingly easy. I mean we expected it to be not hard, but oneshotting Anub in blues was a bit shocking.What is the most times that you have wiped on one boss?
Thorim took several days and about 30 wipes. Blood princes were 18 wipes.
Now that you’re downing ICC bosses, are you using the raid buff?
Yes, just like everyone else.We all see pugs advertising for ICC lower spire runs requiring at least a 5,000 Gearscore — and honestly a lot of those pugs fail. Undergeared demonstrates that good gear isn’t necessary — not just in theory, but in practice. If you can do it all in blues, why do you think so many raids wipe so much?
Including useless players. Some of them do considerably less damage than we in blue gear, others cause more damage to the team than they do to the boss. The guy who stand in the face of the bloodbeast and feed Saurfang with energy comes to mind. Also they abuse the tank and the healers for not being able to save them from their own stupidity. If we add “brb mum said bring down the garbage” or “brb phone” in the middle of the bossfight, we get total disaster.How far into content will Undergeared go? When are you done?
Full Naxx, OS, Maly, Ulduar except yogg (we want three lights), ToC, ICC 6/12Common wisdom and theorycrafting here at the WHU suggests that hunters are the best class to bring to… well to anything. Have you found this to be true in Undergeared?
Yes. In low gear hunters, especially BM are about 10-15% stronger than other classes. The pet does not scale well with gear, so it has a high base damage. We often see BM pet significantly outdamaging the hunter.What are Undergeared plans for Cataclysm? Will you continue the mission?
Absolutely. This time we will start raiding the content with everyone else, so we’ll be ahead of many guilds, proving the point even more.
Is Undergeared recruiting?
Yes and will always do .
Thank you so much for your time and in demonstrating to the world that raids are beatable by basic skills, rather than awesome gear.
Thanks for being interested in Undergeared.