Does raiding in PVP gear indicate a bad player?

I'd been noticing an interesting trend in-game lately, so last week I posed a hypothetical question to Twitter, asking raiders how they would react if one of their raiders showed up to raid in PVP gear. The answers were quite varied. Some examples:

• Laugh them out of the raid.
• Ask them where their raiding gear is.
• Pick someone else from wait list unless they have a very good reason for using it.
• If it's the best gear you have, it's the best gear you have.

(One person's response was "I also have to consider that I look about 1000% hotter in my PvP gear than any PvE gear right now. Image matters!" And who can argue with that?)

Overall, the general consensus was that PVP gear = unacceptable. Some people said that this hypothetical raider would need to work on getting better gear before the next raid. Others implied that showing up in PVP gear was a sign of laziness, or that it was to bypass the Heroic item level requirement. Someone even said that someone too lazy to farm the proper PVE gear would probably be an unskilled player who would stand in fire.

Well guys, I am that player.

I raid in 4 pieces of PVP gear. This is not through laziness or lack of effort, but rather, a calculated analysis of stat weights and bonuses as they apply to my class and spec. For Frost Dual-Wield DKs, the PVP 2pc + 4pc bonuses of +250 Strength makes wearing PVP gear better than any combination of pre-raid equipment I could be sporting from heroics/reputation vendors. It is MATHEMATICALLY SUPERIOR.

But apparently because it's PVP gear, I'm a scrub. Damn!

To be fair, I didn't tell anyone I was talking about myself. But that's sort of the point. I wanted reactions to be completely honest and genuine. Had I made it known initially that I was the one using PVP gear, I doubt the responses would have been as blunt and straightforward as they were.

I would like to gently suggest that if you see an unusual equipment choice, don't automatically assume that player is bad. Don't assume you know more than them about their class.

Sometimes a Green is better than a Blue. Sometimes a Blue is better than a Purple. Sometimes PVP is better than PVE.

And sometimes other players actually do know what they're doing.

But even more importantly - what's with the hate? The condescension? The idea that you would automatically reject a player, and insult and/or laugh at them, without even asking them to explain their choices?

Sounds a bit too much like those "LFM ICC 5.5K GS ONLY" spammers in Trade to me.

Anyone remember this from not so long ago? Dedicated raiders who had done their research were still using Naxx/Obsidian Sanctum trinkets in the ToC or ICC days because they were still BiS. And Gearscore Gary would berate them for their "bad" gear, because they were clueless and saw only a low item level.

How about a more recent example? Hunters, remember Rowan's Rifle of Silver Bullets? Yes, it's a tanking gun. It was also, for 10-man raiders, the best ranged weapon a hunter could get prior to killing the Lich King. PROVEN BY MATH. Yet how many ignorant (not even malicious, just unaware) players saw you sporting that weapon and assumed you were a bad hunter? At best, it was tiresome. At worst, it was infuriating to be "called out" by someone who had no idea what they were talking about.

Is this really the type of raider - no, person you want to be?

Because my choices are unusual, I don't mind quizzical inquiries or confusion. One of my best friends in my guild was, and likely still is, skeptical about this. I don't blame him or anyone who responded to my question on Twitter for being apprehensive. It's only natural, especially since historically PVP gear always HAS been inferior.

But all I ask is that you have an open mind and not jump to conclusions. Ask me why I'm using what I am, like my guildie did! Please don't simply TELL me that I am bad without knowing the facts/logic behind my choices.

Now granted, mine is a special case. As mentioned above, the DK PVP bonus is +250 Strength, and for Frost Dual-Wielders, Strength is ridiculously prioritized over all other stats. For example, a single point of Strength is worth 5 Haste or Crit.

For me, PVP gear is awesome. Would it be the same for another class? Or even another DK, but one who is Unholy or 2-Hand Frost?

I have no idea. I haven't done the math or read up on them extensively (though I've heard the PVP bonuses are similarly great for MM Hunters and Resto Druids). But what I do know is this - I'm not going to automatically reject them. I'm not going to assume that they're obviously a bad player. And I'm CERTAINLY not going to ridicule them without even finding out their reasons.

After all, they might just be onto something.

* * * * *

For those interested in the math behind DK PVP/PVE pieces, here it is. All PVE pieces are the Heroic versions or bought with Justice Points.

DK Stat Weights (from Elitist Jerks)


Meta gems excluded for Helms because it would be the same in each one.

Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Helm TOTAL: 911.46
+260 Strength 681.2
+480 Stamina
+153 Mastery 125.46
Gems: +40 Strength (Bold Inferno Ruby, no PVE bonus) 104.8

Stonemason's Helm TOTAL: 968.76
+242 Strength 634.04
+454 Stamina
+142 Crit 82.36
+202 Haste 96.96
Gems: +50 Strength, +20 Hit (Etched Demonseye, +30 Strength Bonus) 155.4

Helm of Easeful Death TOTAL: 990.44
+242 Strength 634.04
+454 Stamina
+162 Haste 77.76
+182 Mastery 149.24
Gems: +40 Strength, +30 Mastery (Bold Inferno Ruby, +30 Mastery Bonus) 129.4

Anomuran Helm TOTAL: 982.04
+242 Strength 634.04
+454 Stamina
+162 Crit 93.96
+182 Mastery 149.24
Gems: +40 Strength (Bold Inferno, +30 Crit Bonus Ignored) 104.8

Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Shoulders TOTAL: 754.44
+218 Strength 571.16
+357 Stamina
+138 Expertise 132.48
Gems: +40 Strength (Bold Inferno Ruby, +10 Str Bonus Ignored) 104.8

Pauldrons of the High Requiem TOTAL: 941.48
+205 Strength 537.1
+337 Stamina
+111 Hit 135.42
+161 Expertise 154.56
Gems: +40 Strength, +10 Expertise (Bold Inferno Ruby, +10 Expertise Bonus) 114.4

Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Chestpiece TOTAL: 1043.54
+280 Strength 733.6
+480 Stamina
+173 Crit 100.34
Gems: +80 Strength (2x Bold Inferno Ruby, no PVE Bonus) 209.6

Phantom Armor TOTAL: 1153.24
+262 Strength 686.44
+454 Stamina
+172 Crit 99.76
+192 Mastery 157.44
Gems: +80 Strength (2x Bold Inferno Ruby, +20 Strength Bonus Ignored) 209.6

Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Gauntlets TOTAL: 844.32
+218 Strength 571.16
+357 Stamina
+138 Hit 168.36
Gems: +40 Strength (Bold Inferno Ruby, +10 Strength Bonus Ignored) 104.8
Equip: Your Chains of Ice ability now generates an additional 10 runic power.

Gear-Marked Gauntlets TOTAL: 825.3
+205 Strength 537.1
+337 Stamina
+150 Haste 72
+130 Mastery 106.6
Gems: +40 Strength, +10 Haste (Bold Inferno Ruby, +10 Haste Bonus) 109.6

Reaping Gauntlets TOTAL: 838.3
+205 Strength 537.1
+337 Stamina
+111 Crit 64.38
+161 Mastery 132.02
Gems: +40 Strength (Bold Inferno Ruby, +10 Strength Bonus Ignored) 104.8

Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Legguards TOTAL: 1026.24
+280 Strength 733.6
+480 Stamina
+173 Haste 83.04
Gems: +80 Strength (2x Bold Inferno Ruby, no PVE bonus) 209.6

Legguards of Winnowing Wind TOTAL: 1144.6
+262 Strength 686.44
+454 Stamina
+167 Crit 96.86
+185 Mastery 151.7
Gems: +80 Strength (2x Bold Inferno Ruby, +20 Mastery bonus ignored) 209.6

Of the five slots, the PVP shoulders are the worst compared to their PVE counterpart, so let's leave those out to make up our four PVP pieces. Here is a comparison of PVP vs PVE (the PVP gloves are in both sets because they are better than any of the PVE options.)

Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Helm TOTAL: 911.46
Pauldrons of the High Requiem TOTAL: 941.48
Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Chestpiece TOTAL: 1043.54
Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Gauntlets TOTAL: 844.32
Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Legguards TOTAL: 1026.24
2pc + 4pc PVP Bonus of +250 Strength TOTAL: 655
PVP TOTAL: 5422.04

Helm of Easeful Death TOTAL: 990.44
Pauldrons of the High Requiem TOTAL: 941.48
Phantom Armor TOTAL: 1153.24
Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Gauntlets TOTAL: 844.32
Legguards of Winnowing Wind TOTAL: 1144.6
PVE TOTAL: 5074.08

The PVP set will also include +78 Stamina and bonus Runic Power when snared/rooted.

Additionally, if you can get one of the PVP pieces from Tol Barad's Argaloth (something entirely doable in a PUG group), the PVP gear becomes even more advantageous. I happen to have Vicious Gladiator's Dreadplate Legguards, which are an amazing +60 Strength improvement over the best PVE legs.

EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that the PVP set bonuses are being nerfed to HALF their flat stat value. Boo! But out of curiosity, let's re-examine the PVP Gear set and see what the numbers are...

Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Helm TOTAL: 911.46
Pauldrons of the High Requiem TOTAL: 941.48
Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Chestpiece TOTAL: 1043.54
Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Gauntlets TOTAL: 844.32
Bloodthirsty Gladiator's Dreadplate Legguards TOTAL: 1026.24
2pc + 4pc PVP Bonus of +125 Strength TOTAL: 327.5 (difference of 327.5)

What do you know? STILL BETTER! :D

18 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    *cough* In my defense, I have indeed had a hunter guildie show up for a raid in PvP gear simply because he didn't understand the difference between PvP gear and PvE gear. And the only reason I noticed his gear was because his DPS was abysmal. Otherwise I hardly ever inspect anyone.

    Sadly, no matter how much we tried to teach him about stats, rotations, and even simple things like not standing in the fire, he never got them. Honestly, we (myself and the hunter class lead) spent many frustrating months on him. So that certainly coloured my view at least a little bit.

    Anyways, I don't think wearing PvP gear to a raid on its own is a sign of a bad player. More like just one of many possible symptoms.

    January 26, 2011 at 2:26 PM

  2. gravatar

    I remember ages ago when I leveled my first warrior. Back then you got a staff from completing the Wailing Caverns quests, and if you had some help (boosts *cough*) you could get that staff at really low levels. I got it at level 11 or so, and for that level it had awesome dps and nice high end (it was itemized for level 20). But it was a staff. I think it might even have had spirit or something. So people pointed and laughed. And I just asked them if they could find another blue with even half the dps of my staff? Maybe some twink item for 500g. No one could, so I ignored them and went on owning zevra ass with my staff. Looks can be deceiving!

    January 26, 2011 at 2:28 PM

  3. gravatar

    @Faeldray - Honestly, I'm sure that 95% of the time someone shows up in PVP gear it's because it's the best they could get. I have no doubt that most of the time everyone who had a negative reaction would be completely right in their assumption! I just wanted to point out that every now and then even the best players (which is who I consider the Twitter crowd to be) can be surprised. ;) Funny about your old guildmate too.

    @Zinn - I too remember having a similar experience like that! I think it was also a staff. It's funny how they built those caster staffs with (relatively) great melee DPS, haha.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:16 PM

  4. gravatar

    Historically speaking, there are occasional fights where PvP gear (with Resilience) comes in handy. Like, say, Kael in MgT. I figure that won't be the last we see of the occasional boss in an instance needing PvP.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:19 PM

  5. gravatar

    You're right on the money with this post. Sniz got into Requiem with about 5 pieces of PVP gear, but that's just because they were better than anything pre ICC 25 for his rogue at the time. Blizzard is actually lowering the bonus on nearly every PVP 4 piece because THEY KNOW that sometimes PVP gear is better than PVE. They're nerfing the four piece bonus because it's negating a lot of gear intended for PVE. In general, equal item level pieces will show a non-PVP item to be superior, but not always, it's really dependent on what stats they have and what their stat weights are. I could not agree more with you on your stance on this subject. Well said.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:54 PM

  6. gravatar

    To me, it's all about the math when it comes to stuff like this. If someone came to a raid I was leading with 9 pieces of Vanilla gear I would laugh. If they then gave me concrete math, like you just did, to show me how and why these were upgrades to most anything (loot drops = RNG = DROP MY SHIT OZRUK FUCK) in current content, okay.

    I can't say I blame people for the "wtf" when others come in with PVP/odd choices in gear, but I do agree that simple "NO GET OUT WTF NOOB" is a pretty terrible mindset to approach *anything* with, much less a team sport like raiding is.

    - Bug

    January 26, 2011 at 4:04 PM

  7. gravatar

    @Bug - speaking of Vanilla gear! Did you hear about the Resto druid(s?) that got a full 8pc T1 (maybe T2) that let them have a zero-CD Tranquility, and would just Tranquility faceroll through Wrath heroics? Now that's impressive, haha.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:14 PM

  8. gravatar

    I do hope you've picked up more traditional pve gear. PVP set bonuses are getting nerfed in the 406 patch for this very reason.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:29 PM

  9. gravatar

    @Rades: Yes!! That's what I was thinking of! Ingenious things like that should never be discounted because of the "almighty" ilvl of gear.

    What I'm interested in most of all was my own reaction to your post.

    I remember you asking the question on Twitter and I responded something along to lines of "Get out, unless there is math behind your decision". Harsh? No question in my mind was it harsh, but that's just the crowd of gents/ladies I roll with in raids. We're strict about gear (that's about the only thing we're strict on).

    Yet reading my post I felt awkward enough to go back and read what I replied with, just to make sure I wasn't too mean. When it was a general question? Oh God yeah, I'll be harsh all day. But a question about someone whose blog I enjoy reading every update? Maybe... maybe a bit harsh, but only a little, I *really* don't want him/her upset at me.

    It's one of those things you *never* think yourself capable of doing ("Me? I just say it how it is, brother! I never hold punches, never! Back in college they called me 'The No-Spin Zone'!"). Alas! ;D

    - Bug

    January 26, 2011 at 4:31 PM

  10. gravatar

    "Yet reading *YOUR* post..."


    - Bug (again)

    January 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM

  11. gravatar

    @Anon - Yeah, it makes me sad but I do have a collection of Heroic/JP gear that I'll have to switch to when they nerf the PVP bonuses. Dammit! Haha.

    @Bug - No worries, that's why I asked the question as if it were someone else. I *wanted* those harsh but sincere reactions to gauge this whole issue by. No offense taken. And actually, your answer wasn't even bad, since you said it was fine if the person had the math to back it up, a perfectly reasonable expectation!

    January 26, 2011 at 4:35 PM

  12. gravatar

    I raided the very tail end of Wrath with a PvP shield - I was trying for a Heroic drop, but I never got it, and the PvP shield was actually pretty good, stat-wise. In MY opinion, as long as the player has a well-researched reason for having PvP gear, and it IS better than gear they could've gotten... *shrug* Whatev.

    January 26, 2011 at 5:04 PM

  13. gravatar

    I remember showing up for my first raid. A friend invited me, and I'd not run any dungeons while leveling after a Deadmines wipe early on. I'd been PvPing along and had a nice set of Brutal gear, but I had read things on the internet and KNEW that it wasn't appropriate for a raid.

    So I'm standing in Naxx, in PvP gear and spec, wondering.. oh god, please don't let anyone notice me. Please don't let them notice me.

    I think I did about 1800 DPS that night, which was an all-time best, but there were locks pulling 4k who were AWESOME. OMG.

    I got my first PvE drop that night, the Gloves of the Fallen Wizard. Thus began my PvE set, which took a while to build and never shed all of its PvP roots. (I don't think I've had a set of PvE bracers yet.)

    I was one of the ones who answered "if it's their best gear, it's their best gear," but that wasn't a condemnation of the player. People take different times to gear up, and I don't expect raiders to be in BiS gear. Heck, if they're wearing clothes, they're off to a good start. But I don't expect BiS gear immediately.

    What I find interesting about this argument is that somehow, if the 4-pc Bloodthirsty set is slightly worse than the badge gear, you're somehow a noob for wearing it. Just because something is not superb does not render it useless. It's okay to have good, not great, gear!

    btw - I wore my PvP set into OS last night, my first raid since Cataclysm started.

    And I looked GOOD.

    January 26, 2011 at 5:58 PM

  14. gravatar

    I don't think people give PvP gear a fair shake. There are truly some pieces that are better itemized than a PvE counterpart. A good example was the PvP caster shield at the end of Wrath – it was fugly as hell but it was pretty nice stat wise. I farmed the 25 man ICC shield for months and it never dropped for my Holy Paladin. So it was either the PvP shield or the 219 one from normal Pit of Sauron in for me, not much of a choice really since my guild was way past the earlier Wrath raids that dropped a shield.

    If I’m in a dungeon or a raid with someone in PvP gear I would let them stay if the gear is consistent for their spec. I would at least give them a chance to prove they are horrible than just kick them outright over gear choices. J I was rocking the regular Trial of the Champion trinket Tears of the Vanquished every time I downed the Lich King on my Priest so I’m not going to knock another’s creative gear choices. Sometimes odd things just work for people.

    Also, the new armor models on the PvP gear blows the Tier and Heroic models out of the water in shear looks, at least for Priests. I run around all the time in PvP gear because it looks better than those horrible, drab Heroic ones.

    January 26, 2011 at 10:35 PM

  15. gravatar

    What it comes down to is this is likely a design oversight and is unintended. The best players find things like this...(ArP stacking etc). Ride it until the wheels fall off. Also assuming the resil isn't replacing haste, how does losing that other secondary stat factor in? I don't even necessarily mean on that piece of gear. Like what other piece gets reforged to mastery now instead of hit due to the extra hit from a pve piece? This is really a statistical nightmare or dream depending on your perspective on math.

    January 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM

  16. gravatar

    @Pelt - the answer to stat reforging is that I reforge for a BOATLOAD of Expertise. At one point a few week ago every reforge change was either for Expertise or turning useless Crit/Haste into Mastery.

    Recently I switched to Heroic Magnetite Mirror (+285 Expertise) to help, but I still need a lot. Right now my (imperfect) reforging is +39 Hit, +219 Expertise, +333 Mastery.

    January 27, 2011 at 9:09 AM

  17. gravatar

    I use pvp when it helps the stat. For instance, in Wrath when one of my toons was hast starved..I'd pop on the Battlemaster trinket. In general, I am greedy for all stats for heals that come from PvE for PvE. And even though my PvP gear has resilience and helps me stay alive, giving up that one stat such as haste or crit for bgs is a rather large adjustment in healing style and mana management.

    I honestly don't care if peeps com in with PvP into PvE...especially if they pull numbers anyway. Most time, sadly, that is not the case.

    Good article!

    January 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM

  18. gravatar

    What a great post! Well written with a really important message.
    Some players can be so "clever" when it's about other's gear or spec choices, and your post perfectly exemplifies this phenomenon!

    January 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM