Blueberrry raiding: Poisonous BiS malarky

yay, angry babies are back!

BIS diapers or bust, biatch!

As the title gives away, this by all means won’t be positive post at all. Quite the contrary, it’s supposed to be the rantiest rant that you haven’t seen here for long time (which given that this blog was dead for long time is not surprising, or hard to achieve really). Anyways, back on track – “BiS” aka “Best in slot lists” are lists of maxed out gear. That’s quite simple isn’t it? Yeah, indeed it is. They truly are the best gear composition you can attend running the related content. Now, EJ diehards get your tar and feathers, let me make on this clear – I don’t hate those lists nor do I belittle the people who make them – quite the contrary putting the work into making the list, doing the math, simulating the weightings and all that stuff and the putting it all into forum post (those who ever made any gearlist understand) is hard work and sacrifice. Lists per say are fine and great thing – the perception of the lists is what is flawed and wrong.

But Rah, this is not my BiS item!

As a raider and raid leader, I heard all the varieties of this sentence way too many times and in my books it’s one of the sentences that should never come from anyone who considers themself a raider. See, the trouble with best in slot list is, that it’s not best in slot unless you have all the items. Got it? Let me repeat it.

It’s not BiS unless you have all the items.

All the items.

There, I said it. Now, let’s elaborate on this quite simple, yet overlooked topic. Best in slot lists (or any gear lists for that matter) are maxed out around all these items worn together. These items are selected, gemmed, reforged and enchanted to the highest output potential and unless you put all the pieces together, it won’t work. Hell, I’d even go as far as claim that unless you do have all these items, upgrading one by one from your lower-gear without taking any side upgrades “for the time being” actually does not help your performance or – god forbid – makes your output worse. Let’s just go with this imaginary situation – you as resto shaman are wearing two pieces of gear, heavy on haste and spirit. Now, you come across two other items for these slots, both being on BIS list, however both these pieces are haste and spirit free. So you blindly get them, pop them on and – voila – you’re shitloads of spirit and haste short. What you do? You re-reforge and re-enchant to get these stats back to where they were. Now tell me, was it overall gain, or loss (since presumably your items already were reforged to provide certain “set” of stats) – well of course it will be gain, even if marginal, since in most cases this upgrading will bring increase in ilevel and thus raw stat capacity as well. However, what if you enter raids in your blues and two items drop that are upgrade to you, but are not on BIS list? What do you do?

DKP hoarding

This is closely related to holding out for BIS items. Most guild run some sort of point system – be it plain DKP systems, be it hidden systems like KSK or “fair roll” (simple roll with the exception of you got loot last time, you pass next) – there is always some rule saying that once you get an item, you will wait/be skipped for your next upgrade (yes I know there are exceptions, I just like to generalize!). DKP hoarding refers to such acting when you pass on upgrades (even if you don’t have competition for them) just to make sure you do have the leading spot when the deeper and BIS item drops. I was well guilty of this in Black Temple, saving my DKP priority (EPGP) for Torch of the Damned (THE single BEST weapon for alliance retribution paladins at the time) that drops from Reliquary of Souls (sp?). Fortunately the only plate dps contender I had was a dps warrior and soon we came to conclusion that actually pre-dividing drops between us works fairly better – I believe the arrangement over this mace was that the first drop is mine, no matter the dkp (he passes) and he gets the first drop of plate boots (I pass) regardless of DKP. This actually needed us both to realize we are a team and that we need to work together on loot. The less interesting items were down to DKP between us. Now, ever since I came to that realization that DKP hoarding is actually just wrong, I hate it with passion.

Why it doesn’t work? Well, first reason is quite simple – you are playing in a team environment, and any upgrade to anyone in the team (including you) is an upgrade for the whole team. So passing on items till you get to the dream item (that very often drop from the last or second to last boss of instance) cripples your team progress capability. It’s simply you deciding not to pull your weight. The second reason why it won’t work is that while loot tables are rich and bountiful, drop tables are not. I’d even go as far as insist that Murphy’s law is heavily in effect when it comes down to holding out for drops.

So please, don’t hoard DKP. It’s bad form and should never be done unless you are ignorant tit.

The Elusive BIS

Best in slot lists were always taunting us. They were always there, elusive, on the other end of the rainbow. But let’s burst the bubble. First off, most of us won’t be able to reach the BiS list before new tier is released. Simple as that. I consider myself to be capable raider, so are the raiders I lead and raid with. However I have no doubt that as much as we’d probably kill Nefarian hard before 4.2 (our steady progress plus tweaks / nerfs / fixes to the encounter should make sure of that), I am very much positive that there  won’t be enough kills on our record to allow me just go “fuck it, I’ll just wait till he drops it”. And that’s why for me and many other raiders BIS lists are in the realms of fantasy. It just won’t happen and you should not be holding out for the hero in some rainbow chasing delusional trance.

The not-so-much-BIS lists

Now, let’s say that BIS list has the average ilevel of 372. Have you ever stopped to think that there are more 372 lists around? And if you did, have you actually stopped to think about how much these other lists lag behind the BIS dreamlist? Yes, it will be some – but, if you keep the same ilevel, especially now with the option to reforge stats back and forth – will the non-BIS list be behind so much to even matter for you? I know it won’t for me. I am not Vodka/Paragon type raider. I might have the hardcore mindset, but I definitely don’t have the same hardcore performance nor will to even attempt it. Where does that bring us? Little anecdotal evidence, if I may:

We do have Resto shaman and Elemental shaman on our roster. While I am in full epix (!!!), the elemental shaman was sporting blue shoulders and headpiece because “BIS is resto tier for shoulders and ele tier for head!”. So the shoulders from Conclave in BoT got passed on to me, and I just nicked the mace from Chogall (‘sup not-BIS mace). Last reset (few Nef kills later and second Halfus Wyrmbreaker hard kill later) the awesome imba mega hot helmet dropped. Mind you, our Elemental Shaman (still in the two blues) were insisting on passing the helm to me. Why on earth would he you do that? Because the BIS list says blah blah blah. So I asked how important is the 4T11 bonus for his dps, he said it’s quite significant. So I asked if it’s not actually better to take the helmet and wait for just one drop instead? Gotta say it took a while before this idea went through. And by far I don’t mean said Elemental shaman is a “noob” or “moron”. It’s actually good kid that just got too blinded by the bling-bling of BIS list. Of course you are so pro that it won’t ever happen to you. Really?

The real BIS list

So is there anything like true or real BIS list? Of course there is. Your best in slot is any gear that drops and is an upgrade. If my experience ever taught me anything about these lists or dkp hoarding is that it almost never works. By hoarding DKP you skip out on so many upgrades that in the end it damages your performance. I’ve learned that picking out the little upgrades at the cost of loosing the first drop of the BIS item proves to be long-term output increase.

It’s nice to be holding out for your 4T11 without one VP item and holding out for shoulder token (say you lucked out on helmet). But what if, after 5 months, the shoulder token just doesn’t drop? Should then your BIS be actually the VP chest you missed and those Conclave shoulders that already dropped and been sharded 2 times over? Think about it.

To conclude…

If there was any moral in this post, it’s this – take BIS lists with grain of salt and take them for what they are – BEST IN SLOT. They are best, so only the best will ever gather them. Look at your guild and your progress and think for a while whether holding out to the BIS item for the best output isn’t actually damaging your performance and what are your chances it will ever happen?

PS: I am putting breakers after first paragraph so the front page is not huge mess – can anyone reading me through RSS feed readers tell me if the posts in their readers are non-truncated? Cause I hate when people post truncated posts in their feeds. Thanks!

About Rahana

Long time player, former hardcore now casual raider. Talks into everything, does not pay attention to exact theorycraft numbers. View all posts by Rahana

11 responses to “Blueberrry raiding: Poisonous BiS malarky

  • Vixsin

    /agreed. BiS exists in a world where you get every piece you want, when you want them, kill every boss you need to get it, and where personal performance aligns with simulations. In other words … BiS lives in Never-Never Land.

    Want to know the reason that it took me 4 months to issue a BiS list? Cause I start to worry about the fabled Best in Slot *after* we finish content. Up until that point, I just pick up what gives me more primary stats. Crit/Spirit rings? Sure! Crit/Mastery Waist? Right here. Holding onto my 359 4pc when I can get at least 2 372 non-tier upgrades? Not a chance. Yes, I understand that some players need to be more selective with their DKP spending, but I’ve never understood turning down a major upgrade simply because it might not have the “desired” secondary stats. The long and the short of it is … the Int and Spirit alone make an upgrade worthwhile, regardless of what other stats it offers.

    • Rahana

      Yeah, it boggles my mind really. And god forbid these lists get posted on EJ. Because anything that’s said on EJ is THE LAW :) God how many dumbos have I met who had no idea what they actually read on EJ and just quoted weightings and priorities out of context. But that’s not the point.

      The thing that makes passsing on upgrades in hope for the BEST item completely stupid is reforging, actually. Especially now that every class has 1 primary stat to stack no matter what and 2 great secondary stats to stack so the chances of getting full load of at least one secondary stat and reforging budget on the other are very very high.

  • Jen

    The feed looks fine :)

    (And I agree with you, but I don’t have anything valuable to add :P)

  • Charlotte Hall

    Really interesting post to read, from a non-raiders perspective.

    I’ve always worked on a system of stat priorities and general common sense when it comes to upgrades. Starting raids this week, I’m somewhat aware of what is ‘BiS’ according to various sources, but I will be taking any good and reasonable upgrade that drops.

    Your post is referring mostly to BiS lists for the highest current tier of content, so we can ignore anything past this point, but I do think a BiS list is feasible for pre-raid (or pre-heroic) gearing. Gear from instances, crafting professions and rep vendors is accessible to the majority of people, so it’s much easier to obtain all the pieces and hit that optimum combination.

    • Rahana

      Yeah. Being aware of what BiS items are is definitely a good thing, so you know what item set you want to keep in the end (considering you will have the chance to farm all the bosses enough).

      My post is actually referring to any “raid” content – as you state yourself 5M heroic BiS lists and gearing is not only feasible, but as well recommended and holding out for the best in slot item there is no problem. That’s simply because of the amount of loot per time spent per availability ratio. You can farm Deadmines for the bracers every day. However, you get only one shot on “BIS” thing in raid per week – and the drop tables are fairly repetetive and not friendly at all.

  • Nefernet

    I completely agree with you.
    As a hunter, agility is all. If the ilvl is higher, I will get more agility : it’s an upgrade. If it has more gems slots, it’s more agility, it’s an upgrade.

    Of course the rest of the stats are important, hit cap especially, but the value of each varies with each new piece anyway. You can reforge it quite easily. Agility can’t be reforged, I get it from ilvl upgrades and gems. I think the same way with Intellect on my resto shaman.

    Only when I have 2 items with the same ilvl for the same slot will I check which of them is better. I will always keep those pieces, because if I change another piece in another slot, maybe the piece I choose previously became less interesting.

    The only planning I make are 4pc and trinkets. Those are special. It’s sometimes not easy to choose between spending VP for tier pieces or normal pieces. I generally spend points for tiers but not always. Trinkets are special too : sometimes, a 346 agility trinket is still better than a not so good 359 no agility one.

    And I confirm for the feed, it works fine with Google reader, I got the entire post.

  • My Gearsheet « Fel Concentration

    [...] by the Blueberry Totem post about how much BS is in “BiS lists.”  I agree, so I’m going to show you my own [...]

  • Charlotte Hall

    Yep, I shouldn’t waffle so much! Hope it didn’t come across as critical, it was more my musings that I wouldn’t be raid ready if I hadn’t had the pre-raid BiS lists to help me.
    Not looking forward to once-weekly chances for things and the possibility that they just do not drop for weeks!

    • Rahana

      Not, it didn’t came across as critical, neither was my reply supposed to be :) Was more trying to agree with the pre-raid BiS is achievable and (most likely) desireable.

      Not looking forward to once-weekly chances for things and the possibility that they just do not drop for weeks!

      It’s stupid really – we got our first atramedes bow last week, as I said in the other post so far 1 caster MH weapon (+2 trash drops), Helm of Nether Scion from Halfus (!) first drop on our second heroic (!) kill. So yeah, so much for BiS lists :)

  • Tiræl

    I picked up your blog from reading Dreambound-druid, so first time reading some of your posts. Like your style and whatnot. Anyway, butt kissing aside, to a certain extent, I have to disagree and agree with you.

    BiS list’s are a guide to gear. It is ideal to get most of the gear on those lists to perform the best you can. Case in point, for DKs (and pretty much every other dps class) there are 4 pieces of your tier that is optimal for your dps. You SHOULD go after those pieces.

    After that, BiS lists actually have some leeway, which is what most people don’t know. For instance, like your anecdote at the end of the post, the Spiritbinder Spaulders from ZG are only 50 (yes literally the EP values are only 15 points apart) dps behind the resto shoulders for ele shamans. tl;dr….sticking to an exact BiS list is not always needed.

    One thing about a BiS list that I didn’t see in your post is that those lists are based off an ideal raid environment. The numbers they use are based off being able to stand still and just burn for 5 minutes. As we all know, this is not the case in raiding.

    A very noticeable place where damage (and even healing) can matter is what trinkets you use. Most BiS lists will have 2 proc trinkets as BiS. However, on any fight where you have to move a lot (specifically bosses where you know you will have to move at a certain time) proc trinkets actually lose value to on-use trinkets. The reason being is that you can time when you want to use an on-use trinket. You cannot time a proc trinket.

    Anyway, BiS lists are set up around an environment that is not representative of a normal raiding environment. I guarantee you that if people actually read through posts on EJ and did some of their own testing in a raid environment, their feelings on BiS lists would change.

    Honestly, back when I was dpsing at the beginning of Cata, I passed on side grades and upgrades all the time. This was because others performance was lacking where mine was shining. At the beginning of Cata raiding, I was easily pulling 18k dps, where other dps were struggling to get up to 16k (Unholy DKs were op). So passing on upgrades was needed to better the raid.) I did hold out on things that were actual upgrades for me without suffering a performance loss.

    Anyway, if your performance won’t take a hit, passing on side grades and upgrades so others can get them isn’t bad. It is bad when others are regularly outperforming you once they get those upgrades. At that point, it is time to revisit your view on BiS lists. Also, if you are passing on side grades and they are being giving to your resto shaman, you should be slapped with a salmon until you gain some common sense. Purp > Blues (ALWAYS ALWAYS FOR ANY ITEM LEVEL).

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