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?
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.
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!