The Trap of Best-In-Slot Lists
by, 06-12-2012 at 11:43 PM (21719 Views)
One of the most time consuming tasks in producing a class raiding guide, both during and after, is the building of recommended gear lists for particular gear levels, otherwise known as BiS (for Best in Slot). Iíve never been convinced that these lists function as they should, and that players use them as absolutes rather than guides, and targets to hit rather than shopping lists.
So whatís the problem with them? Well, these lists only include the absolute best possible items available, which means that they will use items that may never be accessible to 99% of the population. A good example of this is the question of whether Kriítak, Imperial Scepter of the Swarm is better than Regailís Crackling Dagger. Both are Heroic items, but while Kriítak has the sha-touched gem socket, Regails has a ďElite HeroicĒ version, which is obtainable from finishing the first Terrace of Endless Spring encounter in a different, harder, order.
When youíve gemmed and upgraded both, the difference comes down to the following:
Regail's Kri'tak Stamina 64 Intellect 433 Spirit 437 Crit Rating 30 Haste Rating 19 Mastery Rating 443 Spell Power 575
So which one is better? Assuming you need the hit, Kri'tak is the clear winner. Otherwise, it's actually a fairly close if you assume that the additional hit allows you to reforge other stats. So which should you take? It depends on what you have access to, and what the distribution of casters is like in your raid (ie: do you have more classes who can use the dagger but not the mace, what secondary stat preferences do they have, etc).
Questions similar to this end up consuming more time than anything else, purely because you have to constantly re-sim for new DPS figures & stat weights after making changes. These changes, if they do in fact improve DPS, make very minor changes in the overall scheme of things (more on that later).
To Upgrade, Or Not To Upgrade, That Is The Question
Another problem with these lists is that a number of players take them as the "Gospel of Gearing", ie: Thou Shalt Not Take Any Other Items But These. This means that items outside that list which are still an upgrade over what you currently have, especially when you have a moderately large time delay until you could even start killing the boss which drops the listed item.
A good example of this would be caster Shaman & the helm slot. There's a fairly decent Spirit/Haste helm that drops from The Stone Guard in Mogu'shan Vaults, which is a good stand in until you can grab a tier helm loot token from the Sha of Fear. The Stone Guard is the first boss encounter of T14, while the Sha of Fear is the last. As of today, according to WoWProgress, 97.84% of tracked guilds have killed Stone Guard, vs 12.51% who have downed Sha of Fear.
So if you're in a guild that isn't bleeding edge on raiding (my own guild, for instance, just started on Wind Lord Mel'jarak in Heart of Fear) taking these intermediary items helps you lift your game, which means more progression towards those better items.
Sharing Around Or Being Greedy
A third point of "dislike" for these lists is that there is usually an argument made in certain classes to skip lower demand items and go for whatever is the "best". An example of this is how Elemental Shaman tread off-hand & staff weapons.
The only Intellect classes that can use shields are Paladins and Shaman. As such, demand for Eye of the Ancient Spirit is fairly limited. Tornado-Summoning Censer on the other hand can be used by any DPS caster who isn't using a staff. The 5 point item level difference between the two is offset by the fact that the shield is better itemised for Elemental, but strictly speaking the Censer is better.
To quote Star Trek, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one". Forgoing a 5 dps upgrade so that casters in your raid get better gear is a better team outcome.
Sharing Around Or Being Greedy
The outcome if this is that individual players need to take more responsibility on figuring out what upgrades they should or shouldn't take, and understanding that they shouldn't focus just on item A, but remember that item B is also just as good, or that there's a progression from D to C to A or B, and to take upgrades as they become available.
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