When addons go way too far

I’m not a fan of addons and I’ve never shied away from saying I wish they would all be banned and the default UI’s improved.  Among the many problems they cause, I didn’t give much thought to how they could sink to a whole new level of awful.  I’ve always been appalled by the prolific use of the Gearscore addon in WoW.  It assigns a number to you based upon what you are wearing.   Based upon that number, people judge you.  That’s it.  That’s all they have to go on.  You were a number to everyone around you.  Oh, you’re a 4,000?  Sorry… we really need a 4200+.  It became so widespread that I even downloaded it and used it because it was -required- to give people your number (which they would check) just to do anything.  On one hand it’s nice having a quick way to see where you’re at gear-wise as a benchmarking tool, but on the other it leads to bigger problems like those that follow…

Gearscore is now known as “PlayerScore” and it’s owned by TenTonHammer.com.  I equate TTH to the slimy used car salesman of websites.  For a while they were one of the “trusted” sites in the MMO community.  I actually watched the site grow from nothing to what it is today.  Now I won’t even allow them in my Firefox Noscript — that should say a lot.  They go out of their way to make their website a miserable experience to all but those who pay them money via this “premium membership”.  They throw ads at you left and right and withhold content and exclusives that other websites give for free to all but those who are paying them a subscription.  Users of “PlayerScore” are called “customers” by the folks at TTH — It’s right on their website in their FAQ.  They then entice you to become a premium member.  It’s disgusting (This tool’s comments say it all).  They’re attempting to monetize on their newly acquired addon (illegal) in such a way that skirts the line so that they’re not shut down.

Aside from my personal distaste for the new owners, let me point out why this addon is taking it way too far.  You can now rate other players with a thumbs up or thumbs down system.  Don’t like them? Rate them down.  Lose a piece of gear to them? Rate them down.  Just feel like arbitrarily rating people down?  Go for it!  Feel like boosting your rating?  Have your guild boost you!  It’s the most rediculous system I have ever heard of and it’s catching on.  Soon it will be, if it isn’t already,  “What’s your score?  7500?  Okay cool.  Let me check your feedback online.  Give me one moment. … … .. I see you have sixteen negative ratings.  Sorry, we’re full.”  Don’t think it will happen?  Don’t kid yourself.  It’s taken even further than that.  The addon scores you on its own based on how you do in PvE and PvP.  It gives you a score for those.  It also scores your guild and gives it a rating based on various criteria.

This addon does nothing but pass judgment and provide players with the opportunity to once again degrade the game by assuming an addon has the ability to actually reflect the player and their abilities.  “Who is best at raiding in your guild” or “Who is best at X in your Y”… awful.  Players should still be capable of determining these things on their own.  This is, after all, one of the few things that games like WoW still have… the ability for you to interact with others to perform the repetitive tasks of raiding and grouping.  Gone are the days of interacting with others by getting to know them, but we’re not so far gone that we can’t think for ourselves.

I’m issuing a call to action to Blizzard and any other company facing similar abuse:  Ban this UI addon (and others like it) and investigate Ten Ton Hammer’s participation in your addon community.  Blizzard already expanded their own item level (iLvl) default system in-game.  Expand it a little bit more to reflect some character statistics and we’re set.  We don’t need any more of these horrible addons and their shady owners making things worse.

I won’t use this addon for myself or my guild.  I’ve already encouraged several friends and guild members not to use it and some have already uninstalled it.  I suggest you do the same.

  • Totally Agree, I actually fell off my chair and laughed when I heard about this Gearscore Bullshit, besides the fact that it promotes judgemental and elitest behaviour. From what i remember you could just wear ANY old gear too boost your Gearscore, (like tanks wearing cloth) and then put on proper gear.

    What a fucking joke, its digusting.

  • It’s all a part of the automated experience players expect from games now. They would rather let someone else tell them what to do then learn for themselves. GearScore is a way for the community to feel better about their own standings. “Oh, my score is higher than yours? Clearly I must be superior. It doesn’t matter if I was actually carried through this content or not. My number is higher.”

    That’s how it’s been since the release of GearScore a while back. People no longer care about personal skill or experience. They only care about an arbitrary number that tells them you will make the raid easier. Are you better than the guy with a 4k score and you have 4500? Not necessarily. But your gear is. Which means your presence alone puts less strain on the raid. Less for healers to do. Less for damage to have to work. So forth.

    It was an okay idea at the start. Until it turned into this hideous monster that segregates the community. Those with, and those without. If you’re without, then you’re a failure. If you’re with, then you’re a shining gem. Such is life these days. You’re judged by how much money you make. Just as you’re judged by how big that GS number can be.

  • Keen,

    I know in the past we’ve disagreed on a few issues… but on this one I think you’ve nailed it right on the head. An addon like this doesn’t serve the common good, it will only be used to further the “exclusivity” of raids. I’ve seen it happen in the community already and it disheartens me.

    Back when I raided in WoW, I once let a few of my undergeared guildies into a raid and some members of the raid pitched a fit because their gearscore wasn’t high enough. Yet, when it came down to statistics, the undergeared players had higher outputs and effectiveness because they knew what they were doing with their classes. My undergeared druid smashed my “high-level” priest into the ground, embarassing her enough to make her leave the raid.

    And, if GearScore had this “thumbs up/thumbs down” functionality that it has now, I bet that priest would have downvoted my druid friend, simply because he had done a better job.

    Numbers are certainly not everything. Ever.

  • I’m really glad I’m not the only one that feels this way. I think addons like gear score and recount are ruining WoW and they accounted for one of the primary reasons I stopped playing. People couldn’t be happy with downing a boss, that guy only did 1500 DPS! Ridiculous. I’ve been playing LotRO lately and I love the more laid back atmosphere in general. No gear score, no recount, just people playing to have fun. Add-ons are simultaneous the best and worst feature of WoW.

  • The funny thing about all these community rating systems is nobody knows if they work because everyone is too afraid not to trust them.

    For example, I never purchase from an Amazon Marketplace seller who has a low feedback rating, and I’ve never had a problem with any Marketplace purchases. However, I’ve never confirmed that a bad rating equates to a bad seller, so I don’t know if the rating system actually works or not. Still, I’m not interested in risking time or money, so…90% positive or higher only!

    If your system is easily abused yet must be trusted, you’ve done something wrong.

  • Could it be that instances have become so easy/simple that all that really matters (in most cases) is the gear score? If it was not reliable I’d hope it would naturally become unpopular.

  • Wasn’t the last FF even worse.. where people wouldn’t even grind with you if you didn’t have the right gear? (that sounded funny)

  • Hmm, I havn’t heard of these new changes until now. It sounds pretty cool! Thanks for the heads up 😀

  • Your beating a dead-horse on this one Keen. GearScore is around to let PUGs use a simple scoring system to run temporary and pitiful raid groups. GearScore is not taken seriously by the people that truly matter in the game. Players that are a part of serious guilds do not use it and the average person with a general IQ only uses it as a general idea to how they are doing with gear.

    Do your self a favor and just avoid the use of it and avoid people that use it. PUGs are for lazies that want to do things that require you to be on time for certain events. I am tired of hearing the complaints that work schedules are not working out and etc. Been there, fixed that.

    GearScore will always be the lazy persons way of leading a raid and getting himself into a Raid he should join a Guild for.

  • What Pepsiest said in the first paragraph. 🙂
    GS is merely a big red shiny flag so you can easier avoid people who use it.

    And I don’t know what the big fuss is about the incorporation of Karma (an old player rating addon) like features into it that have been around as addons since ages. It only serves to increase the GS hate even more.

  • oh good idea: when pugging, ask people what their GS is, and if they answer “i don’t know” you take them.

  • I’m taking more of a ‘greater good’ stance on this one. I’m not an isolationist in my games. I don’t -only- hang out with my guild. I come from a gaming background, especially in MMO’s, where we seek out interaction with community.

    This addon is counter-community. It’s more than a karma system, it’s more than something that you can simply avoid. It’s game-wide now.

  • Seems like addons like this would be completely pointless now that your average item level is actually in the character panel now.

    I will not download this, and will continue to use the average ilevel that serves the same purpose and requires zero extra effort.

  • Very well said, I think many add-ons just take things too far, in the end pushing people away. It starts to take away from the aspect of the game and I really hate falling into the scheme of things and rating people based on these before ever given a chance.

    I have caught myself and I try not to be like that because it’s happened to even the best of us. Everyone has to start off somewhere. Add-ons like GS aren’t a gauge of how well you play, it’s what you’ve gotten. Plain and simple. You could have been carried, maybe you worked hard for it… It doesn’t tell us this.

    It does take a toll on the community, but as long as they are allowed, it will continue. Sometimes I miss the old days where such things were not even a part of MMO games. It was fun, it was a challenge, you actually had to think for yourself 🙂

  • The only add ons I use are Shestakui and an auction helper. If they ever add the same functionality you get from their mobile auction house to the in game I will only be using one add on.

  • The first time I saw TenTonHammer talking about PlayerScore I assumed it was some kind of spoof or joke that I wasn’t in on.

  • I am not a huge fan of mods like recount. It turns a dungeon into a numbers race & then people freak out when they don’t make the top spot. People have forgotten that the goal is to finish a dungeon or raid & have actual fun.

  • You should’ve seen the community when smart person had put a virus in the GS addon and spread it across the web.

    Hilarity ensued. By atleast me.

  • I agree with you on addons, but what wow is today couldn’t be claimed without the thanks to a lot of those add on developers. Most of the innovations that make WoW so great right now, minus the Dungeon Finder, are all things thought up by third parties and developed via the addon. WoW would not be what it is today without those backs to stand on.

  • Part of the reason I stop playing WOW. These elitist attitude.

    It contribute to not want to raid. Ever. In any MMO.

  • Not sure I like either aspect of this: judging people via numbers, or the “top” guilds using it as a criterion of how not to invite. It’s sad that MMOs seem now to be more about who you filter out than who you play with.

  • @Keen:

    You have to have a community before it can be destroyed. WoW hasn’t had any semblance of community for like 3 years. It’s literally just instant action gaming now, with a chatroo.. er to idle in while you wait for a game to start.

  • @Dakrstryke: Actually, the dungeon finder has only been with us for a year, so the community has only been absent for a year now.

    @Keen: As per usual for an addon-hating post you highlight one bad apple among many, many good ones. GS isn’t required at all; I’ve got into many raids that had a required score simply by, shockingly, talking to the raid leader. I’m a big proponent of addons; the only exception is the one you pointed out, the ever-so-lovely GearScore. At least you know what you’re talking about: reading the Rift forums fills me with dread at how ignorant the people there are. Sadly, it appears Trion are listening to them.

  • @Valtray: “I miss the days of Vanilla WoW where no addon really ruled over anything.”

    LOL, what? One word: Decursive.

  • @Darkstryke

    Communities are what you make them. The general server community is nothing to write home about but there are a lot of great guild communities out there, i’m sure.

    Happy Fun Guyz is an awesome community. You have to involve yourself and know where to look but you can find plenty.

  • I’m with you, Keen. I also hate the fact the GS now defaults to having the TTH logo on your screen. I don’t know if that’s against any rules or not, but it’s about as close to in-game advertising as I’ve ever seen in WoW.

    @Bartlebe: Totally. The way I approach WoW is on a person by person basis. You can’t judge the game based on the forums or random trade chat banter. Taken on individual encounters rather than anonymous groups, I don’t think the community is half bad.

    I’m actually really happy to be back with HFG not only because we have an awesome community unto ourselves, but I was able to touch base with some people from my first guild ever in WoW. If you think about WoW as a social tree, the trunk and branches are made up of decent people. Everyone you don’t know makes up the leaves and any game with 12 million players is going to have some folks in there you’d prefer not to group with.

  • I wrote a nice long post about this but it dies some how. Not gonna rewrite it but siffice to say, as long as that addon remains in game I am not playing.

    GG TTH

  • Problem is that gearscore does have some correlation to experience and potency. Gearscore is a good proxy for whether that person will be successful in a given situation or not. It’s not 100% right, but it’s better than nothing.

  • Lets face it – You know absolutely nothing about someone, are you going to take the guy with the better gear or the worse gear?

    The real problem is that WoW doesn’t encourage you to actually get to know anyone anymore. This is just the logical end of people crying about “forced grouping” and how unfair it was to have to actually plan with people outside of the game to get raids together.

    This is people reaping what they’ve sewn. Sorry.

  • @Mala: GS had nothing to do with grouping. It’s an addon designed solely to categorize someone by how much gear they have. By proxy, their skill level. That’s all. It’s a way for number crunchers to take it a step further by displaying their superiority through arbitrary numbers that don’t really mean anything. Other than you have better gear. It doesn’t measure skill or experience. It simply measures that you got lucky on loot rolls a few more times than everyone else. It’s a flawed system that WoW players live by like it’s a bible.

  • No doubt – the addon sucks and I always hated it but lets not put the blame only on some addon. The real problem is the player base. I hated this aspect of WOW far before there was Gearscore and that aspect of WOW was present much earlier too.

    It was the disgusting elitist attitude of the people playing the game – especially in the context of raiding. It started with requiring certain specs, then went on to using the inspect button to judge players and now finally arrived at Gearscore.

    Gearscore just gives these people a tool to do what they are already doing one way or another.

    I find more interesting why this attitude is so prevalent in WOW when it didnt used to be in other MMOs? Is it something about WOW that fosters it? Are these types of people drawn to WOW? Is it some form of natural gamer evolution?

  • It’s because most of WoW’s playerbase are not ‘MMORPG’ players, they’re gamers who are fans of Blizzard. That’s why the place, and the endemic hatred for ‘gay’ activities like actually (gasp) RPing in an RPG. It’s more XBoxLive than EverQuest.

  • Huh, the form ate part of my comment. ‘That’s why there is such an e-peen, e-sport, macho attitude all over the place’ is supposed to go in the second sentence.

  • @Shadrah I really have to disagree. At what point other than when you are getting a pug raid or something together does gearscore actually come up? I know it doesn’t take into account skill, but thats exactly my point. To measure someone’s skill you need to play with them regularly, and thats precisely the kind of thing players have complained about over the years and that blizzard has made totally optional. Gearscore has merely come in and provided a metric by which to choose people you don’t know, and will probably never see again. Its obviously a poor metric, but what other metric are you going to use besides gear if everyone is a stranger anyway?

  • @Shadrah: you couldn’t be more wrong. It has everything to do with grouping, it’s an addon *specifically designed to help you decide, quickly, with no other knowledge, on who to take into your group on a gear basis.* Now, looking at the MMO staple and truth that gear=more power, you would always know that someone with better gear can and by all means should perform better, simply due to the game system. No one throws their gearscore around, at least not on the three realms I play on; perhaps you suffer from the delusion that whatever you read about the WoW community on the internet must be true? Certainly, your “bible” statement is enormously wrong, but you keep believing that if you want.

    @Argorius: it’s game and gamer evolution. Now that everyone’s got over “oooh, a fantasy world, I’m a mage!” wonderment and instead is mostly focussed either on enjoying themselves or performing well, they use GearScore as an evaluation tool to maximise their fun/performance. Also, since the game’s made raiding hugely more accessible (*not* easier,) more and more people are raiding, so the performance focus of said activity is epitomised in the addon.

    @Pai: actually, it’s because Blizzard hates RPers. I’d gladly go play on an RP realm if they actually gave us some tools and policy enforcement, but, alas, RPing has been left by the wayside. It’s a shame as well, because I know the WoW lore like the back of my hand (excluding anything written by Knaak. Night of the Dragon was put down after about 20 pages.) Also, I highly doubt that most of the current Western WoW players were Blizz fans before WoW, but there’s no numbers on that to support the theory either way. Also: ‘That’s why there is such an e-peen, e-sport, macho attitude all over the place’ sounds more like AoC or a PvP game than WoW 😉

  • This is one of the reasons why I won’t bother with WoW, the need for a crapton of add-ons. This totally detracts from the immersion and enjoyment of the game (or any MMO for that matter) for me, having to manage all the add-ons and spend as much if not more time watching the UI add-ons than enjoying the game itself. The GearScore thing is the most incredibly assinine thing I have ever heard of; what happened to your class and level being enough for grouping.

    But in the long run I don’t play WoW and I never will, so I don’t have to care much about GearScore and add-on hell unless it sneaks its way into games I do enjoy.

    I don’t hate WoW (those days are long behind me)…I just don’t care for it much and what it is doing to the MMO industry.

  • @Dril: Yes, clearly being a WoW player for almost 5 years up until last August makes me delusional. I CLEARLY have no idea of how bad of an effect GS has had on the community. Maybe you should step down from your high, pathetic horse. GearScore has been a staple to most players for some time now. Do you know what question I used to get asked everytime my guild put a raid together? “What’s your GS cap for this raid?” My leaders took it upon themselves that no progression raids could be done without at least a minimal.

    It’s the same in PUGs. “LF 2 for OS25 4500+ please”. That’s the norm in WoW. People don’t care about the players anymore. They care about a number. A number which they live by. If you don’t have that number, then you’re not worth their time. Period. You can continue to live in this little dream world of yours if you wish. However, I’ve seen it. I’ve dealt with it.

  • WoW could really use a default threat meter. After that, the only addon I would use is auctioneer.

  • When I quit WoW a year ago the Gearscore nonsense was just getting into full swing, combined with player’s obsessions with prior achievements. It got to the point that to join a PUG to the most basic Dungeon/Raid involved whispering some “enthusiastic” child-leader your “GS and Achieve!”.
    It became a running joke in my guild but a year later, I’ve returned to find it’s continued.

    Kind of scary to see that Blizzard have implemented something similar into their game and actually used it to gate entry to Heroics and Raids. I spent a week trying to “Qualify” for Heroics this time when normally I’m clearing those the moment I hit the Level Cap!

  • @Shadrah: Of course you are delusional, delusional in thinking than a simple addon made people care about numbers. People cared about numbers ever since damage meters were introduced in Vanilla; people cared about your ilvl each time they tried to form any kind of pick-up group in TBC. If somebody didn’t inspect players before the GS era, it meant he is lazy and his group will probably fail. No sane man would organize raids based on “skill” of unknown people. How the hell am I supposed to measure that skill? By asking fellow players if they are skilled? Wonder what responses I would get…

    So yes, you are delusional, because you forget that one of the main reasons GS spam started to show up on general/trade chat is because WotLK made raids so accesaible. GS makes hard things easy, it used to require some kind of skill to judge players’ gear, cause you had to inspect, check for gems, enchants, spec, and now every random scrub can say: hey, you need 5k GS for that. But it’s not fault of the addon, it was never better – I mean among the players and if You think that in TBC or whatever people cared about something more than getting their epics, then you have no idea whatsoever what you’re talking about.

    And that’s why nice guys most of the time try to find nice guilds where they can socialize with other nice guys and attend raids regardless of their “score”. So next time you gonna log to WoW maybe try to remember about that instead of bragging that some people you never knew don’t want you in your raid because of your imba skillz and 5 years of experience. Even that doesn’t give you any rights to expect anything for free, just like a guy who dinged 85 yesterday shouldn’t expect everyone will beg him to join their group.

  • The “Add-On” problem is probably half the reason I quit WoW back in BC and refuse to ever return. They are basically required, and the process of updating them, keeping them updated, switching to new ones with old ones are no longer maintained, etc. is miserable.

    Every MMO that comes out, I hope and pray it doesn’t allow UI mods thanks to what happened with WoW’s UI.

  • @Shadrah: Please. “High pathetic horse,” from the person who’s trying to come off as the moral saviour of the WoW community by bashing GearScore. Teehee.

    Also, what the HELL are you talking about? “GearScore” cap? That doesn’t even make sense, since Cap implies that there’s an upper limit to the score you’d take, but whatever. If your guild uses GearScore, then far be it from to presume, but: you had a shit guild, with clueless leaders. I’ve pugged raids, I’ve done guild raids and I’ve done half-‘n’-half raids, and NEVER have I used nor been excluded from anything because of my GearScore. As I said, TALKING to raid leaders has never failed to get me a spot, but, yeah, how could I know? I mean, I haven’t played since…10 minutes ago. Oh. Looks like I do play WoW after all.

    Of course it’s the norm, because people care about their own TIME, PERFORMANCE and REWARDS, and GearScore is the simpleton’s method of trying to ensure that. You’re the one who lives in a dream world: your sensationalist, horrifically incorrect evaluation of what happens is actually quite disturbing. All you’ve dealt with is your own inability to communicate on a basic level with raid leaders and, from what I can gather, your guild. Dig yourself out of the little self-pity foxhole you’re in, because people like you are the reason that stupid myths about WoW’s community persist.

    @Muckbeast: Really, if you find downloading 5 addons hard I struggle to imagine what you find easy. Is clicking download and then “extract” really such a hard feat?

  • I’m with muckbeast on this one. the meta gaming of addons and mods take away a lot of the game forme.

  • People have cared about your gear since even EQ when it comes to raiding. If you wanted in any sort of pickup raid, or trial raid spot, you had to have decent gear AND alot of times the keys to enter the raid zones. (Getting access to a zone in EQ was often times harder than getting gear) Then, only then, did you get a chance to show your skill. The first step though was always about gear.

    Furthermore you can’t claim that the ENTIRE WoW community swears by GS because the few servers you play on use it. That’s anecdotal evedince and most people don’t care about that. You can say “alot” of people use GS and that would be accurate, but to say it’s required by the entire WoW community seems a bit much.

    Players have always cared about your gear. Like others have said it is the easiest way to make snap judgements on someone you don’t know. I don’t like it, but there is a simple way around it… join a guild and raid with them. If you can’t find a guild that meets your raid time needs… make a raid yourself.

    The problem with GS is that it has the potential to keep YOU out of someone else’s raid because of a lower number. Like most businesses have when you walk in “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” They don’t have to let you in their raid. If you don’t like it make a raid yourself.

  • Part of the issue is that gear really does matter, at least as much or possibly even more than skill, to a certain point. Try solo grinding mobs in Twilight Highlands as a fresh level 80. You will get your ass handed to you no matter how much skill you have. The same is true of raids. There are certain minimum levels of power (be it gear or levels) that you should have before doing certain content. If you don’t have the gear and show up to a raid and you’re dead weight for everyone else, you won’t have any fun and you’ll piss off everyone else in the raid.

    Gearscore, be.imba and wow-heroes.com are easy ways to tell if someone meets those requirements and evaluate for yourself what content you are best suited for. I raided quite a lot in Lich King, and even ran a few raids, the only time I ever asked someone about their gearscore was if my guild was PUGing out the last few spots. If you’re not in my guild and I don’t know or have not raided with you before, it is a great way to find out if you are well-suited to the content you purport to be ready for.

    It’s unfortunate that it does get so abused as others have mentioned. During Lich King, I would see people putting together PUGs or mixed guild/PUG runs and asking for ridiculously high gearscores for the content they were raiding.

    I don’t really know what you can actually do about it though and I think it is more a commentary on human nature than anything else. I’ve found you just have to ignore all the jack-holes and elitist pricks by finding a good guild that only cares about your gear to the extent that it is not so low that you are a detriment to the entire raid as a result.

  • Thanks for the info! TTH was always a site I hated and visiting it today, reading the article (i.e. sounds like the guy hates the game, business only, etc).

    I never used the addon but hated seeing the GS spam for raiding. Convinced my son to uninstall, as well as his friend.

    @Kactus I actually love Blizzards default threat, I can see my percentage climbing, back off or blow a cd, and continue. The big RED always reminds me if I have aggro and don’t know it in some crazy fight.

    I agree on the TTH symbol in-game. When my son showed me this new symbol when he logged in, he thought he had been hacked.

  • Its finally nice to see others who think people who really on this GS/PS system a farce.

    It would be nice if it could go back to the days where things were based on skill.