A Tale of Two Gear Scores

Recently there has been a lot of discussion around Gear Scores. The CX team seems to think Gear Score is a good metric of capability in the game (or at least have been told so by the developers).

So I’m just curious, which Necromancer would you rather be?

This one with the 1794 Gear Score?:

Or is it this one with the 1792 Gear Score?:

Certainly there are some variables that contribute considerably to Gear Score that have minimal measurable benefit in game (such as adding levels to spells). Additionally, if your gear is not optimal, levelling gear could be underwhelming, especially considering your spell options. Lastly, there are huge contributors to stats pool that are not even a part of the computation. If this type of variability can exist between “equivalent” Gear Scores, then of what value is a Gear Score?


I think another aspect of Gear Score is still in effect, though much harder to see since the tooltip was removed/changed a couple of updates ago.

When your Gear Score is significantly lower than the enemy it used to be possible to click on it and be shown a % damage bonus the enemy was getting just because your Gear Scores were so far apart. I think this capped at +100%.

Gear Score really is a poor reflection of a characters potential since the things that cause it to increase and how much it increases don’t really reflect either their ability to deal damage or help with survivability.

Two rings of equal level and rarity add the same value to Gear Score. But one has a build useful ability, is colour matched and provides a set bonus, while the other is just random junk.

Weapon damage became much more dominant when the rebalancing started (or do they think they’re done?) in I think 0.36. Evident in the PVP leagues, particularly lower ones, is players with a single high rarity, high level weapon, will equip that and strip off a few pieces of armour or accessories to get Gear Score matched to opponents they can one shot almost regardless of the board.

So in one area of the game you get punished simply because your Gear Score is low, and anything will do to increase it. While in other areas of the game is very clear that specific items have much more impact on your power, survivability and ability to progress in spite of the Gear Score they provide.

Depends. At low levels, it is decent enough of a proxy for power levels, as through a certain point in the game raw stats from increasing gear levels and rarities will overpower everything. However, once a player reaches the point where Legendary-tier gear needs to be seriously considered, the model falls flat because the game becomes a lot more nuanced than just raw stats. As mentioned, synergies with gear, sets, colors, etc. plays a much larger role than just raw stats alone at that point in the game’s progression.

Part of the problem here is that the concept of Gear Score being used by the game is still defined by the game state all the way back in 0.34.

As you mention, at that point in time, Gear Score generated a definitive “final” modifier to the difficulty level of an encounter. While this concept definitively punished players with low gear scores, it also enabled players with high gears scores to trivialize high level encounters through reductions in incoming damage as well as boosted outgoing damage. The devs decided to strip away the “final” encounter modifiers concept from gear score calculations in either 0.35 or 0.36.

As such, the current calculation is simply outdated and needs to be reworked. On some level, I believe that the devs want a simple number that can easily communicated to casual players regarding power levels needed. Well, now there’s citadel levels, color synergies, set bonuses, color masteries to consider, off the top of my head. Boiling that down to a simple number loses a lot of information to players about what that number actually means.

At a minimum, a reworked gear score calculation needs to have a drill down explaining how that number was actually achieved through a combination of all of the above mentioned factors for it to be meaningful.

On that note, that brings up the vagueness of color masteries. In Sibellos’s example, what is the difference between 612 blue mastery and 261 blue mastery? Sure 612 is a larger number, but how much better is it? Would the increase in blue mastery be worth the tradeoff given up in other potential equipped gear? Who knows?

And that’s a HUGE problem. If the devoted forum players can’t figure these basic game concepts out, how in the world will the casual player base even remotely understand these concepts? (Spoiler: that’s one of multiple cornerstones of the general playerbases’ anger regarding difficulty issues in 0.38)

Also, kudos to Sibellos for the masterful manipulation of Gear Score to illustrate their point. Took me a minute or two to figure out how you pulled that off. :slight_smile:

Interestingly, the first screenshot is of an active player on a leaderboard. The second shot is of me, but not only did I purposefully match the score, I also intentionally left 100 points of Spell levels on that build. Here is a snapshot of my revised build, using Level 1 versions of the spells:

Again, compare this to the other player:

So I sacrificed some spell levels (not that big a deal except maybe on the color converter), and I just chose best available gear based on stats and gear set without regard to color. Is this build better? Is it worse? In terms of raw stats, it certainly seems like this build will survive better than the other player’s build. Shouldn’t it have the better “Gear Score”?

Power and Vitality are clearly two key stats, so much so that the developers thought it necessary to make sure they were the first attributes earned on any Rare gear. Any “Gear Score” or metric of capability that doesn’t start with these two stats is deficient, as the current Gear Score is.

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