On my server, trade chat seems constantly full of people putting together groups for various dungeons and raids. PuG's...or pugging as they say. One of the more common issues in their requests is that of gear score. The requirements of 5.4k gs or better are stated right off for everyone to see. To such a point that not much else seems to matter, the gear score will get your request to join heard.
I often wonder about the skill of all these high gear score players. Do they really play that well? If I were to make some sort of an assessment according to my world pvp experience, I would have to say that a high gs does not always equate to a higher skill level. Now then, I am most likely an average everyday player. My gear, although I always kept it up to character level while leveling, wasn't the best in slot stuff. Mostly just quest rewards and whatever I could get from the AH. Took a long time to get from greens to blues, :) Even though, I would say that most of my honorable world faction kills were players much better geared than myself. This is where learning your characters abilities and how to use them comes under skill. (a bit of luck tossed in also helps!)
Obviously, a good mixture of both gs and skill would be optimum. So why is everyone pugging for groups so concerned about just the gs? I never see anyone asking about skill or experience.
Now, I am not immune to the awareness factor over gear score. Obviously, the better the gear the better your chances of survival. So during the past couple of months I've been applying myself to better my gear through randoms and battlegrounds, things I perhaps should have been doing from the beginning instead of just solo questing to 80. (some players have said to me that they leveled completely through dungeons since they didn't like all the questing) Here again, it perhaps should have been some sort of balanced mix, for now I find myself trying at lvl 80 to get from blues to purples. It is a daunting task though, not being experience enough with the math and such over gear. So I found a few websites to help kind of judge my own progress. This is another matter though, as with three sites I check myself on, I get three different evaluations of gear score. To explain better:
Site 1: puts my gear score at 1545.
Site 2: has me at 1899.
(now for the monkey wrench)
Site 3: a whopping 10751 gear score!
(there is a fourth site, but it uses character score as a guide, not gear score)
All three sites are fairly well known. Which one is the closest to correct? I haven't a clue. For now, I simply figure and use an average between site 1 and 2 as a guideline of sorts. As for the skill part, both the random dungeon norms and WG are giving me plenty of new experiences. (one of these days I'll get brave and try the herioc modes!)
I would conclude that gear score is simply a matter of better gearing your character for your particular focus of play. Getting the best gear you can earn, work for. (yes, it is said that many do buy their way) Even at 80 though, I am still questing a lot, I enjoy the challenges there. I am of the mind that the more experience gained, the better I will be. (skill)
For those interested, here are some sites which will help you monitor your own gear scores:
(guild and player rankings)