Tales from the PuG – You Are Not Your GearScore
I honestly had no idea, and said as much.
“Yeah, neither did I.” Rukgut shrugged his big green shoulders and looked down at his pet Blighthound, a smouldering scamp named Dexter. “Still not too sure, actually. Didn’t care before, don’t rightly care now.”
He plucked a blade of grass and studied it for a moment before wadding it into a ball. He sighed and flicked it away. Dexter’s ears perked up and he snapped at it as flew by him. “Apparently that mess of numbers means the World to some folks though.”
We shared a bench in the Antonidas Memorial Garden in Dalaran. Despite being only a few yards away from the hustle and bustle of the Horde’s Bank of Dalaran, Rukgut sat alone in the garden. It seemed that was how he preferred it, being alone like that. Just a Hunter and his pet. An Orc and his Dog. There was just a hint of a smile visible from beneath his helmet, watching his pet Blighthound sniffing at a white rabbit. The softer side of a sniping killer.
For as long as I’ve know him, Rukgut has never been quite right in the head, even for an Orc. The fact that he’s a Grand Master Engineer says all that needs to be said about the Hunter. Still, despite the fact that he’s been in so many Pick Up Groups that he has been awarded the title “the Patient”, he proudly wears the title “of Orgrimmar” over his head. He’s proud of his people, not the people.
Crazy, but not stupid.
“I’d never been in the Oculus before, but I’d heard the stories. People get scared. Say it’s too hard. Turn tail and run before they even give it a chance. I figure, what’s the worst that can happen, right?” He nudges Dexter’s rune-scarred haunch with the toe of his boot. A smoky mist escapes the Hound’s nostrils. “We’ve never been afraid of anything.”
Tweeddledee, a blond Blood Elf Rogue, rides up to us. She’s a guildmate of Ruk’s, and the Orc rises to greet her. “Gimme a second.” He walks over to her, Dexter anxiously following behind his master. The Rogue hands him a few stacks of leather, and a few moments later he hands a thicker stack back to her. The Rogue departs and the big Orc makes his way back to the bench. “Sorry ’bout that. Just helping out a guildie. Where were we?”
GearScore, I remind him.
“Yeah. Bad enough that I’m in the Oculus, but I’m running it with a bunch of strangers. To add to my aggravation, I’d just started training as a Marksman and was still getting the hang of shot rotations and such. Strangers or not, I owed it to these people to bring the pain as best I could.”
Actually giving a damn about doing his best for a bunch of strangers. See? Crazy.
“We get the pleasantries out of the way, the tank runs out like a madman to start the fun. I send Dex in to help out, bring my rifle up to my shoulder, and someone in the group asks if I’ve been eighty for long. That seemed like a strange question to ask. The kind of question someone asks when they think you don’t know what you’re doing. I hadn’t even pulled the trigger yet, so it’s not like I’d had a chance to do something wrong. I asked why he was asking.”
“Your GearScore is kinda low, so I was just wondering.”
“Just wondering.” The Orc spits the words out as if they were made of, well, whatever an Orc might find distasteful. Feces-covered balls of Fail, perhaps. “This guy had never met me before, had no idea what Dex and I could do. Instead of waiting for us to prove ourselves, he summed up our total experience and skill by the amount of crap I was wearing.”
What did you say?
“Nothing. I wasn’t going to argue, get into some kind of dick-waving contest. What was the point? We were there to fight dragons and dragonlings, not flare our egos at each other. I let my rifle do my talking for me.”
And did it speak well of you?
“According to another stupid batch of numbers, I had the top DPS in the group.” He smiled again. Fangs creeped out from between his lips. “Maybe those numbers aren’t all that stupid.”
I take it you’re not a fan of GearScore.
“Don’t really see the point of it. I’m sure it has a purpose. Real important to brainy folks. Raid Leaders, probably. Make sure people can handle the content or something. But the fact that I was wearing three pieces of Windrunner’s gear of Conquest, not to mention some Deadly Gladiator gear, all that gets boiled down to a number that someone uses to judge how well I do my job. That’s bull. I can kill just as well as anyone. Better, if the mood really strikes me.”
Rukgut turns his head and watches Taurens and Orcs, Blood Elves and Trolls, hurrying in and out of the Bank like ants in an ant hill. “It’s why I don’t have much use for folks, y’know? They have it backwards. Make important stuff seem useless, and the useless stuff important. Appease the Ego, not the Brain. I don’t need that kind of clutter in my life.”
For an Orc Hunter, he makes alot of sense.
“You are not your GearScore,” he tells me. “I wish more people would understand that. Understand that there’s more to life than pretty Epic gear. You can’t judge folks by what they wear. See what they can do before you look down your nose at them.”
I watch Ruk as he reaches into his backpack and pull out a bloody slab of Salted Venison. He tosses the meat to Dexter, who anxiously gobbles up the chunk of seasoned flesh. Some people need to be the top of the Recount charts to be happy. Others need to have a high GearScore.
Folks like Rukgut seems happy just facing a new challenge with good people. Or a burning dog that smells like sulphur, as the case may be.