"until you consider that the loot from 10-mans is an entire tier lower in quality than the loot from 25 mans
this is arguing semantics, but isn't really true... 7.5 and 7 are both basically the same. the difference between an iLevel 200 item and an iLevel 213 item is pretty insignificant."
I wondered what exactly constitutes a "tier" of gear in World of Warcraft.
Let's start with ilevels. As we know, tier 7 is ilevel 200 epic, while tier 7.5 is ilevel 213.
Taking one step back to TBC, there were 3 official sets of "tier" gear for rogues: Netherblade from Kara, Deathmantle from SSC/TK, and Slayer's from BT/Hyjal.
Netherblade is ilevel 120, while Deathmantle, a tier higher is 133. Exactly 13 ilevels of difference. Meanwhile, Slayer's pieces vary between 146 (another jump of 13) to 154 (for the pieces that dropped in Sunwell). Further, 159 (another jump of 13) was the ilevel of the pseudo-tier available in Sunwell.
So maybe in TBC, Blizz established a consistent standard of 13 ilevels per tier.
But let's go further back. Maybe the old-world sets can shed some light:
The classic Nightslayer from MC was ilevel 66. Bloodfang from BWL was 76 (hrm...the plot thickens!), and Bonescythe from the original level 60 Naxx was 86-92 (most pieces were either 86 or 88, with just the ring at 92). So we can see that back at level 60, a tier increase was only 10 ilevels, not 13.
It's very difficult to make assumptions based on this data, as there are a few possible interpretations that jump out at me:
1) In the original World of Warcraft, Blizzard didn't really know what they were doing when designing raid gear. During their richer and more enlightened recent years, they've settled on 13 ilevels as a "tier" and will probably remain that way indefinitely.
2) The ilevel gap between tiers must expand as the player increases in level. So if the ilevel gap at level 60 was 10, and the ilevel gap at 70 was 13, then the ilevel gap at 80 is either something like 16 (add 3 every 10 levels) or 17 (add 30% every 10 levels). This would put tier 7.5 at slightly less than a full tier apart from tier 7.
We won't really know which of these is true until Ulduar is released. Then it will become very clear what "a tier higher" really means.
Now whether the stat difference between the tiers is big enough to really care about...that's another question.
According to wowhead's item compare, just switching my 5 heroes pieces to valorous pieces gives me:
That seems pretty significant, but I'm not entirely convinced.
According to Vula'jin's most recent version of the rogue dps spreadsheet:
My theoretical max dps in full Naxx 10 gear (nothing from KT/Sapph/Maly except helm) with my usual 10-man raid buffs is:
While in full Naxx 25 gear is:
That's a 10.25% increase for replacing 16 items (I kept the Mirror of Truth trinket). Is that a lot, or a little? Seems smaller than I expected.
So it comes down to a matter of opinion: do you think that after gathering all of that gear, a jump in dps of 10% is significant? Was it even worth the extra effort? That is definitely debateable. And certainly not worth getting upset over.
But the thrust of my argument stands either way: tier 7.5 is more accessible to bad players than tier 7 is, and that's not the way it should be.
-Thanks for the comment, Ixo! I hadn't looked at it that way before. It's actually a big relief to know that I don't have to worry about scrubs in tier 7.5 using the gear advantage to brute force past me on the damage meters, since it's really not that big a difference, especially if they only have a few pieces. I don't really plan to do much 25 man raiding, now that I no longer have to herd all those cats just to see the content.