For a while now I've had the idea to start a guild with a theme of Skill>Gear. The two ways in which I intend to prove this concept is to have guild members organized into Challenge Mode teams, and to combine those teams into a heroic raid team with an interesting standard, i.e. a gear cap.
It has long been my firm conviction that clearing any particular raid is designed to be possible using gear from the immediately preceding content, e.g. SoO cleared in gear from ToT, ToT cleared in gear from HoF/ToES, ToES cleared in gear from HoF/MV, HoF cleared in gear from MV/dungeons, and MV cleared in gear from dungeons. Any gear that drops during progression through a particular tier is not necessary towards clearing that tier. It merely "nerfs" the later bosses of that same tier.
What I propose, then, is a series of self imposed gear caps for progression raiding. The initial gear cap might seem necessarily complex, as the sources for gear for the first tier of an expansion are diverse. However, I intend to reduce that complexity by instituting the initial rule of "Theoretical Day 1 Availability" for Highmaul Heroic raiding. Blackrock Foundry Heroic raiding would then also allow all Highmaul Heroic and Normal gear, along with whatever catch-up gear could be gained within a week, i.e. "Theoretical Day 8 Availability + Highmaul".
As 5man content is all available on Day 1, any gear from there is allowed. However, only one Daily Challenge Mode reward is theoretically available on Day 1. As such, only one item from this source may be worn at any given time.
Apexis Crystals are a daily grind, and nothing useful can be purchased with 1 day's worth of crystals. As such Apexis gear is not allowed.
630 crafted weapons and most 640 crafted gear is available without the use of daily cooldowns or Savage Blood.
LFR will not be available on Day 1, so no gear from there is allowed. Normal mode gear is available, but using it would defeat the Skill>Gear theme.
Following this Day 1 rule, it seems that all armor items, capes, necks, and one ring are likely best obtained from the crafting professions (640), rather than Heroic Dungeons (630). (there may be exceptions, due to particular class/spec stat optimizations.) This is advantageous, as sets can be crafted for recruits that have not geared up yet, or who have already geared past the Day 1 limit. This lease weapons, trinkets, and a second ring to account for.
630 crafted weapons compete with Heroic Dungeon weapons, a 630 weapon from a daily Garrison Mission, 640 weapons from daily Challenge Modes, and a 645 weapon from a Gold Victory. Each of these items are theoretically obtainable on Day 1.
The 640 ring from Khadgar's Task is available on Day 1, but the upgrade to 680 from Power Unleashed is not, so only the 640 ring is allowed. It's very likely that some players will have already upgraded their ring, so an alternative may be necessary. Options include 640 Challenge Mode rewards, 630 Pit Fighter's Punching Ring, and 630 Heroic Dungeon drops.
Inscription trinkets are not allowed, as they use multiple daily cooldowns. Aside from Heroic Dungeon drops, there is a 630 trinket from a Garrison Mission, and also 620 PvP trinkets to consider. The Philosopher's Stone may also be useful.
In summary, each raid team member progressing through Highmaul Heroic would be expected to maintain a set of gear consisting of:
- A full set of Blacksmithing/Leatherworking/Tailoring gear.
- A cloak from Leatherworking or Tailoring.
- A neck and ring from Jewelcrafting.
- A second ring from Khadgar's Taks, Challenge Modes or Brawler's.
- Weapons/Off-hands from crafting, Heroic Dungeons, Challenge modes or Garrison Missions.
- Trinkets from Heroic Dungeons, Garrison Missions, the Honor Vendo or Alchemy.
I'm guessing that after clearing Highmaul, most Apexis or crafted gear would be obsolete anyway. Inscription trinkets might remain competitive, but they take longer than 8 days to craft and upgrade. I think the 680 ring from Power Unleashed would be reasonable to use while clearing Blockrock Foundry Heroic without invalidating the Skill>Gear theme, and it's easily obtainable within a week.
Now I just need 9 other like-minded players!