I was scratching my head at a comment from Syp over at Bio Break, who hit level 80 in World of Warcraft a couple weeks ago, and felt stuck there because "I couldn’t run heroics because my gear was too poor, but I couldn’t get better gear unless I somehow cracked the heroics barrier." I swear there is no heroics barrier in World of Warcraft. A situation in which you are level 80 but "not geared enough" to run heroics simply doesn't exist any more, due to the Dungeon Finder.
The Dungeon Finder will, if he can, mix people with vastly different gear levels. In terms of Gearscore I've seen anything from as low as 2k to as high as 6k in heroics. And as this is automatic, people can't even vote kick somebody out for having bad gear, because the automatically invited replacement will have equally bad gear. Thus most players realize that having a guy in green gear doing 1k dps in the group is still better than running the thing undermanned. And as some other player is doing 4k dps, the overall damage is largely sufficient to succeed the heroic anyway.
Thus World of Warcraft right now is a paradise for undergeared fresh level 80 characters. They not only get the same emblems as everybody else, but will also be the only ones in the group rolling need for the iLevel 200 blue and epic gear. If you play a tank, you just sign up as dps until you got enough gear to actually do some tanking. If you are a healer, well, healing an overgeared tank is rather easy, and can be done perfectly well with green gear.
Of course it isn't very pleasant to always come last on the damage meter, and feeling like a leech. But look at Syp, who overcame his imaginary "heroics barrier" by being carried by his guild through a raid and getting some epics there. Isn't that leeching as well? Then I'd rather leech from a bunch of strangers, who anyway are so used to somebody undergeared in their group that they don't even complain about it any more.
I don't think there is anything dishonorable about signing up for heroics when you are freshly arrived at level 80. That is after all the place you are *supposed* to go to gear up for raids. And it isn't your fault that there are a lot of completely overgeared people running the same heroics, and that the Dungeon Finder tends to group you with them. If anyone would complain to me for being "undergeared for heroics", I'd reply: You are right, one of us is wearing the completely wrong gear for heroics, only it isn't me.
Last night I was running an undergeared alt through heroics and by some random twist of fate got grouped with other badly geared people, some of them obviously even inexperienced with heroics. We weren't doing all that well, and wiped a few times, sometimes due to stupid mistakes. But nobody left, everybody was extremely nice and polite, apologized for mistakes, got told that no worry, it's just a game, and finally we beat the dungeon. That was the most fun run of the evening, the others were the usual speed runs with conversation limited to "gogogo". I'd say the undergeared players are suffering from the presence of overgeared players in heroics at least as much as the overgeared players are suffering from the "leeches".