Gearing up for an adventure

That scene in the Matrix when Neo fights an upgraded Agent and says, “hmm, upgrades…” resounds at the moment.

Recently I’ve been lucky to have some very good gear drops in normal MV and also had some of the hard work grinding and AH farming pay off. I found it odd that the relative score of the gear in sites like Wow Heroes did not jump significantly. It’s not like there are not 300+ characters who are better geared on the server, but bragging right are fun sometimes.

Gear which changes was:

  • a Dps 489 ring from Quest/Exalted Rep with Klaxxi. It is no small effort to get to Exalted with this faction, and it is a pity that I took the reward so close to the update to patch 5.1 as the ring will hopefully be replaced in the coming months. I will not be doing the Klaxxi zone at all unless I max out all the other dailies, which in very unlikely.
  • a Dps 489 gauntlets from MV, upgraded from item level 372.
  • a Dps 489 cloak from MV, from level 372,
  • some Dps boots that I’ll be using as part of a Tank set,
  • switched the old 472 dps Cloak and Gauntlets to the Tank set,
  • and purchased the Dps trinket from DMF, which replaced the 450 ilevel dragonling trinket. I’ll miss that little dragon proc. I think it cost around 12,000 gold buying it with cards.
  • then finally purchased the other DMF trinket too for the Tank set, for around 8,500 gold. It was far less of an upgrade that the Dps one, but it will serve well for the rare Tanking I do in instances and is more than powerful enough for 5 man runs.

Yes, its been a good few weeks.

I know that using Dps gear is not ideal for Tanking as I miss out on loading the secondary Tank stats like Parry and Dodge, but a 486/472 dps item is rated higher in terms of overall itemisation than a 463 item with those stats because often the Mastery loading on the dps items is still good. It is not ideal, but any upgrade is an upgrade.

Next on the list is:

  • I’m likely to valor-upgrade the two-hander Star Shatter, as it is likely the best weapon I’ll see before we are either killing the end boss in Heart of Fear on normal (a while away), or killing Heroic Elegon (longer still). Spending Valor on that seems a worth while update as it is unlikely to be replaced.
  • Rep farming the Shieldwall faction is important (Ring, then Trinket, then Boots/Belt),
  • but as is completing the Exalted rep with Goldebn Lotus for a Tank Neck (a quest reward), because I have a 489 item on neck already and the itemisation on the Dps quest reward is sub-par for DKs playing Frost 2 handed. Might as well get +5 Valor and a nice upgrade when it does not disadvantage the other grinds.
  • getting to Revered with the Shadow-Pan for a new 489 trinket (also costs VPs), but I am now sure that the Ironbelly Wok is nothing compared to the upgrade of switching to a 496 with the Shieldwall trinket. Those poor Shado-Pan might have had their day.
  • I’ll visit the August Celestials soon to see how I can help them too.

At this stage I’ll wait to see how my reps are when I next cap out on Valor, then purchase the item which gives the best upscale in core ilevel, with a preference for the Shieldwall gear.

I did wonder and have no answer, except to perform case-by-case testing for:

  • Is it worth upgrading a weapon by 8 item levels (say 489 to 497), or a trinket (from 472 to 480)?
  • or better to spend VPs on higher gear? buy a 489 which replaces a 472, which is more of a point difference.
  • How far does the preferred vs sub-optimal secondary stats factor in that?

Perhaps the answer is to only upgrade the gear which is both the highest level you expect to attain in the short to mid term, and also only when the same amount of Valor Points could not purchase an equivalent upgrade elsewhere on the character.

i.e. You’re better off purchasing a higher ilevel item than upgrading another, as you change the base level of your gear to be higher, and therefore open to enhancement with Valor later. This means that as most of my stuff is 489 now, I’d be mad to upgrade a 472 with VPs, especially when 496s are available with Reputation.

There is no sneaky way to grab my last 472 upgrades for Legs and Bracers except getting lucky in a few runs, or Valor farming – so farming it is. Yay! Cough.

dk_headshot_armour by wow insider

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wow p5.1 Valor Grinding Update by Ask Mr. Robot

You PvE folks don’t need more gear drops, just update the gear you have with Valor and Justice! Yay. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Mr Robot has an excellent summary with examples of how and how gear will soon be able to be upgrades with grind-able points. In Patch 5.1 for WoW you’ll get a +8 item level boost on any gear, costing 1500 points. That is pretty neat for a raider who is missing a key upgrade due to poor luck. It offers an alternative which was not available.

I have a niggling feeling though that it will make capping Valor/Justice each week so much more important. It was already very desirable, but now it feels even closer to a mandatory requirement.

Q. Where do you get the points?

A. Same places – boss kills, instances, and doing daily quests. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. Do we get more, or are the scales adjusted?

A. Nope, all is good in the ratios so I’m told. 25 points per boss kill is apparently what is needed.

Raiding and LFR offer between 40-50% max of the Valor, assuming that you are doing full clears. Not many guilds are doing full clears – so many raiders are not even close to max before they start doing Instances and daily quests.

Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. Should I do progression, with wipes, long effort, etc or do Valor farming?

A. Both. You need to play more, or play more efficiently, or whatever – this is all about being given expanded options. Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory.

Q. How could the reward improve or valor system improve?

A. How about:

  • Increase the reward from the instances from 80 VP first and 40 every run afterward to 100 and 60 each extra run. Make it so more people run instances to get their Valor – it can’t hurt. It still makes it a hard slog to cap. Increasing the JP reward is a good idea too.
  • Reward both Valor and Justice from Scenarios, unless they are intended to be done once and then forgotten.
  • Reward more from boss kills in PvE, from 25 to 40-45. This means that it is still very unlikely that a character will cap valor just from PvE clearing.
  • Reward daily quest reward from 5 VP to 10 or 15 VP. This is for fools like me who are earning valor through daily quests a lot and are really bored with it.
  • The bonus for valor capping a character changes so that instead of one character getting to 1000 valor and the buff kicking in, the 1000 can be gained on any set of characters, then all get more. This means more people are using alts – which would be their choice.

Remember: Grinding instances and daily quests is not mandatory. Are you happy citizen?

Refs:

Faction reps gaining slowly

A quick toon update on Reputations in progress for Mortigen my Death Knight, making me think that daily quests do have a reward, but by golly that does not make them entertaining.

  • Black Prince now Honored. Not a big deal without the drops needed from raid bosses, which are darn rare and most of what I need now coming from Heart of Fear.
  • Golden Lotus now Revered, so I can save that little more valor and might soon have some upgraded epic Shoulders. Yay. Anyone got some spare Valor? Also means I can unlock the Shadow Pan to start more quests. And a step closer to the epic quest reward too.
  • Klaxxi now Revered, also not a big deal due to the Valor requirement on rewards. I suppose it is one step closer to Exalted and a free 487 epic item. Yippee. Grind.
  • Tillers now totally beyond my comprehension of which idiot farmer likes me, and which are snarky. I do not understand why Farmer Yoon (or whatever his name is) actually needs rep or help. What he really needs and actually has is a host of available players to be slaves on his farm while he stands idle beside the hut watching. That shovel pusher is lucky he is not a yellow-mob, because I’d be killing him every week. Yes, I am exalted which is why these turkeys get the biggest rant.
  • I also do not understand how to get Cooking leveled quickly. All my non-“Way-of-the” cooking is gray.
  • Anglers have had a brief look in, but fishing is no more compelling than before, which means that it’ll be one of the last things I do each week if I have the time.
  • Archaeology is after fishing/Anglers. Yawn.

So I keep doing Golden Lotus and Klaxxi for the Exalted quest chain, garnering Valor to buy the Shoulders, then add Shadow Pan into the mix instead of Tillers so that the epic Helm will one day be something available too.

It’s nice to have an upgrade path. See you online.

At least a few upgrades

Last week I was finally able to purchase the third t12 item, and I decided to craft the 365 weapons rather than waiting for either a price drop, or a totally lucky drop in Firelands. It feels good to have some upgrades.

It took me a long time to get the third t12 item, and I worked hard for it – was it casual? Yup. But you can get stuffed if you think it didn’t take a very long time. I’m not the best geared in my guild at all, but considering that I have never had a raid upgrade in Firelands, and have barely stepped in there, being around position 12 to 14 on the guild list is a small achievement.

Today I read news that the t13 items will not be available for purchase with Valor, but other gear will be. Initially I was totally disenfranchised by this. I think this is OK as long as the gear is almost the same as the tier gear. A tad less powerful is fine (eg. missing a Tier set bonus), but if the items are no more powerful than the 5 man rewards, then I will not be grinding Valor at all – and cannot see a reason to do the 5 mans beyond the basic gear-ups.

That will have a drastic affect on the tank population, and the amount of players we’ll see – so much so that I doubt it is even plausible for the Valor gear not to be almost as good. Not granting t13 rewards makes having those items more special, and I like that. If you are a raider and you got lucky enough to get them, then kudos. Just don’t penalise my role in the raid because I’ve geared a few items using Valor. That would be stupid.

So what does this all mean? It means I’m watching closing the announcements for gear as part of 4.3. Very closely.

Honor Valor Justice Conquest Trading

Just in from the patch notes for 4.1 – swapsies on Honor, Justice, Valor and Conquest points. Yes you read that right, we will be able to switch lower-end point rewards amongst each other, which in effect makes participation in different forms of gameplay more desireable for those looking to gear faster, or in a more flexible manner.

Honor is now purchasable from the Justice Commodities Vendor at 250 Honor per 375 Justice.
Justice is now purchasable from the Honor Commodities Vendor at 250 Justice per 375 Honor.
Conquest is now purchasable from the Valor vendor at 250 Conquest per 250 Valor.

What I really like is that it offers more than one path to get to a basic gear readiness.

This a good change to let players spend points they may have, which are otherwise wasted. It also offers a path to upgrade alts, and it offers players who may have not considered playing another style a way to get quicker entry.

It won’t help you if you’re already max’ed out with gear, but then clearly that is not the goal. It will also potentially create scenarios where a player will be in pvp gear with basically no pvp skill (which is not a new scenario), and pve players who only have played pvp. Is this a risk? Well yes, of course, but the impact of this will be an interesting experiment in freedom of choice.

Happy gearing.

ps. Please send snarky observations about how easy the game is, or how this is broken the backbone of the challange to spam@whine.com – I mean really there is enough going on in patch 4.1 to make every player slightly nervious, and to expect a game not to change is just silly. I grant you that sometimes I break that rule too – to blog is to whine a little.