|I don't like the sound of this.|
Olivia Grace caught my eye yesterday on WoW Insider, picking up this nugget from Mr G. Street esq. on what we can expect from Valor in 5.2. I have to say, I read the article with increasing concern: on the back of the news that the Ethereal Gear Upgraders will be retired, the issue of where I'll be getting my dps improvements if I'm not running 10/25 Man Normals is becoming something of an issue. If we work on the theory (as Olivia has) that we might well see a reputation tied to LFR, I'm actually feeling a bit uncomfortable, and I'm betting a load of people are going to have something to say to the fact you might be able to earn gear (and therefore new upgrades) by running an 'easy-mode' version of the Thunder King Raid.
The problem here comes with having no more information to speculate on than the Tweet above. Blizzard are promising us more details (gear issues seem to be very much the Hot Topic currently) but until they do we can do nothing but flail about, confused. This turn of events is nothing new however: as Olivia reminds us we did this dance in the Firelands. I made it to Exalted about three weeks ago, so I have mixed feelings on the plan to tie items to a certain amount of time dedicated inside an instance, regardless of its difficulty level. However, as has been discussed in this Blog, I think we can expect to see a distinct change in fortunes when it comes to Instances, perhaps a complete retooling of how the system works. If Blizzard move to further divide the 10/25 Normal , it makes sense that LFR could get a similar facelift. What remains to be seen is if we'll have four recolours of Tier 15 (LFR/10 man/25 man/Heroic modes) because a part of me still reckons they might spring the 'loot is better from 25' Joker or whether there'll be two resets for the 25 people to garner their upgrades faster. Of course, if the rep to dungeon thing does happen, running two versions a week's going to be an even bigger boost than the humans +10% rep gain..
Part Two of the tweet confirms what we already know, that there's a new Daily Soap Opera in the offing, where (at least for me) we get to see just how pissed Jaina is with her fellow (ex) Dalaran Horde buddies. I'll admit, as I come to the end of the Shieldwall Offensive adventure, the questline has worked well with the storyline, and it certainly helps in the process of mindless grinding. How this links in with the Thunder King remains to be seen, but what bothers me more (sadly) at this moment is what they're going to reward me with. Hopefully we should see a new build this week, and some of those questions will be answered. Until we do it is time to start working out what is left to buy with my Valor, and whether is is now more sensible to upgrade existing pieces or do slight upgrades to new ones (am looking at the Shieldwall items especially.) This also means there are only a finite number of weeks to try and secure a Sha-Touched Weapon (which I suspect would be a prime target for VP augmentation) If I could PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE even manage the 476 vaults upgrade that would be enough. Begging isn't pretty, is it?
There is also one other problem that I'd like an answer for and that hasn't been adequately provided: what happens if you want to gear an alt. Once LFR as it currently stands is relegated to 'old content' I'd expect no-one with a desire to competitively gear to want to set foot in one again, especially if you'll need rep from the new instance to keep up with the Joneses. This means MSV, ToES and HoF will become 'The Alt 25 Mans', full of people wanting to gear their secondary characters: I'd suspect an increase in wipes and a decrease in decent group quality as a result. If loot rates increase (this has been confirmed but I'm not believing it until I see it) this could become the alternative to 5 mans and Scenarios for many people, especially if PvP crafted gear will give them an entry point that can bypass the lower level gear-gathering spots altogether. What also isn't clear is if the existing Epic gear will remain tied to rep grinds (regardless of the increase in accumulation with Commendations) or whether it will effectively become rep-free. In fact, those waters are currently so grey and muddy I'm not sure I'll want to go anywhere near them. Gearing up a second alt is scary enough as things stand, but the thought of having to go through two 'tiers' of LFR in 5.2 to finally get access to the best gear isn't particularly filling me with joy.
You know what, Blizzard. I hate to say this, but you should have kept the Tabards and put a weekly reputation cap on them. At least them people could have chosen where they did their work. You live and learn.
This lack of gear/how upgrades work/how instances will provide gear confusion should mean it's going to be quite some time before 5.2 goes live, which is Good News Everyone, especially for those of us with a Do Do List in 5.1 which is rapidly extending with every new login...