Valor, LFR, 5.2 and the gear grind

Yes finally another post, I really need to write these more regularly again. I had a couple of separate conversations with people recently, I told them what I’m pretty much going to write in this post. However, as I told them I thought “hey that would make a good post” so here it it.

LFR, has it’s fans and it’s critics. What is it’s place in the game? Valor, is it for raiders or non raiders? How soon is patch 5.2 going to drop and are we ready for it? Oh and gear, and more gear, it controls everything.

Starting with LFR
Blizzard have always maintained, so far as I know, that LFR isn’t meant to be a step on the gearing ladder. It is so that everyone can see the raids, experience the lore, without having to be in a dedicated raiding team/guild. It can be seen at people’s own schedules and so it’s meant for non-raiders. However, that’s the problem because non-raiders don’t know how to raid. It’s called ‘looking for raid’ not ‘looking for lore’. I ran all 5 of the LFR’s on Wednesday after the reset, I often do as it gets them out of the way. The prevailing attitude was aoe everything, ignore mechanics, collect loot and abuse anyone that suggested different. That is not a raid, so really it shouldn’t be called ‘looking for raid’.

The fact is people do use it as a step on the gearing ladder. Blizz have said about using it to fill in gaps when something refuses to drop, gearing off-spec and alts closer to raid level etc. They’ve said it’s not mandatory as raids aren’t tuned requiring that gear. Some people object to this, as it means they have something else they need to do every week, if they want to avail themselves of all the opportunities to be the best they can be. So whether LFR was implemented to allow people to see raids, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to, fact is it has become a rung on the gearing ladder. I’m not saying it doesn’t perform it’s designed function, but that it also gives loot.

Now I like LFR as it enables me to put what I’ve read and watched tactic wise, into perspective. I’m someone that has to have a run through, before I understand everything, as sometimes I just can’t get it into my head otherwise. So I think they missed a trick with LFR. They should have head a 10 man mode as well. This would mean guilds could use it as a training tool, to practice encounters in a more forgiving environment. With LFR already on the gearing ladder they have created a third difficulty level. 25 man guilds can queue for LFR and do as I suggest already, but 10 man tactics differ slightly as there’s less people, and 10 man guilds even if they all queue can’t control a 25 man raid.

The argument against this would be that guilds would queue together. This would take out of the pool of players, the ones with experience, the ones who would theoretically lead the group. However, I don’t like running LFR with random people. I wouldn’t mind it if they were nice but they are shockingly rude most of the time. They aren’t interested in anything but collecting the loot at the end, and really that’s not what raids are about. LFR isn’t raiding, it’s a mockery of raiding. Give us a 10 man version and leave everything else the same, but I would like LFR to have at least one redeeming feature.

Valor capping and what to buy
I upgraded my first piece of gear yesterday, my shield because it’s best in slot before heroic. I couldn’t buy anymore upgrades for my tank spec, and I want my main spec to have the best, so I’m not ‘wasting’ points on my off spec. Even with refusing to buy any valor gear my offspec is sitting at 478 ilevel, better than some of the main specced raiders in my guild. Anyway, they’ve said that they are removing the upgrading system in 5.2, whether it will return or not later is currently unclear.

I personally like the system, as otherwise I would be spending my points on offspec gear. Ok fair enough, that’s the way it always was once you were topped out on your main spec. However, what about when the offspecs kitted out, what do you do with your points then? I don’t think there are any valor boe’s anymore, or not so I’ve noticed. There’s a 3k cap now where there wasn’t before, so what do you do with these points? In 5.2 I’ll buy whatever new gear is available and then what?

This brings me to my next point about valor, which is the necessity of capping. I haven’t capped my valor every week since I hit 90. I’m doing it religiously now for the legendary quest, but that’s the most consistently I’ve done it. Valor capping is a lot harder now than it was in Cata. In Cata if you raided then you’d get most of your points with the raid, you could top up with a dungeon or two and you were done. I kept alts valor capped as well, as 7 heroics a week was pretty easy to manage. A lot more activities in Mists drop valor, however the amount per activity is very little. Running all 5 LFR’s didn’t even get me halfway capped.

Blizz have spoken about this, saying that valor isn’t a necessary part of progression. That it’s there as an option and isn’t mandatory. Well, as I said above, if people want to do everything they can to be the best they can be, then it isn’t optional for them. True it’s a personal choice, but it still is their choice, and making that choice is harder now. The weeks that I didn’t cap I felt like a bad player. As I’m the raid leader I felt like I should be setting a good example, I also felt like I wasn’t doing my best and that I was letting my team down. With the upgrading being removed, and once I’ve bought everything in 5.2 I won’t have a reason to get capped. So that will relieve that pressure, and let me do other things in game. For other players though they just won’t login as much, they won’t be running all of the content that blizz is providing. Does blizz really want people to have less reasons to play?

There’s also the question about whether valor is for raiders or not. I believe, though I could be wrong, that it was introduced for raiders to make up for that slot that just wouldn’t drop. Then everyone got in on it, on ‘welfare’ gear and valor became something for alts, non-raiders as well as for raiders. I read something recently from blizz, that said that valor wasn’t for raiders, and therefore if raiders ran out of ways to spend it etc. then that wasn’t a problem. That raiders gear came from raids, and valor was an extra. My question really, is why can’t it be for both? Have valor for people that don’t raid, and have raiders also find it useful through upgrading.

Well upgrading is causing problems, I explained it to my guildmate. He said he hadn’t thought about it as he trusted blizz to know what they are doing. Whether they foresaw the consequences of the system or not, it can’t be denied that there have been consequences. In pvp, which I know very little about, it’s created a huge barrier to entry, as upgraded conquest gear is so much better than honor gear. In pve or pvp it’s increasing the gear divide between those at the top, and those at the start. This is increasing stat inflation more quickly, which isn’t a good thing, but not the most pressing problem. No, the big problem with pve is how to tune T15. You have people who want to start raiding in T15 who’ll have T14 LFR and valor pieces, or at least you could say they should before the start, through to those in upgraded T14 heroic gear. Now, fair enough heroic raiders always have an easier go of normal, than normal raiders do. However, the difference is bigger with the upgraded gear. Do they tune it so heroic raiders can blow through it like tissue paper, and normal raiders have a chance? Or do they tune it for the upgraded gear, causing problems for the players who don’t have as much time investment in the game? Also, at what ilevel will the new T15 drop? There’s a danger that upgraded heroic gear could be better than any normal drop.

All of those problems aside I still like upgrading, I like the valor point sink. It started out you got a piece of gear and slapped an enchant on it, then jewelcrafting got introduced and you socketed gems, then reforging was introduced and now no gear set is optimised without it. Gear upgrading is just the next step and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t know how they will address the stat inflation, I don’t know how they will address the tuning dilemma. I do however hope that the system makes a return in 5.3, and that that time it will be here to stay.

The rise of the thunder king
When should patch 5.2 come out? The Grumpy Elf asked this on his blog, I responded saying “hopefully not anytime soon, not that I can judge as I’m where I am progress wise due to roster trouble”. He responded saying that lots of people were having roster trouble, that it was a common state of affairs, and that he too had lots more of T14 to see. I want to make much more of a dent in T14 before it’s over. With Heart of Fear needing to be cleared before we can enter Terrace, I would like that to be done at least. Whether that will happen or not is unknown. Regardless I am looking forward to T15. I don’t know if having just one single raid will make things easier or harder, but it’s a new raid at least.

Also, finally to end, a massive cheer for the relaxing of transmog restrictions. I’ve got an ugly big axe on my ret spec right now, I loathe it. In 5.2 I can transmog it to my nice sword again, I can’t wait.

One thought on “Valor, LFR, 5.2 and the gear grind

  1. “…I really need to write these more regularly again.” – 11 days ago.. XD I’m just teasing you though, I still think you’re doing an awesome job =) I could never make regular posts, I’d probably just feel pressured and end up quitting.. =P

    I like your idea about 10 man lfr, but what I think they should do if it is 100% intended for non-raiders to see/experience the lore is to still drop gear (I mean come on, who would do it more than once otherwise? =P) but have the gear dropped to be same ilvl as the current hc dungeons. Still some reward but no use for raiders anymore. I mean sure, at some point you will have absolutely nothing to gain from any of the lfrs, but just look at us for example that have had trouble getting groups together at all, lfr will probably still have some upgrades for most of our team.

    Hmm, I haven’t thought of the tuning problem with upgrades, but now that you mention it I think they didn’t really think that one through XD I do love it and the vp-sink it creates though, no idea what I’d spend my vp on otherwise once os is geared =P

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