Mists of Pandaria has brought us a bit of a roller coaster when it comes to our valor points and how we acquire and speed them. In Cataclysm, there were very few changes (just the move from 1 dungeon per day awarding valor to 7 per week) and we essentially just did a few heroic dungeons, killed a few raid bosses, and spent our points when we had enough. In MoP, however, the valor gear was gated behind reputation which was gated behind dailies. Valor being unspendable before doing enough dailies has been much lamented by the player base. Of course, since launch, each patch has brought a new curve ball in terms of valor. Continue to see the different valor changes so far, the problems with those changes, and what’s coming up in patch 5.3!
They’re fun to some, but the bane of many. At MoP launch, the only way to spend valor was through the grinding of dailies, and oh, there were a great many dailies to grind. Although, there’s a little more valor flexibility now, dailies as a way of providing content doesn’t seem to be going away as both patches 5.1 and 5.2 included additional dailies. Several people I’ve talked to say that the daily quests and progression of dailies is much better in the newer quest hubs, and I’m inclined to agree. Unfortunately, for people looking to gear up, the old gear is still locked behind dailies and STILL costs valor, albeit with a 25-50% reduction. So, why farm those dailies, you ask? Well, even though it’s not the best use of your time to gear up now, professions still have most of their best recipes locked behind dailies. As you level your alts, expect to go back to those quests over and over again (unless you don’t care about the professions).
As mentioned before with launch, all valor gear was gated behind a reputation. Now we’re up to patch 5.2, has anything changed? Well, yes and no. The truth is, you still cannot buy any gear with valor points without having appropriate reputation. Fortunately, we now have some extra ways to get that rep. The current rep, Shado-Pan Assault comes from raiding Throne of Thunder. The item level for this gear is equal to normal raiding and the first piece of gear is available at neutral. So, although I say it still requires rep, you don’t have to do anything other than get to the vendor. 3 slots (ring, trinket, wrists) are available at friendly, 3 more (gloves, back, and legs) at honored, revered has 2 (chest, waist), finally there are shoulders and a mount at exalted that don’t require valor to purchase. Admittedly, while this gear still requires rep, it’s much easier to get as raid finder also gives rep for it, and there are many more slots available at each level of rep gain. You don’t have to farm multiple reps for multiple pieces. Also, we now have some alternate ways to get rep with the old factions, including one random heroic/scenario per day and work orders on the farm.
This feature has been both praised and cursed, I suppose mostly depending on how much time you can devote to farming valor. I wrote a post about why I hoped it stayed gone – but it’s not going to. Using valor to upgrade gear up to 8 points came with patch 5.1, was removed in 5.2, and apparently is coming back in 5.3, much to my dismay. Under the new version, however, upgrading that 8 item levels will only cost 500 valor, down from 1500 valor. This means even more gear upgraded even faster. It also, still, means that with valor upgrades back in 5.3, there won’t be any point you can feel “done” and take a break from grinding valor without losing precious points. On a side note, justice points upgrades are also back (in upcoming patch 5.3) and reduced to 750 points, down from 1500. Somehow, pvp players have evaded this change and pvp gear will NOT be upgradable for honor or conquest (or anything) in 5.3. For those who might require proof, here’s the source for this info at Blizzard.
What does all this mean for us players? Blizzard has definitely listened to player complaints in giving alternative ways to gain rep outside of extremely grindy daily quests, unfortunately though, there are no venues for dumping valor that doesn’t require reputation grinding of some sort. Even after you have all the reputations needed, with upgrading gear coming back in 5.3, be prepared to valor cap every week. Essentially, this is a very grindy expansion. Looking on the bright side, though, we have a lot to do. I remember a certain period in Cataclsym (I’m looking at you 9+ months of Dragon Soul) where I had nothing to do on my main except raid the same content over and over. It seems there is a general consensus among the players that there should be a way to spend valor that doesn’t require reputation, but the furor has died down a bit with a variety of ways to gain that rep. To me, having valor upgrades just adds to the grind, but I know many are excited. I am, at least, glad to have enough stuff to do, but it can feel overwhelming to not be less efficient with my gearing.