Gearing up for PvE content has always been a struggle, and with the difficulty dial set firmly on Cataclysmic you want to make sure that you have the best gear you have access to before you start raiding. But what does having the best gear actually mean?
- Running heroics until you’re bored of them just to try to get a stupid item to drop. For mages there’s a big lack of iLevel 346 bracers (there’s two without Spirit, one dropping from an optional boss) and wands (again there’s two without Spirit).
- Running heroics to grind reputation with factions until you’re guaranteed some nice gear once you hit exalted. (Flamebloom Gloves and Desert Walker Sandals are examples)
- Running heroics to gather up the cloth and Chaos Orbs in order to tailor some epic items. Don’t expect any nice raiding gear from your profession as it’s pretty much only good for PvP starter sets.
All of these award Justice Points, which you think would help with balancing out your gear by plugging the gaps where your luck has let you down. Take the burden away from repeatedly grinding heroic instances so that you become bored of them before your first month of Cataclysm is up.
Wouldn’t that make sense? Wouldn’t that be logical?
Alas, it’s not to be. What we find available for Justice Points is largely just a variation of what’s either readily available in dungeons or easily accessible from reputation vendors at revered. All they have is a shuffling of stats, trading Crit for Mastery or Hit. They’ve even reused the same models, resulting in a forest of casters all wearing assorted pointy hats.
But what can be done about it? Make gearing up too easy and you churn people out in raid ready gear after only doing a few heroics. Make it too hard and people would do something – anything – than run another force-fed heroic in the hopes that the item they want will drop.
- How about setting bosses to drop location specific tokens, like a chestpiece token or an offhand token or similar. Maybe even part of a token, so that you had to get three or five of them to actually buy anything with them. While it’s an interesting idea, it would result in identikit characters all wearing the same gear with the same stats. There’d be no variation any more – you’d just buy whatever’s best in slot for your spec because that’s what you’re told to do.
- How about having more loot available so that bosses might drop two items a time instead of just one? At worst it would mean a big pile of Heavenly Shards landing on the Auction house (as if this isn’t happening already)
- How about making crafting professions useful again by allowing them to craft some heroic-grade gear? Maybe using a single Chaos Orb instead of the 20 that an epic belt would chew through might be a good idea. Of course, make it too easy and people would just skip heroics altogether.
There are so many ways to itemise in this game, yet I can’t help but feel that Blizzard have done a poor job at this bracket. And it’s not just the drought of items in some areas, but the duplication in others. Why have Belt of the Depths available as a tailoring craftable item for thousands of gold when most players will pick up Cord of the Raven Queen for 35g as soon as they hit exalted with the Guardians of Hyjal and reforge stats as needed.
As for Justice Points? Keep ‘em. You can’t buy Chaos Orbs with them, or rare patterns or gems. They are useless to me.