Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Few Short Notes

Where's my Can of Raid?

I hate buggy questlines.

The end of the Fleshwerks questline in Icecrown was bugged for what seemed like ages before that finally got fixed, and it kept me from finishing the Icecrown quest achievement for a while.  The same thing happened in Howling Fjord with the end of the Ymiron's questline, and that was my stumbling block in that region too.

And now we have Defending the Rift, a special gift for you from Cata.

After trying for about about a dozen times to get the questline cutscene to work, I gave up and called it a night.

Some people claim that it's Horde only, but since I was doing the quest on Tomakan, I know that Defending the Rift has it in for Draenei, too.


Why Is She LFD Being so Difficult?

I have a short, simple goal before I get to L83:  Finish the Northrend Dungeonmaster achieve on both toons.  It's not a hard thing to do; just get finished with all of the 5-mans (except ICC and ToC) on regular mode.

Then why does LFD hate me so much?

By my count, there are three Wrath instances that are impossible to solo:  Trial of the Champion, The Oculus, and Halls of Reflection.  ToC and Oculus are impossible to do because of the vehicle portion of the program; you need more than one person in there to survive the joust in ToC and the Eregos fight in Oculus.  Halls of Reflection has that nasty DPS race at the end, and no toon is able to put out that much DPS in that short a time before 'Big Boy Arthas' comes within range and nukes you.

To finish these, all you ought to be able to do is queue for only the instances you want, and then slowly eliminate them from the list as you complete them, right?

Then why did LFD send me into ToC over a half dozen times on each toon, giving me the same bosses to fight, without any variation?

I finally finished up enough stuff on Tom so that all I have left is a spare boss in Ahn'kahet that I must have missed, but Neve is still stuck in LFD hell, waiting on a non-fail run of The Oculus to miraculously appear.

Overheard around Azeroth

In The Oculus:  "What do you mean, Red is the tank?  Red is the DPS, Bronze is the tank!"

In Culling of Stratholme:  "What are you doing here, Ginger?  You're L82!"  [Ginger was Tomakan, in disguise as a red haired bearded guy.]

Tomakan:  "I want the achieve before I can't queue for this."

"There is no achieve here in normal!"  "Yeah!"

Tomakan:  "[Northrend Dungeonmaster]"


In Icecrown:  "So, how are things in Northrend today?"

Neve:  "Cold"

"Oh, but I'm sure we could cuddle somewhere for warmth."

Neve:  "No thanks."

"But I've got a nice roaring fire here going."

In Pit of Saron:  "Why did I die?"

Healer:  "Next time, kill adds before you pull Ick.  And don't stand in the green stuff.  Are you sure you've done this before?"

"Of course I have!"

Healer (in whisper to me):  "Yeah, right."

Also in Pit of Saron:  "What do we do now?"

"Run up the tunnel and don't stop until you reach..." [tank takes off] "...a halfway mark."

[tank runs up to the safe location]

Healer: "Stop!"

Tomakan:  "Stop here!" /jumps

[tank keeps running]

Healer:  "Oh Lord"

EtA: Added the rest of Mr. Smooth's attempts to pick up Neve.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Warring Priorities

It must be nice, being a master of the Auction House.

Not to mention the player who has an entire stable of toons sitting at L85.

And still have a life.  (Or a job.  Or both.)

For most of us mere mortals, we have to content ourselves with prioritizing our WoW time.  And truth be told, playing the role of Farmer Bob is one of those tasks that I typically put at the bottom of my to-do list.  My thought process is simple:  what's more fun, leveling in Vashj'ir, or mining Cobalt?*  Fighting in Alterac Valley, or farming Frostweave?

It used to be the case that I'd combine my farming with waiting for the LFD or BG queue, but since the combination of Battlegroups caused a reduction in queue times, I discovered that I didn't have that much luck getting a lot of farming done.  And right now, I'd rather be out questing rather than farming.

Of course, a Tailor still has to have her Frostweave to finish leveling.  To help his fellow Hordie out, I've been pulling Quintalan off of whatever bench he's been spending his days on and sending him into Icecrown to beat up on Converted Heroes for their Frostweave.  Once he gets a pile, he forwards them on to Neve so she can practice her skills.  If you guessed that I don't exactly sound enthusiastic, you're right.

It's one thing if I've seen all of the Cata zones, and poked my nose into each nook and cranny on both factions.  I'd be gearing up for PvP, trying my hand at heroics, and working on what I consider side stuff.  But since Neve needs the gear she can get from Tailoring (and the boosts from Enchanting), I'm Farmer Quintalan instead.

Tomakan needs the cash, and while the questing is giving a good supply of gold, I don't want him to get to L83 without having visited all of the Northrend instances.  So the past couple of days, he's been Miner Tom.

Not exactly the stuff that heroes are made of.  Unless, of course, your idea of a hero is more along the lines of Cincinnatus.

I remember reading a post by Linedan from Achtung Panzercow on his attempts to play EVE Online, and my reaction was that if a game feels too much like work, it's no longer a game.**  There are days when the WoW grind is too much like work, and not enough like play.  That's when I remind myself that to take the measure of a game, you have to assess the good with the bad.  Does the fun outweigh the grind?

For me, it does.  This grind will eventually go away, and I can move on to other things.  There may come a day when the grind no longer makes the game worth it, but it isn't there yet.

*Cobalt was selling for higher prices than Saronite or Thorium on Ysera last week.
**Unless your work is a game, then all bets are off.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interactive Drug Trips of Vashj'ir Past

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed being a Naga.  That whirlwind attack is plenty nice too; every time I heard that whistling noise I thought of Ginsu knives.

They even split Kvaldir!  Now Available at L78!

As an aside, I still think a group of renegade Naga could be a good fit for the Horde or at least a Neutral installation, but I'm not exactly all the way through Vashj'ir yet.  So who knows?

I had mixed feelings playing the Battlemaiden's questline, however.  In that old conundrum you'd find in The Frozen Throne, who do you root for:  the group aligned with the Lich King (Kvaldir), or the group aligned with the Old Gods (Naga + surprise guests)?  Either way, the mortal races lose.

In general, both the Horde and Alliance quest lines are alike.  There are a few minor differences, namely with the minor sideshow stuff from Goblins/Gnomes, but that's about it.  The tone of the characters, however, is completely different.  The Horde characters are out for blood, while the Alliance characters have their words tempered a bit.  In the 'defend the ship' event, the Horde Captain yells "Make 'em bleed!"  The Alliance Captain doesn't say anything quite so memorable:  "For Stormwind!"  On the flip side, having the Draenei Earthen Ring member talk about having to run and hide her interest in Shamanism rings far truer than a Tauren, and the Dwarven Earthen Ring member saying "Ugh, an Orc... This will take some getting used to" made me laugh.

Finally, between the second and the last of the Battlemaiden sequences culminating in "Visions of Vashj'ir Past", both toons got themselves geared up enough to qualify for the first of the Cataclysm regular instances.  So by the time you're through with the Shimmering Expanse you're instance ready, with almost all of your gear replaced by new Cata greens.  It's not always optimal --Tom was wearing some tanking shoulders for a good while-- but it's far better than what you're equipped with coming out of Wrath as a fresh L80.

I'm planning on taking Quintalan in the opposite direction to Hyjal and see how the regearing process goes over there.  Naturally, he's going to have a lot of advantages that Tom and Neve didn't have, but that's the breaks.

Convoy to L85 Update
Tomakan:  L82 in Vashj'ir
Nevelanthana:  L82 in Vash'jir
Quintalan:  L80 and being used for farming Frostweave in Icecrown

EtA:  For the Paladins, so far I've only seen one Relic drop in Vashj'ir, and it's a Holy Spec Relic given you by the woman who sends you out hunting for her lost items.  That means for you Prot and Ret Spec Pallys whatever Relic you've got on when you start up Cata will probably still be with you throughout Vashj'ir.  In Tomakan's case, it was an old Relic he picked up in one of the Tempest Keep instances and promptly forgot about.  I don't believe Tom encountered a Relic at all while running the Wrath 5-mans, and the point of the exercise was not to go out buying stuff but instead just keep on truckin'.

EtA:  A Ret (kinda Prot) Relic finally dropped in Vashj'ir, right before the end of zone.  For Prot Pallys, you might want to pass on the Prot gear that is an alternate, but that's your choice.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Confession time...

Alright, so I have a confession to make here… having one piece of armor that doesn’t match the rest of my gear really bugs me. For instance, my current set of armor is the blue crystal look of tier 11 along with the flat gunmetal grey color of justice point gear. And then there are my legs they’re iLevel 346, but they’re…. Bright red. Ug.

My wife will gleefully (seriously, giggling and finger pointing) point out the fact that she’s overheard a few of us very manly gamers discussing what color the guild tabard should be in order to match our gear.

And this obsession extends past just gear coordination. When I made my Orc Deathknight, I chose the darkest skin available because it looked the best with armor. And when I chose to race change my warrior to a Worgen, he’s got black fur because it looks the best with the different armors. And this even extends to race choices.

My warrior was created during vanilla. It was originally created to be a level 29 twink – and what a power house he was (There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the “blegh-ack” cry of a one shot gnome).

Well when I decided to start playing my warrior more seriously, I race changed to undead, because they have the best shield slam animation. And I got tired of not being able to see directly in front of myself and not to mention the giant furry egg on his back.

And then I found the guild I’m in now and ended up race changing to a human. But I got bored with that, because at the time my main character was also a human. So I changed to a dwarf – which ended up annoying me in the long run because I literally had to jump to hit some targets and stairs were the death of me a few times because I wasn’t in line of sight of the healers at the bottom of the steps.

With the introduction of Worgen to the Alliance, I was very much looking forward to race changing to one because they looked cool in the videos I had watched and they were new. Not to mention a new chiropractically challenged race would make me feel more like I was playing Horde.

I have now been a Worgen since release and I gotta admit – they’re not all that grand. I like the fact that they added sounds to changing stances as a warrior, as well as adding sounds shouts. It gets a bit tiresome to listen to this for every shout and every stance dance.

And I’m not a fan of the way helmets look on them either. It’s like they’ve got the same problem as trolls do. It’s as if they took a helmet that would fit a smaller race just fine, and cut holes in it to modify it to fit. I’m just not a fan…

And then there’s the boots – I’m the tank here. I’m the wall of iron, steel, wood, muscle, and bone with the sole purpose of stopping the bad guy from beating up everybody else. – So we’ve got the bright red legs with backwards knees and the blue / grey boots with awesome clunky looking reinforcements over the knee and bare toes. It just doesn’t sit right… If I were the boss mob I’d just stomp on the tank’s foot and call it a day.

I run around with the helmet turned off – we discussed this already, and I also turn capes off. The way the shield rests on a Worgen’s back looks right, but it’s almost as if they copied the cape animation from a Dra’nei because it doesn’t look like it flows quite right, and it ends up clipping most of my shield off.

And probably the biggest annoying I have is weapons. It seems that the awesome looking epic pvp axe I have doesn’t scale any larger when I’m in Worgen form, than then I’m in human form. Which makes the weapon (to me at least) seem kinda wimpy. Not that you could see it anyhow from how many flips I end up doing when wielding a two handed weapon (It was cool at first, but I’m not playing Metroid or Sonic – do I really need to spend that much time curled up in a ball?) And when blade storming, my claws end up sticking out further than the blade. And it probably good they do, because of the way Worgen hold their weapon when blade storming - not that getting repeatedly smacked the by flat edge of an axe wouldn’t hurt after a while, but it just looks pitiful.

So, I’m pretty sold on yet one more race change…

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Under the Sea Plaguelands

If you want to know my opinion of sending the two guinea pigs straight into their first Cata zone --Vashj'ir-- I think the title pretty much sums it up.

For those of you who were around on WoW prior to Cata*, can you remember what it was like taking your first toon at ~L55 and making a mad dash for Light's Hope Chapel?  The Eastern Plaguelands was the scary zone in the Old World (sorry, Silithus and Blasted Lands), where it seemed the waves of Scourge were unending and you had to go at a crawl to reach the one safe place in the entire zone.  Oh, and it sucked if you happened to be on the road at the same time as the Scarlet Courier; you'd have been better off just running into Plaguewood naked instead.

Of course, all things being equal, some toons were more equal than others at dealing with the challenges of the old Eastern Plaguelands.  Paladins were custom made for the zone, while Cloth wearing toons suffered the most.

In a very real sense, that's what I felt when Neve and Tom swam out into Vashj'ir for the first time.

Neve, as a Frost Mage, has the built in advantage of a minion. 

Boy, did she need it.

My experience leveling with her in the Old World (pre-v4.0.1) came in handy.  The mantra "nice and slow" was vital to her survival.  She could handle one 30-40k HP enemy at a time, but two made her sweat.  She had very little recourse for healing during a battle, so she had to rely heavily on damage mitigation using her shields.  Because the Naga were a) all over the place and b) prone to aggroing on her, she was forced to stand and fight a lot.  The shields she had were often exhausted before their cooldown was over, so these fights became a DPS race.  Afterward, the Conjured Mana Strudel was steady part of her diet.

Still, she didn't die at all until the "defend the ship" event.

A Cloth wearer like a mage is often a sitting duck in a melee style event, and Neve was no exception.  She survived multiple attacks by one Naga, but two at once were almost too much.  And three...

After that experience, things became a little easier.  She finally started to get a few Cata greens, and her health (and firepower) jumped 3k.  In fact, the only time she died after that was when the rare Lady Ya-Ya (yeah, I know, a nod to Lady Gaga) spawned right behind her.

Tomakan, by comparison, has built in healing, and is surrounded by nice, hefty (if puny by Cata standards) Plate.  And when Art of War procs, Exorcism will deal 10k damage at a pop.  He found the going quite a bit easier than Neve did, and he didn't die once.  Okay, I don't think the elite giant catching you from behind should count, but that's just me.  I did follow the same rules that I laid down with Neve:  one enemy at a time, switch out damage (Ret Aura) for protection (Protection Aura), and go slow.  I'll admit I was a bit concerned that Tom would have it harder than Neve because she could get more damage in from distance than he could, but he made up for it in better armor protection and higher spiky damage.

Now, I think both toons are getting their Cata legs under them, and while they aren't going to be knocking on the door of any instances soon, I'm more confident in their ability to survive in the Cata zones.

So the question I posed, "can you survive in the Cata zones going straight from Northrend after dinging L80?", is so far a yes.  Now, the "will you die a lot?" question is still out there, but we'll see.  A corollary to all this, "how long will it take you to be instance ready?", now that's a head scratcher.  I suspect it'll be after all of Vashj'ir is complete, but I don't know for certain.  Even with the Cata greens I have, I don't have a high enough iLevel to get into normal Trial of the Champion on either toon, so that gives you a feel on how far I have to go.

*Okay, that's just about everyone, but you never know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And so it Begins

Tom and Neve both dinged L80 this morning.

(My run of bad luck in BGs continues, as I couldn't win in AV on either toon.  All I needed was one win and I would have dinged L80 early in the morning on each, but nooo....  /grumble)

Anyway, time to take stock of what's on each toon:

Pretty, um... homely, right?

Although both of them finally left their Outland gear behind (Tom replaced his last piece the other day), both toons only have two items at iL187.  (EtA:  Tom now has three, since I replaced the heirloom Chestpiece with one from The Oculus he won this morning.)  The Wrath heirlooms are still much in abundance, and the vast majority of gear is in the 150s-160s range.  Admittedly, this is far lower than I expected when I decided to go with this experiment, but it's realistic.  If you're a new player to WoW and you've leveled up to L80, this is what you've got.  Unless you figured out how to work the AH, you don't have a lot of gold in the bank to buy the new Cata L78 gear, either.

As you can see, I'm not bothering with an Eternal Belt Buckle (on a low-end Wrath green?).  Nor do I have a host of enchants on the items, either.  Some of the items don't have the iLevel for it, and others --being heirlooms-- I'd rather not enchant at all.  On Neve, I enchant when I can and when it makes sense; I'm not going to dump strength enchants on items just because I can; I'd rather match it up with something she can use.  I also need to level her Enchanting and Tailoring more (and I don't want to talk about Tom's Engineering).

I did the initial Vash'jir quest or two on Neve, and while I was waiting on the dock outside of Org, a couple of guildies tried to talk me into buying some of the Cata greens.  "You're going to die a lot, Q," I was told.

"But that's the point.  I keep reading about how you can do it, and I want to see how well you can do it."

And yes, I won't lie:  that first Naga fight was nasty.  However, my problem in that fight was that I couldn't damn well see, because my character was zoomed in all the way to FPS mode, and I couldn't seem to zoom back out.  (FPS mode makes my head hurt, and I'd rather not play in a zone where I have to play that way.)  I'm going to try again later, to see if something simply got out of whack that only a full restart would cure.

EtA:  In the interest of full disclosure, this is what Q has on at the moment while he's waiting his turn:

He's a wee bit better equipped to start questing in the Cata zones.  His gear is close to as good as you can get without actually having raided in ICC, so he'd have advantages that a true newbie wouldn't.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Me and my Big Mouth

I kept telling myself I wasn't going to post until both of my alts made L80, but the WoW gods conspired against me.  I'd had such a great run of good luck pugging the normal Wrath instances that I'd sort of forgotten what it was like to have a bit of drama in a pug.  Oh, I don't mean I'd had a series of Wrath Heroic "shh-don't-make-a-sound-we're-grinding-badges" pugs, because most of the pugs have become chatty affairs.  (When a UK run takes 45 minutes, you might as well talk about something along the way.)

No, I mean what I experienced today, where you become reacquainted with the Vote Kick button.

The first entertaining instance of the day, I got Halls of Lightning on Tomakan, and I was going into the middle of a run.  No big deal, really; when you LFD solo, you get that a lot.  The only issue I had was that I was inside Drakuru's Scourge tower, Voltarus, and I had to get out of there ASAP.  I ran down, ported out, ran down the ramp, and tried to mount the gryphon. 

Then I was reminded that while in disguise I couldn't mount anything.  (Yeah, insert adolescent joke here.)  So I bit the bullet and ported into Halls of Lightning, making a mental note that I'd probably port out into an aggro situation.

When I arrived, I found the priest and hunter standing around.  Recognizing the location, I said, "Afternoon.  Almost to Loken?"

"Um..." the Hunter said.

"Where is everyone?  Running back?"


"Hey everyone!" the tank shouted, running up.  "I'm an L82!"

"Okay," the Priest replied, "how did you get in?"

"The limit on normal Wrath instances is L82," I said.  In one of the most overused lines in Star Wars, I had a bad feeling about this.

"I'm a Worgen!"

"Yeah," I replied, "and I'm a Scourge.  Or I was a minute ago."

"And I'm a jelly doughnut," the Priest replied.

We buffed, and the tank took off.  I swear, he must have thought we were blitzing a Wrath Heroic.  "I can take on one of them all by myself!  Wanna see?"

"Um, no," the Priest said.

"Oh.  K."

We made it through to the end, killed Loken, and the tank queued us up again.  Since in spite of his overenthusiasm he was an okay tank, I queued up too.  The Priest and the Hunter had to go and dropped, and we stood around waiting for LFD to spit out a healer and DPS.

Then the tank and the other DPS started playing a game of comparisons.

"How old are you?"

"27.  You?"

"28.  Got you beat.  Married?"





The comparisons began to veer a bit more toward the explicit, and before they could get to discussing things like penis size, I dropped.

I shook it off, ported out, and naturally got jumped by a pair of Scourge in the Reliquary of Pain.  Oh well.

Later that afternoon after I got done with work for the day, I got into what was almost an instant queue for Utgarde Pinnacle.  We got buffed, ran up, and started the first trash pull before I could even type the words "hello."

Then the tank lost aggro.

"Hey!" one of the DPS said as he and I died.  "Watch your threat!"

"WTH happened?" the healer asked.

"I was wondering the same thing," I replied.  "At least UP has a short run back."

Our questions were answered a few moments later when the tank DC-ed.

Oh well.  "I'm going to go questing," one of the DPS said.

"You're a lame-ass," the one replied.  "Questing during an instance."

"Why not?  It'll be 15 minutes before we can vote-kick him."

Lo and behold, three minutes later, the magic vote-kick window appeared.  "That was the fastest 15 minutes I've ever seen," I replied.

We queued up and got a new tank, and this one was so brand new he had that "new tank" smell.  "I've never been here before," he said, "and I'll need some pointers."

Things went okay --if slow-- until toward the end of the second boss.  "I've gtg," the tank announced, and suddenly I had aggro.

Oh.  Crap.

Luckily, Lay on Hands was off CD, so I was able to stay upright without us wiping, but the tank left the game without leaving the group.  We were stuck once more.

This time, the tank we got hung around until the end, but he ignored the healer when she called out for mana.  That almost cost us dearly in the Berserker area toward the end, because I got Feared into the latter two packs in the middle of the room.  Rather than do something stupid like run to the tank with two trash mobs trailing me and a healer low on mana, I stayed put and took one for the team.

"How'd you get over there?" the healer asked when he maneuvered over to rez me.

"Feared," the tank and I said in unison.


This does not bode well for Cataclysm.

(Side note:  Draenei do not need the Viking-esque helmet that's a quest reward for UP; they're already horny enough, thankyouverymuch.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

From QQ to Pew Pew!

Okay, I'll admit it. I've been one of the pouters QQing about heroics and what-not. But the heavens have parted at the Blizzard ivory towers and delivered news that is sure to make the DPS throng rejoice.

Among the many buffs, nerfs, and balances coming in Patch 4.0.6, mages are getting some much needed love.

With mana costs being reduced to such spells as Arcane Barrage, Fireball, and, my favorite, Living Bomb, it will make it easier to bring down mobs within a decent amount of time. It won't be the face roll we had in Wrath, but it will be enough so that we can get through a heroic without going OOM half way through trash pulls. Yes, mana management will still be, and should be, part of the class mechanic. What makes this easier for healer and tank is that trash will be more managable for DPS to get them down and still be capable of an "oh $#!+" moment.

Cataclysm does offer mages a return to utility less often seen in Wrath. Sure, we're still the best vending machines in the game, but the use of CC has made playing a mage fun once again. Yeah, I love blowing things up, but I love strategy more. I'm slow to learn them, I'll admit. But once I get it, it's a blast (pun intended) working as a team.

I'm lucky. I have proficient players in my guild who make this game fun. Definitely, I prefer doing heroics with them. But I see this next patch making it easier to get through PUGs in the random dungeon finder, and sometimes that's all we DPS have available to us.

What's that old line about patience again?

I noticed that I haven't been posting as much the past month or so, but it's not like I haven't been doing anything.  I'm still plugging away at getting Tomakan and Neve to the Cata zones (they're L76 and L77, thanks for asking), and I'm continuing to pug my way through instances and BGs.

My posts about foibles in instances have been few and far between because, well, the number of worthy failpugs has dropped dramatically.  My speculation is that people are working on all of their toons in the Cata zones, and given the commentary about failpugs in Cata instances, I might not be too far off the mark.

One thing I have noticed is that LFD isn't really random.  My instance selections while leveling in the Wrath zones have been waves of a single instance at a time:  first Utgarde Keep, then Ahn'kahet, and now Violet Hold.  Scattered in between have been occasional forays into Azjol-Nerub, The Nexus, and Drak'Tharon.  I'm not sure how LFD determines the criteria for an instance, but I suspect that certain instances are ranked higher than others depending on your level, your gear's iLevel, and your role selection.  That role selection is subdivided if you're DPS into ranged vs. melee.  Finally, you're put into a pug based on need.

Anyway, I'm still plugging away in mostly abandoned areas of Azeroth.  Last week, when I had some off time, I spent a morning and part of the afternoon on Tom, and between leveling mining and questing in Zul'Drak, I think I saw a grand total of a half dozen other toons.  The power levelers have long passed through with their new alt combinations, and at least one guildie in Neve's guild has already lapped her and is closing in with a third toon.

I'm now starting to get antsy about making it to the Cata zones and see all of those spoilerific things that I've been avoiding on other people's blogs.

"Would it help if I got out and pushed?"

"It might!"

Convoy to L85 Progress
Tomakan - L76
Nevelanthana - L77  ("I'm almost L78!"  "How old are you, 10?")

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Yet Another Arms Race

Another case of unintended side-effects seems to have hit with the Cataclysm green gear being accessible at L78.

I mean, we've seen this before, right?  You can make the jump at L58 and L68 to the next zones and start getting the new gear and...  Oh, wait.  The new zones start at L80.  You can get the gear off the AH, but the prices....  They make a Hummer look cheap.  (Especially if you're leveling Tailoring and/or Enchanting, and you have to sink gold into those professions.  Yikes.)

Hmm...  Okay, you don't really need the new Cata gear to quest in the Wrath zones, and you definitely don't need them for the regular Wrath instances, either.  It might make you feel more invincible running around in entry-level Cata gear in the Wrath areas, but it's not going to have that big of an impact, right?

Well, have you tried a 70+ BG lately?

I spent part of my Friday and a very late night run on Saturday getting pummeled in Eye of the Storm.  Whether I was on Tomakan or Neve, it didn't matter.  You could tell who the people with the Cata greens were, because their health and damage was way beyond what the rest of us were doing.  It was as if Tom was was dressed in cloth armor, and Neve, well...  I'm not going there.  But it was absolutely ridiculous.

In the BGs for the 50s and 60s, that gear jump to the next expansion was there too, but the overall quality gap is much worse this time (try gear with iL150-160 up against iL278 gear).  Tomakan at L57 could enter a one-on-one fight with an L60 tank in AV and have a reasonable chance of winning, but now?  Even an L78 Mage in Cata gear outstrips our L76 hero in health.  And with the only available remedy being the AH, that tips the balance of power to people with a big gold bank.

The obvious solution to this problem is to retrofit the entry level Cata gear to make it L80 and up, but with the expansion over a month old, that's not going to happen.  Perhaps the best solution here is to take a page from Wrath BGs, where L80 was separated from the rest of the L70s, and move the L78+ into the L80's BGs.  The result would be L70-77 and L78-84 BGs.  Sure, it goes against the 10 Level breakdown, but that is a simpler solution than trying to retrofit something that has already been out there for a while.