Patch 4.3 has hit the test servers, and with it information about the next PvP season, Season 11. We don’t have a lot of information about the new tier yet – not even a name for it yet – but Wowhead News and MMO-C both have nice galleries of the new gear.
While 4.3 isn’t imminent, it is coming, and based on the rocky transition between Seasons 9 and 10 I think there are some prudent steps PvP players can start taking now to prepare for Season 11. The current model completely resets gear from one season to the next, and every indication we’re seeing on the PTR is that this will continue.
Crafters will have all their PvP recipes updated to new ilvl 377 Vicious gear, replacing the Bloodthirsty patterns currently known. This means there will be three different levels of Vicious gear in the game:
- ilvl 365: Arena Season 9 Vicious
- ilvl 371: Battleground Season 10 Vicious (currently purchased with Honor)
- ilvl 377: Crafted Season 11 Vicious (coming in 4.3)
While a half of a tier doesn’t seem like a lot, it adds up. You can check the season of each item by looking for the green text under the name of the item in the tooltip.
Following the tier model we saw introduced in Cataclysm, this means that PvP gear in Season 11 should have the following item levels:
- Crafted: Vicious (ilvl 377)
- Honor: Ruthless (ilvl 390)
- Conquest: ? (ilvl 403)
Keeping in mind that the best gear you could have right now is Ruthless-384, I think it’s safe to say that you will be replacing all of your PvP gear at the start of Season 11. Honor gear jumps a full 1.5 tiers (19 ilevels), which means you should just replace the whole thing. Even S10 Ruthless (Conquest) gear should be replaced with S11 Ruthless (Honor) gear – a half tier is noticable.
My other recommendations?
- Stockpile Honor Points and Justice Points. You will want as many Honor Points as you can at the start of the season to upgrade your basic gear and reduce your Honor grind. Justice Points can be converted to Honor Points, so they can function like a reserve Honor bank, giving you effectively
70006667 Honor Points to start off with. Consider capping both as 4.3 draws near.
- Prepare for 1-2 enchanting and gemming rounds. Prices on many enchants and gems will drop as Patch 4.3 approaches. Take advantage of price fluctuations and have at least one extra set of enchants and gems on hand and ready to go. If you are planning on doing Rated PvP, get a second set. Current gems may be replaced by epic gems once 4.3 is out, but you can’t stockpile those yet.
- Don’t expect anything from the interseason period. Last time, a series of miscommunications from Blizzard led to a lot of players grinding out complete PvP sets in the week between Seasons 9 and 10, only to have that Season 9 gear become obsolete the minute Season 10 launched. Plan to use the time either for a PvP break, or for a chance to cap your Honor and Justice points. Don’t buy anything that doesn’t say Season 11 on it.
- Consider your current purchases wisely. If you’re still gearing up a toon, you may want to consider the benefits and drawbacks to continuing to purchase gear that can be replaced by crafted gear in the next patch. This is really a quality of life decision you’ll have to make for yourself.
My earnest hope is that we’ve already gotten through the rocky parts of the new system and will have a smoother transition than the last one. If everything stays the same, capping HP (and JP if you can) will be the smart way to end Season 10.
Just be sure to wait for Season 11 to start before purchasing any PvP gear. Let’s not all make the same mistake twice.