Preparing for Patch 4.3 / Arena Season 11 PvP Gear

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.

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43 Comments

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43 responses to “Preparing for Patch 4.3 / Arena Season 11 PvP Gear

  1. Still very much opposed to the new gear transition system introduced in 4.2! Although obviously the transition to 4.3 is not going to be anywhere near as messy as the last patch, I feel very empty with the end of the season near like all the effort I put in to gear up and improve is all for nought when the conquest gear now isn’t going to be as good as the honour gear next season. Maybe a mindset change on my end is what’s needed, but at the moment I don’t feel it’s me I feel it’s the result of an unnecessary change made by blizzard to artificially level the playing field every season.

    • I’m right there with you on the new system; the transition basically kills my desire to gear up, because it’s so impermanent. I know I’m a little batty with my twinking, but at least when I get them geared up they’re going to stay geared up for more than a few … weeks. Even PvE gearing is better than this – not being geared for Firelands doesn’t mean I can’t raid T11.

      Oh well. That’s a different rant for a different time – at least we have some idea what’s coming this time, so hopefully we won’t get fooled again. /fingers crossed

  2. I wonder when they will run out of names like “Ruthless” and “Vicious” and just start calling it by numbers, or “Very Angry Gladiator’s Plate Chest Piece”!

    • “Hey, that’s great looking Very Angry gear you’ve got there.”

      “Oh yeah, but wait until next season, the Tiny Angry Gladiator gear looks AWESOME.”

      Personally, I’m waiting for the Peevish, Mildly Irritated, and Obnoxious Gladiator’s sets. :)

  3. Thanks for this. Having just gotten into arena’ing on my mage, I’ve been wondering where things will stand on the gear grind. I’ll probably keep going as long as my partner wants to – we need the practice! but not worry so much about getting a full set of gear.

    • You’re welcome! I think, aside from the first week or so when the BGs are packed, if you’re just in it to do Arena you’ll be fine. Getting yourself capped will leave you in a good position to gear up again quickly, and the Conquest Points will keep flowing.

  4. I keep hoping for the Depraved Gladiator set, but that might just be me. That, and an Atrocious Gladiator set, as long as it looked really bad.

  5. Thank you for the reminder to stock up on Justice as well as Honor. I did not even think of that. Thanks to all your tips I think I am much, much better prepared for Season 11 then was for Season 10. There will definitely be much fewer mis-steps this time around, hopefully for everyone.

    • The Justice Point conversion is a nice trick to have for both PvP and PvE – even though you lose out bringing it back and forth, it still gives you a great head start on the grind.

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  7. Gameldar

    Part of what gets me about the season change is that the crafted gear is better than the honor gear from last season (at an ilvl comparison, haven’t actually compared the advantages of the sockets/socket bonuses). I didn’t realise it this season because I effectively started afresh with two toons.

    I guess it is the same as the ruthless season 10 to ruthless season 11 honor set but since I’m pretty much limited to honor items – all that time spent in BGs has no lasting value and can be replaced with 2 minutes of crafting once the new patch drops (made even easier because I have all the patterns and the mats… not that I’ll be complaining too loudly about the crafting as the crafted pvp gear is my main source of gold)

    Still hopefully I won’t lose out on buying last season’s gear like I did this season!

    • On the one hand, I can see that it’s good to have a reset each season if you want to switch characters – everyone starts off in very similar situations, where crafted and Honor gear both have value. That’s good.

      What’s bad is that it destroys the value of the gear you acquired in the previous season. It’s not good for players who aren’t starting over.

      Oh well. It is what it is; either you play the game or you don’t. :(

  8. CheersDaniel

    Looking in hindsight, the regear every season model is in direct response to the new 3 strata pve gear plan. They had to make each step up meaningful in pve, but also didn’t want pve gear to dominate pvp through ilvl differentiation.

    Honestly, after getting over the fu of last season’s intro, I actually really enjoyed the competition in regular BGs during those first few weeks of the new season. For that short time regular BGs are the top level of pvp content. Seeing what coordinated 3s teams could do among uncoordinated Reg BGers was pretty fun.

  9. Soondead

    Don’t forget that your current VP and CP will be downgraded as well. So in reality you might find yourself with a lot more than 7k honor at start of next patch.
    Basics:
    4k HP
    4k JP converted to HP (3k?)
    4k VP auto converted to JP and then converted to HP (3k?)
    4k CP auto converted to HP (4k)

    Without checking numbers I think you would at least be able to get 14k-ish of HP at start if planned correctly. That will take you a long way gear and weapon wise.

    • This is a good point, and thanks for bringing it up. This backfired at the end of Season 9 – CP converted to HP unexpectedly at the end of the season, but the caps weren’t raised. So any excess over 4k was lost. :(

      I’m wary about this one; I hope that it will be viable, but I don’t trust that the code will work correctly yet. It’s a great point to bring up though!

      • Soondead

        Actually during that week when blizzard failed I had about 7k honor with the conversion of cp into hp. So I was over the cap for a few days buying gear that was then wortless….

        Patch note 4.2:
        All existing Conquest Points in the Currency tab have been converted to Honor Points. Any points above the Honor Point cap must be spent within the next week before Season 10 starts. Once Season 10 begins, all Honor Points exceeding the 4,000 point cap will be converted into gold at a rate of 35 silver per point and mailed to characters.

      • You were one of the lucky ones, then – most folks (myself included) just got gold in the mail. Zarhym made a post about it, and how it was supposed to work like you experienced (and the patch notes described), but it didn’t. There was also no way to fix it.

        The other issue (which I had forgotten) is that while you can have 7k Honor for the interseason week, you can’t carry that over into Season 11, when you actually need to use it.

        Unless they screw up the caps… :)

    • The conversion of VP into JP is only up to the 4K cap however – the rest gets converted to gold – for VP/JP there isn’t any grace period – it is just lost immediately. However you could use your VP before the patch drops to convert to CP and you can also spend some time in dungeons/raids in the in between week to get VP to convert to CP for when the pvp season starts.

      • Soondead

        @gameldar, the point is that if you have 4x4k (all currencies) at end of the patch you should be seeing all CP and VP converted to HP and JP. Thereby giving you approx. 7k of each. Then you take the 7k JP and convert that to HP. So if all plays out correctly you would have 14k-ish of HP at start of the patch. That will help a long way when getting new gear.

        Blizz gave a week transition period last time. I believe that the plan was that all 371 gear should have been available during that week. Unfortunately only 365 (previous CP) gear was available. If I recall correctly this was a mistake from Blizz and in the end they compensated with 4k HP…

      • Soondead

        Or maybe the memory fails me…

      • @soondead No – that’s what I was pointing out – you can only every keep 4k JP at the end – you can’t go over the cap for the PvE badges – anything over 4k will be converted to gold. So you can save 4k JP – but all your VP will be changed for gold (much like happened with the CP->HP conversion at the start of this season). You can use your VP converted to CP to ensure you are capped in CP, HP and JP before the patch drops – but that is the best you can do.

        But the mistake was that they didn’t inform players that the i365 gear would be obsolete the following Tuesday – not that the new gear wasn’t available.

  10. I’d just started to get current with PVP seasons right before the last transition, so that was definitely rough. I’m still not sure how I feel about this whole system. On paper, it’s much less complex and it makes it easier for people to catch up at the start of the season. In practice though, it’s not especially elegant.

    Unrelated to the tiers but still relevant for Patch 4.3: What do you think is going to happen with Transmogrification? Players right now can use visual feedback based on the gear of their opponents. Do you see this changing much in a post-mogging world?

    • It was elegant when introduced, but it’s been modified now well past that original model. Consider there will be *three* sets of Vicious Gladiator’s gear in 4.3, all different. There are three different Conquest Point caps. And the transition period is confusing as all getout. Still, it could be worse.

      Mogging presents a challenge in PvP. There’s probably several posts worth of things to say about it (and I see you’ve already done one), but my basic take on it is that it’s only as good as your opponent’s UI. Generally I look at the health of my opponent and it tells me, very quickly, what kind of gear they’re wearing. I have enemy nameplates on with class colors, so wearing another class’s clothes doesn’t do much there.

      Where it *can* help is in the portrait window. When I target someone and I see them wearing a distinctive helm – say, the Warlock’s Wrathful helm – that told me a lot about their gear, and I might not look any further. You could use that to juke people into thinking that they’re dealing with someone in crafted gear, or distract them (like with the Big Bad Voodoo Mask). Real disguises like Noggenfogger or Furbolg form will obscure your race, which has a little more value.

      If you don’t know to look at the health bar, or have class nameplates turned on, then the gear can be a good fakeout. But at some point you have to accept that it’s only good for the first few seconds.

      So, to sum up: I think it will be more popular cosmetically than tactically, but it may provide a very small tactical advantage.

  11. And another thing to consider is the gear to pickup first.
    My plan for 4.2 was first to buy helmet, chest, shoulder and weapons of the 384/378. As that took me some weeks, I had a lot of opportunities in BH for 384 drops. In the end I think BH gave me 3-4 pcs. I’m now in full ruthless and havn’t reached any real rating in arena/rated.

    BH has to be approached with a plan as well.
    I always set up the raid. First asking guildies if they wanna join. Several of them are only pve players and don’t want the pvp gear. The players in the guild that want pvp cloth gear are passing on this raid as I setup two more raids with my warrior and lock. Then when I pug the rest I make sure of not taking another priest or clothie. This way I’m sure that I will get the cloth item.

    Plan the BH raid well. It will reward you a lot.

  12. Clori

    I’d also recommend grabbing the shoulder/head enchant before the season starts, and you work on honor capping. That is 3k honor you won’t have to grind later.

    • dude

      Don’t the enchants also get outdated?

      • Not necessarily, if you’re talking about the PvP ones. New ones haven’t shown up on the PTR, and we’ve not seen an upgrade path for them yet.

        Even if new ones were there, you will not want to spend 3000 Honor on enchants until you’ve finished your S11 Ruthless kit. There’s far more bang for the buck to be had with getting other pieces and enchanting them with the current PvP enchants you can purchase now. It’s effectively carrying forward 3000 Honor Points.

      • Okay, thanks for the confirmation. And dude, thanks for the idea too! I honestly never thought of that!

    • Growltiger

      Don’t forget you can pick up the enchants using TB marks rather than spending honor on them.

  13. I’m still wondering, though, whether Justice/Honor Points will be converted to gold and whether their higher tiers Conquest/Valor will be down-converted or whatever it was that happened last season. Anybody know this?

    • All indications are that the point conversion should happen as was intended last season, including converting all excess JP/HP over the cap to gold.

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  15. kebbek

    Don’t buy anything that doesn’t say Season 11 on it. Think its a good idea to buy a head/shoulder enchant b4 u start capping ur 4k honor!

  16. Thanks to @darthregis on Twitter for pointing out that the JP->HP conversion only nets 2500 Honor Points (2667 to be precise, but you have to earn more to get that last bit out). I don’t know what I was thinking when I did that conversion the first time.

    Updated the post with the new figures.

    • Even then, you still will never have exactly 2667 points from conversion. You’ll end up with 250 “unusable” JP’s. Assuming you’re trying to maximize your JP -> HP usage, you’ll have to run one heroic dungeon after 4.3 drops (and kill two bosses), which will give you enough JP’s to buy another 250 HP’s.

      With that said, you’re likely going to get more HP’s in the same time frame just from doing a random BG.

      Also, you have to remember to spend at least 2500 HP’s FIRST before you can make room for converting JP’s into HP’s.

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  18. Syko

    Do they upgrade the PvP enchants as well? Or should I go ahead and get the head and shoulder enchants now and recap my honor points?

    • They have not updated the PvP enchants before, and are not likely to this time as it would unbalance PvE. Get the head and shoulder enchants now and recap.

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  20. Zafenal

    Smart idea to buy Season 10 Ruthless weapons this week? Seeing as they didn’t upgrade honor weapons last season, they were always one level behind their other honor counterparts