One Question About Cataclysm Endgame PvE I Probably Shouldn’t Ask


It really didn’t take very long to get Cynwise into LFR. I think I spent more time practicing at dummies trying to relearn the Demo rotation than I did gearing up, and my PvE set is slowly phasing out the PvP pieces.

And by slowly I mean like 2-4 pieces a day. Seriously, wtf, you know how long it takes to gear up for PvP? I’ve already got the 2pc bonus!

So, I’ve been thinking, a dangerous pastime. (I know.) And something has really been bugging me.

Why are there no crafted PvE sets at 85?

What purpose does not having craftable gear available serve at this point? When it’s possible to get (inappropriate) PvP gear crafted for you the moment you hit 85 that gives you access to nearly all heroic content, and when it’s trivial to PvP a few BGs to bump you into LFR, why are there no starter PvE sets for endgame? In what way does the implied progression of normals, 4.1 heroics, 4.2 heroics, 4.3 heroics, LFR, normal T13 make sense at this point in the expansion?

Actually, screw that question. Even early on, why was there never a set of 325 gear for tanks to start off with?

As much as people complain about PvP gear in PvE, and rightly so, there’s a certain unfairness in the criticism when the game stacks the gearing path against PvE players.

  • PvE is now really gated entirely upon item level.
  • PvP gear is usually a half-tier behind the PvE equivalent: Conquest is 6 ilvls below Heroic Raids, Honor is just below Normal Raids, Crafted is just below LFR/5mans.
  • PvP gear is easier to get without regard to individual performance (to allow people to transition from PvE to PvP relatively easily.) You can either have it crafted for you, or go suck in BGs for a while, or both.

At this point in the expansion, fresh 85s are looking at a massive ilvl gap between what’s available at 84 and what’s available in current content. Think about it. You can either:

  • Gear up the intended way: spend 20-50k on BoEs, run normals and grind reputation for gear good enough for the initial heroics, grind heroics for zulroics and T11, grind those for T12 and End Time, grind those for LFR and Normal DS, then get into Heroic DS, or
  • Craft a set of PvP gear for 2k gold, run a few regular BGs for 2-3 pieces, get into End Time and LFR, and loot them until you’re ready for T13.

I picked Cynwise back up with an item level of… I want to say 362 or something like that. She was in full S9 Conquest, with a few S10 Honor pieces (trinkets and the like.) She had practially no PvE gear – the hideous crafted BoE belt with lots of hit was about itm.

In 4 nights of work, she’s up to 380 in 2pc LFR T13, with only 3 pieces of PvP gear left on her. That’s about as much PvP gear as I had when I raided ICC for 8 months.

And I sure as hell didn’t do it by running other dungeons – I swapped out most of my S9 Conquest gear with crafted S11 PvP gear to get my ilevel up to 371, then ran the End Time 5-mans twice and the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple on LFR twice. That’s it.

So here’s the thing. I could do this now because I’m playing DPS, and if my DPS is low because I’m in PvP gear it’s not going to instantly wipe the group.

  • If I were healing, would those stats I lose to Resilience matter? Probably.
  • If I were tanking, would the lack of avoidance and mitigation matter? You better fucking believe it.

This seems wrong. This is a separate issue from the cluster of fun that has been PvP gearing in Cataclysm – on that side of the house, PvP is getting screwed over by PvE design decisions. No, this is a different problem, a design decision to force people through an entire expansion of content that isn’t relevant at this point. The lack of a low-tier crafted PvE set:

  • Encourages players to wear PvP gear in PvE to play with their friends
  • Encourages players to play DPS, instead of filling out tanking and healing roles (which they may enjoy more)
  • Creates resentment in the PvE community for an influx of players in PvP gear, when it’s actually the optimal choice for gearing up quickly

Want more tanks and heals at the PvE endgame? Design the gear curve so that it’s possible to jump into current content as a new player or a new character without resorting to gear that’s wholy unsuited to the task.

For all my griping about PvP gearing during this expansion, I think the crafted gear at 85 has been an excellent addtion to the model.

But it amazes me that there still isn’t craftable starter PvE gear sets for level 85 toons.


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

22 responses to “One Question About Cataclysm Endgame PvE I Probably Shouldn’t Ask

  1. Poneria

    The crafting at endgame sucks balls. I don’t complete professions on my alts, because in the end, I just end up using it as a really expensive raid buff. (I could use it to make money, but, eh, why sit at the AH when I can level another alt? 😉 )We’ve noted in our guild that by the time we get all the patterns to drop, we don’t need the stuff anymore (aka, have better raid drop pieces). Not to mention half the time the crafted is in a tier slot. (“Awesome gloves! Too bad I’ll be wearing tier for 4pc instead!”)As for a starter set, or get-ready-to-raid set…I have no clue why they don’t put one in. Yeah, there’s sets in the dungeons, but they tune the dungeons so raiders of the last tier aren’t totally snoozing through the dungeons either. Which is slightly dumb.

  2. loopnotdefined

    I was discussing this with someone on WoW Insider’s The Queue a few days ago, and one of the things I found was that there’s still slots – even after 4.3 – that you cannot purchase rare/epic BoEs for. For example, the highest ilvl DPS Plate shoulders you can find on the AH are 318 greens with random stats. That’s it. Other examples: the highest Int Plate shoulders are 325, and the highest Agility Mail helmet is 325.There’s absolutely no comparison between PVE and PVP gear acquisition, which is weird, considering PVE gear acquisition turns into a veritable DELUGE once you’re able to queue for the new 5-mans.If Blizzard goes into MoP with the same LFD/LFR philosophies we’re seeing in 4.3, then there’s no reason NOT to offer easily available PVE starter gear.One other topic you might want to mull over (if you haven’t already) is reforging +/- Resilience. If PVE and PVP gear ever match acquisition rates, would reforging Resilience hurt either side of the game?

  3. Poneria

    @loopnotdefined — Blizz would have to make resilience reforgeable first (but I assume that’s what you meant). I’d imagine it would still hurt some. For non-healer-class caster DPS, using a piece with Spirit on it is at least 60% if not 100% of a useless stat. I’d imagine DPSers could get away with reforging resil, and maybe healers, but I doubt tanks would benefit much more than they would with the current model.

  4. loopnotdefined

    Sorry for the semi-disjointed post, having trouble thinking straight today.Regarding caster DPS reforging spirit to resilience, I don’t think that would be any more beneficial to them than reforging spirit to crit, mastery, etc. for PVE, so I’m not sure that would create or inflate problems that don’t already exist.Regarding tanks reforging resilience, I think that’s an excellent reason to support implementing such a change. Right now Battlegrounds that need tanks (like AV & IoC) means someone has to queue up with two complete sets of gear: one for players and one for NPCs. Also, would flag carrying dynamics change if tanks had better odds against players via reforging Resilience?

  5. Poneria

    I meant as it is now & resil were reforgeable, if I as a warlock were to use a Spirit piece, it’s the same as if I were to use a resilience piece for PvE: it’s at least 60% of a useless stat, if not 100% of a useless stat. Being able to reforge resilience wouldn’t change the PvP –> PvE game for DPS or healers, except make that piece of gear minorly less crappy. It might make a small change in the PvE –> PvP game, but I would think crafted gear with resilience as a full stat (as opposed to partial through reforging) would make that moot.For tanks, I’d wonder if, since Blizz is making resilience a base stat in MoP, would tanks have something in their “hey, I’m a tank spec,” spec that lets them use resilience in a PvE tanking manner. The only concern I’d have with that is the return to Wrath tanking BiS gear, which (for bears, at least) often included top-tier PvP gear (especially in the weapons dept.). Forcing PvErs to PvP for the best gear for PvE? No thanks.As for the AV/IoC PvE bosses, I’d figure Blizz would just fiddle with the NPC to lower it down to PvP standards for dodge/penetration rather than mess with the larger repercussions of changing gear design.

  6. Cynwise of Stormwind

    Dumb Posterous eating people’s nice comments. I’m going to copy and paste these in, sorry that they will not have the original links.

  7. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Arazu commented:Because pvp punishes you much, much harder for being undergeared. There is a baseline gear level there that is expected for you to have in order to not be at a horrible disadvantage and possibly never, ever win.PvE content doesn’t have this disadvantage. People are often very successful at it despite being undergeared (there was a whole guild about that called Undergeared, which was a pretty good idea even though their guildleader was completely insane). The very first lich king kill ever on my server had a resto druid wearing full greens. If you try to pvp in full greens, three seasons into an expansion, all signs point to trouble.PvE also has stepping stones whereas PvP does not. Someone who just hit 85 and is wearing 333s doesn’t have to go straight to Endtime. If I just hit 85 and I queue for warsong, I just went straight to end game.I still see lots of people in heroics, even to this day, wearing 333s and 346s. If my random’s doing Stonecore or even Well this isn’t really a problem, the zones aren’t tuned tightly at all. If I did that in battlegrounds I would be extremely dead and lose all the time and even though I would still be getting honor, that wouldn’t be terribly fun.People are so overgeared for heroics now (and the zones are designed on purpose to not be much of a challenge) that you don’t have to be very geared yourself. I get undergeared tanks all the time when I’m healing; my healer is geared reasonably okay and so I can heal that tank way harder than the content would ever require me to. I get dumb healers all the time when I’m tanking; my unimpressive geared druid tanked an entire deadmines the other day with the healer only using renew.

  8. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Stormy commented: THIS. Every last damn word of it.I have a now-81 disc priest who’s been playing pocket healer to my friend Rush’s tankadin, and upon dinging 80 I had a dilemma. One cannot continue leveling via the Dungeon Finder because the minimum ilevel for Cata normals is 226…and I was stuck with 150-187 blues (and a trinket from Sethekk Halls, but that’s another show). The lowest level crafted set available requires level 81, and then it’s this useless mishmash of 280-308 gear designed for DPS. I jumped on my other priest (we all know I have a priest problem. I can’t resist the siren’s song of Penance, the satisfying ka-chunk of a successful POM or the lasery-death-goodness of Mind Flay) and made the set anyway, and after two Cata normals it’s half gone.As for PvP gear in dungeons and LFR, I’ve just stopped inspecting people. It’s not healthy, it’s aggravating, and it’s not productive at all. I just…stopped.

  9. blamesquelchy

    First off, many points for the Gaston/Lefou quote.With the possible exception of tank shoulders and helms (until very recently my protworgen was rocking the 346 rep helm from Twilight Highlands), I guess I don’t see this as a problem. Maybe it’s my privileged perspective as a longtime member of a very helpful PvE guild.But take my wife’s resto druid as an example. She recently transferred it from Horde to our Alliance guild, and was sitting in heroic blues and below for the most part. Within a day she was geared enough to heal the HoT 5-mans. How could a crafted PvE set make that any quicker?(Of course, the fact that she was sitting in heroic blues after a long time at 85 horde-side–without a guild–deflates my point somewhat. In fairness, she basically didn’t play at all throughout the Firelands patch.)Which kind of PvE set would you like to see–one that drops you into HoT heroics, or one that gets you into raids? (That’s a sincere question.)

  10. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @blamesquelchy: It’s a legitimate question, and after arguing with Hamlet on Twitter about this, I think I have to answer two different ways.If there was no PvP gear to be had, I’d argue it should be around 325-333; enough to round out your quest rewards, give you a blue set and put you at the baseline for normal 85s, make heroics something you have to work *a little bit* for. As the expac goes on, this could be raised – I’m not sure that it’s worth having things be less than 346 right now, which gets you into heroics. A properly itemized 346 set for tanks and healers could really improve the quality of heroic LFD.The PvP crossover gear, combined with the item level restrictions, makes it harder. The PvE and PvP gear need to be in the same ballpark, or people will just keep on choosing the PvP gear simply for the item level. If I could drop say a half tier – 365 – and get the right stats for my build – I think that might work out better. So it would be a full tier behind JP gear.The problem with that solution is that you trivialize all heroics, except those of the current content. This has *already* happened, mind you, but if we wanted to be fair we would at least try to design with the idea that content should be matched to it.Alternately, you could set heroic targets to 346 and scale *all* rewards from them up to be “pre raid” gear, while keeping crafted at 333 That gets tricky too.Right now PvP gear gets you into LFR. I think any solution needs to address that first and foremost – but making crafted PvE gear get you right into raids doesn’t necessarily fix it.

  11. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Rades commented (and @Posterous ate):I’m not sure where the problem is here, really. PVP pieces are always roughly equivalent in PVE value to PVE pieces 1.5 to 2 tiers below the PVP ilvl, so if you have the current Honor pieces it’s roughly equivalent to having Zul gear. And that’s enough to get you into the new Heroics and get PVE gear to replace them. Someone in PVP gear in Well of Eternity or End Time? /shrug. Really doesn’t make any difference in those. Like always, it’s player skill that matters. Even if a Tank is wearing PVP gear, as long as he’s prepared the pieces for tanking as much as possible via gems/enchants/reforging, he or she will be fine.Now, if you’re fully decked out in PVP gear to use the inflated ilvl to get into LFR? Well, this isn’t ideal, as for LFR you SHOULD be PVE prepared, especially as a tank or healer. But again – it’s really not that crucial. LFR isn’t really raidingin terms of how hard the bosses hit or how well the group needs to work together. It’sreally just a Heroic Dungeon, with 25 people. And once again, skill trumps gear. If you know what you’re doing, and you use your CDs properly and are suitably gemmed/reforged/enchanted, you’ll outperform many, many LFR players who don’t know what they’re doing or who – to be brutally honest – are just not very good.Of course, I’m not actually disagreeing with the odd setup right now that there’s not very much / any non-PVP endgame crafted gear. It IS unusual. And for that matter, I don’t even know why PVP gear HAS item levels, since there’s no ilvl gating for PVP content. New Conquest gear? Hell, give it ilvl 1 and people who only use it for PVP won’t care. Or, why not give it an ilvl equivalent to what it would be in a PVE setting? Give it 353 if it’s equal to Zul gear.

  12. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @rades (sorry this is confusing, folks!): I compare and contrast my level 70 warrior tank, where I’m able to say, I’d like to go level through dungeons as a tank, let me get appropriate gear, or perhaps as DPS, let me get appropriate gear, with my level 85 DK, where I’m like… I can get PvP gear! Or I can try to run normals with my 318-333 gear? Or I can get carried? And it’s very odd. The only reason I can see an argument for PvP items having ilevels is enchants and gems – but it’s a really interesting idea to contemplate doing away with it! Or removing Resilience from the budget, or creating a separate ilevel with and without resilience.It’s just so effing odd.

  13. Melfina the Blue

    The gear situation has just gotten weirder and weirder. Why does my level 80 toon have to go get a complete set of Cat greens (most of which cannot be crafted) just to keep running dungeons to level?Ooh, or how about the fact that the only caster one hand in firelands dropped off Rag, but both off-hands dropped off of earlier bosses? I’d guess that Blizz is simply ignoring the gearing weirdness right now because they figure that they’re having to deal with gear inflation in Mists, so why bother with the current system’s oddities?And I would like to add, as far as LFR goes, you can queue for the Siege in full PVP gear as a DPS, and I won’t care. But, for the love of GOD, please please please do NOT queue for the second part if you can’t pull over 15k dps. Ultraxion is still a DPS check in LFR, and I cannot count the number of times I’ve wiped because people don’t understand or care about that. I can do my job and keep all the DPS alive, top the healing charts and break 20k HPS on a toon that’s barely well-enough geared to be in there, and we’ll still wipe because some people don’t bother to enchant, gem, or get some PVE gear. Grrr…(not trying to imply anyone here would do that, it’s just become a major pet peeve of mine after spending 3 hours last night trying just to kill Ultra in various LFR groups)I do have a slightly random question for you. Transmogging in low level PVP for camouflage purposes, is it worth it? I’ve got a level 12 warlock wearing mostly heirlooms, and was pondering if looking like I have weak gear would make me more or less of a target. Either way, I’m having ridiculous fun with my “DOT ALL THE THINGS!” strategy.

  14. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Melfina: These gear oddities don’t present a very coherent picture, do they? Kind of depressing, really. I’m in favor of mogging out heirlooms in PvP. They have very distinct looks and can get you targeted quickly. At 12 you won’t have a lot of options, but it’s worth a few gold. 

  15. Melfina the Blue

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll have to see what I can come up with mogging-wise, maybe see if a guild tailor can make me something. I mostly noticed myself being targeted after I played “hunt down and epicly annoy/kill all healers” but since I am used to pvping as a healer, being first kill target is something I’m used to.Oh, and just wanted to thank you. It never would have occurred to me to pvp at low levels, much less with an unfamiliar class, without your blogs. You inspired me to try something completely out of my comfort zone, and it’s been a lot of fun!

  16. Redbeard

    Well, the craftable PvE cloth gear sets were nice, old fashioned Blues which were good enough to barely get you into the entry 5-man Heroics, assuming you had enough rep-induced and 5-man normal stuff to round out your set. I’ve not gone back to check lately, but I don’t think that Blizz has bothered to put anything other than PvP crafted gear into the crafting pile since launch, which can raise a few eyebrows. The implication is that even in 4.3’s world you need to first run normals, then the basic heroics, then the Zuls, and THEN End Time. Or, conversely, you can get to L85, chain run BGs, and get a Ruthless set which will leapfrog you straight into End Time and that raiding.I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there needs to be a separation between the iLevels for PvE and PvP gear.

  17. Jason

    I’ve skimmed quite a bit, but I honestly don’t have much of an issue gearing for PVE at endgame. If you already do a lot of PVP it’s trivial via honor gain and conversion to Justice. 329 for basic heroics isn’t hard to hit, and getting to 353 for DS heroics isn’t that hard. And once you hit that point, it’s absolutely a deluge of upgrades to get you into LFR. Case in point: I took my practically brand new 85 hunter(He’d been 85 for a while, but had done nothing since hitting 85 but mine ore) and got him into LFR in a couple of days running dungeons. I didn’t cheese any of the requirements with PvP gear, just burned through a few normals to replace my lower ilvl items, picked up a few things off the AH(total expenditure less than 1k gold), and was into heroics. 3 or 4 heroics later I had enough to buy another justice piece, plus a couple 346 upgrades. And as mentioned, once I was into DS Heroics, it was an aboslute breeze to gear through that. So far the only two slots I’ve had issues with are ranged(I wound up grinding mats for the Firelands crafted gun) and my stat stick.(mats will be ground for that too).

  18. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @Jason: No argument that once you hit DS heroics the loot flows very quickly. But those few hours you spent running normals, and then heroics, to get to that point could have been completely eliminated with crafted PvP gear. And instead of hitting up DS heroics, you’d be hitting up LFR. That’s broken. The problem isn’t that gearing up through PvE is hard – it’s not – it’s that gearing up for PvE through PvP is even easier.  

  19. Jason

    Oh, I get that.. but as someone who’s been heavily involved in PvE since Vanilla, the thought of using PvP gear to cheat ilvl is, quite frankly, abhorrent. Are there people out there doing it? Yes, absolutely, and I can spot them on recount from a mile away if they’re DPS or heals. Tanks are even easier to spot, since they’re at least twice as hard to keep alive than a properly geared tank is.That said, it is something that Blizzard needs to address, and badly. IMO, the easiest way to do this is to eliminate ilvl on gear intended for PvP; make it all 1 equivalent, and scale it based on the season, which they’re already doing. This will solve two issues with one stroke; no more ilvl comparison between PvE and PvP, and it keeps PvP cheaters out of LFD/LFR.

  20. gameldar

    A bit late to the party… but I’ve been on holiday… (and subsequently doing LFR a lot).I have to agree with the gap – and I think it is worse at this point in the expansion because of the distinct relative jump you can make. I leveled up two characters to 85 in the last couple of weeks and quickly made the jump to LFR (no loot for my hunter though):a) you level so quickly I hardly touched Twilight Highlands – so I didn’t have much ilvl 318 gear at all – I went through enough to open up the portalb) because you can jump to heroics quickly no one is running the lvl 84/85 normal dungeons – you only get Vortex Pinacle and the occasional stonecorec) if you win your BGs as you level – it is quicker XP (for dps at least) than doing dungeons – unless you have unfinished dungeon questsI made the jump straight into End Time dungeons by using PvP gear – these toons were both DPS (hunter and DK) and within the dungeons I was doing competitively – not top, but definitely pulling my weight. Moving into LFR you don’t have the 15% boost – but with the BoE ilvl 378 wrists plus a couple of drops from End Time dungeons … and most importantly at least one Badge trinket from PvP you can enter LFR. I particularly found the trinkets to be a pain and they always have been. Darkmoon Faire cards aren’t worth it these days, and neither toon is a jewelcrafter or an alchemist so the PvP trinket was a must.The other side is that reputations outside of therezzane is pointless by this point. And they really should have been BoE already.That said – the PvE vs PvP difference is not as pronounced – if you know how to play. I got called out on my hunter because I had ‘all pvp’ gear on Morchok (I had about half). The reality – I was the _only_ one that was actually paying attention to the mechanics and moving close to the orbs. The next fight – I ended up right behind the complainer on the DPS charts – despite about 15 iLvls difference in gear – and that is with all the PvP gear I was wearing.But I do agree – they either need to diminish the difference between PvP and PvE gear (which sounds like what they are proposing) – or make the crafted gear scale with each patch – the same as they have done with the PvP gear. Why shouldn’t engineers that hit max level get the option to craft their own helm – and it actually be useful (other than for transmog purposes). I actually like the change in teh PvP crafted gear – I think it is a good system and gives the crafting professions more options for making money than making outdated gear.