That's right everyone, Blizzard confirms the release of Patch 5.3: Escalation for this upcoming Tuesday, May 21st! Be prepared for an abundance of new content with changes being made to many aspects of PvE and advancements to the Mists of Pandaria storyline and legendary chain that include (but are not limited to) the following:
Return of the Item Upgrades
Bonus Roll Protection
Better accessibility for alts
Lesser Charm gathering
There are also many changes being made in the PvP world, as well as many class specific changes that are listed in the patch notes - be sure to check out a website (such as MMOChamp) to see how these changes affect you! For now, I'll clue you guys in on some of the changes listed above.
Return of the Item Upgrades
Remember upgrading your gear in 5.1 with valor points? I sure do, and it was horrible - spending 1500 valor points on a piece of gear just to have it be replaced two weeks later was not a lot of fun, and thankfully Blizzard realized that. The cost of upgrading your gear has been reduced to 250 VP per upgrade; that means it will cost you 500 VP to fully upgrade an item (1/3 the cost in 5.1).
That said, our good buddy Voidbinder Zorlan (pictured above) and his friends will be able to help us by giving us increased stats on our gear at a relatively low cost to help us defeat a boss that may be giving us a bit of trouble. From what I've read, they do not plan on resetting valor, so stock up while you still can so you can upgrade as much as possible before raid on Wednesday! A general priority to follow (assuming you have at least a 522 quality item) looks something like this
Weapons > Trinkets > Tier > Offpieces (such as rings, cloak, boots, etc)
That's right guys, you can start picking what type of loot you'd like to receive in LFR! If you're looking to get tank gear, but don't quite have the gear to queue as a tank, you can queue as a spec that you're more comfortable doing and still receive tank gear (this of course goes for any possible combination of class roles, not just tanks)
Also note that this system applies to bonus rolls; however, I would suggest that everyone save their bonus rolls in anticipation for heroics (and also use them for any main-spec gear that they could use) before using them to get off-spec gear.
While we're on topic of bonus rolls, note that Blizzard is implementing protection against unlucky streaks of not receiving loot on your bonus rolls - the longer you go without getting an item from using a roll, the more likely you are to receive one on your next roll! If you're wondering how you're going to farm all of the lesser charms to use your mogu runes, the lesser charms can now drop off of any mob in Pandaria who are level 90+, and are a guaranteed drop off of any rare on Pandaria that was available at release (so no Warscout/Warbringer, or any rare on Isle of Thunder).
Heroic Scenarios and Alt Accessibility
Many of you may have wanted to play your alts (or have already gone through and leveled 4+ characters to 90 like some of us...), but have not wanted to go through the grind of questing from 85 to 90 again; however, the 33% reduction in experience needed to get from 85 to 90 may alleviate some of your leveling woes! And as an added bonus to getting your alt to 90, you no longer have to grind reputation to start grinding out your August Celestials and Shado Pan reputations
We've started an alt group that runs Tier 14 raids on Saturday nights at our normal raid time (7PM server), so take advantage of these changes so that you can come hang out with us and get a chance to raid on a character you don't normally get to! =)
There will be 6 heroic scenarios for us to tackle as another source of gaining valor points. Note that these require a premade group to enter them, and have a chance at dropping high level epics.
Last but not least, the Legendary Questline continues in Patch 5.3
Rumor has it that there will be item level 600 cloaks available upon completing the next part of the legendary questchain with Wrathion. These are definitely something to be excited about, even if you're behind on the legendary questchain (they're reducing the valor grind to 3000, down from 6000), the stats on these will definitely be worth the wait.
Caster DPS - [item]98150[/item]
Strength DPS - [item]98147[/item]
Agility DPS - [item]98148[/item]
Healers - [item]98149[/item]
Raea - [item]98146[/item]
Ye olde Twoilax - [item]98335[/item]
And thus ends my not-so-summarized version of Patch 5.3: Escalation. 5.2 was good to us and I'm sure 5.3 will be even better, so lets hit the ground running keep making solid progress in preparation for Siege in 5.4! =)